Bible Prophecy Part 2
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Bible PROPHECY Part 2
by Your servant, Dan L Baxley
The Context – The Audience
What is it that makes it so hard for prophecy teachers of today to understand that what the Messiah told His "disciples" does not always apply to us? He told them about things that would be happening to them, individually, as well as collectively and it is a mistake to think everything He told them was to be applied to the Church 2000 years later. Are we to take personal messages meant for the disciples and apply them to ourselves or to the Church today?
It is a mistake to take "every" command or instruction delivered to the 12 Apostles as commandments for us, or for anyone after the first century. While applying specific commands or prophetic statements, or charges made to the disciples to ourselves may seem a good thing on the surface, we should be very cautious, as it can lead to a misapplication of Scripture sending us along a pathway we do not need to travel, or has already been traveled. Certainly all Scripture is for our encouragement, edification and guidance, but we should remember the context of what is said, of the things written, and then we should ask -- "Does this apply to me, to us, or for just the disciples in their time”?
When the disciples asked questions about what he meant he would give them private lessons and explanations. He gave instructions and explanations for them to remember and recall later, which they did. What is interesting is how personal instructions given to the disciples, Apostles, has been misinterpreted as instructions to be applied to certain individuals over the centuries. Preachers and teachers professing Jesus everywhere claim the work of preaching the Gospel is their work, it is their job to perform and it is the people following them to help in this purpose, financially, for the most part, in building works of the flesh, of the physical and then claiming their success as a sign the God of gods approves and blesses them. This physical success is then accepted as the stamp of approval and a sign of doing the work of God.
Is this how it was with the Apostles? Not at all, in fact the physical things the Apostles left behind amount to almost nothing, only copies of their work seems to remain. You do no go to the places where they taught and find great works they left behind. But wait, you say, what about the Christian Churches, the Catholic Basilica, and other such constructions? Most, you will find, were built by pagan leaders, and kings, not the Christians. You will find nearly all of the grand churches of Rome were originally pagan temples rededicated to the Roman version of Christianity. We will not find one place built by the hands and works, directly, of any of the original Apostles – no church buildings, no synagogues or libraries with their names in places of honor.
Next – Prophetic Understanding
To grasp the beginning of prophetic understanding, Biblical words on and about prophecy, we must be willing to accept the fact that Scripture is not of “any private interpretation”. Many quote this saying and then begin telling you how their work has special knowledge and how it is they that are fulfilling what the Apostles were commissioned to do.
(2Pe 1:20) Knowing this first that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
Several things occurred after the Messiah had risen and at every turn the Apostles of the Christ had their minds rewound, recalling the words of the Messiah, the real lesson coming to light. They thought they knew what He spoke of at the time, only to find they were seeing but a shadow of His real meaning. The Apostles and the new converts heard the message of the Kingdom -- the words of the Messiah -- now in a new light. They heard the warnings given by the Messiah, prior to His crucifixion, but it did not register then, but now, in the new light of understanding, understanding given them by the indwelling of His Holy Spirit when our Lord breathed on each of them and they received the Holy Spirit, and later at Pentecost, a demonstration for the public – it was not until they had been given His Spirit that they began to see His words as never before and took them seriously, remembering things He had told them in a new light of understanding.
Here is something not often taught or spoken when it comes to events leading up to the Holy Spirit public appearance at Pentecost, but before that, in the upper room our Lord gave them the Holy Spirit prior to Pentecost.
(John 20:22) And with that He breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. (About 47 days before Pentecost, the Disciples received the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of YaHshua, directly from Him)
(Act 1:3) After His suffering, He showed Himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
Forty days our Lord appeared and spoke about the Kingdom of His Father – after His death. He then left and around ten days later, the day of Pentecost, so we see He, YaHshua, was mingling with witnesses of His resurrection. Were they then given all knowledge concerning prophetic future? No, they were not, they learned much but the prophetic word is a word to be witnessed, to be seen and until an event actually occurs do we then know the full meaning. We only see in part for now, just as then. Much of the prophetic word has been witnessed and has witnesses to prove the truth of His Words. The Apostles witnessed to the Risen Christ and we chose to believe their witness, believing their teachings.
