Revelation 10:3, 4
Verse 3: That this is not just a normal angel is pointed out once again by the fact that when He cries out with a loud voice John says He does so as when a lion roars. Earlier we heard one of the elders introduce Jesus as the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah (Rv 5:5), so the reference here to a lion draws our thoughts back to Jacobs prophecy that the Messiah will come to His people like a roused lion (Ge 49:9-12). Verses 3, 4: Then in response to this lions cry seven seals of thunder utter their voices and John is about to write down what he hears them say until a voice from heaven commands him to seal up the contents of the message. For some reason God did not want the content of those seven declarations revealed. Why the message is concealed isnt explained but Gods voice sounding like thunder reminds us of the occasion during Jesus ministry when the Father audibly declared He would glorify His name, but most of the crowd refused to acknowledge His statement concluding instead that it had thundered (Jn 12:28, 29). Jesus then told them God had spoken to them and their inability to hear Him was a symptom of their unbelief (Jn 12:30, 31). A few verses later John commented that the crowds dullness was an example of the hardened hearts Isaiah had written about (Jn 12:37-41). So whatever God said in these seven thunderous statements is sealed up probably because it will not be received until a future time in history. Some day soft hearts will gladly hear this word, but not yet.
Verses 5-7: Like a witness in a courtroom this strong angel raises His right arm and swears an oath asking God the Father to be His witness. The substance of His oath was a pledge that when the seventh angel sounded the era of Gods patient endurance of human evil would end and Gods judgment would begin. The favorable year of the Lord would give way to the day of vengeance of our God... (Is 61:2; Lk 4:17-21). Verse 7: At the seventh trumpet this strong angel will proclaim that the mystery of God is finished as He preached to His servants the prophets. A mystery is a spiritual truth that only God can reveal but the angel does not explain here to which mystery Hes referring. However, the mystery which seems to come to an end at the seventh trumpet is the one to which Paul refers in Romans 16:25-27, and explains more fully in Ephesians 3:1-7. That mystery was Gods promise to Gentiles (non-Jews) that they would be included in His household if they repented and put their faith in Jesus Christ. They would not have to become Jews to be saved.
Verses 5-7 (continued): The prophet Isaiah spoke of a day when many Gentiles would worship Israels God (Is 56:1-8), and Jesus sent His disciples not only to Jerusalem and Judea, but also to Samaria and the remotest parts of the earth. Yet Jesus also said the times of the Gentiles would come to an end (Lk 21:24). Paul added that after a complete number of Gentiles came to Christ there would be a widespread softening of Israels heart toward Christ (Ro 11:25-29). Taken together these statements seem to tell us that in the final generation God will turn from pursuing Gentiles to aggressively pursuing Israel, which is exactly what we see taking place in the next chapter (Rev 11).
Verses 8-10: A voice from heaven tells John to take a little book which a strong angel who stands before him held in His hand. When he arrives at the angels feet he is handed the book and told to eat it as though it were a piece of bread. The angel warns him it will initially taste sweet but in time leave him with a sour stomach. This symbolism of eating a book before one prophesies is unmistakably modeled on Ezekiel (Eze 2:8-3:4). He was also told to eat a scroll God handed him before he prophesied. It tasted sweet but nothing is said about a sour stomach happening later. The Word of the Lord to all true believers is a great delight. To David, Gods Word was sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb (Ps 19:10). Yet here as John eats the Word his stomach soon grows sour because the word he is given is filled with descriptions of persecution and Gods wrath. In effect John tells us, When I first heard Gods promises I rejoiced, but when I meditated on them and realized the evil and human suffering that lay ahead, I became sorrowful. Verse 11: He is told to prophesy again concerning people and nations and tongues and kings. There is much more to be revealed about Gods work with Israel, the antichrists kingdom and the Lords return.
I believe verses one through fourteen describe key events which will take place in Israel during the first half of the final seven-year period. These 1,260 days (Rev 11:3) begin when the antichrist makes a firm covenant with the many (Da 9:27). This covenant appears to allow worship to take place in a rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, and extends to the moment when the antichrist declares himself divine and viciously persecutes those who refuse to worship him (Da 9:27; Mt 24:15; 2Th 2:4). Jesus calls his actions the abomination of desolation drawing His terminology from Daniel (9:27). The antichrists self-deification and desolation of Gods people (Da 7:21; 25; Rev 13:7, 15) will be so abominable God will in turn completely destroy him and his empire (Da 7:22, 26; 2Th 2:8; Rev 19:19, 20).
Verse 1: Having eaten the little book the first thing John sees is a measuring rod (reed), such as a surveyor might use and is then told to take it and measure the temple of God, the altar (of burnt offering, Da 9:27) and those who worship there. Once again the symbols are drawn directly from Ezekiel (Eze 40:2-43:17). In those chapters Ezekiel was given a measuring rod and told to measure every detail of the Temple and altar which have never been built. By the time John wrote the Book of Revelation (about AD 90) the Temple in Jerusalem was lying in rubble after the Romans had torn it down in AD 70. So it is very significant that he sees a rebuilt Temple standing in Jerusalem during the last days. The similarity of language between John and Ezekiel may be intended to tell us that Ezekiels Temple will indeed be built and used for worship before the end. It is of course possible that Johns vision of the Temple is merely being used as a prophetic picture of the restored spiritual life of Israel and is not intended to mean that a physical temple will be rebuilt, but if it is not rebuilt, statements like those by Daniel (9:27), Jesus (Mt 24:15) and Paul (2Th 2:4) seem misleading. Though the events of this chapter (Rev 11) are stunningly supernatural, the text makes the most sense when simply viewed as a prediction of literal events.
Verse 2: No explanation is given as to why John must measure the Temple and altar, but there is a reason given as to why he is not allowed to measure the outer courts: it is under the control of Gentiles rather than Jews and they are not using it to worship God. So the measurement of the Temple and altar must indicate that they are being used to worship God. The court which is outside the Temple is called the Court of the Gentiles and is meant to be an area which welcomes Gentiles seeking Israels God (Lk 19:45, 46; Isa 56:6, 7). The statement that this court has been given to the nations who will tread it under foot along with the entire city of Jerusalem appears to show us a future moment in history when the antichrist will control Jerusalem but allow the worship of God to continue in the Temple proper. The fact that the Court of the Gentiles is unused tells us the spiritual climate is hostile. It is either illegal for Gentiles to come to the Temple or they are disinterested. John tells us this is the situation for 42 months meaning the first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation. A temple has been built and there is a limited amount of religious liberty for the Jews.