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Faithlife

Ready or Not, Here I Come!

Revelation   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Time is running out for people to repent.

Notes & Transcripts
Did you know there is Doomsday clock? Yeah, there is. It is not a real clock but one that since 1947. The Doomsday Clock is a symbol which represents the likelihood of a human-caused global catastrophe. Maintained since 1947 by the members of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' Science and Security Board,[1] the Clock represents an analogy for the threat of global nuclear war. Since 2007, it has also reflected climate change[2] and new developments in the life sciences and technology that could inflict irrevocable harm to humanity.[3]
The Clock represents the hypothetical global catastrophe as "midnight" and The Bulletin's opinion on how close the world is to a global catastrophe as a number of "minutes" to midnight. Its original setting in 1947 was seven minutes to midnight. It has been set backward and forward 22 times since then, the smallest-ever number of minutes to midnight being two (in 1953) and the largest seventeen (in 1991). As of January 2017, the Clock is set at two and a half minutes to midnight, due to a "rise of 'strident nationalism' worldwide, United States President Donald Trump's comments over North Korea, Russia, and nuclear weapons."[4][5] This setting is the Clock's second-closest approach to midnight since its introduction.
The Bulletin's clock is not a gauge to register the ups and downs of the international power struggle; it is intended to reflect basic changes in the level of continuous danger in which mankind lives in the nuclear age...[7
There is another clock that is real and is running. That is God’s clock. And according to it. Time is running out for the wicked to repent. You never know when your time will be up.
Last week a 17 backed out of a parking space into the street and was broadsided by a truck. Her mother died in that accident. Someone else was riding a bicycle and was hit by a car. We don’t know when our time is up. Jesus said to his disciples when asked about the worshippers who were killed in the temple what he thought about it. They wanted to know if they were wicked sinners and that is why they died. Jesus answered “except you repent you shall all likewise perish.”
Your time is running. The clock is ticking on your run in this life. to say the least it is short.
Our text highlights this truth even more. For in it John sees this colossal image of an Angel holding a little scroll, swearing an oath that “there should be time no longer:”
Then John is told not to write the message, but to eat the scroll and then that he would prophecy later.
What are we to make of all this?
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Well, we have come through the 7 seals and 6 trumpets of judgment. Over half the worlds population has perished. The world is in a state of chaos. The landscape of the world has changed drastically. We ended the last chapter with the statement that “the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, . . . .”
And this chapter opens with a change of scenery for John. From chapter four until now, John has been in heaven seeing these judgments from that vantage point. Now he is returned to the earth where he sees this image of a strong angel with a message.
To this chapter we now turn.
The message is this: time is short. there will be no more delay. We will see what that means.
In this chapter and the next we are introduced to three new witnesses to the truth of the message of God. One is an angel, and then the two witnesses in chapter 11. But we also have John as a witness. So basically we have two sets of two witnesses. At the mouth of two or three witnesses testimony is deemed to be true. That is what we have here. Witnesses that attest that the testimony of God, His message of doom to the wicked is the truth.
I. The first witness is the Strong angel, v.1-7
I asked myself, why this angel in this part now? What is the purpose here.
Many think this angel is Jesus. Others that he is one of the archangels. In our text it is really not that important who the angel is or God could have made that very clear. What I want to address is why the angel appears and why is he described as he is? Because much of this description does fit with other pictures we have of Jesus throughout Revelation as well as the OT.
So lets look at this.
He is described in our text as a strong angel, used of God in 18:8, but another angel preaching 'who is worthy to open the scroll' in . Then in 18:21 it refers to another angel who casts a stone into the sea.
He is descending out of Heaven-Rev. 18:1 an angel descends out of Heaven and the earth is lightened because of His glory. an angel has the keys of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.
Here this indicates the angel comes directly from the presence of God.
