The Book of Revelation with commentary by Dr. Henry M. Morris and paintings by Ramona Lowe
The paintings are a work in progress and the finished pieces are highlighted in red on Page 2

Page 73

The Little Book and Seven Thunders

Revelation 10:2.     And 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.

     When the mighty Lord reaches the earth, He will stand astride the earth and the sea, thus claiming ownership of both.  He was, after all, their Creator.  “The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land” (Psalm 95:5).

     But He is also their Redeemer, and their Inheritor, having purchased it all back with the blood of His cross (Colossians 1:20).  Furthermore, we who are His by right of redemption are joint heirs with Him (Romans 8:17; Hebrews 9:15).  When He reclaims and rules the earth, therefore, we shall reign with Him (2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 1:6; 2:27).

     This, apparently, is the meaning of the “little book” open in His hand.  This is not the same “book” which He had previously received from the One on the throne (Revelation 5:7).  That book (or scroll), sealed with seven seals, had by now been completely opened, with all the seals broken, one by one.  As discussed earlier, this great scroll represents the “title deed” to the earth, and it was only the Lamb who had the right to receive and open it.  He is now laying full claim to its ownership as He stands on both land and water.

     The little book in His had is a different book, however.  The “book” is the Greek biblion, but the “little book” is the Greek bibliaridion, recognized as a diminutive of biblion.  In English, we might use the terms “book” and “booklet.”

     When one inherits or purchases a large tract of land, it is permissible and common to subdivide that tract into many smaller lots, which can then either be sold to many subsequent buyers or transmitted to many subsequent heirs. Thus, many may eventually acquire an interest in the one grand original inheritance.

     It is most likely, therefore, that this “little book” is a “little title deed,” that portion of Christ’s inheritance which is to be awarded to His joint-heir, the Apostle John, who appears here in the capacity of a representative Christian believer caught up to heaven at the time of the rapture.  This diminutive title scroll was not sealed, as the grand title scroll had been, but was already opened.  The purchase price had already been fully paid and Christ can thus award freely and graciously any such portion of His inheritance as He may choose, to His own joint-heirs.

Revelation 10:3.     And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. 

     Here is another link to the description of Christ as given in Revelation 1, both passages noting the sonorous majesty of His voice.  There His voice was likened to that of a great trumpet and to “the sound of many waters” (Revelation 1:10, 15).  Here it is compared to the roaring of a lion.  There is no record of what He cried with a loud voice, but the context would indicate that it was a mighty proclamation of ownership, calling on earth’s inhabitants to reject the great usurper and to submit to their true Lord.

     There is no recorded human response to His cry, and the dwellers on earth, despite all the terrible judgments they had experienced, continue blindly in their rebellion.  The only response was a great sevenfold thundering from heaven.  These thunders were not mere physical phenomena, however, such as the thunder following a lightning flash; for the sounds carried intelligible messages – voices.

     John had earlier noted that there were thunderings proceeding from God’s throne (Revelation 5:5) along with voices.  It is probable that these seven thunderous voices which followed the great cry of the Lord as He stood on earth, therefore, were nothing less than seven pronouncements from the very throne of God.

     The rainbow has already reminded us of the Flood, and now the seven thunders do the same, for thunder was first heard by man at the Flood, even as the rainbow was first seen then.  Before the Flood, there had been no rain (Genesis 2:5), and thus no rainbow and no thunder.

     The seven thunders, roaring forth from God’s throne, clearly correspond to the sevenfold “voice of the Lord,” as recorded in Psalm 29.  This psalm is a magnificent vision of the terrestrial and celestial phenomena which occurred at the great Flood.  See my book, Sampling the Psalms (San Diego, CA: Creation-Life Publishers, 1973) pp. 38-43, for a full exposition.  Its association with the Noahic Deluge is certified by its tenth verse: “The Lord sitteth upon the flood.”  The word here is the word mabbul, which elsewhere applies uniquely to that specific cataclysm.

     In this psalm, the phrase “voice of the Lord” occurs seven times, each introducing a new phase of the Flood.  The first is at verse 3, introducing the first great peal of thunder ever heard by man: “The voice of the Lord is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the Lord is upon many waters.”  Since then, there have been other occasions when God’s voice was heard through a thundering (John 12:28-30).

     At this point the judgments of God will have been visited on the entire earth almost as severely as in the waters of the Deluge, and the worst trumpet is yet to blow.  It would be appropriate for a similar sevenfold thundering to pour forth from God’s wrath at such a time.

     However, there was mercy in that judgment and so will there be in this.  In fact, the very crown of Christ – the majestic rainbow – is itself the testimony and assurance that God still spares the earth.

     As a matter of fact, the final thundering or “voice of the Lord: in Psalm 29, called forth new life out of the buried earth, dispersing the floodwaters and beginning a new world.  “The voice of the Lord maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory” (Psalm 29:9).  This “resurrection” thundering seems to be an echo of that in Psalm 104:6, 7, which also describes the retreat of the Flood.  “Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.  At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.”

