Remember that John is deep into his powerful vision. As I read the events surrounding the sixth seal, I find great parallel with the oligarchs of our day. What is an oligarch? The dictionary defines it as “a very rich business leader with a great deal of political influence.” Oligarchs do not run for office; they control those who are in office.
Can you think of oligarchs in our time? Of course you can. We shall not name names.
“When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place” (Rev 6:12-14).
We can imagine great earthquakes. And we have even seen a blackened sun and blood red moon amidst a major dust storm. But stars falling to earth, the sky being rolled up like a scroll, and mountains and islands suddenly disappearing are something beyond. Recently a giant dust cloud formed over the deserts to our west during extremely high winds, and it moved like a light brown monolith, as it breeched the mountains and began invading Denver. It was scary because, for a short time, there was no end of it in sight; it just kept on coming. Eventually it broke up, driven by turbulence. This is the closest thing I can imagine to what John saw.
And John was not alone:
“Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand’” (Rev 6:15-17)?
This calamity came down on everyone in the vision. But notice that suddenly, the oligarchs acted just like regular people – they gawked in shock and then panicked! Would you run into a skyscraper and rush to the top floor during an unprecedented earthquake? Would you then call to the building itself to fall on you? What could make you react that way?
Perhaps I should not speculate, but I can imagine that the oligarchs in the vision saw something even more terrifying than mountains and rocks and earthquakes and stars falling from the sky, so much so that they would rather die immediately rather than face certain judgment. I am guessing that they saw Almighty God sitting on his throne; they saw true judgment targeting them personally; and they saw the wrath of the Lamb, King Jesus, bearing down on them at last.
Oligarchs and all other crooked leaders cannot stand in the face of God. It seems almost as if today’s oligarchs believe they can buy Jesus out and avoid any consequences as they plot to rule the world as one nation.
It is time for the oligarchs to wake up. And the rest of unbelievers should be repenting of their sins now, before it is too late. A gracious Savior and God await them with open arms in response to sincere repentance.
At this point in John’s vision, there is a major “Time Out” before the opening of the seventh and final seal. The Time Out is for a group much different than oligarchs, a group that is easy to forget while traveling through the New Testament.