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The Sixth Seal Broken

Revelation 6:12-17
I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig-tree when shaken by a strong wind. The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?' (NIVUK)

As the Lamb opened the sixth seal, John saw the drama which was described in the scroll. The scale of the vision seems to have stretched his ability to write what he saw. A massive earthquake coincided with dense darkness as the earth's atmosphere was laden with particles and the moon appeared red (Joel 2:31, Acts 2:20). Cosmic events disturbed his understanding of the settled pattern of stars and planets: they spun out of orbit like asteroids bound for planet earth (Mark 13:24-26).

Not just one or two but a cascade of heavenly bodies so that the blueness of the sky disappeared as blackness took over (Isaiah 34:4). As that happened, mountains disappeared (Nahum 1:5), islands moved with the flow of water and great fear was upon the greatest and most powerful people on earth. They did not know what to do. The mighty were mighty no more. The catastrophic happenings left no room for human intervention. The best they could do was to hide, and yet wherever they hid it was not safe. Mountains were on the move, caves were opening and closing; and the once-great people almost wished that they could be eliminated, lest they had to face God's wrath.

It is obvious in the vision that the entire cosmos is in turmoil. The disordered and fallen creation is like a woman in labour (Romans 8:22). Those who prided themselves on their power and authority are like frightened rats because they all know that the Lamb of God is coming in great wrath against everything and everyone who fails His standard of perfection (Colossians 3:5-6). The key question is, "Who can withstand the wrath of the Father and the Son?" (Malachi 3:2)

And yet the paradox is that those who are trusting in Christ will be rescued from the coming wrath. Even though the Lamb will bring judgement when He comes again, He also brings salvation to those who hide themselves in Him (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10): indeed, He is the only Rock that can protect anyone (Luke 6:48). Although the cosmic events surrounding the Lord's return are indeed awesome in the extreme, the wrath of God is much more to be feared. That is why the church - that is every believer who is trusting in the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:17-21) – has a huge responsibility and privilege to declare the gospel and urge people to come to Christ while there is time … that whoever believes in Jesus shall not perish but shall have eternal life (John 3:16). Are you confident that you are already hiding in Christ and trusting Him? If not please watch www.crosscheck.org.uk, and invite your friends to do the same.

God of eternity. Thank You that Jesus will return unmistakably. Forgive me for living with such a low horizon, thinking that this earth is a safe and settled place, and the heavenly bodies will continue their orbits for ever. Help me to wake up to the fact that when Christ comes again, everything will be shaken to pieces, except Him and those who are hiding in Him. Help them to be bold in proclaiming Your gospel to a generation that needs to get right with God, before Jesus returns. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams