Great Earthquake Terror
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Great Earthquake Terror (Revelation 6.12b-17)

"There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 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 [some manuscripts "his"] wrath has come, and who can withstand it?'" (Revelation 6.12b-17)✞

Moon Turned Blood Red

PeopleThe listing of various occupations in society represents the widespread terror from the great earthquake. At the sight of the face of the one sitting on the throne, all human beings from all walks of life including "the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man" will be terrified and call for the mountains to fall on them and to hide them. Hosea prophecies such a disaster for the occupants of Samaria in Hosea 10.7-8, "Samaria's king will be destroyed, swept away like a twig on the surface of the waters. The high places of wickedness [Hebrew "aven", a reference to "Beth Aven" a derogatory name for Bethel] will be destroyed — it is the sin of Israel. Thorns and thistles will grow up and cover their altars. Then they will say to the mountains, 'Cover us!' and to the hills, 'Fall on us!'"

Promise of Final Justice

Justice StatueThese verses remind us that Jesus did not promise Christians an easy life but instead that persecution was sure. The poet Annie Johnson Flint (1866-1932) from Vineland, New Jersey expressed it so clearly, "God hath not promised skies always blue, Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through; God hath not promised sun without rain, Joy without sorrow, peace without pain." The poem concludes, "But God hath promised strength for the day, Rest for the labor, light for the way, Grace for the trials, help from above, Unfailing sympathy, undying love."We may wish in our human weakness for justice immediately, as these people did, but we must be patient. God works according to his own timetable, and he promises final justice. No suffering for the sake of God's kingdom however is wasted. In the face of a great earthquake terror, warfare, famine, persecution, and death, Christians will be called on to stand firm for what they believe. Only those who endure to the end will be rewarded by God.

"Great Earthquake Terror"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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