Revelation 10:1-11 | The Taste of Truth

I. Intro

In between the 6th and 7th seal in chapter 6 and chapter 8, John was taken to see what was going on from heavens perspective. Now here in the 10th chapter again still in between the 6th and 7th trumpet John is again taken see the events from a different perspective. This perspective will continue from chapter 10 through 11:14.

            Before us John records four special events:

  • A mighty angel coming down from heaven
  • An open little book in his hand
  • A statement that there ought to be no longer delays
  • Instructions for John on what to do with this little open book

The key to interpreting these things is in the words at the end of this interlude in verse 11:15 as John hears voices in heaven proclaiming at the end of these things he hears loud voices in heaven saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” Gen. 1:28 God gave mankind dominion over His creation, the Hebrew word for dominion is (Raw-daw) is used which means, “to rule over”. When Adam disobeyed God this rulership fell into the hands of satan, and it is for this reason that Jesus in John 12:31 called him the “ruler of this world”. The purpose of Jesus incarnation was to purchase the world and us back to Himself. Though at the cross and resurrection it was positionally His, the full possession has not yet transpired. In fact, we are told that in Eph 1:13-14 that “the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession”. Furthermore, in Romans 8:21-22 “creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God… the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.” Finally, the fulfillment of the promise of Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.”

II. Vs. 1-4 A messenger with an open book

Vs. 1 Here we are introduced to another mighty angel and given his description in this verse. There are two possibilities as to his identification, though the wrong interpretation doesn’t compromise the integrity of this chapter as the chapter doesn’t deal with the mighty angel’s identification but rather with what he has in his hand.

The two possibilities as to his identification are: Some see this mighty angel as being Jesus. Three things are used for this interpretation:

1.     The angel’s description here is very glorious: He is clothed with a cloud, which is often identified with God. In chapter 4:3 there was a rainbow around the throne and here it is about his head. The description of Jesus face and feet in chapter 1:15-16 is similarly described here in this chapter.

2.     His posture over the land and the sea is that of authority. Some see this as a picture of Jesus’ conquering the world and its fallen system. And when He cries out it is as when a lion roar’s seeing that Jesus is the lion from the tribe of Judah it seems fitting. 

3.     Finally, the fact that this angel is in possession of the little book, which some see as the title deed to the earth or (the scroll of chapter 5).

The problem with this interpretation is that Jesus is being referred to as a mighty angel in this passage. That being said the Greek word for angel is just the word for messenger and in the O.T. Jesus appeared in a preincarnate state as an “angel of the Lord” (Ex. 3:2). So, this could be a temporary manifestation of the Lord for a special purpose. There is much in this interpretation that makes sense.     

The 2nd possibility is equally compelling as far as the Greek is concerned as the word for mighty is “strong angel” and in chapter 5:2 it was clearly not Jesus in that chapter. The word “another” is a word that means “of the same kind” which would point back to chapter 5:2 and the other “strong angel”. Angels are very radiant creatures as we see in Revelation 18:1 where John says that he “saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory”, yet no one suppose this to be Jesus. Also, the fact that John sees this angel coming back to earth prior to the 2nd coming and after the rapture indicates that it could not be Jesus. In verse 6 where the angel swears by Him who lives forever and ever who created everything which is another compelling reason this cannot be Jesus. Furthermore, in Rev. 14:4 we see Jesus come riding a cloud NOT wearing one.

Based upon both of these two power arguments I can now safely say that I’m certain that I don’t know anything, as I ought! If you look at John’s description you would be convinced that this mighty angel is none other than Jesus. But if you look at the original language you will convinced it is not Jesus but just another strong angel. What we know is that John does not tell us one way or the other.

Vs. 2 Much of the interpretation of this verse depends upon which view you took of verse 1, so we shall just observe what the text says. The mighty angel has an open little book in his hand, and it is this book that becomes the central focus of this chapter, but the question is: What is this book? Here is what the text tells us:

  1. Verse 7 indicates that the books contents had been declared before to God’s servants the prophets and that the message in it coincides with the mystery of God being finished
  2. Verses 9-11 tells us that the contents of the book are sweet to the taste yet bitter to the stomach and that John must share its contents to many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.

In my opinion this open little book in the hand of the mighty angel is that which John has been writing down namely the revelation of Jesus. The contents have been given to the prophets such as Daniel and others it speaks of when God would again set all things right. Since it unveils Jesus as the conquer who establishes His kingdom yet deals with the judgment of those who refuse His love it is sweet to the taste yet bitter for those who must digest His wrath.

Vs. 3-4 Jer. 25:30 informs us that “The LORD will roar from on high and utter His voice from His holy habitation; He will roar mightily against His fold. He will give a shout, as those who tread the grapes, Against all the inhabitants of the earth.” Apparently we have the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy.

            This is the only time in this book that John is told seal up that which was spoken and not write it down for us. What was it John wrote down? It would be foolish speculation to guess as it is sealed up. Deut. 29:29 reminds us that “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

III. Vs. 5-7 And now a word from our sponsor      

Vs. 5-7 The mighty angel swears by two aspects of the nature of God that mankind most often rejects:

a.     Him who lives forever: Mankind has always rejected the eternal nature of God; they refuse to believe that God has always existed. Mankind rejects the eternal nature of God because that would mean that God is over man in every way!

b.     Who created heaven and earth and all the things that are in them: Mankind has always rejected God’s nature as creator, evolution is a clear example of this. They reject this aspect of God because if God created everything then He alone has the right over everything and everyone! Everything that is not right in the way we live can be traced back to an improper view of the person, work, and nature of God!

In verse 6 a declaration is made that there should be no more delays. Jesus has purchased the title deed the world but has yet to claim what He has purchased through His shed blood. Finally, what all redeemed hearts have longed for will be accomplished, “His will is going to be done on earth as it is in heaven.” There are two reasons for this delay according to two verses:

a.     2 Thess 2:7 “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.” God delayed this because of the wickedness of man choosing to restrain lawlessness by work of the Holy Spirit within the Church. When the rapture happens things will take a quick natural course, which leads to 4 billion deaths. 

b.     2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” God desires that all should come into repentance and the delay was to “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:” (John 1:12)

It is our Lord who has purchased the world at the price of His precious blood, and it is up to Him to wait tell the right time. How unfortunate it is that some choose to scoff because of His delay not realizing that their evil is increasing until it will be ripe for judgment which will take place after 11:15 after the 7th trumpet.

IV. Vs. 8-11 Hard to stomach the truth

Vs. 8-11 In these final verses, we see that John is told to partake of the little book which is a picture of appropriating its contents into his life. Something John admonished all of us in chapter 1:3 as he said, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.” The word of God is sweet to those who partake of it and appropriate its words into their lives. As we learn of His grace and mercy, but it also is bitter when we fail to trust Him and His word on our behalf. There are several others in scripture who were told to partake of God’s word:

a.     Jer. 15:16 “Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.”

b.     Ezek. 3:1-3 “eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel. So, I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that scroll. And He said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you.” So, I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness.” 

How we receive His word on our behalf will determine whether the sweetness will turn to bitterness or joy in our hearts.