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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


Rev 10:1-3 And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: 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, and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.

In the previous chapter of this Revelation, the apostle John recorded his vision revealed by the sounding of the trumpet by the sixth angel. This symbolic revelation was fulfilled when the Turkish, horse-riding armies, stormed the final bastion of the Roman Empire, known historically as the Eastern, or Greek, Empire, with Constantinople as its capital city. This national empire fell under one of the first historical uses of gunpowder by warring forces to bombard, and break down, the defending walls of a city. The complete annihilation of the remnants of the once mighty Roman Empire fell in the year 1453 A.D.

However, the events, depicted in chapters 10 and 11,still remain as part of the revelation that resulted from the sixth angel's sounding of the trumpet. The final two verses of the ninth chapter of this book serve to introduce these events foretold in these later chapters. And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts. Although the Roman Empire was finally destroyed, yet the remaining inhabitants of these devastated countries seemed to be morally unaffected, felt no remorse for their sinful ways, and repented not of the evil works of their hands, such as murder, sorcery, fornication (meaning both physical and spiritual), and thievery. They continued to worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk. The entire world, during this fulfillment period, seems to be prophetically seen by John, as living in unrepentant sin and degradation

Subsequent to the prior events predicted by the trumpet blast of the sixth angel, the vision seen by John continued. He saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire. This angel was dramatically different from the seven angels that were sent to reveal future historical events by the sounding of seven trumpets. Some biblical scholars contend that this angel was meant to be Christ, Himself, coming to earth. However, we must keep in mind that an angel has always represented a messenger sent by God for some specific purpose, and that seems to be true in this revelation. This angel was mighty - a messenger from God, having great power, and sent to reveal, and carry out, an extremely important spiritual mission on earth. As the angel descended from heaven he was enveloped in a cloud, assuring all readers of this revelation, that he was sent to earth on a mission of mercy with the power of God. The rainbow hovering over his head symbolizes God's promise of hope and peace. His sun-lit face was destined to impart the light of knowledge to the people of the earth. Having feet as pillars of fire, this angel would, not only demonstrate the power to swiftly move about on earth, but also his stability and sure-footedness as he stood firmly on the message of God that he was destined to deliver.

And in the hand of the messenger of God was a little open book, or an open scroll. It was not sealed as the books that were previously opened by the hand of Christ Jesus, but this book was opened - it was unrolled, and was ready to be read to the entire world, as symbolically indicated by the angel's right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth. With this vision firmly planted in the mind of the apostle John, he writes further that the angel cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth.That is, the roar was loud, fierce, and filled with awesome terror. And when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. The King James Revision adds the article "the," which reads the seven thunders uttered their voices. The word "thunders" denotes authoritative commands, and the perfect number, "seven" stresses the completeness of the proclamation about to be revealed. In order to understand the meaning of these "seven thunders," it is necessary to pause here and understand the civil and religious condition that existed at that time.

Without going into much detail about Christianity that was originated within the Roman Empire, it is well to note here that the essence of Roman Catholicism had its genesis during the time period soon after the death of the apostle John (around 100 A.D.). This religion continued through the final fall of the Roman Empire with the siege of Constantinople in the year 1453. This period experienced the rise of the erring religious doctrine of universal Catholicism, causing a schism in, and separation from, the church of Christ, which was established by the Holy Spirit-inspired teaching of the apostles on the Day of Pentecost following the ascension of the resurrected Christ Jesus back to His heavenly home. The rule of Catholicism was established in elected, and appointed, civil and spiritual leaders, and was headquartered in Rome. Various Roman emperors began forcefully establishing recognized Catholic doctrine, and appointing spiritual leaders to administer its tenets. Later, these civil/religious roles were reversed. The power of these religious leaders grew to the extent that they began appointing the civil leaders of the Roman government, who were required to enforcetheir Catholic doctrine, and their selfish, unrighteous edicts, and impose them on the inhabitants of their dominion.

As power became more centered in the leader of the Catholic religious order, known as the Pope, corruption grew in order to raise money. Also, more restrictive "papal" edicts were issued, including forcefully removing the bible from the common people, which was militarily enforced, by punishment of death, to those that retained any form of biblical writings. Historians tell of many instances when persons had been burned at the stake for no other reason than being found having a bible in their homes. This was the status of the religious society that existed in the known world at the time of the fall of the Roman Empire. These "dark ages," when God's word was hidden from the world, resulted in religious revolutionary conditions that became historically, and spiritually, known as The Reformation.

Beginning early in the sixteenth century this Reformation movement began, which seems to completely correspond to the symbolic message of the lesson text. It was a movement intending to spiritually enlighten the world with the restoration of God's word from the little open book - the New Testament, which had been abolished by the leaders of the Catholic religious order, and enforced by its puppet civil authorities. With the Holy Bible about to be prophetically restored once again to people of the world, one can only imagine the threat it would be to the papal rulers of the Catholic Church. Opposition would come when the seven thunders uttered their voice.