Section: Chapter Nine - Completion of 70th Week [Trumpet Judgments 5-6]
TEN - THE LITTLE SCROLL
I saw (1) another strong
angel coming down out of heaven, (2) clothed with a cloud; and the rainbow
was upon his head, and his face was like the sun, and his feet like
pillars of fire;
1. Another strong angel
= sends us back to Revelation 5:2. There "a strong angel"
is associated with the large scroll. That John indicates that this
angel is another limits the possible referent. Some have attempted
to argue that this angel is none other than Jesus, Himself. However,
this point should not be pressed. It would appear safer to allow the
text to limit our discussion.
Three angelic beings are
identified as "strong" in the Revelation. The first occurrences
appears in Revelation 5:2. The second is in Revelation 10:1 and the
final occurrence is in Revelation 18:21. What is the significance
of the "strong angels?" The characteristics associated with
"another strong angel" in Revelation 10:1-7 are closely
parallel to an angelic being described in Daniel 10:5-6 and 12:5-7.
These similarities have given some interpreters the basis to see a
connection between these two texts.
Based on Revelation 5:2,
10:1 and 18:21, strong angels are revelatory angels. That is,
they specifically communicate to man information from God. In Revelation
5:2, the strong angel communicates the identity of the person worthy
to open the sealed scroll. In Revelation 10:1, he communicates a significant
transition in the program of God. In Revelation 18:21, he communicates
the destiny of the capital city of the beast empire. Similarly, an
angelic being in Daniel 10 communicates the destiny of the Jews and
Daniel 10:21b states, "Yet
there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces
except Michael your prince." The verse literally says, "Yet
there is no one who shows himself strong with me
language emphasizes the continuing nature of these angelic beings.
In other words, they are continually strong. Therefore, Michael and
this angelic being are strong angels. In Revelation 10:1, the
adjective strong comes from the Greek word ischuros.
In Daniel 10:21b, the verb to show oneself strong comes from
the Hebrew word chazak. The verb form used in Daniel 10:21b
means to prove to be strong/courageous.
Therefore, like this angelic
being, Michael is a strong angel. Notice again Daniel 10:21b, "Yet
there is no one who shows himself strong with me against these forces
except Michael your prince." Michael is described as "one
of the chief princes," in Daniel 10:13, which demands that there
is more than one chief prince. The apostle Jude indicates that Michael
is an archangel (Jude 1:9). Thus, the angel who speaks in Daniel
10 and Revelation 10 are probably both of the same type as Michael,
2. Clothed with a cloud;
and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was like the sun,
and his feet like pillars of fire = is similar to the description
given in Daniel 10:5-6 and Revelation 1:13-15. In both passages, a
case can be made that Christ is the referent. However, the fact that
the description in Revelation
10:1 is specifically identified as an angel should settle the matter
of the identity of the angel here.
(1) (2) And he had in his
hand a little book (3) which was open. (4) He placed his right foot
on the sea and his left on the land; (5) and he cried out with a loud
voice, as when a lion roars; and when he had cried out, (6) the seven
peals of thunder uttered their voices.
1. It is critical that
the reader understands that Johns personal involvement in the
scene that constitutes the tenth chapter of Revelation will not
be repeated in the future! In other words, when the events of
the book of Revelation begin to unfold this strong angel will not
descend from heaven and communicate with John again. The event recorded
in chapter 10 occurred literally at the time that John received the
book of Revelation. We have the benefit of what occurred because several
important details are given to us. However, the event itself, the
angel coming down to talk with John will not happen again. This is
critical to understand the importance of Johns vision. That
this is a correct conclusion is supported by several facts. First,
in order for these events to happen again literally, the apostle John
must be resurrected from the dead. Second, John will have to eat the
little scroll again. Third, John would have to prophesy again concerning
end time events.
The single most important
point of chapter 10 seems to be the angelic announcement that "in
the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound,
then the mystery of God is finished." Now that we know this fact,
there will be no need for the strong angel to descend from heaven
to report a fact already known by the reader of the Revelation.
2. And he had in his hand
a little book = is an obvious contrast with the first strong angel
of chapter five. In chapter five, the book is in Gods hand and
it is sealed. In chapter 10, an angel has the book and it is opened.
Similarly, Ezekiel 2:9-10 reports a heavenly being gave him a scroll
to be eaten. The importance of the little book will be seen shortly.
