Peace: One True King

by | Mar 10, 2024

Last Sunday, we looked ahead to the finale, Armageddon. This Sunday, Pastor Kimberly Metzer, of Open Door UMC, will look back at John’s vision that God revealed of divine peace, the heavenly throne room.

John’s vision of saints dressed in the color of victory surrounding the throne filled with the peace and joy only possible through faith in Jesus Christ. This is the church as God intended. “A great multitude no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.”

In this week’s reading assignment from our companion book, Pastor Jeremy Duncan reviews our text from two weeks ago, the four riders of the apocalypse. His focus is on the, not so hidden meanings behind the colors and descriptive actions of the riders.

In John’s time, Rome was the superpower. And the emperor claimed that peace and prosperity came through violence. The juxtaposition between the fantastical violence of the horsemen, the claim that peace only comes through subjugation, and the throne room, is stark.

Duncan describes this artificial peace:

In revealing God as the one who conquers through love alone, we finally begin to see how our borders, our violence, and our wealth have no ability to save us… Our pseudo-peace depends on borders that keep imagined enemies out and our violence just out of view… Our pseudo-peace is in love with economics, which advantages us but creates an unbearable cost for those lower down the ladder…Our pseudo-peace often requires a villain to point our frustrations at…When we welcome the pseudo-peace of the powerful, we undermine the trust we depend on for human flourishing. And Jesus says it all has to come crashing down if we’re going to start again.

Revelation’s creative use of powerful imagery uncouples the text from Rome, Babylon, time, and location, making these stories relevant in all generations. And the use of an apocalyptic genre punctuates the truth told by Christ. Walls of distrust replaced by bridges of hospitality. Angry rhetoric replaced by an invitation to live together in peace.

There was an enormous crowd—no one could count all the people! They were from every race, tribe, nation, and language, and they stood in front of the throne and of the Lamb.
Revelation 7:9-17

In a Late Show interview this past week, Yuval Noah Harari offered insightful hope for peace amid wars and rumors of wars. Harari told Stephen Colbert that wars aren’t really fought over material goods. Rather, conflict comes from disagreements over the stories we tell ourselves. And this is good news. Peace is possible when we rethink our stories and craft new ones that both sides can agree on.

“The apocalypse is not the wrath we have been conditioned to hope for,” argues Duncan, “our enemies punished, and our sins visited upon us.” Neither is the imagery intended to reassure us. The portrayal of apocalyptic monsters jolts us out of our apathy of comfort. And reveal the fallacy in splitting our trust in Jesus and empire while others pay the price.

Pastor Jeremy Peters writes:

During moments of pressure and persecution, we are often inclined to put up walls, to bunker down, to become closed and suspicious of those who are not like us… John tells us that one of the essential pieces of the faith that God is calling us to hold on to, one of the things we need to hold on to if we are going to survive this stressful moment in history, is the idea that God’s church is bigger than any one nation, encompassing every tribe and every language. This image makes it that much harder to hold hate in our hearts, and that much easier to find compassion for Ukrainians and Russians and for our own neighbors. All of these people have a place in God’s throne room, and all of these people have a place in God’s heart.

John’s revelation point us to the actual truth. That peace and joy are found in faithfulness to Jesus Christ.

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Pastor Tommy


Parts of our series was inspired by Jeremy Duncan. Upside-Down Apocalypse:grounding revelation in the gospel of peace. Harrisonburg, VA: Herald Press, 2022.

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