The Mighty Angel with the Little Book


#1

**Revelation (Apocalypse) 10: 1-7 **“And I saw, another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud; and a rainbow was on his head, and his face was as the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire. And he had in his hand a little book open; and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot upon the earth; and he cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars… And the angel whom I saw standing upon the sea and upon the earth, lifted up his hand, and swore by Him who created all things, that time shall be no longer; but that the mystery of God shall be finished, as He hath declared by His servants the prophets.”

Who or what could this passage be referring too? I think it is a visually striking part of scripture in terms of the imagery used.


#2

Friend :slight_smile:
This is the book of Revelation

Angels are supposed to be so magnificent thar it’s like looking at the sun. That’s what the description is about.

The angel stands on the earth and land, because he has a message from God to declare to the earth.
His voice is like a lion (because he is one of the higher angels, -the angels are organised into choirs,)

He says: “Time is no more.”

Jesus Himself promised eternal life to those who follow Him. In the book of Revelation this is describing the angel God sends to earth to declare that the end of time has come. And Eternal Life begins on earth for the New Heaven and New Earth, when God will bring the New Jerusalem down from Heaven, and live with us on earth forever.

No more time means: no more old age, no more death, no more decay,
youth forever, summer forever, etc…


#3

I was just reading that this evening. chap 10 is rather short. The Ignatius Study Bible says the image goes back to Daniel 10-12 (which I am not familiar with).

“little book” is probably more accurately translated “little scroll” – John eats it and it is sweet, but it is bitter in his stomach. ? Something must be lost in the translation.

The scroll is both sweet and bitter, which scroll is referred to as the prophecies of God – which contain both blessings and curses.

I think this angel in chap 10 is the seventh angel whose appearance follows those in the preceding chapters. so, there’s a climax here of sorts, pointing to the prophecies of God given through John.


#4

The reason the “angel” is surrounded by a rainbow, exactly like the rainbow surrounding God’s Throne in both Ezekiel (Ezek. 1:28) and Revelation, is that He is actually Jesus, in His capacity as messenger and preacher. (Remember, “angel” means “messenger.”)

Jesus appears as the seventh messenger because that is the number of fullness; He brings God’s full message and presence.

The guy in Daniel 10-12 is the same figure we saw at the beginning of Revelation. Daniel saw a figure he describes as “the likeness of a son of man”, clothed in linen like a priest, wearing a golden belt, “And his body was like the chrysolite, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as a burning lamp; and his arms, and all downward even to the feet, like in appearance to glittering brass; and the voice of his word like the voice of a multitude.” Compare this to Rev. 1:13-16 and to this part of Rev. 10, and you’ll see it’s the same guy, and that the Book of Revelation explicitly tells us He’s Jesus.

This person in Daniel proceeds to prophesy about all sorts of things that must happen, including precisely how long Israel must wait until the Messiah comes and the dead rise (as happened at Jesus’ Resurrection):

“And many of those that sleep in the dust of the earth, shall awake: some unto life everlasting, and others unto reproach, to see it always… But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even until the time appointed…”

This figure is called the Son of Man, and it was recognized by ancient Jews as combining both the prophesied features of the Messiah and the Biblical attributes of God. That is why Jesus called Himself “the Son of Man” during His ministry, and that is why such a seemingly innocuous name set off a lot of Pharisees and Sadducees so badly. (Normally, a “son of man” or “son of Adam” just means, “Male human,” and God calls all sorts of people “son of man” as a form of address from God to human.)

As Beatus of Liebana says in his commentary:

"“And I saw,” he said, “the strong angel descending from heaven, clothed in cloud.” He is the Lord, clothed in the Church, always being born to God out of the Church. But he is described as robed in the Church by diverse modes: now in a robe to the ankles, as we read at the start of this book; now in a white woolen cloak, as by Daniel (cf. Dan. 1:13); now with “cloud.” For we read “with clouds” as “with the saints,” as we read it by Isaiah: “Who are these who fly like clouds?” (Is. 60:8) And so he is in spiritual clouds, and in the holy Body.

“And the rainbow was over his head.” The “rainbow” is the promise of perseverance, (cf. Gn. 9:12-17) for he describes the Church in the Lord.

“And his face was like the Sun, and his feet like columns of fire.” Here is the great reason… [that John] told us before this, at the start of the book, that His feet were “on fire,” and [that] afterwards he said that His face shone, so as to show Him “on fire” in His suffering in this world, and shining out in the Resurrection. But now, he first says that His face shines and then that His feet are like columns of fire; so as to show how much bright excellence will be on the Church through Her suffering."

The seven thunders that reply are “thunders” because that is associated with the presence of God (Exodus 19:16), and there are seven to represent either the seven spirits (who represent the fullness of the one Holy Spirit, since seven is a number of fullness) or the seven churches (who represent the one Holy Church, since seven is a number of fullness).

His feet stand on both the land and the sea because He is preaching to everyone. To preach like a lion roaring is to preach strongly. (The lion is also associated with “a voice crying out from the wilderness,” as in St. Mark’s Gospel, and with the Lion of Judah, Who is Jesus also.)


