Adrian Rogers - The Wrath of the Lamb and the Coming Tribulation
Find Revelation chapter 6. Now, folks, in the book of the Revelation we look into the future, and I remind you, only God can prophecy. You don't know the future. Satan doesn't know the future. Only God knows the future. And all we know about the future is what God has revealed. And one of the things that God has revealed is that this world is on a collision course with judgment. And that's not popular, but it is certainly true. Now, one of the ways that God is going to judge this world is to let the world have its own way. And when the world has its own way, when it gets what it wants, it's not going to want what it gets; because there's coming a time that the Bible calls the "Great Tribulation" or the "wrath of the lamb".
Now we're going to fast forward through the book and come to the conclusion and then back up again. But I want you to look in Revelation chapter 6 verses 15 through 16. It speaks of a time that the old spiritual speaks about when it sings and says, "I went to the rock to hide my face, and the rock cried out no hiding place. No hiding place down here". Let's see what the Scripture says, "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, and said to the mountains and the rocks, 'Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne,'" now listen to this next statement, pregnant with meaning, "'and the wrath of the Lamb.'"
You don't think of a Lamb as having wrath. But our study today is entitled, "The Wrath of the Lamb and the Coming Tribulation". Jesus, when He was on earth, warned about a time known as great tribulation. Put in your margin Matthew 24, verse 21. Jesus said, "For then shall be great tribulation," listen, "such as was not since the beginning of this world to this time, no, nor ever shall be". There is coming a time that history has never known anything like, coming upon this earth according to the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, in the book of the Revelation, let me tell you how far we've come. We've seen a vision of the Lord Jesus Christ. We've seen messages to seven churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. That's the Church Age. Then we said the Church Age will end when our Lord comes for the church and takes the church out to be with Him in Heaven. We call that the Rapture.
Now Jesus said of the church we're salt and light. When you take the salt out, putrification begins. When you take the light out, darkness ensues. And so when salt and light go, darkness and putrification come, and we move into a time known as The Great Tribulation, the wrath of the Lamb. And we see the Lord Jesus Christ as He received from the hand of God the Father a scroll. The Bible calls it a book. But in this time it was a book different than our book with a binding, a hard binding. It's rolled up. it's a scroll. And it has seven seals on the edge. And you break a seal and read so much, break a seal and read so much, break a seal and read so much. And we've come to the time of the opening of these seven seals.
And as we open these seven seals, we see the great tribulation as it begins. And that's what we're going to be doing today. We're going to be breaking those seals one by one. And in this chapter we have six of those seals that introduce to us a time when Hell will have a holiday, a time on earth that Jesus said, "There has never, never, never, ever been a time like this time".
Now, I want us to look at these seven seals therefore. The first seal is what I want to call militant conquest, militant conquest. Look in chapter 6 verses 1 and 2. John in his vision says this, "And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard as it were the noise of thunder". Now when you hear thunder you know that a storm is coming. And here the spiritual barometer is dropping low. And the storm clouds are beginning to roil and there's distant thunder. John hears this thunder. And, "One of the four beasts saying, 'Come and see.' And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer".
Now before I go on, let me just say parenthetically, some have asked about these four beasts. Who are these four beasts that say, "Come and see"? Well actually, they are not beasts in a horrendous sense. That's not the Bible word for beasts that's used here. The Bible word that is used here is zoa. It's the word we get our word zoo from. And it means four living ones. And these have special characteristics. Go back to chapter 4 for just a moment. This is parenthetical. But look in verse 7, "The first beast was like a lion, the second beast like a calf, the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle".
Now it doesn't say that they are a lion, a calf, a man and an eagle, but "as". This is all symbolism. Who are these four living ones? Let's call them living ones. It sounds much better than beasts because I think that's an unfortunate rending of this Scripture that says they are living ones. They are zoa. They are, I believe, cherubim, the highest class of angels. And they deal with the grace and the glory and the government of God around the throne of God. And what is the meaning of these things? For example, the first one has a face like a lion. Well, when you think of a lion, you think of majesty. And that speaks of the majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ. And then the second one has a face like an ox.
