John eats the Scroll, Revelation Chapter 10  (NASB)


    And I saw another STRONG ANGEL coming down out of HEAVEN,
Many Bible scholars believe this is Jesus Christ himself, but Christ never is denoted as an ANGEL in Revelation. This must be an angel just as the verse says. From the attributes which follow, this angel may be a personal attendance angel and assigned specifically to "care" for and do Jesus bidding. It may, in fact, be the same as one of the two 'men' seen at Christ's ascension (Acts 1:9-11) {The other may be the strong angel referred to in Revelation 18:1}. From the following description, it is clear, this angel has been in Christ's presence a lot. He reflects Christ just as we, too, reflect Christ (John 3:16-21; John 12:27-36)

The term 'another' denotes an angel different than the ones with the seven trumpets.

  • clothed with a CLOUD; and
    Even this angel has mysteries about him; these are some of the 'hidden wisdom' in 1 Corinthians 2:6-9 that we are not shown.

    The cloud indicates God's glory and protection:

  • the RAINBOW was upon his head, and
    Even in the midst of the tribulation, we are reminded of the first rainbow covenant (Genesis 9:13-17). We saw it earlier around the Lord's throne (Revelation 4:3) even as Ezekiel saw the Divine Glory (Ezekiel 1:28). There is mercy STILL even though the world does not show Him, Christ, mercy (Revelation 9:20-21 --> Matthew 27:27-31).
  • his face was like the SUN, and
    When you are in Christ's presence, you will glow too. (Matthew 17:1-3 and Exodus 34:29-30).
  • his feet like pillars of FIRE.
    His goings about are like a fire. For the believer, it is refining, Malachi 3:1-3. For the non-believer, it is CONSUMING JUDGMENT (Hebrews 12:25-29).
    and he had in his hand a LITTLE BOOK which was OPEN.
The LITTLE BOOK has caused much debate. Some scholars believe it is the same one as was sealed with the seven seals (Revelation 5:1). Others feels it is a booklet or even a part of the book of life (Revelation 20:15), since later (verse 10) it is consumed just as life exists INSIDE of us.

Apparently the contents are visible to John. That is, he knows what the angel is holding. It may be John's part in the judgments (as joint heir with Christ - Romans 8:17 and Hebrews 9:15) to come. The judgment of a defeated Satan and fallen angels. The judgment of unbelievers in the seventh trumpet and the seven plagues (bowls).

    And he placed his RIGHT FOOT on THE SEA and his left on THE LAND;
The right hand and foot is the side of authority. Thus placing the right foot on the sea indicates that this angel is in control of all spirits residing in the water. See brief discussion in Revelation 9:14. His foot on the land indicates this angel is in control of all the earth.

The promise in Genesis 17:1-8 given to Israel said that the land wherever they sojourned (walked) would be theirs. This angel as messenger to the whole world indicates by his stance that Christ and his redeemed will claim the whole earth in upcoming events. Cross references: Psalm 72:7-11, Psalm 110:1-2, and Hebrews 1:10-12. And Christ has the power to do it, Psalm 95:1-5.


    and he cried out with a loud voice, as when a LION roars;
This is the strong angel crying out. Angels seldom speak to humans, but this one, perhaps Jesus' bodyguard, cries out as a LION.

This may be fulfilling the prophesy in Isaiah 31:4-7. Note the vengeance as a LION comes right after idolatry even as it does here. See Revelation 9:20.

Hosea 11:10-12 says the 'roar of the LION' will cause 'his sons to return trembling from the west' (Egypt, Assyria, etc.). The Jews and believing Gentiles will return and follow God.

    and when he had cried out, the seven PEALS OF THUNDER uttered their voices.
It is not clear what these seven peals of thunder are. John is told to "SEAL UP" what they said. It is NOT for us to know.

We can speculate that

  • they were a series of judgments against nature (Psalm 29:3-11 --> the curse of sins causes flood and subsequent rainbow, (verse1). All of nature, too, must be released from the curse, Romans 8:18-25.
  • it may be the pending SEVEN bowls announcement (verse 7) and it is too horrible. John will explain it as he can later (Revelation 16:1)
    And when the seven PEALS OF THUNDER had spoken, I was about to write;
John is just doing what he is told -- Revelation 1:19.
    and I heard a voice from heaven saying, "SEAL UP the things which the seven PEALS OF THUNDER have spoken, and DO NOT WRITE THEM."
The voice is different from the loud voice (verse 3); but whose it is not clear.

