Revelation 6:15
Then the kings of the earth, the nobles, the commanders, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and free man, hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains.
The ConquerorW. M. Punshon, D. D.Revelation 6:1-17
The Development of Good and Evil in Human History D. Thomas, D. D.Revelation 6:1-17
The Future Triumph of Our KingJ. Clayton, M. A.Revelation 6:1-17
The Going Forth of the GospelJames Durham.Revelation 6:1-17
The Opening of the SealsS. Conway Revelation 6:1-17
The Redeemer's ConquestsJ. Parsons.Revelation 6:1-17
The Seven Seals; Or, the Development of Good and Evil in Human HistoryD. Thomas Revelation 6:1-17
The Final Judgment of the Enemies of the ChurchR. Green Revelation 6:12-17
Furor FitFrancis Jacox, B. A.Revelation 6:15-16
Presumption Running into DespairT. Adams.Revelation 6:15-16
Safety in the Day of WrathD. Moore, M. A.Revelation 6:15-16
Terrified Sinners in the Last Earthly SceneJ. A. Seiss, D. D.Revelation 6:15-16
The Great Day and the Great QuestionJ. D. Smith.Revelation 6:15-16
The Last Great Prayer MeetingW. M. Blackburn, D. D.Revelation 6:15-16
The Last Great Prayer MeetingW. H. M. H. Aitken, M. A.Revelation 6:15-16
The Wonders of the Last DayD. Thomas Revelation 6:15, 16
The Wrath of GodJ. M. Sherwood, D. D.Revelation 6:15-16
The Wrath of God and the LambT. Hannam.Revelation 6:15-16
The Wrath of the LambHomilistRevelation 6:15-16
The Wrath of the LambG. Matheson, D. D.Revelation 6:15-16
The Wrath of the LambRevelation 6:15-16
The Wrath of the LambH. Bushnell, D. D.Revelation 6:15-16
Who Shall be Able to Stand in the Last JudgmentHomilistRevelation 6:15-16

And the kings of the earth, etc. The last day, the day of days, will be a day of wonders. The words indicate three of the wonders of that day.

I. MEN DREADING THE FACE OF CHRIST. "The face of him that sitteth on the throne." Here are men preferring annihilation to a sight of that face. What is the matter with that face? It was, indeed, the human face Divine, the serenest, the loveliest, the kindliest face ever seen on earth. It was a face whose expression towards men was, "Come unto me," etc. What change has come over it now? Why are men afraid of it now? Their guilty consciences have made that face terrific. The sight of that face will call up such memories of their ingratitude, their folly, their impiety, as will make existence intolerable.

II. THE LAMB WROUGHT INTO WRATH. "The wrath of the Lamb." How strange and unnatural is this! The wrath of love is the most terrible of wrath.

1. It implies the greatest moral enormity in the object of it. The wrath of malign natures is soon kindled, is capricious, often rages without reason. But when love is indignant, there must be fearful enormity in the object.

2. It exerts most agonizing influence upon the conscience of its object. The anger of malign natures seldom touches the conscience of its victim, but often awakens contempt and defiance. Not so when love is indignant; the indignation of love is crushing. What power on earth is so withering as the indignation of a parent who is essentially benevolent and loving?

3. It is unquenchable until tile reasons for its existence are removed. The wrath of malign natures often burns itself out, but the wrath of love is a determined opposition to evil.

III. HUMANITY CRYING FOR ANNIHILATION. "And the kings of the earth, and the great men... hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and the rocks, Fall on us, and hide us," etc. Love of life is the strongest instinct in human nature, and hence the dread of death. Here is the chief and first of all dreads. What will men not give away to avoid death? But what a change now! They earnestly cry for that which they dreaded! They cry for annihilation.

1. The cry is earnest. "Mountains and rocks." The language breathes earnestness. Existence has become intolerable. It is a curse that can no longer be borne.