(John 17:20) My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,
The Messiah’s Words in the New Light
One example of this would be Luke 21:20-21 where the Messiah warned of a time when Jerusalem would be “surrounded by armies”. When they observed this taking place they remembered His words, and were able to flee Jerusalem. This happened and is part of the historical record of that time. The armies of Rome encircled Jerusalem, determined to bring these rowdy Jews to heel, just as the Messiah had warned, intent on its destruction. For some reason, reasons historians still argue over today, the army withdrew and many of the believers of the Messiah, remembering His words, took that occasion to escape.
(Luke 21:20) When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.
History shows that many of these disciples escaped to Antioch. The Roman army returned and by 70 AD had pretty much put the city into ruin and taken nearly every Jew into some type of slavery. This time in history is known as the “dispersion” – certainly Jews lived throughout the Empire and some also call that scattering of Jews as the Diaspora, but it is this even, the complete destruction of the Temple that made the “Dispersion” of Jews all the more final – no Temple, no religion, or only part of a religion.
Speculation surrounding the Roman Armies actions center on the political atmosphere in Rome at that time. Also, of note, Jerusalem ceases to be the center of the Jewish Christian out reach. In fact, as the Jewish nation is decimated by the Roman Legions under Titus, the Christians too seem to almost to disappear. It is interesting to note, also, that when the Jew is tormented there is also a certain number of Christians marked for torment also. When the Jew persecuted and driven out of home and city, this also presents opportunity for those in power, religious power, to also drive out other perceived enemies and to kill the perceived heretics along with Christ killer Jews, or whatever reason is used to torment the people of God. Many true worshipers of YaHshua have perished alongside the Jew in the false Church’s efforts to destroy the competition.
Jerusalem Under Assault
This assault, of course, did not take place overnight -- three years of anguish and torment, cutting off supplies, driving inhabitants of Jerusalem into every depravity imaginable. The horror of Jerusalem’s fall is described by the Jewish Historian, Josephus. But, this fall of Jerusalem, did not put a complete end to the problem for the Romans.
Some of the Jewish people, years after the fall of Jerusalem, managed to migrate back to the area surrounding Jerusalem and a demolished Temple site. While the temple had been destroyed, parts of the city remained and it began to rebuild. A minor rebellion broke out around 130 AD and this time the Roman's came back and leveled everything, taking all of the people into captivity. The project of total destruction of the city and the removal of the remnant would be finished around 134 AD.
Some prophecy students dealing with numbers and calculations like to use 70 AD as a prophetic time for when the Temple was torn down, but this later period of 3-4 years beginning 130 AD should receive some consideration to, as that is the time finishing the prophetic statement our Messiah made against the city, "...They will not leave one stone on another" (Luke 19:44) -- this finished it, this is when they literally tore every stone down to the ground.
The Old Covenant was literally stopped, 68 - 70 AD, bringing the sacrificial system of Israel to a stop. No animal sacrifices meant no more forgiveness of sin for anyone still living under that system. It was through this system of shedding blood the people of Israel’s sins were covered. Without this system in place the Israelite, the Jew, is always under their sin, just as any unbeliever, or gentile having not accept the Messiah. Even leaving our Savior out of it, the missing part for the Jewish system is the ability to find forgiveness by the shedding of animal blood – their covenant is clear on this. The Rabbis, over the centuries, have attempted to explain this away with special dispensation.
Some mistakenly think the Messiah spoke of the destruction only of the Temple, but looking back into the context of the matter, you see it was the city, Jerusalem, which, of course contained the Temple, but it was to the city He directed His first prophetic words.
