Have you heard reference of the Four Apocalyptic Horsemen before? We met them up close and personal today. Our readings in Revelation thus far have set up the beautiful scene of heaven complete with its worship and splendor. As the scroll’s seals are opened by the Lamb, we are going to unleash the vision of God’s judgment on earth. It’s not a pretty sight (although I am generally a fan of horses)!
No matter what, it’s important to remember the victory belongs to Christ. That should be our focus when we see unfairness in the world, suffering, famine, wars, etc. God didn’t intend for us to have to endure such things. Yet, it didn’t take long for sin to enter the world and corrupt the beauty of God’s creation.
Being a worship leader and musician, between the reading in Chapter 4 and today’s in Chapter 5, I can’t help but think of two songs. You can click to listen to Revelation Song and Worthy is the Lamb. Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder, indeed!
Again, we have more beautiful imagery. We see the scroll in God’s hands. That’s how books were written in those days. I understand a scroll could be up to 30 feet long. That’s a lot of words! But God’s scroll was holy and filled with truth. It was sealed with seven seals. Who was worthy to open it to reveal the future God had written?
There’s a lot of praising going on in heaven! It’s how I would imagine it to be, too–worship happening 24/7! After all, how could you help but being overcome, giving ALL you had in praise and adoration, simply by being in the presence of God, the Father, the Almighty, the one who lives forever?! Take a moment to close your eyes, inhale deeply, and exhale slowly as you imagine being in God’s presence, no more worry or strife, and amidst the joy and reverence of others around you. What a beautiful peace!
How many times have you wondered about what heaven might be like? I’m not sure I ever pictured four beings with lots of eyes. I mean, a lot of eyes! It sounds a little creepy to me, actually. But it’s imagery that is similar to what we see in Isaiah 6. We have a glimpse there into heaven as well in Isaiah’s vision. Ezekiel 1 is also another example of God revealing to his messengers about the things to come. I think that is exactly why John is seeing the vision now. To prepare him for what’s next.
This reading has one of my favorite images in it. Jesus knocking on the door to my heart. There is a famous painting that depicts the door with no handle on Jesus’ side of the door. He is not going to barge his way in. He is waiting patiently for us as believers. Would you open the door to him?
The message to the church in Laodicea is a bit challenging. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of praise going on. Jesus find them lukewarm like their water. And like tepid water, Jesus wants to “spit them out.” Laodicea didn’t have it’s own water supply so when it arrived via aqueduct from the hot springs it was warm, or from the cold springs it was warm. Imagine making tea with warm water? It needs to be boiling hot! So, too, our devotion to Jesus! Burning bright!
You can really see the love of Jesus for the church in Philadelphia. This is another church (like Smyrna) who gets no rebuke. They are small and weak, the perfect storm for God to be glorified. When we feel weak and rely on the power of God to rescue us or sustain us, God is glorified. When we can set aside our own ambitions and desire for power or recognition, realizing we are nothing without God, God can work inside us, too.
What did you think about the way Jesus introduces himself to the church in Philadelphia. “This is the message from the one who is holy and true, the one who has the key of David. What he opens, no one can close; and what he closes, no one can open.” The “key of David” is our gospel message. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus is the one who can open the doors of heaven to us. There isn’t anything we can do to open those doors. If Jesus allows us in, nobody can stop us. So how do we make sure he opens the door for us?