Heaven is taking a break before the seventh trumpet to deal with a couple of other things. One is a little scroll and the other is still a secret.
John has borne witness to some amazing things already but he is not even near done. “Another mighty angel” enters the scene. He has encountered several Heavenly residents already and each one is spectacular but he has to interact with this one personally.
From the description that John gives regarding this angel standing with his “right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land” (verse 2b) I imagine him being MASSIVE in size. Or he could simply be standing near the shoreline, enabling him to be on both at once, but I don’t think that is the case.
Another clue to his size, to me anyway, is his voice. There used to be a commercial on television about an investment firm, E. F. Hutton. Their slogan was “when E. F. Hutton speaks, everyone listens.” But when this angel talks, his voice is so loud and distinctive, the “seven thunders” answer.
We don’t get to hear what the thunders said. John was all prepared to share that information with us, but he was told not to. This part is to remain secret, at least for now. I was beginning to wonder what the thunder might have said until I realized that what has been revealed leaves me enough to wonder about already. I think I will let God keep this secret until He is ready to share it.
After the thunders die down the angel makes a promise to God. “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, there would be no more delay, but 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” (verses 5-7). All that Jesus shared while on earth is about to happen!
I’m curious about something. Jesus taught us not to swear by anything, including anything on the earth or in Heaven. But this angel just swore on God’s name and reputation. Was he swearing for God or for himself? Was he prophesying that God was saying that the end would be revealed after the last trumpet blast? Or was he saying that he was going to reveal the secrets himself? Was that going to be part of his job? I guess we will have to wait and see on that one too.
After this proclamation, John is told to go up to him and get the “little scroll” from his hand. I’m curious about the term “little.” Is this scroll little to John’s eyes or does it just seem little when in this massive angel’s hand? Whatever size it is, as he retrieves it, he is told to eat it. So John could have a snack or a meal, depending on the size of the scroll.
John doesn’t hesitate to follow his instructions, even after hearing how it would affect him. I don’t know for certain what was on that scroll but I believe it contained the next part of the prophecy John will share with us. John was told “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings” (verse 11). I would not be surprised at all to learn that that prophecy was what was written on the scroll and eaten by John.
So why was it sweet in his mouth but bitter in his stomach? I believe the sweet part comes from the knowing that Jesus is returning quickly and that there will still be people who are saved during the dark times to come. The bitter part is knowing all the pain and distress that will be taking place just prior to His arrival. There IS a happy ending but the world has to “walk through fire’ to get to it. And it is never easy KNOWING that someone’s going to be hurt in the process.
Father God, thank You that ALL Your promises are true and Amen. Everything that Jesus promised while walking the earth is part of Your plan. I wish all my promises were kept as completely as Yours are. I try but some things are out of my control. NOTHING is out of Yours! Come Lord Jesus, come quickly! And, YES, it is going to hurt. But it has to hurt if it is to heal. And TRUE healing is the purpose behind it all.