The Messianic Judgments, 6:1-16:21
2. The judgment of the seven trumpets, 8:6-11:18
Within the vision of the second Woe, the judgment of the sixth trumpet, John sees a supplementary vision, this time with particular reference to the church as it is caught up in the unfolding day of judgment. A mighty angel descends from heaven with a little scroll in his hand. The angel announces that "there will be no more delay." He then tells John to take the scroll and eat it, warning him that although it is sweet to taste, it will give him terrible indigestion. The angel then commissions John for prophetic witness.
Now is the time for the church to proclaim to the nations that the kingdom of God is at hand, the Great Day of the Lord, the day of judgment, is come.
i] Context: See 8:6-13. As with the judgment of the seven seals, the judgment of the seven trumpets has an interlude, "a pause before the end", Blount, 10:1 to 11:14. These interludes shift the perspective of the reader from being a heavenly spectator of the Great Day of the Lord to a member of the Christian church struggling in the face of the coming Great Day, ie., we move from a realized now to an inaugurated not yet. The interlude serves as a literary device used by John to unfold the role and destiny of the Christian community before the end-time, cf., Mounce. Although the interludes fall between the sixth and seventh judgment, in time terms they address a time prior to the unfolding day of judgment, ie., before the first judgment. It is unlikely that John wants us to view the first six judgments as preliminary events prior to the day of judgment, ie., the "wars and rumors of wars" that Jesus spoke of. The series of seven judgments are a dramatic representation of the unfolding day of judgment, whereas the interludes speak to a church awaiting the Great Day. The first interlude, 7:1-17 focused on the security of the saints in a world falling apart; this interlude looks at a world opposed to God and his people, and reveals the proper response of the Christian community. The interlude presents in two parts, 10:1-11 and 11:1-14, with only a superficial link, so Aune, although with a common theme, namely, prophecy / the proclamation of the gospel.
In 10:1-11 An angelic messenger from Christ proclaims to the church that "there will be no more delay." In the face of this reality the church must redouble its efforts to prophesy / proclaim the gospel to broken humanity, even though the inclination of humanity is to reject the gospel. In 11:1-14 we learn that the witnesses who prophesy will face persecution, even martyrdom, for their troubles. Yet, when their testimony is compete, even unto death, they will be glorified. This ends the second woe, "the third woe is coming soon."
ii] Background: See 1:1-8.
iii] Structure: The mighty angel and his scroll:
A Christ-like angel descends to earth with an open scroll in his hand, v1-4;
The angel announces that the time is fulfilled, v5-7;
"There will be no more delay."
John, on behalf of the church, is commissioned to undertake prophetic witness, v8-11.
Through John's eyes we see a mighty angel coming down from heaven, an angel who bears all the characteristics of Christ - he is a messenger with divine authority, cf., Dan.12:5-7. He holds in his hand a scroll, a divine word, and when he speaks it is like the roar of a lion, a roar which echoes with divine mysteries that are beyond human knowing. Reaching his hand upward he proclaims that there should be no more delay", v6. This is the last moment before the day of judgment and the sounding of the trumpets - it is a minute to midnight. It is in this moment that the mystery of God's will, hidden from the prophets of old, should be fulfilled / revealed in the gospel to the "servants and prophets" of Christ, v7, and made known epi "many peoples, nations, languages and kings", v11. So, like Ezekiel of old, John takes the scroll and eats it (a "symbolic commission to prophesy", Aune), but unlike Ezekiel who found the scroll sweet, for John it is both sweet and bitter - a divine message of salvation that carries a dark warning and brings down trouble on those who proclaim / witness it, v9-10, cf., Ezk.3:1-3. This thought is further developed in chapter 11.
The Interlude: In 10:1-11:14, as in the judgment of the seals, 7:1-17, there is an interlude, a pause, in the unfolding day of judgment which serves to explain the delay faced by those who cry out "How long Lord?" Here we learn that prior to the day of judgment, repentance is possible, and to this end it is a time when the gospel must be communicated to all nations and peoples. This interlude changes the perspective of the reader from that of a viewer of the Great Day of the Lord to that of a participant who is a member of a Christian fellowship. We are no longer in heaven looking down, but in church looking out, looking out into a world beginning to crumble as the day of judgment draws near. The interlude clarifies the role of the saints prior to and during the events of the seals, trumpets and bowls.
