The Great Day of God's Wrath!
by William Dyer
"For the great day of His wrath has come—and who shall be able to stand!" Revelation 6:17
Every man's thoughts run now like Nebuchadnezzar's—with a desire to know what shall come to pass hereafter, or what things the future will bring forth, "As you were lying there, O king, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen." Daniel 2:29
There is nothing in the womb of time—but what was first in the womb of God. Now, this book of the Revelation shows us these three things:
1. The state and condition of the true church of God upon earth, under the power and reign of antichrist.
2. The rise, the reign, and the rage of antichrist in the world.
3. The quiet, blessed, and glorious state and condition of the true church here below, after the ruin and downfall of antichrist, "whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming!" 2 Thess. 2:8
This chapter out of which my text is taken (Revelation 6), shows us seven things:
1. You may see what God's dreadful judgments are, by which he cuts off and destroys the inhabitants of the earth, for their sin and wickedness; they are likened and compared to horses, as you may see from verse 4 to verse 8. Here you have:
a white horse, war;
ared horse, the sword;
a black horse, the famine;
apale horse, the pestilence, or plague, which leads to death.
Horses are creatures which run to and fro—and so do God's judgments from house to house, from street to street, from city to city, from town to town, and from one place to another. "Show no mercy; have no pity!" Ezekiel 9:5
Horses are creatures which are very swift in their motion, they run many miles in a little time. Likewise, God's judgments are also very swift, they do much execution in a little time, "So the Lord sent a plague on Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell dead." 1 Chronicles 21:14
You may also see a proof of this, by what God has done to London, where more than a thousand died in one day.
2. You may see here where all the holy martyrs and witnesses of Jesus Christ are, who have been slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus; they are under the altar, (ver. 9.) that is, under the glorious protection of Christ in heaven, "They are before the throne of God, serving him day and night; and the Lamb leads them to the living fountain, and God wipes away all tears from their eyes," Revelation 7:15, 17.
3. You may see also the cause for which these blessed saints were slain; it was "for the Word or God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ." chapter 6:9.
4. Here you may see that all the saints' precious blood, which has been spilt from time to time by the whore of Babylon, cries aloud, day and night, to God for vengeance upon Babylon, chapter 6:10.
5. You have here the answer of God in relation to the saints' cry, "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," chapter 6:11.
6. You may here see what dreadful and terrible things followed upon the opening the sixth seal, verse 12, 14. "And lo, there was a great earthquake. The sun became as dark as black cloth, and the moon became as red as blood. Then the stars of the sky fell to the earth like green figs falling from a tree shaken by a strong wind. The sky was rolled up like a scroll, and all of the mountains and islands were moved from their places." These are the visible judgments of God, which are come upon the anti-christian crew.
And, lastly, this chapter shows us what will be the state and condition of those men at that day, who are found enemies to God and his people, "Then everyone—the kings of the earth, the rulers, the generals, the wealthy, the powerful, and every slave and free person—all hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!" Revelation 6:15-16
Now this brings me to the words of my text, which shows us the reason of this great out-cry, "For the great day of His wrath has come—and who shall be able to stand?" Revelation 6:17
The words of my text contain two things—a reason and a question.
1. The former part is the ground or reason of this outcry here made by the kings and great men of the earth, together with every bond man and every free man, "For the great day of his wrath has come!"
2. The latter part is a question proposed about standing at that day, "And who shall be able to stand?"
The point of doctrine, which I shall lay down from these words, is this:
DOCTRINE: That the greatest part of men and women will not be able to stand in the great day of God's wrath.
In handling of this point, I shall show you four things:
1. There are some days greater than others.
2. The nature and property of this great day.
3. Who they are that will not be able to stand in the day of God's wrath.
4. The use and application.
The first great day you have in Jeremiah 30:7, "How awful that day will be! None will be like it! It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it."
The second great day you have in Hosea 1:11, "What a great day that will be—the day of Jezreel—when God will again plant his people in his land."
