The Time of the End
A Study About the Book of Revelation
Arlen L. Chitwood
The Opened Scroll
I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire.
He had a little book [scroll] open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land,
and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices.
Now when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them.”
The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand [right hand] to heaven
and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer,
but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets. (Revelation 10:1-7)
A seven-sealed scroll, the title deed to the earth, was introduced in Revelation chapter five. And the results of the breaking of the seals on this scroll — ensuing judgments that God required for the redemption of the inheritance, the earth — were seen throughout events depicted in chapters six, eight, and nine, with events in chapter seven forming an aside (dealing with 144,000 Jewish evangels and the results of their ministry [ref. chapter 14]).
Then, the end result of these seals being broken and the scroll being opened up is seen in events covering all of chapter ten and the latter part of chapter eleven (vv. 15-19). The entire matter surrounding this scroll being opened and everything being brought to pass within the confines of that which is seen by the breaking of the seals on the scroll occurred between the time that the Son took the sealed scroll from His Father’s right hand in chapter five and a mighty angel appeared in chapter ten holding the opened scroll.
This mighty angel, the seventh and last of the angels to whom seven trumpets were given when the seventh and last seal of the scroll was broken (cf. 8:2; 10:7; 11:15), brings the entire matter to a close.
The seven-year Tribulation, along with immediately following events that usher in the Messianic Kingdom, will be over at this point in the book. The earth, by and through the depicted judgments, will have been redeemed. And events in succeeding chapters (chapters 11a, 12-19), along with events back in chapter seven, simply form detail and commentary concerning events occurring during the time of the judgments seen in chapters six, eight, and nine when the seals on the scroll were being broken.
(As seen in previous chapters of this book [ref. Chapters 16-18], events in Revelation 11b, 15, 16 have to do with the judgments of the seven-sealed scroll.)
Thus, the actions of the seventh angel with the opened scroll in chapter ten brings matters to a close. And events in conjunction with his sounding of the seventh and last trumpet (with the corresponding seventh and last bowl being poured out as well) — could only form what would have to be understood as the apex of this closing book in Scripture.
And there is a state of grandeur to the scene at hand that one needs to simply step back from and allow Scripture to depict. That which is seen in Revelation chapter ten is the manner that God has chosen to announce the completion of 6,000 years of redemptive work. And this is the manner that God has chosen to “declare the decree” seen in the second Psalm (v. 7).
Note Psalm 2:5-7 in this respect:
Then He shall speak to them in His wrath [speak to the Gentile nations coming against restored Israel and Israel’s King, in Jerusalem in vv. 1-3], and distress them in His deep displeasure:
Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion.
I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. [brought His Son forth in the sense seen in the text, placing Him on the throne in Jerusalem]. (Psalm 2:5-7)
(On the Father begetting, bringing forth His Son, in Psalm 2:7, refer to the author’s book, Brought Forth from Above, for a past similar divine work relative to Israel and a present similar divine work relative to Christians.
Then for a future divine work relative to all three of God’s firstborn Sons in this same respect — Christ, Israel, and the Church [following the adoption into a firstborn status] — refer to the author’s book, God’s Firstborn Sons.
All of God’s firstborn Sons will be brought forth on the third day, the third 1,000-year period dating from the events of Calvary. Psalm chapter two tells about one firstborn Son [with Christ’s resurrection on the third day foreshadowing His being raised up on the third 1,000-year period in Psalm 2:6, 7 (Acts 13:30-34)]. Other parts of Scripture provide information pertaining to God’s two other firstborn sons being raised up on this same 1,000-year day, in this same manner.)
All of the Seals Broken
The seven-sealed scroll from chapter five — the title deed to the earth — seen with all the seals broken in chapter ten, contained the complete redemptive terms for the inheritance, the earth. There were no terms outside of this scroll, and the terms of the scroll had to do with judgment.
Within the scope of these redemptive terms, these judgments, there were three sets of sevens — seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls. The seven trumpets formed the judgments of the seventh seal, and the seven bowls were seen when the seventh trumpet was sounded. Thus, both the seven trumpets and the seven bowls formed the judgments of the seventh seal. Once these judgments had occurred — once the seven trumpets had sounded, and the seven bowls had been poured out — the complete redemptive terms of the scroll had been fulfilled.
