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The Scriptorium

The Reach of Tribulation

The effects of sin are far-flung.

Themes in Revelation: Tribulation

Week 12, Tuesday: Three Horsemen

As the Lord Jesus goes forth, by His Word and Spirit in His Church, conquering and to conquer, three other riders on horses also have designs on the earth and its peoples. By understanding the “mission” of these three, we may gain a better understanding of the reach of tribulation. And knowing the reach of tribulation, we can prepare to overcome it by our testimony and obedience.

Read Revelation 6.3-8

Meditate on the following passages from Revelation
1.      Keep in mind that Revelation 12 provides the spiritual and chronological backdrop for all the events in the book of Revelation. We do not read Revelation in chronological order. Rather, we read it spiritually and cyclically, looking for recurring themes and ideas as the story of the last days is told and retold from different perspectives. In that respect, is it reasonable to see Revelation 9.1-11 as coming before Revelation 6.3-8? Why?

2.      How would you summarize the “mission” of those spiritual forces of wickedness unleashed in Revelation 9.1-11? Is this mission directed only at believers? What effects of this “mission” should we expect to see among the people of the earth? Do we in fact see these?

3.      Which aspects of human life are encompassed by the “mission” of the three riders in Revelation 6.3-8? Is it fair to say that there is not an aspect of human life in the world where the rage of the dragon does not reach? Explain.

4.      In a previous lesson we talked about the “institutionalization” of sin (cf. Rev. 13)? What do we mean by this? How does this happen, say, in a political system or a culture? How does the institutionalization of sin increase the reach and effects of tribulation? Can you give an example?

5.      In Revelation 15 and 16 the court of heaven responds to the tribulation in the world caused by sin. How does the wrath of God (Rom. 1.18-32) compound the tribulation of the world? Why is this consistent with the glory of God and the progress of His Kingdom?

My Reflection
It’s clear that many people are suffering from the reach of tribulation. We’ve discussed how we should be prepared to deal with the trials that come our way, so that we can overcome tribulation by holding fast our confession of faith in Jesus. How should we regard the people around us who are facing tribulations of various kinds? What do we have to offer them?

The Glory of God
Tribulation provides an opportunity for pointing people to the grace of God; however, many people simply will not embrace that, but will become further hardened against the Lord (Rev. 16.9, 11). Should this cause us as believers to be dismayed? Does even the hardening of men’s hearts against the Lord glorify Him? Explain.

Glory to Glory
It is not uncommon for people to talk about various tribulations facing the world – terrorism, economic uncertainty, environmental concerns, personal troubles, and so forth. Suggest some ways you might prepare for such conversations in order to participate in them for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10.31). What might you expect of others in the conversation as you take this tack?

Let’s look more closely at our memory verse, Revelation 1.9. Recite your memory verse aloud. Are you a “companion” with John and the other apostles today? What does Hebrews 12.1 suggest about this? How should this “companionship” affect your ability to overcome in the face of tribulation?

Closing Prayer
Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust. 
O my soul, you have said to the LORD,
“You are my LORD,
My goodness is nothing apart from You."
As for the saints who are on the earth,
They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.

Psalm 16.1-3

T. M. Moore

Download the studies for week 12, and all previous weeks, by clicking here.

The book of Revelation is the culminating episode in the story of God’s covenant. To learn more about that covenant, and to discover the way it integrates all of Scripture into the Gospel of Jesus Christ, order a copy of T. M.’s book, I Will Be Your God, by clicking here.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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