Advertisements

The Angel of the Revelation - William Blake (ca 1803-5)

After the sounding of the sixth trumpet, John saw another angel coming down from heaven. The angel was robed in a cloud with a rainbow above his head. His face was like the sun and his legs were like fiery pillars. He was holding a little scroll which lay open in his hand.

The Angel and the Little Scroll - Artist UnknownThe angel gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. I was about to write what they said when a voice from heaven said,

“Seal up what the seven thunders have said – do not write it down.”

Then the angel standing on the sea and the land raised his right hand to heaven and swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it. He said,

“There will be no more delay! But in the days the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”

Then the voice from heaven spoke once more,

“Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and the land.”

So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me,

“Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth, it will be as sweet as honey.”

John took the scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in his mouth but when he had eaten it, his stomach turned sour. The he was told,

Advertisements

“You must prophecy again about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings.”

What the story means to us today

John can now deliver, with complete confidence, the sweet message of God’s bitter judgement of evil

Pillar-legged angel gives John scroll to eat - Artist UnknownIn this story, the first of two interludes before the seventh trumpet is blown, a scroll is given to John which contains prophecy for the entire world (the “entire world” symbolized by the angel with one foot on land and the other on the sea). John consumed the scroll, assimilating the message into his body. This gesture would be required so John could proclaim the message with absolute confidence. We saw a similar act in Ezekiel 3:1. Consuming the scroll ensures John can speak the exact words of God, delivering the God’s sweet message of bitter judgement for the world’s evil.

Additional thoughts and considerations

Angel with one foot on the land and the other on the sea

The verses tell us an angel “robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head” planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land before giving a shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the “voice of the seven thunders spoke”. It is one of the most mysterious parts of Revelation. The identity of the angel is not specified, nor are we told who the voice of the seven thunders is (although most surmise the voice is God).

The enigma extends further when considering what the “voice of the seven thunders” said. What the angel announced is unknown because God told John to seal what he heard and not write it down.

The “mystery of God”

Revelation says, “But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.” What is the “mystery of God” mentioned in the verse?

We can assume the “servants” or “prophets” refer to the prophets of the Old and New Testament. The “mystery” however, is not so clear. In other biblical verses, “mystery” is used to refer to the inclusion of Gentiles, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, into God’s plan. In this instance, it is likely the “mystery” refers to the establishment of God’s kingdom. If this is the case, the mystery probably does not refer to what will happen (God’s kingdom is established), but how it will happen and what it will entail. To keep such details vague and under the cuff could serve to ensure the enemies of God are unable to stop it.

Bible Text

NIV

Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. 2 He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3 and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. 4 And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.”

5 Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. 6 And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay! 7 But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”

8 Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.”

9 So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’” 10 I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. 11 Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”

The Angel and the Little Scroll - Artist UnknownThe New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. Print.

The Message

10 I saw another powerful Angel coming down out of Heaven wrapped in a cloud. There was a rainbow over his head, his face was sun-radiant, his legs pillars of fire. He had a small book open in his hand. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left foot on land, then called out thunderously, a lion roar. When he called out, the Seven Thunders called back. When the Seven Thunders spoke, I started to write it all down, but a voice out of Heaven stopped me, saying, “Seal with silence the Seven Thunders; don’t write a word.”

5–7 Then the Angel I saw astride sea and land lifted his right hand to Heaven and swore by the One Living Forever and Ever, who created Heaven and everything in it, earth and everything in it, sea and everything in it, that time was up—that when the seventh Angel blew his trumpet, which he was about to do, the Mystery of God, all the plans he had revealed to his servants, the prophets, would be completed.

8–11 The voice out of Heaven spoke to me again: “Go, take the book held open in the hand of the Angel astride sea and earth.” I went up to the Angel and said, “Give me the little book.” He said, “Take it, then eat it. It will taste sweet like honey, but turn sour in your stomach.” I took the little book from the Angel’s hand and it was sweet honey in my mouth, but when I swallowed, my stomach curdled. Then I was told, “You must go back and prophesy again over many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”

Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005. Print.

The NET Bible

10:1 Then I saw another powerful angel descending from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun and his legs were like pillars of fire. 10:2 He held in his hand a little scroll that was open, and he put his right foot on the sea and his left on the land. 10:3 Then he shouted in a loud voice like a lion roaring, and when he shouted, the seven thunders sounded their voices. 10:4 When the seven thunders spoke, I was preparing to write, but just then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders spoke and do not write it down.” 10:5 Then the angel I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven 10:6 and swore by the one who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, and the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, “There will be no more delay! 10:7 But in the days when the seventh angel is about to blow his trumpet, the mystery of God is completed, just as he has proclaimed to his servants the prophets.” 10:8 Then the voice I had heard from heaven began to speak to me again, “Go and take the open scroll in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” 10:9 So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take the scroll and eat it. It will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.” 10:10 So I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it, and it did taste as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter. 10:11 Then they told me: “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings.”

Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press, 2006. Print.

King James Version

10 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, 3 And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. 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. 5 And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, 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: 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 the prophets.

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. 9 And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. 10 And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. 11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009. Print.

Sources: NIV, The Message, The NET Bible, King James Version, NET Bible Notes, Faithlife Study Bible, The Apologetics Study Bible, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary, The Bible Reader’s Companion, Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Holman Concise Bible Commentary, The Bible Exposition Commentary, The Teacher’s Bible Commentary, The Teacher’s Commentary, The Bible Guide, Word Studies in the New Testament, Holman Bible Handbook, Calvin Commentaries, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines, The New Manner and Customs of the Bible, Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Bible Dictionary, Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Harper’s Bible Dictionary, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, The Archaeological Encyclopedia, Biblical Archeology Review, The New Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Analytical Lexicon, Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Advertisements