There is another interlude prior to the sounding of the seventh trumpet. Another angel is seen coming down from heaven, “clothed with a cloud, a rainbow on his head, his face like the sun and with feet like pillars of fire.” He holds a small book (the word indicates more that it is not a large book nor as large as the first scroll content wise: it is a smaller scroll size wise).
When the angel cries out, “seven thunders uttered their voices.” The scroll signifies the giving of the New Testament, which is at this time going into final assembly and soon to be put into the hands of the people. This is deduced from the significance of the book being small and from the remarks in the latter portion of the chapter (v.8-10). Note as the book is open in the angel’s hand, it is not something which is hidden or yet to be revealed. The Apostle is told to eat the scroll – to consume its content. As John eats the book, the taste is at first sweet and then bitter. Sweet is the offered salvation to man, bitter is the struggle that gave it and which still lies ahead. Once again: Thunder indicates startling and overwhelming power. Have you ever been out on the ocean during a lightning storm, or on the ninth hole at a golf course? It gets your quick attention.
The record states John “must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.” There will now be a broader or different application of the signs and plagues. As stated: When the seventh trumpet is sounded, “the mystery of God would be finished;” and the angel has served notice to this (v.7).
The sounding of the seven thunders displays the speaking of voices of power, as with the Word of God. The significance of the seven thunders does not lie in what takes place, but rather in what did not. The thunders are not allowed to be recorded; as the angel lifts his hands to heaven and makes an oath by God that “there should be delay no longer.” The thunders appear then to be a means by which this revealing would be extended, but God then stated there would be no delay before the unfolding (as in the opening of pages or scrolls), or to the events which will bring about the conclusion of the avenging of the Apostles and Prophets (v.4 – 7). As the events have been opening with interludes and in series, these new events pose that there will be no more delay, no more waiting; and things will quickly be concluded. The repetition of the signs ceases. Judgment is knocking at the door; and Jerusalem will be given up to the Gentiles and to history when the Jewish nation and its worship both cease to exist at the same time. Just one path is available to those seeking relief from that point onward.