Why John was not to write about the seven thunders will never be known to us. Some things either are too horrible or "unearthly" such that we are not able to understand. For example, science is just beginning, they think, to understand how matter is constructed. Yet a unified theory of physics has yet to be produced and tested. Perhaps, the utterances are related to physical things of which we have no knowledge.

One other person, Daniel, too, saw things he was to seal up until "end times", Daniel 12:4, 9-13.

Maybe there were/are no "words" to describe the sayings of the thunders, 2 Corinthians 12:3-4.

In a sinister twist: Even as demons recognized Jesus, Matthew 8:28-34, as the loud voice of the strong angel boomed out, these may have been seven satanic utterances. Certainly, in a beautiful place such as heaven, we wouldn't want to know or even care what the demons have to say. That the demons are in heaven -- they are not cast down to the earth until Revelation 12:9. This assumes Revelation events are given in mostly chronological order.

    And the ANGEL whom I saw standing on the SEA and on the LAND
This is the strong ANGEL in verse 2.
    lifted up his RIGHT HAND to HEAVEN.
The context of this whole chapter (interlude) is that John is on the earth because he sees the strong angel coming down out of heaven and now, the RIGHT HAND is lifted upwards to HEAVEN. It is raised to take an oath. This is an Old Covenant act, Deuteronomy 32:40-43. The strong angel's oath is in the succeeding verses. Compare this verse with Daniel 12:5-13.

In this church age, taking an oath is NOT something we are to do. Jesus said so in Matthew 5:33-37. Therefore, this act which gives the strong angel the authority to perform the judgment he is about to do, is an Old Covenant act. Apparently, the government of heaven, at least with respect to heaven and all of the created universe, is like that explained in the Old Testament. We, the redeemed, again, fit into heaven because of the unique act of Christ's death.

    and SWORE by Him
This angel is invoking an oath by someone greater than he, Hebrews 6:13-20, by Jesus, our High Priest behind "the veil" in heaven.
    who lives FOREVER and EVER,
Remember Jesus placed His hand on John at the beginning of the Revelation and clearly says I am alive forevermore, Revelation 1:18.
    who CREATED HEAVEN and the things in it, and the EARTH and the things in it, and the SEA and the things in it,
There is no doubt Christ created these things, Colossians 1:15-18. The 24 elders acknowledge it earlier, Revelation 4:9-11.

This ties back to Old Testament covenant and "swearing" (not for church age believers) by the angel. Notice how similar these words are to those in Exodus 20:8-11, especially the fourth commandment.

Only God CREATES, man (and science) know only how to conserve or destroy under "the Laws of Nature".

    that there shall be DELAY NO LONGER;
This is the oath....time is up. Up to this point, God does not wish any to perish but that we should REPENT. Now the prophesy in Romans 9:27-29 and Isaiah 10:20-23 is announced by this angel BEFORE the blowing of the seventh trumpet.
    but in the days of the voice of the SEVENTH ANGEL,
Apparently, the voices of these seven angels sound like trumpets. That is the way their voices were given to them, Revelation 8:2. Otherwise, they praise and communicate by different means that we do not know or can hear.

The use of 'days' indicates it will take some time for the works of this SEVENTH ANGEL. Since the seven bowls are wrapped up in this trumpet, one could say it will take the rest of the tribulation period.

    when he is about to sound, then the MYSTERY OF GOD is finished,
What is this mystery? One may refer to 1Corinthians 15:51-53 as the mystery. Others say this mystery is the complete ousting of evil and reclaiming the earth for Jesus and His bride (the true church) as in Revelation 11:15-18 or as in Daniel 12:5-12.
    as He preached to His servants the PROPHETS.
Nothing unusual here...God's revelations to us have always been through prophets. Maybe that is why prophesy is the most desired spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 14:1-5). This is how we learn a bit of the mystery of God!
    And the voice which I heard from heaven, I heard again speaking with me, and saying,
This is the same voice John heard in verse 4. At that time, he was to "NOT SPEAK" of what he heard. This time, he "MUST PROPHESY" (verse 11).

Usually, when one speaks with someone, it is a two-way conversation. We seldom hear John's side. Whether it is in a heaven language which we don't understand (or have an interpreter) or in an earth language which we could understand but John doesn't have the words to describe, we just don't know. It is clear that John understood what was said to him. When you are called of God, the communication may not be verbal but just a touch or a great light or ......

    "GO, TAKE THE BOOK, which is OPEN in the hand of the ANGEL who stands on the sea and on the land."
Our life with Christ requires action. GO, TAKE are two action words like those in the great commission (Mark 16:15).

