The Coming ‘Perfect Storm’

The six Gloucester, Massachusetts, fishermen were doomed. Colossal 30-foot waves slammed against their swordfish boat, while wind gusts up to 80 knots (92 mph) battered their vessel, scuttling their desperate attempts to save themselves. It was October 30, 1991, and the Andrea Gail was lost. Sudden remnants of an unusual hurricane had created a fierce wind and sea surge. Meteorologists called it the “perfect storm.”

Others may call it a worst-case scenario, where events come together to make things as bad as they could possibly be. The book of Revelation describes such a time—a cataclysmic, seven-year period of judgment that will precede the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom. This coming Tribulation will be the “perfect storm”—a tidal wave of wrath from the Lamb, God, and Satan, poured out on a world of unremorseful sinners.

The Wrath of the Lamb

And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, “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, and who is able to stand?” (Rev. 6:15–17).

The Lamb is the Lord Jesus Christ who was slain as a sacrifice to redeem sinners (5:9). For this act He is worthy to receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing. Since His First Coming, He has extended a gracious invitation to humanity: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (3:20). Many have scorned and spurned His offer.

Yet Jesus was unique:

Buddha never claimed to be God. Moses never claimed to be Jehovah. Mohammed never claimed to be Allah. Yet Jesus Christ claimed to be the true and living God. Buddha simply said, “I am a teacher in search of the truth.” Jesus said, “I am the Truth.” Confucius said, “I never claimed to be holy.” Jesus said, “Who convicts me of sin?” Mohammed said, “Unless God throws his cloak of mercy over me, I have no hope.” Jesus said, “Unless you believe in me, you will die in your sins.” 1

Jesus alone will have the prerogative to open the seals that will release God’s judgments. People will be so terrified they will cry out to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!” (6:16).

The Wrath of God

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth” (16:1).

God’s wrath is no temper tantrum. Rather, it’s His resolute response to sin. Wrote Bible expounder Arthur Pink (1886–1952):

The wrath of God is His eternal detestation of all unrighteousness. It is the displeasure and indignation of Divine equity against evil. It is the holiness of God stirred into activity against sin. It is the moving cause of that just sentence which He passes upon evil-doers. God is angry against sin because it is a rebelling against His authority, a wrong done to His inviolable sovereignty. Insurrectionists against God’s government shall be made to know that God is the Lord. They shall be made to feel how great that Majesty is which they despise, and how dreadful is that threatened wrath which they so little regarded.2

For centuries people have forsaken God for carnality and corruption. Therefore, there will be no place for them to hide from God’s fury. It will hit like a tempest (6:15–17).

The Wrath of Satan

Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time (12:12).

Satan’s successful strategy has been to create a “great reversal.” He has influenced individuals, societies, and nations to challenge everything about God, His Word, and His plans. He has majored in making everything godly appear evil and everything evil appear good. The prophet Isaiah warned about this ruse: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isa. 5:20).

The consequence has been complete ethical chaos in every realm of society, from education to entertainment. Today this corrupt inclination is intensifying and will climax during the Tribulation.

But it will not go unpunished. God has declared, “I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible” (13:11). This punishment will overtake the world like a ferocious tsunami and will involve an evil trinity: the Dragon (identified as Satan), the Beast known as the Antichrist, and a second beast referred to as the False Prophet (Rev. 12—13). Because his time will be short, Satan will be exceedingly wrathful on the inhabitants of the world, especially on the Jewish people (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 9:24; Lk. 21:23).

The floodgates will open wide with the convergence of the wrath of the Lamb, God, and Satan. “The great day of the Lᴏʀᴅ is near; it is near and hastens quickly….That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of devastation and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness” (Zeph. 1:14–15).

All six fishermen perished in the storm of 1991. In the coming “perfect tribulational storm,” two-thirds of Earth’s entire population will perish (Zech. 13:8). Today that figure would be 4.6 billion people.

The great hymn writer Ira Sankey (1840–1908) read about a favorite song the fishermen of Northern Great Britain often sang as they approached their harbors in the time of storm. Sankey composed a new melody for it, and it soon became a favorite during the great evangelistic meetings of Dwight L. Moody. It’s called “A Shelter in the Time of Storm”:

The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide,
A Shelter in the time of storm;
Secure whatever ill betide,
A Shelter in the time of storm.
Refrain
Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,
A weary land, a weary land;
Oh, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,
A Shelter in the time of storm.

There was no escape for the Gloucester fishermen. But there is a way to escape the Tribulation. Jesus said, “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Lk. 13:3). Jesus willingly became the final sacrifice for sin. He died that we might live. He arose from the dead because He is God. And when we place our faith in Him—not in our own good works—He gives us the gift of everlasting life: “The one who comes to me I will by no means cast out. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life” (Jn. 6:37, 47). He is the greatest Shelter anyone can ever know.

ENDNOTES
  1. “Quotes About Jesus Christ” <tentmaker.org/Quotes/jesus-christ.htm>.
  2. Arthur W. Pink, “The Wrath of God,” in The Attributes of God, Providence Baptist Ministries <pbministries. org/books/pink/Attributes/attrib_16.htm>.

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When the Lord Jesus opens the first seal, God’s final judgments will begin. And it will be the end of life on Earth as we know it.

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Beware the Bowls!

The scene is God’s courtroom in heaven. The bowls are about to be poured out, bringing to full measure God’s wrath on sinful humanity.

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