MP3: The Mighty Angels of Revelation 10
Hosts: Nathan Jones & Vic Batista
The Mightiest Angel
Nathan Jones: Revelation 10 introduced us to yet another mighty angel, but he’s unlike any angel we’ve seen so far in Revelation. Verses 1 describes him as: “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.”
This is not merely an angel, but a view of Jesus like we’ve never seen before in the Gospels. We often think of the human Jesus from His First Coming, a meek and mild person who turned the other cheek and allowed Himself to be crucified and die for our sins. The Gospels and Revelation 5 have left us with this image of Jesus as a suffering lamb.
Now in Revelation 10, we see what Jesus really looks like. He comes as this powerful angel, and by angel the text is meaning messenger. He is clothed with a cloud, in other words the Shekinah Glory of God wrapped around Him. Jesus’ glory shines like a rainbow, which is a symbol of royalty and faithfulness as a crown upon His head. His face and feet burn like the sun because God is spirit. We get this description of Jesus as He really is: mighty, powerful, and incredible.
The size of this mighty “angel” is huge! As verse 2 reveals, “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.” Jesus appears so big that He has to stand on both the land and the sea. His right foot is in the sea and His left foot is on the land, symbolizing that Jesus has dominion over the entire earth, both land and sea.
This is the Jesus that we will get to know throughout eternity. Jesus is truly the powerful, conquering King. Revelation 10’s description challenges us to rethink our mental image of Jesus Christ. He’s no longer some meek sufferer like at His First Coming, but the King who will be coming to rule and reign forever.
Vic Batista: Wow, a giant Jesus stepping on the ocean! That’s actually comforting because God’s promise in Hebrews 13:5 is that He will never leave us nor will He forsake us. With power the God of Heaven is always going to be with His children protecting them.
Jesus’ Little Book
Nathan Jones: In Revelation 5, Jesus was portrayed as a slain lamb who was given by the Father a scroll, which is the title deed to the earth. Now in Revelation 10, Jesus has a little book. Verse 2a reads simply, “He had a little book open in his hand.”
Some may wonder if this little book is the same scroll covered in seven seals which are broken causing the Seven Seal Judgments to be released. But, the passage uses a different word to describe the book, which in the Greek is biblaridion. It’s also a different scroll because, as we later read, Jesus gives it to John to eat, which is a very strange thing to do. You wouldn’t see John eating the title deed to the earth! Jesus portrayed as this mighty angel is holding a book or scroll, but likely it’s not the scroll that we read about in Revelation 5. Admittedly, this topic of the angel and the scroll is debatable among theologians.
In Revelation 10:3-4, Jesus does something seemingly strange and receives an equally strange response:
“[He] cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices. 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.'”
We continue on with Revelation 10:5-7:
“The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand to heaven 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, 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.”
So here the Mighty Angel of Revelation 10 is swearing to Him who lives forever, in other words, God. So, how could this angel be Jesus, because He is swearing to the Father? That would make this character truly an angel, right? Well, we know from Hebrews 6:13 that God made a promise to Abraham, and since there was no one higher than Himself, God swore by Himself. God could swear to Himself because there’s no one greater. We read again in Jeremiah 22:5 where God says to the prophet, “I swear by Myself.” So, I don’t think this passage is an obstacle for this mighty angel being Jesus. Jesus is swearing by Himself because there is nobody greater.
We as humans shouldn’t be swearing at all according to the Bible, and we certainly should not be swearing in God’s name, even if it’s an oath. But, God doesn’t have a problem swearing by His own name, for there is nothing greater than the name of God.
Vic Batista: When people swear, the things that come out of their mouths are never good, so we tend to think of swearing in a bad sense, but that’s not the case here.
Nathan Jones: Exactly, for the difference is between God swearing as a curse versus swearing as an oath. Here God is creating an oath and sealing it with His own Name, because there is nothing more powerful than the name of God.
Vic Batista: What awesome and beautiful imagery of Jesus Christ that comes to mind in this passage! Jesus is clothed with a cloud and has a rainbow about His head. Sometimes I think of that picture and it always reminds me of God’s promises. God’s promises are always faithful and true. That surely was the case with Noah after the Flood when he saw the beautiful rainbow that God had set up, promising that He’d never flood the earth again.
Nathan Jones: There’s a beautiful picture of Christ echoed back in the book of Ezekiel as well. The prophet, while given a glimpse of the throneroom of God, tries to explain what God looks like. Although God was obscured because no man can look at Him and live, Ezekiel tried his best. The prophet described the light emanating from God was like a rainbow. The clouds around Him looked like the Shekinah Glory. All the majesty of God is there on display!
