Exegetical look into Revelation 10: 1-4

  • Mighty Angel refers to one who is reflecting and/or carrying out the power of God¾perhaps the appearance of Christ Himself. This angel is not mighty himself (unless it is Christ; however, the word another denotes it is an angel and not Christ. Also, John does not worship him as before), just as we are not mighty; rather, he has God’s anointing in demonstrating faithfulness and obedience. In other Jewish writings (1, 2 and 3rd Enoch), such angels are depicted with rainbows as crowns, and standing tall and proud, shining as the sun¾much like the Greek god, Atlas. Perhaps, such an image was in God’s mind to send a formidable warning and/or to make His point (Rev. 5:2; 7:1).
  • Rainbow normally refers to God’s mercy and grace, which we are called to reflect. Also, this was God’s pledge not to destroy the earth again by water, but leaving room for other means if man’s sins escalate (Gen. 9:8-17; Ezek. 1:26-28; Rev. 4:1-5). Here, it is symbolic language, possibly meant to show the angel’s power and prestige.
  • Like the sun. A metaphor for describing someone who reflects the glory of our Lord.
  • Legs were like fiery pillars. A metaphor for describing one’s territory, dominion, and/or power. Also alludes to how God led and protected His people during the exodus (Ex. 13:21-22; 14:19-24; Rev. 8:12).
  • Little book/small scroll. This is not referring to the big scroll of chapter five as the seals of it have already been opened and examined. This little or small scroll refers to one that is different, or a particular scroll apart from the others. This little scroll, from the context, may refer to what will not be revealed until the time is upon us or when God sees fit (Rev. 6:1-8:1).
  • Which lay open. God’s precepts have been made known to us (entirety of God’s Word and/or Revelation up to this point). We have the call and the responsibility to examine and apply them.
  • Right foot on the sea, left foot on the land. This suggests the angel’s incredible size and symbolizes that he is coming as God’s representative, pointing to His omnipresence. This term also meant “destiny” as in all creation is in God’s control.
  • Seven thunders refers to God’s divine punishment and judgment that fall on those who will not bend to God or accept His love and grace. Perhaps, from the context, this implies that the little scroll’s revelations are too horrific for or are not understandable to us, or that we are not ready to know them. Some have suggested these are commandments that we already know, like the Ten Commandments (2 Cor. 12:2-4; Rev. 8:5; 11:19; 16:18).
  • Seal up indicates that the prophecies are closed for review or are preserved until the proper time has come. The indication here is that something has not been disclosed, something God doesn’t want us to know yet (Deut. 29:29; Dan. 8:26; 12:4-9; Rev. 22:10).

Revelation 10:1-7

Introduction 

The Small Scroll  

John sees another mighty angel reflecting the glory of our Lord and coming down from Heaven with a small scroll. John describes him as surrounded by a cloud and a rainbow, and having the authority of the Most Sovereign God of the universe who continues to bring about more judgment. This angel carries with him the call and ability from God to shout out with a mighty roar. These images are frightful as he has a face like the sun, feet of fire, and the might of a lion to show us that God is serious and we are not to ignore the source, God Almighty. As this angel carries the little scroll and gives his shout, he is answered by the seven thunders, which God asks John to keep secret a little longer. Such a thunder conveys the sentence that God has pronounced to humanity. God can’t wait any longer. The “woe” He gave for all of humanity, including the Church, is at hand. God wants us to clearly understand that He is on the verge of releasing His judgment in whatever form He sees fit. All people know this, for humanity has been warned. Those who seek evil deserve the wrath of God’s judgment, signaled by the trumpet blast announcing that the time is at hand. God’s mysteries and judgment will be made known and will be fulfilled according to His timing, occasion, and schedule (Eccl. 3:1-8; Psalm 29).

This passage is related to Daniel 10:5-6 and Ezekiel 2:1-3:11, as John further warns what God has already decreed. This little scroll is unfolded to us in the upcoming chapters, as some of its contents are made known. John is witness to these events, an example to us as a Church that one day, we too will witness these events at their fruition. In the meantime, we will see the “micro” applications by the sins of those around us (Ezek. 1:27-28; Dan. 10:5-6; Rev. 1:14-16).  

These images are not meant just to strike fear in pagans and those who hate God; even if they were, people tend not to care. No prophecy, no matter how valid and true it is, will sway those who are evil or entrenched in their own ways. Look to Jeremiah, whose prophecy after prophecy came true, yet the Jewish leadership was totally against Him and finally had him killed. These images are more intended to make sure we as the Church (remember the audience is the seven churches of chapters one to four) keep the faith and walk the line with God. What do you think are your call and abilities are, given to you from God? How is this passage about being fully utilized by our Lord?