Holy Father, we thank you for full salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ; we thank you for an inheritance in your eternal kingdom that is filled with your glory. We want to be fully ready to stand before you at the end of this age. We pray in Jesus mighty, holy name. Amen!
We have the privilege to study Revelation chapter 10, which is a very important, very interesting chapter. For one thing, this chapter has a lot to say about the seventh and last trumpet of the book of Revelation. The first six trumpets have already sounded in Revelation chapters 8 and 9; the seventh trumpet will sound at Rev. 11:15, right in the middle of Daniel’s 70th week. In the first verses of chapter 10, John sees a mighty angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud, having a rainbow upon his head, and with his face shining like the sun. This mighty angel places his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land. He is coming to take over the world!
As we will discuss, the evidence is very strong that this mighty angel pictures the Lord Jesus Christ as He returns to the earth to fully save His people and to judge the world. I’ll quote what this mighty angel says at the end of Rev. 10:6 and in verse 7. As is typical, I’ll quote from the New American Standard Bible, 1995 edition, Sometimes I make comments in the middle of quotations using brackets [ ] or [[ ]] to make them more obvious. “that there will be delay no longer. But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound [[In agreement with many, I would translate, “when he sounds,” or the equivalent, instead of “when he is about to sound.” This makes a very big difference in the meaning of this very important verse. We will discuss this translation in some detail when we come to verse 7. Now, I’ll start to read the verse again, but using the words “when he sounds.”]], then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets.”
When the seventh and last trumpet sounds, all the believers who will have died before that time will be resurrected, glorified, and raptured, and all the believers who will be living on the earth at that time will be glorified and raptured. They will enter salvation in its full and final, glorified dimension, which includes reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ. And God, in accordance with His covenant promises, will save the repentant end-time remnant of Israel under the sounding of the seventh trumpet. That remnant will be glorified and reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ by the time the millennial kingdom begins.
When the seventh and last trumpet sounds, the devil and his angels will be thrown down to the earth, and the world will be judged under the sounding of the seventh trumpet, which includes God’s judgment and removal of Babylon the great harlot through Antichrist and his ten associates, and His judgment and removal of Antichrist and his followers after gathering them to Armageddon. At the end of Daniel’s 70th week, the devil will be cast into the abyss for the duration of the millennium; then after being loosed for a short season, he will be cast into the lake of fire. It is important to see that the seven bowls of wrath are included in the sounding of the seventh trumpet.
I’ll read Rev. 10:1, “I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was like the sun, and his feet [or, legs] like pillars of fire;” As I mentioned, I believe the evidence is very strong that this “strong angel” pictures the Lord Jesus Christ. I rather strongly favor this viewpoint, in agreement with many commentators. It is somewhat surprising, of course, that He would be called an “angel,” but I believe the evidence is so strong for this viewpoint that I have to rather strongly favor this viewpoint. It must be understood, of course, that the Lord Jesus Christ is God the Son, who always existed with God the Father (and God the Holy Spirit), and through whom all things were created. It is clear that He is not a created angel, but (as we have discussed) He did appear quite often in the Old Testament as the Angel (or Messenger) of Yahweh.
The fact that his face was shining like the sun here in verse 1 is quite significant. The Lord Jesus Christ appeared to the apostle John in Revelation chapter 1. In Rev. 1:16 it says, “and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.” In Rev. 10:1 we also read that John saw this strong angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud. These words perfectly fit the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible frequently speaks of His coming from heaven with the clouds of heaven at the end of this age. 1 Thess. 4:16, for example, speaks of His coming down from heaven (using the same Greek verb for coming down that is used here in Rev. 10:1), and verse 17 mentions the clouds. It is also significant that Rev. 10:1 mentions that “the rainbow was upon his head.” The rainbow fits the Lord Jesus Christ very well in that Rev. 4:3 speaks of a rainbow around the throne of God.
As we will see, verses 2, 3 offer further strong evidence that the person in view here is the Lord Jesus Christ. And as we have discussed, the case for seeing the Lord Jesus Christ here is greatly strengthened if the “angel” of Rev. 7:2 and the “angel” of Rev. 8:3-5 also refer to the Lord Jesus Christ, which I assume is the case. If the mighty angel is the Lord Jesus Christ here in Rev. 10:1, it brings some extra majesty and glory to these verses, but the overall interpretation is clear whether we see the Lord Jesus Christ, or not. If it isn’t Him, it is a high-level angel totally loyal to Him, and totally competent to fulfill His assigned tasks.
The last words of the first verse are a little confusing with the translation, “and his feet like pillars of fire.” The NIV has “legs” instead of “feet,” which is quite reasonable in light of the comparison with “pillars of fire.” There is no doubting that the basic meaning of the plural of the Greek noun used here (“pous, podos”) means “feet,” and that the feet are included, but it seems clear that the legs are included here too. The BAGD Greek Lexicon says “In Revelation 10:1 pous clearly means leg” (and it gives some references to substantiate this usage).
