Apocalypse Now Part XVII
Chapter 10 is another pregnant pause before the sounding of the final trumpet
Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire.
The description of this angel is only superceded by the description of Christ in
He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded.
The mightly angel bestrides the earth and sea.
He calls out like a lion. Is this an allusion to Christ as the Lion of Judah?
This powerful description underscores the importance of the sounding of the seventh trumpet. It indicates a climactic moment in the narrative.
And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.”
This seems to indicate that John was writing down at least certain things that he saw in his vision. One of the few instances in scripture of direct revelation.
Why is John told not to write down? The answer lies in what happens next.
And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.
The sounding of the seventh trumpet signifies the final phase of God’s redemptive action in history.
There will be no more delay or “interval of time”. The final stage of history is upon us.
Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, “Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.”
These verses represent John’s prophetic commission and have parallels with and . These prophets were also commissioned to speak words of judgement to the power structures of their day.
And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”
God’s word is both sweet and bitter.
This is a direct fulfillment of what Jesus said in and
John is being commissioned to “speak truth to power” which explains why the words of the scroll are both sweet and bitter.