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Mountain View College

School of Theology

Mystery of God:
An Exegetical study on the mystery of God in Revelation 10:7

Submitted to:
Prof. Dindo Paglinawan

A Biblical Paper
Presented in Partial Fulfillment
Of the Requirements for the Course
Greek Readings

By
Joash Raj Chavakula
November 2018
Introduction

The book of Revelation is full of mysteries and it seeks to

reveal this. This paper will be discussing on what is the

mystery of God in Revelation and what are its implications for

today.

Statement of the Problem

The text states that the mystery of God would be

accomplished as promised, but does not immediately explain the

mystery like the other mysteries in Revelation. Therefore what

is that mystery? Is it revealed in Revelation? Is it talked

about in other books?

Significance and Purpose of Study

This paper will help one understand what the mystery of God is

in context of Revelation. The is useful especially for those who

live in the end of time.

Context of the Mystery of God

Below is mentioned the authorship, dating, location,

recipients, basic themes and purpose of writing. It may be noted

that the apostle John wrote this book around 95 A.D. after the
burning of Rome by Nero.1 The book was written during a time of

great persecution for which reason John was exiled to the island

of Patmos (Rev 1:9). The trials the churches faced are indicated

in chapters 1 to 3 of the book. The prophetic book was written to

the seven churches in Asia minor. The content of the book is

indicated in Revelation 1:19 where God commands John to write what

He “has seen, what is and what will be.” The churches at that time

needed to be assured of the presence of Jesus. This book deals

with many characteristics of Jesus, focusing on His second coming.

In fact, the book begins by stating that it is the “Revelation of

Jesus Christ” (Rev 1:1) This was the great hope the church had.

This would keep the church strong for centuries. The theme of the

book is two-fold. It focuses on the coming of Christ and the

presence of Christ.2

The book also features ¨repeated portrayal of worship

scenes in heaven, usually in the context of imagery related to

the OT sanctuary.3¨ This indicates that this book must be studied

in reference to the sanctuary in an attitude of worship.

1 There are no sources in the current document.


2 Kenneth A. Strand, “Foundational Principles of Interpretation,” in Symposium on
Revelation: Introductory and Exegetical Studies, Book 1, ed. Frank B. Holbrook, vol.
6, Daniel and Revelation Committee Series (Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research
Institute of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1992), 28.
3 Jon Paulien, “Interpreting Revelation’s Symbolism,” in Symposium on Revelation:
Introductory and Exegetical Studies, Book 1, ed. Frank B. Holbrook, vol. 6, Daniel and
Revelation Committee Series (Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research Institute of the
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1992), 81.
Semantic Analysis

The various translations in English do not fully grasp the

verse. Although Young’s living translation comes close. The

Byzantine text goes as follows:

Revelation 10:7 ἀλλ᾽ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τῆς φωνῆς τοῦ ἑβδόμου

ἀγγέλου, ὅταν μέλλῃ σαλπίζειν, καὶ ἐτελέσθη τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ

θεοῦ, ὡς εὐηγγέλισεν τοὺς δούλους αὐτοῦ τοὺς προφήτας. (Rev.

10:7 BYZ)

The phrase “ ταῖς ἡμέραις” is in the plural. This indicates

that the seventh trumpet does not cease quickly but extends for

a certain period.

The phrase “ ὅταν μέλλῃ” in many translations is rendered

as when he shall . But the actual rendering of the phrase means

whenever he is about to. This goes in line with the time no

longer in the previous verse, indicating that after there is

time no longer the angel will sound whenever he sounds.

“τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ θεοῦ” is a special mystery that belongs to

God. This mystery is finished whenever the trumpet sounds. This

finishing “ἐτελέσθη” is in the aorist tense and in the


subjunctive mood indicating that it something that should, would

or could be finished.

The word “εὐηγγέλισεν” translated as declare is in aorist

active indicative. This implies that this work had already been

performed thus rendering he did declared. In the new testament

there are other words that can be used for the word declare. But

here the word ¨euangelisen¨ is used implying the proclamation of

good news. The finishing of the mystery of God is “according to”

(ὡς) the good news that God gave to his servants the prophets.

Thus, the proper rendering of the text is as follows: But

in the days of the sound of the seventh messenger, whenever he

may be may be about to sound the trumpet, also the mystery of

God would be accomplished, as He proclaimed the good news to His

own servants the prophets.

