Summary: Learn about Satans plan to destroy the redemptive work of God, how God remains in control no matter what awful thing happens - and about how He always has a witness on the earth.
Chapters 10 and 11 go together - and are part of a parenthesis - all the way through chapter 14. We are at a pivotal point - between the sixth and seventh trumpet judgments. There was a similar pause between the sixth and seventh seals. Revelation, you remember, is based on 3 sets of 7 judgments - seals, trumpets, and bowls. Chapter 12 gives us a different perspective on why God is doing what He is doing in Revelation.
Some think this angel is Jesus Christ. Jesus is never called an angel in the New Testament. Likely it is an angel like Michael or Gabriel.
This scroll is different than the one in chapter 5. Standing on the earth and sea represents the whole earth. What is happening here is invisible to those on earth -what is taking place is in the spirit realm.
Verse 3 - 4
So here’s John recording all this stuff - like a reporter on the scene, but when he wants to write down what the 7 thunders say - he is prohibited. Daniel too is told in chapter 12 of his book to not write down what he heard but to seal it up. God only tells us what we need to know, not always all we want to know.
Verses 5 - 7
No more waiting, no more delay. God will now move. Scoffers have used God’s patience as an excuse not to believe for millennia.
What is the mystery of God? There are a couple of possibilities. It could simply mean that as Jesus Christ returns to earth, God will no longer be invisible, no longer absent, no longer seemingly inactive in the affairs of men. People will no longer have to guess about whether there is a God or what He wants. The second is that it could be a fulfillment of the two great mysteries Paul the Apostle wrote about: The first is that the church becomes joined with Israel (Ephesians 3:6) the other is that in the end all authority will be brought under Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:9-10). It could be this second mystery the angel is referring to.
Verses 8 - 11
So now John is told to take and eat this little scroll. We saw something very similar happen in Ezekiel 1-2 where the prophet is told to eat a scroll and it was sweet in his mouth - but then he is told to speak for God some pretty hard things to God’s people in Babylon. So here we may have a symbolic or spiritual description of taking in the Word of God then proclaiming it - the bitter in your stomach part means the message is difficult, even though everything God speaks is good (sweet).
So now in chapter 11 the focus goes back to earth and what’s happening.
Chapter 11 Verses 1 - 2
This refers to an earthly temple in Jerusalem. Many people do not think the Temple will ever be rebuilt, however, there are fundamentalist Jews who think otherwise - and as soon as they get the opportunity - they plan to rebuild the Temple and restart sacrifices.
How will this happen? Well - Daniel suggests it:
Daniel 9:27 And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator."
The "he" here is the Anti-Christ. This world ruler will come into power partly by solving the Middle East crisis - and by giving the Jews a Temple. In the middle of his 7 year treaty he will go into that Temple and proclaim himself to be god - something called the Abomination of Desolation. You can’t have that happen without a Temple.
If you have been to Jerusalem you know that on the Temple mount now is something called The Dome of the Rock Mosque. It is Islam’s second holiest site - supposedly the place where Mohamed ascended to heaven. Muslim’s will defend this place to the death. Some suggest that the real location of the Temple Holy of Holies was nearby under a place called, I believe, The Dome of the Spirits. So this leads to the possibility that an agreement will be struck - build the Temple there, but leave out the outer gate - thus the leaving out of the court of the Temple - for the Dome of the Rock.
Trampling the city of 42 months is the period called the Great Tribulation - the latter half of the Tribulation: 3 ½ years of absolute horror - until Jesus physically returns across the valley on the Mount of Olives, ending the Anti-Christ’s reign forever.