A Call to Faithfulness
The angels have blown six trumpets, and like the seals, an interlude occurs before the blast of the seventh. The first interlude concerned the sealing of the saints on earth and their ultimate arrival in heaven. This interlude provides scenes of the suffering the saints must endure until that blessed arrival. So, we see once again the “back and forth” which the Book of Revelation presents: Just as the opening of the sixth seal seemed to bring the end, so the blowing of the sixth trumpet. Instead, we are presented with visions which explain God’s purposes between His Son’s comings.
A “mighty angel” comes down from heaven of immense size and straddles land and sea. His description suggests divinity, and some think this to be Christ himself, but I disagree. I don’t see Christ in his glorified state raising his right hand and swearing (as if he needed to), nor John walking up to Christ saying, “Give me the scroll” (10:9). I think we have a high-ranking angel, God bestowing upon him such insignia as commands our respect.
The angel calls out “with a loud voice,” and at the call, “the seven thunders” sound. Apparently, the sound of these thunders was quite articulate as John was about to write what they said, but was commanded not to do so. There is no sense in guessing what they said as God denied us that revelation. But we learn here that the Almighty has His secrets. Yes, I am familiar with the passage from Amos, “For the Lord God does nothing without revealing His secret to His servants the prophets” (3:7), but this cannot mean that God tells us everything He wills. Indeed, he explicitly tells us that He will not reveal to us the day of His Son’s return (Matthew 24:36). “For who has known the mind of the Lord” (Romans 11:34)? We must learn to bow before His majesty and trust His wisdom.
And finally there are the words of the angel who swore by the Almighty “that there would be no more delay but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as He announced to His servants the prophets.” That mystery is what we see in Revelation after the seventh trumpet is sounded which ends with the triumph of God, the salvation of His people, and the praise of His glory forever. But the seventh trumpet has not sounded and the end is not yet. This is the lesson John will learn when he takes the little scroll in the next few verses. We want to know when, and God does not reveal that even to his prophets. Revelation is not an end-time map, but a call to faithfulness.