After describing six terrible trumpet judgements which result in millions of people being killed, John is given a vision of a mighty angel with a little scroll that prepares him for what is yet ahead. The origin scroll in Revelation 5:1 was sealed with seven seals. Each of those seals has now been broken by Jesus Christ and the message unveiled for all to read. The seventh seal introduced us to seven trumpets according to Revelation 8:1-2 and we are now looking at the seventh trumpet which contains the longest message of all. This very likely takes place at the middle of the
tribulation, so it covers the last three and a half years of the tribulation period during which the most awful holocaust of terror, suffering, violence and catastrophe the world has ever seen will take place according to Matthew 24:21.
The Appearance of a Mighty Angel
Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot and the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. 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.”
The Identity of the Angel
“Another mighty angel” comes down from heaven. The original text indicates that this is another angel of the same kind, meaning he too is an angel.
Some of the characteristics are very like those of Jesus Christ such as:
1. “He is robed in a cloud” which is a symbol of Divine Presence according to Exodus 40:34-38; Psalm 104:3; Daniel 7:13; Revelation 1:7.
2. “He has a rainbow above his head” which reminds us of Revelation 4:3 where it states that there is a rainbow around the throne of God the Father as a picture of His faithfulness according to Psalm 89.
3. “His face is like the sun” reminds us of the description of Jesus Christ that His face is like the sun shining in all its brilliance according to Revelation 1:16
4. “His legs are like fiery pillars” reminds us of the description of Jesus Christ that His feet are like bronze glowing in a furnace according to Revelation 1:15.
So, can this angel be the Lord Jesus Christ? No, definitely not, for Jesus Christ is never described as an angel in the Book of Revelation. He is the Lord of the angels, using them to execute His judgements and purposes on the earth. The angel holds a little scroll in his hand. The original word for the scroll in Revelation 5:1 is different from the word used for this little scroll but that does not necessarily mean that this scroll contains a different message. The size of the scroll may point to the fact that most of the message within the scroll has already been revealed and only a small portion remains.
This angel sets his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, which points to the fact that God has authority and control over the whole earth. And the message that he brings will impact the whole world. The angel gives a loud shout like the roar of a lion. God’s anger is described as the roaring of a lion in Hosea 5:14. We find God referred to as a lion roaring in Isaiah 31:4; Hosea 11:10 and Amos 3:8, emphasizing the importance of His message and the power and majesty of His authority and sovereignty over all.
The Instruction about the Seven Thunders
The angel’s voice was accompanied by the sound of seven thunders who “spoke.” Such thunders do come forth from the throne of God in Revelation 4:5 and emphasize the importance of God’s message and purposes. See also Revelation 8:5.
The number seven could emphasize the completeness of the message or be a symbolic number that points to the voice of God. We read in Psalm 29:3 that “the God of glory thunders” speaking of the power of His voice. As John was about to write down the message which the seven thunders spoke, another voice stopped him and told him that he was the seal the message but not to write it down.” It is difficult to understand why God does not allow John to write down these words. We simply have to leave this matter in God’s hands. He knows the reason why this happened and we don’t.
The Announcement of this Mighty Angel
Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay! But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”
The Announcement is Based on God’s Authority
The angel swears by God, emphasizing God’s authority behind what is to take place. The importance of God’s character and promises are being seen here. God will not lie. The end is coming. God’s purposes will be fulfilled on this planet.
The Announcement is Based on God’s Timing
The angel announces that there will be no more delay. God is now ready to complete His predicted plans for judging the world and to answer the prayers of the saints as prayed in Revelation 6:9-11.
The events which are described in the little scroll will happen “in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet.” These days may well cover the last three-and-a-half year of the tribulation period. We read of the sounding of the seventh trumpet in Revelation 11:15 but the words “it is done” do not appear until the seventh and last plague in Revelation 16:17.
The Announcement is Based on God’s Promise
The longstanding promise of God is called “the mystery of God”. He had announced this promise, this mystery, to his servants the prophets. The time for its fulfilment has come and it will therefore no longer be a mystery for God is now revealing what He will do. The prophets understood parts of this mystery but did not understand it in its complete fulfilment. According to Revelation 11:15, this mystery of God includes the fact that the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ meaning it will involve the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, ruling and reigning over all. The mystery includes how this will all take place. The prophets predicted it would come, but they did not have all the details, which the Book of Revelation will now give us.
The Application of the Angel’s Message to John
Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and the land.” So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.” I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”
The Message Reveals a Previous Revelation
John was told to eat the scroll. This reminds us of the prophet Ezekiel who was instructed to eat a scroll as well in Ezekiel 2:9 – Ezekiel 3:3. The eating of the scroll symbolises that the message becomes a part of him.
The Message Involves a Two-fold Response
The message which John receives is a message that is sweet but it will turn sour in his stomach. To hear God’s Word and to know that He will fulfil His promises is sweet news. Yet, at the same time it is a sorrowful message for the message promises much suffering which is to come upon the world. This is a difficult message for John to carry. Also, it will be a difficult message for any one who is called by God to proclaim this message of God’s judgement and wrath and those who are called to do so will need their hearts to be prepared before bringing such a message.
The Message Indicates a Special Responsibility.
John is told that he must speak. This cannot have been easy for John to do, yet he is commanded by the angel to obey and to speak. This message of God’s coming judgement and wrath may not be a popular message, yet it needs to be preached even today.