by Charles Whitaker (1944-2021)
CGG Weekly, November 2, 2012
"I tell you our strength, whenever we have any, is our greatest weakness, and our fancied wisdom is our real folly."
Charles H. Spurgeon
Among the visions given to the apostle John on the isle of Patmos, he witnesses an assortment of people from "the kings of the earth" to "every slave and every free man" hiding themselves under the mountains, saying:
"Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" (Revelation 6:16-17)
Setting: The time of the sixth seal.
Place: A badly degraded planet earth.
Jesus Christ, the Revelator, here quotes the words of some end-time cave dwellers. What do these two sentences tell us about them?
The first sentence is a somewhat illogical command for the "mountains and rocks" to fall on them, hiding them from God.
- In making this statement, the cavemen demonstrate at least some correct understanding of the proximate source of their difficulties. They recognize two Beings as the cause: "Him who sits on the throne" and "the Lamb." This is remarkable in itself, since, to this point, they have seen neither Being.
- The cavemen call one of these two Beings "the Lamb." While they admittedly do not equate the Lamb with Christ, the clear inference is that they understand the Lamb to be Christ, the second divine Person. Incidentally, John makes 26 references to Christ as the Lamb in the book of Revelation.
- Further, the cavemen understand that these two powerful Beings are angry. In assigning a cause to their difficulties, these people utterly shun the voice of the secularist or the atheist. They do not, for example, blame nature for their troubles, like a secularist or his cousin, an atheist, would. They do not say, "We have a real bad weather situation here, but it's just a cycle. Nature will clean up the air and water, and everything will be okay in a little while." Rather, they squarely identify the cause of their present problems on the wrath of the Father and Christ.
- What is even more fascinating is their silence concerning the Holy Spirit. In their dire straits, where their lifestyle has so dramatically changed and where their lives are in clear-and-present danger, they make no reference at all to the Holy Spirit as a separate person of the godhead. The implication of their silence is that they have abandoned Trinitarian doctrine. This is even more remarkable considering the cornerstone status nominal Christianity has historically accorded to that false doctrine. We are left to speculate why these cave dwellers make no reference to the Trinity at this juncture.
The cavemen's second sentence is a question rather than a statement or command. The cavemen, in stating that "the great day of His wrath has come," recognize that their situation is special; theirs are extraordinary times. They understand that they can no more defer the effects of God's ire than they can blame those effects on nature. Their reference to "the great day of His wrath" indicates their at least superficial realization that they are facing the Day of the Lord. In asking, "Who is able to stand?" they recognize that they are powerless to defend themselves against the wrath of these two God-Beings.
In short, the cavemen's comments indicate that they understand God in a substantially different way than do most people in the world today. Consider how many individuals whom we would today classify as "the kings of the earth, the great men" would refer to Christ as the Lamb? How many whom we would categorize as "the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men" know about the prophesied Day of the Lord? Comparatively few. Admittedly, a number of people in America's Bible Belt might use this terminology (though not in colloquial parlance), but most individuals in the wider society, the secularized, cosmopolitan mess we call the Western World, would find these concepts alien to their thinking. Moreover, most of those who are familiar with the concepts of Christ as the Lamb or the Day of the Lord also fervently believe in the Trinity—something our latter-day cavemen do not allude to at all.
What is happening here? These people have listened to the preaching of the Two Witnesses, who started their work at the time of the fifth seal. God's Word does not return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11), and these erstwhile movers and shakers in the world have heeded, at least to an extent. As a result, they have a more thorough—though far from complete—understanding of God and His purposes.
While they do not shake their fist at God, expressing outright rebellion, neither do they admit personal guilt. They express no repentance. While they recognize the existence of the Father and Son, they do not understand that God is a Family into which they can be born. They do not know—or believe—the full gospel. They express no knowledge of the fact that they can develop a personal relationship with God and grow to become like Him. In other words, the cavemen's words are not those of converted individuals, not by any stretch of the imagination.
They still have a long way to go, but they have started on the right path. God has planted some seeds in their minds by the preaching of the Two Witnesses. He may have generated a small segment of mankind who are wise enough to "run for the hills," a people He can use later on as the Millennium gets under way.