This refers to the time period during which the seventh angel sounds and the final seven bowl judgments pour forth (Rev. Rev. 11:15+; (16). See Literary Structure.
the mystery of God
A mystery is something which is unknowable by man unless revealed by God:
The New Testament mystery doctrines (see T. Ernest Wilson, Mystery Doctrines of the New Testament , pp. 10-12) make an interesting study, and may be listed as follows (1) the faith, 1Ti. 1Ti. 3:9. (2) the church, Rom. Rom. 16:25. (3) the gospel, Eph. Eph. 6:19. (4) Jew and Gentile in one body, Eph. Eph. 3:1. (5) the bride, Eph. Eph. 5:32. Rev. Rev. 19:1+, Rev. 20:1+. (6) seven stars and seven churches, Rev. Rev. 1:20+. (7) of godliness, 1Ti. 1Ti. 3:16. (8) kingdom of heaven, Mtt. Mat. 13:11. (9) Israels blindness, Rom. Rom. 11:25. (10) rapture of the church, 1Cor. 1Cor. 15:51. (11) His will, Eph. Eph. 1:9. (12) of God, Rev. Rev. 10:7+. (13) the indwelling Christ, Col. Col. 1:24-29. (14) the Godhead of Christ, Col. Col. 2:2, Col. 2:9. (15) of iniquity, 2Th. 2Th. 2:7. (16) Babylon, Rev. Rev. 17:5+. Isa. Isa. 2:1-4.1NT mysteries reveal information which was not previously made known: The mystery [of Rev. Rev. 10:7+] is that there will be a series of seven climactic judgments that will destroy the satanic mystery of the man of sin. This was not revealed in the Old Testament.2
The expression, the mystery of God, in this connection seems to indicate all those counsels and dealings of God made known by Him to and through the Old Testament prophets, concerning His governmental proceedings with men on earth looking always toward the establishment of the kingdom in the hands of Christ. When Christ comes to take the kingdom, there will be no mystery, but, on the contrary, manifestation. The earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the seathat is, universally and compulsorily (Isaiah Isa. 11:9).3See commentary on Revelation 1:20.
would be finished
ἐτελέσθη [etelesthē] , prophetic aorist, which emphasizes the certainty of the future event as if it had already occurred.4 The completion comes in the sounding of the seventh trumpet, which initiates the seven bowls of Gods wrath. When the final (seventh) bowl is poured forth, a loud voice came out of the temple in heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done! (Rev. Rev. 16:17+).
All the pain, sorrow, suffering, and evil in the world cause the godly to long for God to intervene. A day is coming when He will break His silence, a day when all the purposes of God concerning men and the world will be consummated. . . . All the atheists, agnostics, and scoffers who mocked the thought that Christ would return (2Pe. 2Pe. 3:3-4) will be silenced. The millennia of sin, lies, murders, thefts, wars, and the persecution and martyrdom of Gods people will be over. Satan and his demon hosts will be bound and cast into the abyss for a thousand years (Rev. Rev. 20:1-3+), unable any longer to tempt, torment, or accuse believers. The desert will become a blossoming garden (cf. Isa. Isa. 35:1; Isa. 51:3; Eze. Eze. 36:34-35), people will live long lives (Isa. Isa. 65:20), and there will be peace between former enemies at all levels of societyand even in the animal kingdom (Isa. Isa. 11:6-8).5He declared to His servants the prophets
Declared is εὐηγγέλισεν [euēngelisen] , he announced good news. The message declared to the prophets was ultimately one of good news: the gospel! Not only of Christs provision for mans sin, but of Gods ultimate reclamation of fallen creation. The complete gospel includes much more than individual redemption, but extends to the entire redemptive revelation of God:
