How Will God Express His Wrath Upon the Earth?
|By: Dr. Renald Showers; ©2005|
|War, pestilence, famine and wild beasts all come into play when God reveals His wrath against sinful earth.|
How Will God Express His Wrath Upon the Earth?
In Revelation 6:7-8, we read this about the fourth seal, “I looked and, behold, a pale horse. His name that sat on him was Death, Hell followed with him and power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth to kill with sword and with hunger and with death and with the beasts of the earth.” One fourth of the world’s population being annihilated through these four means: the sword, which is another way of saying war; hunger, which is another way of saying famine; and death, literally pestilence; and beasts of the earth, wild beasts attacking and killing human beings.
Now, this is very intriguing. When you go to the Old Testament, there are places where God indicates that war and famine are expressions of His wrath; pestilence is an expression of His wrath; wild beasts killing human beings are an expression of His wrath. But even more intriguing is the fact that you sometimes have a number of those four items lumped together where God is indicating those are expressions of His wrath.
Perhaps the most significant passage along those lines is in Ezekiel 14:21. And by the way, in the context of Ezekiel 14:21, God uses one of the Hebrew words for His wrath. It is one of the Hebrew words even used for The Day of the Lord wrath in other passages in the Old Testament. But this is what he says in Ezekiel 14:21, “For thus says the Lord God, ‘How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem: the sword and the famine and the noisome beast and the pestilence to cut off from it man and beast?’” These are the same four things described for the fourth seal of Revelation 6, and God says that those are His four sore judgments.
I was fascinated in studying this that some very prominent, highly regarded Greek scholars declared that when John recorded what will happen in the fourth seal, he was practically quoting Ezekiel 14:21 and basing the fourth seal on Ezekiel 14:21. So the fourth seal is an expression of God’s wrath upon the earth.
Who is it that is breaking the seals in Revelation 5 and 6?
Who is it that is breaking these seals? This is very important to note that it is Jesus Christ who is breaking these seals. Not Satan, not his Antichrist, not the false prophet, nor other human beings here on the face of the earth. It is Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, who is breaking these seals.
This is indicating that He, with full authority, is the One who is unleashing these different forms of God’s wrath upon the earth. Again, this is coming from Christ, this is not coming from Satan and his forces. So this is the work of God, the wrath of God, not the wrath of man that’s being described here in the first four seals.
Doesn’t Revelation 6:12 indicate that the great day of God’s wrath begins at the breaking of the sixth seal?
Look at Revelation 6, beginning with verse 12:
- And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair and the moon became as blood, and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth and the great men and the rich men and the chief captains and the mighty men and every bond man and every free man hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?”
Perhaps some of you are saying, “Look, isn’t this indicating that this is where the great day of God’s wrath begins and up to this point there is no wrath of God?” Or some would even say, “Well, this is saying that the great day of His wrath is about to come.” And then some would say that God’s wrath begins with the breaking of the seventh seal over in Revelation 8:1, and that therefore you don’t have the great day of God’s wrath in the first four seals whatsoever.
What do we do with this? Well, first, let me take you to 1 Thessalonians 5 where the Apostle Paul gives some very specific revelation as to how the future day of the Lord with its wrath will begin. He says in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, “For yourselves know perfectly [that is, “accurately”] that The Day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.”
The idea here is that The Day of the Lord is going to catch the unsaved people totally off guard. There will be no forewarning of any kind at all that The Day of the Lord is coming upon them. It will catch them totally by surprise. No thief will send a warning to his intended victim and inform him that he intends to break into his home on such and such a day at such and such an hour to rob him of his possessions. Successful thieves rely upon the element of surprise to catch their intended victims totally off guard.
So the point here is, no forewarnings of The Day of the Lord coming upon the unsaved. Those who say that with the breaking of the sixth seal and the unsaved calling for the mountains and the rocks to fall upon them because the great day of His wrath has come say, “Well, this is saying that His wrath is about to come.” They claim that the sixth seal is a forewarning, a precursor to them that the wrath of God is about to come.
But that contradicts what Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5 concerning the beginning of The Day of the Lord with its wrath. He’s indicating there will be no forewarnings, no precursors to the unsaved that The Day of the Lord is about to come. It’s going to hit them without any forewarning, catch them totally by surprise just like a thief who comes in the night when you’re not expecting him to rob you of your possessions.
In addition, Paul says here in 1 Thessalonians 5:3, “For when they shall say, ‘Peace and safety,’ then sudden destruction comes upon them as travail [literally as the birth pang] upon a woman with child and they shall not escape.”
Paul is saying that The Day of the Lord will come, and the Greek indicates at the same time that they are saying, “We have peace. We have safety.” When they are convinced that they have finally established peace and safety in the world, that’s when The Day of the Lord is going to break in upon them and give them just the opposite of what they think they have. They’re going to receive incredible destruction as the wrath of God begins to be poured out upon them.
Notice in the passage about the first seal in Revelation 6 that the rider on the white horse, the false messiah, goes out conquering to conquer. That implies warfare, lack of peace. We also see with the second seal in Revelation 6 that, with the breaking of the second seal, peace is removed from the face of the earth. Notice, that’s several seals before the sixth seal, and peace be removed from the earth there. When you begin reading from the second seal and read on right up through the Second Coming of Christ in Revelation 19, there is no peace, lasting peace and safety upon the face of the earth.