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. WHY IT IS HERE CALLED "THE GREAT DAY OF WRATH."
1. It may be called the great day of wrath inasmuch as no other preceding day of wrath ever equalled it. If all the tempests that ever roared, and all the vivid flashes of lightning that were ever seen, and all the hoarse thunders that have ever rolled, and all the roaring of the sea and every noise that has taken place, were all united together in one great swell, it would be nothing to the confusion of that great day. "The heaven shall pass away with a great noise." We are told that if you put one drop of water upon an anvil, and some heated iron over it, and strike the iron, that drop of water will explode, and make a sound equal to that attending the discharge of a musket. If one drop of water will produce such a sound, what will it be when all the watery vapours surcharged with fire shall burst in one mighty and terrible crash?
2. It may be called so if we remember that it will be the last day. The sun will shine, on the morning of that day, for the last time. All the wheels of nature will come to a standstill; all the mysterious and intricate movements of time will cease.
3. But we may call it a great day of wrath, more particularly, if we remember that it will be the judgment day.
4. It will be a great day of wrath if we consider, moreover, the Judge who will preside on that day, and I-Its character. Jesus Christ Himself will be the Judge — very consoling to the believer, because the Judge will be his best Friend; exceedingly annoying to the sinner, for he will have sins revealed that he would not have known for ten thousand worlds. Jesus Himself, who is impartial, who will then be inexorable — He will be the Judge. Ah, now is the time. The Saviour will listen to your cry this night. Therefore, when we consider who is the Judge, that He will be inexorable, and will not be then entreated, we may say that it is a great day of wrath.
II. "WHO SHALL BE ABLE TO STAND?" A safe and Scriptural answer to this question is, indeed, very important.
1. "Who shall be able to stand?" Not the swearer: he has asked God to destroy his soul and body, and now all his prayers shall be answered. Not the liar: all liars shall have their part in "the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone." Not the drunkard: he will receive something now more hot than alcohol. Not the hypocrite: the mask will fall off. Not the formalist. Not the backslider. And thus we may go on answering the question in a negative way.
2. I fancy I hear a voice coming from some one in this audience — "Well, I am very glad that you have made an exception of me: I am sure that I do not belong to the bundle of swearers," etc. Stop, friend, there is one bundle yet; if you are not there, well, then, we must put you aside. Where is that large bundle of gospel hearers — men and women who have heard the Word and have not obeyed it? You are there.
3. Those, and those alone, will stand in the great day of wrath, who are resting entirely upon the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
(1) They will have their characters publicly vindicated.
(2) They will gather in the fruit of their labours.
(J. D. Smith.)
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;