Revelation 6:17 MKJV for the great day of His wrath has come, and who will be able to stand?
A study on “the great day of the wrath.”
The concept of the day of the Lord, and no this is not a different time frame, is scattered throughout both the old and new testament. A passage that is familiar to many is:
1 Thessalonians 5:2 AMP (2) For you yourselves know perfectly well that the day of the [return of the] Lord will come [as unexpectedly and suddenly] as a thief in the night.
One of the first things I want to ask yourself is, who is this wrath intended for?
The simple answer is: not the believer. I wish I could assure you that it was none of you, but I cannot. The simple qualifier is a personal, loving relationship with Jesus Christ and of course, the Father, but Matthew 25 is the place where Jesus spoke of the ten virgins, all headed to the wedding. Five were unprepared, not having enough oil and ran out before the groom came. At the most inconvenient time they had to go out and try to buy more. We should be able to quickly see that fifty percent of those desiring to go to the wedding are unprepared. To be honest this is very scary to me.
Raised in a “Christian” home there were so many things that were done backward. One major one was having to pray this prayer every night, “if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” That phrase alone kept me in fear and bondage for half my life. When you consider that one of main themes in Christianity is faith; faith that God loves you and has chosen you, long before you opted to clean up your life, which by the way, you cannot do. This prayer works in complete opposite. It kept me in fear that any minor sin committed throughout the day would condemn me to hell and a life without the Father. This also served to confuse me about the love of God which Paul wrote extensively about in Romans and Corinthians. I had to rebuild my mindset by reading the bible for myself.
In terms of preparation you cannot have someone else feed you, beside being unable to put on your own armor, you look ridiculous having a bib put on you while someone has to spoon feed you. How do you know they are feeding you the truth? You have to learn to think for yourself, guided by the Holy Spirit. Scripture tells us that he will guide you into all truth. Do not get me wrong here, you need fellowship. I know I certainly do, but I am not going to associate with flakes that do nothing more than fight with you over what they believe. At one bible study we attended (at the time, we were doing Rick Warren’s 40 days of purpose) a lady would lash out at those she disagreed with, interjecting her theology by stating, “John MacArthur says.” I think that if you are going to open your mouth so boldly then you better back it with the word, not what Pastor John has to say, beside that, Pastor John is adamantly against the moving of the Holy Spirit in the believer today, and that forced me to put him very low on my list of notable commentators for years. I have since added his commentaries to my bible study program, but just don’t ask me to cling so tightly to him.
1 Thessalonians 1:8-10 ESV (8) For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. (9) For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, (10) and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
These people who Paul wrote to were anxiously awaiting the return of the Son from Heaven. I only know of a few who feel that way. At least there are few that want to share that with me. Those that do, have an assurance that he is coming soon to deliver us from the wrath that is to come. We also have Jesus references to Noah and Lot as examples of deliverance from God’s wrath. Look these up in Matthew 24 and Luke 17, and then read the original stories in Genesis.
I feel led to clarify what motivates my thought process writing all this. Although I no longer choose to hang with them, I used to go to a “bible study” at a hamburger stand. The man who considered himself the leader of that small group was adamant about his concepts of the “great tribulation”. When I pointed out, from scripture, that we are looking at God’s wrath and judgment being poured out on the nations during the seven-year period, he promptly attempted to correct me, stating repeatedly that, “this period in scripture is the seals, trumpets and bowls, and that God’s wrath is only for a specific period time beginning at the half-way point.” How do you segregate it into specific moments in time and not see that it is all God’s handiwork, for a specific reason.
The man from the restaurant flashes through my mind a lot lately. If he is confused then how many others are confused as well. It is not a question of does he know the Lord? I believe the answer is absolutely; but then what does it mean to know someone.
I had a close friend for three years when I was twenty years old. I still bump into him from time to time. He says to me, “I know you!” No he doesn’t, for much about me has changed and my disrupted life has changed it. I have changed in the way I deal with life anymore, I have changed in how I think, and my love for God has grown so much deeper as I spent my life learning of him and realizing the mercy that he shown me. He is no longer the mean judge waiting to strike me down but a God that desires mercy above all; and yet he cannot back down from his word, for without his word there is no God, and that is not going to happen. I only know that by spending time with him; enough time that would allow me to understand how he thinks and what affects his decisions.
God’s wrath is directed at Israel and the nations.
Israel, for rejecting him, the one who brought them out of bondage, and against the nations for they too have rejected him. The nations have taken this rejection one step further and directed their anger and confusion against those who follow the God of the Jews.
