| 1 ¶
And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud:
and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and
his feet as pillars of fire:
.2 And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth,
Open Literally, "having been opened." Had it been closed? Yes da1204. We discussed this in connection with v1 go.
Sea ... earth Why? First, sea and land may imply the whole world (ex2004, ex2011, ps06934). But there’s more. In chapter 13, we discover two beasts. One described in the first part of the chapter seen coming from the sea, and one in the rest of the chapter, coming from the earth. The two cooperate in developing the final apostasy and oppression before the return of Christ (Rev. 13:1-10; 13:11-15).
In chapter 13, we discover two beasts. One described in the first part of the chapter is seen coming from the sea, and one in the rest of the chapter, from the earth. The One who created heaven, earth and sea also gives breath and life to all the people 1314b. He asserts his superior authority in a world that has largely misunderstood the principle of true worship 1407g. Instead of rising from sea or land he came down from heaven v1.
Right foot ... left foot Why did he set his right foot on the sea? If this had not been important the text would not have specified. Both end-time beasts defy His authority which is based on his creatorship, but the beast from the sea has been more bold 1306b&c and is the model for the apostasy of the beast from the land. Behind both of these is the dragon 1302. The mighty angel will finally crush his head completely! ge0315. In addition to crushing, being under the feet indicates subjection 2sa2239.
And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried,
seven thunders uttered their voices.
The Angel speaking as a roaring lion followed by the reaction of the thunders are two sound events which seem to parallel the tasting and feeling events (verses 8-10).
We see the the chapter in a two-part pattern. See explanation below.
voice This reminds us of the cry of the angel flying in mid-heaven
While the two describe the same events, the angel here is Christ. The one
there is not.
Lion roareth It's interesting to compare with the lion in the throne room. See 0505 and context. We may see the Lion both here and in chapter 10 as the powerful Christ, commissioned for judgment. The book that He has been found worthy to open here is not a "little book." It is a full book, the record of humanity which is ready to be examined by the Lamb in the heart of the throne 0509a.
Seven thunders "Seven thunders uttered their voices" after the mighty angel spoke loudly like a lion. "The God of glory thundereth. . . . The voice of the Lord is powerful." See the note for verse 3.
|.4 And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.|| I was
about to write Why would God reveal what the thunders said, then
tell John not to write it? The message must have importance in the context.
This puzzle as itself symbolic. Withheld information was evidently to play
a part in the historical experience represented by the whole vision. See
below on inspiration.
Seal ... write them not We saw in v2 a connection with a message from Daniel. The relationship also includes the sealing and much more. See the note for this verse (different from the note linked above).
Message given to the prophet (chapters 8, 9).
He was told to seal the message (12:4).
At a future time, knowledge was to increase (at the end of days). (Dan. 12:4).
Disappointment. Daniel really wanted to understand.
Message to be delivered later (unsealed).
Compare the parallel in John’s experience: (confirming relationship between events)
He heard what the seven thunders said (Rev. 10:3),
Was told to seal it (verse 4).
A special time was announced (verse 6).
Disappointment from what seemed so good in the little book (verses 8-10).
He was to prophesy again (verse 11).
|.5 And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven,|| Which
I saw See v1.
Lifted up his hand But the man in linen lifted both hands. See note for verse 6.
|.6 And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:|| Liveth
Compare 0118, 0409,
Created This points to the judgment message 1407 – the call to worship the Maker of heaven, earth, and fountains. Also ps14606.
|6 And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:||Time no longer What time had expired? We clearly believe that God provides eternal life for the faithful jn0316 so this must be an end in a special sense. Daniel was told about a special end of time referred to as "the end of the days." These were time periods he had been told about. They stretched into the future from his perspective, the longest ending after 1335 prophetic days. See on da1213 and the chart following which shows that the 2300 days of da0814 end at essentially the same time as the 1335.|
| 7 But
in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound,
the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants
.8 ¶ And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.
|Jesus is doing the impossible for us in bringing us from sin to salvation. This is discussed on the next page.|
Introduction and explanation
Revelation, chapter 10 which we are studying is divided logically into two parts. Verses 1-7 reveal the mighty angel, the thunders and the finishing of the mystery of God. Verses 8 to 11 describe the experience of eating of the little book and the promise of prophesying again. I see the second part as an amplification or development of the first, a pattern all through the book of Revelation (see explanation). Let's read that second part:
"And the voice which I heard from heaven spoke to me again, and said, Go and take the little scroll which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went to the angel, and said to him, Give me the little scroll. And he said to me, Take it, and eat it; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little scroll out of the angel's hand, and ate it; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said to me, Thou must prophesy again concerning many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings." (Rev. 10:8-11)
In this second part, John
was told that the little book would be bitter in his stomach, but he ate
it anyway. He heard the explanation but still had to eat the book to experience
or understand its message. Note that he was eating a book — obviously not
his usual diet. We may see his experience in vision as symbolic.
In the first part, the apostle was told to seal the thunders' messages. After discovering the bitterness of the little book, he was told to preach again. As in the pattern of Daniel's experience (Dan. 12:9, 10) the messages of the thunders would be unsealed when John preached again after the bitter experience. Of course we have more to base our interpretation on than this parallel.
After we have looked at the book-eating experience, I'll share what I believe the thunders said.
Insight into inspiration
In reading commentaries on the Bible we often find conjecture about what might have motivated the Bible author to write as he did. Perhaps he had a political idea to promote or maybe he wanted to deceive his readers. By now you know my interpretations are different. I take a very simple view of the Scriptures. Jesus said we need to be like little children in our faith. If God said it, I believe it. This is not to say that we should not learn and mature as Christians. And I am not against knowing the culture of the time although even culture is rarely a hindrance to meaning. Texts and manuscripts also present minor problems that need to be addressed in a thorough study of the text.
In the book of Daniel, we are tempted to think how clever the prophet was in creating an intricate and detailed chiastic literary structure of chapters 10 to 12, for example. But he was just writing down what Gabriel was telling him would happen. The structure is part of the divine gift — a seal of the writing's divine inspiration.
While divinely inspired, I do not believe that specific words are normally dictated to the prophet. It's possible that they were in the case above, but it's also possible that the prophet wrote down what he was led to understand. This would not have affected the structure as long as he kept the same order of events. Authors had different writing styles. The man in linen whom Daniel saw, for example (Dan. 10 and 12), turns out to be the same glorified Christ John described in his chapter 1. The two prophets simply used different terms to describe Him.
Peter explains that, ". . . prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (2 Peter 1:21). Men were moved (impressed) by the Holy Spirit; then they wrote.
In our present passage, it's exciting. We can see John just watching and taking notes as fast as possible, not wanting to miss anything. He just dips his pen and about to write the interesting things the seven thunders said and the voice from heaven says, "Stop. Don't write." So he tells us, "Sorry I can't tell you this. I was told to seal it up." In other words, he wasn't learning from the authors of his time in order to think up an explanation for what was happening.
"And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not." (Rev. 10:4)
Jesus once told His disciples, "I still have many things to say to you, but ye cannot bear them now." (John 16:12).