By Not Known
Sometimes we look at our lives and wonder. Perhaps we see a state of
chaos, as we are pulled in multiple directions by conflicting forces.
Or Worse – sometimes it seems that an evil god has seized power. At
times like these we wonder who is in control.
It must have seemed that way to the first readers of the book of
Revelation. This book was written to the seven churches in Asia Minor
that were having a terrible time. Terror stalked their outside world,
as they faced a Roman Emperor with delusions of divinity. Error stalked
the inner world, as false teaching and false behaviour troubled their
church life. Meanwhile the regular events of life continued: wars,
economic troubles, untimely and unnatural deaths and such like.
A primary message of the book of Revelation is that God is in
The first three chapters of Revelation describe the scene of chaos
and trouble surrounding the seven addressee churches. Chapter 6 returns
to earth to describe the normal events of history, ending with the
earthly appearance of the final judgement.
In between we are given a glimpse of heaven. What a glimpse! Chapter
4 gives a magnificent vision of God on the throne. Its message is that
God is for real and God rules. Chapter 5 advances our confidence even
further as we read of the crucified, risen and ascended Jesus arriving
into heaven. Death was not the last word for him and is not for history
as a whole.
This is a view from the control room. The chaos and evil we see
about us is real, but is not the whole story. God is the whole story.
This is reinforced in the intriguing imagery of the unopened scroll
seven seals (Ch 5). The scroll is the key to God’s plans moving forward
in history. The only one who is able to open it is Jesus and his death
entitles him to do so. The message is clear; the Cross of Jesus Christ
is the key to God’s plans moving forward in history. And so, even as we
read of the difficulties of history when the earthly scene resumes in
Ch. 6 we are to remember that even these difficulties are written on
God’s scroll and are somehow an outworking of Jesus’ Cross.
Who’s in charge? Thank God that he is and that the chaos and evil we
see is not the last word. May this give us confidence to persevere in
Jesus, even when we must walk by faith and not by sight.