Structure of Revelation

4 Kenneth A. Strand, “The Eight Basic Visions,” in Symposium on Revelation:


Introductory and Exegetical Studies, Book 1, ed. Frank B. Holbrook, vol. 6, Daniel and
Revelation Committee Series (Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research Institute of the
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1992), 36–37.
The structure of Revelation is a chiastic structure

featuring the seventh trumpet at the center especially the ark

of the covenant. This implies that the seventh trumpet is

important in understanding the mystery of God especially the ark

of the testimony or the sanctuary itself. The center of the book

appears to be the explanation of the mystery of God.

A simple parallel may be drawn from chapter 10 to chapter

11. The 6th trumpet ends with an interlude of the great angel who

is known to be Jesus Christ 5. He indicates a probation between

the 6th and the seventh trumpet. The Angel proclaims that the

mystery would be finished whenever the seventh angel blows his

trumpet. Between the proclamation and the trumpet there are two

major events: The eating of the little book the temple scene and

the life of the two witnesses. The little book being the book of

Daniel , the temple scene meaning the preparation for the day of

atonement (which is the final act of judgement), the witnesses

meaning the proclamation of the word of God. All of these happen

before the 7th trumpet. Chapter 16 has a similar motif, where is

talks about something being done or accomplished.

5 William H. Shea, “The Mighty Angel and His Message,” in Symposium on Revelation:
Introductory and Exegetical Studies, Book 1, ed. Frank B. Holbrook, vol. 6, Daniel and
Revelation Committee Series (Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research Institute of the
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1992), 291.
The structure of the seventh trumpet, the interlude and the

mystery of God is as follows: Revelation 10: 7 – Revelation 11:

19.

A. The seventh angel is A’. The seventh angel blew his

prophesied about (Rev 10:7) trumpet (Revelation 11: 15)

B. The mystery of God would be B’. The ark was revealed (Rev

finished. (Rev 10:7) 11:19)

C. The little book, measurement of the sanctuary and the two

witnesses (Rev 10:8 – Rev 11:14)

This indicates that the little book and the two witnesses

and the measuring have something to do with the mystery of God

till the end of time. As seen in Revelation, there are many

references to the sanctuary.

6 Jon Paulien, “Seals and Trumpets: Some Current Discussions,” in Symposium on


Revelation: Introductory and Exegetical Studies, Book 1, ed. Frank B. Holbrook, vol.
The above diagram of Kenneth Strand indicates clearly that

John understood that the sanctuary and it’s services did not end

at the cross but will be accomplished “till the end of time”.7 As

history unfolds, each procedure of the sanctuary is accomplished

till the culmination of them all in the return of Jesus Christ.

As previously mentioned there are parallels found between the 7

trumpets and the seven plagues. This could indicate that there

is a link between the 7th trumpet and the 7th plague.

Revelation 10:7 and 11: 15-19 Revelation 16: 17-21


Great voices. (11:15) Great voice. (16:17)
Wrath is come. (11:18) Wine of the fierceness of His
wrath. (16:19)
Destruction of those who Destruction of Babylon.
destroy the earth. (11:18) (16:19)
Voices, thunders, earthquake, Voices, thunders, lightning,
and great hail. (11:19) earthquake and great hail.
(16:18)
It may be finished (10:7) It has come to be (16:17)
The ark of the testimony The throne of God (16:17)
(11:19)

From the above table we can derive the following:


A. It may be finished
B. Great voices
C. Ark of the testimony
C’. Throne of God
B’. Great voice
A’. It has come to be.

6, Daniel and Revelation Committee Series (Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research
Institute of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1992), 188.
7 Jon Paulien, “Seals and Trumpets: Some Current Discussions,” in Symposium on
Revelation: Introductory and Exegetical Studies, Book 1, ed. Frank B. Holbrook, vol.
6, Daniel and Revelation Committee Series (Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research
Institute of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1992), 192.
The structure of Revelation 10:6b,7 is as follows. Verse 6 is
necessary for is constitutes the promise of the angel.
A. Time no longer (6b)
B. But days of Seventh angel(7a)
B’ Whenever the trumpet my sound (7a)
A’ Mystery of God may be finished (7b)
This emphasizes that the mystery of God finishes in a

probationary period after the time no longer. For the mystery of

God depends on the trumpet of the seventh angel to sound.

Biblical Context

The text will be examined in the context of the book of

Revelation, the New testament and the old testament.

Mystery in Revelation

There are three mysteries in revelation. The mystery of the

seven stars, the mystery of God and the last two pertain to the

Mystery of the woman. Two of the mysteries are explained in

chapters themselves. Mystery of the seven stars are the seven

messengers to the churches (Revelation 1:20). They bring

messages of encouragement and reproof. The Mystery of Babylon or

the woman is explained in chapter 17 who is that symbolic great

city Babylon which rules the world. The mystery of God is stated

in revelation as something that is already understood for it is

not explained but revealed to God’s servants. This gives all the

more reason that the mystery of God is stated in greater detail

or fulfilled in the book itself.

