Islam Requires Christians to Act Timid and Submissive, But God Expects Truth to Look Dominant!

Sermon Series in Revelation # 20 Revelation 10:1-11 

1    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.

2    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,

3    and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded.

4    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.”

5    And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven

6    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,

7    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.

8    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.”

9    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.”

10  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.

11  And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”[1]


God reveals how truth is given to us.

The Father gives it to Jesus, who then gives it to His angel, who then gives it to John who then gives it to us. Lots of Bible truths come to us this way. When Jesus was born the angels filled the sky to tell of His birth and Angels share God’s truth all through out the Old Testament.

Only when Jesus was walking on the earth did we see the glory of the Father directly. Only by the lips of Jesus did we hear the truth of God directly. Most truth though comes to us by the Father, to the Son, who gives it to an angelic messenger, who then gives it to a prophet of God who then gives it to God’s people.

Our job is to hold and cherish God’s revealed Word and give witness to the message.

We should live like Jesus who manifests God’s glory to the world by our life. We should speak of God’s love and share God’s truth. Jesus modeled how to handle God’s word. As the federal head of a recreated humanity we are to follow Jesus’ example.

This angel is different than the other angels that we have seen. There are specific things about him that are written down and necessary for us to understand.

The appearance of the angel handling God’s word is the main lesson of our passage.

John calls him a Mighty Angel. He is mighty in size, in sight and in stewardship.

He is large enough to have one foot on the sea and another foot on the land. I have had one foot on the beach and another foot on the sand. These words mean more than that. This angel is dominating the sea and the land.

This angel is dominating in his size. Second, this angel is spectacular in his appearance.

He comes down out of heaven wrapped in a cloud just like Jesus who ascended and will descend in a cloud. This is very common imagery all throughout the Bible for Heavenly persons making a journey from one place to the other. The Bible calls the clouds God’s chariot Jeremiah 4:13.

This angel has a rainbow over his head like a turban of glory.

In Revelation 4 there was a rainbow that surrounded the throne. The visible presence of God is carefully detailed in this angel.

His face shines with the Shekinah glory of every person who spends time in the glorious presence of the Father of light. Even Moses carried within his flesh the shining glory of God. The light coming from Moses made the Israelites so afraid that they politely asked him to wear a cloth over his face until the light wore off.

The world does not ask us politely to stop shining God’s truth do they? They demean, ridicule, criticize and dehumanize anyone willing to shine for Jesus.

This angel stands with another reminder of God’s presence. His legs are like pillars of fire. When in the Bible has God used pillars of fire to show the world His presence?

In the wilderness wanderings God appeared to Israel as a pillar of fire.

We can imagine pillars of fire as the smoke of a volcano: massive black smoke with fire in the midst going up into the sky. God chose this to remind Israel He was with them.

This is the opposite reminder we would choose for ourselves. We like pastel colored wrist bands, golden crosses or heart shaped pendants. On Facebook people post sweet and sentimental pictures to remind others of God’s abiding presence. God choose a pillar of fire and smoke.

God is with His messengers who carry His word. This is his stewardship.

This angel is big, spectacular and has a weighty stewardship. The Father gave the Scroll of Destiny to the Son. Jesus alone had the authority to open that Scroll and unleash the words that bring about God’s final destiny of all things. Jesus handed that open scroll to this angel.

This angel holds the same Seven Sealed Scroll of Heaven we learned about in chapter five. It is called a little scroll only by comparison to this huge angel.

And when this angel speaks he thunders with the confidence of a lion’s roar.

The church must also speak God’s words with the confidence of the Lion of the tribe of Judah. We cannot become apprehensive when speaking God’s opinions.

We should not avert our eyes when explaining God’s design for marriage. We must not stare at the floor when describing God’s holy standards. We should not sound like we are hedging when sharing that Jesus is the only way back to the Father.

We must declare that every living soul will one day appear before the Father to receive their eternal reward. God tells us that the world will not appreciate us bearing this message. They will despise us as they despised Jesus. They will treat us like they treated Jesus.

We enter into the suffering of Jesus when we bear the message of this book, but we are not to hold back. This is why the words of the angel are not important for John to write down. The contents are given by the angel to us. We will know the contents when we consume the book.

Focusing on the angel’s message will not help us understand the passage. The passage is unlocked by focusing on the angel’s dominant appearance.

