Rev. Mark H. Creech
An interlude is an intervening or a period of interruption, providing space or time before something continues. Chapter 6 of the Book of Revelation described the first six seal judgments, but not the seventh. There was an interlude (a parenthesis) in chapter 7 for the 144,000 Jewish evangelists to be marked for their unique ministry during The Tribulation period.
The interlude ends in chapter 8 with the opening of the seventh seal, which provides information on the first four trumpets, but not the remaining three. Chapter 9 describes trumpets five and six, but not what the seventh trumpet has in store.
The description of the seventh trumpet must wait because, once again, there is a pause, another interlude in chapter 10. Something stupendous precedes the seventh trumpet blast.
These interludes are meant to encourage God’s people during unparalleled suffering. They are reminders that no matter how much evil advances, God remains in complete control, and the “meek,” God’s children who have forgone worldly recognition and power, shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).
Revelation chapter 10: 1-7 read:
“Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, surrounded by a cloud, with a rainbow over his head. His face shone like the sun, and his feet were like pillars of fire. And in his hand was a small scroll that had been opened. He stood with his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land. And he gave a great shout like the roar of a lion. And when he shouted, the seven thunders answered. When the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write. But I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Keep secret what the seven thunders said, and do not write it down.’ Then the angel I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand toward heaven. He swore an oath in the name of the one who lives forever and ever, who created the heavens and everything in them, the earth and everything in it, and the sea and everything in it. He said, ‘There will be no more delay. When the seventh angel blows his trumpet, God’s mysterious plan will be fulfilled. It will happen just as he announced it to his servants, the prophets.’”
Consider for a moment the majesty of this cosmic entity whom the apostle John said he saw come down from heaven.
He is clothed with a cloud. Mount Sinai was arrayed in a cloud when God came down from heaven to lead the Israelites (Exodus 24: 15-16). God directed them in a pillar of cloud by day (Exodus 13:21). This cloud appeared above the mercy seat of the Ark in the Tabernacle and the Temple (Exodus 4:34; Leviticus 16:2). When Jesus ascended back to heaven after the resurrection, he was clad in a cloud. The angels who stood with the disciples told them Christ would return in the clouds (Acts 1:9-11). These clouds burned with the Shekinah of God – a glorious supernatural light that shone around religious objects or something natural like clouds. The Shekinah manifests God’s presence – an assurance of his protection and victorious power for those who rely on him.
A rainbow encircles the head of this angel. The rainbow is a symbol of God’s faithfulness in keeping his promises. The rainbow today has been grossly perverted to represent a message of sexual immorality God summarily rejects. The rainbow was given to remind us of God’s hatred and judgment for sin. God wiped the earth clean of the antediluvians in a universal deluge. Afterward, Noah built an altar and slew a sacrifice. Based on that blood sacrifice (a type of Calvary), God promised never again to destroy the world with a flood. God also promised there would always be seedtime and harvest, the seasons of the year, and day and night (Genesis 8:21-22; Genesis 9:12-16). The rainbow is God’s vow to preserve the earth for those who trust him based on Christ’s atoning blood on the Cross.
The angel’s face, said John, shined like the sun. Remember when Moses came down from Mount Sinai and how his face was radiant with the glory of God? During his transfiguration, Jesus’ face did “shine like the sun” (Matthew 17:2). When Stephen was arrested and later martyred, the Scripture says, “his face became as bright as an angel’s” (Acts 6:15). As a general rule, faces reflect the spirit. If someone spends time communing closely with God, if someone has genuinely drawn near him – their countenance will likely emanate with an inexplicable godly radiance. Figuratively speaking, many devout Christians have this glow about them.
This prodigious angel also had feet that “were like pillars of fire.” Feet attest to walking. Pillars speak of support. Fire in the Bible speaks of judgment. God shall support his people by stamping out the wicked with his fiery wrath.
The angel holds a small scroll in his hand. This small scroll is likely the Word of God which contains the disclosure of God’s plans through the prophets, Christ, and the apostles.
The angel plants his right foot on the sea and his left foot on dry land.
