Chapter Ten is the only chapter in which the judgments are not made known. Everything else in the Book of Revelation, God reveals. It is only the Seven Thunders that God does not reveal.
“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 (1):
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,” (2).
And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices” (3).
Chapter Ten gives us the parenthetical vision of the sun-faced angel and a little scroll. The opening of the Sixth Seal, in Revelation 6:12-17, is followed by the parenthetical vision of the 144,000, and the saved multitude, in Chapter Seven. Here, also, following the Sixth Trumpet that was given in Revelation 9:13-21, we, now, have a series of parenthetical visions before the blowing of the final, or Seventh, trump in Revelation 11:15.
“And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven...” The vision at hand here, in Chapter Ten, shows the coming of a powerful angel, perhaps, even one of the strongest angels that God has in Heaven. The angel surely does resemble the Lord Jesus Christ from the description given here. His face is like the sun, his feet are as pillars of fire, and, he resembles Christ, but this is just a mighty angel. It does show that that angels are directed by Christ, and that angels are God’s messengers to carry out His will.We, now, begin to enter the latter half of the Tribulation Period in Chapters Twelve to Nineteen, with parts of it in Chapter Eleven.
“A rainbow was upon his head,...” You know how refreshing it is, after a raging storm, to see the arch of brilliant color which we call the rainbow. If the rain has been especially heavy, then, the rainbow may be spread all the way across the sky, and its two ends seem to rest upon the Earth. What an inspiring sight to see after a rain. You will recall God, originally, placed a rainbow in the clouds as a token of His Covenant with Noah that He would never again destroy the world with a flood. That is given in Genesis 9:11-13. While the beautiful exterior of the Earth and all mankind, except the eight persons on the ark were destroyed, or “perished” in the flood, the Earth, itself, remained. We do know, according to 2 Peter 3:10-12, that the Earth is not going to be destroyed by water, but will pass from its present condition by being renovated by fire. We shall see that as we go on. While the world has passed through some of the most awful judgments of God, He is still a God of mercy to those who will call upon Him.
“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 (4).
The seven thunders are unrevealed, and the Bible student should not speculate where God has not spoken. What were the seven thunders? God does not say. When we learn all that God has for us in the Book of Genesis to the Book of Revelation, we will have no need to speculate about the message of the seven thunders.
“And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the Earth lifted up his hand to heaven, (5) 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 (6): 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” (7).
“There should be time no longer:” These words mean “There is no more delay.” The terrible vial judgments are about to be unleashed—right on God’s schedule. “Time is no longer.” What an ominous statement! The world has gone on its way, in spite of the previous judgments. Now, time is catching up with them.
“And sware by him...who created heaven,...and the Earth,...” In this verse, God is telling us again that we are a direct creation of God. We didn’t “slip from slime, or come from scum!” God reminds us that all things were created by Him.
We find out that these verses have a parallel in Daniel 10:4-6 and Daniel 12:7. In Daniel 10:5,6, it gives a description of Daniel’s man “clothed in linen” who is the speaker and actor of the words and the deeds of Daniel, in Daniel 12:7.
“And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished” (Daniel 12:7).
The descriptions, words, and actions, here in Daniel, seem to be essentially the same as that in Revelation 10:5-7. They both show angels of great power. Both stand by the water’s edge claiming God’s ownership and sovereignty over His land, water, and creation. Both lift a hand to Heaven and swear by God, but, where the angel in Daniel declares that there are yet, coming, three-and-a-half years of time to complete God’s judgment of this age; the angel in Revelation announces there shall be “time no longer.” That means, the time for the judgments of the Great Tribulation has come, at this point, in the vision. In other words, “Time’s up! There is to be no more delay.” The referee has blown the whistle, and the second half has begun.
Therefore, at the blowing of the Seventh Trumpet in Revelation 11:15, we reach the mid-point of the Tribulation Period, and begin to enter into that awful period described in Matthew 24:21,22:
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be (21). And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened” (22).
There has never been a time like this Tribulation Period. There never has been, and there will never be.
