And now, a word from our sponsor! You have to be over sixty years old to recognize that announcement stolen from 1950s television. And no, this is not a funding request. We have three sponsors already: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. And we could not dream of being richer than that in perfect unity with all of them! This time-out from the judgments in John’s vision comes in this blog and the next one, before the seventh trumpet is blown.
“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. 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, and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. 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’” (Rev 10:1-4).
Don’t thunders come first in a thunderstorm, followed by a rainbow when the storm is over? In normal days, yes. But when an angel descends from heaven, we would assume that the rainbow represents peace after a storm. The rainbow is God’s promise not to annihilate the entire population of the earth as he did in the time of Noah. But in this case, the storm is building and it will be a whopper:
“And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven 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 delay, 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” (Rev 10:5-7).
“Coming soon at a theater near you!” We all recognize this advertising for a new blockbuster movie. This, in effect, is the message of the rainbow-angel who comes down from heaven; when the seventh trumpet is to be sounded, confirming:
- There will be no delay;
- The mystery of God will be fulfilled;
- Just as God announced to his prophets long ago.
Here is how this will unfold:
“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.’ 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.’ 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. And I was told, ‘You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings’” (Rev 10:8-11).
John is once again given the order to prophesy far and wide in advance of the coming seventh – and last – trumpet. This is a warning from God to all people and nations that they are being given one more chance to repent before even more threatening judgment confronts them at the sound of the seventh trumpet.
Take a deep breath and hurry back for Part 5. The time of the seventh trumpet approaches.