The Little Scroll (Revelation 10)

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If you are just joining us, we are 19 weeks deep into our study of Revelation and the End Time prophecies, and we have several more weeks to go before we are done. Last week we finished up chapter 9 and two of the three Woe Judgments, which are actually the last three of the seven trumpet judgments, which themselves are actually the contents of the seventh of seven seal judgments which began with the rise of the Antichrist to power, followed by world war, famine, pestilence, death, and a good amount of destruction.
At the end of chapter 9, for anyone who is still alive, the world is a much different place than it is now. At this point the world population has been cut to less than half of what it will be before the rapture, especially after the sixth trumpet/second woe killed off a third of mankind with an army of 200 Million demon soldiers. Also, a third of the earth is pretty much uninhabitable. A third of the fresh water is now poisonous. The sun, moon, and stars are not working properly, and many of our modern technological advances have had to retreat in the wake of a worldwide hailstorm, and a few worldwide earthquakes that actually moved mountains. It’s been a rough 3.5 years.
But despite the clear truth that the God of the Bible is behind all of this and only doing this to try to bring more people into the faith, the majority of the inhabitants of the world will not yield.
Revelation 9
20 The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.
And that’s where we left it last week.
In the timeline I’ve been using, this brings us up to the all-important midpoint of the Tribulation – which we will start talking about today.
And I will tell you now that you will need to pay careful attention today and the next few weeks because we are about to cover likely the most complex and difficult to decipher prophecy in the bible, because the details are scattered among many different prophets and several chapters of Revelation.
I have spent considerable time studying this and will do my best to present it to you in a way that makes sense, but I still encourage you to do your own research, because although God’s Word is infallible – I am not.
So, let’s pray before we continue..

The events of the mid-point of Tribulation and other things that are related to it are covered in chapters 10 through 14 of Revelation, and also in a few chapters of Daniel. Jesus spoke of it specifically in the Olivet Discourse, and the Apostle Paul alluded to it in 2 Thessalonians. We will be going over all of that in the next few weeks, starting today with chapter 10 of Revelation.
One thing to note about chapters 10 through 14 of Revelation is that unlike the previous chapters, these are not written as a chronological order of things, but are in many ways five chapters describing different aspects of the same brief time in history. The reason for this is that it is covering a rather complex series of events that cannot be easily explained in just a few words from one perspective. Kind of like writing about World War 2. You could write a whole book on just the American perspective, but then have to write another on the German, another on the French, and another on the Jewish perspective – all of which will add to the whole understanding of the same historical period.
This midpoint of Tribulation is like that, and so before we are done today I’m going to give you what I believe is the overall summary of what happens, and then in the coming weeks we will flesh it out and see how we come up with that.
But before I do that, let’s take a look at the scene in chapter 10, which serves as a mile marker letting us know where we are in the overall tribulation…
Remember that we just finished with seven seals and six trumpets including two of the three woe judgments…
Revelation 10
1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.”
Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay! But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”
Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: “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 it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’” 10 I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. 11 Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”
This chapter breaks from the narrative of judgments that John is witnessing to a totally new kind of vision –  a vision that should remind the avid bible student of a very similar vision elsewhere in Scripture…but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Let’s take a look at what John sees.
1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land…
What John is seeing now is clearly a vision filled with a great deal of symbolism to communicate some information – rather than another judgment that harms the earth.
The angel is apparently rather large, so as to be able to stand on the land and on the sea. You and I can do that too, but we would have to chase the in and out of the surf.  So, I would argue that this “mighty” angel is also a rather “large” angel.
John sees him come down from heaven. He is robed in a cloud and has a rainbow above his head. His face was like the sun and his legs are fiery pillars.
These are all symbols associated with judgment.
Jesus will be coming back in the clouds to judge the nations at the very end. (Revelation 1:7)
A face like the sun shines a light in the darkness exposing evil deeds. (John 3:20)
Legs as fiery pillars are like the feet Jesus had in the first chapter of Revelation and are a symbol of stomping out and burning up everything that is not pure.
And then there’s the rainbow….
That is a hijacked symbol if ever there was one.
