Lesson 17 - The Mighty Angel and the Little Book

Lesson 17 - The Mighty Angel and the Little Book

(Revelation 10:1-11)

John paused once again to record specific events that take place during the sounding of the trumpet judgments.  This event seemingly takes place on earth when John is given a small book (scroll) and told to eat it.  Therefore, Revelation 10:1-21 through Revelation 11:1-14 are parenthetical. 

Up to this point in Revelation we have seen one half of the world’s population destroyed, the remaining unbelievers unwilling to change their minds and accept Jesus Christ as Savior and a continuation of God’s judgment upon the “evildoers” on the earth.  This pause in the chronological events was to reiterate the fact that God was still in control, the wicked will be punished and the faithful believer will be rewarded. 

In Revelation 10:1 John saw another mighty angel descending from Heaven.  There are a number of theories as to who this angel could be.  Some commentators even believe it is Jesus Christ because of the description of this angelic being.  However, this seems unlikely since this angel swore by the Creator (Jesus Christ).  Therefore, the best identification is that this is just another powerful angel that God sends to do His bidding.

The description of this angel leaves no doubt that he is very powerful and a special messenger from God.  “Clothed in a cloud” simply meant that the angel traveled with a cloud surrounding him.  This is a common occurrence in the Scriptures. (Psalm 104:4; Daniel 7:13; Isaiah 19:1; Acts 1:9; Revelation 1:7) Coming in clouds is also associated scenes of judgment in the Bible. (Matthew 24:30, 26:24; Mark 13:26, 14:62; Luke 21:27; Revelation 1:7, 14:14-16)

The rainbow that was around the angel’s head denoted majesty, but it also denoted God’s mercy amid the judgment, as in the day of Noah.  The angel had a face like the sun and feet like pillars of fire.  In Revelation 1:16 Jesus Christ has a face that shines like the sun, which would make sense that this angel is given his power from God.  The angel’s feet (commonly used in Greek to denote the entire leg) are like pillars of fire.  Throughout the Scriptures, fire is used for the purifying effect of God’s judgment. (Exodus 24:17; Leviticus 1:13, 8:21, 9:14)

This mighty angel had a small book in his hand, which was opened.  He had his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land.  There has been much speculation about the little book and its contents and the meaning of how the angel is standing.  The most common explanation of the little book (scroll) is that it is the title deed to the earth, which at this time was being claimed by this mighty angel on behalf of the Lord Jesus Christ.  This idea is derived from the fact that the angel was seen as claiming the earth and the sea by setting his feet on both.  What this meant was Jesus Christ is about to pronounce the final judgment on the inhabitants of earth who have rejected Him.  He will then take over rulership of the earth.   The small book which was eaten by John relates to the knowledge he was given by God to record these events.  Similar wording is used with Jeremiah and Ezekiel who were both prophets of God sent to speak forth His truth.  (Jeremiah 15:16; Ezekiel 2:8-10, 3:1-6)

In Revelation 10:3 the mighty angel speaks with a loud voice (like a roar of a lion) and then “seven thunders” uttered their voices.  Revelation 10:6, is most likely what the angel said.  He swore an oath by Jesus Christ that there would be no further delay in judgment upon all of creation.  What the “thunders” said is about to be recorded when John is stopped and forbidden to record it at this time.  These seven thunders could have been the voice of God Himself (seven being the number of perfection throughout Scripture). 

Revelation 10:7 gives further explanation of the phrase “no further delay.”  The trumpet judgment of the seventh angel was about to sound, which will culminate in the final destruction of God’s enemies.  The mystery in this passage is not the mystery of the Church, but rather the bringing to a conclusion the dispensation of the Tribulation.  The angel refers to the fulfillment of these events that were earlier prophesied by God’s servants throughout history.  The timing of these events is what was hidden and thus now revealed that the time of the final judgment is “at hand.” 

Beginning in Revelation 10:8 John gave a description of how he came to eat the little book.  The voice that John hears and obeys was obviously that of God, who commands him to take the book.  When John had taken the book he was told by the mighty angel to eat it.  I believe we can safely say that this is symbolic in nature and can be interpreted by earlier passages that speak of a similar occurrence.  (Jeremiah 15:16; Ezekiel 2:8-10, 3:1-6)

When John had followed the instructions of the angel and eaten the book it was sweet to the taste, but bitter when swallowed, as the angel had predicted.  Remember that John was recording catastrophic events of the judgment of God on the rebellious people of the earth.  Eating the book is analogous to the intake of God’s Word (Bible doctrine), which is always “as sweet as honey” to the taste.  The judgments that John had to record were not “sweet” but “bitter.”