2. The cry is general. "The kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, and the chief captains, the mighty men, every bondman and every free," etc. The conquerors of the world, the iron masters of nations, men whose names struck terror through ages, now quail in agony and cry for extinction.

3. The cry is fruitless. They cry to the "mountains and rocks." What can they do for them? Can they hear them? Have they hearts to feel? No; insensitive, immovable, these remain amid the wildest shrieks. But were they to fall on them would they crush them? The material universe cannot crush a soul. It is an inextinguishable spark. God alone can quench a soul. - D.T.

Fall on us, and hide us.
It is generally thought that none but the penitent really pray. And yet the day is coming when even impenitent people will throng together and hold a prayer meeting, and perhaps the most intensely earnest one ever upon record. Notice the time. It is future. It will be after the day of grace has passed, after the privilege for Christian prayer has ceased, and after human probation has been completed. Yes, when the righteous have ceased to pray, and are changing prayers on earth to praises in heaven, the impenitent will begin to pray as if they thought of it for the first time in their lives. It will be when Divine judgments are falling upon the earth. Where? In their homes? No, those prayerless houses will be shaking into ruins by an earthquake. In the churches? The day for churches will be gone. Why did they not hasten to them in the time of mercy? They will meet in the dens and caves, and among the rocks of the mountains. Who will be there? In ages when God's children were hunted down by foes, chiefly the lowly, the poor, met in such difficult retreats, but to this last prayer meeting kings will run, noblemen will hasten, courtiers and statesmen will speed, rich men and great captains will rush, and all who thought they could trust in the permanence of earthly things. No real Christians will be there. Mere professors and pretenders, deceived in heart or deceiving the very elect, and prayerless in their lives, may be expected; and when there they will contribute their part for the first time to the interest of a meeting, for they will pray voluntarily and with an earnestness they never knew before. What are to be the exercises, the services? No reading of the Word of God. None in that assembly will wish to hear it read or explained. They disowned it once, they dislike it still, for it must expose their sins and neglects. No preaching, because the day for that has passed. No psalms nor spiritual songs. To what will they pray? Not to God. At sea, when the tempest is raging, and all human control of the ship is lost, when the masts are torn away and the next wave that sweeps the deck may bury the company in the deep, the passengers and crew lift their entreaties, not to the storm, not to the waves, but to God, their only resort and refuge. But the prayer at this last meeting is not to God, nor is it to men. In their fears they call upon the mountains. Unwilling to call upon God in the day of prosperity, and disliking to have friends pray for them, their aversion clings to them as a fixed habit, and they are still determined not to cry unto the Lord. Nothing could once persuade them to do it, and now nothing can force them, for the human will is not converted by force, Rather than submit to God's way, they call upon everything else, idolising the deaf rocks and the dead mountains. These are their gods. Can anything else so portray impenitence and stubbornness of will? And why such a prayer for destruction? There are three reasons here given.

I. THEIR DREAD OF SEEING THE FACE OF GOD. Once that face was radiant with mercy. They might have been forgiven, but they would not seek His pardon. Oh, the lost opportunities, the rejected mercies! All gone for ever. They cannot bear the sight of Him whose offers of grace they so wilfully refused, and they ask the rocks to confer on them a merciless burial.

II. A FEAR OF THE JUSTICE OF CHRIST. Once He was the Lamb of sacrifice, the atoning Redeemer, the entreating Saviour, ready to save all that would call upon Him for salvation. But they would not call. Their day of redemption is past, and Christ is coming as their Judge. They see punishment awaiting them, and perdition before them as the just desert of their treatment of Christ.

III. THE KNOWLEDGE THAT THEY ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE. There is for them no apology, no availing plea, no justification, no righteousness, no hope of future grace.

(W. M. Blackburn, D. D.)