The dominant theme in this two-part interlude is prophetic witness, so Aune, .... Repentance is not possible in day of judgment, but prophetic witness can cut through prior to the terrible day (to some degree, 11:13b). Bauckham argues that the focus is on martyrdom, but martyrdom is but a worst case consequence of gospel witnessing. Chapter 11 will develop the subject of persecution in relation to prophecy / witness. In these last days leading up to the end, believers must "witness and suffer, leading to vindication and victory", Osborne. Believers are protected from the unfolding horror of divine judgment, but not from the rage of dark powers (Satan and his minions, the Beast / Antichrist) as they proclaim the gospel. Prophetic witness will prompt a response: some will believe, many will rage with hate, a hate that builds into the great tribulation (the final rage of the Beast / Antichrist).
The continuity problem, with respect to timing, in the Revelation: In the judgments of the seals, trumpets and bowls, John's vision reveals the progressive unfolding of the Great Day of the Lord, the day of judgment. The perspective of these visions is from heaven, such that we stand with John and witness Christ, the victorious Lamb, enthroned and administering the unfolding catastrophe of divine judgment - the kingdom is now, eschatology is realized.
In the interludes, 7:1-17, 10:1-14, the kingdom is not yet, the eschatology is inaugurated. We are no longer looking at the unfolding judgments of the Great Day, but are transported to earth to witness that moment of grace before the end, that minute to midnight when repentance is still possible. It is that time when there are "wars and rumors of wars .... but the end is still to come", it is "the birth-pangs of the new age", a time of persecution, a time when "the gospel must be proclaimed to all nations", Mk.13:5-13. Our perspective is from the church looking out, and this through apocalyptic imagery. For John's generation it is the moment before the day of judgment, a moment when repentance still applies, and so it is for our generation.
The image above illustrates John's not yet vision of the kingdom, THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH struggling as the Great Day draws near, Rev.10:1-11:14. The mouse-rollover illustrates John's now vision of HEAVEN, the Kingdom realized. The crucified Lamb has risen as the conquering Lion and is even now taking his place beside the Ancient of Days. Heaven is in rapturous tumult as the Lion King institutes the long-promised Great Day of the Lord, the day of blessing and cursing. To this end John witnesses the progressive unfolding of this awesome day, a terrible day for the unrepentant, but eternal blue skies for repentant believers.
John's eschatology is primarily realized. This is particularly evident in the judgments of the seals, trumpets and bowls; the Great Day of the Lord is upon us, progressively unfolding at this very moment. Yet, in 10:1-11:14 the eschatology is inaugurated and we find ourselves caught up in the preliminary events leading up to the great tribulation and the day of judgment - we live somewhere in the YELLOW zone awaiting the Great Day, the RED zone, as illustrated below.
Text - 10:1
Interlude: The mighty angel and his scroll, v1-11. i] A Christ-like angel descends to earth with an open scroll in his hand, v1-4. Drawing on the imagery of Daniel 12, with a possible allusion to the Colossus of Rhodes, John describes a glorious angel bearing the divine marks of the Son of Man, the repository of wisdom untold (clouds often accompany a divine presence, Exod.13:21, Mk.9:7, etc.., a rainbow for a crown, sun-like face and radiant feet are Christ-like, Rev.1:15, 16). He has in his hand the scroll that was sealed and is now open, a scroll listing the judgments of the seven seals. He speaks with the roar of a lion, and the Seven Thunders reverberate in response. John prepares to write down this divine revelation, probably from God himself, but a voice from heaven instructs him that it must remain secret. We are probably dealing with the full details of the unfolding Day of the Lord, the day of judgment, details that the church need not concern itself with, and this because God has everything in hand.
kai eidon (oJraw) aor. "then I saw" - John uses this phrase to indicate a new vision. "After that I saw another mighty angel coming down", Cassirer.
katabainonta (katabainw) pres. part. "coming down" - [another strong angel] coming down. The NIV treats this participle as the complement of the direct object, "angel", of the verb "I saw." John does often use a participle to introduce what he saw / heard, ie., a dependent statement of perception, so "I saw another mighty angel descend from heaven", Berkeley, so also Moffatt.
ek + gen. "from [heaven]" - Expressing source / origin.
