Reading through Revelation – Chapter 10, the Mighty Angel and the Little Book, Part 1


A page from the Bamberg Apocalypse with a large decorated initial "A". Text from Revelation 1:1-4.


Revelation 10

NASB
The Angel and the Little Book

1 I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire; and he had in his hand a little book which was open. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left on the land; and he cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars; and when he had cried out, the seven peals of thunder uttered their voices. When the seven peals of thunder had spoken, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them.” Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to heaven, and swore by  Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in it, and the sea and the things in it, that there will be delay no longer, but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He  preached to His servants the prophets.

Then the voice which I heard from heaven, I heard again speaking with me, and saying, “Go, take the book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the land.” So I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little book. And he *said to me, “Take it and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” 10 I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. 11 And they *said to me, “You must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and  kings.”


Thoughts

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is greta-with-specs-meme-e1539663073396.jpgIn studying chapter 10 I learned that Christians question and disagree about the identity of the strong (mighty) angel: 

Is he simply an angelic being who reflects God’s glory to an extraordinary degree, or

Is he Christ Himself?

In his book, More than Conquerors, William Hendriksen argues that this is an angel. John Gill in Exposition of the Whole Bible (see below), G.K. Beale in Revelation: A Shorter Commentary, and E.B. Elliott in HORAE APOCALYPTICAE argue that the angel is the Lord.  

Most certainly we know that this strong angel’s glorious and terrible words are of utmost importance.


Related passages

Ezekiel 2:9

Then I looked, and behold, a hand was extended to me; and lo, a scroll was in it. 10 When He spread it out before me, it was written on the front and back, and written on it were lamentations, mourning and woe.

Ezekiel 3:1,2

1 Then He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and He fed me this scroll. He said to me, “Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your body with this scroll which I am giving you.” Then I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth.

Zechariah 5:1-4

1 Then I lifted up my eyes again and looked, and behold, there was a flying scroll. And he said to me, “What do you see?” And I answered, “I see a flying scroll; its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits.” Then he said to me, “This is the curse that is going forth over the face of the whole land; surely everyone who steals will be purged away according to the writing on one side, and everyone who swears will be purged away according to the writing on the other side. I will make it go forth,” declares the Lord of hosts, “and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of the one who swears falsely by My name; and it will spend the night within that house and consume it with its timber and stones.”

Revelation 5:1,2

1 I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” 


17th Century

John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible

John Gill was a Baptist pastor, premillennialist, and historicist.

Portrait of John Gill by George Vertue 1684Rev. 10:1

“And I saw another mighty angel, . . . Not any mere man, as Justin the emperor, as some have thought, who sent letters abroad in favour of the orthodox doctrine, against the Arians, which they suppose is meant by the little book open in his right hand; and still less the pope of Rome, whether in the sense of Papists or Protestants, which latter represent him as a tyrant, treading upon men both in the islands and in the continent, and holding forth the book of canons and decrees; rather, as Mr. Daubuz thinks, Luther, with the rest of the reformers, is intended, and especially since the prophecy of this chapter respects the Reformation, which began before the end of the sixth trumpet; and the epithets given to this angel may denote his strength and courage, his divine authority, the protection of him, and the clear doctrine of peace and reconciliation he brought: however, a created angel is not intended: not the angel that made proclamation for the opening of the book, and unsealing it, Revelation 5:2; between which, and having the book in his right hand open, is a wide difference; nor any other, though the epithet “mighty” belongs to angels in common; and though this angel swears by the living God; and though it was an angel by whom Christ signified the things contained in this book to John; but the uncreated Angel, the Lord Jesus Christ, seems rather designed, as appears both by comparing this with Daniel 12:7; and from the power  he gave to the two witnesses, Revelation 11:3; which cannot agree with a created angel; and besides, who so proper to hold the book open as he who unloosed the seals, and opened it, and to whom the epithet “mighty” may be applied in the highest sense, as God; and who as man may be said to swear by the living God, and to whom the whole description well agrees? he is sometimes called an Angel simply, Genesis 48:16; sometimes the Angel of the Lord, and who appears to be Jehovah himself, the second Person, Genesis 16:7, compared with Genesis 19:1; and sometimes the Angel of God’s presence, Isaiah 63:9; and the Angel of the great council in the Septuagint on Isaiah 9:6; and the Angel, or messenger, of the covenant, Malachi 3:1; and may be so called, because he is a messenger from God as man and Mediator, being sent by him to declare his will and redeem his people: and he is a “mighty” one; not only as God, being the mighty God, the Almighty, which appears by his creation of all things, and upholding them in their beings; but as Mediator, having all power in heaven and in earth, and being far above all principality, power, and might; and, as man, made strong by God for himself, and for his people: he appears now as “another” angel, distinct from the seven angels who had trumpets given them to sound, and six of which had already sounded; and particularly from the angel of the sixth trumpet, who had just sounded; though some copies, and the Complutensian edition*, leave out the word αλλον, “another”; and very opportunely does he appear for the comfort of his church, when the trumpets that had been blown had brought such desolations upon the empire, western and eastern, and when both the western and eastern antichrists had appeared, and before the seventh trumpet sounds, and brings in the last and greatest woe. . .”

