We have seen that the world of the Antichrist’s day is not going to be a pleasant one in which to live! The things that destabilise a society will be rife. Murder, respect for the sanctity of life, rape, violence, homosexuality and theft will just be some of the horrific things that characterise what passes for life in those days. The Antichrist starts out by being a conciliatory man, a person who is seen as one who solves problems and gets things done. Because he is controlled by Satan who is a master of disguise; beneath the cool and calm exterior, the Antichrist is driven by the personification of evil. In a mere seven years, all that started out looking so good has become like the father of lies himself, corrupt and riddled with death. Even today before the Tribulation time we see the world has forgotten the centrality of the Son and everything that was made to revolve around Him. It is no wonder that the affairs of nations are in such a muddle. Jesus is not known by so many and the resulting chaos is evident everywhere.
It is a fact that Satan can look attractive. What he does can appear sensible, logical and normal, but that is only a gloss on the surface. Immediately beneath festers corruption and sin, sickness and disease, destruction and death. Anyone setting out to play on the glossy, shiny surface of this attraction will discover that it is nothing but a reflective mirage that disguises the trap below. It is almost impossible to see that the apparent smooth and successfully disguised pathway leads rapidly and remorselessly to hell and torment below.
This is the state of affairs as we begin to read Revelation 10. God is not fooled by any of Satan’s blusterings. He has always known the end from the beginning, and His deepest desire is that not one person perishes needlessly, 2 Peter 3:9. God has been trying to attract the attention of the most hardened criminals in the midst of such desperation and continues to do so as the end of time as we know it draws in. The Chapter opens with more angelic intervention. His posture and announcements are clear to all on the earth. The description of ‘clothed with a cloud… a rainbow was upon His head and His face was as it were the sun, and His feet as pillars of fire.’ may indicate this is Jesus Himself, but this is not the ‘second coming’! Next time you see a rainbow remember that God always keeps His promises Revelation 10:1-2. The reason for the appearance of this ‘mighty angel’ on the scene is to proclaim that the time for the final judgment of the earth has come. By planting His right foot on the sea and His left on the land he is declaring that His words are for every created being, in fact for the entire creation, not just a part of it, Revelation 10:2.
A little scroll – Revelation 10:2.
The seal and trumpet judgments dealt with a subset of creation each time. Now the time has come for the seventh trumpet to be sounded which will announce the seven bowl judgments. This is Jesus or His messenger declaring His right to reign. He is claiming dominion over the whole world, all seas, they all belong to Him. The open book in His hand, which could be the book Daniel, was told to ‘seal to the end of time’. He is about to act but totally in line with the mind and will of God.
‘The seventh angel then blew [his] trumpet, and there were mighty voices in heaven, shouting, The dominion (kingdom, sovereignty, rule) of the world has now come into the possession and become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (the Messiah), and He shall reign forever and ever (for the eternities of the eternities)!’ Revelation 11:15
These judgements will bring to an end the world with which all the inhabitants remaining alive at the time are familiar. God is about to judge the earth, its inhabitants and particularly the forces of evil that have so long tried to dominate its inhabitants and taking control of them from God, their Creator.
God is not doing anything in a quiet or underhand way. Everything that He has announced or done has been in full view and with the full knowledge of the inhabitants of the earth. He has warned them and challenged them to put their lives in order. First of all God sent people like Noah and Enoch, then Abraham, Joseph and Moses. Then He sent the Judges and the Prophets. Then His son as Jesus described in the parable in Matthew 21:33-39. Finally God sent Jesus, to announce salvation and deliverance from sin to the world, John 3:16.
The Lord is not slow about His promises. He wants all who are going to turn to Him to do so. The sacrifice made by Jesus for us so that we can have free access to Heaven is astounding in its simplicity and comprehensiveness. Nothing and no-one has been left out of this free gift. It is ours for the taking, but one day, there will suddenly be, literally, no more time. Time to make the most momentous decision of our life – to confess our sins, to repent and to ask Jesus to be the Lord of our life – will be over. Our decision will have been made; a lack of decision means we have rejected the offer and sacrifice made for us. The consequence of our rejection will be carried by me only, and I will be able to blame no other person, for it was not that I had never heard the Truth, it will be that I ignored it, Romans 1:20. An interesting way to think about this time is that people who wanted nothing to do with God on earth get their wish in the next life. They are outside His presence and His rule, exactly as they have wanted when on the earth. So even apathy is not an excuse when dealing with a decision for the Kingdom of God!
‘Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God’, Matthew 5:8. What do we see? We need to see things differently from the world and from religious Christians who are dealing with their Christian walk from a self seeking point of view. We need to be like the wise virgins with our lamps filled with oil and prepared for any of God’s activity in the world today. There have been so many instantaneous disasters and we need to be able to see where God is in any problem and point the world who are devastated straight to Jesus, Who is still in control. We need a different perspective so we are fulfilling His plans and purposes for our life.