Luke 19:41-44 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you. (NIV)
By the time the city gave up to the Roman army the soldiers were so enraged they went against their commander’s order to preserve the Temple and destroyed it. The Temple burned, the people, for the most part, led away in chains to be sold off as slaves -- still a small remnant escaped the city had not been completely destroyed. The rage against this city and these people continued for years. Remember, a good number of the Roman soldiers gave up their lives in the battle with the religious fanatics of Jerusalem and they were not about to forget it. At the first sign of more trouble from these unruly people the Roman Empire decided to solve the problem once and for all, and this time would not be satisfied until the whole place was leveled, flattened as a field that could be plowed – the destruction so complete – the people taken away, again – dispersed throughout the world. This second visit to Jerusalem would be the destruction of the city itself. How perfect the prophetic words of our Savior. You would have thought that was the end, but as we know today, this would only be the beginning.
The sign of the End Time?
Luke 21:5-6 Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down
Don't forget Luke 19:41-44, quoted above, and we see the destruction of the "city" and the "Temple" all conclusive. They, the city and the Temple suffered the same future, but not the same time. We see the disciples interested, they want to know more, whereas before, there is no mention of the disciples raising questions about His earlier statement concerning the city. Now, however, as the narrative grows, they wanted to know more, and I'm guessing they never dreamed what they were about to hear.
Luke 21:7-8 Teacher, they asked, "when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?"
And He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in My Name, claiming, 'I am He,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not follow them.
When is the "time near"? It is, of course, "when many come in HIS NAME". How remarkable this is, this small point, so easily over looked. Certainly the disciples would be watching for this, and certainly they did witness the apparent falling away during the dispersion and assault by the Roman government, but we know that the statement, "The time is near" could not have been for them, not unless you count over 2000 years as near. Certainly many disciples witnessed the fall of the Temple and the ravaging of Jerusalem and the false teachers and leaders rising up in His Name. All of this did happen and then it happened again nearly 70 years later and by this time all of the original disciples were dead. Did YaHshua return? No, and it has been a long time since the last fulfillment of our Savior’s words and still the very last part has not yet been finished.
Our Savior, YaHshua, knew that another Messiah would be taught. He knew His true identity and that of His Father would be hidden and we have witnessed this, even as of this day a different Messiah, under another name is taught. The problem with the fulfillment of His prophetic words then is the matter of the remark, "time would be near" -- not far away – then, at this "near" time "many will come in my Name". Do you see? Today, in our time, in this generation, we are seeing a revival in the true identities of the Living God and His Son, YaHshua. We are seeing this prophetic statement of YaHshua unfolding. Soon it will be the "many" and not the "few" that will be teaching in His Birth Name, "... claiming "I am He". He warns them, His disciples, and us, not to be deceived by these.
Deceive Many – Link to identifying Anti-Christs
What would you imagine the deception to be? That YaHshua is the Messiah of the Bible? Hardly, He states this is knowledge these deceivers have already, and it is undeniable they are declaring Him (I am He), so what would be the deception? If we look around the United States and parts of the world, we see the many groups using the birth name of the Messiah and they have the message about Him, and they have the right Identity, although, I see many that do not have the Father's name, but they do have HIS NAME, our Savior’s Name. What is it, then, that might be considered a deception? They, in almost every case, teach some form of the Old Covenant, the Old Testament. They teach this Covenant, made with Israel, as binding on us today. They do not grasp the concept of the freedom YaHshua has granted the follower until His return to "restore the rule of order" under His leadership, not theirs. When YaHshua comes He will establish the Kingdom of God on this earth -- no one else will do this, no group, no man, no one, the Messiah only is to accomplish the "restoration of Israel" and the rule of Heavenly Law upon the Earth.
We need to understand these things if we are going to understand the many different prophetic interpretations. All claim to receive their understanding from the Scriptures, as mentioned before, then allow their bias to enter into the equation. There is no formula other than to be a witness to the truth of His word.
