THE CALM BEFORE THE FINAL STORM Revelation 10:1-11
Chapter 10 is another one of the parenthetical passage in Revelation. If you will remember, we encountered one of these between the six and the seventh seals. Now, we encounter one between the sixth and the seventh trumpets. There are several reasons why the Lord gives us these pauses in the action. One reason is to give the reader a break. We have been studying terrible scenes of tragedy and death. He gives us these pauses to allow us to regroup and gather our emotions. These pauses allow the Lord to give us words of encouragement and comfort.
Another reason He does this is to show everyone Who is truly in control As you read about the horrors of the Tribulation Period, you might conclude that sin and Satan are in control. But, God steps in to remind us that He is still the Sovereign God of the universe! God wants us to know that regardless of how dark the hour becomes and in spite of what the devil and his crowd might do, God is still on His throne and He is still in control of all things!
These pauses also serve to focus our attention on the blessed Lamb of God. In the midst of His wrath, we desperately need to be reminded of His great power.
You see, there is one fundamental problem with the world today; the world leave Jesus out of its calculations and plans. In ancient times, astronomers like Aristotle and Ptolemy believed that the earth was the center of the universe. It wasn’t until Nicholas Copernicus and Johannes Kepler discovered that the sun was the center of the solar system and all other things revolved around it, that everything fell into place and began to make sense.
This world has cut Jesus, the Son, out of the picture and they have replaced Him with the United Nations and other faulty man made institutions. The result has been total chaos. When Jesus is restored as the focal point of mankind’s attention, then all things will make sense and fall into place. This passage introduces the middle of the tribulation period. It also serves to place Jesus back on center stage. Let’s notice what is taking place upon the earth as we see The Calm Before The Final Storm.
I. THE VISION JOHN SAW v. 1-3a
In this passage, John sees a “mighty angel” descending from Heaven. We are not given the identity of this angel. Some people believe it could be Gabriel the archangel. Others vote for Michael. We simply do not know. Some say a type of Christ.
As you may remember, Jesus showed up in the Old Testament all the time. These pre-Bethlehem appearances are called “Theophanies or Christophanies”. Jesus appeared to Abraham at his tent door. Jesus appeared the Samson’s mother and father. Jesus appeared to Joshua outside Jericho. Jesus met with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the furnace. Jesus helped Daniel in the Lion’s den. If He could show up then, there is no reason to believe that He could not do the same thing in these verses.
A. v. 1a We Are Told Of His Dwelling Place – This angel comes down from the very place Jesus Christ dwells. John 3:13, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” Jesus Christ is in Heaven today, seated at the Father’s Right hand, making intercession for you and me, Heb. 1:3; 10:12.
B. v. 1b – 2a We Are Told Of His Description – Several key descriptive phrases are used to illustrate this angel’s appearance.
1. He Is Clothed With A Cloud – The cloud is garment of deity, Psa. 104:3, “Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind”!
In the Old Testament, during the wilderness wanderings, the Lord Himself led His people with a glory cloud through the trackless desert, Ex. 16. He was with them to guide them and guard them then. Here in the darkest days the earth will ever see, He is still with His people to protect them and lead them.
Dark clouds covered Sinai when Moses received the Law, Ex. 19. God clothed Himself in a glory cloud when He met Moses on the mountain, Ex. 24, 34.
When Jesus ascended back to Heaven, a cloud received Him, Acts 1:9. When He returns, He will do so on the clouds, 1 Thes. 4:16-17; Rev. 1:7. He is clothed with a cloud!
2. He Has A Rainbow Upon His Head – The rainbow is a symbol of the mercy and faithfulness of God. It first appeared in Gen. 9 after the flood to guarantee the Lord’s promise that He would never destroy the earth with water again. It is a symbol of His faithfulness.
It also appears in Rev. 4, where the throne of God is surrounded with an emerald rainbow. Here, it is a symbol of His mercy.
