I don’t know about you, but I’m becoming weary of doom-laden Covid Press Conferences. The other week the Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance and the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty teamed up for a rather sombre double act. With the use of various slides they set out the prospect of a second spike in Coronavirus infections over the autumn/winter period. The following day a newspaper cartoon pictured the event. Vallance is shown saying, “If we look at the next slide...”. A frightening image is summoned of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse wreaking havoc.
The picture is borrowed from the Bible’s Book of Revelation. In Chapter 6 four horses and their riders are described. The white horse and its rider are a symbol of military conquest. The red horse and its rider signify war. The black horse and its rider are a picture of famine. Finally, a pale horse and its rider are seen, ‘And its rider’s name was Death and Hades followed him’. You can, perhaps, see where the cartoonist was coming from.
The hoofbeats of these Four Horsemen can be heard thundering throughout human history. They certainly seem to be on the move at the moment. Yet they are not pictured in the Bible to drive us to despair. Our political leaders may be struggling to get to grips with the pandemic, but that does not mean the world is running out of control. In Revelation chapters 4 & 5 the apostle John is given a vision of God’s throne room in heaven. He sees God place the responsibility for fulfilling his purposes into the hands of a Lamb who was slain and is now alive. This ‘Lamb’ is an image of Jesus.
The most basic confession of the Christian faith is, ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’. The throne room of the universe is not empty. He who shared our weakness in becoming man and dying for our sins has been exalted to God’s right hand in glory. The forces of death and destruction will not be allowed to prevail. There will be a new heavens and a new earth where ‘death shall be no more’. The believer is able to look to the future with hope because the Lamb is in the midst of the throne.