SCRIPTURE STUDY: Revelation 6:1-17
SINNER MAN –
I first heard this song on the car radio the year after my wife and I were married, in 1965. I was struck by the question in the lyric, “Sinner Man, Where You Gonna Run To?” I discovered later that the song originated from an African American spiritual song that had been recorded by a number of performers (Bob Marley, Peter, Paul and Mary, Les Baxter and more).
The lyrics go on telling the story with…He [the sinner man] runs to the rock, to the sea, to the Lord and ultimately to Satan because he comes face to face with the wrath of God and he’s so frightened he’s looking for ANY way to avoid God’s anger. But there’s nowhere to run and nowhere to hide because he had rejected God for so long there was no longer hope.
I thought to myself, now where would the writer for this old spiritual song get his idea?
Right here in Revelation 6.
That’s pretty scary stuff!
These SINNERS are running from God. They’re RUNNING from the wrath of the Lamb.
In my reading of John’s words here, something just didn’t seem to correlate with my knowledge of the bible. John 3:16 tells us that “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
And Jesus spent His time among the tax collectors, and the prostitutes and the SINNERS.
Over and over again we read throughout the New Testament hearing the message repeated and it all seems to be summed up in 2 Peter 3:9. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to yo repentance.”
BUT in our passage in Revelation Chapter 6, we have sinners running from the Wrath of the Lamb. They are running from the wrath of the very One who died for them. What’s going on here?
After re-reading and meditating on the previous verses in the chapter, the answer is found in verses 9 thru 10:
I see two things in play here. 1st – the scene here shows God’s vengeance on mankind. As Hebrews 10:30 tells us and we know Him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.”
The major focus in Revelation 6 is GOD’S JUDGMENT on those who’ve persecuted and slain His people in the name of His Son Jesus.
Jesus, while on this earth, told us what was going to happen when He said “Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.” (Luke 6:22).
AND Luke 21:17 – “And you will be hated (despised) by everyone because [you bear] My name and for its sake.” [AMP]
John wrote in 1 John 3:13 – “Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.”
DID IT HAPPEN?
Yes! Within the first 3 years of the EARLY church’s existence.
- The Apostle James was executed.
- Peter was thrown into prison.
- Philip was stoned to death.
- And a man named Saul had Christians arrested, jailed, beaten and even killed.
And that was just the beginning.
Down through the ages Christians have been murdered and tortured for their FAITH.
In my research, for this study, I came across some statistics that shocked me. [See Footnote [i].]
- 255 Christians are killed.
- 104 are abducted.
- 180 Christian women are raped, sexually assaulted or forced into marriage.
- 60 churches are attacked.
- 160 Christians are detained without trial and imprisoned.
And this isn’t a new situation for BELIEVERS. Christians have been suffering and dying for their FAITH for centuries!
And Jesus’ Revelation to John is telling us that God knew this would happen and it made Him angry.
And He was so angry that He said: “Vengence is Mine”.
You REALLY don’t want to be on the receiving end of that kind of anger.
Paul wrote: “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you” (2 Thessalonians 1:6).
I literally feel sorry for the people who try to harm God’s people because I know the truth of Revelation 6. You don’t mess with God’s people!
Hebrews 10:31tells us “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
So the 1st thing I see in Revelation 6 is THIS:
- God will bring JUDGMENT on those who hurt His people.
But there is something else here that I almost missed:
God’s JUDGMENT isn’t just about VENGEANCE, it’s ALSO about reaching out to the lost!
In the Youtube video presentation at the beginning of this Blog, listen to this verse:
RUN TO THE LORD
“Lord, won’t you hide me?”
RUN TO THE LORD
“Lord, won’t you hide me?”
RUN TO THE LORD.
“Lord, won’t you hide me?”
“And the Lord said ‘sinner man’ – you shoulda been prayin.”
Do you know what this verse is saying?
It’s saying, it’s too late Sinner Man…you shoulda been a prayin! BUT you didn’t, so don’t bother me. You’ve messed up big time and now there’s no hope.
I have a real problem with that thinking.
Isaiah 55:7 – “Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”
As Long as the wicked are willing to REPENT…God will forgive.
That’s the MESSAGE throughout Scripture.
Hebrews 9:27 tells us “And just as it is appointed for [all] men once to die, and after that the [certain] judgment” [AMP].
But these guys (in Revelation 6) aren’t dead yet! Until they die they still have the opportunity to REPENT.
And besides, it doesn’t say that the “Sinners” were appealing to God. These folks weren’t running TO Jesus…they were running AWAY from Him.
