What doesRevelation 10: 1-4 mean to us now?

God does not always tell us everything because we may not be ready for it, or we may not be able to handle it. Perhaps with John, it was both. We can still trust that His judgment and what He gives us is sufficient. We have all we need in His Word to know Him, grow in Him, and make Him known. We have all we need to know what is relevant and important for our spiritual formation, to lead a godly purposeful life, and to know about future happenings. If we crave what we have not been given, and seek to make up for ourselves our own doctrine, we will greatly stray from His path by our ignorance and arrogance. God wants us focused upon Him and the building of our faith and character, not to satisfy our lust for what He says we are not ready for. God wants us to take what He has given and exercise ourselves with it, living out our doctrine without becoming fat by it. He would have us take what He has given and apply it with passion, pointing others to live by His heart and call by the application of faith. This means God wants us to be faithful and not instigative. We are to be revolutionary with our faith, not with His doctrine. We are to stir up our complacency, not our rebellion of His ways (Acts 1:6-8; 1 Thess. 5:2). 

Questions to Ponder: 

  1. How would you describe the glory of our Lord? What does it mean to you to be reflecting His glory? Why does God not always tell us everything? What if He did?
  1. If we assume that God is serious (and He is), why would some Christians choose to ignore Him and the source of His precepts?
  1. How is this passage an example to us as a Church that one day, we too may witness these events at their fruition? What can you do to prepare your faith and perseverance so that in the meantime, you can handle the “micro” applications by the sins of those around you?
  1. What can you and your church do to take more seriously and pay more attention to what God is saying so you can be better at obeying Him through His most precious Word? What does it mean to you that we have the call and the responsibility to examine and apply His Word?

© 2006 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

 

The Four Main Views of Revelation 10: 1-7

The Preterist view: They see the mighty angel as Jesus Himself because of the description, and the rainbow as the throne of God (Rev. 1:16; 4:3). Sea and land represent the Gentile nations, and the little scroll as the Book of Revelation itself. The seven thunders are seen as the voice of Psalm 29 that rocks the nation Israel. Seal up is seen as events too terrible to tell or comprehend so as to spare discouragement to the people. Others in this view see this as the event not fulfilled by 70 A.D. that was still to be fulfilled, mainly the “Partial Preterits.” No more delay is seen as indicating the wait was over and the prayers of the saints have been answered; their blood would be avenged and Israel would be destroyed. The mystery is seen as the Gentiles being included in the Church as the Jewish reign will end, or else they will be equal (Eph. 3:3-6). 

The Futurist view: They see this passage, chapters 10 and 11, as literal and as a series of extra information as in “parenthetical,” a further, in-depth description of the events of chapters five to nine. The mighty angel is Christ Himself, and the little scroll that contains extra information we do not have in Revelation is explained in the next chapter. Others see this as the prophesies of the O.T. about the Great Tribulation and Israel. Seal up means some things we can’t understand or are not ready for. The mystery is seen as God allowing Satan to have his way during the tribulation; others have suggested this is the start of the Kingdom of God on earth, while others have said this is God’s “predestination” of those who are to be saved, or that God will reveal what it is in His time. 

The Idealist view: They see this passage as an interlude between judgments as was chapter seven. This passage is not in chronological order, but overlaps or further explains these events. The mighty angel is seen as Christ Himself or His representative. A foot in the sea and land refers that he has a message for the whole world. The little scroll contains more prophecies. The seven thunders are seen as a voice to the whole world. Seal up refers to things John was not ready to understand or be able to explain (1 Cor. 13:8-12; 2 Cor. 12:4). The mystery is seen as a reference to Romans 16:25, Ephesians 3:3-6 and Colossians 2:2, the union of Jews and Gentiles. Others see it as God’s purpose in history and human affairs. 

The Historicist view: They see this passage as the time period when Rome fell to the Barbarians in 476 and the rise of the Papacy (The control of the Holy Roman Empire as the Catholic Church). The corrupt Popes become the antichrists and the opposition to the true believers setting up the Reformation in the 16th century. The mighty angel is seen as Christ Himself (it is interesting that all views see this when the context seems to denote otherwise). The little scroll is the Bible that Christ opens up to us through the Reformers and the printing press. The seven thunders and loud voice are seen as Christ’s challenge to the Catholic Church or the seven crusades. No more delay is seen as the start of the Reformation.

