Revelation Chapter 10: 1-7
“I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices. Now when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, ‘Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them.’
“The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand to heaven and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer, but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.”
Revelation 10 is a bit of an interlude between trumpets six and seven. In Revelation 7 there was an interlude between judgments as well. This just seems to be the pattern. We will look at this more in just a bit. But at the end of Revelation 9, we find a belligerent and stubborn people left on earth after the sixth trumpet sounded and one-third of the earth’s remaining population was killed. We are told in Revelation 10:9: 20-21,
“But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.”
The roots of the sin nature are deep. They penetrate the soul, the mind and the will. We do not want to come to face to face with our rebellion towards God. We see it all around us, but it is important that God’s people take a look in the mirror first.
We live in a time of gay pride parades, open relationships with adultery as the thing that holds them together. We live in a time where it is clear that the rich have one law and the poor another. We live in a time when children rule the home and the government has become their babysitter. We live in a time when being a Godly man is being maligned and called out as hating women. We are living in a time when open defiance of God is promoted and rewarded. And we live in a time where the Lord’s churches are riddled with false doctrine and lost people.
One of the hardest things to come to grips with is our own sinful depravity. Often, while leading someone to Jesus, we talk about their sin and that the Holy Spirit will help them to realize that they are sinners in need of a Savior and they will cry out to Jesus.
As we mature in Jesus with the constant reading of the Bible and prayer, we go from being sinners to being sinful. We must come face to face with the depth of just how sinful we are. We realize that every waking moment needs to be guarded, every thought has to be reframed, and every word needs to be considered before it leaves our mouths. We understand that one failure can bring a lifetime of sorrow, and we come to understand that we are each, individually, the chief of sinners.
At the same time that the Holy Spirit is doing this, we begin to grow in love for the Lord as we realize the meaning of Romans 5:8 – God loved us while we were still sinners (sinful to the core). We grow in appreciation for His matchless grace and His never-ending mercy. Our spirit becomes more tender to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and we find that things we did not realize were sinful are sinful in light of loving God and our neighbor first. We begin to weigh each action in light of the holiness of God; and as we grow older, we come face to face with the understanding that there is a judgment to which all who call Jesus Lord must be subjected to.
But the people at the end of Revelation 9 are not this way. They understand that it is God who is causing their pain and suffering. There is no question in their minds that God is All-powerful and that He is in complete charge of the creation. Yet, in rebellious defiance, they refuse to repent. The obvious indication is that they could have, had they humbled themselves under the mighty hand of God. But the sin of pride and rebellion had so riddled their thinking, framing their lives just like the Bible is supposed to frame our lives, that they refuse to humble themselves and seek God. They had bought into the lie that is very prevalent today that no one has the right to question how I live.
Well, be sure of this: God has the right to judge, and He will exercise His right to judge. He will call every word, deed, thought and inaction into question; and since they have rejected His grace, His love, His Son’s sacrifice and His offer of peace, they will enter and remain in an eternal Hell.
Over the past few years, we have become nations that no longer issue consequences for sin and breaking the law unless it is very, very heinous. Children no longer fail in school, no one really wins a trophy, they no longer allow parents to spank, and we certainly can’t yell at kids as it may hurt their fragile minds. Thus, we have raised a generation that does not understand consequences and that there are some things that you just don’t do.
Sadly, they think God is the same way as their parents and their societal leaders. They think that God will look the other way, and they associate His grace with tolerance. Nothing could be farther from the truth than this. God hates sin, and unsaved sinners are His enemies. There will be a day of reckoning.
Another Mighty Angel, Revelation 10:1
Some commentators think that this is Jesus; but most don’t, and I am inclined to stay with the later. The word translated ‘another’ means another of the same kind; thus, this was a created angel like all other angels, but from another hierarchy. This mighty angel had a rainbow on his head; notice that in all of these judgments there are no global floods. There may be isolated floods like when the asteroids hit the water and coastal regions are flooded, but there are no global floods in the Tribulation. God has the rainbow as a perpetual reminder of the covenant He made with man thousands of years ago and recorded in Genesis 9:16.
He has a ‘little book’ and stands firmly on the earth and sea, showing God’s dominion over land and sea. In the pagan world, we see that many have gods of the sea, gods of the land, gods of the sky, and on and on. Our God, the God of the Bible, is God of all. From the heights of Heaven to the depths of the deepest sea are His; even Hell is His. Then this angel speaks, and his voice is like the sound of a lion, and then John hears loud thunders. King David records for us in Psalm 29 these words,
“Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. The voice of the Lord is over the waters; The God of glory thunders; The Lord is over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; The voice of the Lord is full of majesty. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars, Yes, the Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon” (Revelation 10:1-5).