Clothed in a cloud- in 14:14, 15, 16 the Son of Man is sitting on a cloud, in he comes on a cloud. This angel is clothed with a cloud indicating that it is permanently affixed to him. This recalls the son of man coming on the clouds of the sky. Even the exodus with pillar of cloud. God is robed in a cloud, .
We see a similar description in ;
Jesus often appeared in the OT as the Angel of the Lord, ; ; .
He is descending out of Heaven-Rev. 18:1 an angel descends out of Heaven and the earth is lightened because of His glory. an angel hs the keys of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.
Here this indicates the angel comes directly from the presence of God.
Clothed in a cloud- in 14:14, 15, 16 the Son of Man is sitting on a cloud, in he comes on a cloud. This angel is clothed with a cloud indicating that it is permanently affixed to him. This recalls the son of man coming on the clouds of the sky. Even the exodus with pillar of cloud. God is robed in a cloud, .
He has a bow upon his head- The words used indicate that it was like a crown on his head. the only other place iris is in where John sees a bow around the throne of God. I think the bow is reminder of God's covenant promise to Noah and us that God would not destroy with a flood the earth. It is a reference to His faithfulness, maybe a code word or indication of His faithfulness.
This is what I wrote about it in ch. 4.
1. Rainbow
Then there was a rainbow with appearance of emerald encircling the throne. this is something like the description in And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.
this is something like the description in
And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.
The word iris in Greek is often used of any bright halo surrounding another body, It refers to the circle around the eyes of a peacock's tail, and to the iris of the eye. and so it may refer to a bright halo around or above the throne.
John does not see the form of God, but the brilliance of the flashing gems
“In the vision the flashing lustre of the ἰασπις [iaspis] and the fiery red of the σαρδ [sard] are relieved by the halo (ἰρις [iris]) of emerald which encircled the Throne” (Swete). Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.
this is a circle, not a half circle and the rainbow symbolizing the Noahic covenant of God with all flesh, . For the rainbow shows the ruin of the world through sin and God's judgment but also the calm after the storm so that God's covenant is to man one of life through faith in him. This rainbow is seen before the storm here, still showing that even in judgment God is merciful
the description of the Lord in ch. 1:12, 15 sounds similar, in that His eyes are as flames of fire and his feet as burnished brass and his voice as mighty rushing water. Here he is described as face as the sun, feet as pillars of fire and his voice as a roaring lion. Much the same effect in all three descriptions of face/eyes, feet, and voice.
We see a similar description in ;
Jesus often appeared in the OT as the Angel of the Lord, ; ; .
When he saw his face it was like the Sun in full glow. TO bright to look at for sure and probably forced him to look down as we all would do and then he sees his feet and the are ablaze like pillars of fire recalling the Exodus as God leads the people with a pillar of fire and cloud, . As Patterson points out it recalls the image of Moses coming down from the MT and the people had to look away and he placed a veil over his face.
Again indicating that he had been in the presence of God.
The feet on sea and land points out global authority. Who can stand on the sea, but one with power over it. It doesn't say he stood in the sea, but upon it. the analogy breaks down with regards to the earth/land, but the thought is something and the picture in John's mind must have registered that this angel has great power. And to speak as he does in v.3 must have been awe inspiring.
v.3 He cries out with a great voice like the roaring of a lion.
when he spoke the seven thunders spoke
known. For βρονται [brontai] see already 4:5; 6:1; 8:5. In the Lord speaks in the sevenfold voice of the thunderstorm upon the sea. . . . In the voice of the Father to Christ was thought by some to be thunder. Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.
Scholars have tried to figure out who this angel is. We have looked at several similarities to its being Jesus, but they do not actually prove it. Others have said that he is an Archangel or another of great power. Either way, there is nothing definitive in identifying who this angel is. But the text does emphasize his strength, glory and what he holds in his hand. which is the scroll.
All of these items of description indicate that if this is not Jesus, and I don’t think it is, This Angel has come directly from the presence of God and these are his Bona fide’s . So they are a guarantee that the message he is about to give is true, because he has come from God.
Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.
Isn’t that what Jesus did in the NT? His words and actions were validation that what he said was truth. The people said he taught as one having authority, not as the scribes. They saw the difference. He healed the sick, the lame walked, lepers were cleansed, demons cast out of the demon possessed, raised the dead, walked on water, calmed the storms, turned water into wine, multiplied loaves and fish. All of those indicate He was not only from God but was God.
That is why his image is here for John and us to see and read about; to validate the truth of his message.
What is that message?
Notice he holds a little scroll.
It is not the same one of ch. 5. different word is used there. This refers to a little scroll, one that is smaller than the other one. This scroll is opened, meaning I assume that the contents have been revealed just as the earlier scroll as the seals were removed the contents were revealed. Because he has come from God, the implication is that the scroll which contains the message is from God as well.
.4
He was about to write what the seven thunders spoke. To hear the words coming out of this angels mouth must have been awesome. It was so important he was ready to write what he said. But John was told not to write what was spoken by the seven thunders. that must have been a 'what?' moment for him. Why would you not write the words coming out of such an important colossal angels mouth? The answer is not given. Instead he was to seal it. the only thing I can think of was that he was to seal the scroll that was opened so that only those authorized to open and read could do so. Just the opposite of the earlier scroll which was sealed and only Jesus could open the seals. In this case the scroll is sealed.
Another question arises. Why let John hear the message of the Seven thunders but not let him tell anyone else about it? It may be that God has revealed only part of His judgment to all as if saying, "You haven't seen it all."
The Oath-v.5
v.5
the angel lifted his right hand to heaven -standard practice of oath swearing. Abram lifted his hand in oath to the Lord, ; Moses lifted his hand in oath recorded in his song in . has the most pertinent verse where the man clothed in linen raises both hands and swears the end will come in "time, two times, and half a time."
So what are you doing when you swear an oath? You are attesting to the truth of what is said. Just as in a court of law, “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help me God.”
This angel is swearing the same thing. He is telling the truth.
v.6
He swears an oath to the one who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens . . . the earth . . . and the sea . . ., because time shall be no longer.
Some think this shows the angel could not be Jesus. However, the Son could swear an oath to the Father. This is reference to God the Creator of all.
You swear an oath to one who is greater, or to one who has greater authority. A witness swears an oath to tell the truth before a judge who has power over the case. So this angel swears to the greater, the One who is the Creator. We see references to the Creator in ;
As Creator He is the one who is over all and is all powerful when dealing with His creation in judgment.
The oath is:
the phrase "time shall be no longer" doesn't mean that time ceases to exist, but that there will be no more delay in fulfilling the seventh trumpet. Time has run out and so the judgment will commence. It could be the answer to the question "how long?" in . This would be good news to the saints.
It is the word used by Jesus on the cross when He said "it is finished." the idea is that mystery known to God and revealed to man through revelation of John and the prophets is now being brought to its conclusion. This picture is seen in ; the prophecies of Joel to name a few of them. Consider Peter's statement about this in .
With the blowing of the 7th trumpet the mystery of God is completed according to what was spoken to his prophets. This latter phrase referring to the prophets shows us that this judgment was no secret. It was foretold in many of the prophets of the OT. It is about to be fulfilled with the return of Christ the judgment on Satan and the fallen angels as well as the ungodly, unbelieving world.
What is this mystery?
The phrase is used in to refer to Christ in whom are hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
The idea of mystery was important in apocalyptic thought. Mysteries were secrets preserved in heaven and revealed to the enraptured apocalyptist (1 Enoch 71:3ff.; also 40:2; 46:2). An eschatological orientation is always present in the NT use of the word. In the final destiny of Israel is a “mystery.” The “mystery” of is the change that will overtake the believer at Christ’s return. In the “mystery of lawlessness” (RSV) that is at present restrained will soon be fully revealed and at the coming of Christ will be destroyed.
