And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the scroll and to open its seals, for You were slain, and by Your blood You ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9
The Apostle John was taken in the Spirit to Heaven to see what was going to happen in the future. He was taken to the Throne of Jesus with all of His majesty. This was complete with jewels of all kinds, 24 elders on thrones, seven torches of fire, four living creatures with eyes going in every direction who never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.”
All of the living things around the throne called out “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they existed and were created (Rev. 4:11).” I can’t wrap my mind around the sheer awesomeness of this scene.
John then saw Jesus holding a scroll and a strong angel called out, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” John began to weep because no one was found worthy to do that. Then an elder said, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that He can open the scroll and its seven seals (Rev. 5:2,5).” Jesus is the only one worthy to do such a thing.
Why was taking the scroll and breaking open the seals such a big deal? Because, in doing so, this will begin the events that will usher in the end of the world as we know it. Seal by seal it will usher in the very difficult events leading up to Jesus’ return to the earth as judge and King. It won’t be pretty. The seven seals that will be opened are:
- A white horse and rider with a bow, released to conquer.
- A bright red horse released, taking peace from the earth so that people would slay one another.
- A black horse with a rider with a pair of scales, weighing out wheat and barley for a great price (scarcity of food).
- A pale horse whose rider’s name was Death. A fourth of the earth will be killed.
- Those who have been slain for the Word of God will be given white robes.
- Cosmic disturbances erupt, complete with red blood moon, stars falling from sky, sky rolled up like a scroll.
- Silence first so the 144,000 can be sealed and a great multitude will appear before the throne. Then there will be great thunder, lightning and an earthquake.
Why should we know these things? Matthew 24:32-33 states, “From the fig tree learn its lesson; as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that He is near, at the very gates.” You need to know what will take place that marks the period known as ‘the end times.’ And you need to know what to do. I believe that we will be here up until the sixth scroll is opened. Wrap your mind around what that would look like.
The political systems throughout the world are a tinder box. As things become more and more unstable, you wonder if we could get hit with nuclear missiles, if the world economy will collapse and if anarchy will reign. It is good to have a clear sense of how things will unfold. Knowing that God is control and world leaders are controlled by Him helps to allay fear. God holds our tomorrow, and that’s good news.
If now could be ‘the end times,’ how should we live?
- We need to be about spiritual things more than being preoccupied with hobbies, mindless TV shows, and things that don’t have an eternal value.
- We need to be ready spiritually. That means that you must not put off making things right between God and yourself. If you need to drop a bad sin habit, do it. If you need to spend more time each day and week reading the Bible, praying and seeking God’s will, do it now.
- We need to help others to be ready spiritually. If you don’t want your loved ones, friends or acquaintances die without knowing Jesus, tell them now.
- We need to be ready financially. Things could get tough if this is the time that the scrolls could be opened. We could lose our jobs because of our faith in Jesus. Get your debts paid so that you can walk when that happens. Be a part of a community of believers that you can share goods with and trust.
“But watch yourselves let your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day will come upon you suddenly like a trap…But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:34,36
*Image from Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Katy, TX