Some Final, End-time Scriptures
Revelation 22:6b “And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent His messenger to make known to His servants what must come to pass.
Revelation 22:7a “And behold, I am coming speedily.
John fell down and worshipped the messenger (angel) who immediately said, “Stop! I am a fellow servant like yourself. Worship God!” Contrast this with the Old Testament where “the Angel of the Lord” (Jesus) received worship from men.
Revelation 22:10 “And he told me, Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time when things are brought to their fulfillment is near.”
Even before John was inspired to write these words around 60 years after Jesus had left there was a general understanding that Jesus was returning “soon.” There are writings from every century since then where Christians were sure that all of the signs and conditions for Jesus’ return had been fulfilled, and that He would return within their generation or, maybe, the generation to come. It is still the same today for many people.
Just the act or attitude of expecting Jesus to return isn't enough to usher in the end of the age. Even being able to recognise signs that suggest that His time is near isn't enough to bring Him back - the first century seers and those who came after them were certain that the signs for His return were there, and that the conditions had been fulfilled.
Obviously, signs and conditions must not be enough if they have been misidentified for the last two thousand years. In this short series we will look at what has not been fulfilled. Surely, if God has said something will or should be done by us, we should focus on those things, shouldn't we?
I know of seven reasons why Jesus has not yet returned, which are the subject of another series, but here we will focus on the most important reason, the one which impacts all of us.
The story of our involvement in the end of the age
pivots around one verse in chapter 10. Before this, though, there are events based around seven seals, seven angels and seven trumpets. It is the seventh angel and the seventh seal that we are interested in.
“When He (the Lamb) broke open the seventh seal, there was silence for about half an hour in Heaven.” Revelation 8:1
How could that be?
In chapter 4 John paints a picture of Heaven as an extremely busy place, filled with sound and activity:
“And the four living creatures...day and night...never stop saying, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, Who was, and Who is, and Who is to come.” :8
“And whenever the living creatures offer glory and honour and thanksgiving...the twenty four elders fall prostrate before Him who is sitting on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever; and they throw down their crowns before the throne, crying out, Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive the glory and honour and dominion, for You created all things; by Your will they were created.” :9-11
There is a sense in Revelation 8:1 that, not only the sounds but all the other activities in Heaven have suddenly stopped as well. What stupendous circumstance could bring Heaven to a standstill?
The simple answer is this: Nothing is happening in Heaven for a time, because nothing is happening on Earth.
Something is meant to be happening on Earth but there is a part of God’s plan which has been neglected, overlooked, discarded or abandoned by His people there.
Let me explain.
After the silence there follow two chapters of action or woes on Earth as six of the angels blow their trumpets in turn. Then, in chapter 10 a mighty angel stands with one foot on the sea and one foot on the land, and shouts with a mighty voice.
Revelation 10:3 “And when he had shouted the seven thunders gave their message in distinct words.”
Verse 4: “And when the seven thunders had sounded I was going to write it down, but I heard a voice from Heaven saying, Seal up what the seven thunders have said. Do not write it down!”
Verse 5: “Then the mighty angel
Verse 6: “swore in the name of Him who lives forever and ever...that no more time should intervene
Verse 7: “but that when the days come that the trumpet call of the seventh angel is about to be sounded, then God's mystery as He had announced the glad tidings to His servants the prophets, is completed.”
There's a "mystery" that has been revealed, or at least spoken about in Scripture, which records the words of "His servants the prophets." We will look into this "mystery" later.
For now it is enough to know that the Greek word “musterion” refers to something which has been kept hidden only in order that it might be revealed. Something important has been revealed in Scripture which has either been misunderstood or ignored, according to this passage in Revelation. This has led to that remarkable delay in Revelation 8:1.
We can only speculate about the message of the seven thunders.
Let’s look at the characteristics of thunder on Earth.
Thunder always follows lightning (unlike in American movies where they present it the other way around);
Thunder is a second, audible warning of a storm coming. While you might miss seeing lightning in daytime or while inside a building, it’s hard to miss thunder;
Thunder helps you gauge how far away the lightning (or the storm centre) is, by noting the time between the flash of light and the subsequent sound: every five seconds is one mile of distance, while 3 seconds represents one kilometre.
I’m going to suggest that the thunders explained that, while we had missed the real message of the mystery of God in scripture, there was still time to do something about it.
I’m going to suggest that the seven thunders presented a second elucidation or explanation of this mystery of God which was meant to be brought to pass but could not be because we were not doing what God had set before us to do.
I’m going to suggest that it was decided that this second explanation from the thunders did not need to be given to us, since we already had the primary “lightning” message from Jesus and Paul and others.
What is this mystery that God has announced to His people on Earth? How is this mystery completed? More importantly, is this mystery of God something that we should be aware of? And is this mystery of God something that we are meant to be involved in?
It must be important to know because somehow it produces the only delay in the fulfillment of the end-times vision. Just think of this - Heaven does not operate according to time, but according to place. For there to be a thirty minutes pause in proceedings there must be a really serious, delaying problem on Earth that doesn’t allow God’s plan to move along as intended.
In other words, Heaven is waiting for us to catch up with something related to this mystery. The seventh angel cannot blow his trumpet until the mystery is dealt with on Earth.
What is this mystery of God?
The story continues with "The Mystery of The Ages"