Joel spoke of this time – the time at the end of time; the time in which those who have rejected Jesus finally, and have accepted the lies of the Antichrist, will be living: ‘The sun and the moon are darkened and the stars withdraw their shining. 16 The Lord will thunder and roar from Zion and utter His voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shall shake; but the Lord will be a refuge for His people and a stronghold to the children of Israel. 17 So shall you know, understand, and realize that I am the Lord your God, dwelling in Zion, My holy mountain. Then shall Jerusalem be holy, and strangers and foreigners [not born into the family of God] shall no more pass through it. Joel 3:15-17.
Seven thunders – Revelation 10:3-4
There are several references to God ‘thundering’ in the Old Testament, which threw His enemies into such a panic that they killed themselves, 1 Samuel 7:10. The lion’s roar will petrify Satan, Jesus’ prey; so the mighty Lion of the tribe of Judah sounds forth His cry and Satan knows his days are up. This side of Heaven, we will not know what the seven thunders roared, but those who are alive on the earth at that time will hear and completely understand, for their message will be clear to all and will be in distinct words. John was prevented from writing them down, but he knew what those words were, and they were momentous enough for him to want to write them down. Note John’s reaction upon being told a Word from God was immediately to write it down, do we take words from the voice of God as seriously as this and keep them in our heart and act upon them immediately? Perhaps when we are in Heaven we will meet someone who at the very last opportunity gave his life to Jesus because of what the seven thunders said! In some commentaries it also says the seven thunders are rebel forces who heard Jesus’ revelation of taking the earth and sea. That is why John was told ‘write them not’.
The end of the Tribulation – Revelation 10:5-7
This mighty angel who raised his right hand to heaven and swore in the name of Him Who lives forever and ever, ….. There will be no more delay! He takes a vow that everything will move fast now to the final outcome His Father has designed before the beginning of time, Revelation 10:5-6. He is not announcing the end of ‘time’ but that the Tribulation is coming to an end.
Daniel was given information about this time while he was working for the king of Babylon some 2,500 years ago. We have seen that the last half of the Tribulation Period is to last for a period of three and a half years, and we are now reviewing the period immediately before the end of that time. ‘….. when he held up his right and his left hand toward the heavens and swore by Him Who lives forever that it shall be for a time, times, and a half a time [or three and one-half years]; and when they have made an end of shattering and crushing the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished’. Daniel 12:6-7. The imagery in both cases is one of recognising Who it is Who has the authority and the power to commission such an announcement. Nobody except the One in Whose hands the authority exists could ever make such an announcement.
We may think that we control our own destinies and our own lives; we might place our complete trust in an elected body such as Parliament or the Constitution in which mankind has certain rights, but who permanently upholds these rights? None other than the Creator of the Universe! It is He in Whose hands everything ‘holds together’, Colossians 1:17
Remember Jesus said ‘for a man’s life does not consist in and is not derived from possessing overflowing abundance or that which is over and above his needs’. Luke 12:13-15. Surely this is where we stand today – the greedy longing to have more and the insatiable desire for wealth and increased possessions. The media is full of stories of just such events! Surely we are not so dull that we cannot comprehend the warning that Jesus sends to us down through the ages! In what does our life consist? How do we derive our pleasures? There is today a grave danger that it is in possessing overflowing abundance or that which is above our needs. Does our wealth prevent us from focusing on Kingdom business as the maintenance of all that our wealth has acquired for us gives us very little time for what is on His heart?
We need to understand that having overflowing abundance or that which is over and above our needs is not the problem; revival will need a lot of money! It lies in what we do with such wealth, and in this case, Jesus went on to teach the people in parables about this covetousness and superabundance sharing about building bigger and better barns. ‘So it is with the one who continues to lay up and hoard possessions for himself and is not rich [in his relation] to God [this is how he fares]’. Luke 12:16-21. Surely this is as stark a warning to people today as it was to those who lived in Jesus’ time! Jesus also balances His talk with amazing words of encouragement for those whose heart is for God:
‘Do not be seized with alarm and struck with fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom! 33 Sell what you possess and give donations to the poor; provide yourselves with purses and handbags that do not grow old, an unfailing and inexhaustible treasure in the heavens, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also’. Luke 12:22-34.
Jesus will ALWAYS provide for His people provided that they are doing what He wants them to do and they are living their lives in a way honouring to Him. King David wrote in the Psalms:
‘Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord grasps his hand in support and upholds him. 25 I have been young and now am old, yet have I not seen the [uncompromisingly] righteous forsaken or their seed begging bread. 26 All day long they are merciful and deal graciously; they lend, and their offspring are blessed. Psalm 37:24-26
The last day of the Tribulation will begin when the angel sounds the seventh trumpet. This purpose is what God spoke about through His prophets and what Paul wrote about to the Ephesians
‘[The purpose is] that through the church the complicated, many-sided wisdom of God in all its infinite variety and innumerable aspects might now be made known to the angelic rulers and authorities (principalities and powers) in the heavenly sphere. 11 This is in accordance with the terms of the eternal and timeless purpose which He has realized and carried into effect in [the person of] Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 In Whom, because of our faith in Him, we dare to have the boldness (courage and confidence) of free access (an unreserved approach to God with freedom and without fear)’. Ephesians 3:10-12
His plan all along was that through the church He would make known His amazing wisdom to the principalities and powers in the heavenly realms. The time for Satan to discover how much behind in his quest for power he has been all along has now been announced. There is no more time for him, just one final day, and he is not even in control of that. Satan’s plan all along has been to destroy the beauty of God’s creation, and to subvert the crowning glory of His creation – man – in order to disrupt forever the fellowship that God planned for all of His creation with Himself as He had in the Garden. Satan never got close to foiling God’s plans, but now he will pay for his revolt.