When you think of an ox you think of servitude and sacrifice. That speaks of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. And the next one had a face like a man, and that speaks of the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. And the last had a face like an eagle in the sky. That speaks of the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. And so you see, these are reflecting the glory of our Lord, His majesty, His ministry, His humanity, His deity. By the way, there are four Gospels; I better get finished with this in a second, because I got a lot to say. But Matthew deals with the lion Christ. It shows Him the King of the Jews, His majesty. Mark deals with the suffering servant. That speaks of the One with the face like an ox or a calf; the crucified Son of God. Luke speaks of His humanity, face like a man; because Luke tells us of the virgin born Son of God. And then John speaks of the Lord from Heaven, that's the face of the eagle. And so, these are ones that reflect the glory of God.
Now let's see what they say. Look at it again, these beasts, they were, "Full of eyes within and without," well, we're back to our Scripture and they say, "Come and see". And look again in verse 2, "And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him". Who is this rider on this white horse that is going to come as the seals begin to be opened? This rider on the white horse, I believe, is the antichrist, the beast, the man of sin who is going to come. Now look at the symbolism here. A white horse is what? A symbol of a conqueror. A conqueror in Bible times, or even today, may come riding in triumph on a white horse. In the Scripture he has a bow in his hand. The bow is what? A symbol of power. And he has a crown on his head, which is a symbol of dominion. So here is someone as these seals begin to open, who comes in pomp and circumstance and power and he is ruling.
Well, you say, "Pastor Rogers, could this be the Lord Jesus Christ"? No. Jesus Christ is shown in Revelation chapter 19 as coming on a white horse to rule and to reign. But who is this? This is the one who would imitate the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the one who is the, not the Christ, but the antichrist. Now that prefix anti means two things. It means, number one, against. But number two, it means instead of. And so he will be the devil's false messiah. He is the one coming to this earth, and there is one coming. Jesus clearly prophesied a false messiah who would come that the whole world would wonder after. Put this verse down, John chapter 5 and verse 43. Jesus said, "I am come in My Father's name and you received me not. If another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive". This world is ripe for the devil's messiah. And he's going to come in like a hero.
You know, the whole world is looking for someone to come in today on a white horse, a hero. And he's going to come. The Old Testament, the Jewish Scriptures, prophesy in the book of Daniel this man who is coming. Put down Daniel chapter 8 and verse 25 speaking of the man of sin, the antichrist. Listen to this sinister Scripture, not that the Scripture is sinister, but the sinister person described in the Scripture. "And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand," that is, he's a man with crafty policies. "And he shall magnify himself in his heart". He's the consummate egotist. Now listen to this statement, "and by peace," now listen, don't miss this.
This is the prophet Daniel, "and by peace shall destroy many". You talk about Orwellian concepts. "By peace shall destroy many: and he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes;" that's Jesus, "but he shall be broken without hand". And indeed he will. You see, when antichrist begins to ride forth, everybody's going to look at him and say, "Well at last, somebody has brought to us world peace". See this man with a bow in his hand, the crown on his head, the white charger beneath him, and the world will worship at his feet. Little children will speak his name with reverence. Men would lay down their lives for this devil's messiah, this antichrist who is going to come. He's riding upon that white horse.
But I want to tell you friend, he's Satan's master man. He will be Satan's superman. He will be all of the Caesars, and the Napoleons, and the Hitlers, and the Stalins, and the Sadam Husseins rolled into one. But the world will follow him. Jesus said, "I've come in My Father's name; you didn't receive Me. When another comes in his own name, him ye will receive". And so the first seal, the first seal is this one who comes. Now let's look at the second seal. The second seal is murderous conflicts. Let's begin reading in verse 3, "And when he'd opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, 'Come and see.' And there went out another horse that was red".
