Updated: Jun 23, 2021
Where are we? Chapter 10, and we have seen so much. Following the 7 churches and the 7 seals and 6 of the 7 trumpets, John obviously feels like we need a rest. And behold we are given a bit of a reprieve from the vivid imagery. We still get it in this chapter, but this feels a little bit different. A time to pause and to reflect. We are in the gap between the 6th and the 7th trumpet. We've come through the hail and fire, the mountain ablaze and the bloodied waters, the fallen star, the darkness, the composite locusts, and death by mounted houseman...
We now see another wondrous sight. A large, magnificent angel. A common site in Jewish literature (see Daniel 10:6), but this angel is spectacular! It is so high that it straddles across land and sea, showing us just the size and that magnitude of God's glory. Firey pillars flash us back to the column of cloud and the column of fire God provided to the Israelites in the wilderness. The sheer size of God's power and His glory over His creation! Bigger than the pagan gods. Yes, they had temples, but look at the size of this angel and this is just one of God's obedient servants. God must be even bigger!
Angel of the Revelation (circa 1803–5), by William Blake
We are then introduced (again) to a scroll. A little scroll! But we don't know if it is the same scroll we met earlier in Revelation, the one with the 7 seals, and it's just called little because it's in the hand of this massive angel, or it's another scroll completely. Is it the book of life that we've been introduced to in 3:5, is it the book of Revelation itself or is it some kind of combination? The link to the taste (in the mouth, honey, in the stomach, soar) points back to it being the same scroll, with both of the scrolls in Revelation pointing back to the same scripture in Ezekial, (2:9-3:3). It would suggest that with the soar taste in the stomach, that this again speaks of lament and judgement.
It seems that we were about to hear of further judgement in the form of 7 thunders, but John is told not to write it down. These 7 thunders are not spoken of again. Does this mean we will be spared the 7 thunders, or just not made aware of them beforehand? This is a mystery. But I don't like that God has a mystery from us, however, what it does remind us of is that we do not know it all. God does! This, along with the angel, says to me that the sheer size and grandeur of God is beyond our own comprehension, and this I'm ok with. He has provided all we need to know through the Bible for our salvation, through His son Jesus Christ, yet it all is not yet known to us. This gives us great hope. To know we have a God of this size and He knows us and loves us. Great hope provided by a great God!
The angel extends his hand, timings are given. Again, a lot can be made of the timings between Revelation and matching things up with the book of Daniel (here the link is 12:7), but looking past the potential timing of all things allows us to focus on the main message here. And that is that God is in control!
After eating the scroll, John is now able to internalize God's message and that is our verse today:
“You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.” (Revelation 10:11)
We have a big God, one that loves all people. So much so, that He sent His only son to us.
How big is your God?