Mourning for the Unopened Scroll. It Opens. Six Plagues.
I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
Revelation 6:2 (NIV)
This is the Book of Revelation, so things are about to turn really bad really quick, and I understand that. It is a difficult balancing act in these last two weeks. I earnestly want to report to you exactly what the Bible says – as a journalist – and I also want to relate to the material in an immediate fashion – like a creative writer. If memory serves me right, the rest of this book is downright bleak. Plagues, an antichrist, 1,000 years of torture. I have no desire to spend the last two weeks of this blog dredging out the most depressing crap from the Bible.
So I won’t. But tonight is the beginning of the destruction, so let me just go at it this once. Okay? I promise it won’t be like this for the rest.
Let’s start with the summary. John encounters a scroll that no one can open, and it makes him weep uncontrollably. But then, a lamb with seven eyes and seven horns takes the scroll (what is with all the eyes and the duplicates of sevens?), and in response, all the elders endow him with the ability to open the seals.
There are seven seals, and as each is opened, a new act of God appears on the fallen Earth. The first four reveal the four horsemen of the apocalypse, bringing conquest, death, and famine to everyone. The fifth seal brings a promise to those killed for God to wait just a little longer for their resurrection. The sixth causes a number of supernatural events: a massive earthquake, stars falling from the sky, and islands lifting up into the heavens.
As for the seventh? Well, the chapter cut off, so we will have to wait until tomorrow.
So there is my journalism for the day. But what about my creative writing? I only have one wonder about today’s reading.
What has humanity done to deserve such punishment?
Think about it. We have heard that sinners will burn forever in Hell. Inhabitants unlucky enough to be on Earth for the final days will be rocked with devastating natural disasters while horsemen roam the Earth, killing nearly everyone.
Paul was convinced that the end was happening within his lifetime, and now it is 2,000 years later. So, human beings were unbelievably horrible back then, just as they supposedly are today. Sure, we are selfish. Obviously, we act with malice at times. I don’t want to discredit the good in the world, even if the slacktivism greatly dilutes the ingenuity. But are things getting worse? At the time Paul wrote his letters, Christianity – like Rick Santorum – polled at a brisk 0.0% nationwide. Now, almost a third of the world identifies as Christian. Lobbing off a whole 90% of those as “unbelievers” in disguise and you will still have good numbers comparably.
So are we worse off than we were? Is that even the right question?
Is it passing gay marriage and allowing abortion to happen? Is it the creeping liberalism that has now seemingly taken over the country? Is God a Republican?
Tomorrow will be more uplifting, I promise. I think I can promise that.