Mystery in the New Testament


The word mystery or (μυστήριον) 27 times in the new

testament. 3 times it is mentioned in the synoptic gospels Mark

and Luke, 4 times in the book of Revelation 21 times in the

Pauline epistles. It occurs twice in Romans, I Corinthians,

Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians and I Timothy. Wiley

points out that the mystery in the new testament expressed the

various facets of Christ Himself and His relation to salvation.8

It may be noted that the majority of texts dealing with mystery

have to do with the plan of salvation (the trinity, the kingdom,

and the incarnation).

The phrase mystery of God occurs only twice in the new

testament. Once in the Pauline epistles and the other in

Revelation. Interestingly, the portion is addressed to the

church of Laodicea, a church mentioned as the last of the seven

churches to which this book is addressed to. This could indicate

a link between Colossians and Revelation.

Old testament background

The Israelites were instructed in the book of numbers 23 to

blow the trumpets on the first day of the seventh month. This

was followed by the celebration of the day of atonement. In the

book of Numbers 10, God instructs Israel to blow trumpets at the

8 Wiley, Galen. 1985. "A Study of "Mystery" in the New Testament." Grace Theological
Journal 6.2 349-360.
“beginning of your months”(v 10). This implies that the seventh

month of the blowing of the trumpet was the feast of trumpets.

It appears that there is an allusion to the feast of trumpets in

Revelation. Just as the second coming of Jesus happens during

the after the blast of the trumpet, so after the feast of

tabernacles was the day of atonement. During the day of

atonement the sin of the sanctuary is dealt with and judgment of

the people is accomplished (Numbers 23:29). Kenneth Strand has

noted that chapter 11 has something to do with the “year-end Day

of Atonement ritual in the ancient Jewish cultus”9 This is what

the measuring in revelation 11 was dealing with.

The verse states that the mystery of God was declared by

God to his servants, the prophets. This message is good news. In

the Old Testament, the restoration of the people of God and the

dwelling of God with His people play an important role in gospel

of the old testament. The sanctuary and its services also played

an integral role in the gospel of the old testament. It was part

of the first covenant (Heb 9:1). Prophets like Isaiah, Ezekiel

connect sanctuary elements to the restoration of Israel (Isaiah

66: 23;Ezekiel 46:3). This indicates that the mystery of God has

something to do with the consummation of the plan of salvation

9 Kenneth A. Strand, “The Eight Basic Visions,” in Symposium on Revelation:


Introductory and Exegetical Studies, Book 1, ed. Frank B. Holbrook, vol. 6, Daniel and
Revelation Committee Series (Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research Institute of the
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1992), 41.
as revealed in the sanctuary. It may be noted that the 10th and

11th chapters mentions images of the sanctuary; the former being

the first apartment and the latter being the second apartment.10

These indicate that the sanctuary is vital to the understanding

of these texts.

The Immediate context

The Seven Trumpets: The mystery of God happens during the

seven trumpets. The trumpets are sequential, as evidenced by

their occurring one after another in the vision.11 They represent

judgements of God upon the earth. Shea points out that the

events of the seventh trumpet deal with finality of human


12
history. This indicates a long time. Ranko Stefanovic points

out a parallel between the plagues and the trumpets, pointing

out that the former deals with the final judgment without mercy

and the latter deals with the investigative judgement mixed with

10Jon Paulien, “Seals and Trumpets: Some Current Discussions,” in Symposium on


Revelation: Introductory and Exegetical Studies, Book 1, ed. Frank B. Holbrook, vol.
6, Daniel and Revelation Committee Series (Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research
Institute of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1992), 188.
11Frank B. Holbrook, ed., Symposium on Revelation: Introductory and Exegetical
Studies, Book 1, vol. 6, Daniel and Revelation Committee Series (Silver Spring, MD:
Biblical Research Institute of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists,
1992), 180.
12William H. Shea, “The Mighty Angel and His Message,” in Symposium on Revelation:
Introductory and Exegetical Studies, Book 1, ed. Frank B. Holbrook, vol. 6, Daniel and
Revelation Committee Series (Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research Institute of the
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1992), 313.
mercy.13 This is also evident as seen in the text that the

judgment of the dead are begun and the reward is being set. Thus

the seven trumpets culminate with a judgement.

