About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

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The Angel With The Little Scroll  (ch. 10:1-11)


In verse 1 we are now introduced to yet another angel.
This angel came down from Heaven in the clouds, had legs like massive pillars, had a rainbow about him, and his face was like the sun.  Many people believe that is Jesus Himself because of this description.  Some believe it might be Michael the arch angel or another very important angel. I lean towards the second choice.


One reason why some suggest that this angel is Jesus is because of the description John gives to this angel.  Nowhere in the book of Revelation is Jesus called an angel.  This is not Jesus, but, this seems to be a special angel because of John's description.  Whether this angel is Michael or another angel, it does tell me that there are different ranks of angels.  It also tells me that there are different types of angels.  Not all angelic type beings are the same in appearance or rank.     


Some suggest that this angel might be Michael because we see in Daniel 12:1that Michael is the angel that protects Israel , and the tribulation period is all about Israel being judged in order for it to return to the Lord.         


In verse 2 we see that this angel had a little scroll in his hand.  Is this scroll the same sealed scroll that was in the hand of Jesus?  I don't believe it is, although some say it is.  It is described as a little scroll, and the other scroll wasn’t so described.  I think the adjective “little” may well be inserted to distinguish this scroll from the other scroll.  It also seems to have a different purpose which we will see later.


This angel planted his left foot on the land and his right foot on the sea.  This speaks of power and authority that Jesus definitely has and that’s another reason why some claim that this angel is Jesus.  I believe this angel was given this authority and power by Jesus.   If this was Jesus, then this event would have to signify His return to earth and I don’t believe it does.


Like everyone else in Heaven, this angel spoke with a loud voice.  It's either that everyone speaks loud in Heaven or else they don't and it's just loud to human ears.  I suggest the second alternative. 


Verse 3 says that when he shouted the “voice of the seven thunders spoke”.  Are these seven thunders something like the seven seals and the seven trumpets?  Are there judgments connected with these seven thunders?   We don’t know the answer to this question because in verse 4 another voice from Heaven told John not to write what these seven thunders said.  What they said is a complete mystery.  Only John knows.  My guess is that they had some kind of judgment associated with them because the seven trumpets were judgments. Many have taken wild guesses just what these seven thunders said, but it's not really worth guessing.  Some day we will find out.  It's also not worth guessing just for the simple fact that God doesn't want us to know what these seven thunders said. 


In verses 5 through 7 we see this angel lifting his right hand to heaven to swear an oath by Him who lives forever; the one who created the earth, sea, and all there is.  This clearly states that this angel is not Jesus.  Jesus does not swear by anyone other than Himself.  Besides, the one to whom this angel is swearing is clearly Jesus.     


This angel proclaims that at the sound of the seventh trumpet the end comes and will not be delayed.  There’s no turning back.  We should remember that the sounding of this trumpet is actually the introduction to the seven bowls, the next round of judgment.  


Those who believe that the seven seals, the seven trumpets, and the seven bowls, happen at the same time would now say that the scene of Revelation is reverting back to the beginning.  Those who claim Revelation, from start to finish, is in chronological order would say what comes next follows what has happened, and the end is now near.  Whatever way you think of Revelation, the end is now in sight and there will not be any delay. 


The word delay here suggests to me that God's judgment is now speeding up in terms of time and also in terms of intensity.  Things will get real rough from here on out.      


The angel swears that “in the days when the seventh angel sounds his trumpet”, meaning, that the trumpet sounds are not just a quick sounding.  The trumpet sounds actually represents a number of days that these events take place in.  This is so because the seventh trumpet consists of seven more judgments known as the seven bowl judgments.


The second part of the angel's statement speaks to the “mystery of God that was announced to the prophets”.  This mystery, that is not a mystery for those to whom it has been revealed, is the wrapping up of this present age with God judging those on earth.  These things were foretold by Old Testament prophets. That shows us that the Old Testament prophets have relevance to end time prophecy. 


The Apostle Paul speaks of the mystery of God, which he says means that Christ is in us.  When Paul speaks of the mystery, he is speaking about the church.  It was a mystery because it wasn't clearly seen in the Old Testament.  The mystery spoken of here is not the same mystery that Paul spoke of.  It's the mystery spoken of by the prophets in the Old Testament, and we know that most all of what the Old Testament prophets spoke about concerned Israel .  We must think in terms of Israel when we think about this mystery here in Revelation 10.  This would then give some credibility to the notion that the angel spoken of in verse 1 might be Michael, the protector of Israel as seen in Daniel 12:1.  


Another point to consider concerning this mystery is that the prophets in Old Testament times knew this mystery and announced it.  So, in one sense of the word, the prophets knew the mystery.  It was not a mystery to them and it shouldn't have been a mystery to Israel but for the most part it was since most of the prophetic messages were ignored by Israelis.  This was not a mystery to the prophets.  However, it is a mystery to the world who knows nothing about the plans of God, especially His plans for Israel.  That is quite evident as we look at the world around us today.          


In verse 8 and following John was told to take this little scroll and eat it.  So, John did just that.  The scroll tasted sweet in his mouth but became bitter in his stomach.  The prophecies about the coming of Jesus, the judgments at His return, and all the events of these days, may be sweet to us now as we read and learn about them, but when they actually take place, the experience will be very bitter.  These days will be extremely terrifying.      


The idea that John was told to eat this scroll does sound weird to our ears.  How are we to understand this command?  I suggest that John literally did eat the scroll; however, the idea of eating something that was not food was also an idiom in Hebrew culture.  We have the same idiom in western English culture.  We might say, "Listen to what I say and digest it".   We don't mean that we should actually eat words, swallow them, and then digest the words. This is idiomatic of the fact that we are to ponder the words, think about them, and understand them.  This might be what is taking place here.  John was to ponder what he saw in order to understand what he saw.     


John was told in verse 11 that he must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.  I think this verse relates to John eating the scroll.  Once he digested the meaning of the scroll, he then must prophesy about what he saw concerning many people, nations, and kings.  This gives us a bit of a clue to what was in this scroll.  It concerns many peoples, nations, and kings.  We're talking about God's plans for the world here.  I've said this before, but Evangelicals have stressed personal relationships with the Lord to the extent that I believe they have downplayed the fact that God is just as interested in ethnic peoples, nations, and the kings of these nations as He is in individuals.        


John did write all that he was told to write.  It has gone to many peoples, nations, and kings.  We hold what he has written in our hands today, and what he has written will come into play as the 144,000 Jewish evangelists preach from the book of Revelation in the last seven years of this age. 


In many parts of the church prophecy, and especially the book of Revelation, is downplayed for various reasons.  That should not be the case.  I see the book of Revelation as one very important tool in the hands of the servants of God as this age winds down. 

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