The first thing that strikes us about it is that this last great prayer meeting will be attended by a vaster assemblage of human beings than it is even possible for us to conceive. Every grade of society has its representative there — men and women, young and old, the child and the hoary-headed, the lofty and the mean. They have come from every land. In a strange unity of woe the attendants at this last great prayer meeting are to be gathered together into one common centre. Again, this last great prayer meeting is to be, in the fullest and widest sense of the word, a united prayer meeting. There is a unity of sin, as well as a unity of holiness, and the attendants at this last strange audience are all thus bound together. Not that it is a real unity. There seems to be very little of anything like a corporate feeling in this last great gathering. Every man is engaged with his own thoughts, offering his own prayer, yet are they all brought together to one point, and all induced to address a certain particular class of objects, and to offer a certain particular kind of prayer by one vast, common, overwhelming necessity, which spreads its fearful influence over them all. It is a united prayer meeting; and as I contemplate that vast gathering, I find all earthly distinctions have vanished. Social distinctions have passed away. The prince kneels beside the peasant. Again, I observe that all ecclesiastical distinctions have vanished. Yet, again, I notice that in this prayer meeting every man is thoroughly in earnest. I wish I could say as much of the prayer meetings held here on earth in our day. Yet, again, I observe that these men who pray so well and so earnestly are precisely the people who were least given to that pursuit while on earth: the people we very seldom see at prayer meetings here. Yet, again, it is a meeting at which every man prays with a very definite purpose. If I were asked, What is the particular fault of our modern prayer meetings? I should say — Indefiniteness. Yet, again, I notice in this prayer meeting a peculiarity that we do not frequently observe in our gatherings for prayer. I find that every man prays for himself. Now I do not think we ought to confine our prayers to ourselves, but we should pray to a far better purpose if we sometimes prayed out of our own hearts, and asked for the things we ourselves need. People seem rather to aim at employing vague expressions than making their wants known in a spirit of believing supplication to God. And now we come to consider the strangest feature of all. While there are ten thousand times ten thousand voices, it may be, lifted up in supplication, yet we are astonished at observing that of all these prayers that go ringing around a startled world there is not so much as one single petition that is offered to Almighty God — not one. When these praying men were down here on earth they were always flying away from God; they did not want to have anything to do with Him; they could get on very well without Him; they were worshippers of nature; they were believers in second causes — not that they were all such by profession, but they were so practically. These men have made earth their God: they have bowed down before the spirit of this world: they have enthroned that subtle intelligence of evil who has usurped the sovereignty of this fallen world within their hearts. They have practically made him the lord of their will, and submitted their nature to his control; and now, when the last terrible moment comes, and these men are gathered together for their last great prayer meeting, not one of them prays to God. Why? Because the Nemesis of their own sin has come upon them. What is it? Before they would not pray to God, and now they dare not. Where is the answer to come from? These prayers are not addressed to God: they do not reach the place where His honour dwelleth: they dare not hope that they will penetrate into His ears and reach His heart. No: their own consciences forbid such an expectation. Such will be the last prayer meeting. And now I want to ask a question, Are any of you ambitious to bear a part in it?

(W. H. M. H. Aitken, M. A.)

1. We have here a glimpse of the constitution and general condition of society at the time these prodigies befall the world. Suppose that the sixth seal were to be opened to-night, what would it find? Kings and emperors on their thrones; princes, nobles, dukes, and lords securely priding themselves in the prerogatives of their caste and station; rich people wallowing in wealth and luxury; men and women in high places and in low working the wires that fashion events; slaves toiling at their tasks and freedmen just out of their bondage; and evidences everywhere of a depraved and disordered state of things. This is what the judgment would find if it came to-night. And this, John tells us, is what it finds when it does come in reality.

2. There is one thing, however, which shall be very different under the opening of the sixth seal from what it is now. The self-security and composure with which godless people live will then be driven to the winds. Though all the judgments under preceding seals may have failed to appal or arouse them, they will not be able to maintain their equanimity under what this shall bring forth. Self-possession, unshaken courage, dignified composure, philosophic thinking, hopefulness, assurance, and the last remains of the stern intrepidity and statue-like imperturbability which characterise some men now, will then have vanished from humanity. That day will destroy them utterly.