The third great day you have in Joel 2:31, "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes."
The fourth great day you have in Mal. 4:5. "Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord."
The fifth great day is this in my text, "For the great day of his wrath has come—and who shall be able to stand?" Revelation 6:17
The sixth great day you have in Revelation 16:14, "They are demonic spirits who work miracles and go out to all the rulers of the world to gather them for battle against the Lord on that great judgment day of God Almighty."
The seventh and last great day you have in the Epistle of Jude, verse 6, "And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day"
Thus, beloved, you see, that there are some days which are greater than others, which the Scripture calls 'great days', because of the greatness of the work which God does, and will do, in those days.
2. I shall now show you the nature and properties of this great dayin my text, which is called "The great day of God's wrath!" Oh, my brethren! this will be a very dreadful and terrible day to the wicked, who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness, and put far from them the evil day, which is now hastening upon them.
1. First of all, this day will be a day of ASTONISHMENT to the wicked and ungodly, as it is said, Deuteronomy 28:28, "The Lord shall smite them with madness and blindness, and astonishment of heart!" Oh, it will be with the wicked, as it was with Nebuchadnezzar, who was astonished to behold the works and wonders of God which the Lord wrought for the deliverance of those that put their trust in him, "Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?" They replied, "Certainly, O king." He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods." Daniel 3:24-25.
Oh, sinners! do but see here how this proud Nebuchadnezzar was astonished at the beholding of this sight! Here are three things which astonished this great king:
First, to see the fire, whose nature is to burn and consume, to have no power to seize upon the bodies of these men. Fire is one of the cruelest creatures; it is a merciless creature, and therefore the torments of hell are set forth by fire, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!" Matthew 25:41.
The second thing which astonished Nebuchadnezzar, was, to see the servants of the Lord walking in the fiery furnace, "Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire." These were cast in bound—but now they are loose; now, that the fire should have power on their bonds, and not on their bodies, oh, this caused astonishment in Nebuchadnezzar.
The third thing that astonished him, was, to see their number not decreased—but increased, "Did not we cast in three men bound into the fire? Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and the form of the fourth is like unto the Son of God." Now this astonished this great king. Now, as it was with Nebuchadnezzar here, so will it be with the wicked in this great day. Oh, you who now speak proudly, look highly, and walk contemptuously, it will astonish you to see God's judgments poured out upon you, and his wrath wax hot against you, until there is no remedy. Oh, do but see that text, "Babylon will be a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals, an object of horror and scorn!" Jeremiah 51:37. Thus it will be with the ungodly at that day.
2. It will be a day of TERROR to those who know not God, and that obey not the gospel of Christ!The terror of God will be upon such, as it was upon those cities, Genesis 35:5, "Then they set out, and the terror of God fell upon the cities all around them so that no one pursued them." Oh, you graceless people who now have no fear of God, nor tremble at his Word—he will make you then tremble, as he did Belshazzar, when he beheld the hand-writing on the wall, Dan. 5:6, "His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way!" Oh, you drunkards and swearers, you who despise reproof, and hate instruction, and scorn all God's counsel; know this, that the day of God's wrath will be a day of terror to you, which will make your hearts to sink within you, your countenance to change, your joints to be loosed, and your ears to tingle, when the terrors of the Almighty God set themselves in array against you! Therefore, says the apostle, 2 Corinthians 5:11, "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men."
3. This day of God's wrath will be a day of DISTRESS to the wicked. "I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you—when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you!" Proverbs 1:26-27.
"The great day of the Lord is near—near and coming quickly. Listen! That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. I will bring distress on the people and they will walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their entrails like filth. Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the Lord's wrath. In the fire of his jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth!" Zephaniah 1:14-18
Oh, the distress that ungodly men will be in, in that day, which will make them cry to the rocks and mountains to fall on them, and hide them from the face of him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb! The God of heaven will bring distress upon all the ungodly, and their honor shall not deliver them, nor their gold deliver them, nor their silver deliver them, nor the greatness of their multitudes deliver them—but distress will come upon them, as it did upon Saul, 1 Sam. 28:15, "I am in great distress!" See Luke 21:23, "And there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people!" Can you hear this, and not tremble at it, oh you who are profane?