3. Which was open = in
contrast to the scroll of Revelation 5, this little book is opened.
This indicates that John would see the contents of the page exposed.
If it were written in a language that John could read, he would be
able to read whatever was visible to him.
4. He placed his right
foot on the sea and his left on the land = describes the stance of
the strong angle. The importance of the angels stance will become
evident later. However, it is important at this point to recognize
that both land and sea are under the foot (authority) of this angelic
5. And he cried out with
a loud voice = is typical of angelic communications throughout the
book of Revelation. It is critically important for the reader to understand
that John is describing what he sees happening during his reception
of the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. We are not told exactly
what the strong angel said.
6. The seven peals of thunder
uttered their voices = is not defined. Scripture does not identify
the one specifically speaking at this point. This fact underscores
the conclusion that who is speaking is not the important point.
When the seven peals of thunder
had spoken, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying,
(1) "Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken
and do not write them."
1. Seal up the things =
seems inappropriate at this point because John has not written anything
down that the seven thunders said in order to seal it up. However,
the sealing of something was intended to keep it safe. The point seems
to be that John must keep the particular information shared by the
seven thunders "secure." The way he would accomplish this
would involve two things. First, he must not write it down and secondly,
he must never tell anyone what was said. He was to secure it in his
(1) Then the angel whom I
saw standing on the sea and on the land (2) lifted up his right hand
to heaven, and (3) swore by Him who lives forever and ever, (4) who
created heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in
it, and the sea and the things in it, (5) that there will be delay no
longer, (6) but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, (7) when
he is about to sound, (8) then the mystery of God is finished, (9) as
He preached to His servants the prophets.
1. Then the angel whom
I saw standing on the sea and on the land = should clear up any confusion
about who "the strong angel" is at the beginning of this
chapter. For those who want to make the "strong angel" Jesus
Christ, John clearly states, "then the angel." This severely
limits the reference. That this is a unique angelic being cannot be
debated, but he is certainly not Jesus Christ.
2. Lifted up his right
hand to heaven = has a very limited background in Scripture. Some
read the modern notion of appearing in court, raising the hand and
pledging to tell the truth, back into the Bible. There is but one
occasion in Scripture where a hand is raised in accordance with truth
telling. Daniel 12:7 records an angelic being who lifts both right
and left hands to heaven when pledging truth when communicating revelation
There are no other examples
of this practice recorded in Scripture. However, the practice of lifting
up hands in Scripture is well attested. Psalms 28:2 records the psalmists
indicating that he lifts his hands toward the holy sanctuary. Leviticus
9:22 indicates that Aaron, the priest, raised his hands to bless the
people. Ezekiel 36:7 states that God lifted up his hand against the
nations which were around Israel. The NASB has translated this verse,
"I have sworn that surely the nations
will themselves endure
their insults." This may or may not be an example of oath taking.
It seems safe to say that the lifting of the hand is a gesture that
symbolically appeals to God as witness and vouches safe the statement
about to be given.
3. Swore by Him who lives
forever and ever = heightens the significance of the statement about
to be made by the angel. Scripture is replete with examples of sworn
oaths. The swearing of an oath bound the oath-taker to his promise.
To keep his promise resulted in blessings, but to break ones
oath resulted in curses. Deuteronomy 6:13 and 10:20 command that Israelites
were to swear by the name of God. God, Himself, swore oaths as indicated
in Numbers 14:20-26. In our modern culture, oath taking is seldom
used. Our knowledge is limited to affidavits and notaries.
However, in ancient Israel
oath taking was an important part of the culture. In the biblical
sense, an oath was a promise between two or more people in which the
name of God was invoked as witness and guarantor. Unlike a vow, where
man promised God, the oath contracted man and man with Gods
watchfulness. According to Matthew 23:16-22, the Lord Jesus condemns
the Pharisees for abusing the oath taking policy. Evidently, they
had figured a way to make an oath that was not morally binding. This
Him who lives forever and
ever = indicates the witness and guarantor of the oath about to be
taken. It is none other than God, Himself. Like the high priest in
Matthew 26:63, this angel takes his oath "by the living God."
In the OT, "As the Lord lives," served the same purpose
(Judges 9:19 and Ruth 3:13). It is the eternality of God that is invoked
as guarantor of the oath.
