The Angel with the Little Book Page 3 of 5 (series: Lessons on Revelations)
by John Lowe
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.
And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me
At the beginning of these marvelous visions, John was commanded to write in a book what he saw and heard—past, present and future. But when the thunders spoke, John was given another command. He was about to write—but a voice from Heaven said: “Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.”
The seven thunders must have given a terrible message. Already set before us are blood, tears, famine, heartache and heartbreak; killing, misery, hail, fire, burning mountains, demon monstrosities, men begging to die and unable to do so. Surely what John was forbidden to write must have been beyond human imagination and understanding! There is no need to speculate on what the thunders said. Your guess is as good as mine; but you may rest assured that the message is for everyone in the world, and it had to do with God’s last gigantic, unheard of, indescribable judgment, when God “lowers the boom” in utter destruction.
Will you be on earth when the seven thunders speak? You are the only one who can answer that question. If you are born again you WILL NOT be here—but if you are NOT born again, you may be here. Read John 1:11-12, 3:16-18, 3:36, 5:24; Romans 10:9-10, 10:13, 10:17; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 John 1:9. Read these verses, hear what they say; receive them—and you WILL NOT be here when the seven thunders utter their message of destruction. You WILL be with Jesus.
1Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.
The command was clear and unquestionable, and John obeyed it. Therefore what the seven thunders said is not known by any of us, so it is foolish to speculate. As far as I understand the book of the Revelation, the seven thunders are the only part of this book which has been sealed. Concerning the rest of what John saw and heard, the Lord said to him, “Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book” (22:10). But John is not alone in having been forbidden to write all that he saw and things he heard in Paradise (2 Corinthians 12:4). God knows with whom He can trust His secrets. “God thundereth marvelously with His voice; great things doeth He, which we can not comprehend” (Job 37:5). Some truths of God are so wonderful that the human mind would not be able to comprehend them. So God doesn’t even tell about it but will wait until His people come to Heaven for them to find out. Frankly, God has revealed all we need to know to live for Him now. In our desire to be ready for the end, we must not place more emphasis on speculation about the last days than on living for God while we wait.
5 And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven,
After the sound of the seven thunders, the Mighty Angel lifted His 2hand toward Heaven and swore, or uttered an oath. The vision is most solemn! It is not inherently wrong for Christ to take an oath. Keep in mind that the scene before us does not occur during the dispensation of grace. Under the law God swore, and here Christ swears to bear witness to the authority and finality of His own statements. There may be limitations on swearing during the gospel period (Matthew 5:33-37; James 5:12), but here we have moved on to another period of time after the Church has been caught up to heaven.
We have stated that God confirmed His promise to Abraham by an oath, “When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself,” (Hebrews 6:13). When God made a promise to Abraham, He pledged Himself to carry it out (Genesis 22:16). The confirmation that God gave to
Abraham was the greatest that God could give. God had actually staked His very existence on the carrying out of His promise. In other words, it is as though He were saying, “I will cease to be God if I fail to keep My promise.” The fulfillment of the promise was as certain as God’s existence. To make an oath, one must swear by someone or something greater than himself, otherwise the oath is of no more value or validity than a mere statement. But the Almighty could not swear by a person greater than Himself, for there is none greater. One man may not accept the claim of another because men do not trust one another, but if a man would swear by one greater, then his assertion would be considered binding. So in order to condescend to a weakness in man’s nature, God confirmed His promise with an oath. The greater events yet to happen on this earth, as announced by God, must surely come to pass. These events have to do with judgment. Christ has staked His very existence on their fulfillment.
There is a question that comes to mind after reading verses 5 and 6: “Could John be alluding to Daniel 12:7, where an angel lifted his hands toward heaven and swore by the One who lives forever that there would be only 3 ½ more years until the end; here this angel swears that the time has come, and there is no further delays. (Some apocalyptic texts spoke of countable time itself ending, but the point here seems to be “time before the end,” given in Daniel 12:7; Revelation 2:21; 6:11; 28:3; Habakkuk 2:3.)
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:
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
When He lived on earth, the Lord Jesus said, “swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by earth; for it is his footstool” (Matthew 5:34-35). But there is One whose right it is to set upon that throne and whose right it is to rule the earth. He can swear, and so He does. He takes a solemn vow that matters will now be hastened to their full and final end. There shall be no more delays. The days will be shortened. Note: some expositors make it clear that this angel could NOT be Christ, since he takes an oath by the eternal Creator.
With his mighty hand raised up to the stars, He speaks and vast regions of the firmament echo with His mighty voice. All the artillery of the sky bursts forth. Seven thunders speak, sending out the universal alarm, preparing the earth to receive Heaven’s orders to finish God’s program of judgment. There can be no further delays. The cup of fury is running over. God’s longsuffering and tenderness is running out. Consuming fire of judgment is about to fall. For 2100 years God has not interfered with the governments of the world. The visible church has pushed Him out. The world is a colossal wreck. God has put up with man’s insults long enough. Man has had his chance; governments of earth have had their chance; the visible church has had its chance. There can be no further delays.
That there should be time no longer
The word that is translated “time” actually means “delay.” God has been delaying His judgments so that lost sinners will have time to repent (2 Peter 3:1-9); now, however, He will accelerate His judgments and accomplish His purposes. The Revised Standard Version has a literal and more accurate translation of the text. It reads, “That there should be no more delay.” The very next verse explains the meaning.
Some older interpretations suggested that the passage means “time will be no more,” i.e., eternity will have begun. I do not feel that is the correct interpretation; this is no announcement of the end of time and the ushering in of eternity, for that comes over 1000 years later.