Who Can Stand? (Revelation 6:12-17)

Revelation 6:12-14 (ESV)

12 When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. 14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.


            The scene that John saw when the sixth seal on the scroll of God was opened was utterly terrifying. The entire created order shook. The earth quaked. The sun went black. The moon shone blood red. The stars fell from the sky. Even the sky itself rolled up like a scroll. The mountains trembled and fled. The islands were displaced.


            I can’t describe this. Mankind has never imagined the horror of a scene like this. It does not matter how many movies Hollywood produces, they will never come close to depicting this kind of heart-stopping horror and world-crumbling destruction. This is the Day of the Lord, and nobody has ever seen anything like it.


            How will a lost world, a world that has rejected God, respond on this day? How will the strong ruler and the weak peasant react when God finally decides enough is enough and that his justice will be done forever?


Revelation 6:15-17 (ESV)

15 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”


            How will the world react? When the world sees the coming of our Lord to his earth, they will cry out in terror. Rich or poor, small or great, it really does not matter. They will beg for boulders to fall on them and crush them. They will beg for the seas to swallow them up. They would rather be buried alive under a mountain than to see the dreadful face of the Lord God returning to earth in justice and wrath.


            The question that the lost ask in the final verse of this chapter is the question that we should seriously consider: “Who can stand?” Who can stand before the Lord? Who can stand when he decides to do justice? Can you stand? Do you think, in the light of a blood red moon and falling stars and trembling mountains that you can boldly stand before God and challenge him? Do you think you can make excuses to him on that day for why you ignored his commands, treated people with cruelty, lived for your lusts, and found entertainment in the things he says he hates?


            Let me share with you very simply that nobody who stands on their own will be able to stand on that day. All people have sinned before God. All of us deserve his judgment. If you face God on the day we just read about, and if you do not have an advocate to shield you from God’s wrath, you will be doomed forever. You will go to hell and never finish paying the price for your sins against the holy God whose wrath we see here.


            But there is hope. Who can stand? The person who has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus can stand. The child of God can stand. The one who has been forgiven can stand. The one who knows that Jesus was punished in his place can stand. The one who turned from her sins and asked Jesus to save her soul can stand.


            None of us is good in ourselves. Certainly none of us is good enough to stand before God on our own. He is holy. We cannot be holy alone. But Jesus, God’s Son, came to earth to make the only way for anybody to be right with God. Jesus died for the sins of all who will ever trust in him. He rose from the grave, proving that anybody who comes to him in faith will truly be able to stand before God. If you will confess your sins and turn from them, if you will trust in Jesus and ask him to save your soul, he will clothe you in his righteousness, forgive you of your sins, and make you able to stand before the Lord.