Monday, June 20, 2011

Revelation 10, The Angel and the Little Scroll (The Study of the Apocalypse)


The following two passages are considered interludes between the sixth and seventh trumpet, which is much like the interlude between the sixth and seventh seal. Mounce** points out that John’s perspective of the visions have moved from heaven to earth. (Pg. 206). Beale* points out that “The Angel and the Little Scroll” (Chapter 10) is an introduction to the following “The Two Witnesses” (11:1-13). It is also worthy to note that the follow interludes are not chronological, but are in parallel with the 6 trumpets or as Beale puts it, “the church age”. (Pgs. 520-521).

Chapter 10

     1 And I saw another1 mighty2 angel3 coming down from heaven4 clothed5 with a cloud. The rainbow6 on his head and his face was like the sun and his feet were like pillars of fire. 2 And he had in his hand a little opened scroll7. And he placed his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land8, 3 and cried out with a great voice just as a lion roars. When he cried out, the seven thunders spoke9. 4 And when the seven thunders10 spoke, I was about to write, and I heard a voice from heaven11 saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders spoke and don’t write them.” 5 And the angel who I saw standing12 on the sea and the land, raised his right hand into the sky13, 6 and swore by the one who lives forever,
     who created the heaven and the things in it, 
          and the earth and the things in it,
               and the sea and the things in it, 
“There will be no more delay!14 7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound his trumpet, and the mystery of God15 was completed16, as he announced the good news17 to this slaves and prophets.”
     8 And the voice that I heard from heaven spoke again with me and said18, “Go, take the scroll, the one opened in the hand of the angel, who is standing on the sea and on the land. 9 And I went19 to him and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, “Take it and eat it up, and it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth, it will be sweet as honey.” 10 And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it up, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth, and when I ate it, my stomach was made bitter.20 11 And they said21 to me, “You must prophesy again over the many peoples, nations, languages, and kings.”22

1 ἄλλον (another) 

This implies another angel of the same kind.

2 ἰσχυρὸν (mighty) 

or “strong”.

3 Beale* argues that this angel is Christ, but goes on to suggest that the angel at least represents Christ. He also points out that in 3 Enoch 35:1-4, every angel is described as being gigantic and have faces like lightning and feet like burnished bronze and their voices roar. (Pgs. 522-526).

4 ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ (from heaven) 

or “from the sky”.

     This one descends from heaven, not cast out but sent.

5 περιβεβλημένον (clothed) 

Greek: “having been clothed”. The participle is in the perfect tense.

     This word includes the idea of being wrapped, of being enclosed, covered and protected. The clouds convey the presence of God. He is often depicted as surrounded by a cloud and we are told that Jesus is will be coming in the clouds.

6 ἡ ἶρις (rainbow) 

or “halo”.

     When we first saw a rainbow in Revelation, it surrounded the throne. Here we see the rainbow upon or above the head of this angel, which may imply that his authority is from above. The rainbow could be indicative of the covenant with us and all of earth.

7 βιβλαρίδιον ἠνεῳγμένον (a little opened scroll)

Greek: “a little scroll having been opened”. John continues his use of the perfect tense. Scholars debate on what this little scroll is, but Osborne*** makes a good argument that it is the scroll that was sealed with the seven seals as John used the same word for it the little scroll in verse 8 that is used to describe the scroll with the seven seals. He states that the changing “scroll” to “little scroll” means that the two interludes only deal with a “little” portion of the “whole” scroll. (Pgs. 394-395).

     A supporting argument for this is that in a few later verses John is told not to write what he hears from the seven thunders. More is revealed to John than is to be shared with us. Jesus told His disciples that He did not know the time when things would come to pass, only the Father knew. John would eat the little scroll in its entirety, as much as was given. The Revelation from God would be sweet in the receiving, but the message he is to share is bitter, as he must speak of God’s judgement on man.

8 or “the earth”. Osborne*** states that the ancient readers would have thought of the Colossus of Rhodes, which was one of the “seven wonders of the world”. It had been destroyed in 224 B.C. in an earthquake. It would have been visible in John’s day. (Pgs. 395-396).  
The angel having one foot on the land and one on the water symbolizes God’s control over the whole earth.

     Later we will see one beast rise out of the sea and one from land. God speaks to us of His sovereignty and His purpose will be carried out.

9 ἐλάλησαν αἱ ἑπτὰ βρονταὶ τὰς ἑαυτῶν φωνάς (the seven thunders spoke)

Greek: “the seven thunders spoke their voices”. or “the seven thunders uttered their voices”. The Greek is a little crude, but the point is that the seven thunders spoke.

     This can serve to remind us of the seven spirits that were before God’s throne. These could be viewed as representing several things at once. God has many names and they are true, even as He is One. Thunder is often used to describe utterances from heaven and indicate the presence of the Living God.

