Sermon: The Day of the Lord Revelation 6:9–17

The Day of the Lord

Revelation 6:9–17

 

Introduction

Last week we saw the first four seals loosened by the Lamb during the time of John. The first rider, our Lord Himself is seen on a white horse conquering the enemies of God with the Gospel. The second was the red horse. Here was blood and devastation due to wars. He was given power to make war on the earth. We compared our Lord’s Olivet Discourse with this section and saw many similarities. The Black Horse was also released bringing famines and sickness. Finally, we saw the pale horse, which brought death.

It is an undeniable fact that the results of the release of the first four seals are evident every day we live on earth. There is Gospel victory; there is bloodshed, disease, and death. Jesus warned His followers and us, not to think this is out of the ordinary or that God is not in control but that these things must take place very much like a woman in labor must have certain preliminary pain waiting on the delivery of her child.

These calamities, persecutions, times of suffering have begun and will continue into the future with an ever increasing magnitude.

When Jesus warned His followers of some of the calamities they were better prepared to face them. So to, we must also take warning because as the church, we will suffer.

The fifth seal is the “Martyr’s Seal”, showing what the events on earth look like in heaven. In other words, those Christians killed for their faith on earth throughout the time between the first and second coming of Christ are seen in heaven as Martyrs under the altar of God…

Just this past week more were added…

(CNN)In a new propaganda video released Sunday by ISIS, the militant group claims to have beheaded over a dozen members of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority on a Libyan beach.

The highly produced video shows an apparent mass execution with jihadists in black standing behind each of the victims, who are all are dressed in orange jumpsuits with their hands cuffed behind them.

The five-minute video, released by the terror group’s propaganda wing al-Hayat Media, includes a masked English-speaking jihadi who says, “The sea you have hidden Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah, we will mix it with your blood.”

Then on cue, all the victims are pushed to the ground and beheaded.[1]

Why would God allow such a horrible event to take place? How should we think about this?

There will be a time of great judgment, a time of God’s white-hot wrath poured out on those who have martyred His beloved saints. God will not let one murder go unpunished but for now we wait.

So, even before we begin, we must seek to discover what our response should be to such tragedy. On the one hand we are outraged that God would allow this. On the other hand we are saddened by such wickedness. Each one of those precious saints had a family and no doubt their families are greatly distressed. So what should our response be? Before we answer this question, lets spend some time in our text this morning and then see if we can reach a biblical conclusion…

TT- The Day of the Lord will descend with great wrath yielding judgment for the wicked and salvation for the elect.
Human need met by text

Our faith should be strengthened as we realize that God will right all wrongs. He will exact judgment and if any vengeance is needed, God will act at the appropriate time, in the appropriate way.

Revelation 6:9–17 (ESV)

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

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. 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?”

  1. The Fifth Seal-The Souls of the Slain

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

We must ask, who are these people that John sees?
Remember, the fifth seal just like the first four does not depict a specific point in time. The fifth seal is the heavenly vision of what happens as a result of the first four horsemen. The Gospel saved these precious saints but then death came about due to their commitment to their Lord and His gospel. These precious saints are those who throughout the time between Christ’s first coming and His second have been killed because of their testimony and commitment to Christ. They were murdered because they were Christians and no other reason.

We here in America are so sheltered from martyrdom that we are for the most part blind to it. We think we are being mistreated when they forget to put the fries in the bag. According to The Voice of the Martyrs” website, a Christian is killed for his/her faith every five minutes. Every five minutes…
What a number of saints John saw that day in heaven.

The reason someone is killed for their faith varies but the fact is that they were murdered because they were Christians. Please understand this statistic is not that a Christian dies every five minutes but is killed for being a Christian every five minutes.

John may have seen Stephen or Peter, James, or even Paul or one of the martyrs killed the other day in Syria.

One thing we should take home from this is that those who were killed because of their testimony have a special place in God’s heart and they are immediately cared for.

Their murderers thought they were destroying them but God knows they will have a martyr’s crown and literally be the ones victorious. Like our Lord who suffered unto death and was given all authority so too, are the martyrs given great rewards for their commitment to Jesus and His name.

Their cry is somewhat odd, especially in light of our Lord’s request and Stephen’s, both asking God to forgive their killers. But here, the entire number of martyred saints to the point that John saw, we all crying out…. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”

They were crying out for vengeance not forgiveness.

Their cry is consistent with who God is. He will take vengeance on His enemies.

