Chapter 16

A Mighty Angel Delivers
a Significant Message

INTRODUCTION

This section, which is given as an interlude between the sixth and seventh trumpets, provides additional insight into what transpires either during the apocalyptic sequence of events or covering a period inclusive of the apocalyptic sequence of events.

A mighty angelic being, comes down and gives a loud shout. In response, seven thunders speak. Unfortunately, John is not permitted to record what is said for us.

The angel then makes a pronouncement of great significance to the world. Then John is told to prophesy, to tell the future "again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings."

SCRIPTURE

A significant pronouncement

Rev. 10:1 Then I saw another 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. 2He 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, 3and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. 4And 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."

5Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. 6And he swore by him who lives for ever 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, and said, "There will be no more delay! [literally: time shall be no longer!] 7But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished [literally: "ended" or "completed"], just as he announced to his servants the prophets."

8Then 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."

9So 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." 10I 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. 11Then I was told, "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings."

COMMENTARY

Let's first attempt to identify the angel.

1) This angel's face shone with intense brightness.

2) He had a rainbow above or around his head (thus showing that he was a source of light).

3) He was surrounded by a cloud.

4) His legs were like fiery pillars.

As we search scripture we find several accounts of faces shining with great brightness, of someone arriving surrounded by clouds or a rainbow, or having legs like fiery pillars.

Dan. 7:13 "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. [This "son of man" is obviously Jesus]

Dan. 10:5 I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. 6His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude. [This individual was also a mighty angel and most likely not Jesus, because in verse 13 he refers to Michael, one of the chief princes (who I believe is Jesus' heavenly representation) as coming to his aid. Furthermore, in Dan. 12:1 this mighty angel refers to Michael again as another heavenly being, rather than as a veiled reference to himself.]

Dan. 12:1 "At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. . . . 5Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank. 6One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, "How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?" 7The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, "It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed." [This mighty angel is the same one as in Daniel 10. Note that this angel also raises his hands to heaven and swears by Him who lives forever]

Matt. 17:2 There he [Jesus] was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.

Matt. 26:64 "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

Mark 13:26 "At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.

Mark 14:62 "I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

Luke 21:27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

Acts 1:9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

1Ths. 4:17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds [the same clouds that accompany Jesus to this earth] to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

Rev. 1:12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13and among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man," dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. [From later verses, we see that this mighty being is unequivocally Jesus Christ in glorified form]

Rev. 10:1 Then I saw another 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. [This is the being we are studying]

Rev. 11:12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they [the Two Witnesses] went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.

From the above verses, we can see that the mighty angel is either 1) Jesus Christ (the highest of the heavenly beings next to God the Father, being in verity the son of God), or 2) a covering cherub, one of the mighty angels who serve near the throne of God.

Satan, before his rebellion, was a covering cherub who thought himself similar enough to Jesus to desire to be like Him. I believe the angel were are studying is a covering cherub.

This angel makes a pronouncement of enormous import.

2He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. 4And 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."

5Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. 6And he swore by him who lives for ever 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, and said, "There will be no more delay! 7But 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."

Wouldn't you like to know what the seven thunders said? Me too, but somethings are not for us to know. Since the angel was talking about the end of time, and John was not permitted to record what is spoken, I believe that the thunders gave the time, (perhaps the day and the hour?) of Jesus Christ's second coming. The mighty angel in Dan. 12 also gave a time prophecy after raising his hands to heaven and swearing by the Almighty.

Ellen White in several of her visions stated that at some point in the events of the end, and very near the end of the time of tribulation, God would thunder the day and the hour of His coming.

The following quote is taken from the book Early Writings of Ellen G. White in the chapter entitled Experience and Views

"In the time of trouble we all fled from the cities and villages, but were pursued by the wicked, who entered the houses of the saints with a sword. They raised the sword to kill us, but it broke, and fell as powerless as a straw. Then we all cried day and night for deliverance, and the cry came up before God. The sun came up, and the moon stood still. The streams ceased to flow. Dark, heavy clouds came up and clashed against each other. But there was one clear place of settled glory, whence came the voice of God like many waters, which shook the heavens and the earth. The sky opened and shut and was in commotion. The mountains shook like a reed in the wind, and cast out ragged rocks all around. The sea boiled like a pot and cast out stones upon the land. And as God spoke the day and the hour of Jesus' coming and delivered the everlasting covenant to His people, He spoke one sentence, and then paused, while the words were rolling through the earth. The Israel of God stood with their eyes fixed upward, listening to the words as they came from the mouth of Jehovah, and rolled through the earth like peals of loudest thunder. It was awfully solemn. And at the end of every sentence the saints shouted, "Glory! Alleluia!" Their countenances were lighted up with the glory of God; and they shone with the glory, as did the face of Moses when he came down from Sinai. The wicked could not look on them for the glory. And when the never-ending blessing was pronounced on those who had honored God in keeping His Sabbath holy, there was a mighty shout of victory over the beast and over his image."

