Revelation 6 and Luke 23: Hide Us From the Wrath of the Lamb


Series: “Little Gems from Our Study of the Book of Revelation”

My favorite series on this site is our in-depth study of the book of Revelation. Many of the chapter-by-chapter studies are rather lengthy, and buried within these posts are some very interesting mini studies (in my opinion).  Over time I would like to pull out some of these little gems and present them briefly, one post at a time. They will be added to the “Revelation” page on this site as they are posted. This is the first such post.

Revelation 6:15-17 Is the Fulfillment of Luke 23:27-30

One can learn a lot and gain a lot of insight by comparing Scripture with Scripture, or letting Scripture interpret Scripture. Consider John’s description of the opening of the 6th seal judgment, Revelation 6:15-17 in particular:

I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. 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, 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! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Rev. 6:12-17)

Comparing these verses with an earlier prophecy by Jesus in Luke 23:27-30 is very enlightening:

And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him. But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!’ Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”

  • Question #1: Who did Jesus say would call upon the mountains to fall on them because of His wrath and judgment?
  • Answer #1: The daughters of Jerusalem, and – even more so – their children (note the word “they” in reference to the children).
  • Question #2: When did Jesus say this would happen?
  • Answer #2: During the lifetimes of the ladies who were weeping as Jesus walked past them toward the cross, and during the lifetimes of their children.

In Luke 23, Jesus foretold what would happen to His own people, and to His own generation. In Revelation 6, John saw a vision of the same scene playing out during the great day of the Lord’s wrath. This was not to be a global event, nor was it to occur thousands of years later. It would, and did, occur in the same place where Jesus walked and lived, and upon His own generation which largely rejected Him.

Echoes of Hosea

The same prophecy was once given by the prophet Hosea concerning Israel:

“Also the high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed. The thorn and thistle shall grow on their altars, and they shall say to the mountains, “Cover us!”, and to the hills, “Fall on us!” (Hosea 10:8).

This is one of many indications in the book of Revelation that the judgments were directed at apostate Israel and the “evil”, “wicked”, “faithless,” and “vile” generation that Jesus often spoke against.

The Significance of “The Kings of the Earth”

Revelation 6:15 speaks of “the kings of the earth.” Note that the Greek word for “earth” here (“ge”) can be, and sometimes is, translated as “land.” This can be understood as the Promised Land, i.e. Israel, and there is no doubt that this is the meaning in Luke 21:23, for example, where this same word is used:

But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains… But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people” (Luke 21:20-23).

The expression “those who dwell on the earth” occurs frequently in the book of Revelation, and ample evidence points to this being a unique reference to first century Israel, as outlined in this 3-part series (here, here, and here).

F.F. Bruce on Revelation 6:16 and Luke 23:30

F.F. Bruce (1910-1990), well-known Bible scholar from Scotland, regarding verse 16 in Revelation 6:

“The best commentary on the present passage is found in our Lord’s words to the ‘daughters of Jerusalem’ on the Via Dolorosa (Lk. 23:30).”

(“Revelation” in International Bible Commentary, p. 1608, published in 1986)

Josephus on The Final Days of the Roman Siege on Jerusalem in 70 AD

On July 31, 70 AD, after a five month siege, the Romans succeeded in penetrating the final wall around Jerusalem and burned the temple to the ground. Tens of thousands of Jews were killed, but the surviving Jews retreated to the Upper City of Jerusalem, where Josephus says that many continued to plunder, ambush, and assault their fellow Jews. The victims were too weakened by famine to resist, and quite a few were killed senselessly. Josephus tried to persuade them to surrender to the Romans and spare what was left of the city, but he was only laughed at. Josephus records that some put on happy faces “in expectation, as they said, of death to end their miseries.” Many Jews sought refuge in the caves and underground caverns, hoping to remain hidden once the Romans would reach the Upper City:

So now the last hope which supported the tyrants and that crew of robbers who were with them, was in the caves and caverns underground; whither, if they could once fly, they did not expect to be searched for; but endeavored, that after the whole city should be destroyed, and the Romans gone away, they might come out again, and escape from them. This was no better than a dream of theirs; for they were not able to lie hid either from God or from the Romans (Josephus, Wars, 6:7:3).

