Revelation 030 – A Bitter-Sweet Experience

Revelation 030 – A Bitter-Sweet Experience
Revelation 10:1-11 • Dr. Andy Woods • March 3, 2019 • Revelation


Dr. Andy Woods

A Bittersweet Experience    3-3-19

Revelation 10:1-11        Lesson 30

Let’s take our Bibles and open them to the Book of Revelation, chapter 10, continuing on in our study through the Book of Revelation.  The title of our message this morning is “A Bittersweet Experience.”  We are in that section of the Book of Revelation where the various trumpet judgments are being sounded and every time a trumpet is sounded from heaven by an angel then another judgment comes to the earth.  We’ve seen the sounding of the first trumpet involving a third of the earth’s vegetation being destroyed.  Trumpet number two was a third of the earth’s ocean is destroyed.  Trumpet number three is a third of the earth’s water supply is destroyed.  You can see how mad the environmentalists will be when these judgments take place.  The fourth trumpet judgment is a third of the luminaries, sun, moon, and stars are darkened.  Trumpet number five, demons are released to torment men and humanity for five months.  And then we saw last week trumpet number six which involved a giant army from the east and in their route from the east into northern Israel you have a destruction of a third of the earth’s population.

Now one of the things that we taught is that when you get to a number six in a series you should look for something, a pause in the action.  There are several times in the Book of Revelation where the chronology stops; it’s a lot like (as we’ve tried to explain it) going on a hike, you’re hiking up a mountain and then you decide to have lunch and so you pick a scenic location where you can sort of see where you’ve been from and where you’re going to and then once lunch is over you get back on the hiking trail and continue.  That’s sort of what happens in the Book of Revelation, particularly when we hit a six, between a six and a seven.

So there are five times where the chronology halts and sort of explain something in more detail in terms of what’s going on in the chronology.  These are not just random thoughts but these are informational, designed to give fuller meaning to the things that we have just seen and are about to see.  We saw a stop in between seal six and seal seven, the manifestation of the hundred and forty-four thousand Jewish evangelists.  And now we’re at really a second stop in the action in between trumpet six and trumpet seven.  And this particular halt in the action starts in chapter 10, verse 1 and goes all the way through chapter 11 and verse 14.

And there’s a lot of… to be honest with you, fascinating things to think about and talk about in this particular halt in the action.  We have chapter 10, the announcement of no more delay, we’ll get into that today.  Then you have some information about the Temple Mount and it’s very interesting to me because I was just on the Temple Mount a few weeks ago in Israel, and how this information about that Temple Mount and the final three and a half years of the tribulation period.  And then what follows, chapter 11, verses 1 and 2 is verses 3-14 where we have information about these two characters called the two witnesses and their ministry in the midst of this time period.

And so we find ourselves this morning moving into chapter 10 which is the announcement of no more delay.  Now why would this be brought up at this point?  Because this break takes place in between trumpet six and trumpet seven.  Once the seventh trumpet is sounded that automatically means the bowl judgments will take place.  I don’t believe that these judgments are sort of over-lapping, as I tried to explain they pull out like a telescope.  Seal seven launched the trumpets; trumpet seven will launch the bowls.  The bowls will take you into the second half of the tribulation period right to the second advent of Christ.  The reason why there’s information here about no more delay is trumpet seven is about to be sounded.  As trumpet seven is sounded then the bowl judgments are all but guaranteed.

So notice, if you will, Revelation chapter 10, it all seems to revolve around an angel who is sent from heaven to give John this information. We had the angel’s appearance, verse 1 of chapter 10; the angel’s actions, verses 2-7 of chapter 10, and then finally this angel commissions John to do two things, and we find that in verses 8-11.

Notice, if you will, Revelation chapter 1 and verse 1 as this angel is described.  John, back in the first century on the Island of Patmos as he sees this vision writes these words.  “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 like pillars of fire;” he’s giving here a description of this angel.  You’ll notice this expression there in chapter 10, verse 1, “another angel.” First of all this angel was called strong, this angel is descending from heaven, and who is this angel?  If I had to hazard a guess, the Bible doesn’t tell me, but I would think there are at least two candidates; one would be Michael who according to Jude 9 is called an archangel.  [Jude 1:9, “But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’”]  He would fit the description of a strong angel.

