Revelation 10:1-11

Sunday Morning Bible Study

January 29, 2012


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

The apostle John found himself caught up into heaven before the throne of God.

He saw Jesus take a scroll from the hand of God that had been sealed with seven seals. As Jesus broke each seal and unrolled the scroll a little further, events begin to take place on the earth and the time that we call the Tribulation begins to unfold.

The Tribulation is a time when God’s wrath is poured out on an unbelieving world and God begins to make right all the things that have been so wrong.

Built within the seventh seal are seven trumpets.

We are now looking at the last three trumpets. The last three trumpets bring such terrible things to the earth that they are called the three “woes”.

We’ve finished the sixth trumpet and while we’re waiting for the seventh trumpet to sound, there’s a little business that has to happen first.

10:1-7 Rainbow Angel

:1 I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire.

:1 mightyischuros – strong, mighty

:1 rainbowiris – a rainbow

:1 pillarsstulos – a pillar; a column; pillars of fire i.e. flames rising like pillars

:1 another mighty angel

Who is this angel? He’s different than the seven angels who had been blowing trumpets.

Some have suggested that this is Jesus Christ.

Though Jesus is known as the “angel of Yahweh” in the Old Testament, we don’t seem Him referred to as an angel in the New Testamant.
In the Old Testament before He had taken human flesh in Bethlehem, He is known as “The Angel of the LORD”, or “The Angel of Yahweh”.
This doesn’t mean that Jesus was a created being like the other “angels”.
Remember that the word for “angel” simply means “messenger”. There are some of God’s “messengers” that are a special race of supernatural created beings like Michael and Gabriel.
Jesus has always been and will always be God, not an angel.
In the New Testament, there no longer seem to be any more references to Jesus as being the “angel of the LORD”.

Some have suggested that this is simply an angel.

The same Greek words for “mighty angel” are used in Rev. 5:2
(Re 5:2 NKJV) Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?”
Now we are simply seeing “another” strong or might angel.
It might be Michael the archangel, who is definitely involved in the last days:
(Da 12:1 NKJV) “At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time…
Pillar - wilderness, fire, "angel"

:1 a rainbow was on his head

This may be just the way this fellow is dressed (and it might look more like a halo than an arc), but a rainbow has some significance to us.

It reminds us of a promise that God made to Noah after the flood:

(Ge 9:14–15 NKJV) —14 It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; 15 and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.
God said that the rainbow would be a reminder that there would never again be a flood to destroy all flesh.
I wonder if this angel’s rainbow isn’t some sort of a reminder that as bad as things get, there is still hope. God isn’t just going to wipe everything out.

:2 He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land,

:2 a little bookbibliaridion – a really small book

The Bible has different words to describe the size of a book or scroll.

There is a book (biblos)
There is a smaller book (biblion) (the word used for the sealed scroll in ch. 5)

There is an even smaller book (bibliaridion)

What is this little book?

I think it’s the things in the rest of Revelation, or possibly just the first half of Rev. 11 before the seventh trumpet sounds.

:2 lefteuonumos – of good name and of good omen; in the latter sense used in taking auguries; but those omens were euphemistically called "euonumos" which in fact were regarded as unlucky, i.e. which came from the left, sinister omens, (for which a good name was desired); left, on the left hand

:2 right foot on the sea

Play “Israel Coast” map video

If this is taking place on the coast of Israel, then this angel is facing south.

Some suggest that this is a picture of “conquest”, just as Joshua had the captains of Israel put their feet on the necks of the kings they conquered. (Josh 10:24)

(Jos 10:24 NKJV) —24 So it was, when they brought out those kings to Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the captains of the men of war who went with him, “Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings.” And they drew near and put their feet on their necks.

This might be a picture of God establishing a “beach head” on the planet.

:3 and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices.

:3 roarsmukaomai – to roar, of a lion

Play Cowardly Lion clip.

I’m not sure it sounded like that. Perhaps like this …
Play Savannah Lion Roar clip
A lion’s roar is a pretty terrifying thing.

:3 cried outkrazo – to croak; of the cry of a raven; hence, to cry out, cry aloud, vociferate; cry out aloud, speak with a loud voice

:3 thundersbronte – thunder

:3 utteredlaleo – to utter a voice or emit a sound; to speak

The language makes it sound as if the seven “thunders” aren’t as loud as the mighty angel crying out.

:4 Now when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them.”

:4 the seven thunders

John writes about these “thunders” as if they have personality.  They have voices, they have something to say.

:4 sealsphragizo – to set a seal upon, mark with a seal, to seal

:4 Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered

A lot of this book has been about “breaking the seals”, revealing, or opening up things that have been hidden.

Now John is told to “seal” something to keep it hidden.

Even though there will be people who will try and tell you what these thunders actually said, there’s no way of knowing because John did not write them down.

I have to tell you that there are a lot of people who will want to let you in on the secret of what the seven thunders said.

