“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.”
John receives a vision that reveals events that will take place between the tribulation of the present day (the six seals – 6:1-17) and God’s wrath that will fall during His second coming (seal seven – 8:1-on).
Here, immediately following the opening of the first six seals, we see a break taking place prior to the opening of seal seven. This break is explained by four angels, who are sent to deliver His wrath, told to delay the sending of God’s wrath that will be revealed in the the opening of seal seven. Much can be learned about God’s coming wrath, and the withholding of it, from this text.
This text runs parallel with 2Pe 3:10-13 which presents the same basic principles concerning wrath of God that falls at His second coming…
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
- These angels are positioned over the “four corners of the earth”.
In other words, they are positioned in the North, South, East and West parts of the globe. This helps us to understand that God’s wrath will be falling over the entire earth, every geographic area on earth will be touched by His coming wrath. That is why the angels are positioned over the entire earth to hold back the wrath that is to come.
2 Peter 3:10 – “the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
- These angels will hold back the “four winds” of God’s wrath.
God’s wrath is being symbolized in this passage as “four winds”. This helps us to understand that God’s wrath will devastating and come quickly and unexpectedly. Although wind is invisible, it exists in every area of the world and brings great destruction quickly and without warning (tornadoes, whirlwinds etc)
2 Peter 3:10 – “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night;”
- The angels are holding back God’s wrath from falling upon “the earth”, “the sea”, and “the trees”.
God’s wrath will fall against all creation. It will affect all life that exists on earth whether on the earth or in the sea, inanimate creation, plant life, and by implication animal and human life as well. God’s wrath, when it falls, will result in the entire creation renovated, made sinless, formed into the New Heavens and New Earth, and prepared as the eternal dwelling place for the people of God. No sinful man, or other created thing will be able to escape this wrath that is to come.
2 Peter 3:10-12 – “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeingng then that all these things shall be dissolved,… Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”
When we see the greatness, enormity, and universality of the wrath of God during His second coming, we are reminded of our great need to be certain we have been saved. Although the wrath that He sends at His second coming is severe… think of how much greater will be His eternal wrath sent against all lost mankind for an eternity in the Lake of Fire.
By turning from our sins in Godly repentance, and turning to Christ trusting Him as our Lord and Savior, we will, through His shed blood, be forgiven of our sins and receive the righteousness of Christ on our account. This in turn, we result in our eternal security and escape from His wrath that will fall at His second coming and throughout eternity.
For an in depth look at these sections of the Revelation