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Revelation 6.12-17 – The Conclusion of History and Judgment
Posted: 21 March 2013 in Revelation

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?

I suppose that it can more or less be taken for granted that Revelation was originally(!) written as a tirade against the Roman Empire. I do not, however, see how that must necessarily commit anybody to a preterist understanding of Revelation. To suppose that it must is to suppose that the thought processes of the human and divine authors were the same. That is not necessarily the case, and of course it is the divine author whose intentions are important for us today. If God had wanted to give us a history lesson, he could have done so in language a lot less cryptic than that to be found in Revelation.

Instead, what is to be found in Revelation, admittedly in highly symbolic language, is a description of what awaits men when God finally decides to wind up history, and they are directly exposed to divine omnipotence and majesty in all its glory. The ancient belief that death awaits anybody who sees God is not totally without foundation, and well might men seek to “hide themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains”.

The answer to the last question quoted in the psaage must be nobody is worthy to stand before God. All men are sinners, and all men are worthy of the eternal punishment which will await some. Only the divine mercy will spare others – to the glory of God. What is certain is that there will be no atheists on that day, and, although it is a hard thing to say, there will be no members of other religions either. They will face judgment, and eternal damnation, not because they were more wicked or evil than other men – Ghandi is repeatedly held up as the archetype for those who are not. They will face judgment, and its consequences, because only Christ is able to save us from the righteous wrath of God – merited by all men, without exception.

Whether we like it or not, and it is easy not to like it, God’s standards of righteousness are higher than ours. Furthermore, the Sovereign Lord of all Creation has no need to justify himself to us. And we, his impudent creatures, have no right expecting him to. If God reveals something to be his will, then that must be sufficient. We have no invitation to debate the governance of the universe with our Lord God.

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