The Roman Empire was fearful of attack on in its eastern flank, beyond the Euphrates, by the Parthians. That is dwarfed by Revelation 9:13f. There’s opportunity to repent still, but nations and individuals that give themselves to idolatry and the worship of power and conquest may find themselves overwhelmed by military judgement – think Babylon, Greece, Rome, Hitler’s 3rd Reich and the Soviet Union.
Just like the interlude between the sixth and seventh seal, we now get another interlude showing the church on mission.
It starts with a little scroll being given to John…
Firstly a mighty angel appears, reflecting the glory of God and his throne room. Then seven thunders speak, but John can’t tell us what they said – God reveals the substance of His plan, but not all the details (see Deuteronomy 29:29). The announcement of ‘no more delay’, v.6, indicates the end is coming with the seventh trumpet. Just like the seven seals before it, the seven trumpets lead up to the second coming.
The taste of the scroll is sour, indicating that is more news of suffering. At the same time it is as sweet as honey in the mouth – God’s word shows us His sweet presence in the midst of difficulty and darkness.