29/04/18 Revelation 10:1-11 “The end is nigh! The mystery will be finished!”
Revelation 10:1 – 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:
mighty – Translated “strong” angel in Revelation 5:2
While “cloud” and “pillars of fire” (and even “rainbow” – note the rainbow around God’s throne Revelation 4:3) suggest the presence of God, and the sun suggests Christ as the light of the world – also see Revelation 1:16b – his countenance [was] as the sun shineth in his strength, this is not an appearance of Christ as some suppose, for why would Christ be termed “another” angel, even though mighty? This angel is mighty as the angel in Revelation 5:2 was strong; if the first is an angel, then this one is simply another angel! However, this angel does appear to represent the power and authority of Christ in the imagery used.
“pillars” may suggest the solidity of this angel, physically mighty as well as spiritually.
The rainbow could relate to the covenant that God made with Noah (Genesis 9:11-13) to not destroy the earth with a flood ever again. However, this angel does appear to set the final destruction of the earth in motion – see Vs 6 further down (that there should be time no longer) and Vs 7 – when the 7th angel sounds his trumpet, the mystery of God should be finished.
Revelation 10:2 – And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and [his] left [foot] on the earth,
a little book – bibliaridion (a little book) Used 4 times in NT, all referring to the little book in Ch.10. A diminutive form of biblion – a book; a small book; scroll; a written document. This in turn is a diminutive of biblos – a written book; a roll; a scroll.
But what is this little book? Some say the New Testament, others that it symbolised something of God. I think it represents God’s word from start to finish; all will be completed as He has said it would be.
Revelation 10:7 – But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
That is, God has promised through His prophets that which should be, and now what has been a mystery up until now will finally be completed, revealed as truth. This book is open, indicating that there is nothing hidden (note the sealed book in Revelation 5:1). John is about to be asked to eat this book and it will be sweet in his mouth but bitter in his stomach. We’ll cover this more in Vs 9-10 below.
The angel sets one foot on land and the other on the sea; this is clearly a picture of total or absolute conquest. This angel has taken charge of the known world at that time; this is what John would have thought, too. What is about to happen will affect the whole world. When the 7th trumpet angel finally sounds, the world will have probably 30 days left until Armageddon. The countdown to the destruction of the world of mankind will begin with the next and final trumpet.
Revelation 10:3 – And cried with a loud voice, as [when] a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.
great – megas & voice – phone. That is, a mega-phone!
roareth – mukaomai (moo or bellow like cattle; roar like a lion) Supposedly from muzo = to moo like a cow!
A lion’s roar symbolises the might and power of the king of beasts; likewise this angel’s mega-voice is full of power and authority. There’s no whimper nor whisper at all. This mega-voice will have to be listened to and taken note of. It can’t be ignored!
The seven thunders are not just a thunder sound happening 7 times, but the uttering of 7 voices that all sound like thunder. Thunder is another picture of power, might, and authority. This verse emphasises the mighty power of what is about to be unleased upon the earth, a power that will complete the mystery of God (Vs 7 below). But what do these voices say? John is told in the next verse not to write them down, but let them remain sealed. Do the voices say what’s written in the little book? Or are they some pronouncement from God that is better kept hidden from mankind? Remember, though these voices are at the end of this age, John is writing them down around 2,000 years (or more?) before they happen. Are these voices best left unrevealed until the time they actually happen?
Revelation 10:4 – 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.
seal up – to set a seal upon; mark with a seal; to seal, for security; keep secret; keep silence.
write – grapho (write; express in written characters; draw up; compose)
John is about to write down what these mighty voices say, but is told to leave them unwritten; their message sealed (either until the end or perhaps for all time). It is clear that John knew what the voices were saying and was about to record their messages but was told to not write them down. The voices must have been understandable.
Revelation 10:5 – And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven,
This mighty angel lifted his hand up to heaven to make a vow (Vs 6). It would be his right hand, which is the hand that is commonly used to make judgments or to seal a contract (note that a handshake is with the right hand, and a vow in court usually requires the use of the right hand). The angel therefore continues to keep the little book in his left hand until he hands it to John to eat (Vs 10).
Genesis 14:22 – And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,
Psalm 63:8 – My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.
Thus the angel is making a legal statement concerning God and His judgments.
