“…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“
“and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars.
The cry of this special angel went throughout the world. This is an announcement to the entire world.
When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices.
When the angel roared, seven claps of thunder replied. These seven thunders are messages of judgment from God so terrible that God would not let John write them down.
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.”
John is faithfully taking notes as he watches this scene. As John was about to write down the messages of the thunders, a voice from heaven told him not to write these messages down. These messages remain sealed to this day, the only part of Revelation still sealed. We know that these messages are some form of judgment.
The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand to heaven
We raise our right hand when we take an oath, to tell the truth. This is a sign that this angel is about to swear a solemn oath. This oath is a guarantee that God’s program is finally coming down.
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,
The angel swears by the eternal Creator that there will be no further delay in God’s final judgment. Swearing by the Creator indicates that creation is God’s, and He will dispose of it as He wills. The angel especially calls attention to God’s authority over creation. When the seventh trumpet sounds, then God will fulfill prophecy (v.7). God is claiming the earth for Christ and that there will be no further delay.
Time has run out for Satan’s dominion over the earth. God will not delay His judgment. God will consummate His program.
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 special angel announces the end of God’s mystery by an oath. A mystery in the Bible is not something hidden, but something revealed only to the initiated. The Old Testament prophets knew this mystery. We see here a fulfillment of that mystery.
This mystery is the plan of God for the world. When the seventh angel blows his trumpet, that will end the Tribulation period, the end of the age of Israel. There is no more mystery because God will manifest Himself in indubitable terms. The purpose of God for time will reveal itself completely and conclusively. The showdown against Satan has come.
There is an end to injustice.
Some people ask why God allows them to go through injustice. Injustice runs unchecked. They ask, “Where is God in this?” “What does not God do something about this evil?”
We have an answer in the above passage. One thing is clear about God throughout the Bible – He is in no hurry (2 Peter 3:8,9). God puts up with a great wrong, yet He exercises forbearance. A hateful, godless, indifferent humanity has gone its own way. God is not willing that any should perish, but there will be a day when His patience ceases. That day will be the end of His program as we know it.
Judgment is God’s “strange work” (Isaiah 28:21). God does not want to judge, but His character demands that He does. God is always true to Himself. He is always on the level. Therefore, God will come to bat. When it is His turn at the plate, He will hit a home run every time. We live in “humanity’s day,” but then will come to God’s Day. Humanity has struck out with His plans. Now it is God’s turn.
No one will say, “You were not fair. You did not give me a chance.” Everyone will know that God was more than fair. They will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they get what they deserve. God has a complete record of everything we did and thought (Hebrews 4:13).
Many generations have expected God to deal justly in their day. At this point in the Tribulation, God will finally bring the purpose of creation to fruition. Up to this point, God has ruled over the earth, but He has not reigned on earth.
God’s will is not being done on earth as it is in heaven right now. That will happen in the Millennium. Jesus will reign as King Jesus, King of the World. If people do not submit to Him there, then He will rule them with a rod of iron. No one will have the civil liberty to go against the King. Civil liberty is not a central biblical value. However, an absolutely perfect autocratic King is biblical.
In the church age, it is wrong to make laws forcing people to go to church. People have the right to go to hell if they choose so. Religious tyranny is the worst kind of tyranny. The day will come, however, whereby everyone will fall in line with God’s program.
Hi Dr. Grant, thanks for this commentary. I found it very helpful indeed. I’d like to ask two questions, if you don’t mind:
1. In your explanation of Rev. 10:7, you used a Bible translation that has the phrase “When he [the seventh angel] shall begin to sound”. When we use such a translation, the explanation you gave is very clear to me. But most other Bibles contain the phrase “When he is ABOUT to sound” instead of “when he shall BEGIN to sound”. If we use a translation that contains “When he is ABOUT to sound”, it completely changes the meaning of this verse because it would imply that the mystery of God (i.e., the return of Christ and the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth) will be completed when the 7th angel is ABOUT to sound. In other words, the mystery of God will be finished BEFORE the 7th Trumpet sounds. What do you make of this? Many authors seem to think that the latter translation (with ‘when he is about to sound’) is more accurate and better reflects the original Greek.
2. Does the 7th Trumpet sound at the end of the Great Tribulation or before the end of the Great Tribulation?
What do you make of the teaching that says the seventh Trumpet includes and introduces the seven bowls of wrath? Is there any scriptural evidence for this teaching? If the 7th trumpet sounds at the very end of the Great Tribulation, it cannot include/introduce the 7 bowls of wrath as there will then be no time for the bowl judgments to play out before Jesus returns to earth. What do you think?
The completion of the mystery will be the sounding of the seventh trumpet (Re 11:14-19). The last half of the Tribulation, the Great Tribulation, begins when the angels begin to pour out the bowls filled with the wrath of God (Re 15:1).
The word “when” (ὅταν)expresses an indefinite point of time, it may be simultaneous to or overlap with another point in time giving the idea whenever. The word μέλλω (about, begin) means to occur at a point of time in the future which is subsequent to another event and closely related to it—‘to be about to.’ The latter word is in the present tense (ongoing), active voice (subject produces the action), and in the subjunctive mood (potential). The words “begin” and “about” carry close meaning. The subjunctive mood indicates that what is going to happen is a potential event (i.e. during the seven bowl judgments).
The idea is that the seventh trumpet will bring about the accomplishment of the “mystery” previously announced by prophets. The idea is that many OT passages will be fulfilled by this event. The seventh trumpet announces the seven bowl judgments of God’s wrath (Rev 16).
The idea is that there will no longer be any delay to the question of Revelation 6:10, “How long?” The seventh trumpet is not a single event but covers the seven bowl judgments. Thus, God’s final judgments are at hand – “about to sound.”