An earthquake takes place when the seventh angel blows his trumpet. The earthquake is considered the second of three woes that happen. When the angel blows his trumpet, loud voices give a statement. We’ll find out later what those voices say. We will also read some details about some new visions and we’ll seek to understand what these visions mean. At times, it can be hard to understand what they really mean and how to apply them. Often, we find some prophetic verses from the Old Testament that give us insight into what these visions mean. Much of that takes place in chapter 11, so let’s set the scene as we start in chapter 10.
The Next Vision – An Angel Holding A Little Scroll
In the next vision, John sees a strong angel come down from heaven to earth. He carries a small scroll in his open hand. This angel plants his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land. Here is a description of this mighty angel:
- He is robed in a cloud
- A rainbow is above his head
- His face is like sun
- His legs are like fiery pillars
Then this angel shouts like a roaring lion. When he shouts, the voices of the Seven Thunders speak. John was going to start writing, but he heard a voice from heaven that says “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.” The angel, and by proxy God, doesn’t want us to know what the seven thunders said. Then, the angel raises his hand toward heaven.
No More Delay
The angel swears, by God referencing His mighty deeds
- Him who lives forever and ever
- The One who created
- The heavens and all that is in them
- The earth and all that is in it
- The sea and all that is in it
The angel says, “There will be no more delay!” And God says that this is the time when the mystery of God will be accomplished, just like he announced to his servants, who were his prophets.
What is the mystery of God, though? If we look through the Old Testament prophesies as well as the promises from Jesus himself, not all of the prophesies and promises have been fulfilled. This is where the “final chapter” begins to show Jesus for who He truly is and cement the final promises about Him. This is what 2 Thessalonians 2:7 refers to as God holds back the lawless one until his time, and ultimately we will see Jesus prevail.
For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.2 Thessalonians 2:7
“Take It And Eat It”
Again, John hears a voice from heaven speak to him, saying: “Go take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing in the sea and on the land.” So he does what he was told to do as he approaches the angle and takes the scroll, then puts it in his mouth.
At first it tastes sweet to him; but as it reaches his stomach, it sours in his stomach.
What Does The Angel Mean By This?
As you might imagine, this is figurative language and it’s not about eating a piece of paper, but we’ve seen it before in Ezekiel chapter 2 where God tells Ezekiel that God is going to send Ezekiel to declare His word to the Israelites and that they will reject the message. At the end of Ezekiel 2, he even uses the same imagery that we see in Revelation 10 where an angel stretches out his open hand with a scroll in it (vs 9 & 10).
It Will Be Sweet In Your Mouth
Continuing in Ezekiel 3, we see that angel also tell him to eat the scroll and it tastes sweet in his mouth.
“Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.”Ezekiel 3:3 NIV
So what connects these two passages? Why the same imagery?
The point of the sweetness turning to bitterness or souring the stomach connects to the same theme in both passage. God is reminding us that His message is sweet in the mouth of the one who embraces and shares it.
“How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”Psalm 119:103
“More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”Psalm 19:10
Why It Turns The Stomach Sour – The Consumer’s Side
That same word becomes bitter or sour in the stomach of the one who consumes it and in turn rejects it. We know in the coming chapters of John’s Revelation that the people will reject the message and that they will turn to the Antichrist instead of God. We’ve already seen that they have refused throughout the trumpet judgements to repent and return to God, so it is sweet in John’s mouth as he shares God’s precious message of repentance, but the people who hear and reject will be soured and embittered by it.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.Hebrews 4:12
Why It Turns The Stomach Sour – The Message Carrier’s Side
Another facet of the bitterness or sourness to the person who shares the message is that sometimes it can be hard to deliver the message. We may even be persecuted when we share it with other people who will not believe.
” In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”2 Timothy 3:12
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.Matthew 5:11-12
Then John is then told to go prophesy again. As believers, we have all been told to go to every tribe, tongue and nation to preach the gospel. The same gospel message.
Tough Times Ahead
It’s like when we read this book of Revelation. We start really getting scared or concerned to the point where we may not even want to read it or hear about the end times because we are told that they will be difficult. You may even want to stop right here!
We do have difficult times ahead. Even right now with the war going on in Ukraine, we wonder what will happen next. Is Russia or China going somewhere else next? Will the United States be affected soon? Will we see World War 3 or Nuclear War within our lifetime? Sometimes we may even wonder if the end times have already started. Whether the end times start now or many years from now, we have hope in God and His Word when we put our faith completely in Him. I can’t say that I don’t have some great concerns especially about our kids and grand kids. I think that many people do even if we aren’t in a war ourselves. Abraham didn’t know the future, but what did Paul say about him?
