Saturday, February 6, 2010

#Revelation 10> Things Which Shall Be Hereafter> Trumpet Judgments ( #Prophecy )


3. The things which shall be hereafter (4-22) 
     A. Judgment on the inhabitants of the earth (4 - 9) 
          5. The trumpet judgments (8b, 9, 11) 
          Summary of God's sovereignty over all creation (10) 

Who is the angel of Revelation 10? What does it mean that he stands on land and sea? How does chapter 10 relate to the time line of events? 

Much of the book of Revelation follows a chronology, each chapter telling what comes next. From time to time, however, there will be a passage which does not seem to relate to this series. This first occurs in chapter seven, when we see, not the opening of the seventh seal, but a revelation of who will be saved during the tribulation. 

Such visions are like mini previews, recaps, or behind the scenes clips which you would see throughout a televised sporting event. Chapter 10 breaks from the main chronology to give a background for the seventh trumpet, which is about to sound. 

John saw a "mighty angel" come down from heaven. Since 2 Peter 2:11 describes angels as greater in strength and might than humans (cf. Psalm 103:20), this could describe just a "mighty angel". Some, however, view this as an appearance of Christ. 

They show that God is often identified with the clouds. He led Israel by a cloud (Exodus 16:10), covered Sinai with a cloud (Exodus 19:9), appeared to Moses in a cloud of glory (Exodus 24:15ff), makes the clouds His chariot (Psalm 104:3), and promises to return with the clouds (Revelation 1:7). 

Those who believe the angel is Christ also refer to the rainbow upon his head. God first installed the rainbow, after the flood, as a promise He would no more utterly destroy the inhabitants of the earth. A rainbow surrounded God's throne in chapter 4. The rainbow has become symbolic of God's mercy in times of judgment. 

Further, the messenger's face "was as it were the sun". The feet of this agent seem like those of Christ in chapter 1. The loud voice, as that of a roaring lion, may picture Christ as the lion of the tribe of Judah. These similarities lead some to believe this is an appearance of Christ Himself. Others, equally, see no compelling reason to view this as anything more than a "mighty angel". 

In his hand, the angel had a little book, which is described later in the chapter. But what does it mean that he stands with one foot on the land and one on the sea? In verse 6, he swore by God as the eternal creator of all things in the heavens, earth, and sea. Thus, his stance may denote God's sovereignty over all creation. This is fitting, since his message ("there will be no more delay!) foretells the consummation of judgment on all creatures. 

When the angel cried out, the "seven peals of thunder uttered their voices". John was about to write, but was told to "seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken". There is some speculation about the seven peals of thunder, but it seems uncertain what they are, and their words remain sealed. 

In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, "the mystery of God should be finished". Whatever this mystery is, it is that which has already been declared to the prophets. Since this mystery will be finished in the days of the seventh angel's trumpet, it may refer to mysteries of the final judgment on the inhabitants of the earth, as well as other future events such as Christ's return, the establishment of His millennial kingdom, the great white throne judgment, and the eternal kingdom of Christ. 

A voice from heaven told John to take the little book from the angel, and to eat it. This would taste sweet as honey in John's mouth, but bitter in his stomach. This little book is described by a different word than the seven sealed scroll of judgment in chapter five. Just after eating it, John is told he must prophesy again before many peoples, nations, and tongues, and kings. Foretelling future events may seem sweet to the mouth, but thinking about them can make the stomach turn bitter. 

Thus, chapter ten breaks from the main line of events, to remind us that God rules over all creation, and to set the stage for the coming of the seventh trumpet judgment.

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