The Book of Revelation

Program # 13 

by: Ronald L. Dart

"And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud, and a halo of light around his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: {2} And he had in his hand a little scroll open, and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot upon the earth, {3} And he cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. {4} And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.""

The passage I just read was in the 10th chapter of the great book of Revelation.

Now I'm surprised by now, that John could even hold a pen to write, with all the things that have been happening to him and all the things that he had been seeing, a lesser man would have been prostate on the ground and unable to even stand or look, but I suppose after all of the visions and so forth that had come before with John, he had made some adaptation by now, and he wanted to write down what these thunders said.

This angel was huge, and the roar of a lion coming from him must've been awesome. And these seven thunders, don't think of these like distant thunder, rumbling in the background on the horizon, something where you see the lightning flash and then count to five and then there's a rumble that rolls across the lake. No, no, imagine thunder close enough that there is no discernible delay between the lightning and the sound, and you will be a lot closer to what this is probably like. A crack, rather than a roll.

The Seven Thunders

What do you suppose the seven thunders said that John could not write? There's no way of knowing, but it is significant that they did so. There was a declaration here, that John could hear, but that no one else was privileged to know. You would almost think that if we weren't supposed to know that, then the seven thunders just wouldn't have uttered, but they did. It was important, I gather, for John to know, or maybe God thought John had a right to know, since he was burdened with this mission.

The Lamb of God has open the seventh and last seal. The seals opening up the book of the end of the age, six of the last seven trumpets have been blown and we come to the climax of the story.

The story that no one, except the Lamb (Jesus Christ) that was slain, could open.

No More Delay

Verse 5 of Revelation 10, "And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth, lifted up his hand up to heaven, {6} And swore by Him that lives forever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that are there, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things that are in it. He swore that there should be no more delay."

We have come to the climax of the story, things have been held up long enough, it is time to finish something.

The Mystery Of God

"So the great angel said, "That there should be no more delay," {7} But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as He has declared to his servants the prophets!"

Now what might that mean, the mystery of God? God is surely at this point in time, not finished with all that He's doing, but He is finished with something, and whatever it is, it is not finished before now. This is something that comes to its culmination with the blowing of the seventh trumpet, it finishes the mystery of God.

So what happens when the seventh trumpet is blown, that closes out the mystery of God? Well, we will come to that soon. Verse 8 of Revelation 10, "And the voice which I heard from heaven spoke to me again and said, "Go and take the little scroll which is open in the hand of the angel who stands upon the sea and upon the earth.""

Eat The Little Scroll

Now this is a different scroll. This is not the scroll that only, the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the earth could open, this one is for John.

"So John went to the angel and said to him, {9} "Give me the little scroll," and he said to me, "Take it and eat it up. It shall make your belly bitter, but it shall be in your mouth as sweet as honey." {10} So I took a little scroll out of the angel's hand and I ate it up and it was in my mouth, sweet as honey, and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. {11} And he said to me, "You must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.""

Now once again, we have a symbolic act, eating a scroll, surely this isn't just a thing about somebody eating a scroll. It's it's symbolic, what does it mean?

I can only think of one comprable event in the Bible, it's in the Old Testament. Ezekiel is given a scroll and told to eat it, and it was as sweet as honey in his mouth, but what it contained, must've been very much like what John received. The passage in question is in Ezekiel the second chapter beginning in verse nine, Ezekiel is in vision and he looked and he said, "Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll."

This is a scroll and it may well be that the one given to John was also a scroll, it was a small one, {10}"And He spread it before me, and it was written on the inside and on the outside."

This is one of the interesting things about the scroll that the Lamb only could open, that it was written on the inside and the outside. Scrolls were normally written only on the inside and rolled out and read. When they were written on the outside, it is really filled up.

So it was written on the inside and on the outside, "and there was written therein, lamentations and mourning and woe."

Well, my word, I can understand the bitterness in the belly, can't you? When you internalize all that stuff, it's going make you one sick person.

He said then, continuing in Ezekiel 3 verse 1, "Son of Man, eat this scroll and go speak to the house of Israel." {2} So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat the scroll. {3} And he said to me, "Son of Man, fill your belly with this scroll that I give to you." So I ate it and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness."

Sweet in the Mouth and Bitter in the Belly

Now this is a puzzle! What does it mean that this little scroll was sweet in the mouth and bitter in the belly? Ezekiel doesn't mention anything about bitter in the belly but he sure does mention the fact that it was lamentations and morning and woe, that the message content of the scroll was bad news, and I gather the message content for John in Revelation was bad news.