* “Complutensian Polyglot Bible: the first printed polyglot of the entire Bible, initiated and financed by Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros (1436–1517) and published by Complutense University in Alcalá de Henares, Spain. It includes the first printed editions of the Greek New Testament, the complete Septuagint, and the Targum Onkelos.” (Wiki)

Volume II, Chapter II. Intervention of the Covenant Angel Fulfilled in the Reformation

© 2018, Cross The Border Publishing, all rights reserved.

Edward Elliott, an “historicist premillennial” (Reformed Books Online), interpreted the vision of Chapter 10 as a portrayal of the commencement of the Reformation. 

“The fact is, there exists what I may call documentary, and indeed almost ocular evidence of it, to my own mind singularly striking. It is such, I think, as will not only satisfy us as to the justness of our reference of the opening clause of the vision generally to the Reformation: but will connect it, by certain most remarkable chronological and historical coincidences, with the precise epoch of commencement of that wonderful event. . . the grandest and most glorious, so it is of all others that which was prefigured most fully and circumstantially in the Apocalyptic prophecy.”

Volume III, Chapter III. Epoch of Antichrist’s Triumph, and Christ’s Intervention

Raphael's Portrait of Leo X with cardinals Giulio de Medici - later Pope Clement VII - and Luigi de' Rossi, his first cousins

Leo X by Raphael

“Just when, on the day of his ascension [inauguration of Pope Leo X], as on a day of high festival, there were exhibited paintings, amidst the applause of congregated Christendom, on which art seemed to have lavished all its ingenuity of decoration: and which, as the devices that might best symbolize these his threefold prerogatives and functions as Christ’s Vicar and impersonator, represented this same usurping Antichrist, in one part as beaming like the new risen sun from heaven upon earth, together with a rainbow to reflect his brightness,— in another as planting one foot on the land and the other on the sea,— in a third as looking and roaring, with the world in his clutch, even as when a lion roars on his prey. Just at this very time it was that there occurred the fulfillment of another symbolic figuration, devised by higher than human art, and evidently in purposed contrast to the former, though pictured above 1400 years before it:— a figuration which, in the visions of Patmos, exhibited Christ to St. John as now at length intervening, after long forbearance, in vindication of his own rights, truth, and people:— revealing Himself as the true Covenant Angel from heaven, with his face shining as the sun, and a rainbow about his head, planting moreover his right foot on the sea, his left on the land, and crying with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. . . so was the Lord represented as now “coming down to fight for Mount Zion,” against Antichrist and Antichrist’s assembled Council.

“And whereas the Papal lion’s voice, in vindication of his usurping claims on the church and world, and to counteract all opposition, enacted decrees, as we have seen, preventive of the printing of all books on religion except as approved by him, and especially of God’s book the Bible,— preventive also of all preaching, except in accordance with the established Roman interpretations of Scripture,— and further enjoining that there should be no mention by them of the coming of Antichrist, or of the time of the great final judgment:

“So in the Apocalyptic vision there was prefigured, as what would take place at the same precise epoch, Christ’s own opening to the world of that forbidden book of God,— his revival of that forbidden gospel preaching,— his exposure of Antichrist, as even then alive in the Popes,— and revelation too (so far as man might know it) of the time of the fated judgment, as involving the Papal destruction, and placed at but one Apocalyptic Trumpet’s interval from the chronological epoch of the intervention here symbolized.— All these things, I say, were foreshadowed in the vision before us: and in the Protestant Reformation all these things, as we shall see, were done.”


20th Century

Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1965, pp. 720-721

The CAPS for emphasis are in the original.

“In chapter 5 it was a Sealed Book. Here it is an Open Book. The Open Book is one of the messages of the Sealed Book, for it appears under the Sixth Trumpet, which came out of the Seventh Seal. . .

“But, in addition to this, may it not be that the ‘Little Book OPEN,’ itself, in its very phraseology, coming, as it does, just before the Seventh Trumpet, may have been a symbolic hint that there would be an Era of The OPEN BOOK just preceding the End of the World? 

“If so, it exactly fits in with the course of History. Strange as it may seem, the Church, in the Middle Ages, TOOK THE BIBLE FROM THE PEOPLE.

“But the Protestant Reformation, under the leadership of Martin Luther, RESTORED THE BIBLE TO THE PEOPLE. And the Invention of Printing, about that time, contributed greatly toward making it a Book of the People. And Modern History has been an Era of the OPEN BOOK, in a sense never before known. . .”

We’ve all seen that in our own time the Bible has been attacked constantly, not only as before by being kept from people, but by having its authority and trustworthiness undermined in every evil way that man can invent.


Reading through Revelation – Chapter 8:1-5, the Seventh Seal and Silence in Heaven


A Bible study


Revelation 8:1-6

NASB
The Seventh Seal—the Trumpets

1 When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.

Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might [a]add it to the prayers of all the [b]saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, [c]with the prayers of the [d]saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. Then the angel [e]took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them.

