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 Revelation Chapter 10 (Part 51) (Verses 1 -  11)

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PostSubject: Revelation Chapter 10 (Part 51) (Verses 1 -  11)   Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:14 pm

Revelation Chapter 10 (Part 51) (Verses 1 -  11)

We come to our second interlude in the book of Revelation. You recall that our first interlude was the introduction of the 144,000 Jewish Christians.  Now, in chapter 10, we are introduced to a mighty angel.  This mighty angel is no ordinary mighty angel.  We saw a mighty angel in Revelation 5:2.  But this mighty angel is different.  Revelation 10:1 reads, “Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from Heaven.  He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars.”  As we go through the description of this mighty angel, I’m going to point out why I believe this mighty angel is Jesus.  First, recall that we are beyond the Day of Grace.  Before the Day of Grace, that is, the Old Testament times, the bible would refer to Jesus Christ as The Angel of the LORD.  This post-Day of Grace dispensation has many similarities to the pre-Day of Grace dispensation.  There are several attributes attributed to this mighty angel that can’t be attributed to an angel.  First, He is robed in a cloud.  In the Old Testament, God was in the cloud.  Exodus 13:21 says, “By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light.”  Jesus ascended to Heaven on a cloud.  Secondly, He has a rainbow above His head.  In Genesis 9:13, God says, “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the Earth.”  The rainbow is God’s sign that serves as a covenant that He will not destroy the Earth again by water (though, the covenant does not rule out destroying the world by fire next time).  

Revelation 10:1 includes the clause “His face was like the sun.”  This is reminiscent of Jesus’ Transfiguration.  Matthew 17:2 says, “There He was transfigured before them.  His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.”  When Paul met Jesus on the Damascus road, it says in Acts 26:13, “About noon…as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions.”  John already spoke of Jesus in this way in the book of Revelation.  He says in Revelation 1:16b, “His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.”  And Malachi calls Jesus “the sun of righteousness”.  He is speaking of the last days in Malachi 4:1-2, which reads, “‘Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace.  All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,’ says the LORD Almighty.  ‘Not a root or a branch will be left to them.  But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.  And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.’” Luke says something similar in Luke 1:78-79 and applies it to Jesus.  It reads, “…because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from Heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”  And the clause, “his legs were like fiery pillars” in Revelation 10:1 is reminiscent of Revelation 1:15 that says, “His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of rushing waters” in describing Jesus.

Revelation 10:2 says, “He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in His hand.  He planted His right foot on the sea and His left foot on the land...” We are introduced to a “little scroll”.  We know of its contents only by how it tastes to John and what it does to him.  We’ll explore that when we get there later in the chapter.  This mighty angel (or Jesus) has one foot on the sea and the other on the land, which likely signifies ownership and sovereignty of the world (land and sea).  Verse 3 continues, “and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion.  When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke.”  It says that Jesus shouts like a roaring lion.  Proverbs 19:12 says, “A king’s rage is like the roar of a lion…”  In speaking of the last days, Joel 3:16 says, “The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem: the Earth and the sky will tremble.  But the LORD will be a refuge for His people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.”  

The seven thunders that spoke in verse 3 was God speaking, whose voice reverberates like 7 (perfect) thunders.  Job 37:5 says, “God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.”  Psalm 29:3-7 states, “The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.  The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic.  The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.  He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox.  The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning.” It is interesting that much of this, which when taught in Sunday School, is interpreted as metaphors and similes only, but much of this will take place literally during the last days. Concerning the seven thunders, please also confer with Revelation 4:5, 8:5, 11:19, 16:18, and Exodus 20:18-20.  We have looked at each of these verses already in this series.