So why was it sweet in the mouth? Well I'm not sure but I can guess. I'm not a prophet. I am just a simple teacher, but I watched a lot of preachers in my time. The Bible, even when it is proclaiming lamentation and mourning and woe or maybe especially when it's proclaiming lamentation, mourning and woe is a powerful book to preach from, and it's a truth that most preachers enjoy their work, and the stronger the Scriptures, the sweeter it is to the tongue. The better those things roll off your tongue, the easier they are to give to people and you stand up and you can walk back and forth on the platform and you can pontificate and proclaim. I know that it's awfully easy for a preacher when he's doing that kind of thing to get carried away, just a little bit!

I've seen preachers prance across the stage and say that they're going to twist the old devil's tail tonight. Now, if anybody's going to twist the devil's tail, assuming he has a tail, we are speaking metaphorically I suppose, don't you think you had better leave that to God, because the devil is just a whole lot stronger than we are.

But what I'm talking about is this, that preachers get hold of the Scriptures, and they preach them and their words roll from their tongue, but the real job of a prophet is a bitter job. God doesn't usually send a prophet to tell us what a wonderful good job we are doing. Have you ever notice that reading through the Bible, it is just not a regular happening?


Normally when a prophet shows up on the scene, it's bad news. One of them, Jeremiah, his name was given to a form of bad news, that's called a 'Jeremiad'. Things that are so full of mourning and lamentation and woe and bitterness and so forth are called a 'Jeremiad' and this is what prophets, I'm afraid oftentimes, have to do and preach! If the preacher ever loses track of the bitterness, that is down underneath all that sweet words that he preaches, he is losing track of his office before God, and the real responsibility before God. If you know a preacher who does that, you ought go to him and put your arm around his shoulder and say, "Brother Sam, could we talk?"

Most Prophets are Reluctant To Be A Prophet

Most prophets of God are reluctant to accept the office of a prophet. It's painful, it sometimes involves personal loss and suffering, and the messages are hated by the people who hear it and people will array themselves against the prophets of God and will fight against them and harden themselves against them and won't listen to them! It's no pleasant job at all, to be a prophet and yet sometimes, it seems like there are all kinds of volunteers who want the job. Well let him have it, but I can tell you categorically, I wouldn't want it. It's a miserable thing, to be a prophet.

John continues in Revelation 10 verse 10, "I took the little scroll out of the angel's hand and ate it up, and it was in my mouth sweet as honey, and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. {11} And he said to me, "You must prophesy again before many peoples and nations, and tongues, and kings.""

Book of Revelation Can Be Fun

John still had work to do. It was necessary work and it was not going to be pleasant, that seems to be the message that came to him. And so we have the book of Revelation, in a way, I suppose the book of Revelation could be a metaphor for this little scroll that John received, because the book of Revelation is kind of fun in a way to study, and people love to get it down and diagram things and put together the numbers of days for this, and the numbers of days for that, and figure out who the beast is and who the false prophet is, and all the different things that they can do with the book of Revelation. But the book is about a lot of very bad things!

Measure the Temple

Revelation 11 verse one, "There was given to me a reed, like a rod, and the angel stood, saying, "Rise, measure the temple of God, and the altar, and the people who worship there. {2} But the court which is outside of the temple, leave it out and don't measure it, because it's given to the Gentiles, and the holy city shall they tread under foot for 42 months.""

Forty two months, about 3 1/2 years is what we are looking at here, something like that. 36 months plus 6 months. Three and one half years then that the holy city is going to be trodden underfoot.

Luke in his version of the Olivet prophecy, that we've talked about before, we generally go to Matthew 24 and talk about the Olivet prophecy, but in Luke, he says this about this.

Watch and Flee

Luke 21 and verse 20, Watch and "When you shall see Jerusalem surrounded with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is near."

There is somewhere along the line in the future still to come, one more desolation of that poor city. It has been through so much and has seen so much tragedy and yet there is another time to come.

So it's going to happen, then verse 21 of Luke 21, "Let them which are in Judea flee into the mountains, and let them which are in the midst of it depart out, and don't let those in the countries enter in."

In other words, when that starts happening, when Jerusalem is encompassed about with armies, the armies are coming down, get away from there, get completely away from there, as far as you can and as fast as you can.

Verse 22, "For these are the days of vengeance, that all things that are written may be fulfilled." Verse 24 says, "They shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations, and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."

Now what this is saying is that, there is a yet future fall of Jerusalem and the captivity of the people living there and an oppression of the city of Jerusalem by Gentiles.