 

Exegetical look into Revelation 10: 5-7

John is taking notes like a typical rabbinic or Greek student, an example of being studious, paying attention to what God is saying, and obeying Him through His most precious Word. This is also about how we are to glorify Him and not just seek what we want to get from Him. God’s judgment is at hand; the angel says there will be no more delays. If this does not strike fear in people, what will?  

  • Raised his right hand was a way people at this time proclaimed an oath to vow allegiance in general or a specific task before their god. The book of Daniel also showed this; possibly, John is making the connection to Daniel, as Revelation is closely tied to it (Gen. 14:22-23; Deut 32:40; Dan. 12:7).
  • Lives forever and ever refers to the eternal nature of God. As His faithful, we will also be preserved, as we will have a place in His marvelous eternity, heaven. This was also meant to encourage John’s readers who were going though persecutions and imminent martyrdom (Rev. 1:18; 4:9-10; 15:7).
  • No more delay. This shows that the waiting is over and time has come. There will be no further postponement or interruption. The prayers of those in chapter six have been heard and God is at work (Dan. 12:7; Hab. 2:3; Mark 13:19; Rev. 2:21; 6: 9-11; 20:3).
  • Mystery of God. The entirety of all that has been prophesied in the Old Testament has come or will come to its culmination by this time. All will be known; nothing will be hidden.

 

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? 

 

What does Revelation 4: 1-5 mean to us now?

One day, this door will be open to us and we will be there.

The question is, are you ready and have you lived the life He has called you to? God calls us to be earnest in pursuing a serious, deep—rooted, and determined faith. It is a call to persist in our faith and determination, regardless of obstacles—physical limitations, spiritual depression, spiritual warfare, or our circumstances. If everything came to us instantly, there would be no growth, no appreciation, no maturity, and no faith. Faith requires resistance and struggle to make it flourish and grow. God is not the One Who always holds us back; it is usually our refusal to reach out and seize the opportunity. It is we who refuse to exercise our faith and grow. It is we who speak just a simple prayer with no earnest thought behind it, with no zeal or realization of God’s mercy and grace. We get so caught up in our own struggles that we do not look past the crowd to call His Name. We do not realize that He will stop, look, and listen—just for us!

God has given you an open door. What does it take for you to answer and to open it?

Questions to Ponder:

  1. Can you imagine what Heaven will be like? Or, is it so far above your ability to imagine that it is a mere hope?
  2. John, Ezekiel, and Daniel all used images and metaphors to describe this wonder. What do you suppose are the reasons for this?
  3. Why do many Christians today get so caught up in these images that they miss the point of the message? Have you ever done that?
  4. Many misguided interpreters read into a Bible text, stringing together other passages out of context to create a grand theology out of injudicious reading and insert ideas that are not in the passages. What could be causes and motivations for this? Why are we called to read His Word with “exegesis,” or a right explanation and analysis of the text from what is actually in it?
  5. One day, this door will be open to us and we will there. The questions are, are you ready, and have you lived the life He has called you to? What do you still need to do?
  6. What would it mean to your faith and relationships to be better at seizing the moment and taking advantage of the opportunities He gives? Remember, the application is that all who are in Christ are His representatives, both individually, and collectively as the whole assemblage of all Christians who are the Church. How can you make this so in your life and church?
  7. In the meantime, as we wait to see all this for ourselves, how can we fuel our perseverance and productivity by His marvel? What can you do to further persevere with your call and faith?

© 2006 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org

Exegetical look into Revelation 4: 4-5

What would a glimpse of heaven do to and for you?

The point of this portion of Revelation is to motivate us as a Church to get right, and get busy in Him. How many churches do we know who are indifferent, who just get by and do nothing to exercise their faith or show who Christ is in their lives? Such a church is exercising faithlessness to the point that they actually scheme to not grow in Him, revealing their breach of faith and disloyalty. Such a church will not reach out. Their programs are superficial and inclusive to themselves and not available to others who need them; thus, they are not worthy to be called Christians.