4. Who created heaven and
the things in it, and the earth and the things in it, and the sea
and the things in it = continues the description of the person who
will witness and guarantee the oath about to be taken. Interestingly,
the Lord Jesus in condemning the pharisaical practice of His day indicates
that they were employing "heaven," "earth," and
"the city of Jerusalem" as witnesses and guarantors of their
promises (Matt 5:33-37). A practice condemned because the Pharisees
had failed to understand the significance of their statements. To
swear by heaven was to swear by the very throne of God, i.e.
God, Himself. To swear by the earth was to swear by the "footstool
of His feet," i.e. Gods domain. To swear by Jerusalem
was to swear by "city of the great King," i.e. Jesus, Himself.
Jesus indicates that a mans promise should not need a guarantor.
Therefore, we can conclude
that the purpose of the angelic oath calling upon the eternal creator
of heaven and earth is not to vouch his promise as true. Rather, God
guarantees its ultimate fulfillment.
5. That there will be delay
no longer = begins the critical prophetic declaration of this angelic
being. That translates a Greek word that function much like
modern quotation marks. Unfortunately, the Greeks did not use quotation
marks to indicate direct speech. Instead, they introduced direct speech
with the word hoti. The prophetic declaration continues to
the end of verse 7.
Literally, the Greek phrase
looks like this: hoti chronos ouketi estai. Estai is
the main verb and should be translated, There will be. Ouketi
is an adverb of time and refers to "the extension of time up
to a point but not beyond no longer (Louw & Nida
§ 67.130)." Chronos presents the most difficulty
in understanding this phrase. The term usually refers to time, mostly
in the sense of a period of time (BADG, page 896)." "How
much time" is usually indicated by the context. A popular interpretation
of this text by some church fathers included the notion that time,
as we know it ceases and timeless eternity begins. However, Revelation
20:4-6 contradicts this interpretation, which promises the beheaded
dead 1000 years of rule upon the earth with Christ. Equally, Revelation
18:17 indicates that Babylon the great will be laid waste in one hour.
This indicates that the earlier interpretive notion that time ceases
must be rejected.
As indicated in the NASB,
delay expresses the sense of the text. This is the translation
utilized by modern translations. "Delay" is an appropriate
translation in Revelation 10:6. In response to the question of the
fifth seal martyrs, God indicates that His eternal plan is suffering
under a self imposed "delay" in punishing the wicked earth-dwellers
who are responsible for the on-going death of His elect (Rev 6:9-11).
We can conclude that the condition for Gods self- imposed "delay"the
completion of the predestined number of martyrshas been met.
God is therefore free to begin the final phase of His judgment of
the living earth-dwellers.
6. But in the days of the
voice (sounding) of the seventh angel = is important to say the least.
One would normally expect this phrase to begin with the word for.
This would indicate that the reason for why the delay ends. "But"
seems unnatural at this point. Alla (but) is the strongest
Greek term used to indicate contrast. By the use of alla, the
angel is emphasizing the fact that the "delay" will certainly
end with the sounding of the seventh trumpet. In the days makes
clear that time will not cease with the sounding of the seventh and
final trumpet. This indicates that some amount of time will precede
or follow the sounding of the seventh trumpet.
7. When he is about to
sound = continues to qualify the exact moment when Gods self-imposed
"delay" will end. The phrase he is about translates
the Greek verb mello. There are two possible ways this verb
can be translated here. "When he is about to sound" is one
possibility. The implication of this translation is this: the mystery
of God is finished before the seventh trumpet sounds. The other possible
translation would say, "when he will sound." The implication
of this translation is this: the mystery of God is finished during
the period introduced by the seventh trumpet. Most modern scholars
favor the latter position.
However, we are not convinced.
The fact that the angel states that "in the days of the voice
of the seventh angel" argues for a period between the sixth and
seventh trumpets. In addition, the resurrection of the two witnesses
requires three and a half days between their death and resurrection.
This event occurs between trumpets six and seven as will be argued
later. In addition, if "when he will sound" is the correct
translation, then it serves as nothing more than a redundant statement
of the phrase, "in the days of the voice of the seventh angel."
Now, John is free to be redundant, but it is unlikely at this point.
The normal sense of mello is to be about to. In this
case, the NASB reflects the correct sense of the Greek. The mystery
of God will be complete before the seventh and final trumpet blows.