Mounce, R. H. (1997). The Book of Revelation (p. 207). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
So then let me summarize the meaning of the appearance of this ‘strong Angel’ He has a message. The message is that time is running out. ie. to repent of sins. The appearance of Christ is about to take place and then it will too late to repent of your sin. then you will stand before him in judgment. The description of him:
he has come from heaven
he is clothed with a cloud, like God
he has a rainbow on his head
His face shines like the sun
his feet are like pillars of fire
his feet are on the land and sea
his voice roaring like a lion, seven thunders
all indicate that if he is not Jesus Christ he has been in the presence of God and now speaks in God’s stead.
He swore an oath to God the Creator, so that his message is the truth. Just as Jesus spoke the truth and indicated that He was from God and is God by His words and actions.
So then The angel’s testimony is true. Time is running out. Time is almost up. You better believe it and repent.
II. Now we come to the testimony of John, v.8-11
John ingests the message. Instead of declaring it. He is told to seal it up. then he is told to take the book out of the Angel’s hand.
“Take it and eat it” is what he is commanded.
It will sweet in his mouth, but bitter in his belly.
What does this incident mean? Though no interpretation was given John, it is evident that in partaking of the book he was appropriating what the book states (cf. ). The scroll seems to symbolize the Word of God and divine revelation in general, for John was told to deliver the Word faithfully.
To John the Word of God was indeed sweet with its revelation of the grace of God and its many precious promises that belong to believers. As such it sharply contrasted with his circumstances on Patmos Island. David stated, “The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb” (). Though the Word is sweet to believers, it will be bitter to unbelievers when it brings divine judgment on them. Walvoord, J. F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 954–955). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
Walvoord, J. F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 954–955). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
Thus the idea of eating the scroll is that John was to assimilate the message. It was to become part of him.
As Collins notes, “The eating of the scroll is a symbolic action. It shows in a vivid and concrete way that the prophet does not announce his own message, but one which comes from outside himself.” Patterson, P. (2012). Revelation. (E. R. Clendenen, Ed.) (Vol. 39, p. 234). Nashville, TN: B&H.
Patterson, P. (2012). Revelation. (E. R. Clendenen, Ed.) (Vol. 39, p. 234). Nashville, TN: B&H.
The eating of the scroll also indicates the authority to speak the words of the scroll and to be the spokesman for the one who wrote the scroll.
This has special application to the preacher/teacher- to be an effective communicator the word has to be in you, part of you. The message has to be internalized otherwise you are just regurgitating information. It has to impact you. The preacher has to apply the message to his own life first. So John was to assimilate the message. THe grace and mercy of God would be sweet like honey in him, but it would also be distasteful in the judgment part of it. It would become a bitter pill to swallow as he gives the message of life to those who will reject it and pay the price with judgment.
He is told that he would prophecy again to 'many people, nations, and tongues and kingdoms.' That is, he would testify to this message of time running out Christ is coming again. Therefore, repent!
Conclusion:
the message is time is running out- repent or be judged
the message is time is running out- repent or be judged
the Angel clearly from God validates the message by his description. If he is not Jesus then he is clearly from God
actions- His appearance shows divine authority, His stance over sea and land shows divine authority over the world, His holding the scroll containing the message of judgment and his oath which is the message.
this is like Jesus in the gospels, by his actions and teachings shows he is from God.
John then is to assimilate that message and share it with those around him.
And so are we. First of all to repent of our sin and turn to Jesus for salvation. Then to repent of our sin we commit after we believe and then to tell others to repent.
This is the gospel. God is giving time to repent, but Time is up.
When I was a kid we used to play kick the can or hide and seek. the one who was it, would count to 100 by fives. 5,10, 15, 20 . . . . Ready or Not here I Come! Well God is saying, “Ready or not Here I Come!
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