Fourthly, this day of God's wrath will be a day of great CONTEMPT to the ungodly."The Lord Almighty has purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth!" Isaiah 23:9.
Oh, the enemies of the Lord, and such as oppose his truth, will be then hissed at. Oh, do but see that place, Jer 11:37, "And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwelling-place for dragons, an astonishment, and a hissing!" The Lord will pour contempt upon all ungodly men, who have sided with the whore of Babylon, and drunk of her cup; they will not know where to go, nor where to hide their heads—but everyone will hiss at them, and have them in derision, saying, these are those who said, "It is in vain to serve the Lord; and what profit is there in keeping of his ordinances, and in walking mournfully before the Lord Almighty?" who counted saints to be sots, and godliness to be madness. Therefore will they be contemptible before the Lord, angels, and holy men. Oh, think of this, you who speak proudly and blasphemously against God and his people! Know assuredly, that God will speak to you in his wrath, and vex you in his sore displeasure, "The One enthroned in heaven laughs! The Lord scoffs at them!" Psalm 2:4.
Fifthly, this day of God's wrath will be a day of great DESTRUCTION."The wicked are reserved to the day of destruction; they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath!" Job 21:30. In this day the Lord will destroy both evil people, and evil things, men and their idols, men and their inventions. Every plant which is not of God's planting, shall be plucked up, "Human pride will be humbled, and human arrogance will be brought down. Only the Lord will be exalted on that day of judgment. Idols will completely disappear. When the Lord rises to shake the earth, his enemies will crawl into holes in the ground. They will hide in caves in the rocks from the terror of the Lord and the glory of his majesty. On that day of judgment they will abandon the gold and silver idols they made for themselves to worship. They will leave their gods to the rodents and bats—while they crawl away into caverns and hide among the jagged rocks in the cliffs. They will try to escape the terror of the Lord and the glory of his majesty as he rises to shake the earth!" Isaiah 2:17-21.
All false ways, false worship and false doctrines, shall fall in that day! This will be a reaping day; God will empty the earth, as the prophet Isaiah speaks, "Look! The Lord is about to destroy the earth and make it a vast wasteland. He devastates the surface of the earth and scatters the people. Priests and people, servants and masters, maids and mistresses, buyers and sellers, lenders and borrowers, bankers and debtors—none will be spared! The earth will be completely emptied and looted. The Lord has spoken!" Isaiah 24:1-3
"Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe! Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow—so great is their wickedness! Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision!" Joel 3:13-14
So in Revelation 14:15 the angels are appointed to reap down the earth. "Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe!" Oh, let everyone who hears or reads these sayings, let them hear and fear, and tremble at them! for this will be a day of great destruction to the wicked and ungodly.
Sixthly, and lastly, this will be a GREAT day of wrath, as it is said in the words of my text."For the great day of his wrath has come!" Who may abide the day of his coming? Who shall stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire. Oh, beloved! this is not the day of man's wrath. Men have had their day of reigning and raging, and despising God—but that is over and gone, and now God's day has come! This is the day of his wrath—and woe to wicked, and woe to the whore of Babylon, for the hour of her judgment has come.
Oh, beloved! God's GREAT wrath will be very terrible to the wicked!
