What Happens Next? Revelation 10, The Angel With A Little Scroll

Although God has hidden some of the future from us, a mighty angel reveals that the sounding of the seventh trumpet will bring about the full completion of his plan. God’s word is both sweet and bitter to those for whom he gives it. – Kendell H. Easley

  • Although one would expect John to move directly into the 7th and final trumpet, chapter 10 serves as an interlude of sorts – to build anticipation and ensure us that God has a plan and he is working it to perfection. It will be completed in His way and on His timetable.

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.

  • Much of John’s writing thus far has been from a heaven to earth perspective, but now we see him looking from earth into the heavens.
  • This might seem a small detail at first, but many have sat and pondered from time to time, “What is God doing up there? Is he doing anything?” Chapter 10 reminds us that He is.
  • “another mighty angel” – as mentioned earlier in 5.2.
  • John spends a little more time describing this angel than he has previously.
  • “wrapped in a cloud” – meaning he is accompanied by the presence and power of God. / an emblem of coming judgment.
  • “with a rainbow over his head” – This is perhaps to remind us of Revelation 4.3, where a rainbow is surrounding the throne of God. / perhaps a sign of God’s covenant protection over his people.
  • “his face was like the sun” – Moses face also shined brightly after encountering God on Mt. Sinai.
  • “legs like fiery pillars” – God revealed himself by fire at night during the Israelites wilderness wandering.
  • John’s description seems to emphasize that this messenger comes from the very presence of God.
  • Who is this angel? Some have suggested Jesus, but this is probably not the case. Some suggest Gabriel, because he is reported to stand in the very presence of God (Luke 1.19). The description of this angel also sounds similar to the description of Gabriel in Daniel 12.7.

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, 

  • “He had a little scroll” – John probably designates it as so, in order to avoid confusing it with the scroll mentioned in chapter 5.

3 called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded.

  • “the seven thunders” – John assumes we know what these are, but apparently the obvious connection for John has been lost over the years.

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.”

  • Although the message of the thunders is only for John’s ears, we still see through the end of the chapter that God is working

And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven

  • In verse 3, here, and later in verse 8 John tells us the angel stood “on the sea and on the land”. This could be a testimony of his size, but seems more likely to be important to John that the redemption of God would cover all of creation (land and sea).

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,

  • John gracefully describes God as the eternal creator, who is the sovereign redeemer over all of his creation.
  • “no more delay” – is “When, Lord?” not the question that every generation has asked since the coming of Christ. Although we ask it even now, God has a plan, and in his time, He will accomplish the full redemption of his creation.
  • The Bible gives a reason for delay, namely, that all of God’s people are to be saved first.

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. 

  • “the mystery of God” – referring to God’s final workings until he creates a new heaven and a new earth.
  • As believers, we must be content with what we have been given and live in the truth and knowledge we possess.

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.” 10 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. 11 And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.” 

  • Snack anyone?
  • Ezekiel was commanded to eat a scroll, Jeremiah also compared the consumption of God’s word to eating it.
  • The sweetness that turns into bitterness is probably a reference to the upcoming suffering of the church of God which will be discussed in the upcoming chapters. It may also be a reference to the wrath of God which is poured out on unbelievers.