Wednesday, 2 December 2020
and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! Revelation 6:16
To remember the context, the previous verse needs to be cited as well –
“And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!”
The words here are cited first from Hosea 10 –
“Also the high places of Aven, the sin of Israel,
Shall be destroyed.
The thorn and thistle shall grow on their altars;
They shall say to the mountains, ‘Cover us!”
And to the hills, ‘Fall on us!’” Hosea 10:8
Jesus then cited that passage (Luke 23:30) to the women of Jerusalem as He was being taken out to be crucified. Here in Revelation, the people, from the greatest to the least, are hiding in the caves and rocks of the mountains. In this state, John continues, saying, “and said to the mountains and the rocks.”
The words of Hosea called out for death rather than life because of the terror of the situation the people faced. Jesus says the same thing would come upon the people of Israel when they were to be destroyed in the siege of the land by the Romans. Thus, this is a proverbial statement that is used for times of absolute calamity.
John uses this to show the state of the entire world during the seven years of tribulation that lie ahead. The people will be so terrified that they will call out to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne.” The one who sits on the throne is Christ Jesus, the divine Word of God.
Three times in the book of Hebrews, it says that Jesus “sat down” –
* who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (1:3)
* But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, (10:12)
* looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Saying that He is at God’s right hand means that He is in the position of total power and authority. To sit at the right hand of the throne of God means it is He who is on the throne. Thus, the people of the world will know that it is He who they have rejected, and they will attempt to hide from Him, even seeking to be covered by the rocks and the mountains. Then to parallel what was just said, it restates Christ’s ability to bring judgment, saying, “and from the wrath of the Lamb!”
The statement is paradoxical in nature. A lamb is considered the gentlest of farm animals, and it is the one that needs protection from its surroundings, and even from its own self – being too simple to tend to itself properly. And yet, the Lamb is the one whose wrath they flee from. This is because it is the humanity of Christ Jesus who suffered and died on the cross. Verse 5:5 shows that it is His sacrifice that qualifies Him to open the seals. It is He who has the authority to loose the seals, and in loosing the seals, it is He who then brings forth the wrath of God upon the world.
The world will realize that in rejecting Jesus Christ, and His offer of peace with God, only wrath, indignation, and judgment is left. For them, there will be a double terror. They will not only face His wrath in their earthly lives as they are destroyed among the nations, but they will again face His judgment at the great white throne before they are cast into the Lake of Fire.
Knowing that there is no hope for having rejected Him, it is no wonder that they would want the rocks and mountains to fall on them. There is no place safe from the coming wrath and no place that the Lord’s eyes don’t roam. Understanding this, there is a parallel in the book of Joshua –
“But these five kings had fled and hidden themselves in a cave at Makkedah. 17 And it was told Joshua, saying, ‘The five kings have been found hidden in the cave at Makkedah.’
18 So Joshua said, ‘Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave, and set men by it to guard them.’” Joshua 10:17, 18
These kings hid, just as the kings of the earth will hide in the future time of tribulation, but they know they cannot hide securely. With no other alternative, they call out to the mountains and rocks. Instead of making a plea to the Creator of the rocks before taking the mark of the beast, they now simply ask nature to hide them. But then in a typical contradictory process, they acknowledge who they are hiding from… the Creator.
It is confused thinking by a confused generation that will deny the Creator while simultaneously acknowledging Him. But this is exactly how the world is turning, even now. Peter explains what this means in his first epistle –
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers;
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:12
They know that their lives have been conducted in evil, and they know that what is happening is just and deserved, and so they call out to a secondary force, nature, to hide them from the ultimate force – the wrath of the Lamb.
As a note of doctrine, in order to justify a “prewrath” rapture, it is common to divide up the wrath of these seven years into two periods. This is known as the “prewrath” view. In order to substantiate this concept, and using the words of this verse in Revelation 6 (among other points), this is stated in the commentary from the prewrath view on Wikipedia –
“A side-to-side comparison of the wording of the sixth seal (Revelation 6:12–13) and the signs in Matthew 24:29 announcing the Second Coming of Jesus and the rapture of the Church indicate that they are the same event. Immediately after the sixth seal is opened in Revelation 6:12, the people of the earth, “said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb” (the Lamb being Jesus Christ), indicating that they are viewing Jesus in the clouds. Since all of the people on earth (every slave and every free man) are crying out because of the wrath of God, this implies that all those on earth are unbelievers, and that the believers have already been raptured. Therefore, the rapture in Matthew 24:29–31 occurs after the sixth seal (Revelation 6:12-13), but before the seventh seal of God’s wrath (Revelation 8:1). The church is said to be in heaven as the great multitude (Revelation 7:1 ff.), which has “come out of great tribulation” (Revelation 7:9–17).”
This analysis would then mean that all of the saints of all of church history had “come out of great tribulation,” meaning the first three years of the tribulation period. It completely ignores the fact that an innumerable number of people that are raptured, meaning the dead in Christ of 1 Thessalonians 4:16, were never a part of the tribulation period. This view further mixes dispensations, assuming that “the elect” of Matthew 24 are those of the church, and that Jesus is referring to the rapture in that passage. Both are incorrect.
The various views – mid-trib, prewrath, and post-trib – fail to properly treat the timeline given by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2. They also fail to acknowledge that Jesus never spoke of the rapture of the church. Rather, that was a “mystery” revealed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, some thirty-plus years after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus.
Mixing dispensations, as these views do, leaves a contradictory and convoluted eschatology concerning the rapture of the church and other end times events.
Life application: Don’t mix dispensations.
Lord, surely we think unclearly about who You are and what You have done for us. Instead of holding fast to You and acknowledging you now, we live our lives in selfish pursuit and reckless abandon. But You are holy and deserving of so much more. Forgive us for our transgressions and give us the heart and desire to serve You now and always. Amen.