Christ Controls Chaos

The first entry in this series can be found here.
The previous entry can be found here.

What keeps you awake at night?

If you’re like the average human being, you fear a few things.

You may know all the correct theological answers, but at the end of the day, when you are the most vulnerable and honest, there are a few things that frighten you to think about them. Death. The collapse of the economy. Nuclear war. Political turmoil.

So what scares you?

And if you fear those things, thank you for being honest. But that is what we see in the book of Revelation today.

At this point, the roller coaster i described a few weeks back is about to drop. We started in the station (where John gave us an introduction to our journey in this book in 1:1-9) until it accelerated us out and over the first hill (which was John’s vision of the resurrected Christ in 1:10-20). John then took us through some dives and inclines as he described the holy, catholic church (2:1-3:22). Then we went up another hill as John took us into the throne room of heaven (4:1-5:14). And now it takes a nose dive straight down.
John writes as follows in Revelation 6:1-8,

Then I saw the Lamb open one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!”  I looked, and there was a white horse. The horseman on it had a bow; a crown was given to him, and he went out as a victor to conquer. When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse went out, a fiery red one, and its horseman was empowered to take peace from the earth, so that people would slaughter one another. And a large sword was given to him. When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and there was a black horse. The horseman on it had a set of scales in his hand. Then I heard something like a voice among the four living creatures say, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius—but do not harm the olive oil and the wine.” When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and there was a pale green horse. The horseman on it was named Death, and Hades was following after him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill by the sword, by famine, by plague, and by the wild animals of the earth.

There are several things to note as we come to these verses. First, there is nothing to make us think these judgments are for a later time. We are in the midst of this today, and we have been since the time of John’s writing this book in A.D. 90. I will expand on this fact in the following sections.

Second, Jesus is totally in control of these judgments. The horses don’t “Go” (the word translated “come” is better explained in context as “go”) until Jesus opens their seals, allowing the four living creatures to call them forth. Wars, plagues, world leaders (even wicked ones), famine, and death are not outside of His ultimate control, but more on that in the conclusion of this post.

Third, in verse 1, it says, “I saw the Lamb open one of the seven seals.” The word seven is noteworthy, as I’m sure you well know by this point in our study. We are looking at the first four seals today, and the seventh seal doesn’t appear until 8:1-6. These seven seals represent Christ’s complete control over world history. He is sovereign. Nothing can stop Him.

Fourth, when verse 8 says that “a fourth” of the earth would die from these judgments, it is not to be taken literally. As Revelation progresses, more and more people die, until in Revelation 19:18, we read “the flesh of everyone,” and 19:21 where we read, “The rest were killed.” But in 6:8a fourth dies, and in 9:18 a third die. No one can escape standing before God, but more on that in the conclusion of this post.

But let’s dive into the specific areas of Christ’s control.

In verses 1-2, we see Christ break open the first seal:

Then I saw the Lamb open one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!”  I looked, and there was a white horse. The horseman on it had a bow; a crown was given to him, and he went out as a victor to conquer.

Christ is in control of world empires.

There are some commentators and theologians who want to say this rider on the white horse is Christ Himself, but there are several reasons why this is untenable. First, compared to Christ’s description in chapter 19, there are multiple discrepancies. Second, and more importantly: “A crown was given to him.” As God, Christ has eternally been on the throne. He didn’t need to be given a crown.

So this is descriptive of the Roman emperors. They were allowed to rule by Christ, even though they perpetrated many evil actions during their days on the throne. Another reason to prove this as world emperors (rulers) is that (especially back when John originally wrote Revelation) world rulers always wanted more territory. The Roman Empire extended from the Persian Gulf to what is now England at the height of its power.

Included in this first seal are the ideas that Paul makes in Romans 13:1-7 and Peter makes in 1 Peter 2:13-17. God instituted the government, and we must honor it (until it commands us to sin). And since God is in control of the government, we can trust Him to keep us even when we are forced to disobey the government to obey God. For more on this topic, check out this YouTube video i did:

This is a 55-minute long sermon, so i would love it if you gave it a watch (better: listen), but maybe later. Finish reading the article at least first. 🙂

Trust Him!

In verses 3-4, we see Christ break open the second seal:

When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse went out, a fiery red one, and its horseman was empowered to take peace from the earth, so that people would slaughter one another. And a large sword was given to him.

Christ is in control of wars and even murders.

This is an impossible-to-understand fact. How can Christ be in control of these horrendous acts?

And the answer is: I don’t know. But the Bible says He is, so we have to believe it.

But it does give us hope. If Christ is in control of this, then it only happens when He allows it to happen. For believers in Jesus, this is good news, but i will share that in the conclusion of this post.

Trust Him!

In verses 5-6, we see Christ break open the third seal:

When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and there was a black horse. The horseman on it had a set of scales in his hand. Then I heard something like a voice among the four living creatures say, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius—but do not harm the olive oil and the wine.”

Christ is in control of the economy.

Now yes, this is more focused on famine, but where the ancient world suffered from famine (and third world countries still suffer today), in first-world nations (especially America), we suffer when the economy goes bad. We suffer when it costs a day’s wage for a tank of gas. In verse 6, the voice says that it costs a day’s pay for a meal. This is famine: When supply is low, but demand is high; this is a poor economy: When supply doesn’t meet demand.

Christ is in control of this. We can trust Him. If our hope is in Him, and if our faith is not in the economy, then we can survive through these trials with joy in our hearts.

Trust Him!

In verses 7-8, we see Christ break open the fourth seal:.

When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and there was a pale green horse. The horseman on it was named Death, and Hades was following after him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill by the sword, by famine, by plague, and by the wild animals of the earth.

Christ in control of death.

We have already seen this in Revelation. When He appeared to John, He told him, “I hold the keys of Death and Hades” (1:18). Jesus is in control of death.

No one dies outside of Jesus’ control.

The reason why Hades follows Death is that Hades is just the Greek word for “the grave.” And what follows death? Burial.

But the good news in all of this is that Jesus is in control. More than that, though, Jesus beat death. So whether you fear dying in general or being murdered, the fact of the matter is that you won’t die outside of God’s control.

But the question today is: Do you know Jesus?

If you haven’t trusted Him, you will stand before Him to be judged and eternally separated from Him. If you think death is scary, hell should be even more frightening. Trust Christ today!

He died on the cross and rose from the grave to prove that death doesn’t ultimately have the last word. It also shows that there is hope after death for those who trust Jesus.

If you believe, you don’t have to fear dictatorial world leaders, war, murder, plague, famine, a failing economy, or even death. If you believe in Jesus, there is hope, because there is Him. If you fail to believe in Jesus, to be consistent, you must be fearful every moment of your life.

Trust Him today, and experience His peace, and have hope even when life turns upside down.

In this with you.

Soli Deo Gloria
Solus Christus
Sola Scriptura

Thanks for reading.

The next entry can be found here.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Christ Controls Chaos

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s