Bible Revelation

The Mighty Angel and the Little Scroll (Rev 10)


A. Past Blog Posts

B. Text of Revelation 10

“1Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven clothed in a cloud. A rainbow was around his head and his face was like the sun and his feet were like pillars of fire. 2He was holding in his hand a scroll which had been opened. He stood with his right foot on the sea, but the lef foot was on the earth. 3He cried out in a loud voice as a lion roars. When he cried out the seven thunders answered him. 4When the seven thunders answered I was about to write but I heard a voice from heaven sayin, ‘Seal up what the seven thunders said and do not write them down.’ 5The angel—which I saw standing on the sea and on the land—lifted his right hand toward heaven 6and he took an oath by the one who lives forever and ever, who created the heavens and everything in them, the earth and everything in it, and the sea and everything in it. He said, ‘Time will no longer be,’ 7but in the time of the sound of the seventh angel’s trumpet, when it is about to be blown, the mysery of God will be complete just as his servants and prophets preached. 8Then I again heard a noise from heaven saying, ‘Go and take the open scroll in the hand of the angel standing on the sea and on the land.’ 9So I went to the angel and I asked him to give to me the little scroll. He said to me, ‘Take and eat it, It will be bitter in your stomach, but in your mouth it will be sweet like honey. 10So I took the small scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It was sweet at honey in my mouth but when I swallowed it, it became bitter in my stomach. 11Then they said to me: ‘It is necessary for you to prophesy again to the peoples, ethnicities, languages, and many kings.” (Rev 10:1-11)[ref]Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own. I base my translations on the NA28 text[/ref]

The Mighty Angel and the Little Scroll (Rev 10)

Photo Credit: Phillip Medhurst

C. General Remarks

“Chapter 7 dealt parenthetically with the 144,000 and the many martyrs, without advancing chronologically the events of the Great Tribulation. Similarly 10:1–11:14 give additional information as a background to the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments.” (Walvoord, “Revelation” in Bible Knowledge Commentary, vol. 2, 954)

“For the first and last time in this drama, he [John] leaves the observer’s corner and occupies the very center of the stage.” (Thomas, Revelation 8-22, 59)

“This vision [Rev 10:1-11:14], however, differs from the message of consolation and assurance introduced between the breaking of the sixth and seventh seals. That emphasized the safety and the glory of the persecuted people of God; this message describes the mingling of the sweet and the bitter. It speaks of persecution and tribulation, but also of loyalty and devotion.” (Metzger, Breaking the Code, 67)

“Like chapter 7, this section does not advance the narrative but presents other facts that contribute to the toal prophetic scene.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 169)


A. Another Mighty Angel from Heaven (v. 1)

Καὶ εἶδον ἄλλον ἄγγελον ἰσχυρὸν καταβαίνοντα ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ περιβεβλημένον νεφέλην, καὶ ἡ ἶρις ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ καὶ τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ὡς ὁ ἥλιος καὶ οἱ πόδες αὐτοῦ ὡς στῦλοι πυρός,

“Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven clothed in a cloud. A rainbow was around his head and his face was like the sun and his feet were like pillars of fire.” (Rev 10:1)

1. An Angel; Not Jesus

There is sometimes speculation that this is Jesus (Mulholland, “Revelation” [2011], 494). In Matt 17:2 Jesus’ face shown the the sun and his clothes were as white as light. In Rev 1:15-16 Jesus’ face shines like th sun. Yet, most scholars agree that this is not Jesus for several reasons.

First, the Greek word for angel here is αγγελος which can mean “messenger” or “angel.” The highly respected Greek lexicon BDAG says that this Greek word can be used in the following ways:

The Book of Revelation

The One Worthy To Open the Scroll (Rev 5:1-7)


A. Past Lessons

John’s Introduction and Vision of the Son of Man (Rev 1)
Jesus’s Letters to the Seven Churches in Asia Minor (Rev 2-3)
John Taken to Heaven and Sees the Throne Room with Four Living Beings and Twenty-Four Elders (Rev 4)

B. Text of Rev 5:1-7

“1Then I saw in the right hand of the one sitting on the throne a scroll with writing on the inside and outside that had been sealed with seven seals. 2Next I saw a strong angel who was announcing in a loud voice: ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and loosen its seals?’ 3But, no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll nor see it. 4As a result I was crying greatly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and to see it. 5One of the elders said to me: ‘Do not cry. Behold! The lion of the tribe of Judah—the root of David—has conquered. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.’ 6Then I saw a lamb standing as if it was slaughtered in the midst of the throne and the four living beings and in the midst of the elders. The lamb had seven horns and seven eyes which are the seven spirits God sent out to all the earth. 7The lamb came and took the scroll from the right hand of the one sitting on the throne.” (Rev 5:1-7)

The One Worthy To Open the Scroll (Rev 5:1-7)

 “John’s Vision of Heaven” by Matthias Gerung (1500-1570)

C. General Remarks about Rev 5:1-7

Revelation 5 is “one of the most decisive moments in all scripture. What John has heard is the announcement of the lion. What he then sees is the lamb. He is to hold what he has heard in his head while gazing at what he now sees; and he is to hold what he is seeing in his head as he reflects on what he has heard” (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 53).

Revelation 5:6 provides “one of the most beautiful mixed metaphors in all the Bible—the lion (5:5) is a lamb! The direction of the transformation is very important; the final stage is the lamb, not the lion. The paragraph of 5:6-10 tells how the lion of Judah has conquered, not through military power (though that will come) but through paschal sacrifice.” (Osborne, Revelation, 254).

“We are still looking, through John’s eyes, at the heavenly throne room, and it is not simply one long round endless, repetitive praise. This is the throne room of God the creator, and his world is not merely a tableau, a living picture to be enjoyed. It is a project. It is going somewhere. There is work to be done.” (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 51)


A. A Scroll with Seven Seals (v. 1)