“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. For the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to survive?” Revelation 6:15-17
The debilitating fear caused by the disasters associated with the sixth seal will affect all unbelievers. These seven categories embrace all classes of society. “The kings of the earth” refers to the heads of state throughout the world. “The great men” are the high-ranking officials in government. “The commanders” are the military leaders, while “the rich” are those who control commerce and business, and “the strong” may well be the influential. Together, they comprise the elite elements of human society. Ironically, these are the very people who ignored the warnings of God’s impending judgment and persecuted believers. “Every slave” and “every free man” encompass all other individuals. The reaction of the unbelieving world to the terrors unleashed by the sixth seal will not be repentance, but panic. They will finally acknowledge that the disasters they have experienced are God’s judgment. Yet they will continue to follow Antichrist. As a result, God will abandon them. Those who repeatedly harden their hearts will have their hearts hardened by God.
The terrifying events prompt a worldwide prayer meeting, but the prayers are to Mother Nature, not to God. They will say to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” People will be so terrified that they would rather die than face the wrath of a holy God.
The scene closes with the asking of the rhetorical question “Who is able to stand?” The answer is “No one.” This picture, horrifying and frightening as it is, is not altogether hopeless. The church will be delivered from that time (3:10). Great multitudes of people will be saved in the midst of the terrors of divine judgment, both Gentiles (7:9) and Jews (Romans 11:26). But for the rest the words of Hebrews will apply: “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).