peribeblhmenon (periballw) perf. mid./pas. part. "He was robed in [a cloud]" - having put on [a cloud]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "angel"; "I saw another mighty angel, who was wrapped in a cloud, descend from heaven."
epi + gen. "[with a rainbow] above [his head]" - [and the rainbow was] on [the head of him]. John's favorite spacial preposition, here with the sense "over / above his head", as NIV.
wJV "[his face] like [the sun]" - [and the face of him was] as [the sun]. Comparative; so also "feet as pillars of fire."
puroV (p roV) gen. "fiery [pillars]" - [and the feet of him as pillars] of fire. The genitive is probably adjectival, attributive, as NIV. Note that john has the angel's "feet" as fiery pillars. This is probably an example of synecdoche where a part represents the whole, so "his legs were like columns of fire", CEV.
ecwn (ecw) pres. part. "he was holding" - [and] having [in the hand of him]. Here again John is introducing a further development of his vision with a participle - an idiomatic / stylistic feature; "A rainbow (nominative) was on his head ..... and he was holding (nominative) ....." Technically we would classify the participle as a periphrastic construction missing the verb to-be, although John often uses this participle as if it were a finite verb, cf., 1:16.
biblaridion (on) "a little scroll" - a scroll, book. A diminutive of biblidion. Koester argues that it is not a true diminutive because John interchanges the words biblaridion with biblion. If this is the case then the angel is holding the scroll opened in 6:1ff, so Boring, Beasley-Murray, Sweet, Bauckham, Koester, ..... contra Mounce, Charles, Kiddle, .... who argue for two different scrolls, large / small, or two separate scrolls covering Rev.6-11 and 12-22. Yarbro Collins argues for one scroll covering Rev.12-22. So, the scroll written on both sides (5:1, the judgments of the seals) is probably the same scroll that John is told to eat so that he can prophesy, which prophecy is summarized in chapter 11 and then developed in the rest of revelation, so Bauckham, Osborne, Koester, .. As a matter of interest, Plummer DDG refers to the early Greek commentary by Oecumenius , 6th century, who makes a point of the diminutive form here - it's a very small scroll (actually a combination of the two diminutives arion and idion). The argument put by Oecumenius is that the "small / little" is referring to a list of really bad sinners - there are not many of them; an interesting idea, but unlikely. "He was holding in his hand an opened scroll."
hnewgmenon (anoigw) perf. mid./pas. part. "which lay open in his hand" - having been opened. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "scroll"; "an opened scroll."
en + dat. "in [his hand]" - Local use of the preposition, expressing space.
epi + gen. "on [the sea]" - [and he placed the right foot of him] on [the sea and the left foot] on [the land]. John's favorite spacial preposition, "on, upon." The image expresses one of dominion.
fwnh/ (h) dat. "[he gave] a [loud] shout" - [and he called out] in a [great] voice. The dative is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of his shout; "he called out with a loud voice", ESV.
wJsper "like [the roar of a lion]" - as, just as [roars a lion]. A change from John's favorite wJV, and the only use of this comparative in Revelation. "A voice that sounded like a roaring lion", CEV.
oJte "when [he shouted]" - when [he called out]. Introducing a temporal clause, as NIV.
aiJ eJta brontai (h) "the seven thunders [spoke]" - the seven thunders [spoke the voices]. Nominative subject of the verb "to speak". The angel speaks with a mighty voice and he is answered by seven thunderous voices. The use of seven again indicates perfection / completeness, but who speaks? Possibly the voices come from angelic powers, so Beale, Koester, ..., but God / Christ seems more likely, so Aune, Smalley, Reddish, Osborne, ... God raws like a lion, Hos.11:10, Amos.3:8, and in Psalm 29 he thunders seven times. On Mount Sinai thunder and lighting represented the divine presence, Exod.19:16, etc. But what is the content of the thunders? Commentators provide diverse interpretations, but in line with the fact that John is not allowed to write anything down probably indicates that we are not to know their meaning. Of the numerous interpretations, the one offered by Osborne is the most satisfactory, p397-8. The thunders are the full details of the unfolding day of judgment and since God is in control it is not necessary for the saints to know every detail. God is a sovereign Lord in control of the day of judgment, and since he loves his people, he will care for his people.