10 The seven thunders echos Psalms 29 with verse 3 being in mind.

Psalms 29:3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders,
the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.

     The word waters is often used to refer to the sea of mankind. In the creation story, God separated the waters from the earth. In the vision of the throne room, a sea as smooth as glass and transparent, having no impurity to mar its beauty, is before the throne. So it will be of the saints washed in the blood of Jesus.

Most scholars think that the seven thunders refer to more judgements that God has either been canceled (Mounce** Pgs. 209-210) or not revealed (Beale*). Osborne*** thinks that they refer to general judgements and that the John is ordered to “seal” it up, points to God’s sovereign ownership in the matter. God alone controls the judgements. (Pgs. 397-398).

11 The voice directly from heaven is probably God’s voice.

12 ἑστῶτα (standing)

Greek: “having stood”.

13 The lifting of the hand was part of the oath process. Mounce** (Pg. 210).

     The angel does not swear by himself, but by Him Who created all things.

14 χρόνος οὐκέτι ἔσται (There will be no more delay!)

Greek: “Time will be no longer!” or “There will be time no longer!” According to Zerwick, this should be translated: “There will be no more delay!” Zerwick, “A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament” (Pg. 757).

     The fullness of time has been accomplished.

The whole passage is an allusion to Daniel 12:5-7.

Daniel 12:5 Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank. 6 One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?” 7 The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.”
We now have an answer that the question in Daniel: “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?” It also answers the question of the martyred saints of the fifth seal in 6:10: “How long?”

“There will be no more delay!”

Mounce** points out that there is no more call for repentance after this point. (Pg. 211).

15 ὸ μυστήριον τοῦ θεοῦ (the mystery of God)

This can either be rendered “God’s mystery” (genitive of possession) or “the mystery from God” (genitive of source). Most see it as a genitive of source as God is the revealer of his mystery. Beale* (Pg. 543). As in 1:20, the meaning of “mystery” was different in ancient times than it is now. In the 1st century, it meant “hidden secrets kept from the people of the past but now disclosed by God”. Osborne*** (Pgs. 98; 400-401). More than likely, the mystery is God’s eternal plan for his creation. It is revealed and completed at the end.

16 ἐτελέσθη (was completed) 

The verb is in the aorists and has a past tense. The view of the passage 
is as if the end has come and now the angel is looking back in reflection.

17 An echo of Amos 3:7. John changes the verb ἀποκαλύψῃ (revealing) to εὐηγγέλισεν (announced the good news/gospel).

     This coincides with Paul’s gratitude for the privilege of revealing the mystery of Christ, the good news of the gospel. The purpose of the word is fulfilled.

Ἀμώς 3·7 διότι οὐ μὴ ποιήσῃ κύριος ὁ θεὸς πρᾶγμα, ἐὰν μὴ ἀποκαλύψῃ παιδείαν αὐτοῦ πρὸς τοὺς δούλους αὐτοῦ τοὺς προφήτας.

7 because the Lord God will never do a thing, without revealing his instruction to his slaves and prophets.

     The saints can take comfort in the certainty of outcome and reassurance of our faith.

18 λέγουσαν (said) 

Greek: “saying”.

19 ἀπῆλθα (I went) 

Greek: “I departed”. “I departed to him” It is a very strange verb that 
John has here.

20 The passage is an allusion to Ezekiel 3:1-3. The bitter-sweet scroll now is given to John to eat. The basic meaning possibly is two-fold: 1. The giving of the scroll to John signifies that it has now pasted to him so that he can prophecy about it (verse 11). 2: The bitter-sweet scroll applies to the believers as it is sweet to be sealed by God, but bitter that the believers will suffer at the hands of the unbelievers. Osborne*** (Pgs. 401-404). Beale* sees the bitterness as being related to more coming judgements. (Pgs. 550-555).

21 λέγουσίν (said) 

Greek: “say”. It’s in the present tense.

22 There is much debate over who John is going to prophecy to. It may refer to believers as the 2nd interlude deals directly with them, but Beale* (Pgs. 553-555) sees these people as the unbelievers. It all comes down to ἐπὶ (over) as to what kind of prophecy John should prophesy. Is the prophesy “over” or “on the basis of” believers and what they are about to suffer or is it “against” unbelievers and more judgements are coming?

There are parallels to this passage in 5:9 and 7:9 that refer to believers. In this passage, there seems to be a limit to whom will be prophesied to as πολλοῖς (many) is used and not πᾶσιν (all).

It is probably best to say that the prophecy is for believers and against unbelievers who are remaining on earth going forward. Osborne*** (Pgs. 404-405).

     The language of “many peoples, nations, languages, and kings” in the Old Testament often refers to those who do not follow God. This may help us in interpretation of this verse.