3. We notice also the correct interpretation which mankind will then put upon the terrific disturbances of nature around them. Storms, earthquakes, eclipses, and unusual phenomena in the heavens, are natural symbols of Divine wrath. Modern science calls it superstition. But when the vision of the text comes to be realised, woe to the materialistic, pantheistic, and atheistic philosophies with which men suppose they have rid themselves of the superstitions of antiquity! One flash from the judgment throne will confound them utterly.

4. Nor is it so much the physical prodigies as what they argue that renders the dismay so unsupportable. It is not the shaking, the obscured sun, the falling stars, the recoiling heavens, the moving mountains, so much as the moral truths they flash into the spirit, to wit, that God is on the throne, that sin is a reality, that judgment is come, and that every guilty one must now face an angry Creator. It is not nature's bewildering commotions, for they would willingly have the falling mountains cover them if that would shelter them from what is much more in their view, and far more dreadful to them. What they speak of is, God upon the throne, the fear of His face, the day of reckoning, and the wrath of the Lamb. These are more than all the horrors of a universe in convulsions.

5. And how pitiable and absurd the expedients to which they are driven! Oh, imbecile people! When prayer would have been availing, they scorned and detested it as mean and useless; and now that it is futile, they go at it with a will. Still more absurd is the direction in which they address their prayers. Once they considered it folly that man should call on the living God; but now they pray to dead rocks! Once they thought it philosophic to deny that He who made the ear could hear prayers, or that He with whom is the Spirit, and whose is the power, could answer them; but now they supplicate the deaf and helpless mountains! And yet weaker and more insane is the import of their prayers and efforts. Omniscience and omnipresence are among the natural attributes of God. The very things before these people's eyes should have been enough to teach them this. And yet, philosophers as they are, their proposal is to conceal themselves from the Almighty, and so elude His wrath! Often had shelter and peaceful security been offered them in the mercies of the loving Saviour, and as often had they despised and rejected them; but now the silly souls would take the miserable rocks for saviours! Oh, the foolishness of men who think it folly to serve God!

(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)


1. The persons thus amazed with terror are described in the precedent verse, "The kings of the earth," etc. The greatness of man, when it comes to encounter with God, is weakness and vanity. Is he great? Be he never so high, there is One "higher than he, and the Highest of all regardeth it" (Ecclesiastes 8:5), and will subject it. Is he rich? Were he the eldest son of Mammon, and sole heir to all the usurers in the world, can his gold save him? Is vengeance afraid to strike his vessel because his sails be of silk and it is ballasted with refined ore? Shall he buy out his damnation with coin? No, heaven will never take bribes. Is he a chief captain? Be his looks never so stern, his speech never so imperious, impetuous, he may command here and go without. "Man is not saved by the multitude of an host."

2. "They said." They open their lips to confess the invincible and inevitable power of Christ.(1) The sense of present misery takes away atheism. The day of judgment, when it comes, shall find no atheist.(2) The saying that comes from them is desperate; whence note that, in God's just punishment, desperation is the reward of presumption. They that erst feared too little shall now fear too much. Before they thought not of God's justice, now they shall not conceive His mercy.

3. These necessary occurrences thus considered, let us pass to their invocation, wherein is exemplified their error. Here we must observe, To what; For what they call.(1) To what. They are mountains and rocks, unreasonable, yea, insensible creatures.

(a)Negatively, it is clear that they have no acquaintance with God, therefore know not how to direct their prayers unto Him.

