Revelation 6:12-16

Then I watched while he broke open the sixth seal, and thee was a great earthquake; the sun turned as black as dark sackcloth and the whole moon became like blood.  The stars in sky fell to the earth like unripe figs shaken loose from the tree in a strange wind.  Then the sky was divided like a torn scroll curling up, and every mountain and island was moved from its place.  The kings of the earth, the nobles, the military officers, the rich, the powerful, and every slave and free person hid themselves in caves and among mountain crags.  They cried out to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hid us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of their wrath has come and who can withstand it?”


The sixth seal vision

6:12-16.  The opening of the sixth seal is accompanied by cosmic signs that are typical of apocalyptic literature: an earthquake, the sun turning black and the moon turning to blood, stars dropping from the heavens, and mountains falling down.  Thus the action has shifted again to the earthly realm, though it appears that John is still in the heavens.  John tells us that people of every social status responded to the cosmic signs with fright, begging for the earth to swallow them to protect them from God’s wrath and the wrath of the Lamb.  His point, of course, is that no one was unaffected by these phenomena.  However, the intense cosmic activity also suggests that all of creation is working on God’s behalf, not theirs.

John also observes that these people are trying to avoid the wrath of the Lamb.  A wrathful lamb is strange paradox, because we tend to think of lams as cute and cuddly, but already we know that it is no ordinary lamb, since earlier it was identified as the lion of the tribe Judah and the root of David and described as having seven horns and seven eyes.  This sixth vision ends with the peoples exclaiming, “Who can withstand it?”, because it appears that no one will escape God’s wrath.