Today: [Revelation 10:] What Did the Seven Thunders Utter? There are those who believe what the Seven thunders utter in this chapter was revealed in 1963. Is this true? Many have speculated for centuries over these things as our study today gives us a lens on the final chapter of God’s unfolding purposes in human history.
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[Rev 10:1-11 KJV] 1 And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow [was] upon his head, and his face [was] as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: 2 And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and [his] left [foot] on the earth, 3 And cried with a loud voice, as [when] a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. 4 And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. 5 And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, 6 And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: 7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. 8 And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go [and] take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. 9 And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take [it], and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. 10 And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. 11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
In the earlier chapters of Revelation John witnesses the Lamb of God taking a seven-sealed book from the One who sits on the Throne. Each of the seals is opened subsequently and the final seventh seal in Revelation 8. When Revelation 8 reveals the events associated with the seventh seal we see the appearance of seven angels each holding trumpets that commence sounding in their turn. The first four angels sound in chapter 8 after which there is an announcement that the final three angels to sound will be more dire than the first four. The remaining three angels are referred to as the “Woe Trumpets.”
In chapter 9 the first and second of the “Woe Trumpets” sounds off revealing events that Martin Luther of the Reformation and Sir Isaac Newton understood to be related to the rise of Islam. The sixth angel sounds release four angels which are described as bound in the river Euphrates (modern day Iraq.) These angels (or messengers) raise a 200 million strong conventional army wreaking great devastation on the earth. These four angels originating in modern-day Iraq may foretell a four-nation axis of enmity against the western world comprised of Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey. These things represented in the seven trumpets sounding with the opening of the seventh seal take place because the western world has not repented of their “murders (abortion), sorceries (clandestine skullduggery in foreign affairs), fornication (corrupt governments) and thefts. What fornications have the western nations committed? One former terrorist converted to Christianity prophesied that
Now we come to chapter ten with the sounding of the seventh angel with the seventh trumpet drawing near. John sees a mighty angel descending from heaven wrapped in a cloud with a rainbow upon his head. What is the significance of the rainbow? The rainbow according to Gen. 9:13 is God’s reminder to Himself that He will not again destroy the earth by water. In appearing thus, we understand that there are events about to be revealed of a magnitude so as to encompass all of humanity and affect the fate of the entire planet.
This angel holds a little book in his hand and proceeds to put his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the earth. Isa. 57:20 depicts the sea as the sea of lost humanity. Jesus confirms this metaphor by describing those in need of salvation as fish that His disciples will fetch from the waters with the net of the gospel message. The land, by contrast, represents those in the kingdom of God which in this passage are equally brought under the pronouncements that the angel so described in v. 1-2 is about to make.
The angel now cries (v. 3) with a sound of a lion’s roar, and his shout is followed by seven peals of thunder with articulate voices discerned in their bellows. John hears these seven thunders and proceeds to record their words. Before he can do so, a disembodied voice in the heavens commands him not to write down what he has just heard.
What did the seven thunders say that John is forbidden to write? He may have heard things commensurate with what Paul caught up in the spirit in 2 Cor. 12:4 and heard “unspeakable words not lawful for a man to utter.” It isn’t that a man cannot hear these things, but they aren’t for general proclamation. That thought is particularly alien to the man in the street who thinks there is nothing he doesn’t have a right to know or a right to hear. We are given to know that such things exist that are withheld from us with no promise of ever coming to understand or hear them except in the case of one who might find themselves in the position of a John or a Paul which is not out of the realm of possibility.
In verse 6 the mighty angel with the little book declares by a dread oath that time shall be no more. How is this possible? Time is a finite quality that Einstein associates with unfolding matter. The absence of time is the definition of eternity. The angel is prophesying ahead of time the moment when God creates new heavens and a new earth not bound by the constraints of the laws of Newton, or the mysteries inquired into by quantum physics. This is to come but the days of the voice of the seventh angel are yet to come.
In reading this, we think about the strict preterist view and wonder how a person could learn these things and conclude that all of this came to pass in the first three centuries of the church? When did a 200 million man army rise up and decimate a third of the population of the earth? When was heaven and earth brought to a place of time suspended as mentioned in this chapter? These are events that portend an apocalyptic tableau of cosmic upheaval that we find it difficult to imagine yet preterist dismiss such things with a wave of their hand concluding if you don’t see things their way you are just religious and non-spiritual. Peter prophesied that these influences would creep into the church in the last days which we will quote here in entirety:
[2Pe 3:3-14 KJV] 3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. 8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11 [Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought ye to be in [all] holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
Those who roll their eyes at the idea of the coming of Christ and unfolding apocalyptic eventualities are resoundingly rebuked by the very apostle that Jesus gave the keys of the kingdom to. We must not endure these glib skeptics who read such things and dismiss them as though these scriptures do not carry the weight of canonicity.
What is to be our posture then? We have no right or permission to adopt dogmatic insistence regarding what we read of the prophets and unfolding eschatology. We are instead to take these things to heart – look to the future as being in God’s hands and resolve above all things in the certainty of His advent to be found of Him in peace, without spot and blameless.
At this point (v. 8) the prophet is commanded by the voice in heaven to take the little book in the angel’s hand and to eat it with the warning that it would make his belly bitter but would nonetheless taste sweet to his mouth. So we see then in early chapters the Lamb takes a book from the One on the throne and now the prophet takes a book likewise. The Lamb opens the book He receives, and the prophet eats up the book that he is given. Why would it be sweet in his mouth and then bitter?
Psa. 34:8 says taste and see that the Lord is good. Whatever originates in God is a rejoicing to the believer, but it is bitter to his belly – why? When you eat something, it goes into the stomach to be processed. There is then PROCESS and OUTCOME in God. Sustained yes in sweetness and grace but of dread proportions for the inhabitants of the earth as we participate in the final unfolding and God’s plan for humanity (were we to be alive at this point in history).
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