AND I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:
2 And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth,
3 And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.
4 And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.
5 And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven,
6 And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:
7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
8 And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.
9 And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.
10 And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.
11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
The people do not repent of idol worship and their work of injustice, although judgment has befallen them. While reading the Scripture, it should be noted that the meaningful subdivision in chapters was inserted only many years later. Also at the beginning of the tenth passage the perspective changes again from earthly destruction toward heavenly powers, the reader should still bear in mind that the second woe and the trumpet judgments are not over.
The only 11 verses including passage contains another angelic phenomenon that I first will thematize in general. The apocalypse is the book of the angels who appear 70 times in the Luther translation and in all books of the Bible together 283 times, which can be easily listed with a program such as www.bibleserver.com. The diligent student will figure out that angels are sent not only to protect, but they can even cause death. A satanic mockery is the baroque angel representation as naked putti, an incarnation of ancient love gods in a chubby male child. Popular in our times are esoteric light images of angels which can even be found on Christian sermon albums http://www.grace-production.com/CDs/Die-Unsichtbare-Welt-Teil-2-Audio-CDs::94.html or as a clear warning as a sword-engraving on super apostle Todd Bentey’s foot http://www.inplainsite.org/assets/images/CR-Bentley-Tattoo.jpg. I wonder how many self-proclaimed prophets ever meditated about Balaam in Numeri 22, 23 and the vision of David in 1 Chronicles 21, 16. All the more surprising is for me when these frauds profess and encourage to practice astral traveling and angelic visitations by own will and wish, as opposed to this, the cherubim with the flaming sword were sent in Genesis 3, 24 to close the paradise.
That fallen angels (demons) can perfectly deceive God-seeking people through the imaginations of their false prophets proves for me the creation of new religions, which led even to the murder of Christians and which deny the gospel of the incarnated Son of God, who saves sinners. In order not to end up the same as a martyr, at this point, I will not explain the historically recorded, supernatural angel tales and lies to quote instead God’s eternal word: For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist (2 John 7).
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach another gospel unto you than that you have received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1, 8).
Another hint in the word of God, how important it is to question angelic appearances, is found in 1 Kings 13, 18: He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the Lord, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.
The consequence of disobedience to God’s word, not to return back to Bethel and to eat, was the deadly punishment of the mighty man of God through a lion who spared the donkey. The writer himself repeatedly felt like a divine judgment observing donkey when his warnings encountered at his brothers only incomprehension. Judges 15, 15 teaches that even a jawbone of an ass is sufficient to bring the enemy to silence.
The words of Revelation may sound hallow for many and also they are frightening, everyone is blessed who reads and internalises them, for the beginning of the knowledge of God is to fear him.
Awesome is the view of the mighty angel who comes dressed in a cloud from heaven. His face shines like the sun and reflects the glory of the Covenant God who is enthroned in a rainbow (Revelation 1, 14 & 4, 3). The feet of the roaring like a lion angel were as pillars of fire, likewise is the appearance of the glowing Son of Man in chapter 1 and at the second coming of the Lord (Mark 13, 26), that we should expect joyfully. Paul describes the future of the redeemed, ingenuous believers consistently in 2 Corinthians 3, 18: But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
This verse is written in the previous context of the Old Covenant and the Law. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, his face shone so bright that it had to be covered, for the frightened people of Israel couldn’t stand the reflected glory of the Lord.
In contrast, every child of God has the freedom to come before the mercy seat of the Heavenly Father in worship and in prayer. As a sign, the curtain in the temple was torn from top to bottom in the moment of the death of our High Priest Jesus, who first went into the heavens.
Instead of the stone tablets of the law the mighty angel brought a small book. Time and again the revelation shows parallels to the Old Testament, the Law, and the Prophets. The instruction to eat a scroll that is sweet in the mouth was already given about 600 years before Christ in Ezekiel 3, 3. Ezekiel heard in his first vision the voice of one who sat on the throne and looked like a man, covered in his appearance down from the hips with fire. There the splendour of God’s glory is compared with a sapphire and rainbow. In obedience Ezekiel devours the book of lamentations, sighing, and woes, so that it filled his bowels. The people of Israel, a rebellious house, did not want to listen the warnings of Ezekiel. Therefore the God ordained guard gets a face and a forehead as hard as diamonds.
In the same way John felt a bitterness in his stomach after eating the Word of God, which first developed a sweet taste in his mouth. The biggest revelation of God in human history received the apocalyptic prophet in exile on the prison island of Patmos. Yochanan knew well the words of his friend, Simon Bar-Jonah: Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy (1 Peter 4, 12 & 13).
Stephen perceived the glory of God in the hour of his death, when he saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God and then asked for forgiveness for his stoning murderers. Who wants to be sure to come directly into heaven should die as a martyr, but we can by no means trigger a button ourselves. In this correlation another lie causes astonishment in me at funerals. Without letting the Almighty pass a judgment, ignorant preachers often assert in burial services about the asleep that they are right now in heaven (Opposed to the last trumpet in 1 Corinthians 15 and Daniel 12). Especially the last chapter of the beloved man of God Daniel hides a secret for the time of the end, when the wise shall find great understanding.