  • Encircled the throne…surrounded by is a parody of a kings court, showing his importance. These images can help us see God’s centrality and eminence. These are visions of angelic courtiers as attendants serving in a royal monarch’s court (1 Kings 22:19; Job 1:6; 2:1; Psalm 89:6-7; Ezek. 1; Dan. 7:9-10)
  • Twenty-four other thrones. In the art of that period, the image of a few (such as priests) means there are many more than depicted. Thus, the number does not mean an actual number. This applies through most of Revelation. Numbers are symbols, not accounting or actual numbers.
  • Twenty-four. The number 24 can mean many things such as the 24 books of the Jewish cannon, or the 24 orders a Jewish priest at the time took, or the completeness of the 12 tribes and 12 Apostles, indicating all who bow to Christ. These numbers are symbolic and not actual accounting as there were 14 apostles and 13-14 tribes depending on context of the listing. (Joseph was two.) (Deut. 21:6; 1 Chron. 24-25; Isa. 24:23; Dan. 7:9; Acts 1:26; Rev. 5:5-14; 7:4-17; 11:16-18; 14:3; 19:4).
  • Twenty-four elders. Elders refers to those with authority. In the context of a church, they are God’s representatives called to declare and serve Him wholeheartedly and righteously. Referring to God’s “cabinet officials” denoting those “with wisdom” as His attendants who worship and serve Him, there are two theories¾Angels or people, or perhaps an exalted category of Angels. Perhaps, it refers to the Church as triumphant; others say it indicates the ancestors of Christ. However, the passage and context suggest celestial representatives, which can mean the Church¾as those who are redeemed or God’s servants¾or, more precisely, both. This is also suggestive of how a healthy church functions with elders who seek wisdom, serving and worshiping God. The application is that all who are in Christ are His representatives—individually, and collectively as the whole assemblage of Christians as the Church.
  • Dressed in white. White, in ancient times, was associated with good and purity. In contrast, black was associated with bad. The dead were buried in white and priests were dressed in white (Rev. 3:4).
  • Crown refers to victory.
  • Flashes of lightning. Special effects in ancient times indicated an important event. Here, it is pointing to God’s self-revelation. It is the symbolic representation of the awesome majesty and power of God. It refers to God’s Supremacy and Authority and our duty to heed His voice and reverence Him. It is also a symbol of the fake god, Zeus’ authority and vengeance (Ex. 19:16-19; Job 37:5-6; Psalm 18:11-15; Ezek. 1:4, 24; 43:2; Dan. 10:6; Heb. 12:18-29; Rev. 8:5; 11:19; 16:18).
  • Rumblings and peals. An illustration of God’s mighty power coming to deliver His people (Psalm 18:12-15; 77:18).
  • Seven lamps/torches refers to the seven churches that are representative of God’s Temple here on earth, as all churches are. The image that God is Light refers to the Church as the body of believers whose duty it is to be a light and a witness for Christ. This is why some commentators take this as meaning the Holy Spirit; however, the theme is that His character is the Light we follow and proclaim, and refers to the O.T. account of how God’s Glory descended into the Tabernacle. Now, our purpose is to point to His glory, as the Church is the light of the world. Proclaiming the Church as a lamp stand is saying the Church is significant as the true place of reverence to God (Gen. 1:3; Ex. 25:31-40; 1 Kings 7:49; Zech. 4:2; Matt. 5:14-16; 18:20; 28:20; John 1:4-5; 8:12; 14:18; Acts 26:13; Eph. 1:10; 5:8-13; Phil. 2:15; 1 John 1:4-5; Rev. 1:12-13; 2:9; 3:9).
  • Seven spirits of God means an angelic court pointing to God’s Fullness. The word, seven, means completeness, perfection, and its importance is compounded. Some believe this is referring to the seven celestial beings (Rev. 8:2). However, context and word meaning attest to the Holy Spirit and His various roles as Counselor, Bearer of Wisdom, Fruit, etc. (Isa. 11:2; Zech. 4:2-6; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Pet. 1:1-2; Rev. 1:4; 4:5; 5:14).