Revelation 10:5 says, “And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from Heaven say, ‘Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.’”  So the seven thunders reveals something that God does not want us to know yet.  God has always acted in stages of revealing knowledge of Himself to mankind.  Do not think for a moment that just because we have the bible, that we know all there is to know about the person, personality, and will of God.  Adam and Eve didn’t know about the Law of God through Moses.  Moses didn’t fully realize Jesus, nor did the prophets of the Old Testament fully understand the Messiah to come.  The Holy Spirit was not fully revealed until after Jesus ascended to Heaven.  And God still has His secrets that He has not revealed to the Church.  This is not the first secret we learn about in the book of Revelation.  We saw in Revelation 3:12, that Jesus will write His new name on the forehead of overcomers.  This is some unknown defining attribute of Jesus that we do not yet know about.  This secret is not a permanent secret, for one day when we see the foreheads of the overcomers, or hopefully, just look in the mirror, then we will learn of this secret attribute of Jesus.  Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.”  Proverbs 25:2 says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.”  Indeed, God has kept His universe a mystery.  We know nothing about Andromeda, our closest galaxy.  Not only that, but we know very little of our own galaxy beyond our immediate solar system.  Even our deepest ocean crags on Earth have yet to be explored.  It is very likely, since we know who’s speaking (that is, the 7 thunders), and based on the context, that whatever this secret has to do with, it is concerning judgment.  

Revelation 10:5 says, “Then the Angel [Jehovah Jesus] I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised His right hand to Heaven.  And He swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, ‘There will be no more delay!’”  Recall the prayer of the martyrs.  In Revelation 6:10, they prayed, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the Earth and avenge our blood?”  That passage goes on to say, “Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.”  Now the wait is over as we approach the seventh trumpet call.  The martyrs’ imprecatory prayers were delayed, yet granted.  God’s delay actually shows that God sympathized with the martyrs and was angry with how they were killed.  God knew that the Tribulation period gets worse and worse until it reaches a climax at the end.  God waited for the rest of the martyrs to be taken off the Earth to spare them from the greatest tribulation destruction on the Earth, while at the same God extended the lives of the evil people who were responsible for the martyrs’ martyrdom so that they will experience the greatest of God’s wrath.  

The bible tells us to not swear, but God is able to swear by Himself.  Jesus says in Matthew 5:34, “But I tell you, do not swear at all, either by Heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the Earth, for it is His footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.  And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.  Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’, ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the Evil One.”  That last part might startle a casual reader.  Why did Jesus add that?  Why is it from Satan if a person swears beyond answering “yes” or “no”?  Simply because God commanded us to not do it.  Any command, great or small, if we disregard, then we are aligning ourselves with Satan’s agenda even if it seems “light” or “unimportant” (in our opinion).  It seemed like a small thing to Adam and Eve to obey the Serpent and taste the fruit.  Keep in mind that our opinion is often not God’s opinion.  The way we do things is often not how God does things.  The way we judge is often not how God judges.  Swearing an oath can be described as a self-invoked covenant.  So we are not supposed to swear; but God can.  Hebrews 6:13 says, “When God made His promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for Him to swear by, He swore by Himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.”  We are not allowed to swear because it is possible that we may break our promise.  Swearing is appealing to something greater than oneself in order to bind oneself to a promise.  In Jesus’ example, God is greater than us; the Earth is greater than us (it is God’s footstool); Heaven is greater than us; and Jerusalem is greater than us.  When God swears, nothing is greater than Him, so He is able to swear (that is, bind Himself to a promise by appealing to the greatest (Himself); and, God always keeps His promises and Covenants.  Now, the Angel in our passage in Revelation 10:5-6 swears, as it reads, “Then the Angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised His right hand to Heaven.  And He swore by Him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the Earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, ‘There will be no more delay!...”  If my assumption that this Angel is the same “Angel of the LORD” of the Old Testament is correct (as the context clues suggest), then this Angel is in essence, swearing by Himself.  

Revelation 10:7 says, “But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”  This “mystery of God” was announced beforehand by the prophets of the Old Testament.  The New Testament writers, namely, John here, and also the Apostle Paul, used this word “mystery” (mysterion in the Greek) to refer to something once hidden or obscure, but now revealed through Christ.  Recall that the word “Revelation” in the Greek means “unfolding” or “unveiling”.  This mystery was announced beforehand, so it is not a secret unrevealed.  What precisely is this “mystery” in Revelation 10:7?  The mystery is simply God’s victory over evil and Christ’s reign for ever and ever.  