The Mighty Angel: This Angel forms the beginning of the

interlude, between the sixth and the seventh trumpet. This Might

Angel is none other than Jesus Christ himself, for He possesses

more divine characteristics than that of a common angel or even

Gabriel.14 In chapter 10 Jesus proclaims that there will be time

no longer and that in the future the mystery of God would be

accomplished. It appears that the mystery of God would be

accomplished after there is time no longer indicating a

probation before the seventh trumpet.” The qualifying phrase,

“when/whenever he is about to sound the trumpet,” however,

indicates that this is rather a period of time leading up to the

actual blowing of the trumpet.”15 Some prefer to look at this

probation as an extension of the 6th trumpet.

It may be useful to not that there are no more time

prophecies after 1844. “No time prophecies in Daniel and

13 Sefanovic, Ranko. Revelation of Jesus Christ: commentary on the book of Revelation.


Berrien Springs, Michigan: Andrews University Press, 2002.39
14 William H. Shea, “The Mighty Angel and His Message,” in Symposium on Revelation:
Introductory and Exegetical Studies, Book 1, ed. Frank B. Holbrook, vol. 6, Daniel and
Revelation Committee Series (Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research Institute of the
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1992), 291.
15 William H. Shea, “The Mighty Angel and His Message,” in Symposium on Revelation:

Introductory and Exegetical Studies, Book 1, ed. Frank B. Holbrook, vol. 6, Daniel and
Revelation Committee Series (Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research Institute of the
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1992), 312.
Revelation extend beyond that point. This chronological juncture

provides the appropriate location for the announcement of the

mighty angel to be made about the cessation of prophetic time.”16

The 1260 days (Rev 11:3)and the 1290 days in (Daniel 12:11)

ended in 1798. The day month year (Rev 9:15) the 1335 days (Dan

12:12) the 2300 days(Dan 8:14)all ended in 1844.17

The Interlude:

The Interlude consists of the little book, the measuring of

the temple and the two witnesses. Since this paper on the

mystery of God we will mention only what is required for us to

understand the mystery of God.

There is a little book that is handed to John. This book

differs from the other book or scrolls mentioned in the book. It

may be noted that in “ …Revelation 10, the word used four times

is biblaridion (little book), a diminutive form of biblarion

(little book).18 From a study of the books Daniel and Revelation

16William H. Shea, “The Mighty Angel and His Message,” in Symposium on Revelation:
Introductory and Exegetical Studies, Book 1, ed. Frank B. Holbrook, vol. 6, Daniel and
Revelation Committee Series (Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research Institute of the
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1992), 323.
17William H. Shea, “The Mighty Angel and His Message,” in Symposium on Revelation:
Introductory and Exegetical Studies, Book 1, ed. Frank B. Holbrook, vol. 6, Daniel and
Revelation Committee Series (Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research Institute of the
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1992), 316.
18William H. Shea, “The Mighty Angel and His Message,” in Symposium on Revelation:
Introductory and Exegetical Studies, Book 1, ed. Frank B. Holbrook, vol. 6, Daniel and
Revelation Committee Series (Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research Institute of the
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1992), 288.
we may understand that the book mentioned here is the book of

Daniel. The book is symbolically sealed to be understood in the

end of time.”19 Thus it was a mystery to the people before John

ate of the book revealing that the mystery of God was being

revealed and it was bitter in the stomach. It may be important

to note that it is only from chapter 10 that significant

parallels between the two books are seen alluding to the concept

of “declared to his servants” in verse 7 of chapter 10.

The measuring of the temple alludes to the day of

atonement as we shall see further on. Another mystery we see

being proclaimed is the ark of the testimony is being revealed.

This ark was placed in the second compartment and was separated

by a veil (Heb 9). This was also a mystery that was hidden.

The seventh trumpet

The trumpets end in chapter 11. The seventh angel blows his

trumpet in verses 15-19. Three things happen during this time.

Firstly, There is the announcement of God’s ruler-ship. Secondly

there is a praise of the elders and worship scene where they

praise God that the wicked will be judged and the servants will

receive their reward. Thirdly there is the opening of the temple

19William H. Shea, “The Mighty Angel and His Message,” in Symposium on Revelation:
Introductory and Exegetical Studies, Book 1, ed. Frank B. Holbrook, vol. 6, Daniel and
Revelation Committee Series (Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research Institute of the
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1992), 299.
and the ark of the covenant was seen. A closer observation of

the text can reveal that the trumpet has something to do with

Jesus being the Messiah. His status as the Messiah has salvific

implications.

Mystery of Babylon

Analyzing the mysteries in Revelation, we may be able to

divide to book into three parts namely, the mystery of the stars

at the first, the mystery of God in the middle and the mystery

of the woman at the end. It is also useful to note that it is

only after it is done or chapter 16 that the third mystery of

the book is discussed. Therefore it appears to be that till the

end of chapter 16 the mystery of God was being finished.