If this guestimate is correct, then one might reasonably anticipate that within the actual events surrounding the seventh trumpet, and as suggested in the prior paragraph, that God will declare to His people the day and hour of His coming. And how precious those words will be to a people caught in the greatest turmoil the world has ever seen.

Let's look at what this angel declares. And so as to remove any bias on the NIV translator's part let's use a literal translation of verses 5-7.

"And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted his hand to Heaven and swore by Him living forever and ever, who created the heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in it, and the sea and the things in it, that time shall no longer be; but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, whenever he is about to trumpet, was even ended the mystery of God, as He preached to His slaves, the prophets." TIB

What time? The Greek word for time as used in verse 6 is the common chronos. Strong defines chronos (no. 5550) as: "a space of time (in general and thus properly distinguished from 2540" [kairos - set or proper time] "which designates a fixed or special occasion; and from 165" [aion - eon or age], "which denotes a particular period) or interval; by extension, and individual opportunity; by implication delay" and is translated in the KJV as: "years (old), season, space, often time(s), time, (a)while."

So what does the statement
"time shall no longer be" mean? especially in the context of the events taking place at the sounding of the seventh trumpet? and furthermore in the context of the ending of the mystery of God and thus His revealing?

Some suggest that this declaration pronounces the end of all prophetic time, both literal day-for-a-day prophetic time, and symbolic, day-for-a-year prophetic time.

A cursory study of prophetic time reveals that prophetic time is simply a specific time period or duration that is foretold, i.e. that is told in advance of its occurrence.

Since the seventh trumpet obviously takes place prior to the millennium, and the millennium is a prophetic time period of one thousand years, then the conclusion that prophetic time is ended at the seventh trumpet cannot be correct since the millennium is a prophetic time period still to be fulfilled!

A more realistic interpretation and conclusion is that the time allotted for a certain event or process, be it the time allotted for transgression to run its course prior to God Almighty taking the reins of power or be it of some other event or process, is drawing to its close and ends with the sounding of the seventh trumpet. Based upon the pronouncements surrounding the sounding of the seventh trumpet, it could be the end of the 6,000 years allotted for transgression, and Christ's return.

A Mystery! The Greek word for mystery is musterion. Strong's Greek Dictionary (no. 3466) gives the definition as follows: Musterion: "from a derivative of muo (to shut the mouth); a secret or "mystery" (through the idea of silence imposed by initiation into religious rites):-mystery."

Musterion has only been translated as mystery in the KJV and as mystery, secret, or deep in the NIV. Let's take a look at a number of the more relevant texts.

Luke 8:10 [Jesus said] said, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, "`though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.' [similar statements are made in Matt. 13:11 and Mark 4:11]

Rom. 11:25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins." 28As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable.

Rom. 16:25 Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him-- 27to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.

1Cor. 2:6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" -- 10but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

Eph. 1:9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment --to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. 11In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession --to the praise of his glory.

Eph. 3:2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God's grace that was given to me for you, 3that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets. 6This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. 7I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power. 8Although I am less than the least of all God's people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Col. 1:25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness-- 26the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 27To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.

Col. 2:1 I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Col. 4:3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.

1Tim. 3:16 Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.

Rev. 10:7 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."

Let's summarize our findings.

1) One mystery is that until the number of Gentiles whom God has chosen have been brought into the faith, the Jewish people will continue to reject the gospel. Afterwards, there will be a renewed awareness and openness among the Jews of the opportunity for salvation.

2) That there is a revelation of that mystery through the writings of the prophets so that all nations might have the opportunity to believe in and obey God.

3) God's mysterious wisdom was destined for our glory before time began.

4) The mystery of God's will is to be put into effect at an appointed time. That God's will is that all things be brought together under Christ, that all shall be placed under His feet, even as it is written: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet" (Ps. 110:1, Luke 20:43). Note that Eph. 1:9-14 touches on a number of points incorporated in the seventh trumpet and the seal of God.

5) The mystery of Christ is that through the gospel, Gentiles are joint heirs with Jews in the promise of Christ Jesus. Additionally, it is through the witness of His church that the mystery is revealed to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, be they fallen or unfallen.

6) The mystery of God is namely Christ.

7) The mystery of godliness is Christ.

8) The mystery of God will be disclosed, revealed, made manifest at the time of the sounding of the seventh trumpet, JUST AS HE PROPHESIED AND ANNOUNCED THROUGH HIS PROPHETS!

The best conclusion of this mystery is that Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour of both Jews and Gentiles, who trust in Him, shall be revealed as the glorious being that He is.

The world has had ample warning of God's judgments. Every opportunity had been extended to mankind to accept God's gracious gift of salvation. And yet so few accept and partake of the water of life.

The seventh trumpet is about to sound, but first what is this message that John is told to give? This scroll that He is told to eat?

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