The Hidden Role of
New Testament Caves

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What hidden role have New Testament caves played in Biblical history? What is the hidden connection to Jesus' last week of life? How are they linked to Christ's greatest miracle? What is their relationship to a possible consequence of having faith in God? How will caves soon help fulfill End Time Bible prophecy?


The Greek word spelaion (Strong's Concordance #G4693), which refers to a hiding place like a cave or den, is utilized six times in the Greek text of the New Testament. The word is translated, in the King James Bible, as "den" or its plural in Matthew 21:13, Mark 11:17, Luke 19:46, Hebrews 11:38 and Revelation 6:15. It is translated as "cave" in John 11:38.

The Greek word ope (#G3692), which can refer to a cavern, a hole or a spring, is also translated as "caves" in Hebrews 11:38. This article will take a fascinating look at all six New Testament verses that discuss caves to discover their hidden roles in Biblical history and prophecy.

A Hidden Reference

Jesus, only days before his crucifixion, cleansed Jerusalem's temple by tossing out its money changers and dove sellers. As he was performing this righteous act he chastised those who were profaning God's house of prayer by stating the following.

And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den (spelaion) of thieves. (Matthew 21:13, KJV, see also Mark 11:17 and Luke 19:46).

Christ Driving Money-Changers from Temple
Christ Driving Money-Changers from Temple
Rembrandt, c. 1626

The English word "den" in Matthew, Mark and Luke comes from the Greek spelaion mentioned above. The phrase "den of thieves" can also be translated as "cave of thieves."

The Greatest Miracle

The greatest miracle Jesus ever performed took place in a cave! Lazarus was buried in one for four days when the Lord came to resurrect him from the dead (John 11).

Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone . . . And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth . . . (John 11:38 - 39, 43 - 44, KJV).

Surviving Persecution

The Apostle Paul, in Hebrews 11, recounts some of the trials and sufferings of those who dared to have faith in God. One of the many high costs paid by such righteous people for their belief in the Eternal was being forced to live in caves.

And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword . . . they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens (spelaion) and caves (ope) of the earth. (Hebrews 11:36 - 38, KJV).

Hebrews 11:38 is unique in the New Testament as it is the only verse that references caves twice using two distinct Greek words.

End Time Prophecy

Caves will play a surprising and hidden role in the fulfillment of prophecy in the last days.

The book of Isaiah foretells of a yet future period known as the Day of the Lord. Taking place during the Great Tribulation period, this "day" heralds God's direct intervention on earth and the greatest time of trials and suffering humanity will ever experience.

For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every proud and haughty one, and upon every exalted one; and they shall be brought low . . . And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth for fear of the Lord and for the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake terribly the earth. (Isaiah 2:12, 19).

Humanity, when they see frightening signs in the heavens and experience a massive earthquake all brought on by the opening of Revelation's sixth seal (Revelation 6:12 - 14), will know such events came from God. Instead of repenting of their evil deeds, however, they will foolishly believe they can hide from their Creator in caves!

And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the powerful men, and every bondman, and every free man hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains; And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him Who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb . . ." (Revelation 6:15 - 16).

Discover the
Hidden Role of
Old Testament Caves!

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