(b)Affirmatively, this presents a soul amazed with fear and folly. They call to the mountains that can neither hear nor answer.(2) For what. The benefit that they would have the rocks and the mountains do them is to fall on them and hide them.(a) Despair is ever wishing for death, often impatiently snatching at it in this world; but when the last day comes, so greedily longing for it, that to be sure of it, they desire the mountains to dispatch them.(b) Observe that rocks and mountains are far lighter than sin. Such a weight bore our Saviour that He groaned under it.(c) Observe that before these wicked were lords of nations and countries; now they would be glad of one hole to hide them. Of all their dominions they beg but the barrenest parcel, a rock or mountain; and that to do them a poor office, to conceal them. How much doth man's avarice and ambition covet here, how little contents him hereafter! Nothing helps when God will smite; mountains and rocks are no defence when God pursues (Jeremiah 22:15). God hath a hand that can strike through forts, rocks, and bulwarks. The heavens "melt at the presence of the Lord; if He touch the mountains, they smoke" for it.


1. "From the face." It was ever the fashion of guiltiness to fly from the presence of God. Adam had no sooner sinned, but he thrusts his head in a bush. Sin's inevitable effect is shame. "Of Him that sitteth." Christ now sits in glory. While He was on earth how little rested He! Hast thou laboured? thou shalt have ease: hast thou travelled in the ways of grace? thou shalt sit on the seat of glory. "On the throne." Christ at this day shall appear in His true majesty.

2. "From the wrath." The wrath of Christ in His justice.

(T. Adams.)

From the wrath of the Lamb
I. ITS UNEXAMPLED STRANGENESS. Who ever saw a lamb in a rage? The more difficulty you have in exciting wrath, the more terrible it is when it appears.

II. ITS INFINITE PURITY. "The Lamb" is the emblem of innocence. This wrath of the "Lamb" is not a passion, but a principle. It is not malign, but benevolent. It is not against existence, but against its sins and its crimes. Conclusion: Learn from this that we turn our greatest blessing into the greatest curse. Our optic and auricular organs may become so diseased as to give to the most beautiful objects and melodious sounds in nature a power to convey into us the most poignant anguish, and so our moral nature may become so corrupt as to turn love into wrath, and blessedness into misery.


The first thing which strikes us about the expression is its extreme dramatism. There is nothing so dramatic, in my opinion, as the sight of an emotion contrary to the nature. When a man who has always hid his griefs bursts into tears, when a man, like Arnold, who has always veiled his anger, gives way for once to passion, we are impressed with something like a sense of tragedy; it is a bitter day in summer; it is a storm upon a lake. How can we think of the love of God as interrupted even for a moment by a thing called wrath? Can we any more conceive a limit to the love of God than we can conceive a limit to the power of God? The state of mind he is describing is the wrath of a lamb — a particular kind of wrath. He is considering a mode of anger which is not an interruption of love, but itself a phase of love. The wrath of the Lamb is the wrath of love itself. It is no more an interruption to Divine love than the haze is an interruption to the heat of the morning. The wrath clouds the love; the haze clouds the morning; but both the one and the other have grown out of the very thing they obscure. There is an anger which is incompatible with the absence of love, which could not exist unless love existed before it. Here, then, is the subject which rises before us — the difference between the wrath of the Lamb and the wrath of the lion, between the anger of love and the anger of nature. Now, it seems to me that there are three distinct points of difference between them.

