Will the World End on December 21st?

Sermon Series in Revelation # 16 Revelation 6:12-17 

12 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 became like blood,

13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale.

14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

15 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,

16 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,

17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” [1]


Eight different Bible authors talk about the Day of the Lord in the Old Testament 19 different times. The Day of the Lord covers the last days of our planet. The book of Joel probably gives us the most comprehensive information about this planet’s final days in Joel 2. That passage is sandwiched between two calls to repentance and then a promise of forgiveness.

Talk of the End of the World is not necessarily a taboo or negative topic in the public dialogue. Many favorite movies are based on the end of the world. The first movie that really scared my mom when she was a little girl was the 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still. In 1953 The War of the Worlds also pondered the end of civilization as we know it.

This started a trend. Almost every year since the secular world has put out a major motion picture that considers what the world will look like when it all comes crashing down. How will it happen? What will be the signs? Can we stop it? Do you want to know how the movie ends?

I own the movie Armageddon with Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck where they drill an asteroid and insert a nuclear bomb to split the asteroid in half so that it doesn’t destroy the earth. Most end of the world movies finish with mankind saving themselves. That makes us all feel good.

Come to think about it, everything I know about end of the world scenarios I’ve learned from either the Bible or Hollywood.

For instance, I learned from the movie Deep Impact that an ELE is an Extinction Level Event that wipes out all life on the planet.

I suppose lots of people today are wondering about the end of our world because of the Mayan calendar that abruptly stops on December 21st, 2012. Supposedly, there is an alignment within our Milky Way Galaxy along with our Sun and Earth which causes massive magnetic and gravitational disruptions. These abnormal gravitational forces supposedly will tear apart our planet. Did the Mayans know this and stop their calendar on the day our planet will end?

Just for the record, I do not believe these predictions.

I also do not think that we will be wiped out by the West Nile Virus or Swine Flu. SkyNet computers will turn the machines against us. I do not think aliens will try to conquer our planet.

Any Bible student knows that God has a plan for wrapping up human history on this planet in what the Bible calls the Day of the Lord. These End of Times predictions don’t all happen on a single day, but the global awareness will be that the signs point to the work of God. He is intervening within human history for His eternal purposes. It’s going to be God’s BIG Day.

Let me be more specific with a definition. The Day of the Lord is a short period of time when all the inhabitants of the Earth come to understand that God is stirring up an Extinction Level Event in response to the sin of humanity.

Our series in Zephaniah opened with a sermon titled God’s Big Plans. Those Big Plans come to pass when the Lamb unhinges the Scroll of Destiny and speaks eternal realities into motion by the power of His word.

The Flood in Genesis 6 was a foretaste. The Flood was an Extinction Level Event that killed off all the dinosaurs and buried them under tons of soil and mud which fossilized them as we find them today. God intervened and the world understood that it was God’s BIG Day.

God then promised not to use water as an ELE ever again, but God has lots of other options.

For instance, the Weather Channel calls a category five hurricane the finger of God. Most insurance companies exclude Acts of God from their home owners policy and then they make a list of things they can’t insure against. That list closely resembles the Day of the Lord.

The most commonly identified Acts of God start in Verse 12. Earthquakes are on the list.

Now, don’t miss identify this as The Big One that will cut California in half and sink millions of people into the ocean. LOL. Well, that might happen. Maybe Superman will save us from that catastrophe like he did in the movie.

Jesus said that there would be lots of earthquakes toward the end. Matthew 24:7 there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

I remember feeling an earthquake while working in my woodshop in Duluth back in the 2005 or 2006. I was building Tyler’s dresser and around 5:30 in the morning my whole shop began to shake. It was cool.

In verse 14 we have something described which isn’t cool. The crust of the earth becomes unstable. and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Just like the last ELE which brought the mountains down and shot new mountain ranges up, so again, the crust of the earth will be completely unhinged. Technology will fail. The population of the world will experience the End as though they were living in the Stone Age.

And no one will think, “wow, that was cool.” No one will organize the Red Cross or the Salvation Army to go help people. The whole world will understand that this is the Great and Final Act of God. All people will reflect in their mind and heart, “God is doing this! Jesus is coming! Will I be ready?!?!”

You might say that this passage of Revelation should include a spoiler alert. God tells us how the movie ends. God reveals the final plot specifics.

God’s enemies are destroyed. People living a life of faith, repentance and holiness in Jesus will be rewarded. This Creation is uncreated that it might be recreated without the stain of sin.

Second, the Sun and the Moon will look very different.

