The Opening of the Sixth Seal
In the fifth seal, we see God’s people suffering injustice in a hostile world, crying for God’s intervention on their behalf. The time has come for God to intervene in answer to the prayers of His people.
Read Revelation 6:12-14 along with Matthew 24:29-30 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10. What is being revealed here?
The last three signs of the sixth seal were foretold by Jesus in Matthew 24:29-30. They were to occur near the end of the “great tribulation” (Rev. 7:14), in 1798, as the harbingers of the Second Coming. As with Christ’s prophecy in Matthew 24, the sun, moon, “stars” (meteors), and sky are literal here. The use of the words “as” or “like” paints a picture of an actual thing or event - the sun became black as sackcloth, the moon became like blood, and the stars fell to the earth as a fig tree drops its late figs. The Christians in the Western world recognized the fulfillment of Jesus’ words in the order of each of these signs: the Lisbon earthquake, in 1755; the dark day of May 19, 1780, (experienced in eastern New York and southern New England); and the spectacular meteor shower over the Atlantic Ocean, on November 13, 1833. The fulfillment of this prophecy, in Revelation 6:12-14 led to a series of revivals and to the realization that Christ’s second coming was near.
Read Revelation 6:15-17. Also read Isaiah 2:19, Hosea 10:8, and Luke 23:30. The scenes portray people of all walks of life in a panic trying to hide from the terror of the upheaval at the coming of Christ. They are asking rocks and mountains to cover them in order to protect them from “the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb” (Rev. 6:16, NKJV). The time has arrived for justice to be dispensed as Christ comes “to be glorified in His saints” (2 Thess. 1:10, NKJV). The end of the wicked is described in Revelation 19:17-21.
The scene concludes with the rhetorical question by the terror-stricken wicked: “The great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (6:17, NKJV; see also Nahum 1:6, Mal. 3:2). The answer to that question is given in Revelation 7:4: those who will be able to stand in that day are the sealed people of God.
“Who can endure the day of His coming?” (Mal. 3:2, NKJV). How would you answer that question, and what biblical reasons can you give for that answer? Bring your answers to class on Sabbath.