In the spring of 1970, there was a great stir about Earth Day. For a brief time, people seemed concerned about what would come from our polluting of the Earth. It was all brought to the surface, and everyone got excited. Soon, that concern faded into oblivion. Some scientists predict that starvation and pollution will cause men to, virtually, become extinct within the next thirty years. Fertilizers, high in nitrate, are further polluting our water systems. Others fear a severe oxygen shortage will occur because our pollutants are killing oxygen producing plants. Japan has had oxygen producing vending machines for quite some time. You can put a quarter in and get a whiff. Renowned scientists give dire warnings that time is running out.
One day, God tells us, time will be no longer, then comes judgment, and, then, it is going to be too late.
“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” (Revelation 10:8).
When this angel stands “upon the sea and upon the Earth,” it is showing the almighty power of God. We do not have power over whether we live or die. The Lord Jesus says in Revelation 1:18:
“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”
Maybe someone in your family has had a premature death from an accident, or a heart attack that was unexpected. God is in control of all of that. God determines who lives, and God determines who dies.
God does have a plan for our lives, but his plan allows for our free will, and the free will of others. Let me make a distinction here. God may have in His plan that you are to live 30 more years, but you get drunk and have a head-on collision in which you die. God did not do that. He permitted you to do that, because, He permits us to reap the disaster we cause by our own foolishness, and our own sin. In this way, God shows mankind what sin will do, and how it is a destroying factor. Sin breaks up marriages, and destroys your mind with drugs and alcohol. Obedience to God brings blessings.
An example of this principle is found clear back at the time of Cain and Abel. Because of jealousy and anger, Cain slew Abel. God put a mark on him, so that he would not be killed. Why did God not, immediately, put Cain to death? After the flood, we find in Genesis 9:6 that God did institute the death penalty.
“Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”
Why did God not put the death penalty on Cain? One of the reasons was to show mankind what would happen when the wickedness of the line of Cain caused the destruction of the Earth.
“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the Earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).
Because of this, the flood came, and everyone, but Noah and his family, was destroyed. God started out, brand new, again, to show how sin will destroy a person, and those associated with them. That is why God tells the Christian:
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” (2 Corinthians 6:17).
That’s why He tells us in Romans 16:17,18:
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them (17). For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple”(18).
If you ever marked any word in your Bible, mark “avoid them:” When you get around alcoholics, avoid them. When you get around drug users, avoid them. When you get around people that are immoral, avoid them. If you hang around them, you are going to become as they are.
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3).
When you are comfortable in the presence of people who drink, take drugs, or are immoral, it may be because you are doing what they are doing! If you want to serve the Lord, that sin will convict you and you will witness to that person.
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you,” (2 Corinthians 6:17).
“There should be time no longer.” The idea that Revelation 10:6 teaches there is coming a time when time shall not be, is not substantiated by this text. This idea goes along with the dogma of some who teach that our future eternal life will be as “one big now.” That is, everything and nothing seem, forever, to be happening all at once. Such unsupported hypothesis about Heaven need not alarm the Christian, when they spring from those who have never been there! As Dr. Herman Hoyt of Grace Seminary has said.
“Time had a beginning when God began His Creation, but it will never have an ending. We are temporal creatures and we have been promised eternal, ever-continuing time, life through Christ.”
As we have said, the original Greek for “time no longer” means “no more delay.”
“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” (9). 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” (10).
It is always good to hear the preacher talk about a sin that hits somebody else, but when it comes to us, it becomes a little hard to digest. And that’s what the Word of God is teaching here. We have too many Christians talking about how sweet the Lord is, and walking like the Devil. We need to get our lives in line, so that when “we say we have faith,” we have works to back up our faith.
Here, the book tasted sweet at first, but in the stomach it was bitter. The significance of this would seem to be about feasting on the Word of God. It is wonderful to sit in church and hear the preacher preach, especially if he happens to hit the sin of somebody else, and not mine.
One time, I was preaching on adultery and there were a couple of young people in church. If you could ever tell by actions, you have never seen a boy and girl so guilty in their life. They sat there with their heads down, once in a while glancing at each other. We were talking about morality. They never lifted their heads through the whole sermon. I didn’t know if they were sick, or what was wrong with them. It came out later, it was because of the immorality that was being practiced by them.