The Seventh Trumpet and the Little Book
1And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:
This is Christ. The cloud represents judgment. The rainbow represents covenant/promise (Genesis 9:13-16; Ezekiel 1:28; Daniel 9:27). The covenant of destruction first promised in Lev. 26 and Deut. 28 and prophesied in Daniel 9 is being confirmed, fulfilled. The face as the sun and feet of fire (burnished brass) is the same image as Rev. 1 and Ezekiel 1 and Daniel 10.
2And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth,
This little book is the same scroll from chapter 5. Instead of being sealed (a mystery), it is open for those who would read it to do so. Herein we see the oft passages of Christians not being taken unaware as a thief in the night. They understood from Christ’s discourse and this letter, in conjunction with many other writings in the NT what was going to happen, what would herald its coming, and when it would happen. At Olivet the book was still sealed. Now it is not because the event is that close. The sea represents the separation of the Gentiles and the earth is the Jews. That Christ stands on both shows that in him both are united. At this point, however, there is still in some sense, two different categories. After the fall of Jerusalem, even this distinction doesn’t exist Biblically because there is no more sea, no more separation. To be clear, the Gentiles were brought into the church spiritually at the cross, practically with Cornelius onward. But because there were still prophecies concerning the Jewish nation left unfulfilled at this time and because the Judaizers were still having such a powerful influence because the Temple still stood, some distinction still remained at least in the minds of the non-Christian Jews. After the end of Judaism, any and all forms of separation/distinction were completely gone.
Also, the idea of "standing on" shows Christ's authority over both systems. He is in control over the events that are happening.
3And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.
Christ, the lion of Judah, utters something accompanied by the voice of seven thunders. This thunder is, as in Revelation 6:1, is the voice of God pronouncing judgment or the way things must be (as from Mount Sinai).
4And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.
This passage is not so much that God teases man with a certain mystery and then does not reveal the nature of the mystery. The mode of Revelation is symbols, so the meaning here is that the pronounced judgment is that which is unspeakable (even though John and those reading the letter know what the judgment is). Compare to Joel 2:11; Matthew 13:35; 2 Corinthians 12:4. It is (symbolically) to much for mortal man to bear so terrible is the judgment.
5And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven,
Christ here appeals to His Father, the source of ultimate authority for what He is about to do.
6And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:
Christ is calling upon His Father as witness, that according to His Divine Will there should be no more delay in the imminent punishment about to be meted out on the Jews. The answer to the martyr’s cry of “how long?” from Rev. 6:9-10 is given.
7But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
Read Ephesians 1:9-10. The mystery is solved. The dispensation of the fullness of time is come. The final woe is pronounced, the mystery of God is finished according to that which the prophets of the OT prophesied. An end to Judaism and the full blessing on all nations, including the Gentiles must be. The final, full establishment of the new, spiritual Israel as superior to the old, physical Israel is come. There is no more division between Jew and Gentile because the former does not exist any more and the latter have become the antitype of the former in that they have become Christians, the adopted children of God. In this verse we have the tying in of all the Old Testament prophets to what John is seeing. It is conclusive (as it should already be) from this verse that what was prophesied in the OT matters to the interpretation of Revelation, that what was prophesied in the OT (the end of Judaism and the establishment of the church) is in view. Verses like these are why it is beyond me that any other interpretation is even possible or considered.
8And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.
John is told to take the book from Christ.
9And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.
John takes the book. Jesus tells John to eat the book. This verse is parallel to Ezekiel 3:1-3, 14.
10And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.
When John takes the book (representing the Revelation he was writing to the seven churches about the end of Judaism) the information is at first great to hear, but as it settles in, the information is not as great as it first sounded. John herein is hearing the message of the triumph of the church over its greatest enemy, the Jews. Their destruction assures the survival of the church just as God promised. But in that destruction, John and many other former Jews, see the end of their nation, their people, a people who rejected God and are eternally lost. This is what Ezekiel sees in his vision as well: the punishment of the wicked, and even the redemption of the Jews from captivity, but ultimately their end.
11And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
John will leave Patmos and, with the churches of the province of Asia, prophesy to many. Easier to do the younger you are.
Note also that John was to prophesy, not preach. This is an extremely important distinction for a number of reasons. One reason is that it more strongly identifies the little book as Revelation rather than the whole Bible or the New Testament. We're it more general, the word would be preach, not prophesy. Another reason is that it carries with it the implication that prophecy continued after the destruction else "many" audiences is not likely.
In Truth and Love.