For some reason, the explanation of this passage is strangely comforting. Knowing that the institutional evils of the world (political tyranny, wars, socioeconomic oppression, and sickness/death) are supposed to run amok before Jesus conquers all at the end allows the last 2000 years to make a lot more sense. The reign of Stalin, the Crusades, the slavery of caste-driven India, and the Black Plague finally have a context. This is the in-between time, this is the time where evil beats its mighty wings and swoops down on the unsuspecting creation like Nazgul on the hunt. It’s also comforting because I know this is only chapter 6. This is a dark chapter, like the dark time we live in now. But like the book of Revelation, we are not at the end of the story!
Although I am strictly in a non-clinical role at the health system where I work, I can appreciate N.T. Wright’s analogy of a physician needing to get to the root of a patient’s problem before he or she can make a definitive diagnosis and offer a satisying remedy or cure. When a friend of mine first presented herself to our Emergency Department six years ago, she thought she was having a heart attack. Had her physicians only treated her based on her own assumption, the cancerous mass she was hosting would have gone undetected. The doctor had to ask the right questions and order tests before the appropriate treatment could be administered. And of course, what followed wasn’t an easy or pleasant fix. As anyone who’s familiar with radiation and chemotherapy knows, the “cure” sometimes seems worse than the disease. …
The Lamb is finally opening the scrolls, so humanity gets their first glimpse of God’s plan to fully and finally heal the world. Now we get to the good stuff; the solution to humanity’s problems that will finally bring heaven on earth. The first four scrolls are read. And what do we get? A disturbing picture filled with danger, heartache, and death brought on by the Four Horsemen. Really? This is what God has planned for our ultimate salvation? In summarizing NT’s take on the text, I was originally going to call it “a necessary evil,” but that—equating evil with our heavenly father–does God an injustice. Let’s just say that it’s necessary to show the depth of the sickness that defines the true human condition. Only when faced with the ultimate examples of the depravity that define humankind’s treatment of …
Comparing my writings to others’ in this project might lead one so ask; who picked the this guy?
Until this point, that accusation in the form of a question may have been justified. However, the author comes to my defense by writing “this is a book designed to go on making you ponder and pray, not one designed to answer everything to your satisfaction.”
My liberty abounds.
How does unleashing more misery upon the world help move along God’s plan? Wright’s answer is that bad things need to be brought to light and things need to get worse before they can get better, essentially. Seriously?
Up to this point in history:
In the first family on earth, one son kills the other. Entire cities are destroyed for their immorality. God regrets actually making the world because of it’s wickedness and wipes everyone away with …
And so it begins… In Revelation 6, we start a section that actually ends in chapter 11. This is the section where the seven seals of God’s scroll are opened. Here we see God responding with judgment upon the church’s enemies. Those struggling under oppression and persecution by the worldly powers will be vindicated. As the first four seals are opened, the four horsemen of the Apocalypse are unleashed. The Lamb opens the seals one by one reminding the suffering church that despite the oppression and persecution they are experiencing, the world and its powers are still under God’s rule and authority. War, famine, starvation, and pestilence are unleashed by the four horsemen. These are the judgments of God being worked out in human history. The four horsemen are symbols of God’s wrath. NT scholar, Bruce Metzger, explains that the …
Can I ask you something?
What do you honestly expect to get out of reading these visions of heavenly seals and apocalyptic horsemen? Are you one of those people who think these verses will help you interpret CNN? Do you believe there are clues here about the blueprint of the future?
If not—great!—but if so…why?
Clearly no one imagines that there will be a literal collection of demonic horsemen riding through town like Clint Eastwood’s scary friends. We all know these horsemen represent something. Almost unilaterally biblical scholars agree that these riders represent conquest, violence, economic hardship, and death. But I confess that I’m puzzled as to why people are always looking to uncover who these horsemen ‘really are.’ After all, when has there ever been a season in human history in which conquest, violence, economic hardship and death were not glaring fixtures? …