8. Then the mystery of
God is finished = is the second critical fact revealed by this angel.
A very important detail in discovering Johns intent here is
the meaning of "the mystery of God." The phrase mystery
of God occurs two other times in Scripture. It shows up as a textual
variant in 1 Corinthians 2:1. The variant reading is not adopted by
the NASB, which takes the reading: testimony. However, the
United Bible Society adopts the reading: mystery. Either reading
does not significantly change Paul meaning. The Corinthians were Gentile
believers whom the apostle Paul evangelized during his second missionary
journey (Acts 18). In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul defends his message as
derived through the Spirit and not the wisdom of man. That message
is summarized in the statement, "For I determined to know nothing
among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified (1 Cor 2:2). Paul
indicates in 1 Corinthians 2:7 that this unique message of which Christ
is center is in fact spoken "in a mystery." Based on 1 Corinthians
2, we are able to conclude that "the mystery of God" concerns
Jesus Christ and His crucifixion.
The second occurs of this
unique phrase is found in Colossians 1:24-2:3. In Colossians 1:24-2:3,
the apostle Paul writes,
Now I rejoice in my sufferings
for your sake, and in my flesh, I do my share on behalf of His body,
which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christs
afflictions. Of this church I was made a minister
that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of
God, that is, the mystery [of God] which has been hidden
from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested
to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches
of the glory of this mystery [of God] among the Gentiles, which
is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim Him
we may present every man complete in Christ
. For I want you
to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf
hearts may be encouraged
resulting in a true knowledge
of Gods mystery, that is, Christ Himself in
whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
In Colossians 1:26, Paul
declares the Word of God, which he preaches, to be a mystery. "This
mystery is so rich with glory that God desired to make it known to
the saints (1:27)." He states, "the mystery is, Christ
in you (Gentiles), the hope of glory." Again in Colossians
2:2c, Paul states, "Jesus Christ is the mystery of God."
An obvious question concerns whether these two occurrences refer to
the same thing. The context indicates that Jesus Christ is the primary
focus of the first two chapters of Colossians. His special work among
Gentiles is Pauls primary concern. The particular passage quoted
above could be summarized as follows: Paul preaches Christ among the
Gentiles because God has a plan to present many Gentiles in glory
when Christ returns. So, the mystery of God is Gods special
work in Christ to bring Gentiles to glory. The apostle Paul writes
in Ephesians 1:9-10, "And he made known to us the mystery of
his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,
to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment
to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one
head, even Christ (NIV)." When the mystery of God (Gods
special work in Christ to bring Gentiles to glory) is finished, then
God will bring "all things in heaven and on earth together under
Peter states in Acts 15:14-16
that "God first concerned Himself about taking from among the
Gentiles a people for His name," and "after these things,
I will return and rebuild the tabernacle of David
passage establishes a very important connection between Gods
special work in Christ to bring Gentiles to glory and Israels
restoration. Similarly, Romans 11:25b - 26 states that the mystery
of Israels partial hardening will continue "until the fullness
of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved
This passage highlights two facts. First, God has determined a specific
number of Gentiles to be saved, and second, the completion of the
salvation of the Gentiles will lead to Israels salvation.
Most scholars recognize
the close relationship between the books of Ephesians and Colossians.
"Colossians has significant parallels to other Pauline writings.
The most extensive parallels occur with Ephesians (Melick: Philippians,
Colossians, Philemon, NAC, page 171.)." It is therefore no surprise
that when discussing the same issue in Ephesians, Paul states his
insight into the mystery of Christ, which he defines as "the
Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the promise in Christ
Jesus through the gospel
Returning to Revelation
10, we argue that the "mystery of God" is Gods special
work in Jesus Christ to bring many Gentiles to glory. This effort
on the part of God concludes or is finished just prior to the sounding
of the seventh and final trumpet.
This by definition necessitates
that Gods special work in Jesus Christ to bring Gentiles to
glory does not conclude with the Rapture. This is easily proven given
that the beheaded martyrs of Revelation 20:4 who are resurrected in
close proximity to the beginning of the millennial reign of Christ
reign with Him for 1000 years. Paul states in 2 Timothy 2:12, "If
we endure, we will also reign with Him
." To reign with
Christ in His temporal kingdom is a privilege shared by those who
are saved (particularly Gentiles) during this present age. That the
beheaded martyrs refer to Gentiles and not Jews can be discerned from
the fact that the woman (Israel) is put in protective custody for
three and a half years (Rev 12:6, 14). The beheaded martyrs are those
who resisted the mark and the worship of Antichrist (Rev 20:4), but
held to the testimony of Jesus. Since they are resurrected near the
beginning of the millennium, they must have died after the Rapture,
else they would have been taken at the Rapture.