Romans 2:3-6 MKJV And, O man, the one judging those who do such things, and practice them, do you think this, that you shall escape the judgment of God? (4) Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, and the forbearance and long-suffering, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? (5) But according to your hardness and your impenitent heart, do you treasure up wrath for yourself in a day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, (6) who will render to each according to his works;
Paul was writing to the Christian body when he wrote this and yet it is a clear definition of why wrath and judgment are coming: hardness of heart, and a lack of sorrow for sins. All this proves even more that my “friend” that led the restaurant bible study was not reading his own bible. That is not a true statement about him, for he constantly would jump to scriptures that he used to lead people to Jesus as he walked the city park, and he was incessantly pouring over the book of Revelation, in an effort to make it clearer or to understand it. And yet he was more confused each day, and refused to look into the old testament.
God gives us specifics
Not only is this a time of wrath and judgment, but God gives us specifics about who his anger is directed at.
Psalms 110:5,6 The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.
In saying kings can we generalize and include dictators, presidents, rulers, and those that lord their power over us? Certainly, no one is to be exempt from God’s wrath. They think they are untouchable but they are not.
Most alternate versions tell us that he will judge among the nations, not merely the heathen. We tend to apply our judgmental definitions upon a word like this. The Hebrew word that the KJV translated heathen is goy and means nations, usually a non-Hebrew people.
Psalms 110:6 BBE He will be judge among the nations, the valleys will be full of dead bodies; the head over a great country will be wounded by him.
From the Barnes commentary: Shall strike through kings - The Hebrew word here rendered “shall strike,” - from machats - meaning “to shake, to agitate”; and then, “to shake in pieces, to dash in pieces, to crush”; and here it has the sense of dashing in pieces, smiting, wounding, crushing. The “kings” referred to are the enemies of God and the Messiah.
Revelation 6:12 MKJV And when He had opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake. And the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.
Revelation 6:14 MKJV And the heaven departed like a scroll when it is rolled together. And every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
It is possible that these are two separate events. How would you not be aware of the earthquakes and the damage they have left over the last couple of years, and yet this one that is coming will be bigger. Two verses later something, possibly the “great earthquake” has moved every mountain and island out of their place. This is a very dramatic and frightening event, and it is all part of God’s wrath and judgment upon the nations and Israel. My personal opinion is that the land masses will rejoin, should that be the case it will be very dramatic. Seeing that we see the kings of the earth and the poor, hiding in caves and holes calling out for the rocks to fall on them, only a few verses later, I could be right. It is going to get worse for them.
Revelation 19:15 KJV And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
Psalms 2:8-9 KJV Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. (9) Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
Job 20:27 -29 The heaven shall reveal his iniquity; and the earth shall rise up against him. The increase of his house shall depart, and his goods shall flow away in the day of his wrath. This is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him by God.
Joel 1:15 BBE Sorrow for the day! for the day of the Lord is near, and as destruction from the Ruler of all it will come.
Joel 1:15 ASV Alas for the day! for the day of Jehovah is at hand, and as destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
Joel 2:1 ESV Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming; it is near,
Doesn’t this tend to push us to understand who the nations are?
Originally the implication was anyone outside of Israel. Once God brought about our adoption, we Gentiles (a part of the nations) are no longer consider the nations but the church, the body of Christ. Who is left? Anyone outside of Israel and the church body. We tend to see most of these people as third world nations, but I assure that many of those considered the nations live in wealth, right here in the United States of America.
Why would God direct all this wrath at the nations? It is hard to believe that the nations have had the same opportunity to know this Jesus Christ that I have come to know. God’s word tells us the opposite, and holds them entirely responsible for their own reactions to what they know. What might seem even more peculiar is that I see this as God’s extended mercy toward those have incessantly rejected him and his love.
Romans 1:18-21 ESV For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. (19) For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. (20) For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (21) For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Acts 17:31 MKJV .. He has appointed a day in which He is going to judge the world in righteousness by a Man whom He appointed, having given proof to all by raising Him from the dead.
Ephesians 4:7 MKJV But to every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
This passage in Ephesians could be argued as one directed exclusively at the Church, but then what do we do with Paul’s letter to the Romans where it is argued and defined that Christ died once for all. That all is not exclusive to merely those of an affluent society. Christ died for the nations, therefore God’s love was extended to every man. Now it is entirely up to that man to accept that life. The hows’ and whys’ are not for you to define, but know that a merciful God has everything under control, and desires that all come into a knowledge of his Son. Is it possible that he can make that happen without you and I? Absolutely, but that does not excuse us from going into all the world, no matter how small our world is.
2 Timothy 1:9 MKJV who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the eternal times.
This is another passage that after writing it out, I thought I would do better to cut it for it too was written to a specific church body. But consider what it says. God decreed that grace would be given, not specifically, but over the populations of earth, before the earth was formed. Did David not say, “before I born, you knew me”. You cannot deny that God cast his love upon the inhabitants of earth with one great payment.
1 John 5:20 MKJV And we know that the Son of God has come, and He has given us an understanding so that we may know Him who is true. And we are in Him that is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and the everlasting life.