Those attempting to bind us to the Covenant made with Israel are making a mistake and deceiving themselves. Some have seen the problem and then go so far as to say they, or we, are the New Israel. This flies in the face of the teaching of the Apostles. Even if they were right they would be wrong, for the Covenant made with ancient Israel is not the same Covenant made with us, the believers in YaHshua as Messiah and Savior. Our Covenant is a Covenant of freedom, not bondage to any religion. If we have bondage then it is to Him and the promise of the Kingdom to come.
The Old Covenant is applied to the Israelites as a people, as a nation. There are others, outside of the Sacred Names Movement, teaching the United States and Britain, are Israel -- thus -- the Covenant of Israel and all its laws apply to us. These people then attempt to restore various parts of the Old Covenant saying we must come under the old Law to be a child of the Living God. Most of these groups also teach the other Savior, Jesus.
There is absolutely nothing wrong in honoring the God of Heaven and Earth by remembering His Holy Days but, this is not what these various groups do. Most, if not all, however, make it a point of salvation and that is total error. They approach the Old Covenant from a viewpoint that keeps crucifying the Savior over and over.
Col 2:15-18 Having stripped rulers and authorities, He made a show of them publicly, triumphing over them in it. Therefore let no one judge you in food or in drink, or in respect of a feast, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbaths. For these are a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ (in other words, no longer of Israel). Let no one defraud you, delighting in humility and worship of the angels, intruding into things which he has not seen, without a cause being vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
Rom 14:5-6 One indeed esteems a day above another day; and another esteems every day alike. Let each one be fully assured in his own mind. He who regards the day regards it to the Lord; and he not regarding the day, does not regard it to the Lord. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God (the Father) thanks; and he who does not eat, does not eat to the Lord, and gives God (the Father) thanks.
Heb 7:27 who does not need, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice daily, first for his own sins and then for the people's sins. For He did this once for all, when He offered up Himself.
His sacrifice is the ultimate payment for sin and is complete. The Old Covenant requires a continuing sacrifice. Each High day, or Holy Day or Festival must be accompanied by prescribed sacrifice as outlined in the Book of Laws. These days cannot be properly observed without these sacrifices.
We find that during the Temple period the religious authority, as corrupted as it had become was to be adhered to. The Messiah Himself would not oppose instructions of the High Priest in keeping with the Laws of Moses
(Mat 23:2-3) The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.
Not one of the teachers of these various groups attempting to restore the Old Covenant would turn authority over to the present day Rabbis and priests of Israel. It is said there is 613 Laws in the Covenant made with Israel, not just 10 and for anyone to suggest the restoration of the Old Covenant then they must also teach compliance with all 613 Laws. Some actually teach this and bind their followers to this broken system setting themselves up as their own authority.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying we should be under the Rabbis or anyone sitting in the seat of Moses. That system is broken by the Blood of our Savior, YaHshua. He is now our High Priest and we await His return, prophetically, to finish the plan of our Heavenly Father.
We need to know these things if we are to understand prophecy as the Holy Spirit reveals. Many of these groups have had a profound impact on the prophetic word as taught today by a vast majority of Evangelical teachers. Prophetic teachings, from some of these groups, over the years, originally rejected by most Protestant groups, have become the norm for today.
The prophetic understanding of these various groups, inside and outside of the Sacred Names Movement, is based on what they teach regarding the Law and in the misapplication of IDENTITY, not only of the True Savior but of themselves – their perceived Identity, hooking themselves to the Law as opposed to YaHshua. They know His Name, but fail to know the Father and claim to be what they are not, as much by their actions as by their teachings.
(Rev 2:9) I know your afflictions and your poverty-- yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
Which of these groups, living like Jews, living under the Law, willingly turn authority over to the Pharisees that sit in the seat of Moses? Not one, no, not one. Should they? By their standards the answer would be, yes. By the standards of YaHshua and the teachings of His Apostles, no. We need to know this and understand this to see the bias in their misunderstanding of the prophetic word. Just like those claiming to be Israel, in replacement theology, the Catholic Church being among this group exhibit their bias and misunderstanding of the prophetic word. Then, finally those claiming to be descendants from the lost tribes of Israel, claiming the Old Covenant then applies to them exhibit their bias and misunderstanding of the prophetic word.
Moving on through the book of Luke we see that the disciples of YaHshua are warned, "Do not follow them"
(Luke 21:8). He then tells his disciples, and us, not to be disturbed when we hear of wars and revolutions. He says "Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom".
But that is not all, this is not the end, but only the natural course of things.
(Luke 21:8-10) He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away." Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. NIV
We are told, prophetically, the end is not yet, or not when we see these things. It is of interest that these verses are quoted by nearly all prophecy teachers as a proof we are living in the end of days, or the "end times" and that we are the generation of the "end days". This, however, is not true and is an example of twisting the word, not just any word but the word or our Savior, YaHshua. No, after such things, which history is a good witness other things are to happen.
Luke 21:11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.
"Great signs from Heaven", But before this, the great earthquakes, etc, but wait, something else was to happen to the disciples before all of this. He told them that before the events of verse 11 they, meaning the disciples standing in front of Him, will have to endure some things "on account of His name".
Luke 21:12-15 But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your being witnesses to them. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.
These verses should be applied to the twelve disciples, the Apostles of the Christ, YaHshua. For confession of His Name they would be brought before Kings and Governors. Some try to apply these verses to the "end time" saints but the context clearly shows it is to be applied to those YaHshua is speaking to at that very moment. He was giving them a prophetic word that applied to them. Certainly it is good advice and even a warning for us today. If they were to be treated in this way by the world, as they were, then we might expect the same kind of treatment, and many have, especially when you read the next verses. But the truth is these words were for the immediate disciples later to be classified as Apostles. Even the following verses, as part of the same prophetic word, given is to them personally, not you, not me, or anyone else but to them. We can learn from and be encouraged by these same words but the bottom line, when it comes to prophecy, is these words were fulfilled in the lives of the Apostles.
Luke 21:16-19 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life.
The next thing He warned them of -- a time when Jerusalem would be surrounded by armies. This prophetic statement is an historical fact, as is the record of the Apostles treatment after YaHshua's crucifixion. This is also a verse that we can apply today seeing Jerusalem surrounded by its enemies once again. But, the application of this verse is truly founded around the city of Jerusalem being taken by the Romans in the 3 1/2 year siege beginning around 68AD. Remember Luke 19:43, "...your enemies will build an embankment against you." The KJV has "trench" instead of "embankment", but checking with Strong's Greek Dictionary it is more accurately, "rampart", as in a military method of breaching walls, and that is just what the Roman legions did. We can see this in the following verses as a prophetic statement that became history.
Luke 21:24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
Now, here we are, we know from history that Jerusalem did fall by the sword and the people of that area, those that survived, were taken "prisoners to all the nations" – the dispersion. Then we see the reference to the "until times of the Gentiles are fulfilled". Jerusalem trampled by the Gentiles? And what do we see today? If Modern Israel is in the hands of the Jews, wouldn't that mean the "tramped on by the Gentiles" is finished? If that is so, and we only speculate on this, then we are in store for some real happenings, and all before our Savior returns. One small thing, however, the Muslim Arabs have control of the Temple Mount. If, however, the establishment of modern Israel, from 1948 to now is a fact and is the end of the Gentiles trampling Jerusalem then get ready for what is to come really extraordinary events. Now this is prophecy and it has not happened yet.
Luke 21:25-26 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars. And on the earth will be anxiety of nations with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men fainting from fear, and expecting those things which have come on the earth. For the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. MKJV
Those two verses cover a lot of events. The sequence of these coming events can be followed in the Book of Revelation. I will cover those events in more detail later, but for now we will finish with Luke's account of what our Savior, YaHshua is telling His Disciples.
When the "times of the Gentiles" are fulfilled, and we are the last generation then what it the hold up? Could it be possible the people in Israel today are not Jews but Gentiles -- granted, the Arabs have control of the Temple mount, but aren't the Arabs half-brothers to the Jews? Certainly, they are children of Ishmael, and as such cannot be classified as Gentiles I don’t think, maybe? Who are the Gentiles then? Europeans, you know, Italians, Germans, Persians, and other Middle Eastern people and most claiming to be Christians.
Something is holding things up. One thing to note is the Gentiles trampling (under foot) Jerusalem will have its complete fulfillment with the establishment of the Kingdom of God at the return of YaHshua. Nothing, that is, nothing unclean will be allowed into the City of our Savior’s thrown and the restored thrown of King David.
There is always the possibility that the Gentiles will overrun Jerusalem again. Many of the Arab nations are not related to the Jews either. What matters right now is that we see how close the "second coming" may be. When you look into the book of Revelation, however, it is plain to see that things are not so simple. It seems the Messiah, YaHshua, is giving an abbreviated run down of the events leading up to His return. Many things, outside of man's control are going to happen.
Luke 21:26 men fainting from fear, and expecting those things which have come on the earth. For the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.
Luke 21:27-30 And then they shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to happen, then look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption draws near. And He spoke a parable to them: Behold the fig-tree and all the trees. Now when they sprout leaves, seeing it you will know that summer is now near.
Luke 21:31 So also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.
Let's see, there will be "signs in the sun, moon and stars", the nations will be in distress, to say the least, and will not have the answers, being confused by the events that seem to some to be the end of the world, literally, the end of Earth. He, YaHshua, tells us they, the nations, are "perplexed at the roaring and tossing of the sea", which is to say, in a "quandary", not knowing what to do. The oceans of this Earth are going to be in upheaval, something beyond Global Warming, for men will faint in terror. It will appear as the end of the world, not the coming of the Savior, but the END of all Earth.
Why don’t we take a look at the Book of Revelation and see something we are told is going to happen, and how it is tied to these events our Savior outlined for His disciples.
Rev 6:12-17 And when He had opened the sixth seal, I looked, 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, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs when she is shaken by a mighty wind. And the heaven departed like 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, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains. And they said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him sitting on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of His wrath has come, and who will be able to stand?
Notice how nicely this account fits with our Savior's account, even the fig tree is used in both accounts, but we have added details. In the Luke account there is a mentioning of "raging waves", and this is exactly what would happen following a worldwide earthquake. Certainly with the "powers of the heavens" being shaken the response of the Earth would be dramatic, islands and mountains being moved -- men falling dead in fear -- hiding in underground bunkers, even caves in order to escape certain death, begging for a quick end.
His Return Not Recognized
It is my belief men will not know this is a prelude to the coming of our Savior. It does say they are calling on the rocks to fall on them to hide them form His face and to escape the "wrath of the Lamb", but what kind of escape would that be? To be crushed by rocks is the choice of death so as not to face the Lamb? Certainly if they knew that much they would at least pretend to be believers. No, I think that they have no idea what is happening. They are hiding from His face by accident in an effort not to face, what appears as the end of the Earth. If they know it to be the coming of the Christ wouldn't they celebrate, knowing the Earth is not coming to an end, that they will survive these horrible events, and give glory to Him?
One thing is certain, reading the rest of the Book of Revelation, we can see the great shaking, the "roaring sea and waves", and the mountains being moved out of place, that it is not the end -- we see something else -- the restructuring of World politics. It is my belief that these Earth shaking events will virtually change the boundaries of the Earth as we see them today. When the Beast government rises out of the ashes and destruction, the aftermath of the great earth-quake, this restructuring may be a welcome sight to those having survived this near end of Earth. It may also be why certain countries seen as powers today do not appear in the prophetic account leading up to the Messiah's return. And that is not all -- this is but the 6th Seal, there is a 7th Seal that ushers in the 7 Trumpets found in Revelation 8 --
From here go to the articles on the Great Quake