The intake of God’s Word is also “sweet” to the advancing believer who is truly interested in learning Bible doctrine.  However, what the Word of God says, commands, demands or mandates may not be “sweet,” but “bitter.” (at least in human terms).  God’s Word may demand a change in our way of thinking.  Eating the book leads to the renewal of John’s commission as God’s prophet for these end-time events.  The new prophecy will be a “fresh” one based on new information that John will be given.  This new prophecy will concern many nations, people, kings and races (the entire world).  It will be a prophecy regarding the final days of the Tribulation before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to establish His kingdom on earth.  (Jeremiah 1:9-10)

Doctrinal Orientation

“Thy Word have I hid in my heart (the thinking portion of the soul), that I might not sin against Thee.” Psalm 119:11

The word “doctrinal” means pertaining to a teaching, a body of principles or a branch of knowledge.  “Orientation” means familiarization with a particular person, thing or field of knowledge.  Doctrinal orientation, therefore, means to familiarize oneself with the teachings and principles of the Word of God.

The Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word from God in its original form.  We believe that God so directed the writers of Scripture that His complete and coherent word was transferred to the pages of Scriptures in its original form without altering the literary style or personality of the author.  (II Peter 1:19-21)

Bible doctrine is the word of God the Father. (Hebrews 4:12)  It is the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16) and revelation of God the Holy Spirit. (Hebrews 3:7)  The Word of God is profitable for doctrine (the body of teaching that we believe), for reproof (the Word of God is a mirror into our souls so that we can evaluate ourselves before God).  It is also profitable for correction (once we evaluate ourselves and find there needs to be corrective action, the Word of God gives the correct course of action).  And finally, it is profitable for instruction in righteousness (once we discover the right course of action, the Word of God gives us a blueprint of how to accomplish our goal). (II Timothy 3:16)

Commands to Study and Apply Bible Doctrine

  1. Study to show yourself… - II Timothy 2:15
  2. Grow in the grace… - II Peter 3:18
  3. Be not conformed to this world… - Romans 12:1-2
  4. Take my yoke and learn… - Matthew 11:29
  5. Let this mind be in you… - Philippians 2:5
  6. …by reason of use… - Hebrews 5:11-14
  7. Man shall not live by bread alone… - Matthew 4:4
  8. Let the word of Christ… - Colossians 3:16
  9. Thy Word have I hid… - Psalm 119:11

Synonyms for Bible Doctrine

  1. The Faith (what is believed) - I Corinthians 16:13
  2. Truth - John 8:32, 16:13; Ephesians 4:15; II Timothy 2:15
  3. Word - Hebrews 4:12; Psalm 119:101
  4. Commandments - Psalm 119:96,98,102
  5. Knowledge - Proverbs 30:3; II Peter 3:18
  6. Sword - Hebrews 4:12; Ephesians 6:17
  7. Judgments - Psalm 119:106; Romans 11:3
  8. Food - Jeremiah 15:16; I Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:12-13;Psalm 19:10
  9. Covenant - Jeremiah 22:9
  10. Precepts - Psalm 119:45, 100; Isaiah 28:10
  11. Law - Psalm 119:97
  12. Testimonies - Psalm 119:99
  13. Statutes - Psalm 119:112
  14. Mind of Christ - Philippians 2:5; I Corinthians 2:16
  15. Scripture - II Timothy 3:16-17
  16. Wisdom - Proverbs 4:7
  17. Understanding - Proverbs 4:7

Results of Studying and Applying Bible Doctrine

  1. Confidence in our salvation - I John 2:3, 5:13; Isaiah 33:6
  2. Knowledge of God’s plan for our life - John 7:17; John 15:7
  3. Stability in our Christian life - Isaiah 33:6; Ephesians 4:14
  4. Divine Viewpoint Thinking - Romans 12:1-2
  5. Hope (confidence) for the future - Colossians 1:27; Titus 3:7
  6. Spiritual maturity - II Timothy 3:16-17; Ephesians 4:12-15
  7. Personal love for God - I John 4:7-21
  8. Impersonal love for all mankind - John 15:12-17
  9. Sharing the happiness of God - John 15:10-11
  10. Occupation with Christ - Hebrews 12:1-2; Ephesians 3:19
  11. Grace orientation - Ephesians 2:8-10; James 4:6

Bible doctrine will set you free. “And you shall know the truth (doctrine) and the truth (doctrine) shall make you free.” (John 8:32)  “I will walk in freedom: for I seek thy precepts (doctrine).” (Psalms 119:45)