The Angel and the Little Scroll
1 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.
- “Mighty Angel” – While some interpret this to be an actual angel from the presence of God, this is none other than Christ Himself. Once again, Christ appears as an angel guiding the vision of events. It is Christ who accomplishes the mission of the Church – He works through us to accomplish His will. It is His mission, not ours. Thus, it is only proper to have Him appear to lead the way here in the vision. He is “Mighty,” for He has defeated sin, death, and the devil and now rules over all things.
- Rainbow over his head = Rev 4:3 // face was like the sun = Rev 1:16 and the Mt of Transfiguration // legs like pillars = pillars of fire Ex 13 & Rev 1:15.
- Clouds play a big role surrounding God – we see the pillar of cloud in Exodus – the cloud filling the temple – the cloud at Jesus’ baptism – the cloud at the transfiguration – Jesus ascended into a cloud – he will return in the cloud. The cloud is equal to the presence of God.
2 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,
- The scroll takes us back to chapter 5 where Christ is the only one worthy to break the seal and open the scroll. The “little scroll” here is one and the same scroll. It contains what must take place during the entire church age.
- This revelation is for the whole world (sea & land). Jesus shows ownership and authority over all creation. This is important for later we will see who comes out of the land and the sea — the two beasts.
- Jesus, whether he has a foot on the land or a foot on the sea of if he is asleep in a boat – he stands as Lord over all.
3 and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded.
- Picture Jesus standing with a foot on the sea and a foot on the land roaring like a lion. The lion of the tribe of Judah Rev 5:5 – The Lord roars from Zion and thunders his voice from Jerusalem. Amos 1:2
- Note how Satan likes to ape Jesus – 1 Peter 5:8 “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
- What is being described by the seven thunders? Exodus 19 speaks of the thunders on Mt Sinai.
- This is the very presence and voice of God. It is majestic and holy and powerful, so much so that sinners cannot bear to hear it. So it is that, as Christ speaks, the Father’s perfect voice accompanies His, for He and the Father are One, and share the same mission = “seven thunders” = Father’s perfect voice.
4 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.”
- John was going to write, he had pen and spiral notebook in hand ready to go, but the voice from heaven said no. This seems a bit ironic as this book is to reveal things.
- So what is going on here? Some interpreters have a lot of fun with this, claiming that the “seven thunders” spoke something very secret that is not to be revealed to the world. You can imagine the many different ideas about what that ‘secret’ entails. And for a price, they will tell you.
- John is not told to seal up and not write what the “seven thunders” spoke because there is something to hide, but rather because this is the unveiled perfect voice of the Father, which no one can bear to hear.
- What the Father – the seven thunders – utters are holy things of His heavenly glory that are too sacred and beautiful for anyone to hear and understand while still on earth. Only those who enter His eternal kingdom can hear such things. This is not unfamiliar as we have been taught from Deut 29:29 – “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
- We should also take this as a warning for us not to delve into the mysteries of God which He Himself has not revealed to us. There are simply some things He hasn’t told us and we must not try to decipher those things using our own sinful human reason – such as Where did God come from? How can God predestine the saved, but is not, at the same time, responsible for predestining the damned? How can God be human and divine at the same time? How can Christ give us His very Body and Blood in the Holy Supper? And the list can go on.
5 And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven
6 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,
- When you see Jesus swear an oath you know there is certainty. 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
- The time has come. What time? The End.
The text says there will be no more delay, but I must break this off at this point and pick up next week.