Week - 17 “No More Delay” Revelation 10:1-11
Updated: Dec 15, 2021
Authored by Jerry Marshall
Nothing seems to vex the souls of those who know God and are right with God than to witness the wicked prospering and evil people carrying out their wicked schemes without some sort of immediate response from our sovereign Lord.
A nagging question that has troubled the hearts of God’s people throughout the centuries is why God tolerates evil in this world for another moment? How long will it be before divine justice will prevail and the wicked are punished and the righteous are given their just dessert? How long must we wait for righteousness to rule over the face of the earth?
Job, in the midst of the darkest hours of his perplexing suffering asked this question.
7 “Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power? 8 They see their children established around them, their offspring before their eyes. 9 Their homes are safe and free from fear; the rod of God is not upon them. 10 Their bulls never fail to breed; their cows calve and do not miscarry. 11 They send forth their children as a flock; their little ones dance about. 12 They sing to the music of tambourine and harp; they make merry to the sound of the flute. 13 They spend their years in prosperity and go down to the grave in peace. 14 Yet they say to God, ‘Leave us alone!”
Note (Psalm 10; 94:1-7)
The slain saints of the Tribulation cried out...
10 …“How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”
Within the tenth chapter of the book of Revelation, this century old question is answered. A mighty angel declares... ‘There will be no more delay. ‘ God’s final phase of His judgment is at hand.
God’s final judgment is revealed to John in this book and is unraveled sequentially in a telescoping series. They are telescoping because each series of God’s judgments are connected consecutively. Out of the seventh seal judgment comes the seven trumpet judgments. Out of the seventh trumpet judgment comes the seven bowl judgments.
Between the sixth and seventh seal there was an important interlude which consisted of two visions. The vision of the sealing of the 144,000, (Revelation 7:1-8) and the vision of a great multitude in white robes who had come up out of the Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:9-17).
At the conclusion of the ninth chapter, six of the seven trumpets have been sounded unleashing their horrors upon the inhabitants of the earth. But before the sounding of the seventh trumpet judgment, there is an important interlude. There are two related visions in this interlude. The first is of a mighty angel with a little scroll, (Revelation 10:1-11) and the second is of two witnesses (Revelation 11:1-13).
In this first vision, there is a solemn oath that there will be no further delay in the unleashing of God’s final judgment that will avenge the blood of the slain saints of the Tribulation (Revelation 5:9-11), while bringing to an end the kingdom of the world and all the evil that is in it, in order to establish the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (Revelation 11:15).
This vision contains five features.
I. The Sight of the Mighty Angel (Revelation 10:1)
1 Then I saw another mighty (ischuros - Is-khroo-os - strong, powerful or 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.
Having beheld the vision of the sounding of six trumpet judgments, John has a new vision at the start of this interlude and it is from a different perspective. His visions thus far have been from a heavenly vantage point. But now, his vision vantage point is from earth. I saw another mighty (ischuros - Is-khroo-os - strong or mighty), angel coming down from heaven.
Some have assumed that this mighty angel is the Lord Jesus Christ. However, there are several reasons why that is not the case. The word another is a translation of the Greek word allos which means another of the same kind. Such as the previously mentioned angels that serve the Lord in the carrying out of His prophetic judgment. This mighty angel is another like the others who have sounded the six trumpets. These are all created beings but not the Creator.
If Jesus was in mind here, the better Greek word to use would have been heteros, another of a different kind. Secondly, other strong angels are mentioned in this book without being identified with Christ (Revelation 5:2; 18:21).
Now this angel was not only strong, he was styling. Let’s take note of his spectacular attire and unique appearance.
The fact that this Angel was robed in a cloud could be a reference to how tall he was. From John’s vantage point, this mighty Angel may have appeared so tall that the clouds of the sky looked as if they were draped over his shoulders. Sort of like the way a skyscraper looks when its upper floors are surrounded by low clouds.
He also had a rainbow above his head. The word “rainbow,” is a translation of the Greek word iris - ee-ris, which describes a bright multi-colored halo which was no doubt reflective of his glorious splendor. His face was like the sun - probably referring to a brilliant out-shining emanating from his radiant appearance. His legs were like fiery pillars - again, perhaps a reference to the brilliant gleam emanating from this personage.
II. The Scroll in Angel’s Hand (Revelation 10:2)
2 “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,”
This scroll (or little book), is not to be confused with the seven sealed destiny scroll that only Jesus could open which is mentioned in earlier in this book in Chapters 5-8.
This little scroll is not sealed but it is lying open in the mighty angel’s hand. And it no doubt contains the description of the terrors of the divine judgment to come.
As the mighty angel descends to earth he strikes a pose planting his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land. A gesture that is emblematic of his authority and its scope. Mounce states that “such a stance is most appropriate in view of the colossal size of the angel.”
III. The Shout of the Mighty Angel (Revelation 10:3-4)
3 and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. 4 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.”
Giving further evidence of the size of this Angel is the roar of his voice. John compares it with the roar of a lion. So far in the book of Revelation, we have heard many loud voices. In the first chapter, Christ voice was described as trumpet-like. The voices of the living creatures are thunder-like and now in this passage the voice of this mighty angel is like the roar of a lion. All of these descriptions imply the authoritative nature of these commanding voices.
John speaks of the voices of the seven thunders in a way that assumes we know what he means. Although there is much speculation about the voices of the seven thunders, no one can say for certain who they are; nor do we know what the voices said.
4 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.”
