‘How Long?’

Scripture reading for December 15th: Revelation 6:1-17

Waiting is difficult for most of us here on earth.  Jesus told us that His coming would be sudden and unexpected by the world, like a thief in the night.  (Matthew 24: 43-44)  Peter told us that the last days would bring scoffers, mocking the fact that Jesus had not returned yet.  (2nd Peter 3:3-4)  But John saw another group that were waiting in heaven!

As he watched the Lamb open the first of seven seals, one of the living creatures called out in a loud voice, “Come!”  Immediately a white horse and it’s rider with a bow appeared.  As the Lamb opened the second seal,  a second fiery red horse appeared with a rider who was given power to take peace from men on earth and make them kill each other.  The third seal opened brought another black horse.  It’s rider was holding a pair of scales in its hand.  This rider would bring famine to the land.  The fourth seal and living creature summoned a pale horse!  It’s rider was named ‘Death’, and ‘Hades’ was following close behind him.  They were given power over a fourth of the earth.  Tough times were coming!  (Revelation 6:1-8)

“When He (the Lamb)opened the fifth seal, I (John) saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.  They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”  Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.” (Revelation 6:9-11)

Even in heaven there was the need for patient endurance!  John saw many souls there waiting for the Lord to take vengeance on those on earth who had murdered them.   These were waiting under the altar and calling out to the Lamb.  God’s answer was further patience and a word that even more would be killed and join them while they waited!   John’s vision and this record of waiting in heaven ought to inspire us to be faithful and true while we wait for our Lord from heaven.  We do not know the day or hour, but His coming is soon and sure!

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