I find it quite ironic and rather suicidal that a movement that stands in direct defiance of God’s created order and laws uses as its icon, the very symbol that God invented to remind humanity that He does indeed judge sin.  That’s like giving God the finger times two.
For any unfamiliar with the story – it goes all the way back to nearly the beginning. After Adam and Eve sinned and the earth was cursed, they went on to have lots of babies and their babies had babies and so on, but as more people filled the earth, it only increased their proclivity for evil. After a few hundred years of this the people were described as “every inclination of man’s heart was only evil all the time.” And so, God decided to start over by flooding the entire globe, killing everything and everybody, except Noah and his family and all the animals God had instructed him to bring into the ark.
When the waters finally receded and they got off the boat, God made a promise to Noah and all mankind.
Genesis 9
11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
So, a rainbow is a symbol that God will not destroy the earth again….with water. But we know from all of his prophets, from Jesus himself, and his apostles that God will indeed destroy the earth again to judge the wicked and unrepentant – but this time it will be with fire.
And so a rainbow, rather than being a symbol of “acceptance” and “tolerance” of all the ways humanity can defy God’s created order, it should make humanity pucker up a little every time we see one in the sky because it is a reminder that God did, does, and will judge, condemn, and punish the sin of mankind.
Which is exactly what this angel with a rainbow halo is about to talk about.
Revelation 10
He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.”
We will talk about the little scroll in a minute.
It says he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion – this just adds to the impressiveness of this angelic being. He’s large and rather loud. Some have tried to suggest he is Christ due to some of the symbols they share, but the fact that John calls him “another angel” should make it clear this is not the Son of God. You’d be surprised how many of these end-time characters that commentators try to turn into Jesus or Satan.
Anyway, after he shouts we are told that the seven thunders speak back but John is not allowed to write what they said. And despite the clear indication that we are not supposed to know what they said, it doesn’t stop some from trying to guess. I’ll let you look that stuff up on your own.
Moving on.
Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay! But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”
If this doesn’t trigger a memory of previous prophecy then you need to read your bible more. We’ll come back to this in a minute. I want to cover the rest of the chapter first.
Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: “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 it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’” 10 I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. 11 Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”
Kind of a odd command. Scrolls are made of papyrus, which isn’t too much different from our brown paper, like in a paper bag – though a bit more coarse and thicker – generally not something you eat.
But John obeys and just as the angel said, it was sweet like honey in his mouth but made him sick to his stomach. What is that about?
Remember this is a vision, so these things mean something – and it turns out this is not the first time a prophet was told to do such a thing.
Ezekiel 3
And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat.
Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.
David also spoke of this sweetness…
Psalm 19
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure,
    enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
    and all of them are righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold,
    than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
    than honey from the honeycomb.
The sweetness comes from it being God’s Word, and specifically God’s prophetic word. That’s what is on the scroll in Ezekiel and in Revelation as we will see in a minute. There is a sweetness to learning anything, really, like in the Bee Tree story, but there is a special kind of sweetness to ingesting the truth of God’s Word, especially a truth that has previously been hidden or is hard to find. It’s the reason why the topic of prophecy is often the most popular to listen to, because it’s like getting insider secret information.
Gossip has a similar effect as observed in Proverbs.
Proverbs 26:22
The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
    they go down to the inmost parts.
The scroll that John was told to eat contains prophetic words that prior to that point had been hidden from the world, and so the privilege of getting to peek into the future tasted sweet in the mouth for the same reason that many of you are truly eating up this series on end-times. We all have a desire to know the hidden truths of Scripture, so when someone goes through the effort to dig it up and lay it out for you, it’s almost as addictive as sugar.
But at the same time, as the truths are laid out and you see just how horrible they are – all the terrible judgments of the wicked – the sweetness tends to turn sour in your stomach as you think of all those people who will have to go through these horrors. That’s exactly what John went though when eating that scroll, because he was really eating the prophecy that we are going to read in the remaining chapters, just as the angel told him…
11 Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”
It’s the same thing Ezekiel was told after eating his scroll. Basically the eating of the scroll was symbolic of God imparting prophetic knowledge onto the prophet that he must now share. We will see in the remaining chapters what that knowledge is, and it will be sweet to learn such things, but also sour as we realize the sobering truth.