(As previously shown in this book [ref. Chapters 16-18], the judgments occurring when the seven trumpets sounded and the seven bowls were poured out formed different descriptions of the same judgments. That which is occurring when the first trumpet was sounded and the first bowl was poured out had to do with the same judgment. And so it was with the sounding of the other trumpets and the pouring out of the other bowls. That which is occurring when the bowls were poured out simply provided additional information concerning that which is occurring when the trumpets were sounded.
Thus, the sounding of the seven trumpets and the pouring out of the seven bowls deal with the same thing and must be studied in the light of one another. And that is especially true when viewing how the entire matter is brought to a terminal point, depicted by both the sounding of the seventh trumpet and the pouring out of the seventh bowl. Both bring matters to the same terminal point [cf. 10:5-7; 11:15; 16:17].)
Note that the judgments associated with the sounding of the seven trumpets were not seen until the seventh seal had been broken, though they formed further descriptions of the same judgments occurring when previous seals were broken.
The same would be true for judgments not seen until the previous fifth and sixth seals of the scroll had been broken, for these judgments formed further descriptions of the progression of judgments seen occurring when the first four seals were broken, depicting four horsemen riding forth.
And the breaking of the seventh seal of the scroll provides exactly the same type of information that the breaking of the fifth and sixth seals had previously provided. That which is occurring when this seventh seal is broken, again, provides additional detail and commentary on that which is occurring particularly when the sixth seal was broken, reflecting back on terminal events which are seen following the four horsemen riding forth when the first four seals were broken.
The complete story, covering the entire redemption of the inheritance (all seven years of the Tribulation, along with events following Christ’s return that lead into the Messianic Kingdom), was told in capsulated form when the four horsemen rode forth. And that which is occurring when the remaining three seals were broken simply provided additional detail and commentary already seen by and through the breaking of the first four seals, particularly on the end result of that which is seen by and through the breaking of these first four seals.
Then the trumpet and bowl judgments carry this same type of relationship to one another. Though the bowl judgments are not seen until the sounding of the seventh trumpet — with the pouring out of these bowls not seen in the book until chapters fifteen and sixteen — the latter (the bowl judgments) simply provide additional detail and commentary for the former (the trumpet judgments). And both together provide additional detail and commentary for that which is previously seen during the breaking of the first six seals of the scroll.
Beyond that, the trumpet and bowl judgments have to do with events brought to pass at the time of Christ’s return, immediately following the Tribulation. These judgments will occur at a time when the government of the earth will have already been brought into complete disarray and collapse, with society at large faring little better.
The trumpet and bowl judgments, in this respect, would reflect back particularly on events seen when the sixth seal was broken, along with corresponding events occurring near the terminus following the breaking of the first four seals.
(Chapters six through nineteen of this last book in Scripture is structured the same way that the first book in Scripture is structured [along with numerous other books in the Old Testament].
The first thirty-four verses of Genesis [1:1-2:3] relate the complete story of Scripture in capsulated form. Then, the remainder of Scripture is simply commentary — filling in all the details, by and through numerous ways and means — of that which is dealt with and foreshadowed in these opening thirty-four verses.
A skeletal framework is set forth at the beginning [Genesis 1:1-2:3]. Then, the subsequent commentary [Genesis 2:4ff] forms all the sinews, flesh, and skin to cover the skeletal framework [cf. Ezekiel 37:1-10]. And this commentary is often repetitious, showing the same thing or different things occurring during the same period of time, but all from different vantage points, providing all the different facets of information on the subject that God has deemed necessary.
Beginning immediately following the introductory thirty-four verses in Genesis [with details surrounding man’s creation in 2:7 (cf. 1:26-28)] and continuing into chapter nine, the overall scope of the same thing that is seen in the preceding thirty-four verses is seen again [creation, ruin, restoration, and rest], but from a different vantage point, with added detail.
Then, beginning with Nimrod’s kingdom in chapter ten and continuing into subsequent chapters, the end of that which is previously seen and dealt with in previous chapters is seen again [covering the same time as seen in Revelation 6-20a].
Then, Genesis 22-25 again covers part of the events previously seen — beginning with events surrounding Calvary and continuing to the Messianic Kingdom 2,000 years later — but from a different vantage point yet, adding more detail.
And matters continue in this manner as one moves through the remainder of Genesis and through other parts of the Old Testament, with the whole of the Old Testament providing a complete word picture of that which is introduced at the beginning.