The rainbow given to Noah is mankind’s eternal reminder that God will finally be at peace with man one day, and in the meantime will never flood the earth again. I think Revelation’s imagery here, and many theologians I’ve read agree, is meant to give us hope.
Revelation 10 is a parenthetical, a stop in the storyline. It’s like, “Stop! Wait a minute. I’m going to show you the future.” When verse 6 talks about how there shall be no delay, we’re skipping to the end of the story. This is a fast forward to the end of Revelation, and this chapter then makes sense timing-wise, for God’s wrath clearly isn’t completed by this mid-point in the Tribulation. There are still 3.5 years of Tribulation to go. So, this is a flash-forward to the end of the Tribulation to give the reader hope for the future.
Vic Batista: Absolutely, in Revelation we have flash forwards in order to see what will happen ahead of time. It’s similar to watching movies. Sometimes movies have the same thing happen as characters flash forward either by a dream or vision or cut sequence. That is what we are seeing here with Revelation 10.
Nathan Jones: It’s funny how people expect time jumps to occur in movies, but for some reason they have a hard time expecting it from the book of Revelation. I would say that Revelation is chronological for the most part from beginning to end, but occasionally it gets so horrible and so terrifying that God steps in, like He does in Revelation 10, and He fast forwards to let the reader know that all will be okay in the end. It’s like Jesus is saying, “Just look at My powers! Nothing can beat me, so don’t fear.”
The Seven Thunders
Nathan Jones: In Revelation 10:4, the Mighty Angel makes an order: “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.'”
The Mighty Angel of Revelation 10 — Jesus Himself — orders John not to share a message from what are called the Seven Thunders. I have always been curious about this mysterious passage. First, who or what are these Seven Thunders? And, second, what did they say?
What was so terrible about what they said that Jesus wouldn’t let John share it with the world? Maybe it gave too much information about the future and God didn’t want that kind of information to get out. Remember when the Angel Gabriel delivered prophecies to Daniel, but when Daniel pressed for their meaning, Gabriel in chapter 12 told Daniel the knowledge was sealed until the future when knowledge and travel would increase. Daniel was not going to understand the information until time revealed more details.
It could be the same thing here with John. Whatever God told John through those Seven Thunders, God didn’t wanted the reader to yet know what they said. I wish verse 4 was just left out of the Bible altogether so we wouldn’t be wondering right now. It’s like a cliffhanger.
Vic Batista: Maybe if we knew what the Seven Thunders said, we wouldn’t keep reading ahead to the following chapters, right?
Nathan Jones: I agree, because you are right, a lot of people don’t make it through the entire book of Revelation. They find it’s too confusing, with too much symbolism, it’s too hard to understand, it’s too depressing, and so they just give up. But, God certainly doesn’t want us to give us reading His oracle. Jesus wants His followers today and those living during the Tribulation to have as much hope as John, that all is going to turn out alright in the end. You just have to bear with Him.
Vic Batista: There are encouraging messages in the book of Revelation. There are certain facts that God wants to remain a mystery, but there still is a lot here that is revealed to encourage the reader to give them hope.
Nathan Jones: Yes, again, God doesn’t want us to despair. We are not all supposed to be like, “Oh, my goodness!” and start jumping out of windows. We are supposed to trust that God is all powerful and He’s got it all under control. When the world seems like it’s spinning out of control, remember that God is in control. He is the ultimate authority and everything is working toward an end game, and that end game is the return of Jesus Christ.When the world seems like it's spinning out of control, remember that #God is in control. Click To Tweet
Vic Batista: Hallelujah! Hopefully the reader of Revelation will find hope, and it starts right now with a relationship with Jesus Christ. Maybe you’re a bit worried or scared regarding the things that are to come, but hopefully you know by now that there is hope, and that hope can be found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. How does someone have a relationship with the Lord and so not have to be fearful?
Nathan Jones: John 3:16 is the most famous verse in all of the Bible. It reads, “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.”
That promise is open to anyone if they accept it by faith. Pray from your heart something like, “Dear, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and be my Savior.” Jesus promises to do just that. He will forgive you of your rebellion against Him, remove the guilt of your sin, and He will give you a new life with a future of hope as well.
In the twenty-first segment of our series “The Mighty Angels of Revelation,” we’ll look at a very curious request by Jesus for the Apostle John to eat a little book.