For now I want to go back to what I’ve been hinting at about the familiarity of this vision, because it’s important to understand before we move on.
Before John was told to eat the scroll, the angel did something interesting that I said should remind you of a previous prophecy.
Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay! But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, this is almost an exact replica of the final vision that the prophet Daniel had. Which is clearly intentional in order to ensure that the avid bible student would be able to connect the dots. Let’s take a look.
What we are about to read is the last chapter, chapter 12, of Daniel. It’s the tail end of a vision that Daniel has that started in chapter 10 which we’ve looked at parts of in previous talks. The whole vision is future to Daniel, but where you and I sit, nearly 3,000 years later, large parts of it are in our past as fulfilled prophecy – such as the war between the northern and southern parts of the divided kingdom of Greece that happened after Alexander the Great died and described in surprising detail in chapter 11. Then at the end of that chapter, the angel jumps to talking about the Antichrist and the final battle. Chapter 12 picks up from there…
Daniel 12 – Times of the End
1 “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. 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.”
Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank. One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?”
The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.”
I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?”
He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.
11 “From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. 12 Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.
13 “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”
There’s a lot going on in this scene, but did you catch the part that is effectively repeated in Revelation 10? Let me point it out to you.
The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever.
Which is nearly identical to what John sees…
Revelation 10:5-6
Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever…
John goes into a bit more detail than Daniel does, but this act of raising a hand toward heaven and swearing by him who lives forever is a clear connection between these two visions that are both about the end of time.  And its not the only one…
In Daniel’s vision, he was asked how long it would be before the contents of the scroll would be fulfilled – or more precisely, how long would the events in the scroll take to be completed once they began – and the angel responds with “a time, times, and half a time” – which is 3.5 years.
In John’s vision, the angel is not asked anything but begins with the statement, “There will be no more delay!” Then he expounds upon what he is referring to – But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”
He’s saying there will be no more delay in accomplishing the mysteries that God had announced to the prophets of old – such as Daniel. And the imagery of this scene, and the topic at hand, makes it clear the connection to the Daniel 12 prophecy. Basically, God couldn’t have been more obvious without just spelling it out for us.
Probably the only notable difference between the two angels is that the one in Daniel raises both hands and the one in Revelation only raises his right hand, which is easily because because the angel in Revelation is holding a little scroll in his other hand, whereas the angel in Daniel is not.
So, a very similar scene with the only difference being the addition of the scroll begs the question where the scroll came from, and I believe the answer is right there in Daniel 12. I believe the little scroll the angel is holding in Revelation 10 is none other than the scroll Daniel was just told to seal up until the time of the end – which is exactly where we are in Johns prophecy and in Johns own life.
As we learned early in this series while covering the seven churches, the “time of the end” began as soon as Jesus went up in the clouds and the Holy Spirit came down.
Let’s look at that part of Daniel 12 again…
Daniel 12
1 “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. 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.”
Much of this should sound familiar to things we’ve already studied in this series, especially what the angel calls the time in question –  “a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of the nations until then.” These are nearly the same exact words Jesus used in describing the time time of the end.
Matthew 24
15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.
Jesus was clearly quoting from Daniel in order to bring us back to the vision of chapter 12 just like the vision in Revelation 10 is doing. This is when we really start connecting a lot of dots.
The angel in Daniel 12 further talks about a time of resurrection toward righteousness for some and shame for others (a clear reference to near the very, very end) before Daniel is told to   “roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.”  Clearly the angel said a lot more that Daniel wrote down but had to seal up. Why?
The reason is in the statement about increased knowledge.
The meaning of that last statement has garnered much debate, but I tend to side with those who think it merely means that the contents of the scroll cannot be revealed until the proper time in history when certain events have passed (such as the first coming of Christ) thus increasing the knowledge needed to comprehend the rest of the end time details. Which makes sense, as what follows in Revelation would not make any sense before the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Then one of the other two angels who are also in this vision asks the one above the waters, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?” In other words, how long will it be until the events in the sealed up scroll are fulfilled once they have begun?
Daniel 12
The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.”