1. God's great wrath will tear them in pieces like a lion! "I will be like a lion to Israel, like a strong young lion to Judah. I will tear them to pieces! I will carry them off, and no one will be left to rescue them!" Hosea 5:14. "Consider this, all you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with none to rescue you!" Psalm 50:22
2. God's great wrath will consume them like fire! "The Lord Almighty says—The day of judgment is coming, burning like a furnace. On that day the arrogant and the wicked will be burned up like straw. They will be consumed—roots, branches, and all." Malachi 4:1. "I will pour out my wrath upon you and breathe out my fiery anger against you!" Ezekiel 21:31
3. God's great wrath will swallow up all his enemies! "You will capture all your enemies. Your strong right hand will seize all who hate you. You will throw them in a fiery furnace when you appear. In his wrath the Lord will swallow them up, and his fire will consume them!" Psalm 21:8-9
Oh! the wrath of the Almighty is that which tears like a lion, consumes like a fire, and swallows up like a dragon; and therefore it is called in the Scripture, "the fierceness of his great wrath!" 2 Kings 23:26. "The fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation!" Psalm 78:49.
"The fury of his wrath!" Revelation 16:19.
Thus, beloved, I have showed you the nature and property of this great day, spoken of in my text:
1. A day of astonishment.
2. A day of terror.
3. A day of distress.
4. A day of contempt.
5. A day of destruction.
6. A day of wrath.
3. I shall now come, in the third place, to show you—WHO they are, who will not be able to stand in this great day.
First, such as areopenly wicked and profane, will not be able to stand in this great day. "They will say to the mountains, 'Fall on us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!'" Luke 23:30. "There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil." Romans 2:9.
Oh, you profane ones! You who now wallow in your sins, as the pig in the mire, and eat up sin, as they eat bread, and drink up iniquity like water; Oh! let me tell you, you will not be able to stand in the day of wrath, nor in the day of judgment—but destruction will be your end, and everlasting misery your portion! Oh! that such would but consider these two places of Scripture, "Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is their shame, who mind earthly things." Philippians 3:19. "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
These men may now live with a high hand, and boast, "We have struck a bargain to cheat death, and have made a deal to dodge hell. The coming destruction can never touch us, for we have built a strong refuge made of lies and deception!" Yet, "I will test you with the measuring line of justice and the plumb line of righteousness. Since your refuge is made of lies, a hailstorm will knock it down. Since it is made of deception, a flood will sweep it away. I will cancel the bargain you made to cheat death, and I will overturn your deal to dodge the grave. When the terrible enemy sweeps through, you will be trampled into the ground!" Isaiah 28:15-18
Secondly, such as areignorant, will not be able to stand in this great day of God's wrath. "When the Lord Jesus appears from heaven, he will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who do not know God and on those who refuse to obey the Gospel our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power!" 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9. Oh, you who are ignorant of God and his gospel—do you hear this? You are some of those who will not be able to stand in this great day—but say to the rocks, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb!"
Beloved, ignorance is one of those cursed sins that bars and bolts Christ out of the heart; it is that which shuts them out from having mercy and favor with the Lord. Isaiah 27:11, "They are a foolish and stupid nation, for its people have turned away from God. Therefore, their Maker has no compassion on them, and their Creator shows them no favor.''
Thirdly, such as havesided with antichrist against Christ, will not be able to stand in this great day. Such as have drunk of the whore's cup of fornication, shall drink of the cup of God's indignation, which is poured out without mixture! "A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath! He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name!" Revelation 14:9-11 . Oh, beloved! all those who have been partakers with her in sinning—shall be partakers with her in suffering! Therefore, "come out of her my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues!" Revelation 18:4.
All that cursed brood of Rome, with all its hellish crew, will not be able to stand in this great day of God's wrath—but will be consumed like fuel, and devoured as fully dry stubble! "Why are you scheming against the Lord? He will destroy you with one blow; he won't need to strike twice! His enemies, tangled like thornbushes and staggering like drunks, will be burned up like dry stubble!" Nahum 1:9-10. So that all who have assisted antichrist against Christ, against his government, against his gospel, against his Spirit, against his worship, against his ministers, against his members, and against his glorious cause—I say, they will not be able to stand in this great day of God's wrath—but "cry to the rocks and the mountains to fall on them, and to hide them from the face of him who sits upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb!" Revelation 6:16.
