“May sinners disappear from the earth, and the wicked vanish! Praise the Lord, O my soul!” (Psalm 104:35).
Jesus came humbly and meekly at His First Advent, but during the seven-year tribulation, the world is in full rebellion against God. When Jesus returns this time, He takes His great power and reigns (Revelation 11:17). And at this point, His return is at hand. Hallelujah!
Seven seals have opened, six trumpets have blown, the seventh is imminent, and over half the earth’s population has died. Now an angel descended from heaven with authority over the earth and sea (Revelation 10:2).
Multitudes of martyrs–God’s people–have died from persecution (Revelation 6:9). They called on the holy God to avenge their deaths, but God asked for patience to complete their number (Revelation 6:10-11).
No More Delay!
Now their wait is over. “There should be no more delay…. When the seventh angel (sounds), the mystery of God will be fulfilled, as He has declared to His servants the prophets” (Revelation 10:6-7). The seventh angel’s trumpet won’t sound until chapter 16, so much explanatory writing is in the ensuing chapters (10-15), but limited time will pass before Jesus returns. The end of the first six trumpet judgments in chapter nine brings us to the timeline of the bowl judgments. We’re at the end of the tribulation.
The Timing of the Judgments
And the last series of judgments, the bowls, will fall sequentially, but each follows immediately after the other.
- The seal judgments advanced the timeline to the midpoint of the tribulation (Chapter 6).
- The trumpet judgments advanced the timeline until immediately before the Second Advent (Chapters 7-9).
- (The thunders judgments occur at this point).
- The bowl judgments, which will end with the Second Advent (Chapter 16).
Note: Again, time in the tribulation only moves forward when the judgments proceed. The interludes help explain the judgments, but the time in the explanations is fluid. Their details may include times in the past, or future, or in various locations, and cover various periods of time.
The Little Scroll, The Seven Thunders (Revelation 10:1-4)
An angel gives John a ‘little’ scroll to proclaim its judgments. Prophets and angels give God’s message even to rebellious people. God wants them to know that even if they don’t listen, they had a prophet among them, and he alerted them (Ezekiel 2, 3)! And those who don’t have ears to hear will suffer the consequences.
Like the angel in Ezekiel, this angel tells John to eat his scroll. When he did, God’s word was sweet in his mouth, but its bitter judgment soured his stomach.
A Separate Little Scroll
This is a little scroll already opened, meaning its judgments are independent of the larger scroll detailing the threefold series of seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments.
This is a strong angel. He stands on land and sea, as mentioned three times in this chapter, showing authority over both.
The angel comes in a cloud with a rainbow, a face like the sun, and feet like pillars of fire, all images associated with Jesus. But interpreters disagree about whether this angel is Jesus or an angel with His authority. The angel shouts like a lion when he puts his front paws on his defeated prey to roar his victory.
That roar, which initiated this new series of seven judgments, triggered the seven thunders. They’re written on a separate (little) scroll, not on the scroll with seven seals. As they sounded, John prepared to write as he had with the previous judgments. But a heavenly voice stopped him, saying:
“Seal up those things which the seven thunders said, and do not write them” (Revelation 10:4).
God’s Secret Things
We don’t know why God sealed the message, but God’s actions have a precedent:
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever” (Deuteronomy 29:29).
The Mystery of God (Revelation 10:5-7)
No More Delay!
This angel takes an oath and swears by the eternal creator God that “there will be no more delay” (Revelation 10:6). These last judgments are imminent. The rebellion ends now! We’re repeatedly told God won’t postpone it! This vision focuses on the final judgments dangling on the edge of this cliff.
God the Creator
Throughout these judgments, the vision emphasized that God is the Creator. God takes it personally that the moral beings He created have rebelled against Him. We’re all sons of God by creation, but God only redeems believers.
Though the seventh trumpet won’t blow to initiate the bowl judgments until chapter 16, when it sounds, the mystery of God is completed (Revelation 10:7). God has proclaimed this mystery throughout the Scriptures. He’s allowed Satan to play out his evil plan within sovereign boundaries and without immediate righteous judgment. Satan’s plan includes this human and demonic rebellion against God and his Christ.
But Satan’s time has ended. The vision won’t let us forget that rebellious angels fully entwine themselves in this mess!
We don’t know what judgments the seven thunders reveal. But the judgments in Revelation occur in chronological order. So, we know they happen after the six trumpets sound and before the angel pours out the seven bowls–and that they prepare for Jesus’ impending return.
Please watch the Great News Video on this page to be sure you are ready for the return of Jesus Christ.