Another possibility would be Gabriel because Gabriel has a tendency to show up in terms of giving new information and new revelation. It was Gabriel that gave Daniel, in Daniel 9:20-23, the prophecy of the seventy weeks which is an absolutely critical piece of the prophetic jigsaw puzzle.

[Daniel 9:20-23, “Now while I was speaking and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God in behalf of the holy mountain of my God, [21] while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering. [22] He gave me instruction and talked with me and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding. [23] “At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision.”]

Gabriel is the one that shows up in early Luke to reveal to Jesus’ mother and John the Baptist’s mother what was actually happening in their womb and those that they were carrying in their womb.   So Gabriel shows up a lot in terms of being dispatched from heaven to give new information.  But you know, as I looked at some commentaries this week I was sort of shocked to discover how many people believe that this angel is Jesus.  I would encourage you to resist that kind of interpretation and let me give you some reasons why.

You’ll notice in chapter 10, verse 1 it says, “I saw another strong angel,” now that word “another” in Greek refers to something that’s different but many times of the same species.  For example, it’s used to describe another boat in the Gospels, not the same boat but a boat of the same categorization of boats.  Another disciple, another Scripture, and basically the way that word is normally used is it’s a different entity but it’s of the same variety, so to speak.  And we’ve already run into Revelation 5:2, a strong angel, Revelation 5:2, John wrote back in chapter 5, “And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?’” So here we have someone, or an entity, an angel that’s different but we should still understand that entity as of the same species, still an angel.

The Jehovah’s Witness, not if but when they come to your house, will try to convince you that Jesus is actually an angel, a created being. The reality of the situation is Jesus is not an angel.  In fact, according to the Book of Hebrews, chapter 1 and verse 6 all the angels worship Jesus.  [Hebrews 1:6, “And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, ‘and let all the angels of God worship him.”]  In fact, according to Colossians 1:16 the angels wouldn’t even exist had Jesus not created them.  Colossians 1:16, says, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.”

No, beloved, Jesus is not just another run of the mill angel.  He is the One that the angels will worship and are worshipping.  He is the One that actually created the angels.  Now in the Old Testament there are some things going on there that we might call these names, a theophany or a Christophany.  These are basically appearances of Jesus before the manger.  Appearances of Jesus before the virgin conception.  And many times when that occurs, and there are several of them in the Bible, I believe there is an angel and that angel is Jesus. But you’ll notice that when Jesus is described in such terms in the Old Testament he is never just called an angel; He is called “the” (definite article) Exodus 3:2, “the angel of the LORD.”   [Exodus 3:2, “The angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.”]

And so people like to find Christ with all of these angelic appearances, I don’t think Christ is ever described in the New Testament as an angel; He’s completely different as I’ve tried to explain.  And so I think a strong angel would not be Jesus, a strong angel would simply be Gabriel or perhaps Michael.

But notice how this particular angel is described, whoever this angel is.  You have a description of the angel’s clothes, he’s clothed with a cloud.  By the way, I have a picture of him on the slide, now I know that’s exactly what he looked like because I found it on the internet… [laughter].  He’s clothed with a cloud and it’s very interesting that over his head or upon his head is a rainbow.  Now you know all about the rainbow from biblical stories; Genesis 9:11-17 is a visual statement, sort of like communion this morning, a visual statement of what God has done.

[Genesis 9:11-17, ““I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.” [12] God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; [13] I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. [14] “It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, [15] and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. [16] “When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” [17] And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”]

Genesis 9:11-17 is a visual statement, sort of like communion this morning, a visual statement of what God has done.  The rainbow exists as a testimony to God’s Word and His promise that he would never flood the earth again.  And so perhaps that rainbow is there to remind us that God, even in judgment itself, even in these horrific judgments that we’re reading about is still keeping His Word.  The flood was a horrific thing, only eight survived.  As we’re going to see today God is not eradicating the earth again via water; He is bringing severe judgments but there won’t be eight survivors, there will be many, many survivors.  In fact, the nation of Israel, by the time it’s all said and done will be in faith and regenerated.  And it’s interesting to me that even in the midst of the severest judgments that we’re reading about here in the Book of Revelation God is always consistent with what He revealed through the covenant that He made with Noah that’s signified by the rainbow, going all the way back to Genesis 9:11-17.