Fourthly, such as have only aform of godliness, but deny its power, will not be able to stand in this great day of God's wrath! 2 Timothy 3:5. All idle and slothful professors, who have nothing of God, nor anything of Christ, nor anything of the Spirit, nor anything of the power of the Word in them—who having only a notional or formal profession; such, I say, will not be able to stand in this great day.
Romans 2:17-20, "Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth." But mark what God says to such, "You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it. No wonder the Scriptures say–the Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you!" Romans 2:23-24
Oh! are there not many among us who profess God in words—but deny him in works; who have a name to live—but are dead; who have a form
of godliness—but not the power; who have and external religion—but not an internal piety! Like those spoken of by Christ, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" Matthew 7:21-23
Fifthly, such as areidle shepherds, and blind guides, will not be able to stand in that great day of God's wrath—but will "cry to the rocks and mountains to fall on them, and to hide them from the wrath of him who sits on the throne, and from the face of the Lamb!"
"Prophesy against the shepherds, the leaders of Israel. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord: What sorrow awaits you shepherds who feed yourselves instead of your flocks. Should not the shepherds feed their sheep? You drink the milk, wear the wool, and butcher the best animals—but you let your flocks starve! You have not taken care of the weak. You have not tended the sick or bound up the injured. You have not gone looking for those who have wandered away and are lost!" Ezekiel 34:2-4.
"Even the priests and prophets are ungodly, wicked men. I have seen their despicable acts right here in my own Temple, says the Lord. Therefore, the paths they take will become slippery. They will be chased through the dark, and there they will fall. For I will bring disaster upon them at the time fixed for their punishment. I, the Lord, have spoken!" Jeremiah 23:11-12.
"The more priests there are—the more they sin against me. They have exchanged the glory of God for the shame of idols. When the people bring their sin offerings, the priests get fed. So the priests are glad when the people sin! Like people—like priests. So now I will punish both priests and people for their wicked deeds!" Hosea 4:7-9.
Mark also what our Lord Jesus Christ says of idle shepherds, and blind guides, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to! For a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you shall receive the greater damnation!" Matthew 23:13-14.
Thus you see, beloved, that the Scriptures with open mouth—speak forth the desolations and calamities which will befall false shepherds, and blind guides in that day. If they cannot stand when his wrath is kindled but a little, oh! what will they do when wrath shall come upon them to the upmost, even the fierceness of his wrath? Then will they not be able to stand.
Sixthly, such as arehypocrites, will not be able to stand in this day of God's wrath—but desire, if it were possible, to hide themselves, in the dens and caves of the earth! "The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the hypocrites! Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?" Isaiah 33:14.
"Such is the destiny of all who forget God; the hypocrite's hope shall perish. What he trusts in is fragile; he is leaning on a spider's web—but it gives way; he clings to it, but it does not hold!" Job 8:13-15.
Oh, you hypocrite, whoever you are, notwithstanding you have got the talking part of religion, and make a show of godliness—yet all this while you are a hypocrite in your heart! God hates hypocrisy, and will punish them with great punishments! "He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth!" Matthew 24:51. Do you hear this, you who are hypocrites?
Seventhly, and lastly,all who do not love the Lord Jesus Christ in truth and sincerity, will not be able to stand in this day of God's wrath! Whether they are Turks or Jews, Papists or Protestants, bond or free—if they do not love the Lord Jesus Christ, they will not be able to stand! 1 Corinthians 16:22, "If anyone does not love the Lord, that person is cursed!" Oh, beloved, all those who shall be found unbelievers, unconverted, and unregenerate in this day or God's wrath—be they kings, or great men, or rich men, or nobles, or mighty men—they shall cry to the mountains, and rocks, saying, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb—for the great day of his wrath has come!"
Thus, beloved, I have showed you briefly, in seven particulars, who they are, who will not be able to stand in the day of God's wrath.