All you have to do is search the World Wide Internet for “seven thunders” and you will find no end to people telling you what was said.
Be careful beloved.
If God wanted these things known, John would have been allowed to write them.
What you will find are people who want to draw you in with their claim of secret knowledge.

:4 do not write them


Imperfect knowledge

Sometimes we like to have everything in life all figured out.
But sometimes that just doesn’t happen.

When compiling his great dictionary, the young Noah Webster travels to the Himalayas, where he climbs to the cave of the world’s wisest man. “O great sage,” he says, “tell me the meaning of life.” The sage sits Noah at his feet and, with great solemnity, commences to unfold the meaning of life. When finished, he places a hand on the young man’s shoulder and says, “Do you have any other questions, my son?” Noah flips a page in his notebook and says, “You wouldn’t happen to know the meaning of lift, would you?”

Honestly, there are some questions that even great gurus can’t answer.

Some people have questions for God, and they want answers.
Why did my child die? Why am I sick? Why has my life been so rough?

Sometimes there are answers, but sometimes there aren’t.

Are you okay with having “imperfect” knowledge about things?

John is leaving us in the dark when it comes to these “thunders”.

After the resurrection, Jesus appeared several times to His disciples to show that He had risen from the dead. The first time He appeared to the group of His disciples, everyone was in the room except for Thomas.
Doubting Thomas said he wouldn’t believe until he saw Jesus and even touched Him for himself.
Jesus did show up and allow Thomas to see and touch Him, but He said,
(Jn 20:29 NKJV) 29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Jesus took Thomas’ concerns seriously and gave Thomas the opportunity to have his questions answered. He offered to allow Thomas to put his hand onto Jesus’ wounds.

But Jesus knew that there would be a few of us who would not have that opportunity to witness His resurrection first hand. He said we would be blessed if we believed even though we haven’t seen.

Sometimes you have to simply learn to trust God.

He may not always give you the answers to all your questions.

Are you okay with that?

Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of real answers for us for many of our honest questions. Christianity is not a religion based on total blind faith.

We call this study of the answers “apologetics”. There are some very smart people with very intelligent answers.

Yet for some questions, we don’t have the answers … not yet.

This is part of what it means to walk with God. Paul wrote,

(2 Co 5:7 NKJV) For we walk by faith, not by sight.

We may not always get to “see” what’s up ahead.  We many always get to “see” what the answers are.

But we trust God anyway.

So what do we do with things we don’t understand?

Trust in what we know.

When ancient mariners were caught in a storm at sea, they would let out the anchors to keep their ship from going off course.

These are the anchors in our lives when the storms are raging.

God is all powerful

Whatever problem I’m facing, God is bigger. There is no problem that God can’t handle. He can do anything.

(Je 32:17 NKJV) ‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.

(Mt 19:26 NKJV) But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

(Re 19:6 NKJV) And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!

God knows everything

God might be strong, but does He know what’s going on in my life?

(Ps 139:1–2 NKJV) —1 O Lord, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.

(Ex 3:7 NKJV) And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.

(Ps 38:9 NKJV) Lord, all my desire is before You; And my sighing is not hidden from You.

God is good

He’s not just powerful and smart, He’s also good. He is not evil.

(1 Jn 1:5 NKJV) This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

(Ge 18:25 NKJV) Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

(Re 16:7 NKJV) And I heard another from the altar saying, “Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.”

God loves me

God might be powerful, smart, and good, but am I someone that He cares about?

(Ro 5:8 NKJV) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

(Jn 3:16 NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

(1 Jn 3:16 NKJV) By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

If you are struggling with unanswered questions, you’re not alone. 

Learn to trust in what you know, learn to trust in the anchors.

:5 The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand to heaven

:5 raised up his hand

In order to swear an oath, just like in court – raise your right hand and swear …

The angel is pointing to the source of the One who makes these words true.

:6 and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer,

:6 sworeomnuo – to swear; to affirm, promise, threaten, with an oath

:6 who created …

God created the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them.

To swear an oath by God is to make a pretty firm, positive, absolute statement. You have to believe what he is about to say.

:6 delaychronos – time either long or short

The phrase means, “there is no time any longer” or “there is no more time”

“The Message” translation carries the idea of this word best: “that time was up”

This is part of the oath – that the time is up for what’s about to happen.

:7 but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.

:7 the soundingphone – a sound, a tone; a voice

:7 to soundsalpizo – to sound a trumpet

:7 is finishedteleo – to bring to a close, to finish, to end; to perform, execute, complete, fulfil

:7 the mysterymusterion – hidden thing, secret, mystery

:7 He declaredeuaggelizo – to bring good news, to announce glad tidings

The word has “angel” at its root.  An angel is a messenger.

:7 the mystery of God would be finished

The idea is that the things that have long been prophesied in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament are going to be fulfilled. Ancient things like:

(Da 7:13–14 NKJV) —13 “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.