You’ll notice over the angel’s head (as we mentioned) is a rainbow.  You’ll notice the angel’s face.  John as he’s describing it says the face was like the sun, in this case not s-o-n, but s-u-n describing the brightness and the illumination of this angel. He goes on he says angel’s legs were like pillars of fire.  [Revelation 10:1, “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 like pillars of fire;”]

Now notice the twofold repetition there in verse 10 of “like.”  What kind of figure of speech is that?  It’s a simile, equating two things with the linking words “like” or “as.”  Why does John keep doing that?  Well, you have to put yourself in John’s shoes; what is the command that was given to him on the Island of Patmos two thousand years ago?  “Write in a book what you see.”  How would you like that description for your job and be given this vision?  I mean, John is just doing his best; he is trying to be faithful to what God said, he’s writing it down, he’s seeing things that obviously are beyond his ability to communicate because he only has a first century vocabulary.  He’s seeing things that could be 20th, 21st century or later realities, and he just says it’s “like” this, it’s “like” that.  That’s why he keeps using these similes over and over and over again.

We move away from the angel’s appearance and notice the angel’s action.  The angel does a few things here. He’s holding something, he does something and then he says something.  Notice what he’s holding, this very, very strong angel.  Take a look if you could at Revelation 10 and notice verse 2, “and he had in his hand a little book which was open. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left on the land; [3] 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.”

What is this angel holding?  He’s holding something that’s called “a little book.”  What is that little book?  Well, I think in context, as we’ll see, the little book is a record of what is about to happen. We’re basically halfway through the tribulation period at this point and this would be a record of things that are to come upon the earth as described in Revelation 11-22.  Well why is it called “a little book.”  Because we’re halfway through it, and half of the events have already taken place; half of these events have already transpired.  You’ll notice that this book is opened, this is something that’s going to happen, and they are a description of the remaining judgments, the final forty-two months of the tribulation period.  Why is all of this described here?  Because the seventh trumpet is about to be sounded and the seventh trumpet will trigger the bowls which will take you right on through the final forty-two months of the tribulation period, right up to the manifestation of Jesus Christ who brings in His kingdom at the end of that time period.  John is about to receive information about that second half of the tribulation period.

Notice what the angel does.  He’s standing, right foot on the sea, left foot on the land.  What is that there for?  I think that perhaps is a reminder of the fact that God is in complete and total authority of what is happening here, because who is the one that brought the land and the sea into existence?  God did!  According to Genesis 1:2 you see God bringing the waters into existence in the creation week.  [Genesis 1:2, “The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.”]

According to Genesis 1:10 you see the Lord bringing forth dry land or earth in the creation week.  [Genesis 1:10, “God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.”]  And so the fact that this angel has one foot on the land, one foot on the sea is a reminder that God has every single right to do what He’s doing since He is the creator.  A lot more on God’s role as creator as we move through Revelation 10; constant references to God as the creator which is a reminder of His right to do what He Himself wants to do.

So, we have this description of what the angel does and notice that the angel actually says something.  Revelation 10:3, we read this just a few moments ago but notice again Revelation 10:3, [2] “He placed his right foot on the sea and his left on the land; [3] 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.”  Now this very strong angel is crying out; he’s crying out with a loud voice.  John as he sees this is trying to explain it and he says it’s like a lion roaring.  And it’s very interesting to me that as you go through the Bible God’s voice is described that way.  I think what’s happening here is God is using this angel to reveal his voice to John, which John has no description for it other than it sounds like a roaring lion.

Hosea 11:10 of the Lord’s voice, says, “They will walk after the LORD, He will roar like a lion; Indeed, He will roar And His sons will come trembling from the west.”  Isn’t it interesting how cozy and comfortable we are with God today, for our whole visual picture of Him is Jesus, who is laying in this manger, without a place for the Son of man to lay His head, and we’ve completely lost sight of the fact that the power of God and the holiness of God, and in fact if God were to utter His very voice right now as I’m speaking it would scare the absolute daylights out of us.  Amos 3:8 of God’s voice says, “A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken! Who can but prophesy?”

So you see again the simile “as” verse 3, and when this angel cried out it sounded like a roaring lion.  Something happened, “seven peals of thunder” in heaven are sounded.  Now the seven peals of thunder, this is not the first time that we’ve run into this.  Back in Revelation 4:5 it says, “Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder.”  Revelation 8:5 says, “Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.”

