A Mighty Angel and The Stronger Savior
TT- John is recommissioned to preach the message of God, which is sweet and bitter at the same time.
We looked with John and saw many terrifying events that will encompass much of planet earth in the first four trumpet judgments. We saw last week the events surrounding the judging of lost humanity, how the demonic armies were released from the bottomless pit and tortured and then killed one third of all the people who still worshiped idols. We also saw how the sealed of God were kept through these horrific times of judgment through the power of God. Trumpet 5 and 6 were the first two woes proclaimed by the eagle flying across the sky and the final trumpet will be the third and final woe declared against rebellious, lost humanity.
We have one last trumpet to sound and when it does Christ will return. Before the last trumpet sounds there is a short interlude, a climactic pause.
In our Bibles this pause takes in Chapters 10-11.
This interlude coincides with the interlude found in Chapter 7 between the opening of the 6th and 7th seals. Here, john saw a vision of heaven of the Great Multitude that no one could number. Today, between the 6th and 7th trumpets we have the same interlude as between the 6th and 7th seal judgments just from another vantage point.
I want to also take a short interlude and remind everyone what the point of Revelation is and this will greatly help us in our sorting out the events.
Revelation 1:1–3 (ESV)
1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
So, we see that these are the events shown to John in a vision given by Christ to His angel messenger, given to John and then given to the church…to us, to show what must soon take place. We remember that some events came to pass shortly…in John’s day. The beginning seals for example we opened and hey did begin in John’s day and are continuing to our day and on till our Lord returns. So, the Book of Revelation has in a real since already begun.
Remember also that there are three cycles of judgment in the Book. The first cycle of seven we learned are the seven seals that Jesus Christ loosened one at a time. We also learned that these seals were begun in John’s day and continue until Christ returns. The second wave of judgment is the seven trumpets which seven select angels sound. These trumpets cover some of the same time frame as the seals but also are moving forward to the Day of the Lord. This second wave is more intense and more climactic.
We find ourselves today at what is called the great interlude between the 6th and 7th trumpet. Time is running out quickly because when the seventh trumpet sounds, this announces our Lord’s return. This for the lost means certain judgment and doom but for the people of God who are sealed this is but the beginning. This is the Great Hope the church is waiting for.
Chapters 10-11 are really setting up or preparing for the 7th trumpet. At the blast of the 7th trumpet…
Revelation 11:15 (ESV)
15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
So the last trumpet is the blast that announces the Kingdom of God is now in its fullness there are no rivals and our Lord is reigning forever and ever.
Human Need Met By The Text
One question we may at times ask ourselves is will God keep us? Especially when believers are going through times of intense struggling, whether it is from persecution or other types such as ongoing health problems or broken relationships or grief. The common thought pattern is usually there, “will God keep me?” or “Am I really one of His?”
This interlude is a way in which God answers that question. While the things around us seem to be spinning out of control we have the promises of God. I want you to notice a few important points in this half of the interlude…notice what adjectives are used to describe the angel and his voice. Then notice how in control God is as these events work exactly as He has determined they would. So, in a very real since these events are happening as God has determined and in the end, His promises will prove to be true. God can and will keep those who have trusted Christ to save them. Those sealed by the Holy Spirit will always remain sealed and always belong to God as His children.
10 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. 2 He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, 3 and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. 4 And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.” 5 And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven 6 and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, 7 but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.
The first thing we notice is John’s description of a mighty angel coming down from heaven. This is probably the same angel who declared…
Revelation 5:2 (ESV)
2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”
There are those who think this angel is actually our Lord Himself but the majority of reformed scholars see the angel as the mighty angel in Chapter 5.
Look with me at what the angel does…He descends from heaven to earth and places one foot on the earth and the other in the sea, showing that all creation and proclaims with a loud voice…that the great mystery that was told to the prophets of old is about to be revealed. He does this, as John writes with a loud authoritative voice like that of a lion. Just the sound of this loud proclamation is enough to paralyze God’s enemies as a lion’s roar paralyzes his prey. The declaration is that the earth now belongs to Jesus Christ and there will not be any rivals to His kingly reign.
