Revelation 10 • The Second Interlude


The interlude between the 6th and 7th Seals (Rev. 7) focused on the preparation and disposition of God’s people. This pause in the action in Revelation 10 is a series of activities and pronouncements directed at those left behind. This dramatically illustrates the difference between the Seals as judgments experienced by everyone, and the Trumpets as the wrath of God from which believers are exempt. This is one of 8 such heavenly previews which are each followed by their corresponding activities in the world.

‘Your kingdom come.

Your will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

Matthew 6:10

Read verses 1-4

Q: What represents the Word of God in this passage?

A: The “little book” or scroll. Observation: This is the first of four mentions of God’s Word after the removal of the Church found in Revelation 10-11:

Point: With the removal of the Church, God’s Word is focused on those left behind and the devastating results it will produce for them. The heavenly events are again replayed in the earthly arena.

Q: What might be important about this angel’s stance?

A: His “right foot on the sea” is an oft-repeated biblical metaphor for all the Gentile nations of the world, and “his left on the land” for the nation Israel. Whatever he does or says will be directed to everyone still on earth at this time.

Q: Why does this sound familiar?

A: Satan, upon being throne down to earth, takes up a similar looking stance when he produces the Antichrist from the sea (Rev. 13:1) and the False Prophet from the land. (Rev. 13:11) And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Revelation 13:1

Point: The actions of Satan in Revelation 13 counterfeit that which is taking place in Revelation 10. It has familiar parallels but the differences in the details betray his agenda.

Q: How might this “little scroll” be related to the larger one introduced in Revelation 5?

A: Most likely this is a subset of all that remains at this point in order to fulfill God’s Word.

Q: Then why is it not sealed?

A: When the 7th and last Seal was broken, it revealed the entire remaining sequence of both the Seven Trumpets and the Seven Bowls. It is open because all that remains is the fulfillment of what the Lamb already unsealed.

Q: What are the major contrasts between the “strong angel” and the “seven peals of thunder”?

Q: Why even mention the “seven peals of thunder” if their message is withheld from us?

A: We have never been guaranteed that God has revealed everything, only that which is adequate to act upon by faith on the basis of what is revealed to us in His Word.

Observation: There seems to be a progression in Revelation of the appearance and working of “thunder” [See Revelation 4:5, 6:1, 8:5, 10:4, 11:19, 14:2, 16:18, and 19:6] Thunder is used to describe a message or activity which can only be properly understood by believers and appears to be just a loud and frightening sound to unbelievers.

“Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.”

John 12:28-29

Application: We are categorically NOT provided all the information or details of what is to come—we are only given enough to successfully navigate by faith.

Read verses 5-7

Q: How does the message “there will be delay no longer” confirm the timing of each phase of the Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls?

A: Each phase progressively escalates like a boulder starting slowly at the top of the hill and its speed increasing exponentially the closer it comes to the bottom.

Q: Is there an example of this in Scripture?

A: As originally documented by Dr. Darrell Bock of Dallas Theological Seminary, this is how the fulfillment of more than 325 prophecies came about in the course of Christ’s entire First Coming, three phases each much shorter than the previous and with twice as many prophetic fulfillments.

Application: Think of this as a three-stage rocket where its speed doubles with each new stage.

Note: Because of the worldwide severity of the Bowls and the fact that no life would be found if they are not quickly executed, there are those who posit that the extra 30 days in the “1,290 days” (Dan. 12:11) over the “1,260 days” (Rev. 12:6 ) is to accommodate the Bowls.

Q: What feature of the First Coming might this final fulfillment echo?

A: The work of the First Coming officially came to and when on the cross Christ declared, “It is finished.” (Jn. 19:30), and this signals the completion of the Second Coming when it is again stated by the angel that it “is finished”.

Q: How is this complemented in v.6?

A: It is the affirmation of God’s sovereignty by revisiting the Creation Narrative. (Ex. 20:11) Point: The plan in eternity past was the Lamb, the plan for temporal Earth is the Lamb, and the plan for eternity future will be the Lamb.

Q: The message of the “seven peals of thunder” may be withheld, but how might we surmise precisely the contents of “the mystery of God”?

A: Verse 7 says it has been “preached” using the Greek word “evaggolizo” (Strong’s #2097). It is used prolifically throughout the New Testament for preaching the Gospel and proclaiming God’s Word.

Application: God’s entire plan past, present, and future is fulfilled in the Lamb, the embodiment and fulfillment of the Gospel not just for the First and Second Comings, but for all eternity past and future yet to come, and not just limited to the earthly realm, but extends to the heavenly as well.

Read verses 8-11

Q: Why does this sound familiar?

A: It seems to parallel the experience of the Prophet Ezekiel.

8“Now you, son of man, listen to what I am speaking to you; do not be rebellious like that rebellious house. Open your mouth and eat what I am giving you.” 9Then I looked, and behold, a hand was extended to me; and lo, a scroll was in it. 10When He spread it out before me, it was written on the front and back, and written on it were lamentations, mourning and woe.

1Then He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” 2So I opened my mouth, and He fed me this scroll.

3He said to me, “Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your body with this scroll which I am giving you.” Then I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth.

Ezekiel 2:8-3:3

Q: But what is the difference between the assignments of these two figures?

A: Whereas God’s message through Ezekiel was limited to just Israel, (Eze. 2:7). John’s is “concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings”— in other words, the whole world.

Q: But why does Ezekiel not experience the bitterness of consuming God’s Word as did John?

A: Even though the wrath of God was imminent, there was still an opportunity remaining in Ezekiel’s time when one could act upon the message and repent; at this point in the End Times sequence all that is left is the bitterness of the wrath of God.

Q: Is God actually refusing to allow those remaining on earth to repent and be saved?

A: No, this has come about by the repeated hardening of the hearts of those living at this point. Just as Pharaoh chose to harden his heart for the first three plagues of the Exodus, God gave him over to his choices and hardened his heart for the remainder of His plagues. God, who sees the end from the beginning, only does this when there will no turning back from their rejection of Him.

Point: At some point, God gives a person over to the contrary choices each stubbornly refuses to properly address.

Application: The sounding of the 7th Trumpet, which comprises all the Bowls, signals the final end when all that remains is the most intense execution of God’s wrath in history.

Overall Application

The interlude of Revelation 10 serves as yet another example in Scripture that the working of God’s Word is diametrically opposite for the heart inclined toward God and the hardened of heart. That which works to encourage the faithful works for judgment in the unfaithful. The difference in what takes place here is that the opportunity to repent and be saved is no longer an option as the repeated, stubborn refusal of those remaining has caused them to be given over to the consequences of their choices.