What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”Romans 4:3
This is what makes it so much more urgent today then when I was younger. We must believe in God and know that He has things under control. We have to trust that he gave us a message to share even if it’s a bitter one for some.
The Two Witnesses
Next, John is given a measuring tool to go and measure the temple and the altar. Two witnesses are then appointed and they prophesy for 1260 days in sackcloth. If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes out of their mouth and devours their enemies. Anyone who tries to harm them must die this way! These two witnesses represent two olive trees and two lampstands that stand before the Lord.
These witnesses have the power to shut the heavens so that there is no rain coming out of the sky. They can strike the earth with any kind of plague as often as they want to.
The Witnesses Are Killed & Made A Display
After their testimony is over, the beast will come out of the Abyss. The beast will overpower, attack and kill them putting their destruction on display to bolster his power. Their bodies will lay in the public square known as Sodom and Egypt.
This is also symbolic. The picture of Sodom is figuratively intended to show the depth of their depravity. Just as the depravity of Sodom was so offensive to God in Abraham’s time that there wasn’t even a handful of righteous people and so God destroyed them due to their evil deeds and hearts. The imagery of Egypt is where the Israelites were in bondage to the world. It’s also where God told the Israelites to never return.
This passage says that Sodom and Egypt, where the two witnesses are killed, is where their Savior was crucified according to the symbolism in this passage. But wait! Jesus (their Savior) was killed in Jerusalem! This is a figurative way to show just how far Jerusalem has fallen. They have become depraved as Sodom and they have fallen into figurative slavery to the world (not the Pharaohs this time).
People will gaze on their dead bodies (from every tribe, tongue and nation) and will refuse them burial. The inhabitants will gloat over them and give each other gifts, celebrating because these two prophets tormented those who lived on the earth. Here, we see another indicator of the bitterness caused by the message and the depravity of the people.
“Come Up Here!” – The Resurrection Of The Witnesses
For 3 1/2 days, they will lay dead. Then, they are restored to life by the breath of life from God and they stand right up on their feet. The people who have mocked their dead bodies have the privilege to see the same power that raised Jesus from the dead in 3 days. Again, a picture we’ve seen before.
But the people who rejected their message and mocked their dead bodies are terrified! I mean, imagine watching your favorite news channel (FoxNews, CNN, MSNBC, OANN, NewsMax, etc) and suddenly:
BREAKING NEWS: The two witnesses are alive even though they were dead!
The people around the world are struck by terror as they see the two witnesses come back to life. Then as they watch (because we are all fixated on the news these days), a LOUD voice comes from heaven (with no apparent source but… heaven). And that voice says, “Come up here.”
The two witnesses take off (no rocket attached) and they ascend into heaven in a cloud while their enemies watch it all happen.
The Earthquake Brings The Second Woe And The Seventh Angel Blows His Trumpet
That same hour, another severe earthquake hits and one-tenth of the city (Jerusalem – same context) collapses. Seven thousand people are killed during the earthquake and the survivors are left, terrified.
Finally, they give glory to the God of heaven.
This earthquake is the second woe.
Do you remember the first woe? When the locusts came out of the Abyss? The third woe is coming soon.
And after all of that…the Seventh Angel blows his trumpet.
Then loud voices in heaven said:
“The kingdom of the world has becomeRevelation 11:15
the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,
and he will reign for ever and ever.”
Next, the 24 Elders who sat in front of the throne in front of God (remember the scene from way back in Revelation 4?), fell on their faces and worshiped God. This is what they said:
“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,Revelation 11:16-18
the One who is and who was,
because you have taken your great power
and have begun to reign.
18 The nations were angry,
and your wrath has come.
The time has come for judging the dead,
and for rewarding your servants the prophets
and your people who revere your name,
both great and small—
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”
Then we see The Ark of His Covenant in God’s temple in heaven.
- Flashes of lightning
- Peals of thunder
- An earthquake
- A severe hailstorm
It’s tough to understand some of these events, but when I read what the 24 elders said and what loud voices from heaven said, I see what they were thankful for and it summarizes what happened. “You have taken your great power and have begun to reign.” The mystery of God!
God is powerful and people will be judged. Some will be rewarded and others will have nothing left but bitterness.
He Shall Reign Forever And Ever!
Co-Authored by Daniel Duncan