So, the Lord comes as the faithful One and as the merciful One. What a blessing it is to know that even in the midst of wrath, the Lord remembers mercy, Hab. 3:2.
3. His Face Shines Like The Sun – This a description of His glory! When Jesus walked the dusty roads of this world, He appeared to be an ordinary man. So ordinary that He did not stand out as anyone special by His appearance alone, Isa. 53:2-3. He concealed His heavenly fame within His earthly frame, Phil. 2:5-8.
However, there was one occasion when His glory came out, Matt. 17:1-8. One that the glory that was on the inside became visible on the outside and Matthew tells us that Jesus outshone the sun! When Saul of Tarsus met Him on the road to Damascus, Jesus was brighter than the noonday sun, Acts 9. By the way, men love darkness, but when the Light shines on their sins, they are brought to their knees before the glorious Lamb of God.
4. His Feet Are Like Pillars Of Fire – This is a picture of His judgment. When Jesus comes, He is not coming as the Savior. He is coming back as the Sovereign Lord of the universe. He is coming to execute judgment on all those who have rejected Him!
The word “pillars” also beings to mind images of firmness, stability and strength. We are looking at a God Who is rock steady and able to carry through with His mission. He is going to judge this world, the sinners in the world and Satan himself, and no being will be able to prevent Him from doing what He intends to do!
C. v. 2b-3a We Are Told Of His Dominion – Here is a wonderful picture of our Lord. He is standing with one foot on the land, one foot on the sea and He has a little book in His hand. This is a picture of His dominion over the entire world.
In ancient time, when a person was going to take dominion over a place or a person, he put his foot on it. When God gave Canaan to Israel, He said, “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses”, Joshua 1:3. When one king would conquer another king, he would place his foot on the defeated king’s neck as a symbol of total domination.
While it may not be clear if this is Christ it is clear that he is acting on His authority.
I. The Vision John Saw
II. THE VOICES JOHN HEARD v. 3b-7
A. v. 3b-4 There Were Voices Of Mystery – John hears seven thunders speaking. Apparently they spoke a language John could understand and h got ready to write down what they were saying. But, the Lord stopped him and told John to seal up those things which he heard the thunders say.
What did they say? I do not know! Neither does any one else! Why write about it if we are not told what they say? God has some things that He wants to keep concealed for the time being. Paul writes of a time when he was caught up into the third Heaven. He was taken into very presence of God and He was not allowed to write about it, 2 Cor. 12:1-4.
The reason God puts this here is very simple I think. He wants to teach us a very valuable lesson. He wants us to know that there are just some things in life that are going to remain a mystery! Look at Deut. 29:29. That verse says, “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
There are thousands of questions in life for which you and do not have answers. Why do good people suffer? Why do babies get sick and die? Why is there so much evil in our world? Why is living holy so hard? We will never have the answers to these and ten thousand other questions this side of Heaven. The best thing we can do is to leave the mysteries with the Lord and trust Him to do right, Ill. Gen. 18:25; Rom. 8:28; 2 Cor 4:17.
Right no, we are looking at the carpet of life from the bottom and it looks like a tangled mess of threads. One day, we will be allowed to look at the carpet from the top. It will make sense then! Paul says, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known,”1 Cor. 13:12.
B. v. 5-7 There Were Voices Of Manifestation – While the voices of the thunders remain a mystery, the next voice John hears brings a message that is crystal clear. The Person John saw lifts His holy hands and makes a tremendous promise. He tells John that the days of waiting are finished. God is preparing to consummate His work and complete His Word. God is preparing to bring His work of judgment and redemption to an end.
In case you have forgotten, God does not operate like we do. His timetable is vastly different from ours. We think we are in a period of delay. We think things are moving so slowly. We think God will never fulfill all the promises He has made. Well, we are wrong! God wears a different kind of timepiece than we do, 2 Pet. 3:8 “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”.
You see, it appears that sin and Satan are willing the battle. The truth is far different.