1. And first, I would observe that the wrath of the Lamb, or sacrificial spirit, differs from the wrath of the lion in being purely impersonal. The wrath of the lion says, "I, king of the forest, have received an affront; some one has presumed to do an unkindness to me." The wrath of the Lamb says, "An unkind thing has been done." It keeps the "me" out of the question altogether. It looks at the deed in itself. It refuses to consider the sense of personal injury as a main feature of the case. You have a son who has defied your authority, spent his substance in riotous living. You are incensed at this act of individual disrespect. You resolve to bring him to his senses; you say, "We shall see whether he or I shall be master here." Now, that is quite a legitimate mode of anger, and quits a legitimate ground for it; but it is not the wrath of the Lamb. It is neither good nor bad. It is simply an appetite of nature like any other appetite — like hunger. But it is possible for a father in these circumstances to be filled with indignation on a different ground altogether. It is possible for him to see in his son's delinquency, not an act, but a principle. It is possible for him to feel, not that an insult has been offered to his pride, but that an injury had been done to the universe. It is possible for him to experience, not the sense of a wounded self-love, but an anger from the fact that love itself has been violated. This is the wrath of the Lamb. The Son of Man has reached a splendid impersonality in His judgment of the world. Though Himself at once the greatest and the most wronged of all, He refuses to measure the wrong by His own feeling of pain. He throws Himself into the position of the meanest, the lowliest. I pass to a second point of difference between the wrath of love and the wrath of mere nature.

2. And it is this: The wrath of nature must begin by tearing out pity; the wrath of love is a wrath created by pity. In the former case our indignation is stimulated by hiding the prospective photograph — by shutting our eyes to the possible goodness which the bad man may yet attain. In the latter case the indignation is stimulated by exactly the opposite process — by bringing out the prospective photograph, and considering what the man might be made to become. This brings me to a third point of difference between the two kinds of wrath.

3. They express their feeling in a different formula. The wrath of the lion says, "I must have satisfaction"; the wrath of the Lamb says, "Justice must be satisfied." There is all the difference in the world between giving me satisfaction in a quarrel and satisfying my justice in a wrong. The wrath of the Lamb is always a redemptive wrath. Its first impulse is to buy back what has been enslaved, to restore what has been wrongfully taken, to set at liberty what has been bruised. The wrath of the lion will be satisfied if the delinquent is dead; the wrath of the Lamb pauses not until it learns that the delinquency itself has been wiped away. And this renders powerfully suggestive that theological epigram which represents Christ as paying the debts of humanity. Nothing in a short compass could more completely describe the facts of the case.

(G. Matheson, D. D.)

There is something of appalling significance in so paradoxical an expression as this, of the "Wrath of the Lamb." It makes the wrath trebly potent that it should be wrath, long suppressed, but at length discharged, of a nature essentially and exceptionally meek, patient, long-suffering, easy to be entreated, hard to be angered.

laesa sapius patienia, says the Latin proverb: patience, trespassed upon too often, is converted into wrath. And if, O patience, the long-suffering that is in thee becomes wrath, how great is that wrath! Plutarch says of the Roman populace, on the occasion of a certain tumult, "they thought that the wrath of Fabius now provoked, albeit he was naturally so mild and patient, would prove heavy and is "placable" — all the more so, indeed, because of that natural disposition now abused and overstrained. An eminent critic observes, in arguing that all great effects are produced by contrast, that anger is never so noble as when it breaks out of a corn° parative continence of aspect; it is the earthquake bursting from the repose of nature. Charlevoix, in his "Histoire de St. Domingo," remarks of the sea of the Antilles and neighbouring isles that R is commonly more tranquil than ours; "but, like certain people who are excited with difficulty, and whose transports of passion are as violent as they are rare, so when the sea becomes irritated, it is terrific."

(Francis Jacox, B. A.)

The lamb is the most simply innocent of all animals. Historically, also, it had become a name for sacrifice. Under this twofold reason Christ is set forth as the Lamb. The lamb is but the complemental gentleness of God's judicial vigour. We must have the right to believe in the real Christ, and not that theologic Christ which has so long been praised, as it were, into weakness, by the showing that separates Him from all God's decisive energies and fires of combustion, and puts Him over against them, to be only a pacifier of them by His suffering goodness. Our Christ must be the real King — Messiah — and no mere victim; He must govern, have His indignations, take the regal way in His salvation. His goodness must have fire and fibre enough to make it Divine. Wrath must be kept as a moral, not merely animal, passion, or it will connect associations of unregulated temper that are wholly unsuitable. We understand by wrath, as applied to God and to Christ, a certain principled heat of resentment towards evil. doing and evil-doers, such as arms the good to inflictions of pain or just retribution upon them. It is not the heat of revenge. It is that holy heat which kindles about order and law, and truth and light, going in, as it were, spontaneously to redress their wrongs, and chastise the injuries they have suffered. Is it, then, a fact that Christ, as the incarnate Word of God, embodies and reveals the wrath principle of God, even as He does the patience, or love-principle, and as much more intensely? On this point we have many distinct evidences.