We must not ever take revenge. When we are wronged we must let vengeance be up to God. We practice forgiveness and leave vengeance to God…

Romans 12:18–21 (ESV)

18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Notice how God cared for the martyrs while they are waiting vengeance…

11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

White robes are robes of righteousness. They were given rest from all their enemies, cared for by God, given white robes, and encouraged to wait a little longer until the number of martyrs is complete.
Because God has an exact number of those who will be slain we can rest assured that He is in sovereign control over all events.

The issue for us that I think keeps us from fully understanding what God is doing is that we think this world is our home. Beloved when one of God’s saints is killed for their faith, the murderer will be held accountable and suffer the wrath of God but the Christian will immediately be sent home.

The Apostle Paul was given a heavenly vision as well, and after his vision, he was ready to go and be with Jesus.
Philippians 1:21–25 (ESV)

21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith,

On the one hand, no believer wants to die but on the other…dying is how we go to be with Jesus.

 

A Mighty Fortress is Our God by Martin Luther

Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

 

  1. The Sixth Seal- The Day of the Lord

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. 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?”

The sixth seal begins the Day of the Lord. These verses give us the first of seven descriptions found in Revelation concerning the second coming of Christ.

For the rest of Chapter 6 John focuses on what is happening on earth on the dreadful day. He looks at two things specifically…

  1. Cosmic Chaos

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.

Here John explains that in his vision, he sees what must soon take place. Here is a vivid description of what will happen right before our Lord returns. Notice what he sees, great earthquake, sun becomes black, moon becomes the color of blood, stars begin to fall, mountains and islands moved from their place. These are not simply natural events but the beginning of the earth being remade. Here is what has to take place in order for this current earth to be made new. For the lost this is judgment.

This goes exactly with what our Lord told His followers in Luke…

Luke 21:25–28 (ESV)

25 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

John, no doubt, remembered the Lord’s words when he saw the heavenly vision.

When all the Scriptures are examined, we see that the Son of Man’s coming is on the wake of these horrific cosmic events. These are the final pains of birth. These are the signs that accompany the end of the world, as we know it.

Dear Chruch, are you ready for the second coming of our Lord? Do you know Him? Do you love Him? Are you following His commands? I pray you do know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. I pray that when you read this you are secure in the knowledge that Jesus has died for your sin. Are you forgiven today? Are you ready to meet the Lamb of God worthy to open the scroll?

After the cosmic chaos comes judgment…

  1. God’s Wrath Against Unbelievers

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?”

First, it’s important to note that John mentions seven different types of lost people, indicating that all lost will be judged at this point. There will be no exception when it comes to God’s wrath. All lost people will be judged. It does not matter if you’re rich and powerful or poor and nobody all who are God’s enemies will suffer His fury.

We must also notice something here. Even in this time of intense desperation, there is no sign of repentance. They are still trying to hide from God.

This is the same God they have hated all their lives, the same God they’ve cursed and lived their lives trying to act like does not exist. This is the God who they have shaken their fist at time and time again. These are the ones responsible for the martyrs under the alter. The martyr’s desire for vengeance now is here.

hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains,

“Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb,

No desire to repent, just a desire to be hidden from God’s wrath. Can you imagine a day like that when all God’s enemies will try to die rather than suffer God’s wrath. One thing they do not understand, and that is when they do die, God’s wrath really begins and it lasts for all eternity. The reality is this, even if rocks fell on them crushing them to death there is nothing anyone can do to escape God’s judgment.

Psalm 139:7–12 (ESV)

   Where shall I go from your Spirit?

Or where shall I flee from your presence?

   If I ascend to heaven, you are there!

If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

   If I take the wings of the morning

and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

10    even there your hand shall lead me,

and your right hand shall hold me.

11    If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,

and the light about me be night,”

12    even the darkness is not dark to you;

the night is bright as the day,

for darkness is as light with you.

Listen, here is the real issue: Jesus Christ is worthy to break the seals and move God’s plan of redemption forward. He breaks the sixth seal at just the right time. When it is broken the earth begins her final contraction and our Lord returns. This happens in a moment. Understand that there will be no time to get saved when these events begin because when they start, Jesus arrives.

Where are you today?

You can’t think that when you start to see these signs that then you’ll truly give your life to Christ. The reason is that these great events begin as Jesus comes…as He comes.

Luke 21:25–28 (ESV)

25 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

For the Lord’s people, notice what it says…28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Are you sure you’re ready for that day?

If our Lord would come at this moment would you be ready?

 

 

 

Lord’s Supper…

[1] http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/15/middleeast/isis-video-beheadings-christians/

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