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[THE LION, THE LAMB, AND THE SEVEN SEALS, CONT.]
[the sixth seal]
John then beholds as the sixth seal is opened, and there was 'a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood.' (Rev. 6:12). An ordinary earthquake does not produce the phenomena described concerning the sun and moon. But there is one type of tremendous shaking that does produce such effects when unleashed on a large scale, and that is the explosion of atomic and hydrogen bombs. When great amounts of dirt and debris are cast high into the air and mixed with massive smoke clouds produced by titanic explosions, the result is the 'blacking' out of the sun's light and also the causing of the moon to appear blood-red in the sky at night. The opening of the sixth seal, therefore, has to do with the first explosion of atomic bombs; but the sixth seal, as with the other seals, continues to carry through until the end. Thus the full forces of atomic destruction, which takes place during the judgment of the seven vials of wrath, is also pictured by the sixth seal. Six is man's number, and thus it is appropriate that the complete effects of man's works apart from God are pictured under his intrinsic number. It is man that unleashes the awful fury of the atom, and it is man's civilization that shall be destroyed by it.
Since the 'wrath of God' is to be visited upon man and his corrupt civilization by the destructive power of atomic radiation and fire power, the inspired writer says, 'For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?' (Rev. 6:17). The great day of God's wrath began when the first atomic bomb fell on a city of the earth with massive destruction (Hiroshima, Aug. 6, 1945), but it will not be consummated until the seven vials of wrath at the close of the great tribulation. This is because a 'hold' order is given, that the angels holding the 'four winds of the earth' might not unleash judgment until the sealing angel has 'sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.' (Rev. 7:1-3). The four winds of the earth' picture the worldwide effects of atomic destruction, for it is the wind action that results from the exploding of atomic bombs which is responsible for large scale destruction. Thus, although the opening of the sixth seal pictures the beginning of atomic fire-power, and also introduces the 'great day of God's wrath.' It also envisions the final catastrophic consummation after the 'hold' order has run its course and the 'winds' are loosed.
So great will be the effects of massive explosions throughout the earth, that the earth 'shall reel to and fro like a drunkard.' (Isa. 24:20). Because of this accelerated and gyrating motion of the earth, strange sights will be seen in the heavens, producing the effect described by the apostle John: 'And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together.' (Rev. 6:13-14). Because of the abnormal movement of the earth during that time of great shaking, great wind storms will be produced in the atmosphere, combining with the wind action of nuclear explosions. Thus the violent atmospheric upheavals, and the phenomena appearing in the starry heavens because of the earth's erratic movement, will indeed make possible that experience described as 'the heaven departing as a scroll when it is rolled together.' The great shaking and twisting of the earth and its crust will also cause the mountains and islands to be moved out of their places. (Rev. 6:14).
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