In order to fully understand that statement we are going to need to unpack a good deal of Scripture, but first let me address the rest of the vision as there are more clues that we need.
I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?”
He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.
That is basically to say that some will get it and some will not. A very true and sad statement.  Then he gives us some numbers and a mile marker.
11 “From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. 12 Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.
13 “As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”
So, two more numbers and a reference to the daily sacrifice being abolished and the abomination that causes desolation.  Those should ring a bell for those that have been keeping up with previous talks. Now is when all that background stuff really comes into play.
What the angel just clued us into that we are definitely talking about the midpoint of the tribulation. We know this from an earlier Daniel prophecy. (more connecting dots)
Daniel 9:27
He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”
Remember that this one prophecy is how we know the tribulation will last exactly seven years and that this “abomination” event will happen right in the middle…the same event that the angel in Daniel 12 spoke of as the beginning of a time period. And since we can do math and know that half of seven is 3.5, any timeframe that is spelled out as 3.5 years is telling us that it will either be during the first half or the second half of the tribulation – and as you will see in a minute, there are several things in these prophecies that do just that – including the timeline that the angel in Daniel 12 just said would be: “A time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.”
What – “when the power of the holy people has been finally broken” – is referring to is the culmination of the tribulation when the whole nation of Israel finally recognizes Jesus as the Messiah and they call on him as a whole nation. When that happens, Jesus will come back, finish the war of Armageddon and set up his kingdom…and thus, as the angel in Daniel says, “all these things will be completed”, or as the angel in Revelation says, “the mystery of God will be accomplished.”
And so, we can conclude that what the angel in Revelation 10 is speaking of, is the same thing the angel in Daniel 12 was speaking of, which is none other than the second half of the tribulation. The details of which were in the scroll that Daniel had to seal up, and that John was told to eat – and continue prophesying – which is why we have 11 more chapters in Revelation that go beyond what Daniel was allowed to write.
And we can be doubly sure of this conclusion because of the mention of the midpoint anchor – the abomination that causes desolation. Which, interestingly, is not actually mentioned anywhere in the book of Revelation – but only referenced to via the vision in chapter 10 that points us to Daniel 12, which in turn points us to Daniel 9.
Stay with me, there is one more thing I need to discuss before I sum it all up…
The abomination that causes desolation (which I’ll refer to as just “the abomination” at times for brevity.) – what exactly is it?
We find the answer via a few Scriptures (surprise, surprise). One of which is in an earlier part of the same vision we’ve been looking at in Daniel 12. In the previous chapter, we see the only other place besides what weve already discussed that “the abomination” term is used.
In part of his speaking about the king of the north and the king of the south, the angel talking to Daniel says this about one of them…
Daniel 11
31 “His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.”
I explained this in detail during the Back to the Future miniseries, that even though the wording is the same as what we know the antichrist will do in the future – this passage is actually referring to the Greek wannabe emperor, Antiochus Epiphanies, who, in 167 BC, set up a statue of Zeus in the Jewish Temple and sacrificed a pig on the altar. He also stopped sacrifices at the time.
Both very similar to what the antichrist will do, but we know for multiple reasons that he was not THE antichrist, nor was this THE abomination. One easy reason is simply because when Jesus was talking about the abomination in Matthew 24, he was referring to the future, and this event happened before he was born.
If anything, Antiochus Epiphanies was a prototype of the antichrist. And his actions and this prophecy tell us just what kind of action would be described as an abomination that causes desolation.  Apparently it is when something other than the true God is set up in God’s Temple to be worshipped as a false God.
Which is exactly what the future antichrist will do, which we know from two places in Scripture:
One is a passage I’ve covered a few times before:
2 Thessalonians 2
Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
If a statue of Zeus was an abomination, then the antichrist claiming worship for himself while sitting in God’s temple is clearly just as bad and probably worse.
And the other place where we see this actually happening – or at least the effects of it – is in Revelation 13 where it speaks of the Beast and the False Prophet who causes the world to worship the Beast and take his mark and number: 666. Which we will cover in a few weeks.

