Welcome to a Revelation of Jesus. In the last four videos we have been taking a deep dive into the prophecies of Daniel and Matthew 24 that were sealed up in the Seven thunders. We are now going to return to Revelation 10 to continue our study of the Seven Trumpets. More specifically, by examining the meaning of the little book we will try to answer the question “What is God doing during the Satan-inspired Time of Trouble?”
John saw a “mighty angel coming down from heaven…” with “a little book open in his hand” (Revelation 10:1,2). More than 500 years earlier Daniel saw the same angel with the same book. He was told to “shut up the words and seal the book until the time of the end” (Daniel 12:4).
Now in Revelation chapter 10 the stream of prophecy has reached the time of the end. We understand this first of all because chapters 10 and 11 are a part of the sixth trumpet, and we saw in video 27 that the trumpets are last-day events.
We also see that the little book that was supposed to be sealed until the time of the end is now “open in [the angel’s] hand”. John is told to eat the book and prophesy again. But before he eats it the angel makes an announcement to set the stage.
“The angel whom [John] 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 is not going to be any more delay, 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” (Revelation 10:5-7).
This is one long sentence, but there is so much to unpack that it can make your head spin.
First of all, the angel quoted the fourth commandment in which God said, “Remember the Sabbath day… for in six days the Lord created the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” (Exodus 20:8-11). This reference to creation reminds us that God is able to make something out of nothing, or as the book of Hebrews says, “By faith, we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).
As we get into chapters 10 and 11 we will see God’s faithful witnesses doing amazing things, but anything they do is simply God creating something out of nothing in them and through them.
The angel also declares, “there is not going to be any more delay”. This tells us that there has been some sort of unexpected delay. In Matthew 24, which we studied in video 37, Jesus talked about the coming of His kingdom and the end of this age. He said, “The gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
The Bible writers expected this to happen in their day. The apostle Paul said, “The gospel was preached to every creature under heaven” (Colossians 1:23), referring to the tremendous progress the early church made in bringing the good news to the whole world that they knew about.
That early love and zeal died out, however, and here we are 2000 years later with more people than ever who know nothing about Jesus. But the angel promises that “there is not going to be any more delay, but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel when he is about to sound, the mystery of God will be finished” (Revelation 10:6,7).
Let us see first of all what happens with the sounding of the seventh trumpet, and then find out what the mystery of God is.
The seventh trumpet takes place in Revelation 11:15 when “The kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our Lord”. This verse predicts a massive change of allegiance, where the subjects of the enemy become the subjects of the Lord. But notice that the change actually takes place “in the days of the sounding of the seventh trumpet, when he is about to sound” (Revelation 10:7), in other words, the period just before the seventh trumpet. This time is described in Revelation 11:2-13. It is the story of the two witnesses.
We will study the two witnesses when we get to chapter 11, but briefly, the two witnesses symbolize the people who give the final message to the world.
Chapter 11 describes the power and miraculous signs that God displays through them. As a result of their ministry, a great multitude of unbelievers accept Jesus as Lord, transferring their allegiance from “the kingdoms of this world” into “the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ” (Revelation 11:15).
And this is the mystery of God.
Notice what the angel says about the mystery. “In the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God will be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets” (Revelation 10:7).
Whatever the mystery is, God has already declared it to His servants the prophets. This narrows down our search because the mystery of God is only found in the writings of the apostle Paul. Notice that Paul uses this same language in Ephesians 3:3-10. “The mystery of Christ… as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets; That the gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel”.
At first glance, this doesn’t seem like a mystery at all. Haven’t gentiles been accepting the gospel and becoming a part of the Body of Christ ever since the beginning of the Church?
Before we answer that question, let’s see what else Paul says about the mystery. “Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery… to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:9,10). Notice that the mystery has to do with fellowship and the church, and has an impact on heavenly beings.
Paraphrasing the whole passage, through the gospel, the Gentiles, in other words, those who are not of “Israel,” will become a part of the fellowship of Christ’s body of believers, the church. This will somehow reveal God’s wisdom to the principalities and powers who are out there in the rest of the universe watching.
Writing to the Gentile believers in the city of Colossae, Paul adds, “the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations now has been revealed to His saints… the riches of the glory of this mystery among the gentiles, which is, Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:26,27).
