The Time Has Come
John is watching the drama in his vision, given to him by Jesus Christ. The scene has changed from the throne room of heaven to earth, where a mighty angel stands astride the land and sea with the authority of God (Revelation 10:1-2). The scroll which had been passed from Father God to Jesus Christ (Revelation 5:7), who was the only One worthy to break open the seven seals (Revelation 5:5), is now in the hand of the mighty angel (Revelation 10:2) and would soon be passed to John to share with the world (Revelation 10:8, 9, 11).
To remind ourselves: the scroll contains details of God bringing the cosmos under the authority of Jesus Christ, with the conflicts which will occur until Satan and his demons are finally dealt with, and the world has had the opportunity to acknowledge Jesus as King. Each scene is acted out in the vision which John remembers and writes down to assure the church that God is not inactive about wickedness. Also, that the cosmic and global struggles which will impact believers will be time-limited and the Lord will protect His servants in different ways.
When the seventh trumpet is sounded, it will announce the sovereignty of God, the judgment of the unbelieving dead and God's rewards to His faithful people (Revelation 11:18). But before then, the mighty angel declares to the cosmos and the world that God will not delay releasing His anger and gathering His people. God is patient, not wanting anyone to perish but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9): but a time will come when His anger will be released on rebels. The word for 'patience' mean 'long or slow + angry'. So God's patience, and therefore apparent inaction, does not mean He does not care about His people, or has not seen wickedness. Romans 2:4 says, "Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realising that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?"
The Bible's constant message is that we should never delay repentance, because delay leads to a hardening of the heart (Hebrews 3:13) and a refusal to repent (Psalm 95:6-11). 'Today' is the only day for obedience (Deuteronomy 28:1-15; Hebrews 3:15; 4:7). If we make a vow to God (or anyone), do not delay in fulfilling what you have promised (Ecclesiastes 5:4). Although we do not know the timetable, Jesus will come back … on time (Hebrews 10:37). Therefore, we must be ready today. The dying thief next to Jesus repented the same day (Luke 23:43). Will you?
© Dr Paul Adams