We, therefore, plant ourselves upon the divinest of records, and upon the most authentic, direct, and solemn of all sacred utterances, and say, that he whose gospel drops and repudiates from its central themes the grand doctrine of the consummation of all things, as portrayed in this Apocalypse, is not the true Gospel of God.6As we have attempted to emphasize throughout our study, the book of Revelation is not a head without a body. It is intimately connected with a large amount of prophetic material set forth elsewhere in Scripture. This fact alone undermines the attempt by preterist interpreters to limit the scope of the book. For to limit the scope of Revelation to the events surrounding the judgment of Jerusalem by Rome in A.D. 70 necessitates the cutting short of all the grand prophetic themes of Scripture. Indeed, some preterists implicitly recognize this fact when they assert that we are already in the new heavens and new earth. See Preterist Interpretation. No, we must leave the preterists to follow their own dead-end path which lops off huge parts of Gods prophetic program and understand the book of Revelation within the grand scheme of Gods entire redemptive plan for all nations, nay, for the entire globe, nay, for all of creation! See Related Passages and Themes. The phrase the prophets is best understood as denoting the Old Testament prophets because the relative silence of NT prophecy in regard to the fulfillment of Israels hope and kingdom is notable. The occurrences of προφήτης [prophētēs] in the Gospels, Acts, and the Epistles are predominantly references to OT prophets.7 Although what is to come is a mystery, the non-mysterious aspects of the mystery were declared to the OT prophets.:
The mystery previously hidden refers to all the unknown details that are revealed from this point to the end of Revelation, when the new heavens and new earth are created. God had preached that mystery (without all the details revealed in the New Testament) to His servants the prophets in the Old Testament, and men like Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel, Amos, and Zechariah wrote of end-time events. Much of the detail, however, was hidden and not revealed until the New Testament (for example in Mtt. Mat. 24:1, Mat. 25:1, and 2Th. 2Th. 1:5-2Th. 2:12), and more particularly in the previous chapters of Revelation.8The mystery was declared by God to His servants (Dan. Dan. 9:6; Amos Amos 3:7; Zec. Zec. 1:6). The prophets were not free to speculate concerning Gods plan for history using their own uninspired words. They were His servants and He saw to it that they obeyed to record precisely that which He desired to have recorded in Holy Scripture! For how could He call them servant (even slaves, δούλους [doulous] ) if they did not serve His will? And what could be said of a God who was unable to control His servantsthose set aside for His specific use? Those commentators who would deny the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, of which there is no shortage, must stumble on this point. Here, John tells us that what will be fulfilled is what God declared to His servants: that which they recorded and was preserved for our learning. If the Lord spoke through His servants the prophets, only to have what He said be hopelessly twisted and distorted so that it was no longer inerrant in all matters which it records, then how could He hold men to it? Would it be fair to condemn men for eternity in flames if the very message which sets forth their doom and the offer of eternal life is itself hopelessly flawed? For even if the main message were somehow preserved (the view of partial inspiration), what man could be condemned for failing to trust in it if it could be shown that numerous passages were in error? And who is responsible for deciding what portions are the true message of God reliably preserved and which portions are not His, but flawed distortions of His original message? Clearly, views which fail to acknowledge the reliability of Gods Word make Scripture akin to Swiss cheesefull of holes.9 See Anti-supernatural Bias. Since the mystery which will be finished was declared to His servants the prophets, we might expect that the mystery involves the consummation of a wide range of prophetic themes which run like threads throughout both testaments. Jerome Smith provides a cogent summary of what may be involved in this ultimate mystery.
