The Wrath of God: How to Survive

God has been very longsuffering with the evils of humanity, but He will reach His limit and unleash His anger. How can you avoid the wrath of God?

In the sixth chapter of Revelation, the apostle John saw a vision in which Jesus Christ was opening a sequence of seven seals from a prophetic scroll. As the first five seals were opened, John saw great sorrows on the earth, brought about mostly by mankind and aggravated by Satan.

For an overview of the message of all seven seals, see the article “Seven Seals.”

Fifth seal: Tribulation, some to be martyred

As the fifth seal opened, the apostle John saw a scene of a group of people figuratively crying out from their graves, asking God, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:10).

These represent those who gave their lives as martyrs for their obedience to God and their faith in Jesus Christ. In the vision, they are told that “they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed” (Revelation 6:11). They are among the faithful who will be granted eternal life.

This vision indicates that there are some faithful saints who will be required to give up their lives as a testimony to their faith before Christ returns. Jesus called for patient endurance among His faithful people during this time ahead saying, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake” (Matthew 24:9).

Sixth seal: Signs in the heavens announce God’s judgment

Immediately after the events of the fifth seal, the opening of the sixth seal will bring a great earthquake and cosmic disturbances in the heavens. These heavenly signs will terrify the populations of the earth (Revelation 6:12-14; Matthew 24:29-30; Luke 21:25; Joel 2:30-32; Isaiah 34:4).

This will be God’s announcement to the entire earth that He is about to intervene in world affairs in order to humble the nations before bringing the Kingdom of God to the earth.

Seventh seal: The wrath of God

When the seventh seal is opened, God will deliver terrible punishments upon the earth because of disobedience. This punishment will be so severe that it will decimate huge populations (Isaiah 13:12).

People will greatly fear this wrath to come.

After the sixth seal, “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?’” (Revelation 6:15-17).

Elsewhere in the Bible this time of God’s wrath is also called the Day of the Lord. (Read more about this major theme of end-time prophecy in our article “What Is the Day of the Lord?”) The plagues of Revelation will especially come on those who have accepted the “mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image” (Revelation 16:2; learn more in our articles “Who Is the Beast?” and “Mark of the Beast”).

This final period of catastrophic events, climaxing in Christ’s return to the earth, shows God punishing a wayward world that has refused to heed the warnings He has sent.

Sadly, even during this time of punishment, the Bible shows that mankind will not repent of its idol worship, murders, sorceries and thefts. Instead, unrepentant humans will blaspheme God for their suffering (Revelation 9:20-21; Revelation 16:9, 11).

Once God’s wrath begins, it will not end until it has accomplished its purpose. As God said through the prophet Ezekiel, “All flesh shall see that I, the LORD, have kindled it; it shall not be quenched” (Ezekiel 20:48).

The prophet Jeremiah adds, “The fierce anger of the LORD will not return until He has done it, and until He has performed the intents of His heart. In the latter days you will consider it” (Jeremiah 30:24).

Escape from the hour of trial

During this future time of great global distress, the Bible states there will be a group of people on earth who will be spared from God’s wrath. Addressing these people, Christ said, “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Revelation 3:10).

The phrase “the hour of trial” implies a short period of time. In other passages the King James Version translates the Greek word hora variously as a day, hour, instant, season and short time. The phrase indicates that the entire earth will be subjected to a short period of testing, which will include great adversity and human suffering.

God’s protection

Through the prophet Isaiah, God also spoke of refuge for His faithful people during this future punishment of humanity. “Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past. For behold, the LORD comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain” (Isaiah 26:20-21).

Revelation 12 also describes God’s protection of some Christ’s followers in the troubled times just before Christ’s return (Revelation 12:13-16). Read more about this in our article “Place of Safety.”

When the wrath of God is unleashed upon the whole earth, there will be no quick ticket to a place of safety that one can purchase. There will be no secret password to obtain immunity from God’s coming anger. So, what is God looking for in this group of people He will spare? What must you do to be included in this group? The Bible is quite specific.

How to avoid the wrath of God

God is looking for humble repentance in people today! He is looking for people of godly behavior, who regularly call upon Him and who ask to be accounted worthy by His grace.God had the prophet Zephaniah deliver an announcement that pertains to our day. He wrote, “Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together, O undesirable nation, before the decree is issued, or the day passes like chaff, before the LORD’s fierce anger comes upon you, before the day of the LORD’s anger comes upon you! Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the LORD’s anger” (Zephaniah 2:1-3).

God is looking for humble repentance in people today! He is looking for people of godly behavior, who regularly call upon Him and who ask to be accounted worthy by His grace.

Escape all these things

Jesus said to those who would listen, “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:34-36).

After noting that God “is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance,” the apostle Peter warned his listeners that the Day of the Lord will surprise a world that isn’t giving heed to God’s righteous laws.

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. … Therefore, … what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness…?” (2 Peter 3:9-11).

In other words, we need to be living godly lives now if we wish to be spared from God’s wrath that will be poured out on the disobedient.

Be prepared: developing a deeper relationship with God

Hopefully, no one wishes for the wrath of God to come on the unsuspecting populations of the earth and no one wishes to be caught unprepared when God’s punishments come. Certainly God does not want you to be caught unaware! That’s why He sent His prophets to reveal His plans in advance in hope that people would turn and seek Him (Amos 3:7).

The way to survive the wrath of God is to develop a relationship with Him now through faithful obedience to His instructions. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).

Why just leave to chance your prospects of being spared from the wrath of God when He is offering a call to repentance before that great and dreadful day? To strengthen your relationship with God, study the process of Christian conversion in our free booklet Change Your Life.

About the Author

Chris Moen

Chris Moen

Chris Moen currently serves as associate pastor of the combined Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, Michigan, congregation of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association.

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