I heard about these boys one time who were out playing baseball. A fellow was riding by and stopped and to watch the fellows play for a little bit.
He looked over there and he said to one of the little fellows, he said, “Son, how’s your team doing?”
And he said, “Well, we’re not doing so good.” He said, “Well what’s the score, son?”
He said, “They’re beating us 13 to nothing.” He said, “Boy, that is bad, son, that’s just real bad.”
He said, “Aw, yes sir, but it’s not too bad, we ain’t got in to bat yet.”
The devil is up to bat right now, but one of these days God’s half of the inning is going to come up and there’ll be no more delay. Look at Heb. 10:37, “For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.”
I like that! According to God’s calendar, Jesus has only been gone two days. Soon, God is going to turn the page, tell Gabriel to blow his trumpet and Jesus will return for His church. Then, God will judge the earth, sin and the devil and usher in eternity. It won’t be long now!
I. The Vision John Saw
II. The Voices John Heard
III. THE VOLUME JOHN TOOK v. 8-11
John is told to take the little book out of the hand of the Angel. He is told to eat it, but he is warned that the book will be sweet in his mouth and bitter in his stomach. John does as he is told and finds that the words of the Angel are true. The book was sweet as honey to his taste; but it was bitter in his belly. Then John is told that he is to take the message he has taken is and share it with others who need to hear.
This is a strange little section of Scripture. It does, however, teach a couple of lessons about the Word of God that we need to hear today.
A. The Word Of God Is To Be Consumed – The Bible is spiritual food. Jesus said, “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,” Matthew 4:4. Jeremiah said, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts,” Jer. 15:16. Job said, “I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food,” Job 23:12. Peter said, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby,” 1 Pet. 1:22.
There is something special about this Book! It is food for the hungry soul. It is a balm for the hurting soul. It is meat for the growing soul. If we are be all that God wants us to be, and then we are to get into the book and feed. We are to linger there and graze there. We are to drink deeply of its words so that our souls can grow strong in the things of the Lord. We must get into the Bible, for ourselves, every day! Are you feeding in the green pastures of this Word as you should? Remember, you are what you eat!
When John swallowed the Book, he found that it was both a blessing and burden. It was sweet and it was bitter at the same time.
The sweetness of this Book can be found in its passages about the grace, love and mercy of our God. When we read of Jesus dying for our sins and rising from the dead it is so very sweet. When we read of Heaven; it is so sweet. When we read that He will meet our needs; never leave us; and come to take us home some day that is also so sweet! When the sinner reads that Jesus will save him if he will only come to Jesus by faith that is sweeter than words can describe. This is a book filled with sweetness!
But, it is also a Book filled with bitterness. This Book tells us about a Hell that awaits all the lost. It is this Book that the Spirit of God uses to convict the hearts of saints and sinners alike of sin. This Book tells of judgment, wrath and damnation. It is a bitter book too.
Sometimes I read my Bible and I am thrilled and blessed and helped. Other times I read it and I am brought to tears over something it has revealed in my life. It is a bittersweet Book!
Be that as it may, when we take the whole Book, the bitter and the sweet, the blessings and the burdens, we are able to say that it fits together so well. It reveals our problems, but it always points us to the right solution.
B. The Word Of God Is To Be Shared – John was told to share the message of the Book with others. The same burden has been placed on our shoulders today. We are to take this Book with both its blessings and its burdens and we are to share its message with a lost and dying world, Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15. God did not give us His Word for our benefit only; He gave us His Word to share with the world. Let us go forth with the Word of God in our hearts and one our lips and tell a lost world that “Jesus Saved; Jesus Saves”!
When we leave this chapter behind, we are going to enter a time of tragedy like we have never seen before. Thank God that He has given us this fresh glimpse of His Son. Thank God that He has reminded us that He is in control. Thank God that He has reminded us of the importance of His Word.
Victory Baptist Church 17 July 2019 victory palmetto.com