Summary: This is the 5th message in our walk through Revelation. Here, we are offering an understanding of chapter 10 and the mighty angel and the little scroll.
In studying the book of Revelation, we find that the first nine chapters bring us almost to the middle of the Revelation, or to the 50-yard line. And now, it is time for mankind to receive a message from a “mighty” angel. That message is described as something sweet to the mouth but bitter to the stomach. It will be a message of God’s unsurpassed love for mankind, but it will also be a message foretelling the consequence of man’s continued rebellion against God.
In VERSE 1, we read,
“Then, I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, surrounded by a cloud, with a rainbow over his head. His face was like the sun; his legs were like fiery pillars …”
The word ‘angel’ in this verse is from the Greek word ‘aggelos’, which means ‘messenger.’ Who is this ‘mighty angel’? Some believe it is Jesus Christ, because his description is similar to the glorious description used to describe Jesus in chapter 1:12-16. Also, because this angel brings light into the darkness found in chapter 9.
I do not think this is Jesus, though, for several reasons. First, because it is not His time to come to the earth. If the angel were Jesus, how could He lift up his arms in verse 5 and swear an oath to himself? Also, the Bible tells us that Jesus is higher than the angels. He has never before appeared as an angel, so He would not lower Himself to that of an angel now. Therefore, I think it is a godly messenger, or an angel, who brings a message, in the form of a little scroll, which was already opened.
VERSE 2 (a)
“ … and he had a little scroll opened in his hand…”
I have done a lot of research on why it specifically says ‘little scroll’ and found that there are many different suggestions as to what that means. Some say it refers to the actual size of the scroll, while others think it might have to do with the message inside being shorter than longer.
Others think that by indicating the word “small”, it means there is not much time left. Still, others think that it is being referred to as “small” because instead of dealing with a variety of subjects, it only deals with one or two subjects.
The truth is, we will find many times it the Bible, and especially here in Revelation 10, that we just don’t know as much as we like to about the things of God, so we have to simply say that if it is from God, it is a good things whether we understand it or not.
The fact that the scroll was already opened means John was able to see it and know what was written in it.
VERSE 2 (b)
“He put his right foot on the sea and his left on the land…”
In every Scripture where right and left are differentiated, the right is invariably associated with divine blessings and acceptance, while the left is associated with curses and rejection.
So it might be that with his left foot on the land, it represents the Godly rejection of Israel due to her continued rebelliousness, and the right foot on the sea might be showing the divine opportunity that was given to the Gentiles in Israel’s place.
“... and he cried out with a loud voice like a roaring lion. When he cried out, the seven thunders spoke with their voices.”
The lion is the supreme animal in the wilderness. When he roars, it is very loud and strikes awe and fear into everything that hears that sound. In this verse, since we are not told what the mighty angel says, it might be that we are to focus on the authority of the delivery right now and not so much the message that is being delivered. The authority he shows would surely be seen that he is from God.
We are not told specifically what the “seven thunders” were, but some say they are elders from heaven who come together to proclaim the authority of the message. The number seven is the number of perfection, so this means that whatever the message was, it was the perfect message of God to a sinful mankind.
“And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write. And then I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders said, and do not write it down!”
John saw the message from the open scroll. And when the angel spoke as the seven thunders, John heard a voice from heaven telling him to not write it down, but to keep it sealed for the time being. And the voice John heard was not the voice of the angel, but from God Himself, directly from heaven.