“A Mighty Angel and Little Book”
“I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire.” [Rev 9:12]
Revelation 10 introduces yet another angel, and one with a description like our Lord’s [ref. Rev 1:14-15]. However, the text clearly says, “another mighty angel.” Here are some key observations to note.
Firstly, the word “another” in the original language means “another of the same kind,” which contextually connects this angel to ones sounding the Trumpets.
Secondly, “while the preincarnate Christ appeared in the Old Testament as the Angel of the Lord, the New Testament nowhere refers to Him as an angel.” [MacArthur]
Thirdly, it is highly unlikely that Jesus, the Second Person of the Godhead, would make an oath like the one in vv.5-6.
And finally, if this angel were Jesus then He would be coming to earth three times, thus contradicting the wealth of scriptures affirming Two Comings.
Chapter 10, therefore, is a second parenthetical introducing this “mighty angel.” Revelation parentheticals are inserts within the chronology of the Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls of Judgment that lead to the return of Christ. They describe personages coming on the scene during the Tribulation. Revelation 7 was the first parenthetical [between the Sixth and Seventh Seals] that described the 144,000 Sealed of Israel and the Martyred Tribulation Saints. This second parenthetical [between the Sixth and Seventh Trumpets], extending from Rev 10:1-11:14, highlight two more personages: “another mighty angel” and the Two Witnesses [Rev 11:1-14]. We will focus on the former in our text this morning.
This “mighty angel” inaugurates an important interlude before the Seventh Trumpet. It is similar to the interlude before the Seventh Seal [i.e., 30 minutes of silence]. It is another eerie calm before the storm. While short, it extends God’s mercy to all who would repent and follow Christ before the final Trumpet sounds.
This mighty angel has a “little book” and instructs John to eat it, a symbolic gesture of digesting God’s word. It is bittersweet [ref. vv.9-10]; sweet because these final judgments quicken the Lord’s return, yet bitter because of the terrible fate awaiting the unrepentant.
Even so we say “come Lord quickly,” knowing that when He does Return the opportunity for repentance will be over; a bitter-sweet reality.