9. As He preached to His
servants the prophets = concludes the revelatory message of angelic
being. "His servants the prophets" is most often used to
refer to the OT prophets (2 Kgs 9:7; Jer 7:25; Zech 1:6). Whether
NT prophets are included cannot be dogmatically stated.
A biblical mystery
by definition involves revelation not previously given. According
to the apostle Paul, the mystery of God was "hidden from past
ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints."
Are we therefore wrong in our interpretation? The critical question
concerns this: what did God preach to the Old Testament prophets?
As the sentence is written"as He preached to His servants
the prophets"the object is not stated. That is, what God
preached is not stated in the sentence. It must be discerned from
the context. God did not preach the "mystery," otherwise,
it would not have been a mystery to Paul. What God preached to His
prophets was the fact that when His special work was done, then the
end would come. The prophets did not fully understand all of Gods
special works in the world, but they clearly understand that once
God finished, the end would come. The angelic being of Daniel 12:7
states as much when answering Daniels question concerning "the
end of these wonders." Daniel writes, "I heard the
man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he
raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him
who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time;
and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people,
all these events will be completed."
Then the voice which I heard
from heaven, I heard again speaking with me, and saying, (1) "Go,
take the book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the
sea and on the land." So I went to the angel, telling him to give
me the little book. And he said to me (2) "Take it and eat it;
it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet
as honey." I took the little book out of the angels hand
and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; and when I had eaten
it, my stomach was made bitter.
1. Go, take the book =
in terms of purpose, nothing is explained until the following verse.
At this point, John does not know why he must take the book.
2. Take it and eat it =
is paralleled in Ezekiel 2:8-3:3. As with Ezekiel, John is instructed
to eat a book that proves to be sweet as honey. Why the book must
be eaten may involve its content. Any comments beyond the obvious
at this point are highly speculative.
(1) And they said to me,
(2) "You must prophesy again (3) concerning (4) many peoples and
nations and tongues and kings."
1. And they said to me
= is not clear. That is, who are the "they?" In context,
the angel and a voice from heaven were prior spokesmen in this chapter.
It is more likely that "they" conjoined in Johns re-commission
2. You must prophesy again
= is loaded with importance. You meaning John the apostle is
placed in an emphatic position. Must is the English translation
of the Greek verb dei. This is the verb of divine necessity.
This is Gods explicit will. As with other prophets, John has
no choice (Amos 3:7-8; Jer 4:19). Prophesy is Johns job
description. He must proclaim the message of God. Again signals
that Revelation 1:3 and what follows through Revelation 9:21 is prophetic.
John is going to do what he has already done. However, there is a
slight change in emphasis here.
3. Concerning =highlights
Johns new commission. Concerning, which is the translation
reflected in the NASB, is but one sense of the Greek word epi.
A better translation at this point is the term, against. John
must prophesy against
. Revelation 11-20 focuses on Gods
wrath in fulfillment of His promise to the fifth seal martyrs
cry for justice against the living earth-dwellers. God will judge
and avenge the death of his people, which is detailed by John in the
remaining chapters of the Revelation.
4. Many peoples and nations
and tongues and kings = defines the scope of Johns prophecy.
This list of four ethnic groups occurs seven times in the Revelation
(5:9; 7:9; 10:11; 11:9; 13:7; 14:6; 17:15). No two lists are presented
in the same order. This argues that John is focusing on the universality
of the world.
11:7 focuses on the universality of the human opposition to Gods
prophetic witnesses. Revelation 11:18 focuses on the nations in opposition
to Gods sovereign rule. Revelation 12:3 focuses on the kings
who are in opposition to the eternal plan of God for Israel. Revelation
13:1-2 focuses on kings in opposition to Gods sovereign rule
on earth. Therefore, John does in fact prophesy against "peoples,
nations, tongues, and kings.
Section: Chapter Eleven - Daniel 9:24 Completed [Trumpet Judgment 7]