OK – I have now bombarded you with a great deal of information, so if you your head is spinning right now, I understand. I’ve been studying this for months to understand these things and you just got all of that firehose style. Which is why I feel it will be helpful to now give you a summary of what I just covered so you can hopefully have a decent big picture understanding of where we are in all of this end-times stuff because we really only scratched the surface today. I encourage you to look at my notes later if you are still confused.

I’m a visual learner, so I tried to put this in a picture as best I could.
We started in Revelation 10 with an impressive angel coming down from the sky. He’s holding a little scroll in his left hand, raises the other toward heaven, swears by him who lives forever, declares there will be no more delay for the mystery of God to be accomplished.
This scene reminds us of a similar scene in Daniel 12, where Daniel is told to seal up a scroll of prophecy, followed by a similar angel raising two hands to heaven, swearing by him who lives forever, and declaring there will be a time, times, and half a time, until all these things are accomplished.
In the same scene in Daniel, the angel also refers to the abomination that causes desolation, which reminds us of a previous vision in Daniel 9. In that vision we learn from another angel that there are actually 70 sevens, or 490 years, until everything is accomplished. We know from previous talks that all but the final seven have already happened, and thus the 70th seven is our timeline for the tribulation which begins when the antichrist makes a covenant with the Jews to rebuild the Temple and recommence sacrifices and offerings. Then it says that halfway through that seven, he will stop the sacrifices and set up the abomination that causes desolation.
That anchor point tells us that the vision in Daniel 12 and the linked vision in Revelation 10 are both talking about the midpoint of tribulation.
We also determined that the scroll Daniel is told to seal up in Daniel 12 is the same scroll the Angel told John to eat in Revelation 10. The contents of that scroll are the details about the second half of tribulation. After John eats it, he is told to keep prophesying, thus giving us the contents of that scroll in the remaining chapters of Revelation.
All of that to say that this scene in Revelation 10 is telling us we are at the midpoint of tribulation and the following few chapters will describe the intricate web of events that happen at that midpoint and everything that follows.

I hope that makes sense. If it doesn’t, I encourage you to listen to this talk again later this week from our podcast or video. Maybe read my notes. Or better yet, take me to lunch and we can talk about it. Actually had someone take me up on that this past week and it was a good conversation.

So, now that I’ve shown you how we know we are at the midpoint of Tribulation, before we dive into the details in the coming weeks –  I’m going to give you an outline of the series of events that happen during this midpoint so that you can have something of a roadmap to keep from getting lost as we go through the next few chapters. I know your brain may already be full at this point, but I think you will thank me for this later and all of this will be in my notes if you want to look at them later.
As I’ve just painstakingly established, the midpoint of the tribulation is anchored at the abomination that causes desolation – which is the antichrist going into the temple and claiming to be God. That is followed by a time, times, and half a time, or 3.5 years, until everything is accomplished.
We learn in the next few chapters, in what we now know are the contents of the little scroll, that there are a few other things tied to this anchor point by the stated times associated with them.
In chapter 11 we will learn that the Gentiles will be allowed to trample the outer court of the temple for 42 months – which is 3.5 years. Most commentators put this in the second half.
Also in chapter 11 we meet the famous Two Witnesses who do their work over 1260 days, which is 42 months, 3.5 years. At the end of their ministry they are killed by the Beast – to which most conclude that their ministry must have been during the first half of the tribulation. We’ll talk about that next week.
In chapter 12 in a fascinating and heavily symbolic vision we learn that the Remnant of Jews will be protected from the Antichrist in the wilderness after fleeing Jerusalem for 3.5 years. That timeframe is actually mentioned twice in the same vision. Once as 1260 days, and the other as a “time, times, and half a time”.  And since, among other things, we know that their flight is a reaction to The Abomination – we put that in the second half.
In chapter 13, we learn that the Beast/Antichrist is given authority over the earth and power to conquer God’s holy people for 42 months – or 3.5 years. But that one is not new. Daniel was told this in his vision of the four beasts in Daniel 7. In speaking of the “little horn” (antichrist) it is said that “The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times, and half a time.” – 3.5 years. This we put in the second half for reasons that will be clear in a minute.
So, you can see by all these mentions of time that all these events are anchored to the midpoint because they all last for 3.5 years.
But wait….there’s more!
