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, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 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, 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, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” Revelation 6:12-17
The first five seals involved humans, but God acts alone starting at the 6th Seal. This is a pivotal moment, and is one of the greatest prophetic keys God gave us. It involves:
- An earthquake that shakes not just the earth, but the heavens.
- The sun becomes black as sackcloth made of hair
- The whole moon becomes as blood
- The stars of the sky fell to the earth
- The sky appears to split apart like a scroll
- Every mountain and island were moved out of their places
This will be the most terrifying event that has ever occurred in Earth’s history (apart from perhaps the global flood). John clarifies that every single person on earth will react in fear. It is difficult to imagine just how bad it will be, but every single mountain and island will be moved. People will try to hide from what they correctly recognize as God’s wrath – “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”. The answer is no one, at least, not on earth – “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31) There will be no safe place to hide.
God announces His imminent wrath with the 6th Seal. While His wrath is impending, it has not yet begun. Let’s talk about each of the parts separately:
Great Earthquake – God often made His presence known by shaking the earth in history (Exodus 19:18, Psalm 68:8, 1 Kings 19:11-12). This earthquake will be remarkable in that it will spread globally until every mountain and island are moved out of their places. The earth’s crust will move and shift. The mountains and islands will still exist, so we know this event is not the same as the Second Coming, where every mountain and island are completely removed.
Sun Blackened – Many times during the Day of the Lord, the sun is mentioned to be darkened, not give its light, or decreased in intensity. This will not be an eclipse; this will be a globally viewable event. The Day of the Lord is a time of darkness, sometimes physically, and definitely spiritually. The sun will likely be darkened here from the vast clouds of volcanic ash and smoke in the air, as volcanic eruptions will be triggered by the worldwide shifting of tectonic plates. This has been observed on a small scale with volcanic eruptions in the past. Note that the accompanying sign of the moon appearing red also occurs in these instances (fire and ash).
Blood Moon – This is not due to an eclipse as is suggested by some (which would only be viewable from small sections of the globe). The vast clouds of ash and smoke from volcanic activity associated with the worldwide earthquake is the likely cause – the moon will be blood red and the sun darkened to all viewers around the globe.
The blood moon is a major key in Biblical Prophecy. It is important to distinguish between a BLOOD RED moon and a DARK moon. The blood red moon occurs BEFORE the great and terrible Day of the Lord; the darkness occurs DURING the Day of the Lord; the dark moon occurs at the END of the Day of the Lord (Second Coming). This difference is critical.
The Blood Moon occurs 3 times in scripture. Once, prophetically in Joel 2, once prophetically in Acts 2, and once, the fulfillment, at Seal 6. Let’s examine it closely:
Joel 2:28-32 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit. “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
At the start of the church age is the mystery of the new birth; being born again and sealed by the indwelling Holy Spirit which is characteristic of the Age of Grace. Instead of only being upon God’s prophets and holy men, the Holy Spirit was gifted to all who believe. It is marked by prophecy, visions, dreams, other spiritual gifts not mentioned here, and above all – sealing.
Start of Church Age – “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.”
End of Church Age – “And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ Acts 2:17-21
When will the Church Age / Age of Grace end? When the Holy Spirit is removed just as He came, along with all who have Him inside them as a seal. “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14). The Holy Spirit’s sealing ministry ends at the time of the opening of the Seals in Revelation. The end of the Holy Spirit’s ministry is marked by wonders in the heavens, signs on the earth, blood, fire, vapor of smoke, darkened sun, blood red moon. It will occur before the day of the Lord comes.
Stars of the Sky Fall to the Earth – this could be a reference to asteroid or meteor showers bombarding the earth. An alternative explanation might be the appearance of the stars changing their positions relative to earth via a polar shift event from the earth being shaken. Personally, I see this as possibly fulfilling Revelation 12:3-4:
And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it.
Right after the child is safely snatched up (raptured, harpazo’d) to heaven:
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Revelation 12:7-9)
…and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. (Revelation 6:13)
Note that the “stars of the sky” and satan and his angels are both thrown down to the earth. Angels are often referred to as stars, and in Rev 12:3-4 it is certain that the 1/3 of stars that the dragon’s tail sweeps are the angels that fall with him.