Now I know there are theories about the times of the Gentiles that have to do with 2520 years, but what the prophecy is primarily about, is the fact that as we approach the time of the end, Jerusalem is going to be a encompassed about with armies. The armies are going to take the city. The inhabitants are going into captivity and Gentiles are going to control that city for three and 1/2 years!

Luke continues in verse 25, "There will be signs in the sun, the moon and the stars, upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring, {26} Men's hearts failing them for fear."

I should think so and for looking at these things.

Continuing in verse 26, "For the powers of the heaven shall be shaken, {27} And they shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. {28}And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads for your redemption draws near."

The Return of Christ

So, we are talking about the return of Christ. All of this comes together between Revelation 11 and Luke 21 and the other prophecies we are talking about. Now at this point in Revelation 11, something very interesting and intriguing takes place and it is something that many people have occupied themselves with.

The Two Witnesses

Jesus says in verse 3 of Revelation 11, "I will give power unto My two witnesses, and they shall prophesy 1260 days, clothed in sackcloth. {4} These are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth."

Now who are these? What are they? Where do they come from. "I will give power unto my two witnesses."

Now I have to tell you something a little odd, I have actually met probably 50 of the two witnesses! Sound strange? There have been all kinds of people who think that they're going to be one of the two witnesses. They think, "I know I'm going to be one of the two witnesses that prophesy in Jerusalem for twelve hundred and threescore days, and I don't know if they already have their sackcloth or not? But the fact of the matter is, that if this is going to happen in the next few years, those two witnesses are out here walking around somewhere, but they probably don't have a clue at this moment of time, that they are these two people, because what Revelation 11 verse three says is, "I will give power to my two witnesses." So you have two people who are witnesses to bear testimony of God, of what they've seen, of what they've experienced and what have you, but there comes a point in time when they are especially empowered! Who are they? Nobody knows! Are they prophets? Oh, to be sure, but they are primarily witnesses, but these two witnesses are identified with a very specific Old Testament prophecy.

Notice that it said, "These are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks." He just didn't say they 'are' two olive trees, he said 'the' two olive trees. This is a reference to a very specific Old Testament prophecy found in the fourth chapter of the book of Zechariah, and it's a very mysterious passage. It's hard to grasp altogether what it is talking about. Let me read part of it to you and see what you think.

Beginning in verse 1, "And the angel that talked with me came again," Zechariah says, "and woke me like a man that is wakened out of his sleep, and he said to me, {2} "What do you see?" And I said, "Well, I've looked, and behold, there's a candlestick all of gold, and there's a bowl on top of it, and seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps that are on the top of it."

Now just a small clarification, you have a bowl in which olive oil is poured and then the oil makes its way through these little small pipes, out into the areas where, what they call lamps are, but what they are is little lamps with the wick that burns the olive oil that comes through the pipes out to the different places.

Then it says, {3} "There are two olive trees by it, one the right side of the bowl and the other on the left side."

Now, Zechariah had the same question you've got. He said, {4} "What are these, my Lord?" {5} And the angel that talked with me said, "You don't know what these are." I said, "No my Lord." {6} And he answered and spoke to me, "This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel saying, "Not by might, nor by power but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts.""

Joshua and Zerubbabel

Now right here, we've got to pause for a moment to get a few things clarified. In the historical context of this, there were two men present in Jerusalem at this time that were very important. One of them was Joshua and he was the high priest. The other was Zerubbabel who was a kind of governor. They were the two powerful individuals governing and leading the city at this particular point of time and a lot can be said about these people, but they were living in Jerusalem and working in Jerusalem at a time when Jerusalem was not very powerful, and they were weakened in many ways.

Verse 6 of Zechariah 4, "And he answered and spoke to me, "This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel saying, "Not by might, nor by power but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts."" This is phrase that you can write on your wall, a little needlepoint thing to put up there where you can be reminded of it at all times, "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit saith the Lord of hosts."

Well why is it so important? What does it mean? What it means is that, we have a tendency, a pretty consistent tendency, to think that it's our job to solve all of our problems.

God sometimes says to us in those circumstances, "Look, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. It's not by might, it's not by power. It's by my Spirit saith the Lord of hosts."

Do a Great Work for God

It is a temptation, you know, for someone who does what I do, to think I'm going to go out here and do a great work for God! No, no I'm not! God will do a great work, all I can do is work for Him and maybe participate in some small way, in His great work, but it's not going to be because of anything I figure out or you figure out, or any plans you and I make, or any organization you and I put together, or anything we are able to make happen. It's not by might, it's not by power. "It's by My Spirit," saith the Lord of hosts.