This command stands in stark contrast to the early commands given to John to write what he saw and heard. For example:
19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.”
Perhaps the only thing that we can bring to the mix in our attempt to understand this feature of John’s vision is that in the pattern of Scripture, thunder is frequently associated with the judgment of God. In (Revelation 8:5 and 16:18), thunder, lightning and earthquakes serve as a prelude to God’s final judgment on the inhabitants of this world. Perhaps what was declared by the voices of the seven thunders were greater details of God’s final judgment too terrifying to be revealed to us at that moment.
But beyond this, it is foolish to speculate about the identity of the voices of the seven thunders and the content that they communicated. But we can be assured that if God wanted us to know, this information would have been clearly disclosed to us.
It cannot be known what the seven thunders uttered because a heavenly voice, perhaps Christ’s, commanded John to seal up what he had heard (see Dan. 12:4, 9).
I suppose we can leave this feature of John’s vision with at least the notion that both the cry of the mighty Angel and the voices of the seven thunders have to do with commanding declarations regarding the final phase of God’s end time judgment upon this world.
IV. The Solemn Vow of the Mighty Angel (Revelation 10:5-7)
5 Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven.
The mighty Angel standing on the sea and on the land raises his right hand toward heaven (toward the dwelling place of God), in a gesture of one who is about to give a solemn vow. To give such a vow before God is to give assurance that what the mighty Angel was about to declare is the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and to give further credence to the truthfulness of his declaration. The mighty Angel swears by the eternal God who is the ultimate cause of all that is.
He swore by him who lives forever 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, the uncaused cause of all that is.
Most importantly, John reveals to us the content of the mighty angels vow.
“There will be no more delay!
Earlier in the book of Revelation, the slain saints under the altar in heaven called out in a loud voice…”How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood “(Revelation 6:10)?
They were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed during this time of Great Tribulation would be completed (Revelation 6:11).
The wait is over! There will be no more delay! The wait would soon be over for all saints throughout history who have prayed “Thy Kingdom Come.” For soon the kingdoms of the world would give way to the kingdom of God and His Christ. The wait is over for divine justice to prevail.
The righteous will be delivered and the wicked will be punished. And the triggering events regarding the culmination of all things, is the time of the sounding of the seventh trumpet.
When this trumpet sounds, the final aspects of God’s judgment upon this sin sick world will be unleashed and completed in accordance with His divine design.
7 “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.”
The word mystery is to be understood as it is typically understood in the New Testament, to refer to divine truth previously undisclosed but now made known by divine revelation. In this context, it is in reference to all the unknown details that are revealed from this point on to the end of Revelation, when the new heaven and the new earth become reality.
In the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the final phase of the Lord’s defeat of evil would soon be accomplished. The Lord’s ultimate purpose in human history would soon be realized. This period would include the seven bowl judgments which would require weeks and perhaps months to unfold.
This mystery of God would be accomplished in accordance with prophetic revelation. The mystery of God will be accomplished, just as He announced to His servants the prophets.” God had revealed much truth about end time events to His servant prophets like Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Joel, Amos, and Zechariah. However, much of the details of end time events were not revealed to these great men until there revelation in the New Testament, such as the details revealed to us by our Lord in (Matthew 24 and 25). Or, details like the rapture of the church which is described in Scripture as a mystery. (1 Corinthians 15:51), or the mystery of the man of lawlessness revealed in (2 Thessalonians 2), and more particularly, the details that we have studied in the previous chapters of this book.
The point being, that every detail will be accomplished just as God has revealed them to His servants the prophets because God’s prophetic word about the future is simply a revelation to us of what God has known forever.
V. The Sweet and Sour Scroll (Revelation 10:8-11)
8 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.” 9 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 as sweet as honey.” 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. 11 Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”
“Such an action symbolized the reception of the Word of God into the innermost being as a necessary prerequisite to proclaim it with confidence.” EBCNT
One commentator stated:
The act of eating the scroll symbolized the absorbing and assimilating of God’s Word...When John took in the divine word concerning the remaining judgments as the Lord took possession of the universe, he found the words written in this little book both sweet as honey and bitter.
It was sweet to John, because John like all believers wanted the Lord to act in judgment as His ultimate justice is exercised as He punishes the wicked and delivers the righteous. And yet the sweet becomes bitter as you come to the realization of the horrible judgment that awaits those who are ungodly.
Another commentary stated...
All who love Jesus Christ can relate to John’s ambivalence. Believers long for Christ to return to glory, for Satan to be destroyed, and the glorious kingdom of our Lord to be set up on earth, in which he will rule in universal sovereignty and glory while establishing in the world righteousness, truth and peace. But like Paul,
(Romans 9:1-3), mourn bitterly over the judgment of the ungodly.
Having experienced the bitter and sweet of the pending judgments of God yet to come, John is commissioned by the Lord in verse 11.
11 Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”
John was mandated to declare forth what he sees and hears to everybody and everywhere as the Lord reveals to him the bitter judgments that will be triggered by the sounding of the seventh trumpet and which include the seven bowl judgments.
1. No matter how much our souls are troubled over the perceived or real injustice of this fallen place, we can take comfort in the truth that divine justice in the end will always prevail. Elections may have uncertain outcomes but the ultimate prevailing of God’s divine justice is certain.
2. When God does exercise His terrible wrath against this fallen world, the response of the believer should be a mixture of joy and sorrow.
3. No matter how disturbing the details may be in terms of the unleashing of God’s final judgment, we who have received this truth must communicate this truth to everyone in this world.