Image above in the public domain from WikiMedia Commons; Michaelangelo’s “Last Judgment” (1536-1541) in the Sistine Chapel, Vatican City, Rome.
I. All strata of society at the end will be affected by judgment. vs. 15a
vs. 15a Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free… .
The Second Coming of Christ (parousia) will eliminate all classes of society. No longer will there be the rich and the poor. There will just be lost men, all thrown together to face the wrath of God.
Roman society was segmented more than our own. European society today is “frozen in place” as was Rome’s. No one can rise above his status which he had at birth.
1. The Kings — basileus = King; Caesar and vassal kings under him.
2. The Great — megistânes = magnate, noble, or courtier; “perhaps the leading men of [the Roman Empire], but more probably the victorious party of Caesar.” See Moulton and Milligan below).
3. Generals — chiliarchos, commanders of a thousand soldiers, or military leaders.
4. Rich — plousioi — possessing abundance of wealth
5. Powerful — dunatoi — possessing great strength
6. Slave — doulos — bond slave, the chattel of another
7. Free — eleutheros — former slave freed by his or her owner
Everyone is included in this list. There are no exceptions. No one can opt out or get a substitute other than Jesus Christ. Note below how men avoided service by hiring their own substitutes.
Something one could hire a substitute for
Many healthy men who were eligible to serve in the military during the Civil War never ended up enlisting. The Enrollment Act of 1863 provided that a draftee could pay a “substitute” enrollee the sum of $300 (about $5,000 in today’s  terms) in order to enlist in his place.
Such famous Americans as Grover Cleveland and John D. Rockefeller took advantage of this provision, in effect buying their way out of service. Abraham Lincoln was too old for the draft, and, being president, would have been exempt regardless of age. But the Army was short of men, and the commander in chief wanted to encourage other “ineligibles” like himself to voluntarily hire a substitute. To that end, in 1864 he paid a “representative recruit” to fight for him. This document, held in the National Archives, records the enlistment of 19-year-old Pennsylvanian J. Summerfield Staples at Lincoln’s request. (see Onion below).
II. No person regardless of wealth and status can avoid the Day of Judgment. vs. 15b
Rev. 6:15 [people] … hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
One of my favorite hymns is by Robert Murrary McCheyne (pictured to the left) “When This Passing World Is Done.”
1 When this passing world is done,
when has sunk yon glaring sun,
when we stand with Christ on high
looking o’er life’s history,
then, Lord, shall I fully know,
not till then, how much I owe.
2 When I hear the wicked call
on the rocks and hills to fall,
when I see them start and shrink
on the fiery deluge brink,
then, Lord, shall I fully know,
not till then, how much I owe. (see McCheyne below.)
Another Hymn I love is “None Other Name” by Christina G. Rossetti (1830-1894) —
1 None other Lamb, none other Name,
None other hope in heav’n or earth or sea,
None other hiding-place from guilt and shame,
None beside Thee. (see Rossetti below.)
Most commentators refer to Genesis in regard to the hiding of men from the wrath of the Lamb. Genesis 3 —
8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
III. The Only way to avoid the judgment is to be found in a personal relationship with Christ as Lord and Savior now!
The only way to hide from the wrath of that great day is to be “hidden in the Savior’s side.” Look again at McCheyne’s great hymn, verse 5
Chosen not for good in me,
wakened up from wrath to flee,
hidden in the Savior’s side,
by the Spirit sanctified,
teach me, Lord, on earth to show,
by my love, how much I owe.
A famous man asked another on the streets of London in the 18th Century, “What’s the news?” (He was seeking gossip.)
The other man replied, “Jesus Christ died for our sins, rose again, and is coming back!”
The famous man replied, “Ah, that is old news, new news, and good news all at the same time!” (Our Daily Bread)
IV. All attempts to hide from God’s presence is futile.
Men would rather be crushed to oblivion than witness the Second Coming of Christ (Parousia) unprepared. Only, being crushed will not obliterate us. Only Christ’s blood can wash away our sins!
It will not be a pleasant time at all for the unprepared. They fear the presence of the enthroned Father — literally, “the face” (prosopon). They also fear the wrath of the Lamb. The word is orgê. It is anger and indignation. In the case of God, it is righteous and holy anger and not a fit of passion.
It is better to flee and hide in Christ as our personal Lord and Savior now than leave that decision for a later time. We are not assured of tomorrow.
We’ll sum up chapter 6 next time, and then we’ll move on to Chapter 7.
McCheyne, R. M. (1843). Accessed 22 February 2020 from https://hymnary.org/text/when_this_passing_world_is_done
Moulton and Milligan. (1930). The Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament. Accessed 22 February 2020 from https://www.studylight.org/lexicons/greek/3175.html
Onion, R. (2013). “The Man Who Fought in Lincoln’s Name.” Accessed 22 February 2020 from https://slate.com/human-interest/2013/01/abraham-lincoln-the-president-paid-a-substitute-to-enlist-in-the-union-army.html
Rossetti, C. G. (1830-1894). Accessed 22 February 2020 from https://hymnary.org/text/none_other_lamb_none_other_name
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