We are still under the seventh seal, and, why anyone would ever say this I do not know, but we are awaiting the seventh trumpet. Until that trumpet blows we have this grand and yet cryptic scene to decipher.
Revelation 10:1-7 ESV Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. (2) He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, (3) and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. (4) And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down." (5) And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven (6) and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, (7) but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.
As a layman - without theological training, I run into scenarios like this, and I find myself overwhelmed with words and visuals. How I deal with overwhelming scenarios is to dissect them. So, that is what I am going to do now.
“Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring.” (Revelation 10:1-3)
I am immediately struck some visuals here and they describe the Jesus I know.
First, most of us understand that instances of the angel of the Lord in the Old Testament, are pre-incarnate visitations of Jesus Christ. I hate fancy words when I don't understand them, so let me explain. This idea of pre-incarnate visitations are the instances where Jesus appeared on earth prior to his birth. An example:
Genesis 16:6-10 ESV “But Abram said to Sarai, "Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please." Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her. (7) The angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. (8) And he said, "Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?" She said, "I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai." (9) The angel of the LORD said to her, "Return to your mistress and submit to her." (10) The angel of the LORD also said to her, "I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude."
Secondly, we see Jesus wrapped in a cloud with a rainbow over his head. Is this a common visualization? Apparently.
Revelation 4:3 ESV And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.
I have taken on the mindset that this entire book is a Jewish book. Why is that important? Because the majority of the early church consisted of Jewish believers. That also means that 99% of what we read makes an instant impression on a Jewish community that was trained through memorization of the Law and the Prophets. The Jewish community is also very much in tune with prophecy, but prophecy is not flash and bright lights. It is pattern and consistency. So, do we have a pattern here? Yes, and we find it here in Ezekiel.
Ezekiel 1:28 ESV "Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking."
What about this little scroll? Although we may not be looking for a particularly little scroll, the concept of scrolls carrying important information is an part of the Old Testament. One example that speaks to this is:
Psalms 40:7 ESV Then I said, "Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
I am convinced I am looking at imagery of Jesus.
“And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring.” Revelation 10:2
I am not sure why we have to look for the dark and deep meanings in everything, but of the assumptions made about why Jesus would plant one foot on the sea and the other on the land, while giving out a shout, the one makes the most sense to me is that Jesus is reestablishing his authority and reign on this earth. Is the reign of Jesus in question? Not at all, but Satan is still running rampant for a while, and, therefore, we think that God is not in control. Therefore, this may be a visual demonstration meant for the people still on earth.
This next aspect taunts me. What did John hear? Good, bad or indifferent, we will never know this side of heaven.
“Revelation 10:3-4 ESV “ and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. (4) And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down."
Speaking to God, he lifts his right hand to heaven and says:
Revelation 10:5-7 ESV And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven (6) and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, (7) but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.
While the ESV says, there would be no more delay, the KJV translated it like this, “that there should be time no longer:” To say that there would be no more delay would imply that there have been delays and that they had been intentional. And why not? God himself told the martyred before the throne, to wait a little longer until the full number had been brought in. We also know that God never longed to lose even one, so the delays could be meant to give people time. You also know that not all will come to him. So, are we seeing God's mercy in what we perceive as hesitancy?
But what if the interpretation is more closely matched to the KJV translation? “that there should be time no longer:”
What then could that mean? It could mean what it says. However, if this is indicative of the close of the time of wrath, then, as many perceive, this would be the end of all time. Sorry, but that cannot be. Why? Because as the time of wrath closes, the 1000 year reign of Christ, where Satan is bound, begins. Here, in the 1000 year reign, the nations are forced to come bow before him every year as they take part in the Feast of Tabernacles. Doesn't that need a keeping of time? It does, so it is not valid to say that time would be no more, during this period.
One of our comparative clues comes from Daniel. (This also corroborates the prophecy of Revelation 10.) Pay attention to the action and conversation. Daniel had seen two men standing by the river bank. One of them asks an angel standing upstream when the end would be. This is what the disciples asked Jesus. When will the end be?