The debris in the atmosphere will make the moon look blood red. That’s easy to figure. After this earthquake, which will unplug many volcanoes, tons of debris will go into the air and make the moon look red. This has happened before and will happen again on a much larger scale.

But, what about the Sun?

If a huge meteor shower hits the Earth (verse 13), then we can only assume that other planets in our solar system will be hit by the same meteor shower, including the Sun.

This will explain how the Sun keeps it’s ability to warm and provide photosynthesis but looks sackcloth black. Let me explain.

Have you ever seen a bowl of melted steel. If it is pure then the contents of the bowl glow red hot. But if you drop impure metal into that white hot liquid steel, then the dross, the debris from the impure metal separates. The impurity then floats to the surface and forms a black crust over the molten steel until the dross burns away.

Imagine God throwing billions of tons of dirt into the hot liquid plasma of the Sun via a meteor shower. The dirt will separate, float to the surface and form a crust of debris until it burns off. This is why the sun will turn dark black like sackcloth.

When this happens to the sun the inhabitants of the Earth will understand that the end is near. They will understand that God has intervened to judge sinners. They will all know that Jesus is coming. They will all be asking, “Will I be able to stand?”

Third, there will be a cataclysmic meteor shower. 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale.

We sort of covered this already. Let me explain the fig tree idea.

I had a fig tree in Newberry and this happened every late Summer. Late season figs are not protected by the leaves which have already turned color and fallen. When a thunderstorm shakes the fig tree all the figs fall at once. So do “stars” fall on the Earth?

The Biblical word in the Greek language for star is a very general word which covers  comets, asteroids or any other debris that moves in the Heavens. Maybe the debris comes from an exploding star or another celestial body that explodes. Maybe an asteroid field flows through our solar system and pounds various planets and our Sun.

Bottom line, God tells us that a huge meteor shower will be apart of God’s Big Day.

Also, these are not shooting stars which will be fun to watch. This meteor shower will include huge chunks of rock which will impact the crust of the earth and aid in the destruction of our planet. These impacts will throw debris into the air which will turn the Moon red. It will disrupt the glow of our Sun. It will cause wide spread devastation.

Fourth, the atmosphere of our planet will be changed. 14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up. Right now when we look outside on a sunny day we see a beautiful blue sky. What if you looked outside and saw a black sky and stars? What if the change from a blue sky to a clear black sky happened within a 24 hour period? Would that be terrifying?

I am guessing that the atmosphere becomes overly saturated with debris from the impact of asteroids and volcanic activity so that the blue sky changes in some terrifying way. Maybe the explanation is much more simple – we see the stars when the lights are out. If the sun is black during the day time, then the sky is not blue but black just like at night time.

Regardless, this change in the way the sky looks will convince every inhabitant of the earth that the end is upon them.

These Day of the Lord events will cause what we see in verse 15-17.

15 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

Everyone from the richest to the poorest have the same response. Money will not help. Living in a palace, a tent or under the Pentagon in a super secret secure bunker will not alter your response of fear and hopelessness.

Everyone will understand that the crucified Lamb of God is about to appear as a Lion. Their own hearts condemn them. They fear seeing His holiness. They are terrified to look into His eyes and become exposed as enemy combatants to the Father’s plans.

So they look for a way to escape.

In verse 16 they call out 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, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

Do you know the answer to their rhetorical question? Who can stand?

The Bible tells us that the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done Matthew 16:27. We will be able to stand by purifying ourselves even as Jesus is pure. If we live for Jesus and His Kingdom then we will be ready. If we persevere in faith and share the Gospel with others we will be ready.

Some people will not be able to stand. Paul said in Romans 2:5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.

This question is the climax of the passage.

In Joel 2:32, a book that gives lots of details about the Day of the Lord, Joel says And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.

God uses cataclysmic events to get our attention. God doesn’t want to surprise us when He comes back. God gives fair warning so that we might repent and be ready. Have you repented?

This is the way the world will end. God again steps out of the shadows and stands on the stage of human history. It is the Day that the Earth will Stand Still. The War of the Worlds, or Armageddon, will commence and God will wrap up the affairs of mankind on His BIG Day.

Let us prepare now with prayers of repentance and faith. Let’s not be like Adam and Eve who tried to hide from God. We should run to our Heavenly Father who loves us more than we will ever know.

The promise remains . . . “everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” Are you saved? God wants you to be. God takes no delight in the death of the wicked. God desires to add your name to His family tree forever and ever.

May we hear His call and be prepared to stand before His glorious Son. Even so, “Come Lord Jesus!”


[1] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.


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