Back To The Two Witnesses

Let's continue in Zechariah chapter 4 and verse 11,

"So I answered again," says Zechariah to the angel, "What are these two olive trees on the right side of the candlestick and on the left side thereof?"

The angel seems almost puzzled that he doesn't know and he says, {13} "Don't you know what these are?" and I said, "No, my Lord," and {14} then he said, "These are the two anointed ones that stand by the Lord of the whole earth."

Now we have already noted that these two anointed ones are Joshua and Zerubbabel the builder, God's two men of the hour, but these two particular people, that are talked about here, are really special prophets that stand before God, that means they minister before Him, and they do so officially, that is, they are 'anointed', which means 'empowered.'

Now think about that, in relation to Revelation 11 and verse 3, where it says "I will give power to my two witnesses."

Now passing back to Revelation 11 and what it has to say about the two witnesses, {3} "They have power {5} and if any man will hurt them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies, and if any man will hurt them, he must be in that manner killed. {6} They have the power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy, and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will."

Yeah, I'd say they have power. If somebody wants to hurt them, they could sent an army after them, they could just speak the word, and fire proceeds out of their mouth and burn their enemies to a crisp where they stand! We have got here a couple of very serious prophets.


But there's something here that we must not miss. When you understand a little bit about biblical prophecy and biblical history, in particular, there was a man named Elijah, who was prophesying before God. He was the first, he was really the archetype of the great prophets, and the first thing this man did, was to close the heavens so that it would not rain for 3 1/2 years.

Well, my, we have to realize that these guys in Revelation do precisely the same thing and when they say "Shut the heavens" and it does not rain during the days of their prophecy, and they prophesy for three and a half years.

There was another occasion where Elijah was sitting on a mountainside somewhere and the king of Isral sent a troop of soldiers, a platoon, out to arrest him and to bring him in, and a rude surly leader comes up to him and says, "Elijah come on down here man of God. We are going to take you in!" Elijah says, "Well, if I'm a prophet of God, let fire come down from heaven and devour you and your platoon!" (2 Kings 1:10, 12). And they were all immediately burnt to a crisp where they stood.

Now I don't know if you catch the significance of this, but these two individuals, these two witnesses, in Jerusalem, at the very time of the end, are doing exactly, precisely, the same things that Elijah did.

Now there is a prophecy, another Old Testament prophecy in Malachi 4 and verse five that says this, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful 'day of the Lord'."

(We have heard that one before, haven't we?) "And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with utter destruction!"

You may say 'curse', in your authorized K.J.V. version, but the meaning of it is, the earth is going to be absolutely destroyed, unless the work of Elijah turns the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of children to the fathers.

You know that John the Baptist was a kind of Elijah. Jesus said that at in the end time, "One would come in the spirit and power of Elijah." John, we are told was in the spirit of Elijah. He had the attitude, the frame of mind, he was the same kind of prophet, the same kind of blunt man, the same person of very few words. He had the spirit of Elijah, but not the power.

These two witnesses come with the power of Elijah. Now note a peculiarity, Elijah was one of a pair of prophets with Elisha. Joshua and Zerubbabel are paired, John the Baptist is paired with Jesus and now, here in the end time, we've got two more. An end time Elijah and Elisha.

The Two Witnesses Are Killed

In verse seven of Revelation 11, John continues, "When they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them."

Real successful prophets, right? They ultimately die, {8} "and their dead bodies shall lie in the street of that great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. {9} People and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies for three days and a half and will not permit or allow people to bury them."

They prophesy for 3 1/2 years. Their dead bodies will lie on the street for 3 1/2 days in Jerusalem.

Verse 10, "Everybody that dwells upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and send gifts back and forth to one another, because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth."

Sounds like they died around Christmas time, doesn't it?

"And after 3 1/2 days, {11} "the Spirit of life from God entered into them and they stood upon their feet, and great fear fell upon everybody that saw it. {12} And they heard a great voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here!" And they ascended up into heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw it. {13} In the same hour there was a great earthquake!"

Well, I don't know if I'm ready for the third woe. The first two were quite enough, but at last we are ready for the seventh trumpet, the finishing of the mystery of God.

Until next time, this is Ronald Dart. Remember, you were Born to Win!


This article was transcribed with

minor editing from a Born to Win

Radio Program by: Ronald L. Dart

Titled: The Book of Revelation - Program #13

Transcribed by: bb 3-31-24

Ronald L. Dart was an evangelist and is heard daily and weekly on his Born to Win radio program. 
The program can be heard on over one hundred radio stations across the nation.

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