Then, in the last book of Scripture, in chapters 6-19, the text is structured in exactly the same way that is previously seen in the first book of Scripture and elsewhere in the Old Testament.
The entire matter [the complete time covering the redemption of the inheritance, from the time that the first horseman rode forth in chapter 6 to the battle at the end of chapter 19] is seen in time covered by events occurring as a result of the breaking of the first four seals, when all four horsemen sequentially rode forth [6:1-8].
Then the remainder forms commentary, drawing extensively from the Old Testament, providing the sinews, flesh, and skin to cover the skeletal framework established when the first four seals were broken. And this commentary, as in Genesis, is often repetitious, showing the same thing or different things occurring during the same period of time, but all from different vantage points, providing all the different facets of information that God has deemed necessary.
Some things about the preceding have been dealt with in past chapters in this book and, of necessity, will be dealt with in future chapters as well. Attention is called to this structure somewhat at length at this point in the book because of the subject matter in Revelation chapter ten — taking the reader to the same point as seen in the opening verses of chapter twenty.)
Thus, understanding how the book of Revelation is structured in this respect is crucial for a correct understanding of this closing book of Scripture. Understanding this structure will explain how the judgments depicted by the pouring out of the seven bowls, though not seen until the seventh trumpet sounds (chapters 10, 11), and not seen being poured out until later chapters in the book (chapters 15, 16), can have to do with the judgments occurring when each of the seven trumpets sounds (chapters 8-11).
The bowl judgments simply form additional commentary for the trumpet judgments. And both together form additional commentary for that which is already seen when the previous six seals of the scroll were broken.
Action of the Mighty Angel
The action of the seventh angel is expressed in chapter ten in connection with the sounding of the seventh trumpet, which brings the mystery of God to a completed or finished state — a full disclosure of that which is seen as a mystery up to this point in time. And this is brought to pass by and through a full revelation (a full disclosure) of God’s Son (Revelation 1:1), fully revealing the Father (Revelation 10:7; cf. John 14:8, 9), which necessitates a completion of everything seen in the book of Revelation up to and including events occurring at the time of Christ’s return in the latter part of chapter nineteen.
Then, the same thing is seen in chapter sixteen, though from a different perspective, by a seventh angel pouring out the seventh bowl of wrath (v. 17). This act is expressed in the chapter by a great voice coming out of the temple in heaven saying, “It is done [lit., ‘It has been finished’].” This is the translation of a perfect tense in the Greek text, indicating action completed in past time, which exists during present time in a finished state.
Everything will have been completed at this point in time. The inheritance will have been redeemed, the bride will have become the Lamb’s wife, and the scepter will have changed hands. Satan will have been bound and cast into the abyss, and the Messianic Era can now be ushered in.
At this point in time, for the first time in the history of the earth, that which is seen in chapter ten can occur.
1) The Transfer of Power
The matter concerning the kingdom of this world (a kingdom that has been under Satan’s dominion and control since time preceding man’s creation) becoming that “of our Lord and of His Christ” is clearly stated in a symbolic manner in chapter ten (vv. 1-7); then it is clearly stated again in so many words in the next chapter, when the sounding of the seventh trumpet (with the corresponding pouring out of the seventh bowl) is repeated (11:15-19).
In chapter ten, at the completion of all the judgments connected with the breaking of the seven seals on the scroll from chapter five, a “mighty angel” comes down from heaven (an angel clothed with “a cloud,” “a rainbow” on his head, his face shining “as it were the sun,” and his feet appearing as “pillars of fire”). This angel is then seen holding this scroll, in an opened manner, outstretched toward heaven.
At this point in the book, Christ will have broken all of the seals; and all of the judgments connected with the breaking of these seals will have come to pass. The entire matter will be over when this “mighty angel,” holding the opened scroll, has come down from heaven and has placed “his right foot upon the sea and his left foot on the land [indicating complete dominance and control of the redeemed inheritance, the redeemed possession]” (cf. Daniel 7:13, 14).
(A rainbow is seen two times in the book of Revelation [4:3; 10:1]. The rainbow, as first seen in Scripture in Genesis 9:13-16, appeared following the storm. And the rainbow is used after a similar manner, in relation to judgment, in the book of Revelation. It is seen surrounding God’s throne in chapter four in connection with a past judgment of Christians [chapters 1-3]; and it is seen in chapter ten on the head of the “mighty angel” who sounds the seventh trumpet, in connection with a past judgment of Israel and the nations.
