And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every slave…
I. WHOSE IS THE WRATH HERE SPOKEN OF? As a Lamb the Saviour stands on Mount Zion, surrounded by a thousand hosts of His redeemed; as a Lamb He appears before the throne, receiving the prostrate adoration of the elders; as a Lamb He appears as a Bridegroom waiting for the New Jerusalem, "adorned as a bride prepared for her husband"; and as a Lamb He is represented as standing in the very midst of the throne, with His wounds all fresh, intimating H us that He is still sustaining to His Church the functions of a prevailing, unchangeable, everlasting priesthood. And this image is manifestly designed to set before us various attributes in the character of our Redeemer. First, no doubt it is designed to endear to us the mild and gentle attributes of His nature; to show to us how patient He is to forgive injuries, how long He will bear with the sinner's affronts, how hard it is to arouse Him from the serene calm of His holy nature, what a "strange work" it is with Him to punish and destroy. But in the text there is an adjunct to this image, which at first seems to take away from its fitness and propriety; it would seem to suggest to us attributes of an opposite and conflicting kind; for who ever heard of "the wrath" of a lamb? Why is it that, on this occasion, the Saviour appears not under one of His more majestic titles — as "the Lion of the tribe of Judah," tearing the seed of the rebellious to pieces? This title is retained even in describing the solemn day of Christ's appearing as a witness, as a warning, as a setting forth of the aggravated character of man's disobedience, and the utter exclusiveness of a despised salvation.
II. WHAT IT IS IN THAT DAY THAT WILL MAKE "THE WRATH OF THE LAMB" SO TERRIBLE.
1. First, it will be because then this "wrath" will be felt to have been deserved. Well may the Lamb say to those who have refused Him on that day, "What more could I have done for you that I have not done? I gave Myself to the insults of men, to the buffetings of Satan, to the piercing of the sword of justice, to the degradation and shame of the Cross."
2. Again: the "wrath" will be felt to have been deserved on account of the light we enjoy, and the means used by the offended Man to bring us to a knowledge of Himself, and to constrain us to embrace the offers of His love.
3. Then another consideration which will make this wrath so terrible will be its utter implacableness, the awful consciousness that it can never change through the ages of eternity, that the Lamb will never put on those aspects of gentleness, and pity, which were turned towards us in the day of our probation and our hope.
III. WHO ARE THEY THAT "SHALL BE ABLE TO STAND"? Of course the first answer to this is, they are those who are in Christ Jesus. Who are they that shall stand? Why, they are those who feel that they have made Christ their one entire sole dependence: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee." "Trust in the Lord; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength." "O Lord, our Lord, other gods besides Thee have had dominion over us; but by Thee only will we make mention of Thy name." Then, once more: there is good hope that we shall be able to stand in the day of Christ if we are of those who are waiting for, and hastening to, and desiring His appearing.
(D. Moore, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;