Dear Student of the Word,
Here is another installment of my Revelation study. Once I finish Revelation, all my New Testament Bible studies will be complete and on my blog and then i will discontinue this work, which I began in 2001. This week, I look at a short chapter and this is what I had to say about Revelation 10:2-3 (you can download the entire study below):
2He 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, 3and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke.
10:2 – Angels are impressive, large beings as symbolized by this angel having one foot on the water and the other on dry land. If this is the Lord Jesus, He is indeed Lord over all the earth, dry land and sea together. What’s more, Jesus showed His supremacy over nature when He walked on the water. While He established the forces and principles that hold the universe together and give our world consistency and order, He Himself is not subject to those principles.
John saw the first scroll in chapter five, and that scroll had seven seals. The scroll described in this verse was open in the angel’s hand.
10:3 – This angel was mighty in every way, including his voice. Since the angel roared like a lion, it would indicate me that this was no ordinary angel but was indeed the Lord Jesus. Remember what we already read in Revelation 5:5: “Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’”
Revelation is rich in symbols, metaphors and unusual word pictures. Here we see that the seven thunders “spoke.” In theology, there is what is called general revelation. General revelation is the term that describes how all nature and creation point to the existence of God. Creation “speaks” to mankind, telling everyone that there is a God, an intelligent being behind all that exists. What’s more, we have another example in this verse of how loud heaven is as it broadcasts God’s messages to those who will listen.
While general revelation bears witness to God’s existence, it does not speak to man’s need for salvation or how this salvation can be obtained. That lies in what is called special revelation, and that special revelation can only be secured through the preaching of God’s Word. While creation testifies to God’s existence, it is God’s servants through the church that declare mankind’s problem and cure – sin and salvation through faith in Christ.
In this verse, the thunders spoke in response to the roar of the angel. Creation responds to the word of God! God rules not only in the affairs of men, but also through all the activities of creation, including the weather. This should cause the reader to think of Jesus’ ministry:
It seems there can be demonic activity that affects the weather as well. Consider the following report:
Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!" He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!" (Matthew 8:23-27).
Jesus getting into the boat seemed to instigate the storm. Furthermore, it seems that He spoke to some intelligent force behind the storm to calm it. Even if there was no demonic activity in this story, it still shows Jesus’ control over the forces of nature, which is indicated in Revelation 10:3 as well.
As always, I welcome your comments to this week's study. For additional Bible studies, check out my website archive, which contains a complete collection of all my verse-by-verse New Testament studies, along with the daily devotional entitled Your Life Matters: Daily Reflections from the Book of Psalms. Thank you and soon I will begin sending you my edited studies from James' epistle. After that, we will only have the book of Revelation to complete before the entire New Testament is on the site where this study is posted.