1. Christ cannot be a true manifestation of God when He comes in half the character of God, to act upon, or qualify, or pacify, the other half. If only God's affectional nature is represented in Him, then He is but a half manifestation. If the purposes of God, the justice of God, the indignations of God, are not in Him — if anything is shut away, or let down, or covered over — then He is not in God's proportions, and does not incarnate His character.

2. Christ can be the manifested wrath of God without being any the less tender in His feeling or gentle in His patience. In the history of Jesus we see occasions in which He actually displays the judicial and the tender, most affectingly, together and in the very same scene, as in His denouncing and weeping over Jerusalem.

3. God, without the wrath-principle, never was, and Christ never can be, a complete character. This element belongs inherently to every moral nature. God is no God without it; man is no man without it. It is this principled wrath, in one view, that gives staminal force and majesty to character.

4. It is a conceded principle of justice that wrong-doers are to suffer just according to what they deserve. In Christianity God is not less just or more merciful, but He is more fitly and proportionately expressed.

5. One of the things most needed in the recovery of men to God in this very thing — a more decisive manifestation of the wrath-principle and justice of God. Intimidation is the first means of grace.

6. We can see for ourselves that the more impressive revelation of wrath, which appears to be wanted, is actually made in the person of Christ, as in His driving out the money-changers and denouncing the hypocritical Pharisees.

7. Christ is appointed and publicly undertakes to maintain the wrath-principle officially, as the Judge of the world, even as He maintains the love-principle officially, as the Saviour of the world. He even declares that authority is given Him to execute judgment, because He is the Son of man. But the wrath-principle in Christ is only that judicial impulse that backs Him in the infliction of justice whenever justice requires to be inflicted. And it does not require to be inflicted always; it never ought to be when there is anything better that is possible. Put it down, then, first of all, at the close of this great subject, that the New Testament gives us no new God, or better God, or less just God, than we had before. He is the I AM of all ages, the I AM that was, and is, and is to come; the same that was declared from the beginning "The Lord God, gracious and merciful, forgiving iniquity, transgressions, and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty."

(H. Bushnell, D. D.)

The great day of His wrath


1. It is wrath that ariseth from the clearest discoveries of the love of God neglected.

2. It is wrath that is awakened by the expensive methods of salvation being slighted (Isaiah 5:4; Isaiah 55:1).

3. It is wrath that must avenge the affronts done to the chief messenger of God's mercy.

4. It is such wrath as ariseth from the patience of God, tired and worn out by the boldest iniquities of men.

5. It is such wrath as shall be executed immediately and eternally.


1. Rocks and mountains, whose aid is sought in the last extremity of distress, will be but as spiders' webs. What folly to call upon creatures to help them against their Creator! (Proverbs 9:21).

2. Rocks and mountains, though places of secrecy and concealment, cannot hide them from the eyes of God (Proverbs 15:3; Jeremiah 23:1. 24).

3. Rocks and mountains, though bulwarks of defence and places of security, cannot stand before the indignation of the Almighty (Nahum 1:2, 6).

