Understanding Revelation 6:12-17

Image result for picture of scared people hiding in caves

As the picture shows above, we see a opening into a cave. The Bible speaks about this as a refuge for the wicked in Revelation chapter 6. Yet once again we are blessed to now know the meaning and full ramification of this. The Lord’s final message has expounded upon it. It is deep, it is not as we have generally understood it to be. It is bountiful in glorious truth, solemn yet instructional of what lays ahead for those who have and are now–fighting God’s truth.

Let us read our subject text–

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;

And 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:

For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Rev. 6:12-17)

We as Seventh-day Adventists have generally understood this to be of Christ’s second coming. Just as the general whole Christian world has. But God wrote it as Truth, not mankind’s idea of it. His prophets declared His things, not us frail and mistaken prone people. Let us now see what these things really mean.

What is the earthquake, sun darkened, moon as blood, stars fall to heaven?

“The sixth seal opens with the Lisbon earthquake of November 1, 1755.  Following the earthquake the sun was darkened, May 19, 1780, and the moon appeared as blood the following night.  The “falling of the stars,” has reference to the great meteoric shower of November 13, 1833.  Jesus, looking forward to the fulfillment of these signs, said: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” (Matt. 24:29.)  Therefore, under the sixth seal came the signs of the time of the end — the great earthquake in 1755, the dark day in 1780 the falling stars in 1833, and the beginning of the judgment in 1844.” (SRod, vol. 2, p.213)

As our Lord prophesied, all these events are recorded as phenomenal events in our history. The judgment was about to begin in the heavenly sanctuary. A review of all the records of the professing people of God starting with Adam.

What is the meaning of heaven departing as a scroll and every mountain and island is moved out of their places and the men running to the dens and caves?

   “On Rev. 6:14-17, comment is found in “Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 9, pp. 267, 268: ” ‘And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were removed out of their places.  And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bond man, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and 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: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Rev. 6:12-17.) 

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb…. These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’… Revelation 7:9-17.”

   According to the following testimony, Revelation 6:12-17, has a double application, and it is clear that these verses also refer to the time of the purification of God’s church, for the servant of the Lord says, “In these scriptures two parties are brought to view.  One party permitted themselves to be deceived, and took sides with those with whom the Lord has a controversy.  They misinterpreted the message sent them, and clothed themselves in robes of self-righteousness.  Sin was not sinful in their eyes.  They taught falsehood as truth, and by them many souls were led astray.” — “Testimonies for the Church,” Vol. 9, page 268. 

It is inferred, from the testimony just quoted, that they have taught falsehood.  We ask the reader to consider what has been taught by the symbols found in the books of Daniel and Revelation.  For instance, consider the truth brought to view here, as compared with what has been taught for some years.” (SRod, vol. 2, p.213-214)

The message explains more–

“In these verses are pictured the fate, the fear, and the smitten conscience of all who are not able to stand in the day of the Judgment of the living, the great and dreadful day of the Lord — the wrath of the Lamb in the great “time of trouble such as never was” (Dan. 12:1), the day following the appearance of the antitypical “Elijah the prophet” (Mal. 4:5) — yes, the day in which those who have not clad themselves in the wedding garment, are cast into outer darkness, there to gnash their teeth (Matt. 22:11-13).” (Tract 15, p.57)

“..while the first four seals carry us through the periods of the day in which the works of man are made manifest, the last three seals carry us through the day of God, the day in which His Truth and His works are made manifest.

   That there should be a climax of some kind in the Judicial work at this particular point of the Scriptures (Rev. 6:14-17), is not a mystery.  Its being stamped with the events which end the reign of sin, and this being realized by even the sinners  themselves, is a very good indication that during the sixth seal the Judgment of the dead closes, and the preparations for the Judgment of the living begin.  It is the “dreadful day” for the wicked.

 Moreover, as the first phase of the Judgment passes with the sixth chapter of Revelation, the second phase begins with the seventh chapter; that is, it begins with the sealing of the living saints, the first fruits.  It is the “great day” for the  righteous.” (Tract 15, p.57-58)

We want to focus on one area. Did you notice that the above describes the wrath of the “Lamb”(verse 16) written as “arnion” meaning Lamb in Greek? Notice the different depiction of wrath and the judgment given by the Lamb.

“And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.” (Rev. 15:7)

“And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.” (Rev. 14:14-16)

What we want to point out is that unlike the pouring out of the plagues from the wrath of “God”, written as “Theos” –God in Greek, Rev. 6:12-17 and Rev. 14:14-16 is about the church judgment, the wrath of the “Lamb”. Yes, there may be a secondary application as the message says above but the primary application is the church purification.

It truly is a marvelous thing to understand the Word as God wrote it for us. As we put the whole picture together we know as present truth believers that there is to be TWO harvests producing TWO fruits. The 144,ooo from the SDA church in the first harvest, and the Great Multitude from the world in the second harvest. Two close of probations and subsequent wrath of the Lamb and of God.

Let us remember that when the Bible speaks of Jesus as the “Lamb” it is referring to a time of open probation. For it as a Lamb that the Lord sacrificed Himself for us, and that sacrifice is only available to us as Jesus is still able to grant it–as a Lamb.

Rev. 6:12-17 therefore describes the events that will ultimate in the SDA church  purification, the close of probation for the church yet a time of open probation to the world, thus Jesus can still provide His sacrifice to those in the world. John in the last verse 17 asks “..who shall be able to stand?” Malachi confirms Rev. 6:17  and gives  clarity to it —

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.” (Mal. 3:1-3)

If we look closely at Malachi, we see – a) the Lord sending a prophet to prepare the people for His coming b) The Lord suddenly coming to His church  c) The church being purified (refiners fire, fullers soap, refiner of silver d) that the church may finally glorify God in righteousness.

In closing brethren, the Lord loves His church exceedingly. Going so far as to give us a detailed account of the events to take place, warnings that are to help us awake, be ready, and to show others. We should be prudent and prepared now as this is our opportunity. The Word says we must be able to “stand” and only those who know His Word will be prepared.

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