Zephaniah 3:1-20; Revelation 10:8-11; Psalms 138:7-8; Proverbs 29:12-14
NT: “Then the angel that I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. He swore by the one who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, “There will no longer be a delay, but in the days when the seventh angel will blow his trumpet, then the mystery of God will be completed, as he announced to his servants the prophets.” Then the voice that I heard from heaven spoke to me again and said, “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take and eat it; it will be bitter in your stomach, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.” Then I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It was as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I ate it, my stomach became bitter. And they said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings.”” (Revelation 10:5-11 CSB)
After the sixth trumpet sounded, and before the sound of the seventh trumpet, there was a brief interlude – during which, a mighty angel came down from heaven with a small scroll in his hand. Apparently, written on that scroll is the completion of the mystery of God. As the angel stood in a conquering stance on the earth, he proclaimed that the completion of God’s mystery would no longer be delayed… that during the seventh trumpet blast, God’s mystery would be completed.
What is the mystery of God? The Greek word for mystery is mysterion. That word does not refer to a mystery that must be solved – like a detective solving a murder mystery – but to something that was once hidden that has now been revealed. Jesus told His disciples (in Matthew 13:11, Mark 4:11 and Luke 8:10) that the secret (or mystery) of the kingdom of God had been given to them. In Romans 16:25, Paul referred to the proclamation of the gospel as being the revelation of God’s mystery. The completion of God’s mystery is the fulfillment of the gospel of Christ: that in Christ, we are not appointed to wrath, but will be caught up with Christ when He returns to be with Him forever (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Because of this series of events in Revelation 10, many biblical scholars have come to believe that the rapture of the church will occur during the seventh trumpet blast, before the wrath of God is fully poured out on the earth.
John is then instructed to take the little scroll from the angel’s hand and eat it. The completion of God’s mystery is both a sweet and bitter thing… just as the gospel is both a sweet smelling fragrance to some and the stench of death to others. As John ate the scroll, it tasted sweet on his lips but became sour in his stomach. The truth of what is to come is bitter indeed. For those who are in Christ and sealed with His seal, the fulfillment of the gospel will both be sweet victory as they are caught up with the Lord, but a bitter reality as they watch those who rejected the gospel be subjected to the full wrath of God. John, as the one who witnessed all these things, had the unenviable task of proclaiming, not just the good news – but the inevitable judgement to come. What will be your fate when the seventh trumpet sounds? Will you be saved from wrath, or will you undergo the fullness of God’s righteous judgement?
Psalms: “If I walk into the thick of danger, you will preserve my life from the anger of my enemies. You will extend your hand; your right hand will save me. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me. Lord, your faithful love endures forever; do not abandon the work of your hands.” (Psalms 138:7-8 CSB)
When we fully follow the Lord by following His word, will and ways, He will most likely lead us into dangerous places. King David experienced that. There were many times, in the course of serving the Lord and obeying His will, that David was led into dangerous places to do dangerous things. But David knew that even in the think of danger, God would preserve his life as the Lord fulfilled His purposes through him. The same is true of us. We have a saying in the church that I attend: the safest place on earth is the middle of God’s will. The servant of God who obeys the Lord in faith is indestructible until God’s purposes for his life are complete. And even then, if we do die on earth, we will be alive with Christ for eternity. The Lord’s faithful covenantal love towards us endures forever. Neither life nor death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. His purposes will be fulfilled in us and through as we we walk faithfully in His word, will and ways. In that truth, we can have peace and assurance as we remain faithful to the Lord.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You that You are faithful to Your word – that Your loyal covenantal love towards me will never end – that nothing can separate me from Your love as long as I remain in Christ by faith. Help me to be one who does not shrink back in fear, but boldly follows You wherever You go in faith, knowing that Your good purposes for my life will be fulfilled, and that You will preserve my life until that fully comes to pass. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.