Sixth Seal: Cataclysmic Disturbances: Part 4 of 4 (series: Lessons on Revelations)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

The picture of destruction after the opening of “the sixth seal” is frightening. Men know something about volcanoes, something about earthquakes. They had seen what they doubtless called falling stars. But at the summons of the justice of God these became the very order of life. Nature went mad and all its orderly life turned to chaos. But the disorder and the chaos were held in the firm hand of God. The Creator and the Redeemer had set loose this cosmic storm. The world was united in the awful expectation of doom. Rank lost its privileges; social distinctions lost their meaning. Only the black dread held men together in a strange fellowship amid the destruction of the world. And the hand that unleashed all this was a hand that had been nailed to the cross. The wrath is “the wrath of the Lamb” (v. 16) and it turns out to have a more final and awful menace than the wrath of a lion. When love turns to white anger there is indeed something to fear.

“The great day” can only be the last “great day.” After the Lord has exhausted His ordinary judgments—the sword, famine, pestilence, and wild beasts, and still sinners are unrepentant— “the great day” of the Lord itself shall come.

Taken as a whole, chapter 6 is one of the most important and pivotal chapters in the entire book. It describes the first six seals and also introduces the seventh seal which consists of and introduces the seven trumpets and the seven bowls of the wrath of God in chapters 8-9; 16.
The contents of chapter 6 should put to rest the false teachings that God, being a God of love, could not judge the wicked world. It also raises the important question contained in the closing words of verse 17; “Who can stand?” Only those who have availed themselves of the grace of God before the time of judgment will be able to “stand” when God deals with the earth in this final period of great distress. Only those who have received the righteousness of Christ can “stand” justified, and not condemned before the Judge. Thus the sixth seal brings us to the verge of the Lord’s coming; the day of the Lord. The ungodly “tribes of the earth” tremble at the signs of His immediate approach. But before He actually inflicts the blow in person, “the elect” must be “gathered” out of the world.

My dear reader, are you ready for that judgment day? If you are not, in the words of Amos, “Prepare to meet by God!” The way to prepare is to simply trust Him by faith. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).

Those who will be saved during the Great Tribulation are described in the next chapter.

{1] Paschal. Things relating to Passover and Easter.
{2] Sackcloth. One kind of sackcloth was made of the “hair” of Cilician goats, and was called “cilicium,” or Cilician cloth, and was used for tents, etc. Paul, a Cilician, made such tents (Acts 18:3).

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