Notice that this mystery is being revealed to the saints. Believers are the ones who need help grasping this mystery. Also notice that “the glory of this mystery” is “among the gentiles,” in other words, in people like the believers in Colossae that Paul was writing to. And finally, the essence of the mystery is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” in other words, that God the Son could glorify Himself by living in the Gentiles.
The “saints” have never considered it to be mysterious that they themselves could be a part of God’s glorious kingdom. After all, at the time this was written they were “Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came” (Romans 9:4,5).
But the idea that Christ would actually include Gentiles, who were “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world,” (Ephesians 2:12) was an incomprehensible mystery.
Peter had to see a vision of unclean animals three times and then see the Holy Spirit fall upon the Roman soldier Cornelius and his Gentile servants before he could believe that salvation was for the Gentiles too (Acts 10).
And “those of the circumcision who came with Peter were astonished, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also” (Acts 10:45). Later, when the other apostles and brethren back in Jerusalem heard about all that had happened, “they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, ‘Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life” (Acts 11:1-18).
We saw in video 24 that the Jews are no longer God’s special representatives; this role has been given to the Christian Church, and the gentiles are everyone else. For many centuries the church has consisted of people who grew up with Bible teachings, Christian traditions, and access to Christian resources. But even with all of that the church is shrinking rather than growing in traditionally Christian countries, and even more in comparison to the exploding population of the world.
Although we know about the Great Commission to “go and make disciples of all nations,” it is a great mystery how we will reach the ever-increasing billions of people who are lost in “the world”.
But what we can’t do, God can do through us. According to Revelation 7:9, Jesus will use His followers to win “a great multitude which no one can number” of men, women, and children from “all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues” (Revelation 7:9).
When the angels and heavenly beings see them “clothed in white robes… before the throne of God” they will “fall on their faces before the throne and worship God” (Revelation 7:11). Satan has used this world of sin to hold billions of people captive in slavery, but when “the mystery of God is finished” then “the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord.”
There is a common theme in what we have seen so far; let me summarize.
The context of chapter 10 is the time of the end; we know because Daniel’s mighty angel is back, but now his book is open. He quotes the Sabbath commandment, suggesting that God is about to create something out of nothing.
His statement that there will be no more delay suggests that the long centuries of waiting for the gospel to go to the whole world before Jesus comes is over. The reference to the seventh trumpet indicates that there will be a massive change of loyalties from the world to God’s kingdom.
The mention of the time just before the seventh trumpet highlights the ministry of the two witnesses who are God’s final messengers to a dying world. And the announcement that the mystery of God will be finished shows that a great multitude of unbelieving gentiles will become full and complete members of the family of God, causing the principalities and powers in the heavenly places to stand in awe.
Do you see the common thread in all of this? Chapters 10 and 11 are all about God using His faithful servants to win the world for Jesus. They get started with their mission by eating the little book.
John said, “Then the voice which I heard from heaven spoke again and said, ‘Go, take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel…’ So I went to the angel and said to him, ‘Give me the little book’. And he said to me, ‘take and eat it, and it will make your stomach bitter but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.’ Then I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter” (Revelation 10:8-10).
This seems pretty strange, even by Revelation standards.
As usual, we need to go to the Old Testament in order to understand this. The prophet Ezekiel was also given a scroll to eat. Ezekiel was a prophet at the time when he and many others of God’s chosen representatives had been taken captive by the Babylonians.
Those who were still in Jerusalem continued to pursue idolatry, which would result in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. God said to Ezekiel, “Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me… You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse—for they are rebellious” (Ezekiel 2:3-7).
It wasn’t easy being a prophet during a time of national apostasy. God gave Ezekiel a graphic picture of what He was to do. “Son of man, eat this scroll, and go speak to the house of Israel…’ So I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness… and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the Lord was strong upon me” (Ezekiel 3:1-14).
The theme in Ezekiel is that many of God’s chosen people were in Babylon, and many more were in imminent danger of ending up in Babylon.
Ezekiel’s message was simple: do everything you can to get out of Babylon and stay out of Babylon. But this wasn’t an easy message to give, because God’s people had been so influenced by Babylon that they were almost indistinguishable from Babylon, and thus highly resistant to the very message that they desperately needed.
