Five More Interpretive Insights

Five More Interpretive Insights, Audio Version
  1. My last point (that is, point # 18 from yesterday’s blog-cast) brought us to the climatic 7th Trumpet; but I ought to backtrack a bit because in jumping directly from the 6th Trumpet to the 7th, I skipped over a small and yet very important section of Revelation. Between the conclusion of the 6th Trumpet and the beginning of the 7th, readers will discover a 24 verse narrative digression, which includes all of Chapter 10 and over two-thirds of Chapter 11. Why does this textual digression occur? My hunch is that it allows for a period of time. A considerable amount of time must elapse between the 6th Trumpet (which is essentially the ongoing fulfillment of the Great Commission) and the 7th Trumpet (which is — or will be — the Second Advent of Christ and the Rapture of the Church). To synchronize the text chronologically to the here and now, that’s precisely where we presently find ourselves on Revelation’s redemptive timeline: somewhere between the 6th and 7th trumpets.
  1. In Chapter 10, John sees “another Mighty Angel coming down from Heaven.” Additional details provided about the Mighty Angel must not to be overlooked, though — details that lead to the conclusion that this particular “angel” must be someone other than an ordinary angel. The Mighty Angel 1) is wrapped in a cloud, 2) has a rainbow over his head, 3) has a face like the sun, 4) has legs like a pillar of fire, and… drum roll… 5) has a scroll in his hand. Here there is more than one Old Testament allusion — plus a very clear, direct reference. The reference is to the opening chapters of Ezekiel, in which an extraterrestrial Cherubim-carried Throne appears to an awestruck Ezekiel. The One seated on the Throne has a human appearance (Ezekiel 1:26) and delivers an edible scroll (Ezekiel 2:8-10), just as the Mighty Angel does in Revelation 10:8-9. The Mighty Angel/Messenger also roars like a lion. That’s likely another Old Testament allusion, and perhaps even a direct reference, to Amos 3:7-8, which links the Lion’s Roar to the Spoken Word of the Sovereign Lord. Therefore, the Mighty Angel of Revelation is very, very likely one and the same as the One seated on the Throne in Ezekiel, who roars the word of the Sovereign Lord. This Mighty Angel/Roaring Lion is Christ himself. And Christ himself was the One seated on the Throne in Ezekiel. Thus Christ existed long before his lowly birth in Bethlehem, and existed as the Enthroned One. In Seminary-speak, this is extremely high Christology. Christ is on par with God.
  1. But if the Mighty Angel of Revelation 10 is actually Christ himself, John could just say so plainly; right? So why keep it a big mystery, and force the reader to detect subtle Old Testament allusions and references? Why indeed. We are supposed to ask ourselves exactly such questions. The reason why Christ is “disguised” as the Mighty Angel in Revelation 10 is because Christ is likewise disguised in various ways throughout the entirety of Old Testament, especially as a reappearing character known as the Angel of the Lord (see Genesis 16:7-13; Genesis 22:15-18; Exodus 3:2; Judges 6:12; Zechariah 3). In English translations, the first four words of the Book of Revelation are “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” The Book of Revelation is exactly that. It is a Revelation of Jesus Christ, from Jesus Christ, about Jesus Christ.
What is the Mystery of God that will be completed at the 7th trumpet?
  1. In Revelation 10:3-4, John hears Seven Thunders speak. And yet John is instructed not to write down what the Seven Thunders have said. My proposal is that the thunders revealed information about historical events to occur between the Sixth and Seventh Trumpets. Although God foreknows the course of the future, we are not supposed to know too much in advance. We are better off not knowing some things to come. That’s just my guess, though. Someday we will know what the Thunders thundered.
  1. Just like Ezekiel before him, John is told to eat the scroll that the Mighty Angel/Christ gives him. It tasted as sweet as honey, but was hard on his stomach. This probably means that the message contained on the scroll was not particularly pleasant. In fact, the message contained on the scroll probably immediately follows in Revelation 11. The gist of that message is that the Church cannot triumph unless it first suffers as Christ suffered. Like Christ, the Church will be raised triumphant; but first it must suffer rejection and face the prospect of death. It is a message that is hard to stomach, for us as well as John.

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