eJautwn ref. pro. "-" - of them. Here the genitive is probably ablative, expressing source / origin, "from them", but possibly just possessive; "when he spoke the seven thunders lifted their voices", Phillips.
oJte "when [the seven thunders spoke]" - and [when the seven thunders spoke]. Serving to introduce a temporal clause.
grafein (grafw) pres. inf. "[I was about] to write" - The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to be about."
ek + gen. "from [heaven]" - [and i heard a voice] from [heaven]. Expressing source / origin.
legousan (legw) pres. part. "say" - saying. Again John introduces his vision with a participle, here what he hears; see legwn 1:17. Technically it may be classified as an object complement, serving as the complement of the direct object, "a voice", of the verb "I heard", standing in a double accusative construction.
mh ... grafh/V (grafw) aor. subj. "do not write [it] down" - [seal the things which the seven thunders spoke and] not write [them]. A subjunctive of prohibition; "do not write them down." As to why John should not write down the thunderous words, see "the seven thunders spoke", v3. "Seal with silence the Seven Thunders; do not write a word", Peterson.
ii] The angel announces that the time is fulfilled, v5-7. The angel announces, on behalf of God and the Lamb, that there will be no more delay in the the final catastrophic judgment - it is one minute to midnight. John will go on to show that in this final moment before the end grace still abounds.
estwta (iJsthmi) perf. part. "[I had seen] standing" - [and the angel i saw whom] having stood. The participle serves as an object complement, complement of the direct object, "whom", of the verb "I saw", standing in a double accusative construction.
epi + gen. "on [the sea]" - on [the sea and] on [the earth]. Spacial use of the preposition, "on, upon." "Bestriding the sea and the land", Phillips.
eiV + acc. "to [heaven]" - [lifted the hand of him] to [heaven]. Spacial, here expressing movement toward. "Held his right hand up toward heaven", CEV.
The oath sworn by the angel alludes to Daniel 12:7.
en + dat. "[he swore] by" - [and he swore] in. This variant preposition is not read by a number of commentators. Their argument is that it was added so that the dative "the one living" is not read as "he swore in him who lives", rather than "by him who lives", with the dative serving as an accusative of oaths, cf. Wallace p204.
tw/ zwnti (zaw) dat. pres. part. "him who lives" - the one living. The participle serves as a substantive. The designation given for God is extensive - he is the sovereign one, Lord of time and space. He created, and thus reigns over heaven, earth and sea. This is a three level cosmology, the sea being the chaotic waters under the earth, Gen.1:2.
eiV "for ever and ever" - into [the ages of the ages]. Temporal use of the preposition. The phrase is idiomatic, meaning simply "forever".
oJti "[there will be no more delay]" - [who created the heaven and the things in it and the earth and the things in it and the sea and the things in it] that [time will be no longer]. Here introducing an object clause, object of the verb "he swore" / dependent statement of indirect speech / oath content (the only example in Revelation). "Time will cease to exist" = "the period of waiting will be up", Mathewson. Time is part of the created order and this statement may express the end of time, as we know it, as we move into the timeless dimension of the new creation, so Cullmann (see also Osborne) but it is more likely that "the angel is saying that time is up and that the events of the end are about to be set in motion", Smalley - there will be no more delay before the final judgment. Possibly, but unlikely, the angel is saying that the time for repentance has ended.
all (alla) "but" - At this point John uses an adversative to introduce a qualification. In Daniel 12:7 the final unfolding of the day of judgment occurs during "a time, a time, and half a time", after which all things are completed. John is identifying this with the sounding of the seventh trumpet. All "will be accomplished" then, just as Daniel had prophesied.
en "in [the days]" - in [the days]. Temporal use of the preposition, "during the days ..."
thV fonhV (h) gen. "when [the seventh angel]" - of the voice [of the seventh angel when he is about to trumpet]. The awkward syntax here produces numerous translations. The idiomatic phrase "in the days" generally prompts a genitive "in the days of ..." - adjectival, idiomatic / temporal; "in the days during which / in which / when ..." = "In the days at / during the voice / sound / blast / peal of the seventh angel. The genitive tou ... aggelou, "the [seventh] angel", is probably adjectival, possessive, "the seventh angel's peel", but possibly verbal, subjective, "the peal sounded by the seventh angel." Of course, even for a first century reader a genitive is anything but clear so John qualifies the statement with a further indefinite temporal clause introduced by oJtan + subj., "whenever he is about to trumpet", specifying that the moment of the trumpet blast is what he is referring to. "Modern translations cut through all this by combining both clauses; "When the seventh angel blows his trumpet", TEV.