1. The openly wicked.
2. The ignorant.
3. Those who side with antichrist against Christ.
4. The formal professor.
5. The idle shepherds and blind guides.
6. The hypocrites.
7. All who do not love the Lord Jesus Christ.
Objection: But, beloved, it may be you will say, If none of these are able to stand, who then will?
Answer. I answer, All those who shall be found having on their wedding garments, and in the Spirit of the Lamb, will be able to stand in this day, and they are these:
1st, those who overcome, Revelation 2:11, 3:21, 12:11, 21:7.
2nd, those who keep the commandments of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, Revelation 12:17, 1:9.
3rd, those who stand with the Lamb, Revelation 14:1, 17:14.
4th, those who have their Father's name written in their foreheads, Revelation 14:1.
5th, those who sing a new song, Revelation 14:3.
6th, those who are redeemed from the earth, Revelation 14:3.
7th, those who follow the Lamb wherever he goes, Revelation 14:4.
8th, those who are not defiled with the pollutions of the whore of Babylon, and in their mouths is found no lies, Revelation 14:5.
Now, beloved, these are those who will be able to stand in that great day of God's wrath, when others will not be able—but call "to the mountains and the rocks—Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!"
I shall now proceed, in the fourth place, to the use andPRACTICAL APPLICATION of the point.
Use 1. INFORMATION.
If it is so, that the greatest part of men and women will not be able to stand in this great day of God's wrath—then this may inform us of three things:
1. As men have had their day—so God will have his day.Men have had their day of sinning—God will have his day of punishing. Men have had their day of treasuring up wrath—God will have his day of pouring out of his wrath. Men have had their day of defiling—God will have his day of refining. Men have had their day of fornication—God will have his day of indignation. "The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done—so it will be done to you. All your evil deeds will fall back on your own heads!" Obadiah 1:15.
2. Though God bears with sinners in the day of his patience—yet he will not bear with them in the day of his wrath! "Go through the city, and smite. Show no mercy; have no pity!" Ezekiel 9:5. Oh, beloved! in the day of God's patience he bears with you, and waits to be gracious. Oh, how many hundred years has God borne with the whore of Babylon, notwithstanding of her great provocations and wickedness? But now in the day of his wrath, the Lord will not spare her, nor show pity on her—but pour out his wrath and indignation upon her to the utmost! "Therefore, these plagues will overtake her in a single day—death and mourning and famine. She will be completely consumed by fire, for the Lord God who judges her is mighty!" Revelation 18:8.
Oh, see that terrible word, "The Lord will march forth like a mighty man; he will come out like a warrior, full of fury. He will shout his battle cry and crush all his enemies! For a long time I have kept silent, I have been quiet and held myself back. But now, I will destroy and devour at once!" Isaiah 42:13-14.
Do you see this, sinners, how God is resolved to proceed against you in the day of his wrath, though he bears with you in the day of his patience!
3. This day of God's wrath will be a very dreadful and terrible day to the wicked, as appears by what has already been said. Oh, sinners! it will be a day of astonishment, a day of terror, a day of distress, a day of contempt, a day of destruction, a day of wrath! Oh! it will be "a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds, and thick darkness," Joel 2:2. "The great day of the Lord is near— near and coming quickly. Listen! The cry on the day of the Lord will be bitter, the shouting of the warrior there. That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness!" Zephaniah 1:14, 15. Oh, who is able to express the terror of the Almighty, in the day of his wrath! Oh, that every soul that hears me this day, would lay it to heart, and consider with themselves, that they may be able to stand in this day of God's wrath. So much for this use of information.
Use 2. EXAMINATION and self-trial."Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves." 2 Corinthians 13:5. Oh friends! how much does it concern you and I to examine our standing, that we may be able to stand in the day of God's wrath, which is coming so fast upon us.