They currently reside in our atmosphere as the “powers in the heavens” (Eph 6:12). However, they still retain access to God’s throne to some degree. At some point in the future, the great dragon (satan) and his demon horde will lose access to heaven – they are “thrown down to earth”. Thus the stars of the sky falling to earth at Seal 6 could very well refer to this battle between Michael and satan, which results in satan and his demons (also referred to as stars) being cast down to the earth.
Note too that the first 4 trumpet judgments of the Day of the Lord involve 1/3 judgments on the earth. I believe there is a possible connection between the 1/3 angels that are cast down, and the 1/3 judgments on the trees, sea, fresh water, and sun, moon, and stars, which involve the entire earth and its atmosphere.
Sky is Rolled Back as a Scroll – this is the human perception of what is happening in the earth’s atmosphere and the universe. It seems that what is occurring here is that the Third Heaven (supernatural) is becoming visible and colliding with the First and Second Heavens (natural realm of atmosphere and space). The entire sky appears opened, allowing visibility into heaven – people on earth try to hide from what they see, which presumably is God on His throne (or some bright and terrifying supernatural scene). Note, it’s not a doorway or window that opens, it’s the entire sky – no pushing and shoving necessary, there will be plenty of room for everyone if this is the rapture 😉 It is Well With My Soul, indeed!
Several other points are worth noting about the 6th seal:
- Take note that EVERYONE on earth cries that the “day of the wrath of the Lamb and the One who sits on the throne” has come. This strongly supports the interpretation that the seals are opened in rapidfire succession as a unit, such that they are viewed as occurring at the same time. If Seals 1-5 had already been opened in the past, somehow no one seems to have noticed that there was wrath before this Seal 6 event. Either they weren’t wrath, or they weren’t opened until the same time as Seal 6. The seals are very different in nature from the Trumpets and the Bowls.
- EVERYONE wants to hide from “the presence of Him who sits on the throne”. This suggests that people must actually be able to see into heaven, when the physical dimensions of our sky are rolled back to reveal the supernatural. This must be even MORE frightening to them than the earthquake – which would have people running out into the OPEN, not hiding underground.
- Jews are expecting a national revelation from God to identify their messiah. At this point, some will recognize Jesus and be saved (the 144,000, and hopefully many “lukewarm” or “religious” Christians who weren’t truly saved in time for the rapture). Others will be primed to accept a false messiah (the antichrist).
- There is no description here of Jesus destroying people who are gathered in defiance of Him. No, here they are terrified of Him and are hiding (seen in Seal 6), because the vision of the Lamb and of God on His throne is even more frightening than the earth quaking around them. At Armageddon (Second Coming), people will be expecting Jesus and preparing for Him to come, so as to try to destroy Him (futility, of course).
- Why would true followers of Christ hide from God if this was the moment of our Blessed Hope? The one we are supposed to Watch and stay Awake for? Since there is only one moment in the entire story of humanity where there will be NO believers on earth – the rapture – it must have just occurred / just be occurring.
- There are characteristics which suggest nuclear warfare might be involved.
The earth dwellers cry “who is able to stand?” It’s true, there is no where on EARTH to escape, but I would like to suggest that there *is* an answer to this – it’s not a rhetorical question. The church is told in Luke 21:36 to “Pray that you may have strength to escape all these things and STAND before the Son of Man.” During Seal 6, we see a large group of people from every tribe, language, people, and nation STANDING in front of the throne and the Lamb (Rev 7:9) in heaven and singing about Salvation. WE will stand. “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”, right on time, BEFORE the Day of the Lord.
For further reading on this I *highly* recommend Douglas Berner’s book “When God Intervenes” as well as David Lowe’s book “Earthquake Resurrection”. A summary of the Earthquake – Resurrection pattern is in my post HERE. A detailed description of the Red Moon Rapture is also given at Beginning and End.
A Disclaimer: The Bible is infallible. I am not. Be a Berean – examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!