The Angel and the Little Scroll
10 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.” And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.
Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, “Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”
Revelation 10 Commentary
by Hank Workman
“God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne.”Psalms 47:8
There is nothing that happens in this world, in this life, that does not pass through the fingers of God. And all things go toward a greater purpose – that we who look dimly into a mirror – and not completely understand – God reigns.
The main goal, the main purpose of God is for His glory. Kingdoms rise and fall – for His ultimate glory. And there can be and should be a quiet strength that comes upon all His people as they are still before Him – knowing He is God.
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”Psalm 46:10
Thinking of these two passages alone – I am drawn to the book we study. My thoughts have gone to the initial readers of this revelation from John and how the terror of their lives was real. They lived under the threat of tremendous persecution. Many would and indeed did, give up their lives for Jesus.
And as they read the many different things John so graphically saw and then penned – and how even through that they were possibly able to draw some lines between their current circumstances and his words, there somehow had to grow a quiet strength that regardless of what happened, God was in control. And regardless of what they desired, longed for and let’s get real, prayed for – no matter what happened – He was in control.
6 trumpets have been blown by angels. They have brought incredible devastation to the earth. Between the 4th and last 3 trumpets an eagle flew and declared woes to the earth as the last would be blown. And when the 5th and 6th were – terror indeed did fall upon the people. The abyss – the place where demons had been incarcerated – was opened and they poured out upon the earth. This brought horrendous torture, a longing for death and an invading army. Demonic activity was unleashed.
Chapter 10 has the final and last trumpet delayed.
As this interruption of the trumpets begins, we are presented with an angel. He has brought considerable debate. For his description is one that some tend to think this is Jesus due to the way he’s described. Elsewhere in Revelation some of these same attributes are given to Him. However, the problem that rests with this conclusion is simply nowhere else is Jesus referred as an angel. More importantly, it seems wildly inappropriate for the Lord of all creation to take an oath.
So more than likely this angel is one of the archangels. They have always been used to perform critically important roles in redemptive history. Potentially being Gabriel, the one we know the most about, he has often been sent on divine missions – as he spoke with Daniel, spoke with Zechariah and Mary, the mother of Jesus.
And as this side story unfolds, it’s interesting that the things revealed by the 7 thunders are to be kept secret. This was the case as well with Daniel as Gabriel came and explained a vision then was instructed to not let the contents of his prophecy be known (Daniel 7:28; 8:26, 12:4,9). The Apostle Paul was forbidden to disclose the details of his visit to the throne room (2 Corinthians 12:4-7) And so here too, John is not allowed to bring to light what is said. But one thing imminent – when the 7th trumpet is blown – the mystery of God is revealed.
And once this trumpet is blown – nothing stands in the way of the final dramatic period of human history. For from this point forward God will not intervene to give the human race further opportunity to repent. Restraint is removed, the Antichrist is revealed. The forces of God and Satan will meet in a final confrontation.
Daniel foretold this in chapter 12 as well as Jesus in Mark 13. And this unleashing is the absolute darkness before the dawn –the awesome (and not in a good way) period of Satan’s wrath. And through what will take place, the appointed delay will be over and the period of the end is set in motion.
But one more thought to ponder here is this break would be that of a terrific encouragement for the church; For they were about to enter into the final period of hostility from the unbelieving world. Also worth noting, and this goes back to how we started off with the sovereignty of God; the angel describes God as the One who lives forever and ever.
Only a God who lives beyond the threat of death can promise them life after the sword has taken them. God is not only eternal, he is the creator of heaven and earth, the sea and everything. The end of history as was the beginning is under the complete sovereignty and sovereign control of God. This reminder for them, as well as for us folks, should be that of an encouragement.
Forces may come against us. Times may change. Difficulties may threaten our very existence and life. But our God is sovereign, our God is in control. We serve a God who was – who is – and hear this — who is to come. Praise His name.
John is told to take and eat the scroll. In doing so is told what it will taste like – sweet at first and sour after. Interesting. Here’s the thing, the word of God can be sweet if believed, but if ignored can and does bring a bitter word of judgment. And the very fact that John does what is asked of him and ingests the scroll shows he accepted it. And this, with also the fact that he was commissioned to prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings imply this vision he saw throughout the book of Revelation became a part of his life.
And for all of us, being that of a true follower of Jesus, a true follower of God involves the same. It involves living out the very message of God before the unbelieving world of which we live. Sometimes that message is sweet and fulfilling. Other times that message is harsh and bitter. Judgment is hard to digest. In particular when we look at these words here found in Revelation.
So many times we as Believers are energized by the promise alone that one day Jesus is coming back. One day we will be rescued from this earth and the ways of the world. We can become more and more excited about this. That is something that is sweet. However, the reality of this book is we see the wrath that is about to come upon the people who are not sealed by His Spirit, who are not following and realize very pointedly – they will not be included.
Revelation 10 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
This vision differs from the others for the simple fact that John is engaged in the action firsthand. The angel that appears before John is hidden in a cloud and his legs were pillars of fire. This is not a coincidence. It recalls the Exodus journey in which the pillar of fire and cloud gave both guidance and protection. The rainbow recalls the promise of God to Noah and the scroll could very well parallel the stone tablets from Moses.
Some writers believe that the scroll here is the same scroll mentioned in chapter 5. I believe there are enough differences between the two that they are not the same. The little scroll here is open and brings a different message with a different purpose. The original scroll in chapter 5 dealt with the destiny of the world while this deals primarily with God’s people during the final days.
The angel plummets to Earth with a massive and authoritative stance. One leg stands upon the sea while the other is upon the land. His voice matches his great stature as his shout comes out like a roaring lion.
They will walk after the LORD, He will roar like a lion; Indeed He will roar And His sons will come trembling from the west.Hosea 11:10 NASB
A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken! Who can but prophesy?Amos 3:8 NASB
The lion voice cried out and the seven peals of thunder uttered their voices. John must have been keeping a record of all that was going on because he turns to write down the seven thunders but a voice from Heaven stops him. We can assume this is either God or Jesus because the voice speaks with absolute authority. He is told to do exactly the opposite of what he was told to do in Chapter 1. There, he wrote down everything that he heard and sent it to the seven churches. Here, he must not record a thing.
Whatever was said was not to be made known to the churches. In this case, the phrase “seal up” simply means he cannot write it down. As many mystery writers know, sometimes a “less is more” approach makes for the best story. The understatement here is effective for both suspense and wonder.
The purpose of the oath from the angel is to give John assurance that the first 6 trumpets are not the final word of God. In order for John to understand why there would be no delay, he was called to step forward with action. If you notice, there was a two-part scenario to the closing seventh trumpet. (1) The mystery of God would be finished (2) as He preached to His servants the prophets.
John is a servant, so He is invited to taste the scroll. This experience is similar to Ezekiel’s but with a different application. In Ezekiel’s case, the message was sweet to him but bitter to his hearers. In John’s case, he was one of the apostles with the privilege of receiving the sweet Gospel of Jesus Christ and delivering it to the masses. However, by accepting this responsibility and consuming God’s calling, John and his companions would experience bitter suffering.