The Mystery of God – Rev 10:1-7

In Revelation 10, we find this scroll mentioned in Rev 5:1 again. This time, it is mentioned without the seals (they have already taken place in the vision). We also find similar language being used to describe this angel as in chapter 1.

And I saw another mighty angel out of heaven, clothed with a cloud, and a rainbow upon his head, and his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. And in his hand he had a little scroll being open. And he placed his foot right upon the sea, and his left upon the earth, and he cried out with a loud voice as a lion roars. And when he cried out, the seven thunders sounded with their voice. And when the seven thunders had spoken, I was about to write. But I heard a voice out of heaven saying, “Seal what the seven thunders have spoken, and do not write them.”

This angel is called “another mighty angel” (see 5:2). For the identity of this angel, some have suggested Jesus and others have said Gabriel. Compare 10:5-6 with Daniel 12:7 for why. The extreme difficulty is the similarity of language between Jesus in chapter 1 and this angel, but nowhere else does John call an angel Jesus. If we claim that this is Jesus, then why does he call him an angel? If this is an angel, then why the exact same description as Jesus in chapter 1, and even the rainbow is reflective of 4:3. I think that this is solved in saying that this angel represents Jesus, but with such difficulty, the question is valid to ponder whether such a conundrum could possibly be decoded.

This idea of being “clothed with a cloud” is found in Psalm 104:3 in reference to Yahweh, and again in Daniel 7:13 with the coming of the son of man on the clouds of heaven. The face like the sun stems from Rev 1:16. The feet like pillars is most likely due to the double meaning of the Hebrew word in Daniel 10:6, 12:7. It is most likely referring to the angel’s legs and not his feet.

As already stated, we see this scroll first introduced in Rev 5:1, and it comes from Ezekiel 2:9-10. This is the seven-sealed book that has now been opened. The placement of his feet in verse two might come from Daniel 12:5-7. Later in Revelation (chapter 13) there are two beasts to come out of the sea and the earth. “As a lion roars” in verse 3 is an independent rendering of Hosea 11:10. Practically the same phrase is also found in Joel 3:16, Amos 1:2, 3:8. In all of these passages the roar comes from God. The seven thunders probably come from Psalm 29:3-9. I see these words as being much like what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:4, ‘things that man is not permitted to tell’.

With verse 4 we can compare John 12:28. In this, we again find precedence to believe that the seven thunders are God’s voice. John is told to seal up the words, just like Daniel was told to seal up the vision (Dan 12:9). In this, we find Daniel 12:10 to be the promise that the righteous will understand. Isaiah was also told to bind up the testimony instead of revealing it (Isa 8:16). This is somewhat common for the prophets, because there is a certain premium placed upon the children of God. God does not reveal His mysteries to they who will abuse that revelation.

And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land, lifted up his hand toward heaven, and swore by the Living One to the ages of the ages, who created heaven and the things in it and the earth and the things in it and the sea and the things in it, “There will be no more delay! But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound the trumpet, and the mystery of God would be completed, as proclaimed his servants the prophets.”

Once again we see this angel holding up his hand toward heaven reflective of Daniel 12:5-7. Outside of these two passages, Psalm 106:26, Ezekiel 20:5, and Deuteronomy 32:40 also speak of lifting the hand to swear, and Leviticus 9:22 has Aaron blessing the people by lifting his hand toward them. This creation of heaven, earth, and the sea, and all that is in them, comes from Exodus 20:11.

“There will be delay no longer.” We see in Habakkuk 2:3, “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” Also we read in Hebrews 10:37, “For in just a very little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay.” In regards to this statement, please note that this comes as an interval between the sixth and seventh trumpet in the vision. The ‘no more delay’ is specifically referencing the return of Christ at the seventh trump (see verse 7). Thus, what we see here is an indication that immediately following the close of the second woe is the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

With verse 7, we find ourselves asking what the mystery of God is. It seems best to say that it is the prophetic witness in all the prophets: God establishing His kingdom upon the earth. This means judgment for the wicked and reward for the righteous. Paul calls the mystery of God the revelation of Christ in Colossians 2:2-3. When we examine the context, we find that the mystery is expressed as “Christ in you – the hope of glory” in Colossians 1:27. We similarly find him expressing in Ephesians the mystery now made known is that the Gentiles shall be heirs with Israel (Eph 3:1-6).

Precisely at this point we must stop and examine Paul’s phrase here. Before you can read Ephesians 3, I would assume that you have read Ephesians 1. The mystery being expressed in Ephesians 3, which Colossians 2 is also expanding, goes back to chapters 1-2 where we are “predestined according to His plan… in order that we who were first to hope in Christ” might “receive inheritance until the redemption of His possession” – Israel. What Paul is communicating in Ephesians 1 is most often terribly misunderstood.

The adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, being chosen before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight, was for a specific purpose. We weren’t merely chosen so that we could benefit from heaven. Our destiny is entirely in keeping with “the mystery of his will according to His good pleasure” (Eph 1:9). This mystery was “purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment” (Eph 1:9-10). What is that time that is being spoken of? Paul answers by continuing in verse 10, “to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.”

The mystery of God is that all things might be restored, as Peter mentions in Acts 3:21. The restoration of all things takes place at the return of Christ (see the context of Acts 3). When Jesus returns on the clouds of heaven, the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ (Rev 11:15), which is the restoration of all things. Creation moans and groans for the revealing of the sons of God, because in the revelation of the sons of God (the context of Romans 8:19 is that their revelation is their transformation into glorified bodies) “the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God” (Rom 8:21).

Continuing in Ephesians 1:11-14, we find again the statement that I had made earlier. The purpose of the Church is made plain. “In him, we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory.” What does that mean? What does that say about our mandate as they who were first to hope in Christ (known currently as the Church)? This phrase “to the praise of his glory” is repeated again in verse 14 with a new context (thus explaining what is meant by it).

“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of His glory.” What is Paul saying? This is further explained in Ephesians 2:11-22 where Paul makes statements like, “You who are Gentiles by birth… remember that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel… have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” While the text continues and masterfully explains this, the mystery is plainly put in Ephesians 3:6, where we began this venture: “The Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel.”

The mystery of God that needs to be completed in Revelation 10:7 is as follows:
Israel shall be redeemed, and therefore God shall rule over all nations through them, but Israel shall not be God’s people alone. God has purposed that Gentiles be added unto Israel, that there would be neither Jew nor Gentile in Christ, but that they would be made into one new man (Eph 2:14-15). What must take place for this to happen is that we who have first hoped in Christ shall “provoke [the Jew] to jealousy” (Rom 11:11) by “being holy and blameless in His sight” (Eph 1:4), being “one new man” in Christ (Eph 2:14-15), that hostility might be put to death (Eph 2:16) and we might be “built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (Eph 2:22). The Church and Israel shall be one, and shall inherit the Kingdom of God together.

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