And the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, `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?” – Revelation 6:15-17
People fear many things, but hardly do they fear what they should fear most – God. Whether you are a professing Atheist, a religious idolater, or run-of-the-mill carnal christian, you live as an enemy of God in your sinful lifestyle because you do not fear Him. Those who do not fear God will perish in the lake of fire for eternity.
A day is coming where men will fear God so greatly they will cry for the rocks to fall on them in anticipation of the wrath of God being poured out. Please, fear God now, or one day fear God so terribly you’ll wish you could die, but cannot. God is a compassionate God for sure, but He only shows compassion to those who fear Him:
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. -Psalm 103:13
Fear God, that you would not fear Him on that great and terrible day of the wrath of the Lamb.
Here is John MacArthur preaching on the fear of God in Revelation 6:12-17, taken from his message titled “Fear of the Wrath to Come – Part 1“.
…Fear is certainly a part of the human factor. It’s a part of life. There are normal fears that all of us have, and God has given us the capacity to fear certain things for the sake of self-preservation and the protection of others. Normal fears that everybody has like the fear of disease, the fear of injury, the fear of the loss of family or the loss of love, the loss of a job, the loss of money, fear of death. And then as some tests have indicated, the most dominant fear, the fear of public speaking. Such common fears are usually handled somewhat adequately by most people.
If a person can’t handle normal fear, we say that person has a phobia. By phobia we basically mean an abnormal response to a normal fear, or the invention of an abnormal and bizarre fear. A phobia is fear exaggerated. It is fear that disables a person. It is fear that is uncontrollable and unconquerable, it is fear that totally takes control of a person so that they cannot function normally. Such phobia leads to paranoia, panic attacks, and various kinds of deviant and anti-social behavior.
When you look at people and examine what they’re afraid of, it’s quite amazing. Ann Landers, interestingly enough, through all the years accumulating her mail, has listed what people are afraid of. She’s got a list of the things people fear most. She says, “First of all, there are very bizarre fears about which people have written me, such as the fear of falling into the toilet, the fear of certain colors, the fear of being buried alive, or the fear of calling someone by his given name. But the most common fears, according to my mail…she said…are the following: animals, bees, being alone, being stared at, blood, blushing, cancer, cats, choking, corpses, crowds, darkness, death, deformity, demons, dirt, dogs, dreams, elevators, enclosed space, flying, germs, height, horses, illness, insanity, insects, lightning, mice, nakedness, noise, pain, poverty, pregnancy, robbers, school, sexual intercourse, sleep, smothering, snakes, spiders, strangers, surgical operations, syphilis, thunder, travel, vomiting, work and worms.”
Frankly, that list is a list of fairly normal things, just stuff that’s part of life. But it is amazing how people have phobias about normal things as well as inventing bizarre things like fearing certain colors and so forth. People all fear all kinds of things. They fear normal things abnormally and they fear abnormal things. But rarely are they afraid of what they really ought to be afraid of…rarely.
In Hebrews chapter 10, let me read you a verse, you don’t need to look it up, Hebrews 10:31. “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” The prior verse says, “God said vengeance is Mine, I will repay, the Lord will judge His people.” Now that is something people ought to be afraid of. Cats and dogs and mice and lightning and noise and pain and pregnancy, those are minimal, those are the normal issues of life. If people are going to have a phobia, if they’re going to have an uncontrollable, debilitating, disabling, exaggerated, unconquerable fear, let it be the fear of falling into the hands of the living God.
In Luke chapter 12 there is a familiar statement that follows this same thought. Luke 12:5, “I will warn you whom to fear.” Jesus is talking. I want to tell you who to fear. In the verse before He said, “Don’t be afraid of those who kill the body, don’t be afraid of anything that could harm you physically, let me tell you who to fear. Fear the One who after He has killed has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him.” Who’s that? That’s God. Fear God. With all of the phobias and all of the fears that people have, here’s one they rarely have, but should have.
And, in fact, I sometimes wonder if the church isn’t busy today trying to make sure they don’t have it. Trying to make them feel that God is a benign grandfather who is this all time, ultimate, cosmic good guy. Jesus knew His Father well, He said fear Him. Because after He’s killed, He has the authority to cast you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him.
Let me tell you something. We just read, you can go back to Revelation 6, we just read about a day when everybody will have that fear. They’ll have it to the phobia category. It will be the ultimate paranoia, it will be the universal panic attack. There is coming a day when the world will all have the same debilitating, uncontrollable, disabling, unconquerable phobia, a fear so overpowering that they will be scared to death.
What do you mean by that? Jesus said of that coming day, in Luke 21:26, you want to write that down, Luke 21:26, Jesus said, “Men will faint from fear.” Men will faint from fear. The word “faint,” apopsucho in Greek, appears only in that verse. You know what it means? To die…to literally breathe out their last. When that day comes there will be such fear that people will be scared to death. Some will die on the spot. They will die from sheer terror because they will realize they have fallen into the hands of the living God, it is His day of wrath and that is so terrifying it will stop their hearts. And those who survive the initial fear will cry for the rocks to crush them to death before they have to face God, as if that could be a means of escape.
What is it that could cause this level of panic? It is the sixth seal being opened. And the dominant force you see here is fear. Now at least for tonight I want to speak to you about the reason for fear. Why are they so afraid? And the answer comes in verses 12 to 14. Then we’ll talk about the range of fear, and then we’ll talk about the response of fear.
But first of all, the reason for fear. Let’s see the reason for their fear, verse 12, John, you’ll remember, is in a vision. God is revealing these things to him. And he sees visions that dramatize the future scenes. “I looked when He broke the sixth seal and there was a great earthquake and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair and the whole moon became like blood and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind, and the sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up and every mountain and island removed out of their places.” Absolutely unbelievable scenario…
Continue reading or listen to entire message here.