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Saturday, 27 May 2017 09:03

67. The little scroll: an open scroll and a sealed statement * Revelation 10:1-7- Part 2 of 3

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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,

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.


Part 2 - Revelation 10:2,4


*** An open little scroll ***: The Greek word used for little scroll in Revelation 10:2 is biblaridion. This verse tells us that this small scroll is open but in Revelation 5, we see a closed scroll. The word for scroll in chapter 5 was translated from the Greek biblion. Biblaridion is the diminutive form of biblion or biblos and refers to papyrus scrolls. The content of the sealed scroll of chapter 5 can only be fully revealed once all the seals are broken. We will study this later in more detail when we start Revelation chapter 12. For now, we must concentrate on the fact that only a portion of the scroll is being revealed to John, in the form of a small scroll.

Some Bible commentators suggest that the small scroll is the book of Daniel, which was sealed "until the end of time" (Daniel 12:4,9). This concept is interesting but limited. The content of the little scroll seems to go beyond the time-frame described in the prophetic portions of the book of Daniel. Let's keep in mind, however, that John did not yet know the content of the little scroll at this point. All he knew was that the little scroll was open and that it was sent by God through a strong angel.

*** Seven Thunders ***: When John heard the angel's cry out with a loud voice (Revelation 10:3), he heard another sound as well. John described this voice as the voice of the seven thunders. In the Greek manuscript, we see the article "the" used before "seven thunders" in both verses (Revelation 10:3,4). These were not any seven thunders. They were THE seven thunders - the thundering voice people were already familiar with (Psalm 29:3-9; Job 26:14; Job 37:5). The angel's cry preceded the sound of seven thunders. The voice of God is often represented in the Bible by the voice of thunders. The fact that there are also seven thunders is important. As we have seen before, the number seven plays a recurring role in the Bible. The number seven often represents the totality of God, and His perfect fullness (See study #31 and #11). The number seven is a symbol in itself. John described the voice of God, as the seven thunders. John seemed to be able to understand what the seven thunders said because he was preparing to write the words down. But a voice from Heaven commanded that John did not write anything, and seal the words that the seven thunders had spoken. No one, but John, was to know what the seven thunders had uttered (Revelation 10:4). On the other hand, God's message given by the strong angel, in his lion-like roar, was to be revealed to all (Revelation 10:6-7). God's voice prophesying impending judgment is sometimes compared to a lion's roar (Jeremiah 25:30; Hosea 11:10; Joel 3:16; Amos 1:2; Amos 3:8). God's voice as thunders depicts how infinitely big and powerful He is (Revelation 4:5; Psalm 18:13; Psalms 81:7;  1 Samuel 7:10; Job 40:9).

In John 12:20-36, God speaks from Heaven, and some people "that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered" (John 12:29). In the Bible, thunders often come before important divine actions. Stefanovic points out the following events where we see the voice of the thunders:
- Before breaking of the seven seals (Revelation 4:5; Revelation 6:1)
- Before the seven trumpets (Revelation 8:5)
- Before the war between the dragon and the woman, which culminated in the seven last plagues (Revelation 11:9)
- Before the final moments of this world and final judgment (Revelation 16:18)

*** Seal up the statement ***: What God said as the seven thunders seem to be of extreme importance but we do not know what He said. John attempted to write it down immediately but God had other plans. God thought it was only necessary for John to hear the information. The fact is that we do not know what He said at that moment. The angel had an unsealed revelation but the seven thunders had a message that was to be sealed (Revelation 10:4). There should be no record of what the seven thunders had spoken. Yet, it was important that John included that the seven thunders have said something. Somehow, we would benefit from knowing He had said something. Everywhere else in the book of Revelation, John is instructed to write down the vision (Revelation 1:11,19; Revelation 14:13; Revelation 19:9; Revelation 21:5). We then can conclude that the request to seal the words of the seven thunders is what Deuteronomy called: the secret things that belong to God (Deuteronomy 29:29). When Paul received a vision, he also "heard unspeakable words, which [were] not lawful for a man to utter" (2 Corinthians 12:4). Those "unspeakable words" were not meant for humans to repeat. They were words that belonged to God alone. Like Paul, John heard such words. It is possible that those words were not words of prophecy, and that is why he had to seal them up. Later in Revelation, John receives instructions regarding the prophetic message he is supposed to pass along to the churches: he is commanded not to "seal the words of the prophecy of this book" (Revelation 22:10). In contrast to the words of the seven thunders, which are sealed and belong to God, the words of the little scroll, which is open, are prophecies being given to humans.

*** Overview ***: John was in a state of readiness. He was prepared to write down everything that he was seeing and hearing in the vision. As he received a message from God, through the angel, another message comes along, through the sound of seven thunders. One message was open to the public, the other was not. One was being revealed, the other was being sealed up. The seven thunders could be seen as God's personal authentication of the message the angel was bringing. God was directly controlling what information had to be communicated to the people, and which things were not to be transmitted. This shows that what John revealed in the Book of Revelation is not the content that John saw fit to include. The message was carefully assembled by God Himself.

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