Something very interesting happens in verse 4 which to me is almost inexplicable it’s so out of the norm of the Book of Revelation, because we’re finding information about what the angel says and one of the things he says relates to John and his obligation to not record the thunders, the seven thunders that he just heard.  Notice if you will, Revelation 10:4, “When the seven peals of thunder had spoken I was about to write,” now why would John be about to write this?  Because that’s his job.  I mean, he was told that, was he not, back in Revelation 1:11.  [Revelation 1:11, “Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”]

Everything you see, write it down.  So, John is being obedient to what God told him to do; he hears these seven thunders and then he hears a heavenly voice saying not to write these things down.  Again, chapter 10 verse 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.’”  One of the things to understand about God is He communicates three ways: the first way He communicates is through something called revelation or disclosure.  He discloses something to someone and we believe that this happened to the writers of Scripture, all of them had revelations or disclosures from God.  But that’s only the beginning of the communication process.

The second thing God told the biblical writers to do is to write it down.  And we believe that the process of writing it down was also inspired by God, that’s called inspiration.  That’s why we read in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; [17] so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”  How could this help us if it’s just a disclosure from God but it’s never written down.   And we believe that the original manuscripts in which this disclosure was given were without error.  We believe that God superintended the entire process.

A wonderful verse on this is 2 Peter 1:20-21, speaking of the inspiration of the Old Testament writers.  Peter says, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation.”  The Bible writers are not giving us an editorial column in the newspaper; this is not the opinion section.  This is a direct disclosure from God being written down for humanity to understand.  2 Peter 1:21, “for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”  The word for “moved” there is the same verb that’s used to describe the wind that propels a boat in the Book of Acts.  Just as wind comes upon a boat and fills the sails with wind and the boat is propelled, that is basically and essentially what happened as your Bible was written.  It went from revelation to inspiration; it went from disclosure to an actual writing.

And then God loves us so much so that we would understand what he said is He provides a third step in the communication process called illumination.  If it was just revelation and inspiration that wouldn’t be enough to communicate to us.  How does this spiritual truth get communicated to those that are dead in their trespasses and sins?  The answer is the Holy Spirit.  Once a person gets saved the Holy Spirit is inside of them and the Holy Spirit, one of His ministries is to illuminate our minds to biblical truth.  And you have to follow the laws of language when you study the Bible because the Holy Spirit works through proper Bible study because the moment God made a decision to record His truth and His Word in linguistic form the laws of language now apply—grammar, syntax, context, etc.

And as you apply those diligent Bible study methods which you’ll discover as you come to the Lord with an open heart and read His Word through proper methodology, a proper mind and a proper heart is the Holy Spirit will start to show you things that you’ve never seen before.  In fact, I’ve been at this for a little while, I couldn’t believe the things I was seeing in this passage this week as I was trying to study it.  I don’t even think I’ve ever really given a lot of attention to this chapter.  To my knowledge I don’t think I’ve ever taught through Revelation chapter 10.  I know some different things about other parts of the Book of Revelation but Revelation 10 I have to admit was very new terrain for me.  And so I was utterly dependent upon the communication process of God to help me  understand what He was saying, so that God may use me to communicate this to His people.

1 John 2:27, “As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.” What a promise that is!  You mean Lord if I come before You and Your Word with an open heart, using correct methodology involved in the laws of language, that little old me can understand what You’ve disclosed and written and are now seeking to illuminate?  And that’s how it works.

But it’s interesting here in verse 4, you don’t have any inspiration; you’ve just got revelation.  I mean, these seven thunders take place and John receives a specific word not to write it down.  This has perplexed an awful lot of people, including myself, because it’s out of the pattern of the Book of Revelation.  The Book of Revelation is all about disclosure.  In fact, that’s what the word “revelation” in the very first verse means, translated apokalypsis, the title of the book, A Divine Disclosure.  In fact, at the end of the book John is told, “Do not seal up the words of this prophecy, for the time is near.” [Revelation 22:10]

It’s quite different, you’ll recall, from what we studied in the Book of Daniel, where Daniel back in the sixth century was told to seal up the vision and the book.  These words are concealed and sealed up.  That would make sense if you wrote that six hundred years before the time of Christ, the time period to understand the prophecies of Daniel had not arrived yet.  But Revelation is different.  John’s told do not seal it up, “Do not seal up the words of this prophecy.”  It’s interesting as we’ve been teaching through the Book of Revelation, you know the comment that I’ve gotten from more people, whether it’s here or on the internet or e-mail or whatever?  We don’t remember when our church taught the Book of Revelation.  In fact, my pastor never teaches the Book of Revelation.  May God help us to understand that that’s a direct violation of the command of God, “do not seal up the book.”  If you are going to deny God’s people a systematic presentation of the Book of Revelation you just violated what God said to do.  In fact, you just violated the very title of the book.   May God help us to teach this book and to not be intimidated by this book, “for the time is near.”