In both instances, judgment will be over. Through the first judgment, the bride will have been made known [chapters 1-3]; and, through the second judgment, Israel will have been brought to the place of repentance, the inheritance will have been redeemed, the bride will have become the Lamb’s wife, and a saved and converted Israel will have been restored as the wife of Jehovah [chapters 6-19].)
This “mighty angel,” holding the opened scroll with all of the seals broken, standing upon the sea and the land, cried with “a loud voice, as when a lion roars” (cf. Revelation 5:5), resulting in “seven thunders” being heard (a possible reference to the seven bowl judgments [chapters 15, 16], which will have also been fulfilled at this time).
Then this angel “raised up his hand [lit., ‘his right hand’] to heaven” (evidently the hand holding the opened scroll — the title deed to the earth — with all of the seals broken [cf. Revelation 5:1, 7], showing the One in heaven that the entire matter surrounding the redemption of the inheritance has been finished [cf. vv. 2, 5-7]). The Son is now in possession of the redeemed inheritance, the earth. He now possesses a completely clear title deed to the earth [cf. Psalm 2:8]. And the angel holding this title deed swore by the One who lives throughout all of the ages, who had created all things, that there should be “delay [KJV: time] no longer” (v. 6b).
(“Time” [Greek: chronos] in this verse is translated “delay” in most English versions [ref. NASB, NIV]. However, chronos means “time,” not “delay” [e.g., chronos prefixed to “meter,” forming chronometer (a means to measure time, a timepiece)]. Translating chronos as “delay” is an interpretation, not a translation. And it is really not a correct interpretation.
The reality of the matter is that there are no delays in God’s plans and purposes. Everything occurs at predetermined times, which renders any thought of “delay” in Revelation 10:6 an impossibility. This angel’s statement has to do with time in relation to Man’s 6,000-year Day, plus the seventy-five subsequent days seen in Daniel 12:11-13. At the time seen in Revelation 10:6, ALL of this previous time will be over. Now the Messianic Era can be ushered in.)
This statement about “time” by the angel with the seventh trumpet in Revelation 10:6 is essentially the same as the statement by the angel pouring out the seventh bowl in Revelation 16:17 when announcing the completion of the matter at hand, using the perfect tense — “It is done [lit., ‘It has been completed’].” These two statements by these two angels with the seventh and final trumpet and bowl are simply two ways of saying the same thing. Everything, in both instances, is past — an announcement concerning a terminal point in time, having to do with the completion of the judgments of the seven-sealed scroll (10:6); and an announcement concerning a terminal point in events, which, as well, has to do with the completion the judgments of the seven-sealed scroll (16:17).
(A similar scene at the time of Christ’s return, as it pertains to the transfer of governmental power and control, is depicted in Revelation 19:17 — “an angle standing in the sun.” Refer to Chapter 32, page 355, in this book for comments on the action of this angel.
Some expositors and Bible students have understood the “mighty angel” with the seventh trumpet in Revelation chapter ten [seen again in 11:15] to be Christ Himself — because of his description [v. 1], the fact that he is the one holding the opened scroll with all of the seals broken [v. 2a], and his resultant action [vv. 2b-6].
Contextually though, this does not appear to be the case. Note in Revelation 8:1, 2 that Christ [v. 1] is seen occupying a separate position from any of the seven angels to whom God gives the seven trumpets [v. 2]. This angel [the seventh angel], if he is to be identified, is probably the “strong [or, ‘mighty’] angel” introducing the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation 5:2, now providing an open show of the Deity on behalf of Another, as he stands upon the sea and the land, holds the scroll with the seven broken seals up toward the heavens, and claims the redeemed inheritance — the kingdom — for Christ.
Note that angels acting under fixed laws are so closely connected with the Deity that their actions become those of the Lord.
For example, in Genesis 18, 19, the Lord, accompanied by two angels, came down to earth and appeared to Abraham “in the plains of Mamre” [Genesis 18:1ff]. The Lord had come down to see for Himself if that which He had heard about things occurring in Sodom and Gomorrah was correct [though, in His omniscience, the Lord could only have already known; this is simply the manner in which matters of this nature are sometimes presented in Scripture].