Eat the Word – Revelation 10:8-11
When Jesus was on the earth, He often talked of the importance of His Word, (e.g. the Word of Life, the Bread of Life) with His disciples. He was of course referring to Himself as He spoke, John 1:1-5.
Here again the importance of the Word is emphasised to John. John is to take the little book that is in the hand of the angel. This shows the amazing obedience of this friend of Jesus. When Jesus laid His hand on him and told him ‘Do not be afraid I am the First and the Last… ‘ Revelation 1:17 at the beginning, John seems to have taken Him at His Word and has seen so much horror but not held back from all He has been told to do. This is such a challenge for us, instant obedience! When we read the Word of God, we should literally take it into every fibre of our being. ‘My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings. 21 Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the centre of your heart. 22 For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh’. Proverbs 4:20-22
The words in the Bible are not just a collection of sayings put together for our intellectual benefit; they are literally health to us. Our healing, our health, our wholeness is in the Word of God. Use it against Satan and he has to flee. Use it against his minions who are delivering sickness of any sort to your body and you will be delivered from sickness. Of course, like in any battle, there will be a fight, but if you and I stand firm on what God says in His Word, Satan’s followers, spiritual and physical cannot win. One day we will die, but it will be when God calls us home after our work is complete; it will not be at the behest of the king of demons!
The angel then goes on to tell him to eat the little scroll and he warned John of the reaction to his body but John still obeyed, Revelation 10:8-10
When we first become Christians, the Word of God is sweetness to our souls. It is life to us and we are so excited about starting every day with Jesus, but as time goes on, we begin to understand that the knowledge we have gained bears with it a responsibility to tell others. Sometimes people hate us for telling them the truth. Others are just unresponsive, but these responses generate in us sharpness and a bitter-sweetness in our lives. We are still glad of our own salvation, but we are so sad for those of our friends and loved ones who are so reticent about receiving the salvation which has so changed our lives. That is the way the Gospel is; it is so sweet to all who find the truth, but can cause so much sadness in seeing the rejection of it in the world. If we feel it that way, imagine how God views it! We are, however, bound to carry on proclaiming the message, the very Words of Life to any who will listen and to the many who will not!
Another understanding of these verses is what John learnt of the mind and will of God in the little book was sweet to taste but the bitterness of knowing it was going to get worse before it got better. There were further bitter revelations to come of beasts, bowls and battles.
John’s work was not yet done when he wrote this part of the Book of Revelation, Revelation 10:11, and he was prepared for a larger ministry to many peoples and races and nations and languages and kings.
If we love the Lord Jesus, neither is our work complete until the day we draw our final breath or until the Lord comes to call us to Him in the air at the time of the Rapture. What a glorious day that will be!
22 Revelation 10 – Judgement on Creation – Challenge Questions
It is suggested that you answer all the questions in your homework but only do those marked with ‘*’ in your group to save time and give more time to prayer.
1. *Read the Notes and the Bible Verses referred to in them. Highlight the points that ‘speak’ to you and be prepared to share with your group.
2. What do you think about the description of Satan in the second paragraph?
3. *What do you think of John’s obedience in writing revelation? Taking the little scroll from the angel? Eating the scroll?
4. *Has the study of Revelation encouraged your study of the Word?
Read Revelation 11:1-19
5. *John was given a measuring rod and told to go and measure the Temple. Who is expected to be in the Temple? Why did he have to exclude the Outer Court of the Temple?
6. Is there going to be a Temple in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:22). Why not? Explain how God Almighty and the Lamb will be the Temple in this new City.
7. How long will the City be overrun? Who will it be overrun by?
8. Two witnesses will be located in Jerusalem. Do you think that these two are people?
9. *What will happen to those who attempt to harm the witnesses?
10. *What is the purpose of the two witnesses on the earth? What will the Antichrist do to attempt to terminate their purpose? Will they be successful?
11. *Is there any indication from what you know of the Bible as to who the two witnesses might be? Give your suggestions with references.
12. Does Satan consider them as a threat?
13. What power do the two witnesses have?
14. *What do these two men declare to everyone within hearing? At the time of their death, how long will these men have testified
15. The Bible refers to the City of Jerusalem as being ‘Sodom and Egypt’. Why does what John writes indicate this? Revelation 11:8
16. *How can we resist temptation? How did Jesus do so? Did He give us any indication as to how to be successful in dealing with Satan?
17. Who will celebrate the death of the two witnesses?
18. *What will happen to the two witnesses? How surprised will the inhabitants of Jerusalem be?
19. *What event will happen immediately after the Witnesses are taken up to Heaven? How devastating will this event be?
20. Describe the picture of heaven as the seventh angel sounded his trumpet.