“ When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword. When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!” When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.” (Revelation 6:3-8).
They say the great tribulation is coming soon. And it’s going to be scary.
And I thought, why not to mourn now? Isn’t it great?
We think of cosmic scales, when the planets fall out of their orbits and the earth writhes in the fire of human hatred turns to dust and the inhabitants of the earth are thrown like lice headlong into that fire, then there will be great tribulation. But not yet. Great tribulation is normal now. Such blessed great tribulation. But we live now, and how we live now determines our eternal destiny.
But for the burning Ukrainian, now is the time of greatest misery.
And for the children in the fire of the house destroyed by the missile fired by our brave president of Russia and his life-destroying headquarters, hell and great tribulation has already arrived. Can you imagine? No water! No bread! No light! There is no heating!
Hell is real!
And this hell is made by our hands.
And in every house of our beloved homeland, there is now a fierce struggle, because one yearns to fight, wants to kill and the other kills without getting up from the chair, eating the deadly poison flowing directly from the TV screen into their brains and hearts, which ignites in him an unquenchable flame of hatred against Ukrainians whom he does not even know. This is hell. It is a great tribulation.
Where is the salvation from this horror? I remember the word of the apostle. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you and all your household will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Faith in the Lord! Here is salvation!
I became happy. The brightest thing we have is faith! Life is disgusting, what is there to hide. We drink, lie and fornicate in garbage heaps. And only holy faith! A ray of light in a dark kingdom.
Holy faith makes us holy.
And a question arose. Faith in Jesus Christ changes a person? Does that make it any better! Indeed? More righteous? More merciful? Better?
The answer seems obvious. It is enough to remember Saul. Assassin, persecutor of the faithful, high official and member of the Security Council. With the president. But he became a believer and where did it lead. Unemployed. Persecuted. But kind. Servant. Merciful.
And faithful to the faith until death. Christlike.
“Why is Orthodoxy so cruel?” It was a demon who asked me this difficult question. I could not breath. A dispute arose. “How can you. Slander is all it is. Orthodoxy is, my brother, such a faith, look how much gold they gave to their officials. What temples were erected! How beautifully did they paint them? And how nicely did they dress their priests? Beauty! There is no such thing anywhere else in the world. And beauty, as you know, saves the world!”
The demon burst out laughing. “Somehow you can’t see salvation in beauty. There is a war going on all around. And in temples and temple courtyards. And what is your Orthodox faith doing in Ukraine?”
I already reached the “boiling moment.” Wanted to drive him away. But he, disgustingly, says something, but does not show himself. And you don’t understand where he is, this demon.
“You just explain to me,” came that nasty demonic whisper again. “All, well, almost all, at least those in power, all of them are Orthodox. But why do they, Orthodox Christians, steal everything? Billions are being stolen. Well, sometimes they give money from the stolen money to build temples. Do you think your Lord does not know this?”
“Do you think your Lord is pleased?” I was thinking. And really, why?
“Look,” continued the demon screeched, “you have a president, the most orthodox. His minister of justice is Orthodox, he even serves in the church. The leaders of the Federal Assembly are Orthodox. Orthodox prosecutors and investigators. Orthodox judges. Orthodox ministers. Orthodox generals! Orthodox governors. All have icons in their offices and chapels in their palaces. All children are taught Orthodoxy in schools. And with slander and lies they created a worldwide flood!”
It was disgusting to listen to. I ground my teeth. But there is nothing to say. Exactly, all of them are Orthodox. I myself saw how awkwardly they kiss the patriarch’s hand and the icons, bowing low, and baptize themselves with the cross.
“Listen,” – the uninvited guest came again. “Tell me why your Orthodox hate your Ukrainian brothers, Orthodox? Speak. Why did they launch the terrible misanthropic operation in which tens of thousands of Orthodox believers have already died? Why are they, your reformed Orthodox Christians, methodically and cold-bloodedly destroying Ukrainian homes, power plants and leaving people without heat and light?”
“Why did these saints do so much evil that millions of Ukrainians lost their homes and are now fleeing the world in search of shelter?”
“Why does the holiest—he is your holiest there—bless the orthodox to lie and kill? After all, in doing so, he will make your whole church guilty of thousands of deaths.”
“Leave me alone,” I got irritated. “Go away”.
“Tell me,” the demon continued to hiss from the other corner, “why did your orthodox church slanders your brothers who believe in Jehovah? They call them extremists, make them enemies and people are imprisoned for their faith. Why?”
“You are not holy. Nothing will change your faith. It only does harm. Greedy, to the point of insatiability. Liars like the world has never seen before. You slanderers are so experienced that in our demonic schools they set you as an example and urge us to learn from you.”
The evil spirit began to cry. “I also want kindness and love. I heard about Christ. He was talking about love. And He loved. And you, you are worse than us. At least we’re honest. And we steal and slander honestly. This is our lot. But you deceived us and yourselves. You honor your God. After all, you are showing the whole world that your God is powerless. You don’t listen to Him. You are lying to Him. You lie to everyone.”
“You are destroying church buildings. You kill believers. You are not religious. You will burn with us in eternal fire.” The demon sniffed. Silence.
And so I sat.
I cried out to the Lord. I complained to Him about the demon. The Lord says, “It was I who sent him.”
“In order for you to purify your faith. It is no longer possible to distinguish a believer from an unbeliever. Should I rise on the Cross again… Remember what I told you.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” is the first and greatest commandment; another is similar to it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Juri Sipko, former chairman of the RS ECB