This one may be the hardest to argue my way out of for the implications are that the understanding came after rebirth. But what if I am wrong and God has given all men the ability to understand and know Him who is true. What makes sense about this argument is that scripture tells us that the god of this world has blinded their eyes.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 AMP (3) But even if our Gospel (the glad tidings) also be hidden (obscured and covered up with a veil that hinders the knowledge of God), it is hidden [only] to those who are perishing and obscured [only] to those who are spiritually dying and veiled [only] to those who are lost. (4) For the god of this world has blinded the unbelievers' minds [that they should not discern the truth], preventing them from seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ (the Messiah), Who is the Image and Likeness of God.
Bottom line, it is rejection of his sacrifice, his son, and his love. The reality, I suppose, is that God made man for relationship, one in which he could shower his love on us by showing us the riches of his glory. That is exactly what scripture tells he still intends to do.
Ephesians 2:7 AMP He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favor) in [His] kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus.
So if I reject God’s offer of son-ship and all he wants to show me, then what am I doing that offends him? Turning my heart toward another, Satan, effectively making Satan my father, and following him to destruction and eternal torment designed for him. There is no plus side to that offer, it is merely his destination and those that follow him will go there with him. God does not wish that for you, but it is a choice that you are making. A choice; think about that!
All the whining that people do, saying, “if God is so good then why does he let bad things happen?” and “why did God do that? Perhaps it all boils down to man making choices. Those that have some understanding of the garden scenario know that Adam made a couple of fast, bad choices. Those decisions were right up there with the highest form of treason, for he rejected God, rejected truth, and bought a lie, selling out the world for ages to come. What the plan of redemption shows us is God’s plan to restore things back to a corrected state. One where there is no longer a tempter to corrupt it. Having lived in this broken condition, given to me by Adam, for over 50 years, I cannot even imagine what it will feel like to not be broken. I know and experience some relief from my brokenness because of the relationship that I gained by accepting Jesus Christ into my life. Yes there have been some horrendous moments of sin, but that is exactly why God has to put things right. Until that day we will still be prone to exhibit sinful, and broken behaviors.
The entire time period is the day
God is not breaking it down into segments, the entire time period is the day. Now there is a day coming, also to be feared, for on that day he calls all the dead before him to be judged. That will not fair well for many.
The word day is yom in Hebrew and can also mean time, or year.
Genesis 1:8 KJV And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
Every reference to day in the creation event is the word yom, and carries the same connotations. Some have interpreted the word to mean eons of time. It is indeterminate without some clarifying such as nightfall or dawn.
Joel 2:11 AMP And the Lord utters His voice before His army, for His host is very great, and [they are] strong and powerful who execute [God's] word. For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible, and who can endure it? [Isa. 26:20, 21; 34:1-4, 8; Rev. 6:16, 17.]
Maybe we are the ones that assigned what is to come into a specific time period. Today’s date is 10/07/2012 and over the last few months tribulations for Christians living in most of the middle east and northern Africa have suffering greatly at the hands of Islamic fanatics.
Matthew 24:21 AMP For then there will be great tribulation (affliction, distress, and oppression) such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now--no, and never will be [again]. [Dan. 12:1; Joel 2:2.]
The inability to endure the time of great tribulation is one of the aspects that Jesus spoke of. Unless God shortened the time no one would survive. I think we assign that survival aspect to the martyred saints, but Revelation 7:9 makes me believe that no one survives outside of the nations, where they will do battle with Jesus at the end of the seven-year period.
Brought into knighthood
The image I see is that of a young man being brought into knighthood. The King, holding a sword across the young man’s shoulder, addresses him, telling him who he is from this moment forth. Describing the newcomers role, powers and duties, also explains with understanding that there will be unsavory moments in this life journey. It is at those moments that you must remember who you are. You are not ordinary, you have been set aside as a representative of the King, never to return intentionally to your old ways. Yes, I understand that in the course of battle and fatigue that you may stumble and end up in the mud, but you are to get up, brush yourself off, remind yourself of who you are and continue on in a dignified manner, worthy of the calling placed upon you.
Into the kingdom they come.
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. (Revelation 7:9, NIV)
Do not think that the mercy and arm of God is stopped or foreshortened, because they come in droves. Imagine the simplicity; Father God, I need you now, take me, and he does. Or as the thief on the cross experienced as Jesus said, “this day you will be with me in paradise.” Folks, there is a paradise and it exists in and with Him, open up your hearts and allow him in. All it takes is your desire, for he has waited for you for so long now.
Father, receive me into your kingdom. I receive this Jesus Christ, the Messiah that the world has longed for. Make yourself real to me this day and change me. I know that from this moment on I am yours and the relationship that I have longed for begins. Thank you for making me new and causing this new life to begin in me. I welcome your changes for you are love.