A mighty angel stood with one leg on the land and one on the sea. John ate a little book. It was sweet in his mouth but bitter in his stomach.
This is a Bible Study. Have your own Bible handy to look up the references mentioned.
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I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven
“This strong angel is distinct from the seven angels who sound the seven trumpets.” (MacArthur, New Testament Commentary: Revelation 1-11. [Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1999], 278)
“The other strong angel to whom we were introduced was back in Revelation 2. There is no argument there; it was not Christ.” (McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume V: [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983], 973)
Who is this angel?
Some believe that this angel is Jesus.
MacArthur lists five reasons this may not be Jesus.
1. The Greek word for another indicates the angel is exactly like other angels who are trumpet angels.
2. John gave Jesus a title each time He appeared. There is no title mentioned here.
3. At least two other times John mentioned strong angels (Revelation 5:2; 18:21).
4. In verses 5 and 6 this angel 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. Jesus would swear by Himself (Hebrews 6:13).
5. This angel came down out of heaven to the earth. This would mean that Jesus came an additional time. This “is not in accord with the biblical descriptions of the Second Coming (Matthew 24:30; 25:21; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8). (MacArthur, 278) [NASB1995]
Clothed with a cloud
“This is his uniform as a special envoy from Christ.” (McGee, 973)
The rainbow was upon his head
“This is the cap for his uniform and is a reminder of God’s covenant with man…this rainbow indicates that God will not send a flood to destroy man again.” (McGee, 973)
His face was like the sun
“This is his badge of identification. This is the signature of the glorified Christ (see Revelation 1:16). (McGee, 973)
His feet like pillars of fire
“This is still part of his uniform…All of these features of identification are his credentials and connect him to the person of Christ as His special envoy.” (McGee, 973)
2. He had in his hand a little book
This book is the angel’s authority for claiming both the sea and the earth for Christ.
The little book is now open.
“The judgments are now on display.” (McGee, 973)
He placed his right foot upon the sea and his left on the earth
The angel is claiming both for God.
3. The angel cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth
He was a big angel and his voice reflected “the power, majesty, and authority of God.” (MacArthur, 282)
The angel was speaking loudly to get your attention.
What the angel said is recorded below in verse 6.
When he had cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices.
“Seven speaks of completeness, finality, and perfection.
Thunder is often a harbinger of judgment in Scripture. (MacArthur, 282)
“Psalm 29 says: ‘the voice of the Lord’ occurs seven times. Israel spoke of thunder as being the voice of the Lord, the seven voices of God.” (McGee, 975)
4. John heard the seven peals of thunder speak and he was about to write.
Then he heard a voice from heaven
He was commanded not to write what the seven peals of thunder said.
While on earth we will not know what they were saying.
Daniel was also told not to write some of the things he was told.
We will just have to ask Jesus about the seven thunders when we get to heaven.
Want to know for sure that you are going to heaven?
Sea and Land
5. “What impressed John most about the mighty angel was that he stood both on the sea and on the land, for he tells us this three times (verses 3, 5, 8). (Easley, Kendell H., Holman New Testament Commentary: Revelation. [Nashville: B&H, 1998], 174)
Lifted up his hand to heaven
This vow meant that he was speaking the truth. (MacArthur, 284)
6. Sware by him that liveth for ever and ever,
“The angel swore by another; not by himself, because he is not God, and therefore he is not the Lord Jesus.” (McGee, 976)
I do not know if “swearing or Swore by Him” means the same as making a vow but when I read this, I thought of taking a vow and found this:
Deuteronomy 23:21-23 (ESV) I have read several translations about vowing and many use the wording pay for a vow. I like the ESV because it uses the wording “fulfilling” the vow instead of paying. To me, to pay means getting something for your money. Fulfilling means you are completing the task in this case, a vow. Reflect on the vows you made to your spouse.
I have always heard that if you make a vow to God, it must be kept.
“It does not mean that there shall be time no longer…The meaning is that now it will be a very brief time until Christ returns.” (McGee, 976)
“The kingdom is coming at this point in time in the Book of Revelation but it does not refer to the time I am writing this.” (McGee, 976)
7. In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound
The end is coming!
But the Seventh Trumpet will not blow until Revelation 11:15.
There are still seven bowls that must come before the end.
This is the final three and a half years before Christ returns to set up His kingdom on the earth.
Then the mystery of God should be finished
“A mystery in the Bible is divine truth previously undisclosed but now made know through Christ or his apostles.” (Easley, 175)
As He hath declared to His servants the prophets.
Jeremiah 25:4 preached:
“And the Lord has sent to you all His servants the prophets again and again, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear” (NASB).
Have you listened to the prophets (or your preacher, one who preaches the Bible)?
Other Old Testament prophets include Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Joel, Amos, and Zechariah who “wrote of end-time events.” (MacArthur, 286)
8. John heard the voice speaking again.
The voice that told John not to write down what the Seven Thunders said is again speaking to John.
Go and take the little book from the angel
There was a “first-century Christian conviction that the apostles and prophets were indeed human instrument of divine revelation (Ephesians 3:5).
The contents of the little scroll are especially for God’s servants in the churches.” (Easley, 176)
If you have given your life to Jesus, this includes you and me. We are servants of Jesus in each of our churches!
Asking for Little Book
9. John asked for the little book
Not a big deal, right?
And he said unto me, “Take it and eat it up; it will make your belly bitter
But it shall be in thy mouth as honey.”
Is this unusual?
10. I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it up,
Exactly like the angel said.
“If you and I can take delight in reading this section of the Word of God and the judgments that are to fall upon the earth, then we need to do a great deal of praying to get the mind of God. It is sweet to know the Book of Revelation and what God intends to do, but when we find out that judgment is coming to the Christ-rejecting world around us, we cannot rejoice in that. The prophecy becomes bitter.” (McGee, 977)
If you are interested in prophecy, remember “it should be in your mouth sweet as honey.” (McGee, 978)
But it will be bitter in your stomach.
If you have been reading this from Revelation 1 then you may feel this way too.
“There is nothing in the Word of God that ministers more to a holy life than the thoughtful study of prophecy.” (McGee, 978)
“It is unfortunate that people will get interested in prophecy but not in Christian living.” (McGee, 978)
“A great many of the saints are more interested in Antichrist than they are in Christ.” (McGee, 978)
Is this you?
11. “John is to warn of all the bitter judgments coming in the seventh trumpet and the seven bowls.” (MacArthur, 288)
Everyone, everywhere, needs to hear the message of Jesus without regard to language or the color of their skin. Are you doing that?
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
In this article Scripture quotations taken from KJV.
NIV Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® All rights reserved worldwide.
New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB1995)
New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved.
Easley, Kendell H., Holman New Testament Commentary: Revelation. Nashville: B&H, 1998
MacArthur, John. New Testament Commentary: Revelation 1-11. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1999
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume V: Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983