Ezekiel had the sweet joy of being filled with the Holy Spirit, of hearing and understanding God’s word, and of seeing visions of God on His throne. But then he had the bitter experience of taking the prophetic word to the captives in Babylon and seeing their stubborn resistance.
Now back to Revelation 10. John, like Ezekiel, was given a book to eat.
As we saw in video 33, the open book in the angel’s hand symbolized the understanding of God’s prophetic word that was to be revealed in the last days. John himself symbolized God’s faithful witnesses as he took the book and ate it.
The sweetness in his mouth represented the joy of understanding God’s word through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. “But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter. And [the angel] said to me, ‘you must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings” (Revelation 10:10,11).
The angel’s command, “you must prophesy again,” implies that the prophetic messages from the little book had already been given. We find the context just three verses later as John introduces the two witnesses.
Jesus told John, “I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days clothed in sackcloth” (Revelation 11:3). If you have been following this series you will remember that the 1,260 days appear in several of the most important prophecies in Daniel and Revelation, and refer to the centuries of apostasy and oppression by the medieval union of church and state.
This verse shows us that God’s faithful witnesses did their best to share the truth of God’s word under difficult conditions during the dark ages, symbolized by prophesying while clothed in sackcloth. Radically dedicated underground movements such as the Cathari and Waldensians struggled against the stifling formalism and idolatry of the church/state monolith, finally breaking free during the Protestant Reformation.
As the 1,260 years came to an end in the late 18th century there was an explosion of Christian revival and interest in sharing the gospel all over the world; this was the Philadelphia era that we explored in video 11.
Although the first and second great awakenings and the Bible distribution and missionary movements had serious doctrinal problems, they did get multitudes of common people involved in studying the Bible and sharing Jesus.
With the Millerite movement, there was a new interest in Bible prophecy; they even set a date for the Second Coming of Christ. This was a sweet time for the believers as they shared the gospel and waited in excited anticipation for Jesus to return, but it ended in bitter disappointment when the expected time passed. As we saw in video 12, the Laodicean church settled back into an apathetic focus on itself.
But as the angel said, “you must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings” (Revelation 10:10,11). In other words, there will be a similar prophetic movement, but with a much more extensive, worldwide audience. The mystery of God will be finished; but not until we eat the little book.
I believe that the Book of Revelation itself is the little book open in the angel’s hand.
And you would think that understanding it would be easier than ever before. I’m sure you have noticed that there has been a tremendous increase and availability of Bible knowledge so that anyone with access to a computer and the internet can compare versions, read commentaries, study historical context, look up the meaning of words in the original languages, and listen to scholarly and inspirational discourses on all aspects of biblical understanding.
We can read an outline, synopsis, or commentary on any book of the Bible and in general, there is a pretty remarkable agreement.
But there is one glaring exception. Start reading about the Book of Revelation and it quickly becomes obvious that there is just as much confusion as ever.
It is the only book of the Bible in which there is no consensus as to its general theme, organization, time frame, or target audience. But we do have a huge advantage that other generations did not have. We have reached the time of the end.
God promised that “the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end… [at that time] many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall increase… the wise shall understand” (Daniel 12:9,4,10).
Now is the time for us to eat the book so that we can enter into the ministry that God has for us.
Revelation is not first and foremost about beasts and horns and the dragon. It is about God winning a great multitude for His kingdom.
That’s why I am putting these videos out there; not to say that I have all the answers, but perhaps to start you thinking and studying so that we can share with and learn from each other. Use the comment section to share what the Lord is teaching you, and get together with others who are studying.
But again, it’s not so that we can know more about prophecy.
It is so that we can know the One who is revealed in the prophecies.
In the passages we studied today in Revelation 10 and Ezekiel 2 we have seen that God wants to send us out as His witnesses to a world that is in Babylonian captivity with a powerful message: “Babylon is fallen… come out of her, My people!” (Revelation 18:1-4).
Is that something you would like to be involved in?
If you were blessed by this video, I would appreciate it if you would like it, share it with someone, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and leave a comment it alerts the search algorithms to show these videos to more people. It’s a way you can help get the word out.
And to find out in advance where this is all going, you can order the book A Revelation of Jesus by David Lackey, available from online bookstores.