Friday, January 22, 2016

Thoughts on Revelation 10

Last week in BSF, we studied Revelation 10-11.  I was confused and frustrated with it.

Yesterday, while I was searching for something else (you can read that story here), God showed me something remarkable.  He led me (while I was searching for something else) to Luke 9:18-21 where Jesus was asking His disciples about their perception of His identity.  The disciples told Jesus how the crowds thought He was one prophet or another, so Jesus asked them, "But what about you?  Who do you say that I am?"  Peter replied (famously): "The Christ of God."  And then, in verse 21, it says, "Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone."

It has always been rather mysterious to me how Jesus did not want His disciples to talk about who He was while He was out and about.  But, just coming out of a study on Revelation 10, reading Luke 9:21 made me think of Revelation 10:4, "And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, 'Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.'" (NIV)

That's where it started.  I am not going to broach Revelation 11 here, but I would like to record what God showed me about Revelation 10.

I'll preface this with a comment.  The BSF position says that in Revelation, an angel is always an angel, so the mighty angel in Revelation 10 could not possibly be Christ.  That came across uncomfortably to me because of the angel in Revelation 20.  The angel in Revelation 20 came down from heaven with the key to the Abyss, seized the dragon, and bound him with a great chain for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-2).

In Revelation 1, Jesus himself is the one who proclaimed, "I am the First and the Last.  I am the Living One; I was dead and behold I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades." (from Revelation 1:17-18, NIV)  If Jesus is the One who holds the keys, and this angel held the keys, it seems plausible to me that the angel of Revelation 20 might be a symbol for Jesus in one of His roles as the Savior of the world.

If the angel of Revelation 20 could plausibly be a symbol for Jesus, why couldn't the mighty angel of Revelation 10 also be a symbol for Jesus?

The description of the angel in Revelation 10 matches parts of both the description of Jesus in Revelation 1, and the description of God in Revelation 4.  For example:

Revelation 10:1
He was robed in a cloud...

Revelation 4:5
From the throne came flashes of lightening, rumblings and peals of thunder.   (storm cloud?)

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Revelation 10:1
...with a rainbow above his head...

Revelation 4:3
The one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian.  A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne.

* * * * * * * * * * * * 

Revelation 10:1
His face was like the sun...

Revelation 1:14, 16b
His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire... His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Revelation 10:1
...and his legs were like fiery pillars.

Revelation 1:15
His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace.

I do not think the match ups of these descriptions could be happenstance or coincidence.  This angel is a conglomeration of the visions John has already described of Jesus and of Father God.

This suggests to me that John is explaining how he, personally, came to understand that Jesus was divine, God incarnate (Luke 9:18-21, where I began).

Revelation 10:2 proceeds to say that the angel was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand.  Let's think about this for a minute.  What actually is the little scroll, and why is it open?  The other scroll we have seen is the scroll with seven seals that only the Lamb could open in Revelation 5:1-7.  That scroll was sealed shut.  What if the little scroll was the prophecy of Jesus' first coming, and what if it was open because it had already happened?  Then the scroll with the seven seals could be the prophecy of Jesus' second coming, when He will destroy Satan, evil and death once for all, and usher in the new heaven and the new earth.  Perhaps that one was sealed shut because and it has not yet happened.

Also in Revelation 10:2, the angel put one foot on land and one foot on the sea.  Conspicuously absent here is the third element of nature: the heavens.  This might signify how Jesus, the God-man, left the heavens and came down to live on the earth and sea.

Revelation 10:3 says that the angle gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion.  This, of course, evokes thoughts of the Lion of Judah, the promised Messiah.  Remember Revelation 5:5?   

 * * * * * * Due to technical difficulties, this post will be continued later * * * * * * *


  1. Ruthie, I so look forward to your posts. You have always been a marvelous teacher. Thank you so much for serving the Lord in this way.
    Love, Debbie

  2. Thank you for reading, Debbie!