Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire.
Chapter 10 opens here with an image of a glorious angel, such as seen in Daniel 10:6, other scriptures, and other places in Jewish writings. Jewish tradition would often depict angels as being as “tall as heaven.” It parallels the Greek traditions of imagery like Atlas, the Greek god, holding the world up on his shoulders, with his legs depicted as being like huge pillars. We see similar imagery throughout this book. This image alludes more to ancient Jewish culture for sure, and depicts these angels as super large, begging the question, “How much greater and glorious is Yahweh?”
Dramatic? Absolutely, but that is the cultural style of Biblical writing. Remember, the Bible is a co-op between God and man. God did not put men in trances and download this stuff to them. God spoke either by voice, by prophets, or by visions, and left it to the authors to capture the message. The authors used their cultural worldview to do so. It is extremely important when deciphering ancient texts to be aware that culture influenced everything!!
Ancient Near Eastern culture was a vocal culture where only scribes existed to write. The average person did not read nor write, and the Biblical word was carried thru generations orally. Much of our Bible alludes to ancient Mesopotamian cultural worldviews. That is NOT to say the Israelites affirmed those views, but rather used imagery from them to present a spiritual truth from God.
He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded.
Here John sees a tiny scroll, small enough to swallow, in the angel’s hand as the angel stands with a foot on the land and one on the sea. The little scroll contains the things seen in Revelation chapters 11-16, which are a continuation of chapter 10. Chapter 10 is a nearly identical parallel of chapter 5 in its antiquated imagery.
And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.”
We are not told what the thunders say, in contrast to Revelation 22:10, where John was not to seal up the things that were at hand. Here the message of the seven thunders is sealed up, reminding us that the secret things still belong to God, and that we aren’t informed of everything that is to happen in God’s plan.
And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven
The angel swears an oath in Revelation 10:5-6. The lifting of the right hand when swearing an oath by God was commonplace even in their day. (Sound familiar? And America wants to reject the fact that its history stands on the acknowledgement of God’s Word.)
and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay,
“There should be time no longer” in the KJV English translation, to be more accurate should actually say, “there should be no delay in time any longer”, referring to the second coming. Many today have preached this out of context, as referring to the end of days and time. But in actuality, it is speaking of the Return of Christ. This angel in John’s vision is depicting the moment when Jesus has had enough and declares it time to descend upon the earth, call forth and change His people by resurrection and transfiguration, and set up His Kingdom.
but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.
Continuing, it must be noted that this is the seventh and “last trumpet” to be sounded. This signifies the first resurrection, the end of fallen humanity, the destruction of the wicked and unredeemed, and the beginning of the spiritual kingdom on earth. This is the great and notable day of the Lord.
Here verse 7, is a future tense statement of the fulfillment and completion of all God has spoken by the prophets and apostles; the fulfillment of the mystery of God’s salvation of man and earth back to Himself.
Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, “Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter.
Here is imagery of Ezekiel 2:8-9, where a hand is stretched out to him with a scroll and Ezekiel was told to eat it.
And he said to me, “Son of man, eat whatever you find here. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me this scroll to eat. And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey.
In Ezekiel 3:3 the scroll was as sweet as honey, and here in Revelation chapter 10 it is sweet to John as well. More visionary imagery John well knew from the scriptures.
There is something sweet in knowing that you are declaring the word of the Lord, but in both situations with Ezekiel (2:10), and here with John, it was bitter in their stomachs because the content that they were to declare was woes and judgement, something only the obedient children of God are willing to make known. That kind of message makes one hated by the world!
And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”
In Ezekiel 3:1, Ezekiel prophesied to Israel. But John was guided to internalize this book to share this message with many people; All nations. The parallel here is obviously taking from the imagery of Ezekiel’s ministry to expound upon what John is called to do for all people of the pending return of Christ.
This sets us up for chapter 11 where two witnesses prophesy to “many peoples “