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THE SIXTH TRUMPET, PART 2

 

 

I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices. Now when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them.” The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand to heaven and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer, but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets. Revelation 10:1–7.

 

The tenth chapter of Revelation is a continuation of the sixth trumpet. John starts his narrative announcing that he saw still another angel. Only the New King James Version has John saying he saw still another angel; all others have him saying he saw another angel. While this is of little consequence, the New King James Version is more consistent with the underlying Greek as the verb tense is aorist, active, indicative which sets the context as he had been seeing angels and now continues seeing angels in the presence of this mighty angel. The word saw in English is past tense indicating only a past action. This could be construed to be a break in the vision that diverted John’s attention to something other than the vision of the sixth trumpet. However, the significance of the Greek verb tense is that it relates an ongoing action, which is the continuation of the sixth trumpet.

After seeing the rather discouraging conclusion of the army of horsemen, John encounters this mighty angel and hears a message from seven thunders. The purpose here is to give John and his readers encouragement that there still is a moving of God that will prepare His church for the second coming of Christ.

 

The Mighty Angel

 

This mighty angel has six characteristics that suggest His identity.

First, he is a mighty angel. The only person identified with the word mighty in the NT is Jesus. Matthew 11:20–23 speaks of His mighty works and in Matthew 13:54 people wonder where Jesus received His wisdom to perform His mighty works. On the Day of Pentecost as the Holy Spirit came on the church, He came from heaven with a sound as a mighty wind. We know that wherever the Holy Spirit is, Jesus is also there. So, this characteristic of might suggests this angel is Jesus.

He is seen coming down from heaven. So far in the Revelation we have seen angels and stars falling from heaven. This angel comes down from heaven to the earth on purpose. He is not affected by the earth as were the fallen angels, instead He brings a message from heaven.

The cloud with which He is clothed is emblematic of the presence of God as we have already learned in the Revelation.

We saw the rainbow in the appearance of Christ on the throne in chapter 4.

His face like the sun. He is the light of God, the Word of God.

His feet like pillars of fire associate the angel with the judgments of God.

In fact, the picture of this angel evokes the image of Jesus seen in the very first chapter of Revelation. Ezekiel 1:26–28 will also help us to further identify this angel based on these attributes.

 

And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.

 

Matthew Henry understood this angel to be Christ.

 

The person who was principally concerned in communicating this discovery to John—an angel from heaven, another mighty angel, who is so set forth as would induce one to think it could be no other than our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! 1. He was clothed with a cloud: he veils his glory, which is too great for mortality to behold; and he throws a veil upon his dispensations. Clouds and darkness are round about him. 2. A rainbow was upon his head; he is always mindful of his covenant, and, when his conduct is most mysterious, yet it is perfectly just and faithful. 3. His face was as the sun, all bright, and full of lustre and majesty, ch. 1:16. 4. His feet were as pillars of fire; all his ways, both of grace and providence, are pure and steady.

 

Without a doubt, this angel coming down from heaven is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. We see that after the failure of the restored church under the sixth seal and sixth trumpet, Christ must speak to encourage those that have been sorely discouraged and give them hope that His church is real, it exists in the world, and that He is still working to prepare it for His second coming.

 

The Little Book

 

Jesus appears with a little book open and in His right hand. We encountered this book earlier in the Revelation 5:1. The New King James Version calls this book a scroll in chapter 5 and then calls it a book in chapter 10. It is the same word in Greek, however in chapter 10 it is in the diminutive form—little scroll, little book. In chapter 5 we see the scroll is in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne and it was sealed with seven seals. From there it is given to the Lamb and opened to reveal the contents of the scroll.

We have journeyed with the Lamb as He opened the seven seals and to this point in the sounding of the seven trumpets. That is why the little book is open in his hand. We might say that it is opened right here to chapter 10.

With the book in his hand, Jesus sets his feet on both the sea and the land showing that He still is putting the judgment of God’s word on all humanity, the religious and the irreligious that are symbolize by the sea and land. Standing over all humanity He declares the judgment of God in a loud voice like a lion. His message is powerful and it is directed to His church at the end of the sixth trumpet with its melody following us to the seventh trumpet. John records a similar display of this judgment in John 12:44–48,

 

Then Jesus cried out and said, He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.

 

Jesus declares that He comes to the world revealing the God who is there. He likens Himself to light; light dispels darkness. Mankind lives in the darkness of sin and it is His purpose to take as many as He can out of the darkness of sin to the light of a right relationship with God. At the last day people that reject Him in this life will face His words and the truth of God they could have obeyed.

The Book of Revelation may be a mystery, but it has meaning and Christ intends for people to understand its message. The Revelation is the word of God and people will face this word of God at the last day. The Revelation reveals the mystery of Christ’s working in the world through the gospel and His church. It is also a message of human responsibility.

Jesus built His church and then entrusted it to the care of His disciples and those that would come after them. As divinely instituted and governed as the church really is, its outward representation is subject to the frailty of human nature and moral choice. Up to this point in the Revelation we have seen repeatedly how mankind can and does depart from the clearly revealed word of God to take the governance of the church out of the hands of Jesus. Those that have done this throughout history will face their actions at the last day.

As accountable as they are, we in the present are more accountable because we have the historical record to look upon. The Revelation was directed to people throughout the history of the church, but we might say that it is specifically directed to us in the last days. We are more accountable to God than those before us because we have seen the consequences of their departing from the gospel and making the church merely a human institution. The lesson up to this point in the revelation is: Don’t mess with the church and the gospel.

 

The Seven Thunders

 

The appearance of the mighty angel is a great exclamation point in the Book of Revelation. As Jesus makes His point seven thunders uttered their voices. In John 12 we find Jesus in Jerusalem for the Passover. He told the people: It was now time for Him to be glorified; He also said that those that follow Him will be honored by God. At the end of His statement in verses 28–29 He said, “Father, glorify Your name. Then a voice came from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it and will glorify it again. Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, An angel has spoken to Him.” When Jesus speaks God speaks.

When the seven thunders spoke John heard what they said and began to write it down. Seven thunders represent God speaking in all seven seals and trumpets so that the complete understanding was made known to John. We now understand the message of the letters to the seven churches. We now understand the message of the seven seals and remember that the seventh seal leads us into the messages of the seven trumpets. We now understand the first six trumpets but the message of the seventh trumpet is yet to sound. Apparently, John heard that message but was told not to write it down at this time.

In verses 5–7 Jesus reveals that the ending of the sixth trumpet is at hand and that soon after its notes have faded into silence the seventh trumpet will sound. He gives us a preview of the seventh trumpet. “But in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.”

The next section of the sixth trumpet shows us what is lacking at the end of the sixth seal and what is necessary for the mystery of God to be finished under the seventh trumpet.