:7 the days of the sounding of the seventh angel

It may be confusing to think that the seventh trumpet finishes things up when we’re only halfway through the book, but keep in mind that just as the seven trumpets are inside the seventh seal, the rest of Revelation, including the seven bowl judgments are inside the seventh trumpet – like those Russian matryshka nesting dolls…

The seventh trumpet will sound when we get to chapter 11

(Re 11:15 NKJV) —15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”
Here we are in the middle of Revelation, and it sounds like it’s all over.  Yet we still have eight more chapters and seven bowls of judgment before Jesus returns to rule the earth.
Some see the seven seals, trumpets, and bowls happening at the same time, overlapping, and all ending at the same time.  This way we can see the the “mystery of God” being finished with the seventh trumpet.
But if there is an inclusiveness with the last seal and trumpet, that the trumpets are all contained in the last seal, and all the bowls are contained in the last trumpet, then we get to the same conclusion, they still all end at the same time.

10:8-11 A Little Dinner Reading

:8 Then the voice which I heard from heaven spoke to me again and said, “Go, take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the earth.”

:9 So I went to the angel and said to him, “Give me the little book.” And he said to me, “Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.”

:9 eat itkatesthio (“down” + “to eat”) – to consume by eating, to eat up, devour

It’s an intensive form of the word “to eat”.

John isn’t just supposed to nibble at this book, he’s to gobble up the whole thing.

Some people are nibblers.

Play Mouse nibbling a cookie
That’s not the way to eat a cookie. This is …
Play Cookie Monster eats a cookie

:9 bitterpikraino – to make bitter; to produce a bitter taste in the stomach

:9 sweetglukus – sweet

:9 honeymeli – honey

:9 bitter … sweet

The idea is that when John eats this book, it will taste sweet at first, but after he chews it and swallows it, it will become bitter in his stomach.

It starts out sweet but ends up bitter.


A hungry African lion was roaming through the jungle looking for something to eat. He came across two men. One was sitting under a tree and reading a book; the other was working away on his laptop. The lion quickly pounced on the man reading the book and devoured him. Even the king of the jungle knows that Readers Digest and writer’s cramp.

:10 Then I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter.

:10 mouthstoma – the mouth, as part of the body: of man, of animals, of fish, etc.

:10 stomachkoilia – the whole belly, the entire cavity; the lower belly, the lower region, the receptacle of the excrement; the womb; the innermost part of a man, the soul, heart as the seat of thought, feeling, choice

:11 And he said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.”

:11 you mustdei – it is necessary, there is need of, is right and proper

:11 peoples, nations, tongues, and kings

These are some of the subjects that will be in the coming chapters.  John is not done.  There is more to come.

:9-11 eat … prophesy

John is told to eat the book and then he is told to prophesy.

The two are connected.

We see the same thing in the book of Ezekiel where he told to prophesy to the people, but before he does, he’s supposed to eat a scroll:

(Eze 3:1–3 NKJV) —1 Moreover He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” 2 So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that scroll. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you.” So I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness.
Sound familiar?  The idea is that the scroll from God that you eat is the thing that comes forth as prophecy.


Eat the Book

Even though John’s meal most likely consists of the coming chapters in Revelation, there is a principle here for all of us.
There are a lot of good materials to help you in your Christian life. There are a lot of good books, study Bibles, and computer resources that can help you grow.
But don’t let that keep you from simply “eating the Book”.
Learn to read the Bible. The whole Bible.
I grew up in a good Bible believing church. I was a youth leader who taught Bible studies. I even went to seminary.

But I hadn’t learned the discipline of reading and learning the whole Bible.

Get a balanced diet by eating all of it, not just the comfortable things.

Some of us only tend to read the passages we’re familiar with.

It might be the things that bring us comfort. It might be things to feed our curiosity about prophecy.

That’s like only eating cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You need to learn to have a balanced diet.

God’s Word is sweet:
(Je 15:16 NKJV) Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.
(Ps 19:10 NKJV) More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
God’s Word is bitter:
When Josiah was king, an amazing discovery was found in the Temple – the long lost Word of God. They dusted off the book and read it …

(2 Ki 22:11 NKJV) Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, that he tore his clothes.

There is a bitterness to God’s Word

It warns us of judgment to come.

It convicts us of our sins.

But the wise will listen and take it to heart.

(Ps 107:43 NLT) Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord.


Prepare to be used

John is going to “prophesy again”. But before he does, he needs to eat.
The same principle applies to us.
Our best ministry comes when we are men and women who have “eaten the book”.
That’s how we’re prepared to follow Him, to work for Him, to speak for Him.
When Paul is about to write his grand treatise on the resurrection, he starts with this:

(1 Co 15:3 NKJV) For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

The truths he’s about to share are things he’s “received”.

What he’s received is connected to “the Scriptures”.

Do you want to be used by God?  Eat the book.  Chew on it.  Digest it.