I am currently reading in the book of 2 Samuel for personal readings; and then, as I am teaching through Revelation, I have come to a profound appreciation for God’s power, strength and majesty. Were our Lord to walk into the Serengeti, the animals would run to Him and fall at His feet, fully aware of who He is. Were He to be surrounded by a pride of lions, they would come to Him like little kittens wanting to be petted, simply in awe of their Creator. But we humans are defiant, and we run from the Lord rather than to Him. We have lost sight of His majesty and wonder.
God Loves Mysteries, Revelation 10:4
John was about to write the stuff that he heard from the loud thunderings. But he is told not to do so. God is not obligated to tell us everything, furthermore, anything at all. Over the centuries there have been mysteries in the scripture that have been revealed. The mystery of grace is the most prominent one for us, as it pertains to our time of the last 2,000 years – the mystery that God would send Himself as a sacrifice for our sins.
But there are other mysteries. We find in Daniel 12: 1-4,
“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”
Here Daniel is told that the things that he was writing about some 500+ years before Jesus’ birth would take place in the time when ‘knowledge will increase and men run to and fro.’ No time in history aligns to this verse better than our time. In just the last 100 years, look at where we have come from and to. In 1892, a locomotive from the Wellington and Manuatu Railway set the average land speed record of 68 kph or 42 miles per hour. At times, this train did over 60 miles per hour. Let that sink in; this was almost 1,900 years after Jesus walked the earth and we had gotten to 42 miles an hour.
Here we are just over 100 years later, and we have scooters that can do over 40 miles an hour. In 1892, we had just reached 42 miles an hour, but now we know how to put rockets past the atmosphere. We have grown in engineering; we are discovering things every day that blow our minds. I was listening to a doctor last night talking about using DNA to personalize medicine and medications. They are, in the very near future, going to be able to design a specific medical approach to your diseases based on DNA.
We live in a time when knowledge is increasing exponentially. We are the generation that Daniel’s prophecy was for. Let that sink in; we revere these Godly men, and rightly so; but you and I understand more of God’s plan than Daniel did.
In this case, John was told not to write down what he heard. This was for God to know and no one else. We must trust the nature, character and faithfulness of God. We, in our finite minds, are not able to handle all that God knows; and so He, as a loving Father and kind God, restricts what we are allowed to know. Don’t you wish there were something that you had never learned, and are there not some things that you wished your children never had to learn? Well then, respect the wisdom of God and be contented that He is doing what is best for us.
Everything as God has declared, Revelation 10:7
God cannot lie. No greater confidence should we as His children have than that God cannot lie. His promises are secure, His guarantees are forever and He is not a double-minded God. Whatever He says He will do, He will set about to do it. In verse 5, the mighty angel who is standing on the earth and the sea, raises his hand to swear by God that whatever judgments that God has promised are about to come through. No more delays, no more patience, and no more grace it would seem.
This brief break between the sixth and seventh trumpets seems to most observers as a calm where God extends His grace one more time, hoping, waiting and looking for men to repent. God truly does not want anyone to go to Hell. He does not want any to miss out on what Jesus has done for them. Just one last reprieve, one last moment to take stock of where you are, to realize that God is God and you are not. One last opportunity to take advantage of the loving kindness of God.
But, God’s patience does come to an end. I have a dear friend who has just finished Jeremiah for the first time, and he commented that God has simply unleashed His wrath on the southern kingdom. The destruction was horrible and the loss of life was a lot. God had patiently waited for Judah to repent, to turn back to Him for 490 years. But they would not; they had little rays of hope: a good king here and there; but, for the most part, the Southern Kingdom of Judah rejected God as their God and turned on Him. They never thought that their measure of grace would run out.
God sent prophet after prophet, and very few listened. Most of the people rebelled and rejected God to His face, defiant and arrogant little clumps of clay turning their backs to their God. One day, the nation of Babylon showed up, and the time for repentance had come to an end. Such is the case here as the angel raises his hand to swear by God that all He has promised to do will happen.
We love to sing of God’s promises of blessings, provisions and grace. But His promises of judgment, accountability and wrath are just as true and just as secured by His character. God cannot lie. Repent; there is still a little time. The emphasis should be on a ‘little’ time. Fall at the feet of Jesus and seek his forgiveness. His offer is secure and His kindness unsurpassed, but just as sure are His judgments and wrath. I leave you with Psalm 2:12,
“Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you perish in your rebellion, when His wrath ignites in an instant. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.”