Daniel 12:6-7 GNB One of them asked the angel who was standing further upstream, "How long will it be until these amazing events come to an end?" (7) The angel raised both hands toward the sky and made a solemn promise in the name of the Eternal God. I heard him say, "It will be three and a half years. When the persecution of God's people ends, all these things will have happened."
His response has two critical events buried within it:
- It will be three and a half-years.
- And, “When the persecution of God's people ends,”
This is the primary time frame that God refers to, and, if I can be bold here, the only time frame God refers to. However, our main source of this information is associated with the Antichrist making and breaking a seven-year peace treaty. God, as we see here in Daniel, only seems to be interested in three and a half of those years. Do I have to be dogmatic about this? No, and honestly, I cannot, because beyond this is simply a variable contingent upon God's plan and timing. Something we are clearly not given in Daniel's prophecy. Can we find a definitive scripture that tells us when the persecution of God's people (Israel) ends? No, but you can make the assumption that it is in near to this three and a half-year mark.
Allow me to recap our timeline here.
- At some point, soon, the church is removed from the earth.
Why is that important? Not because you get to escape from some wrath that man is pouring out upon the earth, but because as the church leaves, the limiting force (our voice) that holds back the Antichrist is then removed. With that limitation gone the beast/Antichrist erupts in full fury.
- After the church is gone the Antichrist initiates a peace treaty, with many, for a seven-year period.
No, there is nothing that says this is with Israel. I get the sense that Israel will get some benefit from it. We know this because Israel gets the chance to build the temple. This will happen relatively quick. Initiating a peace treaty by no means guarantees that it is maintained for the seven years. If you are even remotely honest, you will admit that you see nothing that indicates God's intent to support some sort of seven-year treaty either.
- We know that the Antichrist breaks his own treaty at the end of three and a half years.
There are so many things happening at this point, but pointing them all out is not my purpose in this. Let's simply say that this is the time that Jesus alluded to when he said, pray that your flight is not in the Winter.
“the mystery of God would be fulfilled”
“but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.” (Revelation 10:7)
You remember where we are in the scheme of things, don't you? The nations and a rebellious Israel are under the seventh seal. Enduring torments, many have come to knowledge of Christ, and they are now anxiously awaiting the seventh trumpet.
What happens at the blast of the seventh trumpet? The end of the time frame, and, the mystery of God would be fulfilled. As a follower of Christ surely you are familiar with this terminology. The Apostle Paul wrote about it several times.
Romans 16:25 KJV Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
The Him, referenced here, is, of course, Jesus Christ. Since we, through our acceptance, have given him the reigns of our life, then He, through his power is establishing us through the good news of the Word. All of this is part of the secret plan, the mystery. Kept secret from whom? Well, Satan of course, or that fool would try to thwart God's plan by killing Jesus off prior to the proper time. Did we see anything like that happening in scripture? At every turn. It seems like Satan tried to kill off anything that had God's mark and
Kept secret from whom? Well, Satan of course, or that fool would try to thwart God's plan by killing Jesus off prior to the appropriate time. Did we see anything like that happening in scripture? At every turn. It seems like Satan tried to kill off anything that had God's mark or seal on it. I am even thinking about Lot and his family. The biggest event that comes to mind is King Herod, killing off every baby two years old and under, after finding out that the wise men had come to pay homage to the Messiah. Does it seem like such a mystery when men from the regions of Babylon had come seeking him? When you consider that the chief priests and elders knew these things also, and did what about it? Nothing. Brought before Herod and questioned, they said the same things the wise men did, but they did not seek the Messiah. So, maybe it is still a mystery to some.
Romans 16:26 KJV But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
I suppose the next question is, if you are a follower of Christ, then why do you not spend time in his word. It is the primary place where you will find out what his character, nature, and plans are. Those plans involve you.
To the zealots, this passage, among others, tell us that the commandment of God has been made known to all the nations. Does that exclude me from preaching the gospel as though they don't know? No, but tramping through the jungles of Borneo, trying to reach some lost tribe, is not my calling. Talking to the heart as though you do know, but choose to act like a Jew that refuses to look at the truth, is more my thing.
Should you have stumbled upon this, and have no comprehension at all, then I suggest that you ask Jesus to make himself real to you, and then accept him. Many former Muslims have done just that, some have even lost their lives because of it.