But here something very different happens where we have a revelation, the seven thunders but no inspiration or recording.  Why in the world is John told not to write down the seven thunders?  Here’s my answer to the question.  I don’t really have any idea other than I can make a guess or two.  The verse that comes to my mind is Matthew 24:21-22 which says, “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. [22] “Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.”

Given the severity of these judgments, given their horrific nature, if suddenly the judgments were expanded to not just seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls, now it’s seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls and what else?  Seven thunders.  If God were to allow that to happen in any way, shape or form, the human race wouldn’t exist anymore.  The nation of Israel would be completely wiped out; humanity would be completely wiped out.  No one would be left to fulfill the covenants that God has made to and through the nation of Israel, you couldn’t even have a millennial kingdom.

And I think this is part of the reasoning as to why this strong angel has this rainbow on his head or over his head, God cannot wipe the earth out because He’s made a covenantal promise in the Noahic Covenant.  John is told to not write these down because they’re not going to be part of the judgment (thank God for that).  The judgments are bad enough, if we had another set of seven to deal with we’d have another couple of chapters in the Bible to deal with and no one would survive.  That’s my best take at a guess as to why he is told not to write down these judgments.

But you’ll notice there in chapter 1, verse 4, “…Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them down.”   I find it somewhat comforting, given the magnitude of these things, that God is still in control.  It sort of reminds me concerning what He said to Job as he’s talking to Satan, Job 1:12, “The LORD said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” Job 2:6, “So the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.”  I mean even when the judgments happen, even when Satan is allowed to have his heyday, he’s still on a leash.  We saw that back in Revelation 9, those horrific scorpions that came forth to sting men for a period of five months.  And I say well praise the Lord it wasn’t six months or seven months, because God has a tight rein on things.  God has not lost control of things.  In fact, He is the One where this angel is standing on the land and the sea, something that God created.

And I don’t know what valley you’re in right now, we all go through all kinds of valleys in our lives as church age believers and the temptation is to always think that somehow God has lost the reigns of authority.  God never loses the reigns of authority.  In fact, if He were able to lose the reigns of authority He wouldn’t be God, would He.  God knows exactly what you’re going through.  He’s even provided grace for you as you walk through it. It’s a reminder of the sovereignty of God.

And not only does this very strong angel speak concerning these seven thunders, the angel begins to speak concerning the seventh trumpet yet to come.  Notice if you will Revelation 10:5, “Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to heaven,” so we have another reference to the land and the sea.  That seems to be a dominant theme here.  You have this strong angel lifting up not his left hand but his right hand.   As you go through the Bible what you see is the right hand is the place of honor.  In fact, where is Jesus right now?  He’s at the right hand of the Father, Ephesians 1:20. [Ephesians 1:20, “which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.”]  Jesus actually is holding, according to a verse we studied earlier in the series, Revelation 1:16, the seven stars or the seven pastors in His right hand.  [Revelation 1:16, “In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.”

So the angel, like he’s ready to take an oath, lifts his right hand to heaven.  Well, what is the content of that oath?  Look at what it says there in verse 6, “And swore by Him who lives forever and ever.

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,” what’s the content of the oath here… “that there will be delay no longer.”  No more delay because the seventh trumpet is about to be sounded which will unleash the bowl judgments in telescoping fashion.

And notice how serious this oath is, the angel has got his right hand in heaven swearing this and he’s swearing obviously by someone greater than himself, because he’s swearing on the one who lives forever and ever.  That’s nobody but God, right?  Does God live forever?  Psalm 90:2 says, “From everlasting to everlasting You are God.”  Jesus, born into this world in Bethlehem, Micah 5:2, of that says, “His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”  Romans 6:26 talks about the eternal God.  [Romans 6:26, “but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith;”] The God that’s always been, the God that is, and the God that will always be.