Revelation 10:6 – And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:
sware – to swear; affirm, promise, threaten, with an oath; in swearing to call a person or thing as witness; to invoke; swear by. A binding statement that can be considered to be a legal statement of some kind. A sworn statement is only as binding as that by which you swear it; thus it is acceptable to use a Bible when swearing in witnesses in a court of law. But nothing can be sworn by greater than by God in heaven.
Hebrews 6:13-14 – 13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, 14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.
The angel swears by the eternal God (who lives for ever and ever – aeons and aeons), who created the world and all that is in it (Acts 17:24 – God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;). The angel swears (makes a legal and binding statement under oath) that there should no longer be any time left for the world to continue as it has so far, that the mystery of God should now be finished (Vs 7). The ticking clock of the patience of a long-suffering God is about to cease ticking. To the world the angel effectively says, “Your time is up! There shall be no more delay!” The final 7 bowls of wrath are about to happen; the Armageddon countdown is about to begin with the blowing of the 7th trumpet!
Revelation 10:7 – But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
When the final trumpet is sounded, it is likely that only 30 days remain before Armageddon. [Note the difference between Israel in the wilderness for 1260 days after the abomination of Daniel (Revelation 12:6 & Matthew 24:15) and the end coming 1290 days after that same abomination (Daniel 12:11), a difference of 30 days.] When the 7th angel sounds, the 3rd woe commences, and the 7 bowls of wrath judgments commence, taking just 30 days to complete.
Note the following.
There will be 1290 days from the abomination until the time of the end (assumed to be Armageddon) but could also apply to the ending of the mystery of God.
Daniel 12:9; 11-12 – 9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words [are] closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
11 And from the time [that] the daily [sacrifice] shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, [there shall be] a thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12 Blessed [is] he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.
The abomination will occur in the middle of 7 years; thus there will be 3½ years (1260 days) of abomination.
Daniel 9:27 – And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make [it] desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
Israel will be kept safe during the 2nd half of the tribulation, for 3½ years – 1260 days.
Revelation 12:14 – And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
Jesus said that Israel would flee when the abomination appeared in the temple.
Matthew 24:15-16 – 15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
So there’s 1260 days to the end of Israel’s hiding, which assumes that Israel must then return to Jerusalem. So why does Daniel say that it will be 1290 days until the end (which does sound like the same as the mystery of God being completed)? It appears that the 7th angel (7th trumpet / last woe) signals the end which apparently will be 30 days after Israel returns from hiding, which means Israel will be back in Jerusalem for the leadup to Armageddon, and a very good reason for the antichrist to attack Jerusalem. Apparently he’s no longer in Jerusalem; the return of Israel apparently caused him to be removed somehow. It doesn’t seem likely for the antichrist to attack Jerusalem if he were still present with his abomination in Jerusalem! Note that the two witnesses of God are in Jerusalem for 3½ years, then are killed, return to life after 3½ days and going up into heaven, just before the 3rd woe.
Revelation 11:12-13 – 12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. 13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
Revelation 10:8 – And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go [and] take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.
The voice from heaven (see Vs 4 above) now tells John to take the little book out of the hand of the angel who stands upon both sea and earth. The little book is open, signifying no doubt that its contents are not sealed but are able to be seen. It is possible that this book is now open but wasn’t previously, that is, its writings were sealed until this point in time.
Revelation 10:9 – And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take [it], and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.
So John went to the angel and requested the book. The angel hands it over and tells John to eat it. Now, whether this is an actual eating or a supposed eating in John’s vision I can’t say, but that is probably not relevant anyway. It would taste sweet at first, in his mouth, but would sit heavily in his stomach, probably giving him indigestion. Perhaps the news that the mystery was now about to be completed, and the prayers of the saints would be answered, would be sweet, being the answers to the prayers of the saints mixed with incense (Revelation 8:3-5). However, on the other hand there would be an awful cost to mankind, the death, misery and destruction that would now come as a result of the 7th angel (the 3rd woe); such information would lie heavily upon one who knew what was about to happen.
It is possible that God is revealing this little book’s contents to be a bitter-sweet experience, as something being done that had to be done, but at great cost. In a way it reflects the cross which attained great sweetness for mankind but at great cost to Christ.