Verse 8 says, “Then the voice that I had heard from Heaven spoke to me once more: ‘Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the Angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.’”  This is the first time John is commanded to act in one of his visions.  Unlike the scroll in Revelation 5:1, John doesn’t have to first be worthy before taking this scroll.  No one was worthy but the Lamb of God to take and open the seal mentioned in Revelation 5:1.  John is polite about it.  Verse 9 says, “So I went to the Angel and asked Him to give me the little scroll.  He said to me, ‘Take it and eat it.  It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.’”  Obviously, the scroll has God’s word written on it.  Before we delve in here, I think that we would get a better understanding of what is going on with this passage by looking at similar incidents that happened to other prophets.  Ezekiel 2:7-3:4 reads as follows: “‘You (Ezekiel) must speak my (Yahweh) words to them (Israel), whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious.  But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you.  Do not rebel like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.’  Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me.  In it was a scroll, which He unrolled before me.  On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.  And He said to me, ‘Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.’  So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.  He then said to me: ‘Son of man, go now to the house of Israel and speak my words to them.’” By Ezekiel eating God’s words, that means that Ezekiel would have to digest them.  It had to travel through his inner being and become a part of him.  God wants us to digest His words.  Sometimes we fall victim to digesting the wrong words.  Some have for years digested the verbal insults of an abusive parent.  The old saying “sticks and stones my break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a lie.  Words have destructive power; they also have constructive power.  God’s words are the most important.  The Creator knows the future and calls us to live a godly lifestyle for a reason.  It is best that we digest His words and obey them.  To do that, we have to consume His words.

Another thing that I’d like to point out is that God’s words tasted sweet like honey to Ezekiel even though the words consisted of words of lament, mourning and woe.  How can words of lament (which means sadness), mourning and woe taste sweet like honey?  If they come from God they taste sweet.  God’s judgment is sweet tasting.  It does not feel good at the time.  Remember, God is calling Ezekiel to rebuke his own people.  God is not out to destroy them, but rather to turn them back onto the right road.  God is willing to bring woe, lament, and mourning to them in order to straighten them out so that in the end they will be better off and back on the right road.  The process to get there may be destructive and cause calamity.  But as Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”  “All things” includes calamity and the bad.  God works out the tough times that we experience today so that we can experience a greater good tomorrow.  Hebrews 12:7 says, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.”  God disciplines us because He loves us.  I know of some Christians who read only some of the bible, but avoid the harsher toned books like Jeremiah.  They just want to read the passages that make them “feel good.”  But the more we grow and mature, we come to a point where all of God’s words taste sweet like honey, even the disciplining and rebuking passages that are there to mature us.  

It is interesting how the little scroll affected John when he ate it.  Verse 9 of Romans 10 says, “…He said to me, ‘Take it and eat it.  It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’”  Verse 10: “I took the little scroll from the Angel’s hand and ate it.  It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour.’”  Verse 11: “Then I was told, ‘You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.’” Let’s work with these verses and see what golden nuggets we can extract.  Ezekiel’s scroll tasted sweet as honey, but we were not told that Ezekiel had any ill effects of eating the scroll.  To John, the little scroll tasted as sweet as honey, but it turned his stomach sour.  We already pointed out that both are ingesting and digesting God’s Word.  And, we conjectured, based on the context clues and the times of the day and moment, that the little scroll contains God’s Words of judgment.  So God’s Word of Judgment actually tastes good going into the mouth, but it becomes sour when we digest it.  God’s judgment is both good and bad.  God’s judgment is good because God is just.  It is good because when God judges, wrongs become corrected, injustice gets rectified, evil get extirpated, culpable offenders get persecuted, and innocent victims get justice.  When society and the world goes through the refining process of God’s judgment then all peoples everywhere remaining will live in peace.  In other words, the end product of God’s judgment is always good.  The process of experiencing God’s judgment, however, is sour.  It is no fun going through the refining process of God’s fiery wrath.  And, those without Christ during the Tribulation period will not survive the process at all.  Their guilt is warranted because had they listened to the warning of the coming judgment and repented, then God would have saved them.  

