Saturday, 20 May 2017 08:00

66. The little scroll: the strong angel * Revelation 10:1-7- Part 1 of 3

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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 scroll 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 roars: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.

 

Part 1 - Revelation 10:1-3

 

*** Background ***: As we mentioned before, the seventh trumpet doesn't come right after the sixth one. There is a pause between the sixth and seventh trumpets, just like the one we saw between the sixth and seventh seals. Even though each of the trumpets doesn't necessarily correspond exactly to the time frame of each of the seals, they start and finish in the same place, covering the period between Jesus' resurrection and His Second Coming. In the study of the seals, this interlude answered the question raised at the end of the sixth seal: "For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" (Revelation 6:17). The answer is clear: God's army will remain and become a great multitude standing victorious before the throne of God. The interlude between the sixth and seventh trumpets expands that answer even more. Throughout the blowing of the trumpets, the descriptions give us the well-defined picture of a battle between God's army and the enemy army. God's army is His church, and they fight this battle not by the use of force, but they use a mighty spiritual weapon: God's Truth. The interlude here explains the role of God's army and how they spread the Gospel in the last days.

*** Another mighty angel ***: The angel described in Revelation 10:1 reminds us of the one in Revelation 5:2: "And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the scroll, and to loose the seals thereof?". In both verses, the angel is mentioned in association with a scroll, and they are both described as being 'strong' or 'mighty'. Revelation 10:1 starts with the word "another", which leads us to believe that this strong angel is not one of the seven blowing the trumpets.

- Where the angel comes from: There is no doubt that this angel comes from heaven (Revelation 10:1). The Greek word for angel is aggelou, and it means messenger. This strong messenger has an important information sent by God.

- His appearance:

* The angel is clothed with a cloud. As we've studied before, the term cloud is often associated with the presence of God (see study #6). Now it becomes even more clear that the message the angel is carrying is so important that it is surrounded by the presence of God.

* There was a rainbow over his head. The rainbow reminds us of the description of the throne of God, in Revelation 4:3. Once again, we see the presence of the Father in this description. The angel seems to not only come from Heaven, but also from the very presence of God. Even his face was shining like the sun.

* The angel's feet were like pillars of fire, just like the description of Jesus' legs in Revelation 1:15. Now we not only have a reference to the Father but also to the Son. The messenger holding the little scroll resembles these two members of the Trinity.

- On his hand: The angel had in his hand a little scroll. This scroll is different than the one in Revelation 5, because of two things: it is little, and it is open. This doesn't mean these two scrolls aren't related. If they are related, the little scroll of Revelation 10 could be just a portion or section of the one in Revelation 5. We will talk more about the little scroll in the next study.

- Where he was standing: While holding the little scroll, the mighty angel had one foot on the sea and the other on the earth. The terms 'earth and sea' remind us of three things.

* Creation: "And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good." (Genesis 1:9,10). The dry land (Earth) and the portion covered with water (Seas) referred to the entirety of the planet.

* Fourth Commandment: "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day: therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it."(Exodus 20:8-11). God created "heaven and earth, the sea, and everything that is in them". The expression here is also a reference to the entire planet.

* The beast that comes out of the sea and the one that comes out of the land: "And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy." (Revelation 13:1). "And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon." (Revelation 13:11). The beasts, which represent a political-religious power, have a global influence.

In all three instances, the concept involving the Earth and the Sea refer to their worldwide reach. The image of the angel standing in that way emphasizes the global implications of the message contained in the scroll.

- His Voice: The angel cried out with a loud voice. His voice was not only loud, it was like the roar of a lion. The angel cry prompted seven thunders to utter their voices (Revelation 10:3). The lion roar is used as a symbol for the sound of the angel's voice ("as when a lion roars"). It was not a sound to be dismissed.

*** Is the strong angel Jesus? ***: The strong angel has qualities that resemble both Father and Son. The message he is bringing is clearly one sent from Heaven. He is carrying an open book. The text does not say he opened that himself. It seems that the book was open in Heaven before the angel was sent. Let's go back to the beginning of Revelation, and review the sequence of how the message was going to be given to John: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and revealed it by his angel unto his servant John" (Revelation 1:1). God gave the message to Jesus, Jesus gave it to the angel, and the angel gave it to John. The sequence in Revelation 10:1-7 seems to be the same. And we have been studying this sequence over the past several lessons, leading to this point: God gave a sealed scroll to Jesus, Jesus started to open the seals of the scroll, then Jesus gave a portion of the scroll that had been opened to the angel, and the angel is transmitting the message to John. Is then the angel Jesus? Not exactly, but in a way, yes. In modern terms, we could understand the function of this angel by comparing the flow of information getting to John to the way we often communicate today. We often send messages to each other in electronic form. We get the message, but what we see is not the sender. What we see are letters on a screen, or we hear a recording on a machine. The actual sender is not the phone or computer. We consider the message as if we had received it directly from that other person. In a similar way, the strong angel of Revelation 10:1 is the carrier of a message coming from God, through Jesus. In a broader sense, it is as if Jesus was there Himself, giving John the message.

*** Overview ***: Revelation 10 and Revelation 11:1-14 cover the interlude between the sixth and the seventh trumpets. This section explains the role and activities of God's end-time faithful people. The information gets to John through a strong angel, sent by God. The striking appearance of the angel tells John that the message has global implications, and is of extreme importance. At this point, John still doesn't know what the scroll actually says. He spent a few verses describing what the messenger looked like, to make it clear to the reader that the angel is bringing with him divine information. The first verses of chapter 10 prepare the foundation for the verses to come. After seeing the strong angel and hearing his cry, John is ready to listen to what God has to say.

   
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