It seems that our Lord has given this vision to John and then to the Church for a number of reasons. It seems one reason may be to remind us by way of contrast that God is still in control. Remember last week we looked at Satan himself literally fall from heaven. Now, he didn’t just slip and fall, he was thrown out of heaven, he was thrown out the door like an old saloon scene in your favorite western. He was also commanded to open the gate that sealed shut the bottomless pit and he did as he was commanded. Now the point here is simply this: the mighty angel does not fall from heaven but descends, he is mighty, he is glorious, he has many of the physical attributes of Jesus, he is wrapped in a cloud and has a rainbow around his head, he is large enough to place one foot in the sea and the other on the land, and his voice reverberates over all the earth as he, as it were, drives the boundary stake into the ground and says…this world now is officially Christ’s.
I pray this vision is encouraging to you and reminds you that nothing happens apart from God’s decree, He is in charge and…He will care for those who belong to Him.
We’re also told that this mighty angel has with him a little scroll. This is the same scroll that our Lord was worthy to open because of His obedience even unto death. This is the Daniel scroll that has been sealed since his day, which contains God’s decree for the ages, including His plan to provide a Savior for lost humanity and retake planet earth for all eternity.
This also follows the sequence of events given to us at the beginning of our study…
God gave it to Jesus who in turn gave it to His angel to give to John.
The mighty angel descends from the throne of God to give to John the scroll that Jesus has opened.
Before he gives the scroll to John, the angel has a solemn oath to pronounce… swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, 7 but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.
Amidst his pronouncement, the 7 thunders begin to sound forth… Something strange happens, God commands John not to write what the thunders say. John serving as a prophet of God is not permitted to disclose everything he sees and hears. So it is that God’s messengers only relay the message God desires them to tell. Much like Daniel and much like Paul…
2 Corinthians 12:4 (ESV)
4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.
8 Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” 9 So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, “Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” 10 And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. 11 And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”
Reading this should remind us of the Prophet Ezekiel and a very similar command to take scroll and eat it. Here, what is happening is that like Ezekiel, John must internalize the Word of God before he can preach it to others.
In Ezekiel’s case, he would preach to Israel the Words God wanted him to preach and yet, as God tells him, they will not listen.
Ezekiel 3:1-3 &7 (ESV)
3 And he said to me, “Son of man, eat whatever you find here. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” 2 So I opened my mouth, and he gave me this scroll to eat. 3 And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey….7 But the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me: because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart.
The sweetness is the Word of God as a believer hears it and loves it. God’s Word is sweet to us. It meets our needs, shows us which way to go, it shows us most importantly who God is and it is sweet. It was sweet to Ezekiel and John as they internalized it and it became part of them.
God’s Word is also bitter. It is bitter in the sense that for Ezekiel, John and fro us, the Word often is met with resistance. God’s Word brings us heartache over loved ones who resist and remain unrepentant. It is bitter because while offering sweet forgiveness it also points to bitter judgment.
God’s Word is bitter and sweet in another way as well. Sometimes, for those who are sealed with the Holy Spirit, the Word brings bitter persecution. There are sweet promises contained in the Word for us and yet often it brings suffering and trials.
John 16:33 (ESV)
33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
What contemporary application can we glean from this account of Revelation 10?
By these events and the awesomeness of the angelic messenger we can only imagine the power God has within His control. If the angel plants his feet on earth and declares that it belongs to Jesus Christ, then how awesome is our Lord who sends this messenger to do His bidding?
The sealing up of the thunders shows us that there are things, which we are not to know. God has things too wonderful for us…
Deuteronomy 29:29 (ESV)
29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
The Secret Things…belong only to God
The Revealed Things…belong to us
We must be bold possessors of God’s revealed Word. It belongs to us. It is ours to claim and trust in and proclaim. The hundreds of promises God gives are ours and ours alone. We must always be about claiming the promises of God and living in light of them. God’s revealed Word belongs to His people.
This passage promises that there will no longer be a delay in Christ’s fulfilling all His promises. In other words, when the time has come that’s been determined by God for our Lord to return there will be no delay.
Acts 3:19–21 (ESV)
19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.
Can God keep us?
2 Peter 2:4–9 (ESV)
4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,
If God can do all these things, He can keep those who are His. So, whether we are in everyday struggles or something like the Great Tribulation, God can and will keep all who have loved Him through Jesus Christ. 
 Resources used: Triumph of the Lamb by Dennis Johnson and Application Commentary on Revelation by Craig S. Keener