The Solar System Events (the sixth seal), Revelation Chapter 6 Verses 12 - 17 (NASB)

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     And I looked when He broke the sixth seal,
  • there was a GREAT EARTHQUAKE, and
  • the SUN became BLACK as sackcloth made of hair, and
  • the whole MOON became like BLOOD; and
These three things along with the next two verses appear to be all one event. It may be that a great impact from outer space will cause the earth (all of it) to shake so violently that volcanoes erupt everywhere spewing ash throughout the atmosphere. This would darken the sun and at night make the moon appear blood red.

When God moves to "talk" to people, these types of natural phenomena appear (Exodus 19:16-25). Also note that repentance and consecration are required before entering the presence of God.

The Old Testament prophets also saw, in visions and dreams, similar events. Jesus refers to the signs to take place in the sun, moon, and stars. Here are a few references: 
     and the STARS of the sky FELL to the earth,
Stars, from a Revelation perspective, are any space objects other than the sun and moon. They may literally be the stars we see at night (hot gaseous bodies like our sun) or planets or comets or other unheated objects. Since this verse is a continuation of the previous verse, this implies that some of the STARS are massive enough that they are not entirely burned up in the atmosphere before striking the earth.

Our astromoners tell us that there is a band of asteroids near the outer rim of our solar system which may have eccentric enough orbits such that a cluster of asteroids would intercept the earth's orbit. Even though space is almost empty, our moon's surface and its many crater pock marks indicate that collisions between orbiting bodies is not that rare. It appears that this is what this broken seal is describing.

     as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind.
While the fig tree in scripture has many symbolic meanings, here it is used as the common example of the impact or force with which the STARS will collide with the earth. This is part of the 'shaking' the prophet Haggai refers to, Haggai 2:1-9.

This portion of the verse also indicates that there will be an excessive wind (globally) generated from the impacts. This seems reasonable in light of our experiences with manmade and natural explosions (like Mount St. Helens, for example, where trees were knocked down for miles around the mountain). Hundreds even thousands of miles from the impact site, the 'ping of unripe figs' will be felt. With an impact this large, large chunks of the earth's surface would be dislodged and propelled to such heights that these chunks will fall back to earth miles from the 'zero ground'. Each of these chunks would then cause its own mini crater and dust plume. Hence, worldwide the sun can be made dark and the moon look like blood.

        And

  • the sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and

  • This is difficult to understand. Isaiah 34:4 indicates the host (stars) of heaven are dissolved and rolled together as a scroll. Apparently, the very hot large object moving through the atmosphere will cause the atmosphere to appear to separate and then fold back in upon itself like a scroll. What is clear from this verse is that what hits the earth has come from above (outer space).

  • every mountain and island (undersea mountain) were moved out of their places.

  • And how was this shown to John? He didn't have the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system. Yet he wrote (Revelation 1:11) what he saw.
    And
    THE POWERFUL
  • kings of the earth and
  • the great men and
  • the commanders and

  • THE AFFLUENT AND HEROS
  • the rich and
  • the strong and

  • THE COMMON PEOPLE.
  • every slave and
  • free man.
    HID THEMSELVES in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains;
So great is the catastrophe that ALL mankind, leaders, wealthy, and just plain ordinary folks will want to hide from the great COSMIC display of wrath. Not even the false security of one's position, Isaiah 47:8-11, will stop this display of wrath.

It is interesting to note that there is no repentance in these peoples wish; they just want to hide. This would indicate that they have made the choice to NOT follow Jesus. And if there are believers during this terrible event, they can be assured that God is still the same (Psalm 102:23-28). The earth may wear out as a garment, Isaiah 51:4-6-8, but 'My salvation is forever'. This event will occur as prophesied, Isaiah 13:9-13.

Be aware, though, this is not just a terrible event; it is testing of things which can be shaken. In Hebrews 12:18-28-29, the things which CANNOT be shaken are those which matter. They are an acceptable service with reverence and awe.

     and they said 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;
This request is also predicted in the Old Testament in Isaiah 2:19-22.

Sin always causes man to want to HIDE from GOD. Just trying to hide from GOD causes distress as Israel found out in Hosea10:8-10. It is clear that as Christ was on the way to Calvary and His earthly death, this retribution was on His mind. He quotes from this same Hosea passage of scripture, Luke 23:28-31. He was/is fully aware of what Calvary means and its place among the seven seals of Revelation.

The wrath of the Lamb appears to be a contradiction. How can a lamb, meek and docile, display wrath? (John 5:26-27). From here on, the "Wrath of the Lamb" is a recurring theme. Look for it!

     for
  • THE GREAT DAY of their WRATH has come; and
    • The wrath of God is revealed from heaven even as this sixth seal shows (Romans 1:18-25).
    • Stubbornness and unrepentance stores up wrath (Romans 2:5-8).
    • There is a wrath against nations (Psalm 110:4-7).

  • who is able to STAND?" 
Even after all the awfulness of the sixth seal judgment, men will crawl out of their caves, see that the heavenly catastrople is over, and want to rebuild on their own strength. Probably many will accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Master and be quickly martyred to join those under the fifth seal, Revelation 6:9.
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 Used by permission."

References to the Revelation of Jesus Christ are in bold italics. All other references are in bold only.