Now white is the color of conquest, but red is the color of blood. "Another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword". And so when a devil-inspired leader appears on the world stage, with ideas of world conquest in his evil brain, war will follow as night follows day, havoc and destruction. And that's the reason that this horse is red. And Jesus warned us that the last days would be days of what? Wars and rumors of wars. The Bible never prophesies the world is going to get better and better, but contrariwise, worse and worse. And we have in our world today frightening stock piles of nuclear weapons, enough to kill every human being on earth hundreds of times over. But we continue to arm and to build.
When antichrist comes, a spirit of hatred will inflame men's depraved hearts. And according to this Scripture, brother will kill brother. Fathers will gladly slay their sons because of the hatred. Without the Prince of Peace, without the Lord Jesus Christ, and without the salt and light of the church, hatred will be unrestrained. Swords will drip with blood. There will be the stench of decaying human flesh everywhere. And the Bible says they're going to slay one another. This speaks not only of wars between nations, but it speaks of class wars, and race wars, and religious wars. Put down in your margin Ezekiel chapter 38 and verse 21, "'And I will call for a sword against him throughout all My mountains,' saith the Lord God; 'every man's sword shall be against his brother.'"
So the second seal is murderous conflicts. Now we're talking about the tribulation time. The third seal, the third seal: meager crops. Look if you will now in verses 5 and 6, "And when he'd opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, 'Come and see.' And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand". That's old-fashioned scales. That's what it means. "And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts saying, 'A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.'" Now the black horse doesn't speak of war, it speaks of famine because famine follows war as night follows day. And this rider who has these scales in his hands, these old fashion balances, talks about food that is going to be measured out, meted out carefully. It speaks of rationing.
Now it says, "A measure of wheat for a penny". Now don't get the idea this is a penny like the copper that you might have in your pocket. It's the Greek word denarius, and it speaks of a day's labor. A measure of wheat is about a quart. It would take a quart of wheat, milled and baked into bread, to feed a man. A penny, a denarius is the wage of a laboring man for a day. Bottom line is what? You would have to work a day for a loaf of bread; a whole day's labor just for enough for a meal for one person. It's going to be a time of limited productivity. It's going to be a time of economic deprivation. Can you imagine what starvation will be like?
You see, why would the starvation come? Well, it's obvious. When people go to war, they no longer till the fields. Transportation that gets food to the needy is immobilized. And so, starvation will stalk the world. A man goes to work, he's fortunate enough to have a job. He's paid enough for one meal. Does he eat it himself? Does he give all the members of his family a little bit so they all starve together? Does he feed one child and neglect another child? Does he steal another man's bread? Little children will die of malnutrition with bloated bellies. Little babies will gnaw at dry breasts. No wonder Jesus said concerning this great tribulation, "Woe unto them that are with child at this time". It's going to be a time of starvation. That's what this black horse speaks about. And then now let's look at the fourth seal.
The fourth seal I call manifold carnage; worse than the war. Look in verses 7 and 8, "And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beasts say, 'Come and see.' And I looked, and behold a pale horse". Now, the Greek word for pale is the Greek word chloros. You ladies use Clorox. You remember about what color it is when you pour it out? A pale, greenish yellow. It's the color of death. It's the color of a corpse. And so he has a pale horse, "And his name that sat on him was Death". But he has some riders who ride with him, "and Hell followed with him. And Power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth".
Well suppose this ensued about now. Fourth part of the earth, with over seven billion people on the earth that'd be over one and a half billion people would die when this seal is opened, this fourth seal is opened. Now here's a chain reaction; first the antichrist, riding upon the white horse. And then war, the rider on the red horse; and then famine, the rider on the black horse. And now, death ensues. Sin causes hatred. Hatred causes war and bloodshed. War brings famine. Famine produces death and after death comes Hell and the judgment. Now, many times the aftermath of a war brings more death than the war itself. When you think of the epidemics and the famine and the cholera and these other things.