The OPEN book is reemphasized here from verse 2. In other words, nothing will be hidden (at least from John) as to the book's contents. That this angel is one of great authority is restated: standing on the sea and land.

Hence the book is about the reclamation of God's creation. It is about earth (physical) and sea (people and spiritual).

    And I went to the ANGEL, telling him to give me the little book.
John immediately does what the voice from heaven tells him. If the angel is just that, an angel (1 Corinthians 6:3), then the request is not out of place. If the angel is Christ, as some scholars believe, then to demand the little book certainly is BOLD.
    And he said to me, "TAKE IT",
It appears that the little book was not handed to John; John had to make a conscious choice to reach for it and take it. So we, too, must reach out and TAKE GOD'S WORD.
    and EAT IT;
This is not a passive act, like watching a ball game or such. This requires action as a part of our believer walk.
    and it will make your STOMACH bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey."
What we are seeing is a spiritual world which is not at all close to our earthly experience. Jeremiah experienced a similar feeling in Jeremiah 15:15-16-18. Note how his perpetual pain was like a deceptive stream (could be interpreted as attacks from demons).

Ezekiel as a result of eating the scroll (Ezekiel 2:8-3:3), which was full of lamentations, mourning and woe (the bitterness), became a great prophet. He, too, says that when he ate the scroll, it tasted sweet as honey.

In Psalm 19:7-10-14 and Psalm 119:97-103-104 the Word of the Lord is depicted as sweet to the taste. Every believer, at first will enjoy the Word of God. It is our spiritual sustenance (Matthew 4:4). However, a little later, Jesus in Matthew10:16-23 tells us the consequences of digesting the Word. Our family, "church", and demons will turn on us and persecute us even unto death.

This all is part of being "joint heirs" with Christ, Romans 8:5-17. We will be judging with HIM:

There is no pleasure in the death of the wicked as pointed out in Ezekiel 18:19-23-32 and Ezekiel 33:7-11-16.

This little book, John eats, apparently is his part of the inheritance (title deed). It carries with it an associated responsibility to judge. To judge, one MUST KNOW the law (righteousness => Word of God). But passing this judgment could be very bitter, indeed, especially if it is against your own neighbors, 1 Corinthians 6:1-3. Also note that judgment extends to nations too, Revelation 2:26-27.

    And I took the little book out of the angel's hand and ATE it,
This act is one of "digesting" the Word of God. The fact that it is a "little book" may mean it was all that John could handle of the great knowledge of God. When Jesus was tempted on the physical level, He replied in the spiritual, Matthew 4:1-11. If Christ quoted scripture to repel the devil, how much more we need to know God's Word to repel the devil.

God's words are sweet, Jeremiah 15:15-18. But they also are distressing because they carry the responsibility to prophesy (see next verse).

    and it was in my MOUTH SWEET as HONEY; and when I had EATEN it, my stomach was made bitter.
There is GREAT JOY in understanding SALVATION (John 3:36). The converse is also true: REJECTING CHRIST brings JUDGMENT (Mark 16:16).

The first half of the tribulation period for raptured believers apparently will be a time for observation and preparation for service. The second half requires their full participation (symbolically the stomach as the seat of energy).

    And they said to me, "You must PROPHESY again concerning MANY
    PEOPLES and    Jews and Gentiles
    NATIONS and    organized politically
    TONGUES and    with multiple languages
    KINGS.    under leadership.
After hearing seven thunders and told NOT to write about it (verse 4), John may have wondered if he was done. But not so. He has been faithful to "write in a book" (Revelation 1:11). Now, he is asked to move to a higher spiritual level (1 Corinthians 14:1). There is a focus change from the terrible things done to the earth (physical) to the terrible things individuals, singularly and collectively under leadership, must face.

Compare this list with similar lists (Revelation 5:9, Revelation 7:9, Revelation 13:7, Revelation 14:6, Revelation 17:15). This list uses KINGS rather than TRIBE or MULTITUDES. This may emphasize the coming revelations will involve the political leadership most directly. That is, we will see the beast (Antichrist) and a consortium of 10 "KINGS" giving their authority to the beast "for one hour" (Revelation 17:9-13). One can imagine that after all the plagues, stings, and mass death from earthquakes and astronomical events, that there will be a dearth of leadership. This verse is setting the stage for that "ONE WORLD LEADER" to make his entrance.

"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 Used by permission."

References to the Revelation of Jesus Christ are in bold italics. All other references are in bold only