When World War I broke out, the War Ministry in London, England sent a coded message to the British outposts in the inaccessible areas of Africa. The message read, “War declared. Arrest all enemy aliens in your district.” The War Ministry received this prompt reply: “Have arrested ten Germans, six Belgians, four Frenchmen, two Italians, three Austrians, and an American. Please advise immediately with whom we are at war.” What a humorous event in the midst of a sad time. War is always sad, but sometimes it is necessary. War is a serious time. We will find in our study that God’s war at the end of the world with mankind will be both sweet and bitter. It will be sweet because sin will soon be abolished, but it also will be bitter because it had to occur.
Another Strong Angel
The seven seals of the Father’s scroll have been broken by Jesus Christ (Rev. 5) and six trumpets have been blown by six angels (Rev. 8-9). Each one has brought destruction, suffering, and pain. The end of the world is near because God at last is at war with this sinful world. At the end of Revelation 9, we were told that even with all the misery the world will not repent and turn to God. Most of the world will continue to reject God.
As we come to Revelation 10, we will discover that a pause in the action has occurred and God is giving us another scene to watch. It is one of the strong angels who have descended from heaven. The first strong angel appeared in Revelation 5:2.
And 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. And 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. NASB) Rev. 10:1-3
The angel is clothed in a cloud with a rainbow on his head. His face is glowing and so are his feet. This strong angel is so tall that he is able to stand on both the land and sea at the same time. This implies that God controls everything on both the land and the sea, and the book the angel holds describes the remaining judgments to follow. This strong angel is huge and everything else is small compared to him, including the “little book.”
The most important thing about him is the little book that he is holding in his left hand (see v. 5 which says that his right hand is raised). The Greek word for “little book” is biblaridion which means “little scroll.” The Greek language reveals that the little scroll has already been unrolled and remains open.
Is this little scroll the same scroll with seven seals that Jesus opened in Revelation 5? A strong angel (Rev. 5:2) also called our attention to the scroll that Jesus eventually opened. Are these scrolls the same? Some believe the answer is “no” because the Greek word, biblaridion, for little scroll used in Rev. 10:2, 9, and 10 is not the same as the one, biblion, used for scroll in Rev. 5:2. But they have missed the fact that biblion is also used for the little scroll in Rev. 10:8. Why would two different Greek words be used for the same type of scroll?
If we examine verses 2, 9, and 10, we discover the apostle uses the biblaridion or “little scroll” when he speaks, but biblion is used in verse 8 when an angel speaks to the apostle. Is the apostle impressed with how small the book looks compared to the size of the angel? The angel is huge compared to the size of the book. Is it possible that this is the same book that Jesus opened but with all the seals removed? This appears to be the case. If so, then the scroll is completely open and the final judgments are about to occur. Whether it is the first scroll or a new scroll, we will soon discover that this scroll describes what will occur from here to the end of the Tribulation.
Peals of Thunder
Next we are told that seven peals of thunder cried out with a “great voice.” The seven peals of thunder were heard at the same time the strong angel roared like a lion. They were like a choir, but we do not know what was said because the apostle was not allowed to record their words. Notice, the seven peals of thunder did not just make noise – they spoke.
And 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.” (NASB) Rev. 10:4
Have you ever wondered if the entire creation can speak? Does the entire creation actually have intelligence? Is that the meaning of Romans 8:22? We do not know for sure.
Mystery of God
Why was this angel introduced? Why does he have a scroll in his hand? The answer is given in the next several verses.
And 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 shall 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. (NASB) Rev. 10:5-7
The scroll describes the events that will occur between the sixth trumpet and the end of the Tribulation. When we reach the seventh trumpet, the end of the Tribulation will be near.
We are also told that the end of the mystery of God will be finished. Romans 16:25-27 tells us that God kept this secret from the Old Testament prophets because of us.
Now to Him who is able to establish you according . . . to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets . . . has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith . . . through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen. (NASB) Rom. 16:25-27
1 Peter 1:10-12 provides a clearer explanation of this most amazing truth.
As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful search and inquiry, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven – things into which angels long to look. (NASB) 1 Pet. 1:10-12
This mystery has not been understood by the vast majority of Jews even though it was preached to the prophets of the Old Testament. The angels also did not understand it completely. The mystery is the truth about Jesus. The mystery is that we can be forgiven our sins through Jesus. The mystery includes the event on the other side of the Tribulation – the coming kingdom. Jesus is God, our Savior from sin, our high priest, and our coming king.
Meaning of The Book
Then the apostle was told to go to the strong angel and take the book from him.
And 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.” (NASB) Rev. 10:8
So the apostle did.
And I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little book. And he said to me, “Take it, and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was in my mouth sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. (NASB) Rev. 10:9-10
Then the apostle was told to eat the book. When he did, it was sweet in his mouth and bitter in his stomach. It was sweet because the end of the Tribulation was quickly coming to an end and sin would soon be abolished. But it was bitter because pain, suffering, and death had to occur. God was establishing His kingdom on earth and proving to man at the same time that men and women are sinners.
When God establishes His kingdom, there will be peace on the earth and sin will be controlled. Men and women will not be free to lie, murder, steal, or commit sexual sins. Men and women will finally see what it is like to live in peace with a holy God.
More To Come
Then the apostle was told to get ready for the final revelation about the end time.
And they said to me, “You must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.” (NASB) Rev. 10:11
The end is coming quickly. It is near.
War is horrible. God loves peace and holiness. Why will God be at war with men and women at the end of the world? The answer is found in this verse,
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (NASB) Rom. 5:9-10
Most people are His enemies. Every person who does not really believe that Jesus is God and our Savior from sin is His enemy. Most people reject God. They do not want to submit to their Creator. You can become His friend by understanding that Jesus is God and that only He can forgive sins. Do you believe?