Now, look in verse 8. It says here that he has the power to kill with the sword and with hunger and then with death. Doesn't that sound a little bit redundant, "To kill with death"? But the word for death here has the idea not of death, per se, but of plagues. As we would call the plague the Black Death. It's speaking, I believe, about things like biological warfare, anthrax, small pox. And then this verse also speaks of the beast of the earth. Now what do you think of when you think of the beast of the earth? Do you think of leopards and lions and tigers and bears? Well, beasts come in many sizes. I believe one of these beasts of the earth spoken of here, or these beasts, may be rats.
Listen to what David Jeremiah said. Quote: "I have another theory about these beasts since they accompany famine and plagues. The most destructive creature on the earth is the rat. He is a menace to human health and food supplies and the nasty creature comes in more than one hundred species. Rats are extremely prolific producing five or more litters of eight to ten each year. It has been estimated that rats are responsible for the loss of more than one billion dollars worth of food each year in the United States alone. Their fleas carry bubonic plague, which destroyed one third of the population of Europe in the fourteenth century. Typhus killed an estimated 200 million people in four centuries. The disease was transmitted by rat fleas". To kill with the beasts of the earth. Whatever. During this time there is going to come decimation by death.
Now we open the fifth seal. What's the fifth seal? The four horsemen have ridden forth. The fifth seal now is martyred Christians. Chapter 6 verses 9 through 11, "And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, 'How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?' And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled".
These are martyrs who died during the Tribulation. These are not the saints who've already been raptured and taken to Heaven. There will be souls saved during the Great Tribulation. If Jesus Christ were to come today and the church is taken out, there will be people here on this earth as we're going to see in the next study, multiplied thousands and millions who are going to come to Christ in the world's great revival after the Tribulation. But these people will pay a great price when they turn to God in the Great Tribulation. When they refuse to take the mark of the beast, they will become the center of Satan's consummate hatred and the object of Satan's wrath. And Jesus said in Matthew chapter 24, speaking of the same thing, "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted and shall kill you and you shall be hated of all nations for My name's sake".
It's going to be a time of great persecution for these saints in the Tribulation. And by the way, do you know the chief weapon that Satan will use during that time is going to be the guillotine? Or if not the guillotine, at least decapitation. Well, notice what the Bible says is going to happen in this time. The guillotine is going to be the instrument. Revelation 20 verse 4, put it in your margin, "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years".
Now Satan can take off their head, but he can't destroy their soul. That's the reason Jesus said in Matthew chapter 10 verse 28, "And fear not them which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul. But rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell". Point being, however, that in the Tribulation there will be those who will turn away from Satan and his lies, will refuse the mark of the beast, will not bow down and worship his image, they will be martyred and put to death.
Now some of you are saying, "Well, Pastor Rogers, if people are going to be saved in the Great Tribulation, and I live here in the Church Age, and I don't receive Jesus till the Rapture comes and all the Christians go, then I'll know it's alright, and I'll receive the Lord Jesus Christ then". No you won't. You will believe a lie. Anybody who has heard the truth and turned from the truth, Second Thessalonians the second chapter says, "God will send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie". If there is anybody here who is saying, "I'm going to wait and see how it all works out and then maybe I'll give my heart to Jesus," you're very foolish. Give your heart to Christ. You will believe the devil's lie as surely as I'm standing here if you openly, knowingly, willingly refuse Jesus Christ in this day and in this age. We'll say more about that later on. But the fifth seal, martyred Christians.
Now the sixth seal, and we've got to hurry. The sixth seal is what I want to call massive cataclysms. Look if you will now, beginning in verse 12, "And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of Heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the Heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places". There are going to be severe disorders on earth and in space and the forces of nature are going to be let loose upon the ungodly. Very interesting.
