Just Judgements

“And I heard the angel who had authority over all water saying, “You are just, O Holy One, who is and who always was, because you have sent these judgments. Since they shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets, you have given them blood to drink. It is their just reward.” And I heard a voice from the altar, saying, “Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, your judgments are true and just.””
Revelation‬ ‭16:5-7‬ ‭NLT

There was an angel who was in charge of all the water on Planet Earth. John didn’t see him in his vision, but he heard what he had to say. Although this angel didn’t have to give a reason for why all the water on the earth became blood, he gave an explanation anyway.

Firstly, God was at last dispensing judgement on mankind to all those who had killed His holy people. And not just Christians – there were many in Old Testament times, who were counted as His people. Jesus said, on one occasion when speaking to religious leaders, in Matthew 23:35-36, “As a result, you will be held responsible for the murder of all godly people of all time—from the murder of righteous Abel to the murder of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you killed in the Temple between the sanctuary and the altar. I tell you the truth, this judgment will fall on this very generation.” God’s warning of judgement for killing His people has been made very clear, and every generation, whether they believe it or not, will never have an excuse. They will never be able to stand before God and claim ignorance. Isn’t it strange the lengths mankind has gone to in the protection of lives in this world? A mega industry has grown up developing alarm systems to supply advance warning of peril in this present life, but no attention has been paid to the life to come. Most people will protest that they have never killed anyone, particularly God’s people, claiming therefore that they will not have to face judgement. However, sadly, most people have been, or will be, guilty by association with the persecutors and murderers, those engaged in wicked and murderous acts against God’s holy people, because that is the default position for those who reject God’s invitation of grace through His Son, Jesus Christ. We pilgrims must never neglect promoting the afterlife alarm system however. It already exists. We call it the Holy Bible.

Secondly, the judgement was proportionate. Because of their evil deeds in shedding the blood of God’s people, they will be made to drink that blood. In the UK, the judgement for the crime of murder is a prison sentence, the miscreant incarcerated for a few years in a prison. But for most murderers, there will come a day when they will be released back into the community. The victim’s family, instead, has to endure a lifetime of loss, an imbalance that will be adjusted one day – those who are unrepentant, the rejectors of God’s grace, will find out how when they stand before God on the Day of Judgement. The angel continued by saying that, for those still alive in these last days, being made to drink blood was “their just reward”. This will be the reward for those who have supported the beast in his attempts to eliminate God’s people. In these grim and devastating last days of Planet Earth, the ultimate “reward” for the devil and his followers (remember that this is the default position) is not looking good. Their prison sentence, handed down by the Righteous Judge, will be eternal life, without parole, in a place where they would sooner not be.

The Apostle John, in his vision, heard a voice from the altar saying, “Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, your judgments are true and just”.  Earlier in the Book of Revelation, we read, “When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony. They shouted to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?”” (Revelation 6:9-10). In the next verse they were told, “….to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters —their fellow servants of Jesus who were to be martyred—had joined them“. So here, with the third plague, we learn two things – firstly, that there were no more martyrs expected from Planet Earth, and, secondly, they were having to wait no longer for God’s judgement to be handed down. And the martyrs were satisfied with the outcome, saying that it was “true and just”. 

We pilgrims are an enlightened body of believers. God in His grace and mercy, has shared with us what is going to happen one day. Perhaps quite soon. Are we ready?

Dear Lord. Once again we thank You for this glimpse of the End Times. Life on earth will always be difficult for Your people, but our patience and faith in a future in Your presence will one day be rewarded. We are so grateful. Amen.

The First Seal

“As I watched, the Lamb broke the first of the seven seals on the scroll. Then I heard one of the four living beings say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked up and saw a white horse standing there. Its rider carried a bow, and a crown was placed on his head. He rode out to win many battles and gain the victory.”
‭‭Revelation‬ ‭6:1-2‬ ‭NLT

After the tremendous worship experience in Heaven, John’s focus now returns to the scroll. It has seven seals and each was broken in turn, revealing the writing on the scroll. So the scroll seemed to be structured in seven sections, each sealed so that the previous seal had to be broken before the next section could be read. But what was written on this scroll? And why was each broken seal followed by an act of apparent judgement?

Revelation 6 sees the start of the time of what is called the Tribulation, where God’s judgements are carried out on a world of unbelieving, sinful and rebellious people. We have to bear in mind that our Heavenly Father is not just a God of love, but He is also a God of righteousness. One day the period of grace in which we are now living will come to an end. One day sin will have to be judged. So with the sound of the worship still reverberating through the universe, Jesus opens the first seal.

John was perhaps startled by one of the living beings thundering out the word “Come!”. And John saw a white horse with a rider who had a crown on his head and who carried a bow. And we’re told he went out and won many battles. We don’t know for sure who the rider was, or what he represented. The crown would imply someone of authority, the white horse would indicate peace; perhaps the rider was a devious person, promoting peace when carrying an instrument of war, in the shape of a bow. The false prophets Jeremiah wrote about in Jeremiah 8 come to mind, and we read in verse 11, “…They give assurances of peace when there is no peace“. Some have suggested the crowned rider was the Antichrist (see the prophecies in the book of Daniel), but whoever the rider was who rode out on the white horse, he created mayhem, fighting and winning battles on earth.

With the conflicts of the twentieth and now the twenty-first centuries, we could ask the question if the first seal has already been broken. Certainly, some evil leaders have emerged on the world stage, and to one or two, even divine qualities have been assigned. But when the first seal is broken, I don’t think we will have any doubts. We will know.

When the first seal is broken it will be a difficult time for the pilgrims still alive, but for us pilgrims today, still living in this time of grace, we can only look on with some trepidation, and pray. We pray for our families, for our communities and for ourselves. And we pray for mercy from our God of love and righteousness. Ever since Jesus ascended from this earth, there has been an expectation that He will return again “soon”, ushering in the end times. We don’t know when that will be, but we do know that it could be at any time. So we mustn’t waste the moment, and instead not miss an opportunity to extend God’s grace to a lost world around us with our messages of hope.

Dear Father God. We thank You for this period of grace in which we live. Please help us not to hold back when we have the opportunity to reach others with the Good News that Jesus saves.