John sealed what the seven thunders have added to the crying angel. The angel raised his hand to make on oath by him who lives forever, that the mystery of God will be complete with the sound of the seventh trumpet. How powerful did this huge messenger tread, as his fiery feet stood on the sea and the earth, would we dare to give him an order?
Heaven is God’s throne and the earth his footstool, Isaiah teaches in his 66th chapter about the Lord, whose hands have made everything and who will hold a fiery judgment of the wicked. In addition to Nobel Peace Prize winner Michail Gorbatschow, there are enough atheists who deny the existence of the Creator God, who owns everything in the sky and sea and earth. Instead, they insist not to need him in their attempt to be happy or to accumulate power and wealth for themselves.
Historically, it is interesting to investigate how important it was to dominate the sea routes in the attempt to possess as much as possible colonial land. After progressing to our current technology the control of air sovereignty plays a more significant role now. Starting from simple propeller planes the monitoring rose up to the earth orbit through universally used satellites, and soon even missile systems from space shall ensure security and peace.
It is a scream how many times the name of Jesus and the cross have been abused in history to occupy countries and to enslave peoples in the truest sense. A successful beginner of this strategy I see in the superstitious Emperor Constantine the Great, who thought to be unconquerable through the use of the Christ monogram. With a sly political calculus the chief Roman priest disposed of Christianity in marriage with his state. Later bridges among peoples building religions leaders commanded the slaughter of dissenters because God wills it – Deus lo vult. Pope Urban II assured the crusade leading knights for their murderous deliverance of Jerusalem plenary indulgance, since moreover Christ commands it, in all the power and authority he would have given the Pope (Clermont 1095). How stupid can men be?
Our German pontiff preached during his trip to Brazil in his usual embarrassing manner the Catholic Church has done the Christianization of Latin America without violence, and Christ was the saviour for the indigenous people, they had longed for a long time. Of course, the highly educated employee of the truth was up to date, that our Father in heaven gave the people a free will, and that his son Jesus Christ or his successors would have never cut off the heads of the most brutally enslaved indigenous natives of South America. Who concerns? The secular, Catholic conquistadors who were responsible for this by their egotism and greed are long since dead.
Switching the time and the faith camp it’s worth noting why the all US President’s friend and adviser with the nickname God’s machine gun, Billy Graham, in his crusades and troop visits (even Vietnam) theologically legitimated the bloody war. I think he had to help his fraternity member Richard Nixon, although the lie detecting common phone tape-recordings didn’t reflect the in the public spread, own opinion. Later, the most famous Southern Baptist helped his spiritual student George W. Bush junior to get rid of alcohol. Thanks to Bush senior, who initiated the fire baptism and conversion, his junior could built upon the New World Order and was blessed from Graham in the war against terror (including top villain Osama) and the peace to Afghanistan bringing Operation Enduring Freedom. Another self-defence, riddled with Bible quotations crusade against evil terrorists was urgently required in Iraq, also this time the reluctant UN headquarters in New York, despite Powell’s PowerPoint presentation, didn’t provide the marching orders.
I wonder what all these political and religious power struggles have in common with the Kingdom of God preached of Jesus Christ. More disquieting I watch the pictures of presidents of the state who falsely swear with one hand on the Bible to protect the constitution for the good of the nation. Forgetfulness and verbal errors are common with our politicians, therefore, and to be on the safe side, Barack Hussein – the most powerful man on earth – pledged for a second time to respect the rights of all people and to serve faithfully (His campaign promise was to bring home the troops from Iraq in 6 months – instead more than 30,000 additional soldiers have been sent to Afghanistan). Thus we have arrived at the ‘yes we can’ President Obama, one of the democrats who amazingly had in the conservative, evangelical Pope a long-standing secret member and supporter.
As a matter of fact, the Clintons appeared on the scene in the very last Graham crusade 2005 in New York, showcasing the good Christian couple. Attention in the media is important in a feminine presidential campaign. The most headlines brother Bill had achieved 1998, when he was convicted of perjury and adultery, because of trainee Monica’s stained dress. Guilty or not? Anyway, the majority of the US Senate and of the American people reject biblical morality, and also in our Christian Western World falsehood, divorce, and sexual orientation play a minor role in political models (President, Chancellor, Foreign Minister).
Woe to the faithless shepherds and woe to the false prophets, when on the day of the Lord the king over all the earth goes forth to stand with his feet on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14, 4).
The mighty angel builds a bridge with his feet over the waters and the land. Looking from outside, the book in his hand is tiny and unremarkable, but what a big oath is fulfilled when the mystery of God will soon be completed, as it was preached by the prophets. Unlike human promises the Word of God stands firm and is totally reliable. The Lord of all creation can speak through Angel ambassadors, thunder, and of course by his listening servants. They prophesy and it happens likewise.
John, one of the apostles who preached the gospel accompanied by signs and wonders, had the obedience and the courage to tell the mighty angel to hand over the book. When he had absorbed it, he could continue to prophesy about peoples, nations, languages, and kings.
The Revelation has repeatedly emphasized the unpopular message of sin and judgment, which will be further discussed in the following chapters.