Title: IN THE MIDST OF UNMATCHED CHAOS, TESTIMONIES RING CLEAR
Text: Revelation 10:1-11
When the threat on your life is because of your stand with Christ, bold believers filled with courage are needed to share the only message that can save the soul in those final days. As an example, and to give us courage, in the middle of the Great Tribulation there is a pause for three important testimonies. They are found in chapters 10 & 11: the testimony of a mighty angel, the testimony of two special witnesses, and the testimony of the 24 elders in Heaven.
We don’t know exactly how we will react if we were to be put into a life-threatening situation because of our stand with Christ. No doubt, some will choose life and deny they know Christ. Others know the consequences and will choose to make their final hour their grandest with a clear testimony. Tonight’s lesson is one that can instill faith and courage. Read Text.
1. Verse 1 says John saw a mighty angel descend from Heaven. Do angels excel in strength compared to man? Ps. 103:19-21
2. This angel is described differently than most angels. From the description, do you have any indication this angel might be deity? (Clothed with clouds, face like the sun, voice like a lion, feet like fire, standing on land & sea, having an opened book in His hands.)
3. How were clouds associated with God elsewhere in the Bible? (God leading Israel by a cloud; dark clouds over Sinai, God appeared to Moses in a cloud, a cloud received Jesus into Heaven, He will return in the clouds.)
4. This mighty angel had a rainbow above his head. What do you think the purpose of this is at this point of the tribulation? (In the midst of destruction, like the flood, God remembers His mercy for His own.) Hab. 3:2
5. This God-like angel has a little open book in his hand. Any conjecture of what this might contain? (The content of the 7 thundering voices, the rest of the prophetic message of the final days that John could not write down.) Who was the only one worthy to take a book from the Father’s hands earlier? (Jesus.) Ezek. 2:8 – 3:3
Insight: If this mighty angel is Jesus, it seems appropriate that He is the only one worthy to possess this book also. It contains the final plans to finish the redemption of mankind that only He and the Father know, which Jesus inaugurated at Calvary.
6. What does the angel’s posture on the earth indicate to you? (That of a conqueror taking possession of his territory; he is claming the whole world!)
Insight: The Antichrist will soon complete his conquest and force the whole world to submit to his control. But before that happens, Jesus is symbolizing that He has already claimed the world for Himself, the inheritance that His Father promised Him. Ps. 2:6-9
7. When Satan roars like a lion, what is he doing? (Frightening his prey.) When Jesus, the Lion of Judah roars, what is He doing? (Announcing His victory.)
Insight: This is no cry of distress and fear, but a shout of power and a proclamation of vengeance upon His Father’s enemies and those who usurp His authority. Thunder connected to God in the Scripture is an expression of the majesty of God and His wrath upon transgressors. This is a divine pronouncement upon a guilty world, though John is not allowed to record what he heard.
8. John was forbidden to write what the seven thunders uttered. Why seven thunders? (Complete thunder, utmost power.)
Insight: This is the only thing forever sealed in this otherwise unsealed book. Some secret things belong to God forever…other things He reveals only to His children. Rev. 22:10; Deut. 29:29
9. Why do you think this God-like angel took an oath (v.6)? (To affirm the certainty of the words he was about to speak.) Do you recall the previous times when God took an oath? Heb. 6:13-20; 7:20-22; Acts 2:29-32
Insight: This angel swore by the Creator. Various judgments have already been executed upon earth and more is to come. Since God is the Creator, He has the right to execute judgment on the work of His own hands.
10. The angel swore that there would be no more delay. What do you find interesting about this oath in light of how the world scoffs our message in 2 Pet. 3:3-10? (We have no reason to fear when we find comfort that God’s Word is true and His timing is perfect.)
11. Verse 7 says, “in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, then the mystery of God is finished.” Any ideas what this means? (The days of the seventh angel = the middle of the Tribulation. Mystery of God = the mystery why morality and immorality exist side by side – why doesn’t God do something about it?) Why is God permitting evil to increase? (He allows it until the world is ripe for judgment.) Rev. 14:14-20
12. What were the directions the angel gave John as he took the book? (To eat it.) Why is it not enough for John to just take it, read it and know its contents? (Because God wants us to receive His Word into our inner being…like eating it.)
Insight: Woe to the one who merely echoes God’s Word and does not take it in, making it a living part of his very being! You cannot just quote it when it’s convenient, but ignore it the rest of the time. Rev. 20:11-12
Insight: God does not thrust His Word into our mouths and force us to receive it. Rather, He hands it to us and it is up to us to receive it.
13. What do you think the dual nature of the bitter/sweetness of the book is all about? (God’s Word to both our sorrows and joys; its bitterness and sweetness. It contains sweet promises and assurances, but it also contains bitter warnings and prophecies of judgment.)
14. Will God dilute His message simply to please His listeners? Does He want us to dilute it? 2 Tim. 4:1-5
Jesus came to the earth as the sacrificial Lamb for the redemption of man. When He returns again He will be the Lion of Judah who comes to claim His rightful inheritance to the souls of redeemed man. He could not do this without first purchasing what He now comes to claim. It was only as the slain Lamb that He is pronounced worthy to take the concealed message of seven thunders. Though the message is concealed, its words were sweet at first – perhaps revealing the plan of the final redemption. But as the words reached his soul, John’s stomach turned bitter as he realized the target of its judgments. It costs something to be a faithful believer, a faithful messenger, an unflinching believer of the inheritance that is yet unseen.
For us, nothing is sweeter than the Gospel when a new believer accepts it. And nothing is more bitter than a loved one who rejects it. Here is the call to intercede for those who are blind that they may see.