NT = New Testament 
OT = Old Testament 
ESV = English Standard Version 
NASB = New American Standard Bible
NIV = New International Version
KJV = King James Version 
TR = Textus Receptus (A late Byzantine Greek text of the NT. A 
predecessor of the TR was used in the translation of the KJV) 
LXX = Septuagint (Greek translation of the OT)


The Greek New Testament with Greek-English Dictionary B. Aland (Editor), K. Aland (Editor), J. Karavidopoulos (Editor), B. M. Metzger (Editor), C. M. Martini (Editor)

(BDAG) A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd Edition Walter Bauer (Author), Frederick William Danker (Editor)

A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament Bruce M. Metzger

(Kittel) Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (VOLUMES 1-10) Gerhard Kittel (Editor), Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Translator)

*The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Mich.).) G. K. Beale

**The Book of Revelation (The New International Commentary on the New Testament) Robert H. Mounce

***Revelation (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) Grant R. Osborne

+Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics Daniel B. Wallace

++An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek C. F. D. Moule

+++Biblical Greek (Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblici) Maximilian Zerwick

A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament Max Zerwick (Author), Mary Grosvenor (Author)

The Greek

Ἀποκάλυψις 10·1 Καὶ εἶδον ἄλλον ἄγγελον ἰσχυρὸν καταβαίνοντα ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ περιβεβλημένον νεφέλην, καὶ ἡ ἶρις ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ καὶ τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ὡς ὁ ἥλιος καὶ οἱ πόδες αὐτοῦ ὡς στῦλοι πυρός, 2 καὶ ἔχων ἐν τῇ χειρὶ αὐτοῦ βιβλαρίδιον ἠνεῳγμένον. καὶ ἔθηκεν τὸν πόδα αὐτοῦ τὸν δεξιὸν ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης, τὸν δὲ εὐώνυμον ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς,
3 καὶ ἔκραξεν φωνῇ μεγάλῃ ὥσπερ λέων μυκᾶται. καὶ ὅτε ἔκραξεν, ἐλάλησαν αἱ ἑπτὰ βρονταὶ τὰς ἑαυτῶν φωνάς. 4 καὶ ὅτε ἐλάλησαν αἱ ἑπτὰ βρονταί, ἤμελλον γράφειν, καὶ ἤκουσα φωνὴν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ λέγουσαν· σφράγισον ἃ ἐλάλησαν αἱ ἑπτὰ βρονταί, καὶ μὴ αὐτὰ γράψῃς. Ἀποκάλυψις 10·5 Καὶ ὁ ἄγγελος, ὃν εἶδον ἑστῶτα ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, ἦρεν τὴν χεῖρα αὐτοῦ τὴν δεξιὰν εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν 6 καὶ ὤμοσεν ἐν τῷ ζῶντι εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων, ὃς ἔκτισεν τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὰ ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ τὴν γῆν καὶ τὰ ἐν αὐτῇ καὶ τὴν θάλασσαν καὶ τὰ ἐν αὐτῇ, ὅτι χρόνος οὐκέτι ἔσται, 7 ἀλλ ̓ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τῆς φωνῆς τοῦ ἑβδόμου ἀγγέλου, ὅταν μέλλῃ σαλπίζειν, καὶ ἐτελέσθη τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ θεοῦ, ὡς εὐηγγέλισεν τοὺς ἑαυτοῦ δούλους τοὺς προφήτας.
Ἀποκάλυψις 10·8 Καὶ ἡ φωνὴ ἣν ἤκουσα ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ πάλιν λαλοῦσαν μετ ̓ ἐμοῦ καὶ λέγουσαν· ὕπαγε λάβε τὸ βιβλίον τὸ ἠνεῳγμένον ἐν τῇ χειρὶ τοῦ ἀγγέλου τοῦ ἑστῶτος ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. 9 καὶ ἀπῆλθα πρὸς τὸν ἄγγελον λέγων αὐτῷ δοῦναί μοι τὸ βιβλαρίδιον. καὶ λέγει μοι· λάβε καὶ κατάφαγε αὐτό, καὶ πικρανεῖ σου τὴν κοιλίαν, ἀλλ ̓ ἐν τῷ στόματί σου ἔσται γλυκὺ ὡς μέλι.
Ἀποκάλυψις 10·10 Καὶ ἔλαβον τὸ βιβλαρίδιον ἐκ τῆς χειρὸς τοῦ ἀγγέλου καὶ κατέφαγον αὐτό, καὶ ἦν ἐν τῷ στόματί μου ὡς μέλι γλυκὺ καὶ ὅτε ἔφαγον αὐτό, ἐπικράνθη ἡ κοιλία μου. 11 καὶ λέγουσίν μοι· δεῖ σε πάλιν προφητεῦσαι ἐπὶ λαοῖς καὶ ἔθνεσιν καὶ γλώσσαις καὶ βασιλεῦσιν πολλοῖς.

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