Theological context

This portion of the book of Revelation deals with judgment

and the proclamation of the everlasting gospel. The book of

revelation is filled with the theme of the sanctuary. The

trumpets, the measuring and the ark of the testimony were all

part of the sanctuary and it’s services. This helps us

understand the mystery of God that was “gospelized” to the

servants of God. Thus the mystery of God has a period in which

it will be fulfilled. As stated before the mystery of God deals

with the coming of Jesus and his presence. For He will come when

His work in the sanctuary in heaven is complete. And the


sanctuary plays and important role. Thus in connection to the

theme of the book, Jesus comes at the end of the mystery

indicating that the mystery takes place through the sanctuary.

Historical fulfillment

The two witnesses in Revelation 11 represent the testimony of

the word of God with the people of God through the course of

history. The world was judged because of the rejection on the

word of God.20 These witnesses go in line with Revelation 12

where she is also hiding for 1260 days. The book of Daniel is in

close ties with the book of Revelation. This I clearly seen in

the “little book” figure that was open. John figuratively

experienced the experience of the people in the future. The

people anticipated for the final judgement of God but they could

experience it. Thus they had a bitter experience.21 This is

clearly seen in the experience of the Millerite movement which

culminated in 1844. The Adventists studied the book of Daniel

and based their dating primarily on what it said. Thus they had

a bitter experience when their anticipations failed.

20 Muller, Ekkehardt. "The Two Witnesses of Revealation 11." Journal of


the Adventist Theological Society, 2002: 30-45.

21William H. Shea, “The Mighty Angel and His Message,” in Symposium on Revelation:
Introductory and Exegetical Studies, Book 1, ed. Frank B. Holbrook, vol. 6, Daniel and
Revelation Committee Series (Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research Institute of the
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1992), 321.
“But the time of expectation passed. This was the first
close test brought to bear upon those who believed and hoped
that Jesus would come in the clouds of heaven. The
disappointment of God's waiting people was great. The
scoffers were triumphant and won the weak and cowardly to
their ranks. ”22

This great disappointment was solved with the vison of Hiram

Edson, revealing a truth about the sanctuary in heaven that

Jesus had a work to do in the Most Holy place.23 This seems to go

in line with the ark being revealed in chapter 11. From that day

on the studies in the sanctuary and its services have

intensified allowing God to reveal more of Himself and unfold

His plan for humanity.

Theological implication

The book of Revelation implies that that God reveals his

secrets to people through His prophets according to Amos 3:7. He

cares for His people and gives them a probation to be ready for

His coming when he will fulfill the mystery of God. He has

revealed Himself through the Bible and the study of it will help

us understand the mystery of God. The mystery of God happens in

the sanctuary of God indicating that the work of salvation

22 Gould, White. Ellen. Life Sketches of Ellen G. White. Mountian View,


CA: Pacific Press Publishing Associaton, 1915.

23 White, Ellen Gould. Christ in His Sanctuary. Pacific Press


Publishing Association, 1969.
continues to the end. The finishing of the mystery of God is

good news for it will culminate with the coming of Jesus.

Conclusion
From the above analysis we may ascertain that the mystery

of God is the fulfillment of the priestly ministry in heaven

coinciding with the proclamation of the gospel of the two

testaments, with the primary focus on the Daniel which points to

the sanctuary in heaven. The mystery of God is the

accomplishment of the plan of salvation explained in the

sanctuary which is to be proclaimed to the ends of the earth.

Ellen White commented on the love of God for rebellious children

saying “We cannot afford to draw our attention away from this

subject, for in it is contained the mystery of God,-- the plan

of salvation.”24 This mystery of God is revealed to his servants.

This is a brief paper that requires deeper study. It is the duty

of every member of the church to study the mystery revealed in

Revelation as Paul admonished the Laodicean church for it is the

revelation of Jesus Christ.

24 White, Ellen Gould. "Signs of the Times." The Love of God, November
18, 1889.
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Revelation: Introductory and Exegetical Studies, Book 1. Daniel
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Research Institute of the General Conference of Seventh-day
Adventists, 1992.
Sefanovic, Ranko. Revelation of Jesus Christ: commentary on the book
of Revelation. Berrien Springs, Michigan: Andrews University
Press, 2002.
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—. "Signs of the Times." The Love of God, November 18, 1889.
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Theological Journal 6.2, 1985: 349-360.
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and Revelation Committee Series . Edited by Frank B. Holbrook.
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General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 1992.