Thoughts on the Passage
Remember, Jesus is opening the seals with one purpose in mind—filling heaven. He could open them quickly, or slowly, but always with this purpose. So from heaven’s perspective, it is a nice orderly process. From the earth’s perspective, it is a series of chaotic and catastrophic events.
Seal #1 is opened: John sees a white horse that releases war and nations trying to take control of other nations.
Seal #2 is opened: John sees a red horse—this horse releases conflict and takes away peace.
Seal #3 is opened: John sees a black horse—this horse brings famine to the world.
Seal #4 is opened: John sees a pale horse—this horse brings death through famine and sword.
Just as the churches could not understand why they had to suffer (we are God’s people, and this should not happen!), now we ask the same questions as we look at our world. Our world is full of these four terrors. Why, God? It makes no sense to us. And it makes no sense to me either. Are these things ordained by God to happen? No, God is not like that. He does not starve people; He does not just destroy nations; He does not just kill off people. These are all the work of evil people and people under the control of the demonic realm. Still, God uses them to fill heaven.
God knows that...
· seeing the evil heart of man will turn people away from this and cause them to look to a gracious God.
· seeing the challenge of suffering from evil—and the heart of love from God’s people—turns people to seek God.
· seeing the displacement of famine—and seeing people with a heart to help the hurting—causes them to seek God.
· seeing untimely death—causes people to ask “is this all to life?”, and thus seek God.
God’s people—acting like God’s people—causes the world around us to question and look. This world often gets angry at God, and rejects Him because of the pain they face. However, many people look and ask. These people find the goodness of God in the midst of great turmoil. They find peace; they find hope and they find the love of God. They are changed by repentance and forgiveness. They live to share this with their broken world—and heaven starts filling up.
Father, too often I ask You to keep me away from my broken world. I prefer the comfort and peace that comes with Your presence and love poured out to me. However, my world is broken. It is suffering under so much oppression and attack from selfish mankind, from wounded people who lash out, and from disasters that strike them. How can I be content just enjoying You and Your goodness when so many around me suffer? It is hard to get up from my easier situation and speak Jesus’ love to suffering people. However, that is what will fill heaven. I want that above all. So give me a heart to move—to get up—and show Your love, Your compassion and Your heart to my world. It is not easy. It is not comfortable. It is not safe. It is necessary though. So fill me and empower me. In Jesus' name. Amen.