The Revelation Given to John by Jesus Through the Angel
Revelation 10; Ezekiel 3
The Second Interlude in The Revelation
The Intermission of the Thunders and the Little Book
Reverend Plummer[i]calls this a digression “occupied chiefly in the setting forth in the fate of the Church…” but only to demonstrate the wickedness of the world. Chapter nine ended with the surprising and depressing declaration that the world went on its sinful, ego-centric way and still didn’t turn to Yahweh even after the horrors we heard about in the trumpet blasts.
Isn’t that what happened after 9/11/01? America seemed to have her attention called to God for a few months; but, for the most part and in the long run it was business as usual. Very soon the people who had declared their commitment to change had gone back to their old ways. Take politics, for example: bipartisanship seemed to make America stronger for a time; then jealousy, ambition, fear, etc. began its weakening work again. Sin is destructive and that is why Yahweh hates it so much. It destroyed his image in the human race and his perfect plan for all creation. “The measure of God’s punishment viewed as…opportunities for repentance, is exhausted; there is a limit to his endurance; the allotted time having been run, and his mercy, to a large extent having been spurned, there is no more delay[ii].”
The comment in the Westminster Study Bible calls chapter ten a “dramatic pause”, which it is. There is the mighty angel, the little book, and the seven thunders to consider. Picture a tutor with his or her student – we will call the tutor “he” for simplicity. The tutor has been imparting facts to the student, but now he wants to make sure his student understands certain things, so he says, “There is something I’d like to clarify before we go on.” I think that is what is happening here. There are certain things that need to be pointed out, or the Bible student needs to be reminded of so we can better understand what is happening.
The angel (he is an ambassador) represents Yahweh’s holiness in the cloud he is shrouded in, Yahweh’s mercy and trustworthiness in the rainbow, his radiance (he is the Light of the world) and purity in the feet and legs of the angel, and of course his power in the angel’s might.
Reverend Plummer, et. El., sees the angel’s stance as an indication that the following revelation affects the whole world as opposed to a portion (1/3 or ¼) as in the earlier revelations.[iii]
The seven thunders make it plain that we haven’t been told everything. One fourth of the information given to John has not yet been revealed to us, and may never be.
The little book tells us that knowing the fate of the enemy is sweet, but watching it happen is sickening. That is why, for the most part, we don’t go in for capital punishment anymore. We are eager for revenge, but we don’t want to watch another member of the human race die. We, the public, would rather just put the criminal out of the way, out of sight where we don’t have to think about it. We hate to see an animal die and even get nauseated at the sight of a cockroach dying. It is easy to understand why the sweetness of the final overthrow of the wicked and the final deliverance of the people of Yahweh turns to bitterness when John realizes the terrible nature of the judgments that bring the victory about.
J. Vernon McGee[iv] says the little book is the book of Yahweh’s judgment in the later days and is the angel’s authority for claiming both sea and land for Mashiach. “He puts one foot on the sea and another foot on the earth, and he is claiming both for God.” He cites Leviticus 25:23; Psalm 8:6-8; and 24:1 where Yahweh reminds the children of Israel that the land cannot be sold permanently because it is his and not ours to sell; where the Psalmist reminds us that we are in charge of Yahweh’s creation, but Yahweh claims it and we answer to him for what we do with it. The little book, says McGee, is Yahweh’s title deed. Another thing McGee says about the book[v] is that it is called little as a reminder that the tribulation won’t be long (remember a thousand years is to the Lord but a day). The angel swore by “the One Living Forever and Ever…that time was up – that when the seventh angel blew his trumpet, which he was about to do [at the end of chapter eleven], the mystery of god, all the plans he had revealed to his servants, the prophets, would be completed.” McGee says that the seven thunders are Yahweh’s “amen” to the angel’s claim.
Dr. Jeramiah quoted Walter Scott[vi] as saying, “does it not seem strange that Satan has been allowed for six thousand years to wrap and twist his coils around the world, to work evil and mar the work of God? …Is it not a mystery why God, the God of righteousness and holiness, allows evil to go unpunished and his own people to be crushed and broken on every hand? Truly it is the mystery of God…God bears with evil till the hour of judgment arrives, when he will avenge the cry of his elect, and come out of his place to punish the wicked…evil now tolerated and allowed, will openly be punished. The mystery is at an end. Christ is about to reign.”
When a person is going through hard times he or she wants to know that sometime things will be better. The clouds will lift and the sky will clear again. The angel’s sweet assurance in his announcement tells us that trouble won’t last forever. We remember Yeshua’s words as recorded in Matthew 24:22 that because of the elect trouble would be cut short; and Psalm 30 “…weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Matthew 6:10 and Revelation 6:10 both assures us of that joy. As McGee[vii] says, the completed mystery, the total answer is “…greater than any one [of the single facets of the mystery being revealed] and is the sum total of all. As Habakkuk[viii] put it, “though the cheery three doesn’t blossom and the strawberries don’t ripen, though the apples are worm eaten and the wheat fields stunted, though the sheep pens are sheep-less and the cattle barns empty, I’m singing joyful praise to God. I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior god. Counting on God’s rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer. I feel like I’m king of the mountain!” This was a song, meant for congregational use, with a full orchestra.[ix]
To be continued
[i] The Pulpit Commentary, page 273
[iii] Ibid, page 274
[iv] Page 974
[v][v] Page 925
[vi] Expositions of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, 223, 224 as quoted by Jeramiah, page 155
[vii] Page 976
[viii] From The Message Bible, Chapter 3:17-19
[ix] Notes from The Message Bible