What is He called in the Bible, in the Book of Revelation, many times?  The living God, the God that wants you to communicate with Him via prayer.  I mean, who else do you think can help you other than God.  I mean, you’ve got the best friend in the world, the one who is, always was and always will be, He’s made provision whereby we as fallen people can have a relationship with Him and this angel swears by that God who lives forever.  And the angel goes on and on and he swears by creation itself.  He “swore by him who lives forever and ever,” verse 6, “who created heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in it, and the things that are in the sea and the things that are in it.”  God is the Creator.  Do you believe that?  We’ve got a whole generation of people today that really don’t believe God is the Creator.  They’re being taught all sorts of things, naturalism, Darwinism, things happened accidentally.  I can start to see why humanity is so angry at God when these things take place… how dare you God do this, who do You think You are, the Creator or something?

And so we’re reminded that God is the Creator, the heavens and the things in it, that’s day one and day four the creation week, the earth and the things in it, that’s what?  Day three.  And day six is a creation day, the sea and the things that are in it.  Day two and day five of creation week,  do we  understand that if you don’t believe God is the Creator you don’t understand that He’s got the right to bring judgment.  And I think this is one of the reasons why the doctrine of creation is under complete and total assault today.  You might remember Revelation 4:11, the heavenly scene, “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power;” and why? “for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”  I mean, if God spoke this world into existence through a miracle why should I be upset if He’s going to bring the whole thing out of existence through a miracle.  It’s the same God!  He’s got the right to do it.

In fact, later on, I think it’s a couple of months down the road, I’m going to be speaking at a conference and I love the title of this conference, it’s called The Alpha and Omega Conference.  Alpha, the first letter of the Greek alphabet; Omega, the last letter of the Greek alphabet, the beginning and the end.  So who’s going to be there?  Well, a bunch of prophecy guys and a bunch of creation guys.  I said sign me up, because I love the connection between creation and prophecy.

In fact, if you were to read this week 2 Peter 3:3-15 you’ll see that the two doctrines are intimately linked with each other.  [2 Peter 3:3-15, “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, [4] and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” [5] For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God, the   heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, [6] through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. [7] But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.  [8] But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. [9] The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.  [10] But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.  [11] Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, [12] looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! [13]  But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.  [14] Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, [15] regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you.”]

That’s why I keep saying over and over again in Revelation 10, the role of God as the Creator, this angel with his foot on the land and the other foot on the sea demonstrating the right of God to intervene.  I’m very passionate about creation and the end times.  I’m just sort of saddened to learn that a lot of my evangelical brethren do not share my enthusiasm with me at all on these things.  In fact, I was sitting in a meeting at the school that I went to, and they were sort of communicating to us how you guys need to go out there and get jobs, it’s kind of a practical meaning you know, resume, all this sort of stuff.  And this fellow said something, I like the guy that said it but I was just stunned when this rolled off his tongue, it’s bothered me for an awful long time.  He said if you want a good job you’ve just got to give up a little bit on creation and you’ve got to give up a little ground on the end times, just see the little territory and stick with the middle of the Bible.

Is that what you’re reading here in Revelation 10?   I mean, God is an Alpha and an Omega God.  The last time I checked I want to stand firm on both.  Well, come on, you know, you can fudge a little bit, can’t you, on Genesis 1-11.  Look folks, I was doing all that stuff as an unsaved pagan; I believed all of the Darwin and the billions of years and all that stuff; why would I, as a New Testament Christian, a blood-bought saint, want to go back to the way I used to think as a pagan?  Why even be a Christian if you’re not going to stand on creation and you’re not going to stand on the end, interpreting both literally the way they’re revealed in Scripture why even get saved?  Do you want to compromise with the world?  I was already doing that!  I didn’t get saved so I could compromise with the world; I got redeemed to be a bondservant of God, where it’s not my will, it’s Thy will.  My job is not to compromise with the world; my job is to authoritatively declare what Jesus Himself said.

So, this angel swears by the creation of God, swears by the God that lives forever, and by the way, that’s a pretty good thing to swear by because God can’t lie.  If God says something it has to happen, it’s just a matter of time.  Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man that He should lie.”  Titus 1:2, “God, who cannot lie.”  Hebrews 6:18, “…it is impossible for God to lie.” His character would inhibit that. [Titus 1:2, [“in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,” [Hebrews 6:18, “so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.”]

And if we are really bondservants of the Lord and He is living inside of us via the Holy Spirit, shouldn’t we be people of honesty and truth, and not underhanded or duplicative in how we go about life?  I mean, there’s an awful lot in the Bible about being a truth speaker.  In fact, the last time I checked one of the Ten Commandments was “thou shalt not” what? “bear false witness.”  Why would the Bible say that?  Because that’s who God is.  God’s character is completely upright.  Why would we claim to walk in the light and fudge on that particular issue?

