Summary: John receives a special message from God, in words that remind us of Old Testament characters. Then we see a close-up of a Temple ...
A word for John, Chapter 10
Break. Chapter 10 serves , among other things, as an introduction to the last trumpet, just as 8:1-5 builds up to the last seal.
A Mighty Angel (10:1). There is a little more background in chapter 10, mostly John’s own personal matters. First another angel is introduced to the readers (10:1). No name is given, as with most of the angels, though he is considered “mighty.” I believe it is proper to assume that angels, however mighty, are mostly nameless for us lest we fall into the trap of honoring the messengers above the Message and the One Who gave the Message, Jesus.
A little book (10:2). It is open, ready to be used. See its identity below under 10:8-11.
This particular messenger, with the way he is dressed, and the appearance of his face, and the lion-like sound of his voice (10:3), sorely tempts us to say, “Jesus!” But even John, who has a problem with identity from time to time, does not believe this angel is Deity. It would seem though that he is a favored creation of God, for the rainbow-like aura around his head echoes the very appearance of the Throne of God (4:3)! How many marvelous messengers there must be and how thrilling the prospect of fellowship with them one day!
The seven thunders (10:3-4). Just after the angel “roars” there is a mysterious sound in the heavens, censored for all time. John may have recalled a similar experience in his own life with the Master, one he told us about in John 12:27-31. There the voice was clear in the ears of Jesus, attuned to the Father’s every Word. The crowd heard only thunder. In the passage before us, John hears clearly what was said, though the sound was a thundering.
There is a precedent for a thundering God in Job’s words (Job 37:4-5). “...He thunders with His majestic voice...God thunders marvelously with His voice…” Already in Revelation (4:5) we have seen thunderings proceeding from the Throne. Since we may be talking here about the voice of God, perhaps there is a tie-in between seven thunders and the seven Spirits of God we have seen several times. If those Spirits are Divine, or even if they are angelic, they surely speak what God wants spoken. And John is told that the message here is for John only, as indeed most of this chapter seems to be.
Although we may not know until glory what the seven thunders said, there is a message that follows this thundering, of great importance, in my estimation. In fact, we recall a similar scene in the book of Daniel! Daniel 12:5-7 records a conversation between Daniel and some Heavenly beings. They are discussing the time of Daniel’s prophecy. Incredibly the angels report to us the same time period as is discussed throughout Revelation: “a time, times, and half a time.” This phrase is widely seen to be three and one half years, as in 1 year + 2 years + 1/2 year. The striking thing about Daniel’s account is that there is a “man” there holding up hands to Heaven and swearing by God that this is true. So here in 10:5-6 a hand is raised, and a monumental promise is sealed with a similar oath.