I’ll read Rev. 10:2, “and he had in his hand a little book [or, little scroll] which was open. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left on the land;” This little scroll which was open in the hand of this mighty “angel” is very important. This little scroll, which was open in His hand, is the same scroll (or, part of the same scroll) that the Lord Jesus Christ took from the hand of God the Father in Rev. 5:1-7. In Rev. 6:1 - 8:1 the Lord Jesus Christ breaks the seven seals from the scroll one by one. After the seventh seal was broken, the scroll could be opened, as it is seen open here in Rev. 10:2. It is very reasonable to expect that this same scroll would still be in the hand of the Lord Jesus Christ here in chapter 10.
The fact that this scroll is called a “little scroll” here in Rev. 10:2, but not in Revelation chapter 5, apparently indicates that only part of the original scroll remains. John has already given us the revelation contained in the first part of the scroll, including the revelation dealing with the seven trumpets. This all-important scroll contains the plan of God the Father to judge the world, to save His elect, and to establish His everlasting kingdom through the Lord Jesus Christ. The content of this scroll apparently equals the book of Revelation, probably starting at Rev. 6:1. We learn more about this scroll from verses 8-11 of chapter 10.
Whether this strong angel is the Lord Jesus Christ (as I very strongly suspect), or a mighty angel of God, it is clear that His placing His right foot on the sea and His left foot on the land pictures God’s taking over the earth. These words correspond perfectly with the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming to reign (a reign that very much includes judging) at the time of the sounding of the seventh trumpet (see Rev. 11:15-18). As I mentioned, the first six trumpets have already sounded by the time we get to Revelation chapter 10. The seventh and last trumpet will sound at Rev. 11:15. Revelation chapter 10 and the first part of chapter 11 are interludes (or, parenthetical inserts) between the sounding of the sixth trumpet in the second half of chapter 9 and the sounding of the seventh trumpet at Rev. 11:15.
I’ll read Rev. 10:3, 4, “and he cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars; and when he had cried out, the seven peals of thunder uttered their voices. (4) When the seven peals of thunder had spoken, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them.’ ” The person who “cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars,” speaks with great authority. His words here and the seven peals of thunder apparently relate to judgment. These words certainly fit the Lord Jesus Christ well; He has the authority to judge the world, and He is called “the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah” in Rev. 5:5 (also see Gen. 49:8-12; Jer. 25:30-38; Amos 1:2; and Joel 3:16). In Rev. 8:5; 11:19; and 16:18).
The seven peals of thunder apparently relate to an important aspect of God’s end-time judgment of the world that He doesn’t want to reveal until the appropriate time. Quite a few times in the book of Revelation, John was told to write the things that were revealed to him (Rev. 1:11, 19; 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14; 14:13; 19:9; and 21:5). This is the only place where he was instructed not to write what had been revealed to him. It is a little surprising that John would be permitted to hear what the seven peals of thunder said, and to inform us of that fact, but that he would not be permitted to tell us (in the book of Revelation) what they said. I assume that God was setting the stage with these verses to reveal, at the appropriate time, what the seven peals of thunder said. Such a revelation could come through the two prophets of Revelation chapter 11. Their three and one-half year ministry will take place throughout the first half of Daniel’s 70th week. There can be no doubting that God frequently keeps some information hidden until the appropriate time. For example, if the enemies of God had understood His salvation plans, “they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (see 1 Cor. 2:8).
I’ll read Rev. 10:5, 6, “Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to heaven, (6) and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in it, and the sea and the things in it, that there will be delay no longer,” The fact that this mighty “angel” swore with an oath fits well with the idea that this “angel” pictures the Lord Jesus Christ. For one thing, the man dressed in linen raised His hands and swore with a similar oath in Daniel chapter 12, and as we have discussed, the evidence is very strong that the man dressed in linen refers to God the Son. I won’t get into the evidence here, but we discussed this evidence when we studied Daniel chapter 12 and when we discussed the “angel” of Rev. 7:2 and the “angel” of Rev. 8:3-5, and the evidence is discussed in some detail in my book, “The Mid-Week Rapture.”
For the Lord Jesus Christ to raise His hand and swear by Him who lives forever and ever would be quite appropriate. He would be swearing by God the Father, or by the triune God. It is significant that God raised His hand and swore with an oath, based on the fact that He lives forever, in Deut. 32:40. That oath also dealt with His end-time judgment of the world. Furthermore, Heb. 6:13 speaks of God swearing by Himself, since He could swear by no one greater. This affirmation with an oath (which is the only oath in the book of Revelation) serves to emphasize the importance and truthfulness of what the mighty “angel” says here about there being delay no longer, and that the super-important things He goes on to mention in verse 7 will now come to pass under the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet.
