When we were kids, we pushed the limits of our parents’ patience as a daily activity. It seemed to be our job. We did it without thinking or planning, strategizing or scheming. That’s what life is to be a kid. Kids are with little experience yet in life do not think about life, they just do life as it comes. A kids’ life is like a ball in a pinball machine. Life keeps moving, bouncing off others lives while also running into obstacles. If you have kids, were a kid or watched a kid, you will notice that they cannot walk through a room with touching, shoving or colliding with something in the room, making it fall or turn over! The obstacles are merely part of the game of leaping over them, running head first into them or going around them. Kids get hurt and they hurt others intentionally or unintentionally, but they keep on moving until some one in charge of them says, “ENOUGH!”
We are the children of God. God is in One in charge. God has always been in charge. He created us to worship Him, commune with Him in an exclusive, intimate forever relationship, and to grow from childish behavior to childlike faith in Him. God always knows what is best for us. As we obey Him, He grows His character in us bearing the fruits of His Holy Spirit in us! (See Galatians 5). As we transform daily, by His power working in us, we begin to discover that we no longer live a “pinball” life of bouncing around from obstacle to obstacle, but we know who we are and where we are going! God is in the lead, taking us by the hand as we embrace all of what God is doing in us. Peace and contentment follow and abides in us.
But alas, God gave us free will to make choices. He wanted us to love Him back as our first and greatest choice. God also knew, because He knows everything, that we would not always make the right choice. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”(Genesis 1:1) God’s Son, Jesus, was there at the beginning. God knew his created humans would, because of choice, turn away from Him and be enticed to sin. At first, God designed a way for humans to “cover” their sin with animal sacrifices, but always knowing that His son would, at just the right time, leave the perfection of heaven, come down and be the “once and for all” sacrifice for the sins of the world. He knew from the beginning we would need a Savior. We are imperfect humans who need a perfect, without sin, sacrifice to be perfectly forgiven forever.
So, from the beginning of time and creation. God so loved us, beyond what a parent on earth has for their child, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Jesus completed His work on earth to save us and then rose again as proof of life everlasting for all who believe. Jesus left parting words, letting all who truly heard, that He is coming back for His own. Then Jesus ascended back to heaven.
“Every knee with bow…”
Now we come to John’s vision of Jesus and the beginning acts of His return! The worship described in Revelation 4—5 is preparation for the wrath described in Revelation 6—19. It seems strange to us that worship and judgment should go together, but this is because we do not fully understand either the holiness of God or the sinfulness of man. Nor do we grasp the total picture of what God wants to accomplish and how the forces of evil have opposed Him. God is longsuffering, (patient), but eventually He must judge sin and vindicate His servants. He knows the hearts of all, so He knows who belongs to Him. “In times like these, be sure, be very sure”, so the song goes, in the choices we make to follow God—or not. There are only two choices. Each choice will be dealt with when He comes “riding on the clouds”. There will be a day when God says, “Enough!”
REVELATION—JESUS IS COMING BACK!
Revelation 6, The Message
Unsealing the Scroll
1-2 I watched while the Lamb ripped off the first of the seven seals. I heard one of the Animals roar, “Come out!” I looked—I saw a white horse. Its rider carried a bow and was given a victory garland. He rode off victorious, conquering right and left.
3-4 When the Lamb ripped off the second seal, I heard the second Animal cry, “Come out!” Another horse appeared, this one red. Its rider was off to take peace from the earth, setting people at each other’s throats, killing one another. He was given a huge sword.
5-6 When he ripped off the third seal, I heard the third Animal cry, “Come out!” I looked. A black horse this time. Its rider carried a set of scales in his hand. I heard a message (it seemed to issue from the Four Animals): “A quart of wheat for a day’s wages, or three quarts of barley, but don’t lay even a finger on the oil and wine.”
7-8 When he ripped off the fourth seal, I heard the fourth Animal cry, “Come out!” I looked. A colorless horse, sickly pale. Its rider was Death, and Hell was close on its heels. They were given power to destroy a fourth of the earth by war, famine, disease, and wild beasts.
9-11 When he ripped off the fifth seal, I saw the souls of those killed because they had held firm in their witness to the Word of God. They were gathered under the Altar, and cried out in loud prayers, “How long, Strong God, Holy and True? How long before you step in and avenge our murders?” Then each martyr was given a white robe and told to sit back and wait until the full number of martyrs was filled from among their servant companions and friends in the faith.
12-17 I watched while he ripped off the sixth seal: a bone-jarring earthquake, sun turned black as ink, moon all bloody, stars falling out of the sky like figs shaken from a tree in a high wind, sky snapped shut like a book, islands and mountains sliding this way and that. And then pandemonium, everyone and his dog running for cover—kings, princes, generals, rich and strong, along with every commoner, slave or free. They hid in mountain caves and rocky dens, calling out to mountains and rocks, “Refuge! Hide us from the One Seated on the Throne and the wrath of the Lamb! The great Day of their wrath has come—who can stand it?”
This is the opening “scene” for the final victory for those who call Jesus Lord and Savior, stand firm in faith in Him, obey Him, all while growing more intimately in a loving relationship with God. This is the choice that will give life forevermore.
Life or death? Don’t be deceived. Choose Life.
In Jesus Name, For His Glory, Amen