Who is able to stand?
Revelation 6 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “Come.” 2 I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.
3 When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.” 4 And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.
5 When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.”
7 When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come.” 8 I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.
9 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.
12 I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind.14 The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16 and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
People often look at the violence and evil of humanity; they see the tragedy and devastation of natural disasters and they blame God. They ask: How could a loving and compassionate God allow such things to take place? The truth is that God does not cause evil. There is nothing evil about Him or within Him. People cause the evil and inhumanity against other people. Psalm 115:16 says: The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; But the earth He has given to the children of men. When God created Adam and Eve in the garden, He gave them dominion over the earth. When they choose disobedience, all of creation was affected by their choice. Before God spoke at creation, it says the earth was formless and void, (tohu wa-bohu, in Hebrew) chaos . God brought order to the chaos, but man’s rebellion and disobedience brings chaos to God’s order. Even with natural disasters, God does not cause them for punishment or judgment. It is not that He executes judgment through disaster. Rather there are times that He withholds His hand of protection. There are times that He allows the natural chaos of the fallen creation to do what it will.
Romans 8:28-29 says: We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren. God does not cause the evil, violence and hatred that people commit against each other. Again, He does not cause the natural disasters that occur. He will though use those things and He will cause them to work together for good to those who love God. When believers recognize man’s inhumanity to man, when believers see that they are powerless against the forces of creation, they are drawn to the loving and compassionate God who saved and saves them. All that we see, the evil of mankind coming against mankind and all that will come in the end times, all of the tribulation and The Great Tribulation, is used by God to show people their choice. In John 16:33 Jesus says: “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” In Revelation 9:20-21 it says: The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts. To believers, it seems unfathomable that anyone would choose evil over good, darkness over light; hatred and violence over love and grace. But given the choice, even seeing the consequences of that choice, some will choose the chaos of a world without God’s hand of protection, over living in obedience to His will.
Indeed, God is love. He is not evil. In John 3:16 Jesus says: God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. He continues though, in verses 17-21 saying: God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God. 2 Peter 3:9 says: The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. God’s desire, His will is that none would perish, that everyone would repent and become one who believes in His Son Jesus. God’s will for each one is affected by the fact that He created each one with a free will of our own. Each person, seeing the love and compassion of God and the evil and wickedness of people, each one seeing the darkness and chaos of the world or the light and order of God’s will must choose for themselves.
When we read of the things to come, described in Revelation, whether they are real or are images and allegories, we recognize that throughout history man has released evil, violence and hatred against man. To believe that after thousands of years that will change through human wisdom, institutions or legislation is foolishness. Instead, allowing all that we see and all that we experience to be used for our good, we should repent, turn to God and become conformed to the image of His Son. That was God’s desire and intention from the beginning. Genesis 1:26-28 says: “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Thank You heavenly Father that the evidence of Your greatness is seen throughout the order, the majesty, the vastness and the intricacies of creation. Thank You that Your love is evident in the cross of Christ, Your Son our Savior and Redeemer. Thank You for giving us Your Holy Spirit who is both the power behind creation and the One who will guide us in Your truth. Seeing all that I have seen, I choose You. Amen.