And so what does this angel say as he is doing this oath?  It’s right there at the end of verse 6, “there will be delay no longer.” What does that mean?  Verse 7, “but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel,” now who would that seventh angel be?  That would be the seventh trumpet yet to be sounded.  “But in the day when the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets.”  The seventh trumpet is about to sound.  Now that’s not going to occur until just a short time later, towards the end of the first half of the tribulation period.  But when it sounds the mystery that of all of these prophets have recorded is about to be unfolded.  What is a mystery?   A mystery is a new truth never before revealed.  You find that definition in Romans 16:25-26; Colossians 1:26.

[Romans 16:25-26, “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, [26] but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith;”  Colossians 1:26, “that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints.”

Any Greek dictionary will tell you that’s what the mystery is, mustērion, that which being outside the range of unassisted natural apprehension could be made known by divine revelation.  It’s something that’s been disclosed revelation, it’s something that has been recorded, inspiration, it’s something that God wants understood, illumination; and now God says the whole thing is about to happen with the sounding of this seventh trumpet.

If the seventh trumpet unleashes the bowl, which I think it does, then that makes a world of sense out of Revelation 16:17.   Revelation 16:17 of the seventh bowl at the very end of the tribulation period, what does it say at the end of the verse… “it is done.”  Well, wait a minute, I thought it was done with the seventh trumpet; now you’re telling me that it’s not done with the seventh trumpet, it’s done with the seventh bowl.  How do you explain the contradiction?  Easy if you understand that trumpet seven unleashes the bowl.  See that?  If the seventh trumpet unleashes the bowl then it’s a done deal already.  And that’s why attention is being drawn to this seventh trumpet in this gap between trumpet six and trumpet seven.

And what is about to happen here is the cry of the martyrs is about to be answered.  Remember their cry when they were executed with seal judgment five.  Do you know what they were saying under the altar?  How long O Lord, holy and true till you refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?  Verse 11, Revelation 6, “There was given to each of them a white robe and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren were about to be killed, even as they had been, would be complete also.”  What is God doing here?  He’s answering their prayer.  “How long, Lord,” you have the answer here, not long at all because once we have trumpet number seven we’ll have the bowl leading to the second half of the tribulation period, bowl six, to the reality that it is done.

You’ll notice at the end of the chapter the angel gives a commission to John.  Notice, if you will, chapter 10 and verse 8, “Then the voice which I heard from heaven, I heard again speaking with me, and saying, “Go, take the book” what book?  The little book, that’s a record of the second half of the tribulation period, “Go take the book which is open in the hand of the angel” and look at this, “who stands on the sea and on the land.”  That keeps showing up, doesn’t it?  John, take the book!  John obeys, verse 9, “So I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little book.”  And then John is told to do something very, very odd, look at what it says there in verse 9, “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.”

So, what does John do, verse 10, he does what he’s told, he eats the book.  “I took the little book 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.”  Now what is this talking about?  We take the Bible literally but I think this is probably metaphorical language because “man does not live by bread alone but by” what? “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

Job 23:12, Job says, “I treasure His words more than my daily food.”   1 Peter 2:2 says, “As newborn babes crave pure spiritual milk.”  Do you understand that just as your physical body needs physical food to be physically sustained the same is true with the spiritual food God gives.   It’s amazing to me how we are so conscious about the physical part of it and yet we’re starving to death because we’re not being fed properly concerning the spiritual part of it.

And I believe that what is being described here is a season of preparation in John’s life, you’d better absorb the truth of God before you proclaim it.  Jot down Ezekiel 2:8-3:3, you’ll see Ezekiel going through the same process, “before he speaks,” verse 4, the Word of God.  I think it was Billy Graham, they asked him prior to his death, if you had it to do all over again how would you do it different?  And he said I would speak half as much and study twice as much.  The reality of the situation is there’s a lot of people out there that want to be used by God but they have never submitted themselves to the process of study because if you haven’t studied how do you have much of a message?  What does 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed but accurately handles the Word of truth.”  You want to be used by God, pastors, do you want to be used by God, then get out of the board room and stop functioning like a CEO and get into the study of the Word of God.