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See here for our complete study of Revelation 6:

Part 1 (Rev. 6:1-8)
Part 2 (Rev. 6:9-17)

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9 thoughts on “Revelation 6 and Luke 23: Hide Us From the Wrath of the Lamb

    • Hey Chuck, there were numerous “days of the Lord,” from what I can see in Scripture. Wherever God said, speaking through one of His prophets, that wrath would be poured out on Israel for their unfaithfulness, and that this would be accomplished within a certain time frame, then I believe that this took place as prophesied.

      In a soon-to-come post, I plan to outline how it was prophesied even in Moses’ day that Israel’s last days would be marked by God’s fierce judgment because of their spiritual adultery. Jesus drew on that language when He declared that the blood of the martyrs would be avenged upon His own nation and His own generation. This occurred in the last days of the old covenant age. That is past and done, in my opinion, and does not need to be repeated again.

      Do you see a correlation between Revelation 6 and Luke 23, as outlined in this post?

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    • Hi Val. That’s a great question! I’ve never created one, and I don’t recall any right now. That would be an excellent resource, though. If you’re able to come up with one at any point, I’d definitely link to it here, or even allow you to post it as a guest writer.

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  1. “Then they will begin ‘to say” That word, begin, seems pretty important to me. My belief is that there are partial fulfillments of prophecy, but until the events leading up to the people crying out for the mountains to fall on them actually happen, Revelation 6 is still waiting to be fulfilled in its ultimate sense. Until then we see the penultimate, but we must not confuse that with the true fulfillment involving all that Rev. 6 says. . And again, Romans 9-11 speaks of a necessary fall of the Jews, leading to a rise of the gentiles, leading to a further rising of the Jews to their Messiah as a nation. Promises like that are in the books of prophecy and they have never in history been fulfilled. Grace called them, Grace chose them, the promises are as sure as the God who made them. Paul unvieled that God had not finished with the Jews. It seems clear to me.
    Thanks for allowing this exchange of views.

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  2. Chuck,

    The “events leading up to the people crying out for the mountains to fall on them” DID actually happen. John wrote about things which were “soon to take place,” for “the time is [was] near” (Revelation 1:1-3). As noted above, Jesus told the women of Jerusalem that THEY and their children would be the ones crying out to the mountains to fall on them (Luke 23:27-30). Josephus describes what happened in 70 AD (see quote in the post above) in a way that reflects what Jesus and John said would happen soon and to the people of Israel.

    There’s nothing in the text suggesting a partial (near) fulfillment and a full (distant) fulfillment.of these things. Certain texts even expressly disallow such an idea, Matthew 24:21 being one example: ” For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, NOR EVER SHALL be.”

    You’re welcome for the exchange of views. It’s a good exercise for all of us.

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  3. Of course, most people for good reason date the book of Revelation as being written later than 70AD, those who don’t have an ‘agenda’ that makes it imperative that it would have been written earlier. Hiding in caves in the hopes that you can squeeze through a bad time and come out later, is hardly the same as crying out for rocks to fall on you and end your life because it is so horrible, death is preferred. Totally agree on Matt. 24:21 the time that is spoken of will be the worst time ever, 2/3rd’s of the Jewish people killed It will be a terrible time, ‘like no other.’ there is only one ‘time of the end’ and I would say it happens at the end, not in 70AD.
    The verses that speak of signs in the heavens and Jesus return would have surely been noted by some great historian, right? (Matthew 24:29-31.)
    But if you want to really prove your point, please simply explain, your views on Romans chapter 11 or refer me to someone who has your view who has addressed this chapter of the Bible.

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