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The First Seal Broken

Revelation 6:1-2
I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, 'Come!' I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. (NIVUK)

John's vision continues in the throne room of heaven. Father God is seated on the throne and the Lamb is standing in the midst of it (Revelation 5:6). He has just taken the scroll which describes history-to-come, from the Father's right hand. All the company of heaven, with the representatives of the church, are overcome in worship of the Lamb, who has defeated Satan and rescued many of His captives (Revelation 5:9-10). The scroll has seven seals and as the Lamb breaks them one by one, John sees a visual image of the content of that part of the scroll. Although many have tried to construct different systematic arguments to predict the reality to which the imagery points, we will be looking at the 'What' and 'Why' questions rather than 'When' and 'How'.

In the next few chapters we will see a series of three judgements, each in seven parts, depicted by the seals (Revelation 6:1-17; 8:1), trumpets (Revelation 8:7-9:21; 11:15-19), and bowls (Revelation 16:1-14; 17-21). In addition, there are seven thunders (Revelation 10:3-4), but the judgements they represent are not described. There are similarities between each series but with a growing intensity of judgement.

Jesus breaks the first seal. What is contained in the scroll looks like a white horse with its warrior rider. These are summoned by one of the angelic beings to go to the earth and conquer. Some have suggested that this is Jesus Christ who is clearly identified as riding on a white horse in Revelation 19:11-21. But there He is called Faithful and True: in contrast to the horseman of Revelation 6:1-2, and the other three horsemen of the apocalypse (Zechariah 1:8-11; 6:1-8).

In today's verses, the horseman is imitating Jesus, but has a different purpose. He is Anti-Christ, a purveyor of false religion, a body of many false prophets - even though they may look to some as angels of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). As in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-12) and the wilderness temptations (Matthew 4:1-11) - God allows their deception to see who will, and who will refuse to, believe the lie (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). Like the kings of Assyria and Babylon, the Anti-Christ is given authority from God to conquer, an opportunity of which he takes full advantage.

Christless religion is everywhere. Their prophets show no lack of sincerity, but there is no credit in being sincerely wrong about Jesus. With their advance, the church suffers. Persecution becomes part of the horseman's strategy. It may appear that God's people are losing ground but, in fact, they are being refined (Malachi 3:3) to give greater glory to Jesus. One reason for Revelation was to assure the church that despite the progress of all that is anti-Christ, Jesus will have the last word (Revelation 19:11-16). So, there is no need to fear and we should urgently proclaim the truth so that those who are unwilling to be engulfed by lies, may find their refuge in Jesus. Circumstances may get worse, but never abandon Jesus. Tell your friends - only Jesus can eternally love and save those who love the truth.

Awesome God. Thank You that even though You test us, You never abandon us. Forgive me for being fearful when everything seems to conspire to defy the authority of Jesus. Help me to know that even people and ideas that are against You are still under Your control and ultimately You will deal with all that opposes the Truth. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams