So far we have seen the events of the great earthquake of the sixth seal:
Total eclipse of the sun and moon (vs. 12): the complete removal of Diocletian, the “Invincible Sun,” and his dual- emperor system from power;
The stars of the sky falling to earth (vs. 13): the complete loss of influence and authority of paganism over the inhabitants of the Roman world;
The sky was split apart (vs. 14): another reference to the complete loss of influence of paganism; could be an allusion to Constantine’s shining cross, which split the sky;
Every mountain and island was moved from its place (vs. 14): the complete reorganization of provinces, boundaries, seats of authority, and rulers under Diocletian and his successors.
These are the events associated with the great earthquake, the great upheaval in matters of government, society, religion, economy, and worldview. And we see that from 284 ad, when Diocletian gained the imperial throne, through 380 ad, when the emperor Theodosius made Christianity the state religion of the Empire and forbade the pagan religion altogether, that government, society, religion, economy, and worldview all underwent a radical upheaval.
Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the
caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 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, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
These verses indicate that the entire earthquake and upheaval is identified with Jesus Christ. Remember that those who dwell on the earth, in Revelation, are the unbelievers, and those who dwell in heaven are the believers, whether living in heaven or in earth. So we have a picture of the unbelievers, from kings through slaves, trembling in fear from the wrath of the Lamb, knowing that their time is at an end.
Constantine so conquered his enemies, under the banner of the cross, and in the name of Jesus Christ, that the pagan emperors began calling on the God of the Christians to help them in battle! The pagan Romans, small and great, knew their own history well enough. They knew that Diocletian and just spent ten years so harshly persecuting the Christians, that the blood of the martyrs flowed freely and thickly, so much so that even the jaded Romans grew tired of the great slaughter. They knew that no persecution like it had been seen in the Roman Empire, even though they were well aware that nine other terrible persecutions preceded it. They justly feared the armies of Constantine, or the armies of the Lamb, as it seemed to them, bearing down on them and decisively winning victory after victory.
To be continued …
Update: continued in Revelation 7: the first interval