salpizein (salpizw) pres. inf. "to sound his trumpet" - [he is about] to trumpet. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to be about to."
kai "-" - and. Here more consecutive than coordinative; "and then ...."
etelesqh (telew) aor. pas. "[the mystery of God] will be accomplished" - would be completed [the mystery of god]. As Mathewson notes, the perfective aspect of the aorist has prompted its use here rather than a future tense, although the NIV has properly translated it as future for the English reader. Classifications such as futuristic aorist are unnecessary. John is simply making the point that God's plans (his mystery, tou qeou is a possessive genitive) find complete fulfillment at the sounding of the final trumpet.
wJV "just as" - as [he proclaimed]. Comparative used to reference a concrete example, "in terms of the mystery already announced to his servants the prophets (eg., Daniel 12:7)."
touV eJautou doulouV acc. "to his servants" - the mystery to his own servants. Most translations treat this accusative as an example of advancement where the expected dative indirect object "to his own servants" has taken the place of an assumed direct object, probably "the mystery", and in doing so has adopted the accusative case.
touV profhtaV (hV ou) acc. "the prophets" - Accusative standing in apposition to "his own servants."
iii] John is commissioned to undertake prophetic witness, v8-11. Like Ezekiel many years before, Ezk.3:1-3, John is instructed to eat the opened scroll, to digest its contents, and so internalize its truths. The scroll is both sweet and bitter; it is a word that can prompt repentance and thus salvation, but it is primarily a word of judgment, and so can prompt persecution, even unto death, for those who communicate it. This act of prophetic commissioning / investiture is explained in the terms of prophesying / witnessing to "peoples and nations and languages and kings", v11. This commissioning, through John, extends to the church.
kai "then" - and. Here used instead of de to indicate a step in the narrative.
h}n pro. "that [I heard]" - [the voice i heard] which was [from heaven]. Introducing a relative clause, object of the verb "I heard." Of course, the whole clause is elliptical, requiring the addition of a verb to-be, but this can be added in a number of places, eg., "the voice which I heard from heaven was again speaking", or "there was a voice which I heard from heaven again speaking." If, for example, we opt for the last option, the relative clause would serve as the complement of the direct object "voice", with "speaking and saying" serving as a second complement.
ek + gen. "from [heaven]" - from [heaven]. The preposition here expresses source / origin.
lalousan (lalew) pres. part. "spoke" - speaking. The participle serves as an object complement, complement of the object, "which was from heaven", of the verb "I heard", standing in a double accusative construction, but note h}n above.
met (meta) + gen. "to [me]" - with [me again]. The preposition expresses association / accompaniment.
legousan (legw) pres. part. "-" - [and] saying. Without kai the participle could be classified as attendant circumstance, but with kai it is coordinate with lalousan and therefore serving as a coordinate object complement. Again John introduces a vision with a participle; see legwn 1:17.
to hnewgmenon (anoigw) perf. mid./pas. part. "that lies open" - [go take the scroll] having been opened. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "scroll", as NIV.
en + dat. "in [the hand]" - Local, expressing space.
tou aggelou (oV) gen. "of the angel" - The genitive is adjectival, possessive.
tou eJstwtoV (iJsthmi) gen. perf. part. "who is standing" - the one standing. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "angel", as NIV.
epi + gen. "on [the sea]" - upon [the sea and] upon [the land]. Spacial; "on, upon."