[a] Lit give – [b] Or holy ones – [c] Or for – [d] V 3, note 2 – [e] Lit has taken


Thoughts

With this post I hope to continue to present expositions from Church History. Many of these excerpts are historicist and premillennial. Sadly, I will have to stop posting excerpts from modern book authors whose works are still under copyright, such as, the beautiful amillennialist commentary by William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors. The posts that I’ve finished which include Hendriksen and the historicist Oral Edmond Colins will have to be edited. 

I hope there is something here that is truly helpful to you! I’m trying to find the best things available to me.


Related passages

Habakkuk 2:20

“But the Lord is in His holy temple.
[u]Let all the earth be silent before Him.”

[u] Lit Hush before Him, all the earth

Zechariah 2:13

[a] Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord; for He is aroused from His holy habitation.”

[a] Lit Hush

Zephaniah 1:7

[a] Be silent before the Lord [b]God!
For the day of the Lord is near,
For the Lord has prepared a sacrifice,
He has consecrated His guests.

[a] Lit Hush – [b] Heb YHWH, usually rendered Lord


The 17th Century

John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible – Revelation 8

John Gill was a premillennialist and historicist.

Verse 1
.
there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour; . . this is to be understood of that peace and rest which the church enjoyed upon Constantine’s having defeated all his enemies, when he brought the church into a state of profound tranquillity and ease; and this lasted but for a little while, which is here expressed by about, or almost half an hour, as the Syriac version renders it; for in a short time the Arian heresy broke out, which introduced great troubles in the church, and at last violent persecutions. . .”

 


A 19th Century Explanation of the 3rd Century Expositor Victorinus

Horae Apocalypticae

Appendix to Vol. IV.  Part I. A Sketch of the History of Apocalyptic Interpretation.

E. B. Elliott – (1793 – 1875)

Good news: I found Edward Bishop Elliott’s Horae Apocalypticae in a download pdf file format on Puritan Downloads at a very fair price (it is four volumes). The full title is Horae Apocalypticae; or, A Commentary on the Apocalypse, Critical and Historical; Including Also An Examination of the Chief Prophecies of Daniel (1862, 4 Volume Set) by E. B. Elliott. Thank you, Lord!

The Last Prophecy - Abridged version of Edward Bishop Elliott's Horae Apocalypticae - Abridged Version 2015

Abridged version by Elliott himself – Amazon Kindle link

According to Reformed Books Online, Edward Elliott was an “historicist premillennial.” Charles Spurgeon considered Elliott’s work the standard on the subject (Wikipedia). 

Victorinus (d. A.D. 303 or 304) wrote the earliest professed and continuous Apocalyptic Commentary now extant. He died a martyr for the Faith during the Emperor Diocletian’s persecution.

Elliott on Victorinus: “In Apoc. viii. the half-hour’s silence figured the beginning of eternal rest; one half-hour only being mentioned, to signify the subject’s then breaking off. For chronological order is not followed in the Apocalypse:[78] but the Holy Spirit, when he has come to the chronological end, returns often, and repeats, by the way of supplement. . .

“Next comes the vision of the incense-offering Angel. Victorinus supposes this incense-offering to depict the prayers of saints: (specially, on Antichrist’s reign approaching, the prayer that they may not enter into temptation:) the Angel being figured, because Angels offer the prayers of the Church, as well as pour out wrath on Antichrist’s kingdom; which wrath was signified alike in the seven trumpets and seven vials, the one set of symbolizations supplying what was omitted in the other.[79]”


A little Greek for some of you from a 19th and 20th Century Teacher

Robertson’s Word Pictures

A.T. Robertson

A.T. Robertson from ccel.orgVerse 1 

And when he opened (kai otan hnoixen). Here modal an is used with ote (used about the opening of the preceding six seals), but otan is not here rendered more indefinite, as is sometimes true ( Mark 3:11 ; Revelation 4:9 ), but here and possibly (can be repetition) in Mark 11:19 it is a particular instance, not a general rule (Robertson, Grammar, p. 973). There followed a silence (egeneto sigh). Second aorist middle of ginomai. “There came silence.” Dramatic effect by this profound stillness with no elder or angel speaking, no chorus of praise nor cry of adoration, no thunder from the throne (Swete), but a temporary cessation in the revelations. See Mark 10:4About the space of half an hour (w hmiwron). Late and rare word (hmi, half, wra, hour), here only in N.T. Accusative of extent of time.


A 20th Century Handbook

Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1965, p. 714

Chapter 8:1-6 The Seventh Seal

“Out of the Seventh Seal came the Seven Trumpets. The Double Seven is thought to emphasize the idea of Totality. Thus in the Two Sevens, chapters 6 to 11, are outlined the Struggle, and the Complete, Final, Everlasting Victory of Christ over the ‘Kingdoms of the World’ (11:15).

“‘Prayers of the Saints’ (8:3,4). God about to Answer the Cries of the Martyrs of 6:9,10. Answer, the Awful Judgments of the Seven Trumpets. It seems to indicate the Prayer has some influence with God in shaping the course of history.

“‘The Half Hour’s Silence’ and ‘Thunders, Lightnings, Earthquake’ (8:1,5), may imply Momentous Events in the making.”