Revelation 10:10 – And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.
And John took the little book and ate it; and indeed, as promised, it was sweet as honey in his mouth but bitter to digest in his stomach. God’s word should be a rejoicing to us, sweet as honey.
Psalm 119:103 – How sweet are thy words unto my taste! [yea, sweeter] than honey to my mouth!
Jeremiah 15:16 – Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts.
But those same words like honey can be a bitter offense to those whom God condemns. The following passage doesn’t mention the bitterness, but it is clear from the context that the message was not sweet as honey to the people of Israel.
Ezekiel 2:8-10; 3:1-9; 19 – 8 But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee. 9 And when I looked, behold, an hand [was] sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book [was] therein; 10 And he spread it before me; and it [was] written within and without: and [there was] written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.
1 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. 2 So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. 3 And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat [it]; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.
19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
If both OT and NT sweet/bitter books are similar, then we could perhaps assume that the writings in them also both refer to the judgments of God.
Revelation 10:11 – And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
And he said unto me – And they say to me (or “And it was said to me”) Not a direct statement to John but more of a comment.
prophesy – propheteuo (prophesy; be a prophet; predict; utter forth, declare, a thing that can only be known by divine revelation)
Ch.11 deals with an event that probably commenced when the abomination appeared in the temple, continuing for 1260 days (plus 3½ days): the two witnesses (prophets) of God. The 7th trumpet sounds immediately after this event is completed. The events of today’s passage appear to occur during (or leading up to) the time of the 2 witnesses.
It may be that while John was not permitted to write down the words of this little book, he was still to continue to write those things that God was continuing to give to him, that is, the continuing revelation of the end-times judgments of God. The little book was not to be the end of his writings of God’s end-time judgments.
It seems surprising that even with what John was permitted to write, that so many just will not get the message. In fact, many just do not want to get the message. As we saw last week, rebellion is not always based upon ignorance, but upon a refusal to accept the truth. And there is a huge difference between ignorance and a refusal to accept the truth.
Today we have a problem with the “church” refusing to accept the truth of the Bible. People have “matured” since it was written, or it depends upon how you “interpret” it, or God is “love” and therefore doesn’t actually mean His judgments to be taken seriously, etc, etc. Churches have become big businesses, with each one vying with the other to gain as many customers as possible. The more paying customers a business has, the better its bank balance and therefore the nicer the cars and houses those in charge can receive. Like pigs with their snouts in the trough, far too many church leaders today are more concerned with their success ratings than with their adherence to God’s word. Success translates into money in the offering plate, and thus the greater the success, the greater the payout (for the business leader, of course). Like today’s big business CEOs, there are big bonuses for getting more paying customers in.
But this all comes at a price! (And I’m not trying to be funny!) A basic rule of good business practice is that you offer for sale what the customer wants, or else convince the customer that your product is what he wants. When churches do this, they are not catering for the needs of the people. Think about it. If a business commits itself to catering merely for the needs of the people, then it could easily fail. After all, most people today do not want what they actually need, but instead they want what they desire. And “need” and “desire” are often two different things indeed.
Churches are seeking consumers of their products, and that should mean the gospel of the Bible to start with. But such products, while essential, are generally not desirable. And if you provide essentials that are not necessarily desirable, then you may not get people flocking to your door. And that means fewer people, less money, and less in the trough for all the snouts stuck in it.
The solution? You could try convincing people that the gospel is essential, but even the Bible states that most people will find this essential product distasteful or offensive. Otherwise, change your product to something more desirable, even if less essential. And so we have pentecostal churches offering Sunday morning “night-clubs” with loud music to dance to etc. Or, for those who are more conservative, the option of belonging to an exclusive Sunday morning club (something that appeals to a lot of people). You promise them a God who will accept only those who belong to your belief system; and already you’ve made them feel better (“I feel better now!” – some might even say “I feel special now!”) than all those other poor miserable sinners in those apostate churches! You persuade them that they are the only ones who make God truly sovereign, the only ones who read their Bibles properly, the only ones who know all the answers, the only spiritual ones, the only ones with God’s salvation guaranteed, the only recipients of God’s grace, the only ones who can be perfectly holy, and the only ones going to heaven! The exclusive Calvinista Election Club awaits you!