#5

The little book or little scroll is the Scriptures. All the little books in the Bible are God’s Word, whether or not it’s written in the Bible yet at that point. Ezekiel is the source for the image, from when God directly gives him a prophetic message for Israel:

Ezekiel 2:7-9, 3:1-4, 14 –

“And you shall speak My words to them, if perhaps they will hear, and forbear. For they provoke Me to anger. … Hear all that I say to you, and do not provoke Me… Open your mouth, and eat what I give you.”

And I looked, and behold, a hand was sent to me, wherein was a book rolled up: and He spread it before me, and it was written within and without: and there were written in it lamentations, and canticles, and woe.

And He said to me, “Son of man, eat all that you shall find; eat this book, and go speak to the children of Israel.”

And I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that book.

And he said to me, “Son of man, your belly shall eat, and your bowels shall be filled with this book, which I give you.”

And I did eat it; and it was sweet as honey in my mouth.

And He said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel, and you shall speak My words to them.”

…The spirit also lifted me, and took me up; and I went away in bitterness in the indignation of my spirit; for the hand of the Lord was with me, strengthening me.

So you can see that John eating the scroll in Revelation is the same thing: God’s word and message is sweet, and you can chew it over with a lot of pleasure, but it is also bitter because there are things going on in the world that make a prophet bitter; and bitter things will happen as well as sweet. So fully digesting God’s message can be bitter in the guts. (It is also God making a reference to Psalm 118/119, which comments about God’s words and His Law: “How sweet are Your words on my palate! Sweeter than honey to my mouth!”)

The scroll in Ezekiel (and in Revelation) being written “both within and without” means that there’s writing on both sides of the scroll. So symbolically, you can see some of the message from the outside, but some of it is hidden until the scroll is opened.

Pretty much everybody, from the early Fathers on, associates the writing inside the scroll with Jesus’ Gospel and the New Testament, because God “hid” that part of His message until the Father sent His Son to reveal it. Jesus at His Coming cracked open the Old Testament message by explaining it with authority, and revealed the New good news. That’s why only the Lamb could open the sealed book or scroll, in that part of the Book of Revelation, and that’s why the “angel” or messenger Jesus is cruising around, preaching from His little book.

So when Jesus preaches strongly, the Church and/or the Holy Spirit echoes it back in a roll of thunder.


#6

I forgot to say that Ezekiel gets his book from God on His Throne, and that God looks like a human man, albeit with a lot of divine attributes and symbolism and glory:

Ezekiel 1:26-28 , 2:1.

"And above the firmament that was over [the four living creatures’] heads was the likeness of a throne with the appearance of a sapphire stone; and upon the likeness of a throne was a likeness as of the appearance of a man, above upon it. And I saw the resemblance of amber with the appearance of fire within it, all round about. From his loins and upward, and from his loins downward, I saw as it were the resemblance of fire shining round about Him. As the appearance of the rainbow when it is in a cloud on a rainy day: this was the appearance of the brightness round about Him.

This was the vision of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And I saw, and I fell upon my face, and I heard the voice of one that spoke."

As soon as you get to Chapter 11 of Revelation, you’ll have another Ezekiel blast from the past, as the messenger hands John a rod to go measure stuff. In Ezekiel 40, Ezekiel runs into an angel with a measuring rod or reed, depending on the translation, and this angel takes his measuring stick and measures the whole prophetically reconstructed Temple of Jerusalem, reporting the symbolic figures to Ezekiel. But it’s not a normal angel; He’s yet another image of Jesus in His glory –

“And behold a man Whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in His hand [ie, twine for measuring and laying out construction], and a measuring reed in His hand, and He stood in the gate.”

This ties into the description of Jesus in Revelation 1 again:

“And in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, one like to the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girt about the nipples with a golden girdle. And his head and his hairs were as white as white wool and as snow, and his eyes were like a flame of fire, and his feet were like fine brass, as in a burning furnace. And his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars. And from his mouth came out a sharp two edged sword, and his face was as the sun shines in his power.”

Anyway, in Ezekiel, after everything gets measured, the Lord comes in His glory on His throne supported by the four living creatures with all the wheels. The measuring seems to be closely related to laying out God’s Law. (In fact, the “canon” or list of Bible books is named for “kanon,” the Greek word for a measuring line or measuring stick. Possibly derived from “kanna,” reed. So we really do “measure” what is God’s law and what is not, and that allows us to see what else in life measures up!)

In Revelation, John seems to be told to measure out the Temple as a sign that faithful Jews, or Christians faithful to the Church, will be kept spiritually safe. But we are told that all the outside glory of the Temple and the Holy City will be given over to Gentiles and destroyed, which seems to mean that things often won’t be good for the Church in a temporal sense. The fact that John is given the rod and told to do the measuring, rather than Jesus doing all the measuring in Ezekiel, seems to mean that the Church has been delegated this authority by God, and that we have to be getting up and doing it.

If you want to read Revelation, you have to keep referring back to Daniel and Ezekiel, especially. There’s a lot of references to Isaiah and other prophets in Revelation, but you are totally missing a lot if you don’t check back and read the references from Daniel and Ezekiel.


closed #7

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