Revelation 6:15-16 says they “hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains”
These folks aren’t appealing to God to hide them, they “called to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne’.”
They were calling on the rocks and Mountains to fall on them and protect them.
I remember growing up in a home where the punishment my folks dealt out to my brother and I definitely got our attention. So much so, that even a slight look of dissatisfaction was all that was needed.
And there are times in Scripture where God disciplined entire nations in order to get their attention to REPENT–“turn from their wicked ways” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Psalm 32:4, we see David speaking about how God dealt with him after he had sinned with Bathsheba. He wrote: “For day and night Your hand [of displeasure] was heavy upon me…” (AMP).
It was a repeated theme throughout the Old Testament. God would slap the people in order to wake them UP!
And God hasn’t changed. He’s still working on sinners NOW as He did back then.
One of my favorite bible verses is where Jesus says:
What does Jesus mean when He says the Holy Spirit (“the Helper”) will CONVICT?
It means that someone has been convicted of their GUILT.
It means to make a person FEEL their Guilt.
AND that’s the Spirit’s job–to CONVICT people of their SIN.
CONVINCE them of the need of RIGHTEOUSNESS and remind them of the coming judgment.
Now, how’s the Holy Spirit going to do that?
As my mother would try to explain when I was a child: “That small voice inside of you will make you very uncomfortable, Mel, when you are doing something you shouldn’t.”
Being aware of what the Spirit of the Lord is trying to get your attention for.
Be open to receiving His correction and what He is showing you that you need to REPENT of and change direction in your life.
The word REPENT means to turn in the direction you were headed; change the way we did something or the direction we are thinking of proceeding. [See Footnote [i].]
Remember always, the Holy Spirit is CONVICTING and NOT CONDEMNING us!
That’s what the enemy does.
HOLY SPIRIT is NOT going to badger or nag us about the same thing. He is going to show us the MISTAKE–laying it on our hearts to REPENT and ask for forgiveness and then… He is going to expect us to move on. He will keep on until we do something about it! That’s not “nagging,” that’s the Father’s LOVE for us.
In reflection and asking myself the question. who do I know, or don’t know today who are living in the ‘spiritual caves’ right now while shaking their fists at God?
Should I be praying that the Holy Spirit might CONVICT them to REPENTANCE?
QUESTION: “But aren’t these people really God’s enemies and if they are God’s enemies, they have to be mine too? And shouldn’t God’s enemies be put in place–PUNISHED?”
MY ENEMIES–GOD’S ENEMIES deserve to be punished!!
Well, here’s the deal.
If I rejoice when my enemy falls, I prove I’ve missed something.
You see, Jesus came to die for SINNERS. Now–are my enemies…SINNERS?
Yeah! I’m pretty sure that’s part of the reason they’re my enemies.
There’s an interesting passage of Scripture from Proverbs 24:17-18 (AMP).
 Rejoice not when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles or is overthrown.  Lest the Lord see it and it be evil in His eyes and displease Him, and He turns away His wrath from him [to expend Thit upon you, the worse offender].
There’s a hint given in the verses at the fact that your ENEMY is being punished for a reason.
THE REASON is this:
God is punishing your enemy so that you can show them GRACE. You see God punishes your enemies so that you can come into their lives and show them God’s LOVE for them which lends to REPENTANCE.
You and I need to be constantly reminded by God’s Spirit that we were not SAVED so we could be pampered.
We were SAVED because we were going to HELL!
We were SAVED because we didn’t stand a chance without God’s MERCY!
It’s not that God doesn’t want you to have a better life than you’d have if you didn’t become a Christian; it’s just that God has SAVED us to become something more than just self-centered and self-serving individuals.
GOD SAVED you and I–and enlisted us to be His Ambassadors (His missionaries) to a lost world. (2 Corinthians 6:20)
Now here’s the deal–you may be thinking that you are not qualified–not important enough to become a missionary–an ambassador. But if you are willing to go to the “sinner man” during their struggles and SHARE with them the LOVE of God and HOPE of His forgiveness…then you have a chance to change the world!
Are you willing to take a chance?
CREDITS & FOOTNOTES
Footnote [i] : Statistics – https://www.opendoorusa.org/christian-persecution/
Credit: Charisma News – Discerning the Difference…Between Holy Spirit Conviction and Demonic Condemnation.
Photos/Images: Google Image Search.
Bible Translations: The New International Version (NIV), or elsewhere noted in the text.
Media: Sinner Man by the Seekers, 1965. Courtesy of YouTube.