Other events that are not explicitly tied to the midpoint with a stated time, but are clearly connected, include:
  • The war in heaven when Satan and his angels are permanently kicked out of heaven (chapter 12)
  • The antichrist is apparently killed at some point but resurrected by Satan and officially becoming “the beast” (chapter 13) .
  • Satan summons the beast and false prophet from the sea and from the land (symbols of gentiles and jews) (chapter 13)
  • And the seventh trumpet is blown somewhere in there, bringing about the third and final woe which includes the final seven bowls of God’s wrath. (chapter 11)
And there’s a good amount of detail more than that, but that will have to wait for future weeks.
As you can see this can be quite confusing and difficult to piece together in a coherent order, but here’s my best shot…
I would argue that the first thing to happen that triggers the midpoint events is the war in heaven where Satan is thrown out of heaven along with his fallen angels in chapter 12. (I’ll explain when we get there how this is different than the first time he fell from heaven.) After he’s thrown out he knows he has only a short time left and he is very angry.
Perhaps simultaneous to this or shortly before or after, a quick sequence of events takes place:
First, the antichrist – the man is killed. It doesn’t say how or by whom, but he get’s a wound to his head and is killed.
Second, Satan summons the Beast and the False Prophet.
Third, the antichrist is resurrected and now possessed by and called “the Beast.”
Then the Antichrist/Beast, with his new gusto, goes into Jerusalem (which up until now he had a peace treaty with and sacrifices and offerings are going on). He confronts the Two Witnesses that have been causing him havoc ever since he rose to power (we’ll meet them next week) and kills them.
Then he walks into the Temple, all the way into the holy of holies, sits down and calls himself God – the abomination that causes desolation – this also puts a stop to the sacrifices and offerings.
The Jews in Jerusalem who know the prophecy and what that means immediately get out of town and head for Petra, the city in the cliffs, where they are protected for the rest of the tribulation.
Meanwhile, the Beast sets himself up as god for the people of the world to worship with the help of the False Prophet – and for the next 3.5 years there is relative peace, as far as judgments from the real God go, while the Beast dominates the world and persecutes Jews and Christians to an extreme that will make the Holocaust look like child’s play – hence the “great distress” that Jesus talked about.
Then at the very end, the bowl judgments pour out, the battle of Armageddon is fought, and Jesus finally comes back to set up his thousand year reign.
I know it’s a lot to try to keep up with, so that’s where I’ll stop for now. I will be referring back to this outline as we move through the details of these in the coming weeks. And it will all be posted in my notes on our website.

Now, before we finish today, I’d like to answer a question that may be on your mind as you look at all of this and try to make sense of me trying to make sense of it.
The question of “why?” –
But not “why does all this happen?” – I’ve already answered that several times in this series.
Rather, why is it so hard to make sense of it all?
Why isn’t it just laid out there in plain English or Greek, detailed, and in order? Why use all the symbols that are likely to be misinterpreted? Why spread out the details over multiple prophets over thousands of years? Why make it so hidden in plain sight?
Well, those are very reasonable and good questions. And as usual, we can find the answer in God’s Word.
There is a proverb that says…
Proverbs 25:2
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter
Isaiah observed…
Isaiah 45:15
Truly, you are a God who hides himself
and Moses commented that…
Deuteronomy 29:29
The secret things belong to the LORD our God
Interesting, isn’t it. It is the glory of God to conceal or hide a matter. God hides himself from us. And keeps the secret things to himself. Why? Because he’s just a big kid and gets a kick out of messing with us?
Actually no.
This is simply an attribute of God that is not often thought of or talked about.
God conceals things from us so that we will go in search of them.
God hides himself from us so that we will seek him out.
God holds the secrets so that you will ask him for them.
Because God, like a woman, wants to be pursued. He wants to be sought after, pined over, chased. He wants to be pursued by the one who truly loves him.
Very much like what a woman wants a man to do for her. Isn’t that what many a movie, poem, and song are about – the warrior knight’s relentless pursuit of the fair maiden? Though the journey is long and fraught with peril, he shall not stop until he achieves his lady’s hand.
As a woman wants to be pursued by her love, so God wants to be pursued by you and me – his love.