Oh, you see, how that his wrath is but a little kindled, and yet how hard a matter it is for men to stand, and to abide it! Thousands have been sent to their graves by our recent 'plague', and many hundreds have left their habitations because of it, and are fled out of the city into several parts of this kingdom for refuge. Oh, what a sad and doleful place has this city been for several weeks past! The greatest trade which had been here among us, was to bury the dead, and attend the sick. Oh now, my brethren, if this little be so much—what will it be when the great day of his wrath is come? Who will then be able to stand?
Oh, therefore, examine yourselves, and try yourselves!
Examine your faith, whether it is true!
Examine your knowledge, whether it is sanctified!
Examine your hope, whether it is purified!
Examine your love, whether it is sincere!
Examine your evidences, whether they are sound!
Examine your hearts, whether they are gracious!
Examine your desires, whether they are holy!
Examine your ends, whether they are right!
Examine your lives, whether they are heavenly!
And all that you may be able to stand in the day of God's wrath, in the day of death, and in the day of judgment!
Use 3. EXHORTATION.I hope you will not think the time long—for this may be the last sermon that I may preach, or you may hear. Well, beloved, is it so, that the greatest part of men and women will not be able to stand in the great day of God's wrath? Let me therefore to exhort you to these three things:
First, Let me therefore to exhort you who are lost sinners, to repent of your sins. "He who conceals his sins shall not prosper—but whoever confesses and renounces them shall find mercy. Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord—but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble." Proverbs 28:13-14
Oh, sinners! you have grievously sinned against God! You have deserved as many hells as you have committed sins! You have sinned against his mercies! You have abused his patience! You have resisted his Spirit! You have disobeyed his gospel! You have made light of his ministers, and have hated his members. Oh, sinners! all this have you done—and yet the Lord has spared you. And though you have sinned at so high a rate—yet God does give you space to repent. Oh, let his goodness lead you to repentance, that you do not die in your sins. Oh, therefore, consider what I say! Why will you die—seeing God will have you live? Why will you damn yourselves? Why will you go to hell—seeing God would have you go to heaven?
Oh, do but see what the Lord says, "Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." Isaiah 1:18. Truly, if you have not hearts of stone, methinks these words should melt you—to see the love, the pity, the mercy, and willingness of God to do your souls good.
Secondly, Let me exhort you to get a saving interest in the Lord Jesus, that you may be able to stand in the day of his wrath. Oh, sinners! there will be no standing before Christ without a saving interest in Christ. Oh sinners! go to Christ, his promises are open to you, his arms are open to embrace you, his Spirit is ready to assist you, and his people to own you, and his angels are ready to attend you, and heaven itself is ready to receive you! Oh, sinners! if you will but come to Christ, you shall be reconciled to the Father, justified by the Son, sanctified by the Spirit, delivered from eternal wrath, and made the children of God! And, finally, you shall be received into everlasting glory at the end of your days! Oh, therefore, let this prevail with you to go to Christ, for light, for life, for grace, for strength, and for comfort and peace, that "From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another." John 1:16.
Thirdly, and lastly, Let me now exhort you, who have turned from sin, are separated from the world, are espoused to Christ, are reconciled to the Father: to "walk worthy of God, who has called you to his kingdom and glory!" 1 Thess. 2:12. Oh, precious saints! let me exhort you to keep your lamps burning, your loins girded, your lives holy, your hearts upright, your judgments sound, your consciences pure, and your garments unspotted! Do not be troubled at God's dealings and dispensations, though he takes your precious godly relations away from you. For as he sends the wicked to hell, that they may dishonor him no more—so he takes away the righteous to heaven, that they may glorify him more. There seems to be four reasons why God sweeps away the righteous with the wicked, by the pestilence:
1. Because they have finished their work.
2. To save them from the evil time.
3. For the humbling the rest who remain behind.
4. For the hardening of the wicked.
Therefore, O precious saints, you ought to be quiet, and to submit to the will of God, and to say as David, "I was silent; I would not open my mouth—for you are the one who has done this!" Psalm 39:9.
Now, I beseech you, both saints and sinners, to consider of these things. May the God of heaven give you understanding in all things which concern his glory, and your eternal good.