4. Rocks and mountains falling upon us are instruments of sudden death.To conclude.

1. What a wretched mistake it is to imagine that God is all mercy, and Jesus Christ nothing else but love and salvation!

2. The day of Christ's patience makes haste to an end (Psalm 2:12).

3. How very different will the thoughts of sinners be in that day! (Isaiah 2:10, 21).

4. What hideous and everlasting mischief is contained in rejecting the gospel of Christ!

5. Sinners, consider your ways, the danger you are in, and the need you have of a Saviour (Psalm 61:2).

6. You, whose defence is the Rock of Ages, continue in Him (Revelation 2:10).

(T. Hannam.)

And this wrath impends over every impenitent and unforgiven sinner.

I. IT IS SURE TO FALL UPON HIM IN DUE TIME. It is not a simple possibility. It is not merely a threat to terrify him. It is as sure in the future as God Almighty's Word and throne.

1. Eternal and Omnipotent Justice has decreed it.

2. Revelation declares it on almost every page.

3. The providence of God illustrates and confirms His Word.


1. Here mercy tempers justice. Here wrath is restrained and grace works. Here the blood and intercession of Jesus Christ, and the tears and prayers of the Church, prevail to mitigate the severity of God's anger.

2. This is the world of probation, not of final award.

3. The day of reckoning is appointed after death.

4. "The wrath of the Lamb" will not break forth till the great day of assize shall have come. So that all we know and see of the Divine wrath against sin and incorrigible sinners, in this life, is only an "earnest" of that awful tempest that will burst in fury upon the ungodly when "the great day of His wrath" shall have come.

III. THIS WRATH WILL BE JUSTLY DESERVED. It might have been turned aside; voluntary sin, and the persistent refusal of mercy and grace, will have provoked it. It is not simply the wrath of a God of eternal righteousness, hating all iniquity and bound to vindicate outraged justice in the interest of good government; but it is also "the wrath of the Lamb," kindled by slighted love, by rejected mercy, by the blood of the covenant counted an unholy thing, by all His bloody sweat and agony and intercession despised!

(J. M. Sherwood, D. D.)


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.)

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.


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.)

? — There will assuredly come a day of judgment. The material universe symbolically prophecies some such a moral crisis in the history of man. The flowing river, the growing plants, the breathing tribes, the planetary systems, all tend to a crisis. The unremitting increase from age to age in the human family, viewed in connection with the limited capacity of this planet to sustain animal existence, irresistibly indicates some such a turning point in human history. The universal and concurrent references of the human conscience through all ages and lands, give a high probability to the dawn of such a moral juncture. The Bible settles the question. The sentence preceding the text calls it a great day. It will be "great," on account of the number and variety of the moral beings that will be assembled together; great, on account of the results which will then be effected — redemptive providences ended, and the agencies of a righteous retribution brought into full play; great, on account of the thrilling interest it will awake through all the realms of moral existence the universe over; great, on account of the Divine glories that will then be displayed. But our point now is — Who shall be able to stand on that day? In order to illustrate this solemn question I shall suppose a case. What under a legal charge could enable you to look calmly forward to the coming day of trial, feeling that you could stand? We can only conceive of seven things which would answer this purpose.



1. The omniscient Judge. He knows everything about you.

2. There will be present the persons to whom and through whom you have sinned.

3. Then there will be conscience within you bearing the strongest testimony against you.


1. Think of it in its relation to God. It is a violation of the most righteous laws, for He is your Sovereign. It is a violation of the highest trust; for He is your Proprietor, and you are His stewards. It is a violation of the most wonderful love. He is your loving Father — your merciful Redeemer.

2. Think of it in its bearing on yourself and on the universe. "One sinner destroyeth much good." This then will not serve you, will not enable you to stand in the judgment. Another thing that might answer the purpose in the supposed case is: —




VII. THE ASSURANCE THAT SOME ONE HAS SUCCESSFULLY INTERPOSED BETWEEN YOU AND THE SUPERIOR AUTHORITY. On the pages of the Bible I find written in sunbeams, that in consequence of what Christ has done, and is willing to do, for us as sinners, we may escape the sad consequences of our sins, and stand triumphantly in the Day of Judgment.


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