Text: Revelation 6:1-8
In chapters 4 and 5 of Revelation, we read of Almighty God, seated on the throne, and of the triumphant Lion/Lamb, Jesus Christ, who alone was found worthy to open “the scroll and its seven seals.” John wrote, “I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!’
The four living creatures said, ‘Amen,’ and the elders fell down and worshiped.”
Read Revelation 6 (compare Zechariah 6:1-8) and you will be introduced to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The first rider was given authority to conquer; the second, to take peace from the earth, that men would slay each other; the third was holding a pair of scales in his hand, referring to a great famine; and the fourth, “power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.”
In view of the authority given the Four Horsemen, we understand that God, Holy and True, has inaugurated judgment upon the earth by the breaking of the first four seals. “Throughout time, Christ has allowed conquest, warfare, famine, and death to ravage humanity but he limits their power” (Easley, K.H. (1998). Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 106). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers).
Let us, therefore, view history and current events in light of God’s Sovereignty. By doing so, we begin to understand the question behind disease, famine and death. The apostle John himself was no stranger to tribulation. Consider the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and the persecution of the church in 64-68 AD. Move forward and there is the famine in Judea in 45-46 AD and the earthquake that destroyed and leveled cities in Asia Minor in AD 17; then, remember the suffering of millions under the hands of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, and the terrorism of Bin Laden, the Taliban, ISIS. To be sure, there is “that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray” (Rev. 12: 9); but, read on and the message is clear: “the devil . . . is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short” (Rev. 12:12). He knows he is a defeated foe!
Ponder. Be still. Know that God Almighty is seated on His throne! This fact cannot be changed. From the viewpoint that John has been granted to see, there is not one event in history that escapes the control of the reigning, Sovereign King.
Consider the words of the Song by Eric Shumacher, “The Lord is Sovereign.”