     We are not told what the seven thunders from the throne uttered, though John apparently understood the messages.  It was God’s design for us to know they had spoken, however, and John was thus allowed to record that fact.  The very context demands that the message be one of great physical judgment, as it had been long ago when they spoke at the Flood, but the rainbow also demands that the judgment be tempered with mercy, as it had been at the Flood.  Indeed there is a hint that the judgment of universal destruction is even to be postponed for a little season.

Revelation 10:4.     And 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 seems at first to be a strange command.  Had God merely wanted to restrain John from recording the commands of the seven thunders, there would seem no need to have him mention them at all.

    Evidently, God wanted us to know not only that the seven thunders had spoken, but also that the fulfillment of their utterances had been delayed.  It is as though the time for final destruction of the ungodly had come and the thunders were ready to call it forth, just as they had at the great Flood.  Christ had descended from heaven and proclaimed His ownership of land and sea.  But then God intervened once more.  Despite man’s continued, and now seemingly implacable, rebellion, God is still long-suffering, still extending His open arms and waiting for “Yet seven days,” He had told Noah (Genesis 7:4), giving the antediluvians one last opportunity.  Now He seems to say again, “Yet a little longer.”  As in the days of Sodom, He will spare the world for even a few righteous.

     There is a very similar scene at the end of Daniel’s prophecy – possibly the same scene.  Daniel had heard the angel speak of the terrible tribulation that would come just before his people would be delivered and resurrected (Daniel 12:1, 2).  But then, like John, he had been told to “shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end” (Daniel 12:4).  In response to the question, “How long?” (Daniel 12:6), another angel “held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half” (Daniel 12:7).

     From other Scriptures (Daniel 4:16; 7:25; Revelation 12:14; 13:5), it seems clear that the “time” referred to is a “year,” so that one time plus two times plus half a time means three-and-a-half years.  Daniel then was told again “the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end” (Daniel 12:9).

     Both Daniel and John seem to have heard terrible words of final judgment on the world of wicked men in the very last days, but both were told to withhold them for a while.  It would be yet three-and-a-half years before their final imposition.  Meanwhile, the judgments would intensify, and men could still choose to flee from the even greater wrath yet to come.

Revelation 10:5.     And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven.

     God manifests Himself in varied ways, though always through His Son (John 1:18).  To John, He has already been seen or heard as the glorified Son of man (Revelation 1:13), as the Creator on His throne (Revelation 4:2, 11), as the Lamb in the midst of the elders (Revelation 5:6), as the angel with the prayers of all the saints (Revelation 8:3), as a great voice from heaven (Revelation 4:1; etc.), and now as the seven thunders and the mighty angel of the rainbow crown.  He is both infinite and finite, omnipresent and localized, many yet One, Son of God and Son of man.

     John has just heard Him as the thunders, then as the heavenly voice instructing Him to seal up the words of the thunders, and now again his attention is directed to Him as the angel astride the land and sea.  This time he watches the angel lifting His hand heavenward, preparing to speak to and for the One on the throne.

     This act of lifting His hand identifies him yet more clearly with the man, or angel, seen by Daniel, as noted above (Daniel 12:7).  In the next verse here in Revelation, we are told that He “sware by him that liveth for ever and ever,” exactly as the man seen by Daniel had done.

     This fact constrains us to inquire more exactly into the description given of Him by Daniel and, when we do, we find indeed that He is, once again, none other than our glorified Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Daniel identified Him as  “the man clothed in linen” (Daniel 12:7), the one he first saw after three weeks of fasting and prayer, when he himself was an aged man in the court of King Cyrus.  Note the description: “Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz:  His body also was like beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and His eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude” (Daniel 10:5, 6).

     The identification is beyond doubt.  This man is the same one seen by John at the very beginning of Revelation.  Note the marks of correspondence: 

DANIEL 10:5, 6                                                                                REVELATION 1:13-16

clothed in linen ……………………………….........………...…….….. clothed with a garment

girded with fine linen ………………………………..........….....……………….. golden girdle

body like beryl ……………………………….........…...………… head and hair white as snow

face as lightning ……………………………………….........…………. countenance as the sun

eyes as lamps of fire ………………………………….…........………… eyes as a flame of fire

arms and feet like polished brass ………………………….......…………… feet like fine brass

voice like a multitude …………...…………………..…............……….. voice as many waters

     There is almost perfect correspondence.  The only significant difference seems to be that Daniel described His body as like a beryl, a brilliant crystallike stone.  However, He was clothed with a garment to the foot, so that the only visible parts of His body were His head and hands and feet.  John described His head as white like snow, and both described His limbs as like glowing brass, so that even these descriptions agree.  Daniel saw Him as a “man,” but obviously far greater than mortal man, and John said He was like unto the “Son of man.”  John “fell at his feet as dead” (Revelation 1:17) and Daniel “retained no strength” (Daniel 10:8).  Clearly the two are the same.

     But there is one great difference.  In Daniel’s case, he “saw this great vision” (Daniel 10:8), a theophany.  It was Christ in preincarnate state, arraying Himself for a time in the form He would, after Calvary, enter to inhabit forever.  John saw Him, however, not in a vision but in reality.  It was John who was translated forward in time, to participate directly in the great events of the end times, events which had been given to Daniel only in prophetic vision. John saw Christ not in a preincarnate theophany, but “alive for evermore” (Revelation 1:18).

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