Saturday, January 6, 2024

Seal Six (6.12–17)


And I saw when he opened the sixth seal. And there was a massive earthquake, and the sun became black like a sackcloth of hair, and the whole moon became like blood, and heaven’s stars fell to the earth, like a fig tree dropping its unripe figs when shaken by a heavy wind. And heaven split apart, like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island were removed from their places.

And the earth’s kings and the moguls and the chiliarchs and the rich and the powerful and every slave and freeman hid themselves in the caves and in the mountains’ rocks. And they said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the presence of the one sitting on the throne and from the lamb’s anger, because the great day of their anger has come, and who is able to stand?’


Cosmic darkness is a common motif in the prophets of the Hebrew Bible, representing the upheaval of a nation during divine judgment. Some biblical texts identify celestial lights as divine beings, and others identify the allotment of divine beings to nations outside of Israel. As such, the motif of decreation implies that the upheaval extends to the divine sphere as well as the earthly one, with Yhwh punishing other divinities.



10.8 They shall say to the mountains, ‘Cover us,’ and to the hills, ‘Fall on us.’


2.21 Enter the caves of the rocks and the holes of the ground, from the terror of Yhwh, and from the glory of his majesty, when he rises to terrify the earth.

13.10, 13 the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light. […] and the earth will be shaken out of its place

34.4 All the host of heaven shall rot away, and the skies roll up like a scroll. All their host shall wither like a leaf withering on a vine, or fruit withering on a fig tree.

50.3 I clothe the heavens with blackness, and make sackcloth their covering.


1.14–16 The great day of Yhwh is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of Yhwh is bitter, the warrior cries aloud there. That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements.


4.23–28 I looked on the earth, and lo, it was waste and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light. I looked on the mountains, and lo, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro […] Because of this the earth shall mourn, and the heavens above grow black; for I have spoken, I have purposed; I have not relented nor will I turn back.


1.6 Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and by him the rocks are broken in pieces.


4.19 ‘And when you look up to the heavens and see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, do not be led astray and bow down to them and serve them, things that Yhwh your god has allotted to all the peoples everywhere under heaven.’

32.8–9 When the Most High apportioned the nations, when he divided humankind, he fixed the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the gods; Yhwh’s own portion was his people, Jacob his allotted share.


32.7–8 When I blot you out, I will cover the heavens, and make their stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light. All the shining lights of the heavens I will darken above you, and put darkness on your land, says the Lord Yhwh.

33.27 Say this to them, Thus says the Lord Yhwh: As I live, surely those who are in the waste places shall fall by the sword; and those who are in the open field I will give to the wild animals to be devoured; and those who are in strongholds and in caves shall die by pestilence.


3.2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?


2.1–2 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near— a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness spread upon the mountains a great and powerful army comes; their like has never been from of old, nor will be again after them in ages to come.

2.10, 11, 30–32 The earth quakes before them, the heavens tremble. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. […] ruly the day of Yhwh is great; terrible indeed—who can endure it? […] I will show portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of Yhwh comes. Then everyone who calls on the name of Yhwh shall be saved; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom Yhwh calls.

3.15, 16 The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. […] and the heavens and the earth shake.

Sibylline Oracles

2.200–202 But the heavenly luminaries will crash together, also into an utterly desolate form. For all the stars will fall together from heaven on the sea.

3.80–84 all the elements of the universe will be bereft, when God who dwells in the sky rolls up the heaven as a scroll is rolled, and the whole variegated vault of heaven falls on the wondrous earth and ocean.

8.232–233, 337–340 The light of the sun will be eclipsed and the troupes of stars. He will roll up heaven. The light of the moon will perish. […] Then in time all the elements of the world will be bereft, air land, sea, light of blazing fire, and heavenly dome and night and all days will rush together into one, into an utterly desolate form. For all the stars of luminaries will fall from heaven

Revelation of Zephaniah

12.7 ‘Who will stand in his presence when he rises in his wrath to destroy the earth and the heaven?’

Treatise of Shem

1.6 And the stars of heaven will be dispersed as sparks of fire; and the moon will be eclipsed.

4.6–9 And in the beginning of the year wheat and barley will be expensive. And winds will increase, then many people will be ill from sties and from coughing and vomiting. And wine will be abundant, but bulls, and sheep, and small cattle will perish, even dried peas will perish. But oil will compensate for them.

Testament of Moses

10.4–7 And the earth will tremble, even to its ends shall be shaken. And the high mountains will be made low. Yea, they will be shaken, as enclosed valleys will they fall. The sun will not give light. And in darkness the horns of the moon will flee. Yea, even the circle of the stars will be thrown into disarray. And the sea all the way to the abyss will retire, to the sources of waters which fail. Yea, the rivers will vanish away. For God Most High will surge forth, the Eternal One alone. In full view will he come to work vengeance on the nations.


13.8, 24–25 there will be earthquakes in various places […] But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

4 Ezra

5.4–5 and the sun shall suddenly begin to shine at night, and the moon during the day. Blood shall drip from wood, and the stone shall utter its voice; the peoples shall be troubled, and the stars shall fall.

9.3 So when there shall appear in the world earthquakes

2 Baruch

48.17 ‘So what is our strength that we can bear your wrath, or what we are that we can endure your judgment?’


23.30 ‘Then they will begin to say to the mountains, “Fall on us”; and to the hills, “Cover us.”’

No comments:

Post a Comment