But, though the Lord said, “I will go down, and see . . . .” [with Sodom and Gomorrah mentioned], the two angels accompanying the Lord are the only ones who went on down into the plain to view that which was occurring in these cities, which they did by entering into Sodom. The Lord, throughout this time, remained out in the high country with Abraham. [18:20-22].
Then there is the matter of the destruction of the cities of the plain. The two angels told Lot, “For we will destroy this place . . . the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” But Scripture goes on to state, “Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven” [19:13, 24].
How did the Lord go down into Sodom, as He said that He would, if He remained in the high country with Abraham? As well, how did the Lord destroy the cities of the plain [four cities (Deuteronomy 29:23)] — something clearly stated — when the angels, at a prior time, had also clearly stated that the Lord had sent them to perform this destruction?
The answers to both questions are the same and are quite simple. The actions of angels acting under fixed laws become the actions of the Lord. By the angels going down in this manner, the Lord went down; by the angels destroying the cities of the plain in this manner, the Lord destroyed these cities [cf. Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalm 68:17; Acts 7:53].
This is the manner in which the Lord, through angels, presently governs the whole of the universe. This is also the manner in which the Lord, through man, will govern this earth during the Millennium and rule beyond this earth out in the universe during the ages following the Millennium. The Lord, throughout this time, will continue to govern the whole of the universe, in an unchanged manner [Genesis 1:26-28; Job 1:6, 7; 2:1, 2; Revelation 3:21 (man’s rule beyond the Millennium is dealt with in Chapter 36 of this book)].
Thus, since the actions of angels acting under fixed laws become the actions of the Lord as well, in one respect it is immaterial whether the angel which is seen in Revelation 10 is viewed as an angel or as the Lord. The end result would be the same. Either way, these actions would be no more or no less the Lord’s actions; i.e., either way, these actions would be those of the Lord.)
2) The Scroll, Bitter and Sweet
Then, the end of the matter — John taking the scroll out of the angel’s hand and eating it (vv. 8-10) — is explained by both the context and that which is seen in the counterpart to this passage in Ezekiel 2:8-3:4. A scroll is taken and eaten in both passages (though not a redemptive scroll in Ezekiel), with sweetness resulting in both instances. And, contextually, in both passages, this can only have to do with Israel ultimately being brought to the place of repentance (cf. Ezekiel 36-39; Revelation 12, 17-19a).
The bitterness seen in Revelation 10:9, 10 is seen in Ezekiel by continuous references to Israel’s unrepentant condition. Then, both books end the same way — with the nation’s repentance, referred to as sweetness; and with the Messianic Era ushered in.
a) Unrepentance, Repentance
The complete story of Israel — in the nation’s unrepentant state, followed by the nation’s repentance — is seen time after time in the Old Testament, beginning with Moses, continuing in the Psalms, and ending in the Prophets.
The book of Revelation, in this respect, doesn’t present anything new at all. Rather, the book is simply an opening up and unveiling of that which is previously seen throughout numerous parts of the Old Testament.
Isaiah begins his prophecy in this manner, presenting Israel in this unrepentant state (Isaiah 1:4ff); but he then calls attention to a future day when repentance will occur, with the Messianic Kingdom being ushered in (1:25-2:5). And, at the outset, this tells the reader what Isaiah’s prophecy is about.
Jeremiah’s prophecy is structured after a similar fashion. The first part of the prophecy has to do centrally with Israel’s condition in the nation’s unrepentant state (Jeremiah 1-29). But then matters change, and the Lord begins to tell His people what He will one day do following their repentance (chapters 30-33).
Ezekiel’s prophecy, as has been shown, is also structured the same way, which is characteristic of all the Prophets.
And one could only expect the book of Revelation to be structured the same way, which is exactly what is seen in this book.
b) The Rainbow
There is a rainbow in connection with God’s throne and Glory in Ezekiel 1:26-28 that depicts exactly the same thing as the rainbow on the angel’s head in Revelation 10:1.
This rainbow, in both places, anticipates the sweetness seen in both passages, not the bitterness. This rainbow anticipates that which is seen in Ezekiel 3:3 and Revelation 10:9, 10. And that which is depicted by the rainbow in both passages, in turn, is seen realized at the end of both books (cf. Ezekiel 40-48; Revelation 20a).