You know what’s happening today folks?  Pastors are giving messages and they’re about a millimeter deep; they give the same message over and over and over again; they’re not taking the flock of God through God’s word.  You know why?  They’re not really students of the Bible.  Well what are they doing?  They’re trying to grow massive churches; they’re giving themselves to philosophies of being a CEO, being a marketer, doing everything but what God told them to do which was to study and prepare yourself so that you can adequately feed the flock of God.   There’s a lot of energetic people out there, no message because they’ve never done what God said for John to do…to absorb it.  And what is this business about it’s sort of sweet to the mouth, bitter to the stomach?  Listen, there’s a sweetness in the Book of Revelation because the kingdom is coming?  But there’s some bitterness here because there’s a lot of travail this world has got to go through before the kingdom materializes.

Not only is John told to partake, now that he has partaken he’s told to prophesy.  Look at verse 11 and with this we’re finished.

“And they said to me, You must prophesy again,” now why would it say “again”?  Because now you’ve got to deal with chapters 11-22, seventh trumpet onward because the seventh trumpet will unleash the bowl. “And they said to me, You must prophesy again concerning many people and nations and tongues and kings.”  Those are global statements when you track that combination as it’s used in the Book of Revelation.  These judgments are coming upon the whole world and so John, you need to absorb these judgments; it’s going to taste sweet but it’s bitterness to your stomach and it’s preparation for you to prophesy again about what?  About the second half of the tribulation period.

Why does John have to be told to talk about this?  It’s bitter to his stomach, he didn’t want to talk about it.  There’s some hesitancy in John that has to be corrected and if you want an application folks, there’s some hesitancy in evangelical Christianity today, particularly from the pulpit, that needs to be corrected because so many places do not want to reveal to you or to disclose to you or to talk you through the difficult things in the Bible.  And yet it’s a bittersweet experience because these are real judgments that are going to impact real people.  And how can we not somewhat grieve over that but at the same time there’s a necessity for these judgments to come to the earth to be liberated.

David Hocking, who I was with in Israel, I was looking at his Revelation commentary this week and he made this statement and it’s so good I wanted to share it with you because it sort of capsulizes everything that this chapter is about.  He says, “To all the preachers of the Word of God, God’s Word must be proclaimed no matter how it upsets or offends people.  We should speak God’s truth in love of course, but there is too much compromise in the pulpits of our churches.  The Bible’s message about God’s wrath and judgment is rarely heard or even understood by today’s culture.  There is no message more important for a world than that which the Book of Revelation clearly presents.  May God help us to be faithful and to heed what it says.”

Is that your life?  Has God put you in a position, even one on one to share?  I mean, are you so familiar with this book that the things should just sort of come out of your mouth or are you one of these sort of shallow message types, or are you one of these types of people that’s in the business of editing God because you don’t want to talk about that part and you don’t to walk about that part.  I fear the biggest problem that’s going on out there is preachers are more afraid of their congregations, they’re more afraid of their elder board, they’re more afraid of their church hierarchy than they are of God.  God is going to hold people accountable for what they say and what they leave out.  And John is told he’s got to do it again once he absorbs this truth.  Understand it, there’s bitterness in it, there’s sweetness in it but it’s given to you for a reason, to disclose to others.

Do you understand that sitting under teaching like this makes you accountable to God?  “To whom much is given, much is” what? “required.”  This is not just a Sunday activity that you’re going through.  The expectation of God is proclamation, obedience and then proclamation.  And if that’s something you’re not interested in then it would be better if you didn’t come at all. So, we will conclude next week moving into Revelation 11, that final part of the insertion here, learning about the times of the Gentiles and the temple mount and then the ministry of the two witnesses.

It could be possible that you’re here today and you don’t know Christ personally.  Our exhortation to you is to believe what we just celebrated at communion, that Jesus did it all in our place and we trust in what He has done.  It’s not what we do ourselves, we believe or trust or rely upon the finished work of Jesus Christ.  If it’s something you’ve never done or if you’re listening online and it’s something you’ve never done you can do it right now in the quietness of your own mind and the quietness of your own heart as the Spirit of God places you under conviction.  Enter into that relationship with God for the very first time.  We would exhort people to do that within the sound of my voice and to do it now because as the Book of Revelation says, the time is drawing near.  If it’s something you need more explanation on I’m available after the service to talk.

Shall we pray.  Father, we’re grateful for the things in the Bible that are both bitter and sweet.  Help us to be good stewards of these things, not just in our proclamation but in our personal obedience knowing that we have a higher threshold of accountability.  We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory.  We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said…. Amen!