The image of the scroll being sweet to taste, but turning sour in the stomach (indigestion??), is handled differently by the commentators. Osborne argues that for the church, the scroll "will be bitter because it involves much suffering, and yet sweet because the church will emerge triumphant." It may be sweet because its message brings salvation, but bitter because its message prompts an aggressive reaction from those destined to destruction, ie., persecution of the faithful; so Caird, Mounce, Smalley, Koester, .. It is possible that the prophet is in mind, the sweet call, but bitterness in the delivery, rejection, cf., Ezekiel. Another possibility is the good news / bad news nature of the scroll's message - grace is sweet (the day of salvation is at hand), but Woe is bitter (the Day of the Lord, the day of judgment is at hand).
kai "so" - and. The NIV has opted for a consecutive sense; "and so."
legwn (legw) pres. part. "asked" - [i went to the angel] saying. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to go"; "I went .... and said ..."; cf., legwn 1:17.
autw/ dat. pro. "him" - to him. Dative of indirect object.
dounai (didwmi) aor. inf. "to give" - Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what John asked.
moi dat. pro. "me" - to me [the scroll, book, and he says] to me [take and eat it and it will make bitter of you the stomach]. Dative of indirect object. Note the unusual drawing forward of the genitive sou, "of you". We would expect thn koilian sou, "the belly of you." Also note the intensification of the verb fagw, "to eat", with the prefix kata. Doe it mean "to gorge"? Bitterness of the stomach is probably describing indigestion; "it will give you an upset stomach, but to the taste it as sweet as honey."
all (alla) "but [in your mouth]" - but [in the mouth of you it will be sweet]. Adversative, contrastive; "but".
wJV "as [honey]" - as [honey]. Comparative; "like honey."
oJte "[but] when [I had eaten it]" - [and i took the scroll out of the hand of the angel and ate it and it was in the mouth of me as sweet honey and] when [i ate it the stomach of me was made bitter]. Serving to introduce a temporal clause. The preposition ek, "out of", expresses separation, and en, "in", expresses space / sphere. The genitives "angel" and "me" are possessive, and the comparative wJV, "as", as above.
John seems to imply that "having eaten I was then told that I must prophesy ....."? John's task is now to proclaim the message of the scroll, to proclaim the Great Day of the Lord, the day of judgment, the day of the coming kingdom, and to communicate that important message / gospel, to all humanity, to Christ's compromised followers, as well as those opposed to Christ.
kai "then" - and. Indicating a step in the narrative.
moi dat. pro. "I" - [they say] to me. Dative of indirect object.
legousin (legw) pres. "was told" - they say. Historical / narrative present tense. The plural person "they" is unexpected. It may be the seven thunders who are speaking, or the "voice from heaven" (a divine voice) along with the angel. The NIV, as with most translations, has taken the plural as indefinite and so translated as a passive; "Then there was another thing I was told", Cassirer.
profhteusai (profhteuw) aor. inf. "you must prophesy" - [you] to prophecy [again is necessary]. With the indefinite dei, "it is necessary", the infinitive usually serves as its subject, with the accusative se, "you" serving as the subject of the infinitive. As Zerwick notes, it may actually be epexegetic here, specifying what is necessary, "it is necessary that you prophecy." "It is necessary" is often used in the scriptures to express divine necessity.
palin adv. "again" - Adverb of manner. Is this a recommissioning of John? That is certainly possible, but the sense may be that John is being called on to prophecy again like the Old Testament prophets prophesied, a prophecy epi, "against", those who resist God's Word, both in the church, and outside the church.
epi + dat. "about [many peoples]" - against [peoples and nations and tongues and many kings]. John again uses his favorite preposition, but here followed by a dative. With a dative it may be spacial, but for a spacial sense, "on, upon", John usually follows up with a genitive. With a dative it may be temporal or causal, but that doesn't work here. On rare occasions it may express purpose / goal, so "with a view to the salvation / the judgment of many ......" Another possibility is opposition, so "against many .....", so Smalley, Mathewson, Osborne, Beale, Blount, Aune. Reference / respect is another possible meaning, "about / concerning / on the subject of many .....", so Zerwick, Koester, Bauckham, Mounce - although this usage is usually followed by an accusative. "Against" is the likely sense given that it is constantly used in the OT of those who prophecy "against" the people (God's stiff-necked people), or the nations, as they announce the coming of the Great Day of the Lord, cf., Jer.25:13, 32:30, Ezk.6:2, 25:2, etc. This is certainly what John is set to do, but "against" should not be understood as a negative denouncement of the people. The proclamation of the Great Day of the Lord, that the kingdom of God is at hand, is both good and bad news, and is directed, first and foremost, to those who claim standing before God, and thereafter to all peoples. The Great Day of divine judgment is at hand, but mercy still applies, so repent.