God’s Word is like what this passage describes.  Food has to go to the mouth before it gets to the stomach.  God’s Word tasted sweet to John’s mouth first, but then sour as he digested it.  That is similar to what Jesus described.  In Matthew 13:3, Jesus describes the Word of God as follows: “…A farmer went out to sow his seed.  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.”  This first part is not like John’s experience.  Here, Jesus describes how for some people, the Word does not take root in the heart because Satan (the “birds”) come to eat it (digest it instead of you digesting it).  Don’t let Satan steal God’s Word from you.  We must digest it and not let Satan fly off with it.  Jesus goes on to say, “Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil.  It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.”  This does describe John’s experience.  Here, Jesus describes how for some people, God’s Word tastes sweet when they first intake it, and they actually sprout up with joy, enthusiasm, and commitment.  The spiritual New Year’s resolution does not last long because as soon as the Word starts digesting in the stomach; or, as soon as the trials and heat of the sun challenges the believer, the Word becomes sour or it withers and becomes scorched because it had no root.  Digestion itself is an interesting analogy: some food we eat and it comes out right away; but some healthier foods (like veggies) the body absorbs before releasing out what it does not need to keep.  One day of veggies is not sufficient for a life time.  But a habit of ingesting veggies does a body well.  When we make a habit of ingesting God’s Word, then even though it may seem sour, it is actually nourishing our souls and our minds and hearts.  Keep in mind that it was sour to John because it was judgment he was digesting (not his own, but those who rejected Christ).  

Before I close for the day, I’d like to change the topic back to the last post.  I might have sounded like I have given up on the Church, but I haven’t.  Hope does seem dismal, however.  Because it was prophesied in advance that this Laodicean Church age will be lukewarm, blind, wretched, and naked; a people who seeks to be rich, and therefore, an idolatrous church; a church that leaves Jesus on the outside of its services while Jesus is knocking for someone to open the door; and a church where our Lord says He “vomits us out of His mouth”—hope does seem dismal.  What hope do we have of calling the Church to repent of the evil of abortion and picking up its cross to do something about evil if things were prophesied in advance that we would not answer Jesus’ call?  Why try at all to fix things?  Actually the bible does offer a glimmer of hope in that Laodicean passage in Revelation chapter 3.  For the bible does not predict that “all” churches today will be lukewarm and do-nothing-ers.  Jesus says in Revelation 3:20b, “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”  Upon a quick read, it may sound like Jesus is referring to individuals within a church—if they (the few individuals) hear Jesus knocking and open the door then Jesus will abide with those few only.  A few individuals from each church would not be enough for the church to overcome a national system of abortion.  Initially this passage was referring to individuals within the single Laodicean church that stood nearly 2,000 years ago, as it was just one church.  But we know that the 7 Churches of Revelation chapters 2 and 3 prophetically represent each church age throughout church history, in the order of the 7 churches listed in Revelation chapters 2 and 3; and that the Laodicean church prophetically represents all churches of our current day and time.  As it applies to us today, Jesus is knocking at the door of every church in Christ that exists today.  Jesus is knocking on this single Laodicean door.  But this single door that He knocks on represents all Churches in Christ that stand today.  To the individual churches (plural) that respond to His call, He will abide with those churches (not just a few dispersed individuals).  Although a majority of Churches will not respond to Truth (as predicted) and will refuse to take up their cross for righteousness sake, there lay in the midst some who will.  If it were just a few individual people who will respond to Jesus’ knocking then my efforts to overturn this genocide of innocent babies would be in vain.  But with this hope that there still lie 7,000 churches who have not bowed down to Baal that I don’t know about (an Elijah reference) I continue to go out to call the churches of Jesus Christ to repentance, with the understanding that we do not need all churches to rise up to overthrow this evil institution of abortion to be successful; we need only the few responders to Jesus’ knocking (authentic churches)—those will be enough to sanctify this nation and to save the heart of America.

 
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Revelation Chapter 10 (Part 51) (Verses 1 -  11)
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