Today’s Reading: Revelation 6 – 7
“Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.” – Revelation 5:5b
The Lamb breaks the first seal and one of the four living beings says with a voice like thunder, “Come!” Picture a white horse approaching the throne, its rider carrying a bow. A crown is placed on his head and he rides out to win many battles and gain the victory (6:1-2).
The Lamb breaks the second seal and the second living being also says, “Come!” A rider on a red horse approaches the throne carrying a mighty sword. He is given the authority to take peace from the earth and replace it with war and slaughter everywhere (6:3-4).
The Lamb breaks the third seal. “Come!” A rider on a black horse approaches carrying a pair of scales in his hand. A voice from among the four living beings says, “A loaf of wheat bread or three loaves of barley will cost a day’s pay. And don’t waste the olive oil and wine.” (6:5-6)
The Lamb breaks the fourth seal. The fourth living being says, “Come!” and a pale green horse approaches with Death and the Grave riding on its back. They are given authority of ¼ of the earth – authority to kill with the sword and famine and disease and wild animals (6:7-8).
The Lamb breaks the fifth seal and now John sees that under the altar stand those who have been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful to their testimony. They cry out for their blood to be avenged and they are told to rest a little longer. There are more martyrs joining them (6:9-11).
The Lamb breaks the sixth seal and there was a great earthquake. The sky is transformed as the sun turns black, the moon turns red and the stars fall from the sky. The sky is rolled up like a scroll and all of the mountains and islands are moved from their places. Everyone, from the most powerful of leaders to slaves, hide from the One who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive? (6:12-17)
Four angels stand at the corners of the earth and hold back the four winds as another angel approaches carrying the seal of the living God, which is to be placed on the foreheads of God’s servants. 144,000 from the tribes of Israel were marked with the seal, but there is a tribe missing and in this I find significance as I sit by my Christmas tree and sip on my morning coffee. Where is the tribe of Dan?
There are two passages of scripture that may reveal why the tribe of Dan is not included in the 144,000 among the tribes of Israel. In Judges 18 we learn how this tribe chose a different path than what God had for them. As the tribe was trying to find a place to settle, they came to the peaceful town of Laish. They walked into the house of Micah, stealing his idols and encouraging his priest to come and be their priest. They then walked into the peaceful town of Laish and attacked with swords, burning the town to the ground. They rebuilt the town and set up the carved images and began a long history of idol worship.
In 1 Kings 12, Dan is made one of two places for people to travel to worship false gods and idols. Now they are excluded from those marked with the seal of the living God. They made their choice and now they will suffer the consequence of their decision. To put anything above God in our lives is idol worship and there are consequences to making other items or people in our lives more important than God.
“Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!” – Revelation 7:10
This is the song of the redeemed, of those who choose to worship only God. Their robes have been washed in the blood of the Lamb – not leaving them with red stains but leaving them white (7:14). Now they have the privilege of standing in front of God’s throne and serving him day and night.
“…And He who sits on the throne will give them shelter.
They will never again be hungry or thirsty; they will never be scorched by the heat of the sun.
For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd.
He will lead them to springs of life-giving water.
And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.” – Rev. 7:16-17
I find a stark contrast as I read Revelation 6 & 7 this morning. The tribe of Dan, who consistently chose to worship idols instead of worshiping God, is missing from the list of those marked with the seal of the living God. But those who look for salvation from God are standing before His throne. They will never be hungry or thirsty or scorched by the heat of the sun. They have kept the Lamb on the throne of their lives and He is now leading them to springs of life-giving water, wiping every tear from their eyes.
God is still on the throne, whether I choose to worship Him or worship all this world has to offer. But if I live my life as if God is not on the throne, I will miss out on His life-giving water. I think we are sometimes more comfortable with the baby in the manger and we choose to leave Him there, giving Him some thought during the Christmas season and then putting Him away with the decorations. But God’s Son born in a stable became a man who walked on water who became the sacrificial Lamb. When we follow this Lamb who is our Shepherd, He will lead us to springs of living water. And God will wipe every tear from our eyes.
The Lamb broke the seventh seal and there was silence for about a half an hour (8:1).