This time we come to the fourth parenthetical section of the book of Revelation. It covers all the way from 10:1 – 11:14. It explains certain events which are not the contents of the seals, trumpets, or vials (bowls), but which happen in conjunction with the main events of this period. This particular parenthesis is inserted between the sixth and seventh trumpets, as the first parenthetical passage is inserted between the sixth and seventh seals [7:1 – 17].
In the book of Revelation we have three sets, or series if you will, of judgments. There are seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven vials (bowls). As well, associated with the fifth, sixth, and seventh trumpet judgments, we have three woes, which run concurrently with those judgments. We find amazing design in this book, proving it certainly is not the product of man’s intellect. All three of these series are framed exactly alike. They are divided into four and three. The last three, which are always separate and apart from the first four, are further divided into two and one. Between the two and the one (between the sixth and seventh), there is always an interlude. Between the sixth and seventh seals, the seventh chapter of the book of Revelation is an interlude. Between the sixth and seventh trumpets, there is another interlude. Again, this takes up chapter 10 through Verse 14 of chapter 11. The briefest interlude is between the sixth and seventh vials of the wrath of God, which is found in 16:13 – 16. The longest interlude by far is the one between the sixth and seventh trumpets, which we are about to study.
By the use of the word interlude, we don’t mean to imply that there is some sort of pause in the judgments, but rather that the Holy Spirit reveals certain events occurring again in conjunction with the main events of the period.
Chapter 10 describes the opening events of this interlude preparing for the final trumpet blast by highlighting five unusual happenings, or occurrences, if you will. An unusual angel, and unusual act, an unusual answer, an unusual announcement, and an unusual assignment.
- AN UNUSUAL ANGEL:
John writes, And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: And he had in his hand a little book open. [Rev. 10:1, 2a KJV] There is much important symbolism here that we don’t want to miss. First, there is some disagreement among capable brethren as to the identity of this, as John describes him, “Mighty angel.” Many see this angel as Christ Himself. In fact, Finis Dake lists seven reasons why this angel should be identified as Christ. Others, such as Dr. John MacArthur, say this is highly unlikely. I personally believe that this one described again as a, “mighty angel” is indeed Christ. As one compares John’s description here with the vision of 1:12 – 16 and Daniel10:5, 6, we see the striking similarities. Also, the open book in His right hand demonstrates that this is Christ. In 5:5 – 7 Christ takes the then sealed book out of the hand of the Father. In 6:1 – 8:1 He breaks the seals that bind it. Here the same little book is seen to be open, so that the contents can be revealed [Vs. 2; 8 – 11]. There are other reasons for identifying this angel as Christ, which we will discuss as we go.
The main thrust of this chapter is that God is Sovereign and that He rules in the affairs of men. It may seem that the earth is completely given over to evil at this time, and that Satan is going to win, the truth is, it is Jesus who is in charge, and the description given here proves that.
Notice that He is, Clothed with a cloud. “Cloud” is the Greek word, nephele, this is the Word that appears in the Septuagint to describe the cloud that led the Israelites by day through the wilderness. [See Ex. 40:34 – 38] This is the Glory of God that this one is clothed with. Second, And a rainbow was upon his head. The rainbow speaks of peace and mercy. You will recall that the rainbow appears immediately after the flood of Noah’s day [See Gen. 9:13 – 16]. This rainbow signifies that which is ultimately coming upon this earth. No matter what Satan does, mercy and peace will ultimately reign. Notice next, and his face was as it were the sun. I submit to you that if the cloud speaks of the glory upon Christ, then His face shining as it were the Sun, speaks of the degree of the glory upon Him.
Notice next, his feet as pillars of fire. This speaks of judgment. Please know that mercy and peace are always available (the rainbow), however if they are rejected it always bring judgment (the feet as pillars of fire). Some preachers preach only the peace and mercy side, while others only hammer away at the judgment side. We have not presented an accurate gospel message without proclaiming both.