One of the most iconic moments in American history was when General Douglas MacArthur waded ashore on Leyte Island and fulfilled his promise to return and liberate the Philippines. It was a joyous and crowning moment for the American forces to redeem what they had lost to the Japanese after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. After coming on shore, MacArthur delivered a speech saying:
“People of the Philippines: I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil—soil consecrated in the blood of our two peoples. We have come dedicated and committed to the task of destroying every vestige of enemy control over your daily lives, and of restoring upon a foundation of indestructible strength, the liberties of your people.”
The angel of Revelation 10 performs a similar gesture, claiming the entire earth in the name of his King. His voice roars, like a lion, with the fearsome confidence of an insuperable conqueror. And when he cries out, the seven thunders answer.
Seven voices thundering are an allusion to God’s voice. When God, the Father, spoke to his Son, Jesus, John recorded in his Gospel that the people who stood nearby heard it and said it thundered (John 12: 28-29).
John reportedly heard what the seven thunders answered and started to write it down, but then he was instructed not to reveal it.
It is never in our best interest to speculate about what information God denies us. The late radio Bible teacher Oliver B. Greene wisely stated in his commentary, The Revelation:
“Already set before us are blood, tears, famine, heartache, and heartbreak; killing, misery, hail, fire, burning mountains, demon monstrosities, men begging to die and unable to do so. Surely what John was forbidden to write must have been beyond human imagination and understanding.”
We don’t have to know everything to have faith. God has revealed enough about himself to show us that he’s more than worthy of our fidelity.
So, who is this angel with such authority and grandeur? Some say it has to be Christ. The King James Version Bible Commentary argues this position, saying:
“He [Christ] takes the same position as he occupied in Old Testament times, another proof that the Tribulation Period is a part of the Jewish age and will remain unfinished at the first coming of Christ.”
However, David Hocking, in The Coming World Leader, rightly contends:
“In the book of Revelation, angels are angels, not symbols of events, things, places, or persons.”
Prophecy expert John Walvoord, in Every Prophecy of the Bible, maintains the same position but from another angle, saying:
“There is no Scripture that indicates that Christ would return to earth during The Great Tribulation prior to his Second Coming.”
The evidence indicates this angel is not Jesus but more likely a mighty archangel – an angel of the highest rank – closest to God – his authorized messenger who speaks exactly what the Lord declares.
This angel raises his hand to heaven and swears by God there will be no more delay. “God’s mysterious plan” will be finished at the seventh trumpet.
The “mystery of God,” sometimes referred to as “the mystery of iniquity” (2 Thessalonians 2:7), is a reference to the age-old question: Why does God allow evil to go on with seeming impunity?
Many skeptics, even honest inquirers, ask, If God is good and all-powerful, why doesn’t he stop evil and injustice in the world? He must not be good if he is omnipotent and doesn’t stop it. Which is it? Is God good but not all-powerful? Or, is God all-powerful but unwilling to immediately end what is revolting because he is not good?
The question, admittedly, is a difficult one. In answering the question, we might point to the way sin entered the world by man’s free choice, consequently filling the world with woes and lamentations for every person in every generation. Still, some are troubled that God, who knows everything, would even allow evil in the first place.
Again, the mystery of iniquity is not sufficiently answerable. God has told us how sin and sorrow came about, but not why he allowed it.
Nevertheless, this much we can know with certainty. God has not stood insensitively by and watched our pain from afar. He became one of us in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ. He went through the entire human experience, from the inconsequential to the most crucial. He was tempted in all points as we are, yet was without sin. He was born in poverty and finished life with no earthly possessions – even his tomb was borrowed. Although he was innocent of any wrongdoing, for our sake, he was unjustly degraded, dishonored, disgraced, and condemned to a torturous death – the death of the Cross. He stood in our place, was punished for our sins to redeem us – to liberate us from sin’s power and penalty, to make us more than conquerors in this life, and to grant us the free gift of eternal life.
Because of his sympathetic participation in our experience, evil is defeated and will ultimately be destroyed. Promised is a new world order without tears or pain because Christ has made everything new (Revelation 21:5).
This herald angel says God’s mysterious plan in delaying evil’s end will most definitely be finished. God is not indifferent to the sting of ruin and death. There is a mystery in his unfathomable purposes, but victory belongs to those who still believe even when they don’t fully understand.© Rev. Mark H. Creech
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