This mystery which is to be finished involves (1) the resolution of the problem of evil, which was first manifest in the Garden of Eden, as the first sin seemingly interrupted the purpose for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The fall brought the attendant curse upon man and all creation, the curse now announced to be removed. The prophets speak unitedly of the coming Messianic Kingdom as a time of regeneration, restitution, and restoration, when earth will be restored to its paradisiacal state, a time when the curse is removed (Rev. *22:3; Gen. *3:15; Isa. Isa. 11:6-9; Isa. 60:21; Zec. Zec. 14:11; Acts Acts 3:19-21). (2) the resolution of the apparent paradox of election and free will, and a clarification to us of the orderings of providence (1Cor. 1Cor. 13:12; Eph. Eph. 1:11). (3) the consummation of the mystery of godliness, involving the human and divine cooperating in establishing the Davidic theocratic kingdom (Isa. Isa. 54:1; Mtt. Mat. 22:41-46; John John 1:51; 1Cor. 1Cor. 15:50; Eph. Eph. 1:10; 1Ti. 1Ti. 3:16). (4) the completion of our redemption and the establishment of our inheritance (Mtt. Mat. 19:27-30; Rom. Rom. 8:23; Eph. Eph. 1:11; Eph. 4:30; Heb. Heb. 9:28; 1Jn. 1Jn. 3:2). (5) the pre-tribulational, premillennial personal appearance of Christ for believers to prepare the organization of, and to set up, his kingdom before its open, public manifestation (Deu. Deu. 33:2; Isa. Isa. 11:11; 1Cor. 1Cor. 15:51-52; 1Th. 1Th. 4:16-18; Tit. Tit. 2:13; Rev. Rev. 11:17-18+). (6) the accomplishment of divine vengeance and retribution in the Day of the Lord (Is. Isa. 61:2; Isa. 63:4; Rev. Rev. 1:10+). (7) the open revelation of Christ, the overthrow of Antichrist, the investiture of the kingdom, the exaltation of the saints, the overthrow of Satan (Dan. Dan. 7:13-14; Luke Luke 10:18; Col. Col. 3:4; 2Th. 2Th. 1:10; 2Th. 2:8; Rev. Rev. 20:10+). Because this finishing occurs at the beginning of the seventh trumpet (which itself is clearly premillennial), the finishing is necessarily premillennial, not postmillennial. The theme of all the prophets is the fulfillment of the covenants and promises in the sure mercies of David in establishing the Messianic Kingdom, which is the kingdom of God upon earth, as our eternal inheritance (Isa. Isa. 55:3; Mtt; Isa. 5:5; Acts Acts 1:3, Acts 1:6; Acts 13:34; Acts 15:14-18; Acts 28:31; Rom. Rom. 4:13; Rom. 8:17).10Peter emphasized this same truth in his first sermon after the Day of Pentecost, that heaven would receive Jesus until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began (Acts Acts 3:21). This is an act of redemption, but on a far grander scale then human salvation alone. Our kinsman-redeemer will restore the entire created order. See commentary on Revelation 5:2.
4 An author sometimes uses the aorist for the future to stress the certainty of the event. It involves a rhetorical transfer of a future event as though it were past.Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics - Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House and Galaxie Software, 1999, 2002), 564.
5 John MacArthur, Revelation 1-11 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999), Rev. 10:1.
6 J. A. Seiss, The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1966), Rev. 10:7.
8 MacArthur, Revelation 1-11 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, 10:7.
9 It is not our purpose here to treat the reliability of the Scriptures in great detail. For those who call Jesus Lord, the most revealing study which can be done is to survey the NT for passages where Jesus refers to the Scriptures (sometimes referred to as the Law and the Prophets). The unbiased reader will readily appreciate that Jesus held the generation of his day responsible for their understanding and response to God solely upon the contents of the written Scriptures . He constantly and unfailingly points to the Scriptures. He never recognizes a personal existential encounter with God, but identifies the ultimate truth about God as being the objective written record. What Scripture records are the very words of God: Ex. Ex. 24:4; Ex. 34:27; Num. Num. 33:2; Deu. Deu. 31:9, Deu. 31:24; Deu. 31:26; 1Chr. 1Chr. 28:19; Isa. Isa. 8:1; Isa. Isa. 30:8; Jer. Jer. 1:9; Jer. 30:2; Jer. 36:2, Jer. 36:28, Jer. 36:32; Dan. Dan. 12:4; 1Cor. 1Cor. 2:13; 1Cor. 14:37; 1Th. 1Th. 4:2, 1Th. 4:15; Rev. Rev. 1:19+; Rev. 10:4+.