I’ll read Rev. 10:7, “but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound [better, “when he sounds,” or the equivalent], then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets.” I can’t live with the translation “when he is about to sound” of the NASB. The “mystery of God” will not be finished when the seventh trumpet is about to sound; nor will it be finished when the seventh trumpet begins to sound (with the KJV). The mystery of God will not be finished until the days associated with sounding of the seventh and last trumpet will have been completed. The days of the seventh trumpet will not be completed until God has finished His promised work of saving, judging, and fully establishing His kingdom.
The Greek verb “mello” is often translated “about to” (and the NKJV and the NIV also include the words “about to” in this verse), but quite often there is no idea of “about to” in the meaning of this verb, and I am quite sure that applies here in Rev. 10:7. As I mentioned, I would translate, “but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel when he sounds,” or the equivalent. Quite a few Bible translations and quite a few Bible commentators agree that there is no idea of “about to” here in verse 7. Also, the BAGD Greek Lexicon (and other Greek Lexicons) list many verses (under the Greek verb mello) where there is no idea of “about to.” The New American Standard Bible very often translates mello with no idea of “about to.” Nineteen places they translate “going to,” for example.
This is very important, so I’ll take the time to read a few other translations of Rev. 10:7. I’ll just read the relevant part of the translations. I’ll read the New Revised Standard Version, “but in the days when the seventh angel is to blow his trumpet, the mystery of God will be fulfilled….” I’ll read The New Testament in Modern English (by J. B. Phillips), “In the days which shall soon be announced by the trumpet blast of the seventh angel the mysterious purpose of God [or, the mystery of God] shall be completed….” I’ll read the New American Bible, “When the time comes for the seventh angel to blow his trumpet, the mysterious plan of God [or, the mystery of God]…shall be accomplished in full.” And, lastly, I’ll read The New Living Translation, “But when the seventh angel blows his trumpet, God’s mysterious plan [or, the mystery of God] will be fulfilled. ….”
We read at the end of verse 6 that there will be delay no longer. That is, under the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet (and that trumpet will be on the verge of sounding at that time), God the Father will send His Son to fully save His elect, which includes their glorification; to judge the world, including the devil and all who follow him; and to fully establish His everlasting kingdom. These things are all included in the “mystery of God” that is spoken of in this verse. God has revealed these things to us by His spokesmen (these things that were formerly hidden in Him), so now we can understand this all-important mystery. Understood in the fullest sense, God’s plans include the great-white-throne judgment at the end of the millennial kingdom and the bringing forth of the new heaven and new earth, with its new Jerusalem, of the eternal state. God has revealed these details to us through the apostle John, and a whole lot more, in the book of Revelation.
Let’s go on to Rev. 10:8-11. “Then the voice which I heard from heaven, I heard again speaking with me, and saying, ‘Go, take the book [or, scroll] which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the land.’ (9) So I went to the angel, telling him [or, asking him] to give me the little book [or, the little scroll]. And he said to me, ‘Take it and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.’ (10) I took the little book [or, the little scroll] out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. (11) And they said to me [or, it was said to me], ‘You must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.’ ”
These verses undoubtedly build on Ezek. 2:8-3:4. Those verses in the book of Ezekiel are part of God’s calling and commissioning Ezekiel to be a prophet in 593 BC. I’ll read those verses with a few comments; then we’ll discuss Rev. 10:8-11. “ ‘Now you, son of man, listen to what I am speaking to you [God was speaking to Ezekiel]; do not be rebellious like that rebellious house [referring to Israel]. Open your mouth and eat what I am giving you.’ (9) Then I looked, and behold, a hand was extended to me; and lo, a scroll was in it. (10) When He spread it out before me, it was written on the front and back, and written on it were lamentations, mourning, and woe. [Most of Ezekiel’s prophetic messages to the people of Israel of his generation were negative (lamentations, mourning, and woe) because of the sinfulness of the people, but he had words of hope for the people of his generation who had a heart for God and for the people who would repent, and many of his prophecies spoke of God’s glorious salvation plans for the future.] (3:1) Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.’ (2) So I opened my mouth, and he fed me this scroll. (3) He said to me, ‘Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your body with this scroll which I am giving you.’ Then I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth. (4) Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them.’ ”
I’ll read Rev. 10:9 again, “So I went to the angel, asking him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, ‘Take it and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.’ ” These words about making his stomach bitter apparently refer to the words of intense judgment that are contained in the little scroll that John was to eat and then to prophesy. These words about making his stomach bitter were not used in the verses from the book of Ezekiel, but they undoubtedly could have been used, in that those words involved much lamentation, mourning, and woe.
