Revelation Chapter Ten, Claiming Creation

In our study of Revelation Chapter Ten, we have a pause before the sounding of the final trumpet and, during this pause, we see all of creation claimed on behalf of Jesus Christ.

Revelation 10:1

Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars.

Now, we see a special messenger sent by Jesus. Many read this description of the angel and conclude that it is actually describing Jesus but Jesus is never described as an angel in the New Testament (He is in the Old Testament). This angel is clothed differently than others in that he has a rainbow above its head as a reminder of God's covenant (Genesis 9). His face shines like the sun just as Moses' face shone when he came from the presence of the Lord (Exodus 34).

Revelation 10:2 & 3

He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke.

Now, we see the mission of this angel and it is unique. The angel held a little scroll (which is the title deed to all of creation) this is the same scroll that Jesus opened in chapter five and is a sign of ownership. The angel puts a foot on the seas and a foot on the land therefore claiming all of creation for Jesus. This is similar to placing a flag to claim a land for a certain country. The angel announced the claim with his voice (like a lion) and was answered and confirmed by the very voice of God (the seven thunders). The Jewish people were used to the fact that when God spoke it sounded like thunder but today we have actually gotten away from the fact that God can and will speak.

Revelation 10:4

And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, 'Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.'

John wanted to write down what the voices of God said but was told not to. We don't know why and we don't have any indication of what was said so we must conclude that it is best for us not to know.

Revelation 10:5-7

Then the angel that I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, 'There will be no more delay! But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.'

The angel lifts his right hand to heaven as a testimony that it is Jesus who is in control and to swear by One greater than himself. A legal matter, such as the claiming of creation, required two witnesses and so he appealed to Jesus. The angel proclaims that there will not be any more delay and that God's love and power will be demonstrated by the resurrected and returning Jesus. At that point, ownership will be obvious and all debate will be over.

Revelation 10:8

Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: 'Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.'

Once again, John gets direct instructions from the mouth of Jesus. There are many that say that God does not talk to anyone these days but there is no basis for that claim. God may use the Spirit to speak to our hearts but He also has the power to speak directly to us, if He so desires.

Revelation 10:9

So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, 'Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.'

John is told to eat the scroll. Although this may sound strange to us, this is nothing new as it was mentioned in Jeremiah 15:16 and in Ezekiel 3:1 & 3. He was informed that it would be sweet in the mouth but sour in the stomach.

Revelation 10:10

I took the little scroll from the angel's hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour.

The scroll contained the judgment and we all wait for the coming judgment because that will be the end of our struggle with sin. It is sweet to know what God is doing but, when it is understood that more judgment and more sorrow is to come, it can be bitter (sour). God is not all happy and joyful at bringing judgment and sorrow on men and we should not be either. Does it make your stomach sour when you think of people going through this great tribulation? It made John sick to his stomach.

Revelation 10:11

Then I was told, 'You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.'

John is told that he is not through with the message yet. Imagine how cool it was to be used as John was by God but also remember that much of what he has shared and is going to share is not good news for many people. For those of us who have been saved by the blood of Jesus, it is a story of our reunion but, for those that do not, it is all about gloom and doom.