The Angel and the Little Scroll

William Phelps taught English literature at Yale for forty-one years until his retirement in 1933. Marking an examination paper shortly before Christmas one year, Phelps came across the note: God only knows the answer to this question. Merry Christmas. Phelps returned the paper w … More


The “mighty angel” (v. 1) has brought great discussion among theologians for many years. Some say this is Jesus Christ while others say the use of the word and adjective “another” is evidence that this is not speaking of Jesus. However, the purpose of this mystery is clear and that is to announce the final judgments on the earth. Remember that angels announced His first coming and it seems will again announce His second coming to earth. Attention is focused on the “little book” that is open in the hand of the angel (v. 2). The contents are not indicated but it appears to be the same book as the seven-sealed book in 5:1. This is the title-dead to the earth and makes the indisputable claim to all creation that He is over all.

It is interesting to note that the voice of the Angel was like the roaring of a lion (v. 3). The seven thunders could well speak of another series of judgements but John was stopped from revealing certain parts of this mystery (v. 4). This is the only part of Revelation which still remains sealed. The Lord goes on to say that there will be no more delay in rectifying the wrong that has been taking place in His earth (vv. 5-7). Sin has been running rampant long enough and it is time for His judgements.

When the Seventh Trumpet is blown God’s mysterious plan will be fulfilled (v. 7). John is told to take “the little book which is open in the hand of the angel” (v. 8). The eating of the scroll is done by faith through meditation. The study of the prophetic Word has a twofold effect. It is both sweet and bitter (vv. 9-10). It both gladdens and saddens. The truth of the Lord being in charge was sweet to John, but the judgements and plagues will be very bitter.


God has revealed all that I need to know to live for Him now. I must not place more speculation about the last days than in living for Him while I wait.

Revelation 10:1-11 (English Standard Version)

Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down." And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets. Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, "Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land." So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, "Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey." And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. And I was told, "You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings."

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