• “Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them.” Revelation 10:4 | Photo: Pixabay

The Book of Revelation – Write Number Ten

Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer - 31 March 2020

“When the seven peals of thunder had spoken, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from Heaven saying, “Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them.” Revelation 10:4

John has heard and understood what the ‘peals of thunder’ said, but he is not to write it down! Although he was instructed to write down what he saw: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, saying, Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea”, Revelation 1:10-11. But not this!

He is like Daniel, to whom it is said: “The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.” Daniel 8:26. Does this mean that the content of what was said by the ‘seven peals of thunder’ will be made known in the distant future? After all, Daniel is told: “But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.” Daniel 12:4. Or does it belong to the inexpressible words, things that no one is permitted to speak? 2 Corinthians 12:4.

There have been people—in our time too—who believe they have received a special revelation from the Lord as to the content of what the seven peals of thunder said, and they have also published it. Yet, if there are special utterances of the Spirit, they must always be checked against the Word. 1 John 4:1: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. “

A true prophet is one whose word comes to pass. Deuteronomy 18:20-22: “But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.“

There are harsh warnings against false prophets in Scripture. Read for instance 1 Kings 22:1-40. It very much begs the question as to whether what John had to keep hidden would be revealed to someone else today. That seems to be very unlikely. The Lord Jesus says at the end of the Book of Revelation that if anyone adds to the words of the prophecy of this book, God will add the plagues that are described in this book to him, Revelation 22:18. We are not allowed to fill in, to add to what the Lord has sealed.

“There are harsh warnings against false prophets in Scripture. Read for instance 1 Kings 22:1-40.”

Furthermore: does the fact that it is sealed mean that it will be unsealed one day? Or are what the ‘peals of thunder’ said, along with the judgments they contained, not going to take place because of God’s grace? Or will things only become clear when the seventh angel blows his trumpet? Do they belong to the mystery of God that He has proclaimed, and will then proclaim, to His servants, the prophets? “…and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in it, and the sea and the things in it, that there will be delay [or: no time] no longer…” Revelation 10:6-7. Just guessing, we do not know.

The angel, on behalf of Christ, roars like the Lion of Judah. The ‘peals of thunder’ proclaim their messages, which are forbidden to be written down. The little book, or little scroll, is in His left hand. His face is turned towards Jerusalem. Is that the secret? Has it to do with God’s own dealings with Israel in the last days? Is the ‘judgment of the world’ to be postponed, as at the time of the first intermezzo (Revelation 7:1-8), until Israel has achieved its goal nationally and internationally – and also spiritually?

The angel/Christ will afterwards lift up His hand and swear: “There should be time no longer” (AV), “There will be no more delay” (NIV). Does this refer to God’s own dealings with His firstborn son, Israel? “‘Thus says the Lord, “Israel is My son, My firstborn.”… “With weeping they will come, and by supplication I will lead them; I will make them walk by streams of waters, On a straight path in which they will not stumble; For I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn…” “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.” (Exodus 4:22; Jeremiah 31:9; Hosea 11:1) Is this about things about the Father and His first-born son Israel that do not concern the Church? For this Book of Revelation is a book of comfort for them, for the seven churches, the Church of all ages and in all places, so that they can know that God is leading His people, through everything, however heavily the storm rages.

Israel wonders in Psalm 77: “Will the Lord reject forever? And will He never be favourable again? Has His lovingkindness ceased forever? Has His Promise come to an end forever? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Or has He in anger withdrawn His compassion?  Then I said, “It is my grief, that the right hand of the Most High has changed…” You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your strength among the peoples. You have by Your power redeemed Your people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph…” I shall remember the deeds of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will meditate on all Your work and muse on Your deeds…” Israel knows: one-day all will be well. All is well that ends well.

“They will come from the whole world, from a worldwide exile. We are seeing this happen in our day!”

The Lord does not always pour out His fierce anger. The prophet Hosea gives an emotional description of the relationship between Him and His people. “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. But the more they were called, the more they went away from Me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realise it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them. Will they not return to Egypt and will not Assyria rule over them because they refuse to repent? A sword will flash in their cities; it will devour their false prophets and put an end to their plans. My people are determined to turn from me. Even though they call me God Most High, I will by no means exalt them. How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboyim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused. I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I devastate Ephraim again. For I am God, and not a man—the Holy One among you. I will not come against their cities. They will follow the Lord; He will roar like a lion. When He roars, His children will come trembling from the west. They will come from Egypt, trembling like sparrows, from Assyria, fluttering like doves. I will settle them in their homes,” declares the Lord…” Hosea 11:1-11 NIV.

They will come from the whole world, from a worldwide exile. We are seeing this happen in our day!

When the Lord finally is dealing with His people Israel, giving them the revelation about Christ, there are not any foreigners/gentiles present. When Joseph, an image of the Lord Jesus in the Old Testament, makes himself known to his Jewish brothers, he first sends the Egyptians out of the room. They have nothing to do with this impressive moment.

Genesis 45:1-12 “Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.

Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!

And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

“So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.

Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’ “You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you…”

What takes place is between Him and His Jewish people. It is none of our business. Is that the reason why John has to remain silent? Who can tell? But one-day the heavenly Joseph will reveal Himself to His Jewish brothers and sisters.

As the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 11:25-29 “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; He will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is My covenant with them when I take away their sins.” [One-day the Lord will do this Himself.] As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.”

One-day soon they (and we all) will see Him come! Riding on the clouds, shining like the sun. And of His Kingdom there shall be no end!

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