If that sounds strange, it shouldn’t.
After all, as Genesis tells us and Jesus himself confirms…In the beginning…
Genesis 1:27
God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.
Even though God is always referred to with the masculine pronouns and Jesus was a male and called God his Father – that doesn’t mean that God is a male. We often make the mistake of thinking, that because we are created in His image that God is like us. But it’s actually the reverse. We are LIKE, or SIMILAR TO God in a very limited and rather incomplete way. An image of something is never the full representation. Just think of a two-dimensional photograph or even a statue. Surface resemblance at best.
God is not defined by what we are like. Rather we are defined quite partially and incompletely by what God is like. And it would seem that because God made us in his image as both male and female, that it is only together that we even come close to representing his image well.
Like a picture cut in half. Put them together you have the whole picture. Separate and you only have part of the picture. Which means that, like both halves of a picture, male and female are equal – equally important, equally representing only part of God’s image, equally guilty and cursed because of our sin, and equally loved and redeemed by our Savior. But we are not the same. What would be the point of having two halves of a picture that are exactly the same?
No, God made man – Adam – in his image, then he tore the image in two when he took Adam’s rib out and made Eve. Which means that God himself actually shares attributes and qualities of both sexes, equally, and perfectly. Which is why his image is most completely represented in the proper biblical marriage between a Christian man and a Christian woman. If you want to know more about that, check out the message I did a year ago called “Your Cursed Marriage” in the “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” series. You can find it on our website or in the podcast.
Anyway, all of that to show that it is not strange to realize that God, like a woman, wants to be relentlessly pursued by those who love him. And at the same time, God, like a man – pursues us with the same kind of passion – which is something that is almost constantly talked about while ignoring the fact that God also just as passionately wants to be pursued by us.
You can see it all throughout Scripture.
Jeremiah 9
23 Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.
God wants us to know him, to understand him. To view His word, his way, and his will as far more important that our own, and especially far more important than anything we can gain in this temporary world of ours.
Just as David, the “man after God’s own heart” expressed…
Psalm 42:1-2
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When can I go and meet with God?
God wants us to pant for Him. God wants us to desire Him. God wants us to long for Him.
And he promises that if we seek Him, we will find Him.
Just as He told the Israelites in captivity…
Jeremiah 29:13
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
That’s what He wants. He wants us to WANT to know Him. And the beauty of pursuing God above everything else is that you end up getting everything else as well.
Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
God has hidden the mysteries of His great plan right here in the pages of His Word, but they are not displayed for just anyone to see. Like a modest woman who does not give away her secret beauty to all the eyes who happen to look her way, but keeps that reserved only for the man who will pursue her with all the right intentions to love her and cherish her and honor her.
God does not display his secrets for just anyone to see, so they can use them for their own purposes, to abuse, to manipulate, to somehow feel that by their knowledge they can control or own Him. Because that’s exactly what men who are allowed to see too much do to women, even if only in their minds…
No, God keeps his secrets hidden and only accessible to those who will seek Him with all of their heart, not for selfish gain or personal conquest, but in order to know and understand the one who created us. To stand, or rather bow, in awe at just the majesty of His name. To marvel at the work of his hands and the amazingly complex simplicity of his plans.
God wants to be adored. And rightfully so.
That is why these mysteries are not easy to figure out. And I would argue they are impossible to figure out if you go about it with the wrong motive. God is not easy, but He is worth it.
And so, for the next few weeks we are going to do just that. As I mentioned at the beginning, the next few chapters and all the things that happen at the midpoint – and really the rest of the book – are some of the most difficult things to understand in Scripture. The messages are in symbols. The details are not always in order, and much of it is scattered throughout the pages of Scripture. Similar to how Mary Ellen and her Grandpa had to chase those bees through the Michigan countryside to find the sweet sweet honey.
And, just as her Grandpa said to her at the end, it’s as if God is saying to us…
There is such sweetness inside of this book too. Such things…adventure, knowledge, wisdom, truth. But these things do not come easily. You have to pursue them. Just like they ran after the bees to find their tree, so you and I must also chase these things through the pages of God’s Word.
That’s what makes God smile. And you and I will be blessed in our pursuit!