The words about being sweet as honey in the prophet’s mouth here in verse 9 and in Ezek. 3:3 apparently refer to the fact that it is a great privilege to speak for God, knowing that His ways are right and good, that He causes all things to work together for good for those who submit to Him, His Word, and His salvation, and that His judgments are fully righteous and fully necessary. In Jer. 15:16 Jeremiah said, “Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O LORD [Yahweh] of hosts.” I’ll also read Psalm 119:3, “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
The little scroll that John was told to eat probably equals the rest of the book of Revelation, apparently starting at Rev. 11:1. This viewpoint is confirmed by Rev. 10:11, where it was said to John, “You must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.” He has been prophesying already in the book of Revelation; now he must prophesy further, which apparently equals the rest of the book of Revelation.
This completes our verse-by-verse study of Revelation chapters 4 through 10. Now, we’ll turn to a verse-by-verse study of Revelation chapter 19. We won’t be doing a verse-by-verse study of Revelation chapters 14 through 18 in these radio broadcasts, but those chapters are quite important too. See my verse-by-verse study of Rev. 14:6 through chapter 19 that is located on the internet at karlkempteachingministries.com. The first five verses of Revelation chapter 14 are discussed in chapter 23 of my book, “The Mid-Week Rapture,” and many other verses from those chapters are discussed in the book (see the listing of passages near the front of the book).
Before we begin our study of Revelation chapter 19, I’ll comment briefly on the content of chapters 14 through 18, because (for one thing) chapter 19 builds on those chapters. Much of the content of chapters 14 through 18 deals with God’s judgment and removal of Babylon the great harlot, and that theme continues in the first verses of chapter 19. Babylon the great harlot is a symbol for the world, whose god is the devil. It includes all the things the devil uses to seduce people from God and His truth and righteousness, very much including all false religion, very much including apostate Christianity. The devil also uses Babylon the great harlot to seduce people with things like immoral pleasures, godless unity (like at the ancient tower of Babel), power, influence, fame, and riches,.
Revelation 17:16, 17 show that God will use Antichrist and his ten associates in His judgment and removal of Babylon the great harlot. I’ll read Rev. 17:16, 17, “And the ten horns [the ten rulers] which you saw, and the beast [Antichrist], these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. (17) For God has put it into their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast [to Antichrist], until the words of God will be fulfilled.” In Rev. 19:3, we read of her smoke rising up forever and ever.
I’ll read three verses that help explain why Antichrist (in his great pride) will hate the harlot. He will not tolerate any competition; he alone must be god. I’ll read Dan. 11:36, 37, “Then the king [Antichrist] will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done. [God’s indignation against sin will be manifested in His end-time judgment of the world, including His judging through Antichrist. After God uses Antichrist, He will judge and remove him and his followers. God’s decreed judgments will come to pass. His decreed salvation and glorification will also come to pass.] (37) He will show no regard of the gods [or God] of his fathers or for the desire of women [apparently referring to the god Tammuz, who was especially worshipped by women], nor will he show regard for any other god; for he will magnify himself above them all.” And I’ll read 2 Thess. 2:4, which also speaks of Antichrist, “who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.”
I’ll mention another important detail from Revelation chapters 14 through 18 that sets the stage for chapter 19. Under the sixth bowl of wrath in Revelation chapter 16, the demons that come out of the mouths of Satan, Antichrist, and the false prophet gather the rulers of the world and their armies to Har-Magedon to make war against the Lord Jesus Christ and His army. Not a good idea! At the end of Revelation chapter 19, the Lord Jesus Christ totally destroys that gigantic multitude and casts Antichrist and the false prophet into the lake of fire. In the first verses of Revelation chapter 20, a mighty angel throws Satan into the abyss for the duration of the millennium. The evil angels and demons will undoubtedly be restrained along with Satan.
I’ll read Revelation 19:1-3, “After these things, I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; (2) because His judgments are true and righteous; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and He has avenged the blood of His bond-servants on her. (3) And a second time they said, ‘Hallelujah! Her smoke rises up forever and ever.’ ” The time setting here is very near the end of Daniel’s 70th week. Babylon the great harlot has already been destroyed by God’s judgment, and it is now time for the Lord Jesus Christ to judge and destroy Antichrist and those who gather to Har-Magedon to fight against Him and His army, and that won’t take long.
I’ll read Rev. 10:1 again, “I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God.’ ” Apparently the loud voice that John heard here was the voice of great multitude of angels (compare Rev. 5:11). In verse 4 the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures join the praise and worship God. In verse 5 a voice from God’s throne exhorts His bond-servants, those who fear Him, the small and the great, to join in the praise, which they do in the following verses.
We’ll come back to these verses in the next article. God bless you!