- AN UNUSUAL ACT:
The beloved John continues, and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth. And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. [10:2a, 3 KJV] This is an astonishing moment in the biblical account. This angel, whom I believe is Christ, sets His right foot upon the sea, His left upon the earth. He is making a powerful declaration here, and we find in this vision one of the many allusions to the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, when a man set his foot upon something, it meant that he possesses it. For example, in Deut. 11:24, 25, the Word says, Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be. There shall no man be able to stand before you: for the LORD your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you. [Deut. 11:24, 25 KJV] In this act this Mighty Angel demonstrates the truth of Exodus 9:29, Psalm 24:1, and 1 Corinthians 10:26, 28 – The earth is indeed the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof! In this act He demonstrates that the prayer, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven, will be fulfilled. When Jesus plants His feet on both the sea and the land, He is saying in essence that Satan has dominated the earth long enough. His time is over!
In the modern Church many put bumper stickers on their cars proclaiming, “Jesus is Lord!” They will say that Jesus is Lord over a certain city for example. Many churches sing the powerful Chris Tomlin song, “God of this city.” In reality however, He is not Lord of any of these places at the present time. The time is coming shortly however when He will be Lord of all. It will take place at the Second Coming. This vision that John saw, of this mighty angel placing His feet on the land and the sea, is a proclamation of that which will come to pass.
The phrase, And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth, speaks of power and victory. The “loud voice” signals Almighty power, because He is the Almighty! It is as the roar of a lion. This is another indication that this Mighty angel is indeed Christ. John the elder refers to Him as, the Lion of The Tribe of Judah [Rev. 5:5]. The stage is being set here for the cosmic battle of the ages. The battle is being prepared. The idea is this. Christ, as the mighty Lion of The tribe of Judah, is seen here as coming down from Heaven. His opponent is seen ascending out of the sea, that is, the sea of humanity. As the Divine Joshua, He makes His what He places His foot upon [Josh. 1:3], and as the Lion of The Tribe of Judah, He utters the cry of victory! His voice is against all who oppose Him and especially those who oppose His people Israel. As legal possessor of the inheritance, this Divine Boaz now takes possession of the parcel of ground [Ruth 4:3]. The conflict now increases in intensity – the two Messiahs, with their hosts, prepare themselves for the battle; and permission is given to Satan to place in the field all the power of his demonic kingdom, together with many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.
John writes, and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. This sets forth yet another seven to be added to the seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven vials (bowls). But we will never know what these seven thunders stated, or what they meant, unless the Lord reveals it to us in eternity.
- AN UNUSUAL ANSWER:
Verse 4 states, And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. John was writing down that which he saw, and this would include the entirety of the book of Revelation. He wrote it down exactly as Jesus revealed it to him in the vision. In addition, this book as well as all scripture, was given by divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit (See 2 Tim. 3:16), so there were no mistakes. John is forbidden to write what the seven thunders uttered. These “seven thunders” more than likely are seven angels doing the speaking. If this is the case, since all seven spoke, it would have been a series of events transpiring one after the other, exactly as had been the seal and trumpet judgments.
Whatever these judgments, apparently they were not carried out on earth. Why were these judgments uttered if they weren’t going to be done? We aren’t told. He was to, seal up those things. This statement seems to indicate that these judgments were held at bay, as it were. Daniel was given a similar prohibition, though a bit different [See Dan. 8:26, 12:4 – 9]. It seems that Daniel wasn’t told to not write down what he had seen, but rather that its fulfillment was many years in the future. In fact, what Daniel saw has not yet been fulfilled, but most assuredly will be in the coming Great Tribulation. Even though the information given to Daniel was in fact reserved until the End time, that given to John fell into the same category.
It is possible that the sealing of these judgments has to do with the shortening of the days of judgment, as Christ had said [See Matt. 24:22]. We really don’t know what these seven voices uttered, so any guesses are pointless. They were certainly intelligible to John, as he was about to write them down.
We will pick up next time with an, Unusual Announcement. Plan to join us then!