[This is an excerpt from my book, Mankind’s Final 7 Years Before Christ Returns: A verse-by-verse explanation of the book of Revelation]
10 And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:
“And I saw” shows a shift in the narrative. John now moves from future prophecy to his present encounters in heaven.
Many people jump to the conclusion that this mighty angel is Jesus, simply because John describes him in much more detail than the other strong angel in 5:2. I believe John is trying to stress the importance of the message, rather than the messenger. John clearly says “another mighty angel”. This is the second of three strong angels (possibly archangels) spoken of in Revelation.
2 And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth,
Unlike the first scroll, this little scroll was open for anyone to read. This scroll is similar to the one in Ezekiel 2:9-3:3.
The angel’s stance, on land and sea, shows that the message is for the whole world. His stance also shows his authority, and is mentioned three times in this chapter. Some people suggest that the sea represents gentiles, and the earth represents Jews, which would also encompass the whole world.
3 And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.
4 And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.
I get the impression that John felt this message was important. Unfortunately, this is the only message that John is not allowed to tell us. The seven thunders did not just make a noise, they proclaimed something, and John wanted to tell us. Though we are not told what they said, we can understand that the message is very important. And the timing can give us a clear understanding of their message.
In the Book of Revelation, we have the 7 seals, which must be opened before the Day of the Lord (or the wrath of God) begins. The 7 seals are followed by the 7 trumpet-judgments, which are a proclamation to unbelievers of the coming wrath of God. This is followed by the outpouring of the 7 bowls of God’s wrath on the wicked. The incident of the 7 thunders occurs in the interlude between the 6th and the 7th trumpets. At the sounding of the 7th trumpet, the Day of the Lord begins.
So, we can clearly see that the seven thunders are a proclamation that the Wrath of God is about to begin. The Great Tribulation, along with all the other atrocities of mankind during the 7 seals, is not the Wrath of God. The 7 trumpet-judgments are not the Wrath of God. The Day of the Lord, accompanied by the return of Jesus, will begin at the sounding of the 7th trumpet. The seven thunders are the proclamation of the beginning of the Wrath of God.
5 And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven,
6 And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:
The angel is not announcing the end of time, as some suppose, but the end of God’s delay in punishing the unrighteous. The seven bowls of God’s wrath will be poured out during the seventh trumpet. The pouring of the bowls of God’s wrath will be initiated by the second coming of Jesus.
7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
The phrase “in the days” refutes the claim, by some, that the wrath of God can be fulfilled in as little as 24 hours. Yet, the fact that God’s wrath is in bowls (literally a shallow bowl, or deep saucer), rather than pitchers, or bottles, or such, suggest that they will be poured out rather quickly.
The mystery of God, according to Ephesians 3:3-9, is that Christians become fellow-heirs, alongside the Jews, of the kingdom of God. This mystery is finished at the rapture when Jesus gathers us to Himself, to begin His earthly reign. (See also- Romans 11:25-27; Revelation 11:15-18)
8 And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.
9 And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.
10 And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.
The message was sweet because it announced the kingdom reign of Jesus. It was bitter because it announced the judgment of unbelievers. (See also- Ezekiel 2:8-3:3; )
11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
This is still talking about the wrath of God, which is about to be poured out. In context, John is not to prophesy to peoples, nations, tongues, and kings. He is to prophesy against them.