Those who are left here in the great tribulation are those who have spurned and refused the Lord Jesus Christ. They wanted nothing to do with Him. But the Bible says of the Lord Jesus, "By Him all things consist". By Him all things hold together. Now suppose He just relaxes His grip on nature just a little bit. There's going to be a great earthquake of such magnitude, according to these verses, that it is felt around the world. There's going to be darkness. The light of the sun will be shut out. The moon will hang in the sky like a clot of blood. And the stars will fall to the earth. Now we know that one star is of greater magnitude than the earth. The word star has the idea of a heavenly body. But, there're going to be meteorite showers and asteroids are going to hit the earth.
You say, is that possible? The last asteroid to damage the earth occurred in a sparsely populated region of Siberia in 1908. Seven hundred square miles of forestland was devastated. In 1994 an asteroid came within 64,200 miles of the earth. And the scientist that I read after said if this had landed, for example if it had hit, take a city like San Francisco, in the San Francisco Bay area, there would be nothing but utter devastation in a 100-mile radius. But then he said if it landed not there, but in the ocean, it would be even more devastating; that it would ruin the entire Pacific Ocean basin, and with great tidal waves and flooding that would come.
Now you understand what we're talking about when we're talking about a quarter of the earth's population. If you want to plan to go through the Great Tribulation, help yourself. But friend, I'm up, up, and away. I don't want to be here when this happens. Now in verse 14 it speaks of the heavens departing like a scroll. I read about a nuclear blast. Do you know what a nuclear blast does in the atmosphere? It pushes the air out and causes a vacuum. And then the air rushes back in to that vacuum and the heavens just roll up upon themselves. The Bible is not as far-fetched as some people think that it is. There's coming a day when these seals are going to be opened one by one. And when all of that happens, then we come back to the verse we started with.
There's going to be a colossal prayer meeting, "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". They go underground, "And said to the mountains and the rocks, 'Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.'" Now isn't it amazing? They reject the Rock of Ages and pray to the rocks. You would think that they'd be praying to God. But here they are praying to the forces of nature! To the rocks! And the mountains.
Again I remind you, it's that time we read about. "I went to the rock to hide my face and the rock cried out no hiding place". "And, oh, what a weeping and wailing when the lost are told of their fate. They prayed for the rocks and the mountains. They prayed, but their prayer was too late". "Pastor Rogers, are you trying to frighten me"? You've got it. Yes! You say, "Well I don't believe in a religion built on fear". May I tell you the Bible says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom".
We have a generation of people who strut through the earth. Most Americans are egomaniacs, strutting to Hell, thinking they are too good to be damned. I am telling you on the authority of Jesus Christ, there is a time coming on this earth called the Great Tribulation. Jesus said, "There's never been a time like it". But the Bible says, "God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ". Thank God, thank God there is a way out and it's the way up. It's Jesus. May I ask you this question? I'm not asking are you a Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Jewish or anything else. Do you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Do you know the Lamb? He's also the Lion. And you need to worship Him.
Would you bow your heads in prayer? Heads are bowed and eyes are closed. And friend, how would you like to have peace with God? How would you like to know that your past is forgiven, your present is secure and your future is wonderful? You can know that. There's only way and that's to receive Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. Would you like to receive Him? He's knocking at your heart's door. He loves you. God brought you here to hear the Gospel. What is the Gospel? That Christ died for your sins. He paid for your sins on that bloody cross. He was your substitute, the God Man. He took your sin to Calvary and He's paid the sin debt. And if you will receive Him, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow. And though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Would you pray this prayer? Pray it, friend, pray it from your heart.
Dear God, I know that You love me. I know that You want to save me. Jesus, You died to save me and You promised to save me if I would trust You. I do trust You. I open my heart. Now, I receive You by faith as my Lord, my Savior, my Messiah. Come into my heart. Forgive my sin. Save me Lord Jesus. Thank You for doing it. I trust You to do it. And begin now to make me the person You want me to be and help me never to be ashamed of You. In Your name I pray, Amen.