Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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APOCALYPSE - Chapter 10

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Apocalypse 10

Supplemental Commentary:

III.  THE SEVEN TRUMPETS  8, 2 -- 11, 19 (continued)

3.  An Intermediate Vision and the Seventh Trumpet  10, 1 -- 11, 19

A twofold intermediate vision is interposed here as was the case between the opening of the sixth and seventh seals.  These visions are linked with the sixth trumpet and with all the plagues that precede.  They amplify the general notions already given of the struggle between the Church and Satan.

10, 1-11:  The Angel with the Little Scroll.  Another angel: an angel and not Christ.  But he bears witness to Christ's power for he is clothed with a cloud, the token of the Divine Presence (Ex. 13, 21).  He also bears witness to God's mercy: the rainbow is on his head, a token of mercy and love.  His feet . . . like fire: strong in the power of purification and judgment.  The sea . . . the earth: this indicates that John has returned to earth.  Seven thunders: agreeing with the seven seals, the seven trumpets, the seven bowls.  Seal up, etc.: we do not know what the thunders revealed, perhaps they were secrets like those in 2 Cor. 12, 4.

Lifted up his hand, etc.: an ancient sign giving emphasis to an oath (Gen. 14, 22).  The oath of the angel is to the effect there will be no longer any delay.  This is in answer to the martyrs' cry (6, 10), "How long?"  The period of their waiting is at an end.  The image of eating the scroll is derived from Ezech. 3, 3.  It is sweet because of the divine revelation given to John, but bitter because of the events foretold.

Confraternity Bible:

The Angel with the Little Scroll  1 And I saw another angel, a strong one, coming down from heaven, clothed in a cloud, and the rainbow was over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire.  2* And he had in his hand a little open scroll; and he set his right foot upon the sea but his left foot upon the earth.  3 And he cried with a loud voice as when a lion roars.  And when he had cried, the seven thunders spoke out their voices.  4 And when the seven thunders had spoken, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Seal up the things that the seven thunders spoke, and do not write them."

5 And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the earth, lifted up his hand to heaven, 6 and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are therein, and the earth and the things that are therein, and the sea and the things that are therein, and that there shall be delay no longer; 7 but that in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he begins to sound the trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, as he declared by his servants the prophets.

8 And the voice that I heard from heaven was speaking with me again, and saying, "Go, take the open scroll from the hand of the angel who stands upon the sea and upon the earth."  9* And I went away to the angel, telling him to give me the scroll.  And he said to me, "Take the scroll and eat it up, and it will make thy stomach bitter, but in thy mouth it will be sweet as honey."  10* And I took the scroll from the angel's hand, and ate it up, and it was in my mouth sweet as honey, and when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter.  11 And they said to me, "Thou must prophesy again to many nations and peoples and tongues and kings."


2: Little scroll: three scrolls are associated with the Apocalypse.  The first is the scroll of the course of this world determined by divine Providence, mentioned in the fifth chapter; the last is the scroll of life, mentioned in the twenty-first and twenty-second chapters.  Between these two comes another scroll, the little open scroll, the ever-open scroll of God's promises and the witness of His power.

9-10: Sweetness is succeeded by bitterness when John realizes the contents of the little scroll.