“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?” (Revelation 6:15-17, NIV).
At this point in the Revelation story, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, is about to open or unseal a seven-sealed scroll, which is purported to be the title deed to the world. The seven seals are part of a series of end-times judgments from God.
The opening of the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation Chapter 6 is the beginning of the end of the world as we know it!
As each seal is opened, the scroll is unrolled a little more, revealing the series of judgments God has in store. It’s likely that each of the calamities described with the opening of each seal leads to the next calamity. Political corruption leads to war, which leads to economic collapse, which leads to pandemics and famine, which leads to the death of many, many people on the earth.
The opening of the first four of the seven seals release what is known as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, because the judgments appear symbolically as a horse and rider bringing devastation in their wake.
The first seal introduces the antichrist onto the scene as a rider of a white horse. He comes under the pretense of bringing peace to the world. He is given a crown indicating he will exercise great authority. But, the bow he holds reveals his intent on conquest.
Despite the promises of peace from the antichrist, the second seal indicates warfare will break out and is depicted as a red rider on a horse slaying a great number of people. The third seal unleashes a rider on a black horse spreading famine and economic collapse among whatever population is left on the earth after the warfare. The fourth seal discharges Death riding upon a pale horse and killing one-fourth of the remaining population of the earth.
When the fifth seal is opened those who have been martyred for Christ will ask God how long until He judges the earth. They are told a little while longer and given a white robe.
With the opening of the sixth seal catastrophic natural events take place including earthquakes, the sun turning black, the moon turning blood-red and mountains and islands disappearing into the sea. Regardless of their social position survivors of the sixth seal take will refuge in caves and cry out to the mountains and the rocks to hide them from the wrath and judgment of the Lamb.
Notice that God sends judgment on the world by lifting the restraints on Satan to wreak his cosmic evil on the earth. The Devil is always waiting for any opportunity to unleash discord, disruption, pain, confusion, deception and, ultimately, death on the earth.
But God’s judgement is not just divine jurisprudence upon humanity. The end game of these apocalyptic events is to save every single human being that can be saved. You might even say that God is resorting to extreme measures to convince the hard cases, those that wouldn’t heed the truth of the gospel any other way!
So, this time of great tribulation creates the terrible circumstances that provide a time of ultimate testing for a corrupt and degenerate world. This great tribulation is a powerful call and invitation to follow Christ that will be presented before all humanity.
And, since it was the Lamb of God, the Savior of the world, who was the only One qualified to open the seals and release God’s judgment on the world, these apocalyptic events are evidently meant to be God’s final altar call!
The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15, NIV)