come and go the horsemen
to the seven churches

seven horns and seven eyes

Having spent the last two weeks discussing the messages to the seven churches, we now return to more lofty matters—in Revelation 4 and 5, we rejoin John in a heavenly vision.

Just in case you need more of the number seven, don’t worry. It appears seven times in these two chapters! But there are other digits to deliberate: four and twenty-four both make prominent appearances. And there are “myriads” to mesmerize.

Speaking of being mesmerized… In our accompanying book, Breaking the Code by Bruce Metzger, he gives us a nugget of wisdom. “It may seem paradoxical,” he notes, “to say that the description does not mean what it says; it means what it means.” (26) For example, in 5:6, when John sees a lamb “having seven horns and seven eyes,” we shouldn’t focus on what such a thing looks like, but what that means. Simply turning that into a picture makes Revelation seem almost cartoonish. (Still, having said that, I must admit that I don’t know the thought process of the artist whose image I borrowed.)

We can find much more value in asking questions like, “What does this mean for John and his hearers?” That helps greatly in the question, “What does this mean for us?”


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