Have you noticed what is mentioned three times about this angel? He is standing on the sea and on the land: verse 2, 5, and 8. Why is this so important?

In chapter 12 and 13 we are about to meet three persons. We meet the Great Red Dragon and Two Beasts who serve the Dragon. They are a counterfeit trinity.

The first of these two Beasts is the Beast of the Sea, or more popularly known as the anti-Christ. The second is known as the Beast of the Land, or the False Prophet. They all work for the Devil.

And John tells us that an angel on a Holy Mission from God, empowered by the Words of the Father, words inaugurated by Jesus and then delivered to His angel, that this eternal, opened and unleashed Word of God enables any messenger of God to place his foot over the Devil and his co-conspirators. God’s sovereign power flows through His people to dominate His enemies.

You and I have this same power over the Devil. When fitted with the armor of a Christian Soldier we are enabled to extend the sovereign dominion of God over the Gates of Hell itself.

This is how God understands the role of His church in the world. We are more than witnesses. We are conquers. We call sinners to repentance. We dispel false teaching. We shine God’s light on evil and we speak the words of freedom uniquely found in the Open Scroll.

God wants us to be as confident in our message as the angel in our passage.

And this angel makes an oath according to the power of the Creator and the Eternality of His being, that the delay of God’s judgment is over. It is the hour of decision.

The long period of time known as God’s patience was not going to last forever. The Creator will not let sin forever ruin His Creation. God had a beautiful idea for His universe when it was initially organized. That perfection will be restored.

How does God restore this world? God’s kingdom is established by the Word of God.

So in verse 8, John is given instructions from Heaven to take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.”

9 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.”

This is how all of God’s witnesses experience God’s word. It is sweet to the repentant who receives it, but it is upsetting to speak those words to an unrepentant world.

I have loved ones who have not given any signs of repentance. My four children are baptized, and I cling in hope to the promises of God for their salvation, but if they do not make a public profession of faith in Christ themselves, then they, and I, will have no confidence of their salvation.

We all have neighbors, extended family and friends who need to hear God’s message in this book, but we are fearful how we will be treated if we speak these words.

What did John do? He took the scroll and ate the book. He hid God’s word in his heart. He assimilated God’s commandments into his own life. He let the word of God become implanted in his soul that it might bear the fruit of righteousness and salvation.

For John it was like the experience of Jeremiah 15:16 When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty.

Ezekiel had the experience of John in Ezekiel 3:1-3 And he said to me, “Son of man, eat whatever you find here. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me this scroll to eat. And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey. but it was judgment for Israel.

Where are you in this story this morning? Are you hearing God’s word of judgment in your soul and feeling angry over God’s word? Or, does the word of God taste sweet?

Are you delaying your submission to God’s word? Are you unwilling to bear the name, O LORD God Almighty?

Do you fear the world’s response? Islamic law requires non-Muslims to act with a cowardly demeanor when in the presence of a believing Muslim. Infidels must walk with their heads lowered and eyes averted. If you lived in a Muslim world they would teach you how to cower.

Too many believers have submitted to the world’s demands. Too many Christians cower when handling God’s word. This angel shows us how to feel when holding God’s word.

What’s your demeanor in this world as a believer? God wants you to stand! God wants you to feel His presence. The pillars of fire should be your legs. Your head is crowned with the Gospel promises of Heaven. Your feet stand over the powers of the Devil and his dark companions. Your voice should thunder with the Lion’s Roar.

10 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. Jesus too had a broken heart and an upset stomach over the unrepentant. He wanted to gather them to Himself and love them like a mother hen gathers her little babies, but they were not willing.

But our feelings of disappointment in the response of others should not diminish our willingness to speak God’s words. We should not fear what man might do to us.

We are commissioned by God to speak His unleashed words. This is the Great Commission of the Church that God’s message be spread to all peoples and nations and languages. No one is above God’s law, not even the kings and political leaders of our land.

And when we do this, we stand in agreement with the martyrs, the Prophets of old, the angels of Heaven, with Jesus and God the Father Himself.

Don’t be the Devil’s advocate. Don’t aid the Beasts of anti-Christ and the False Prophet by cowering before the world. Bear the message of the Light. Bear the message of God’s pending judgment on sin. Digest God’s word so that you might be able to speak it to others.

And may God fill you with His Spirit to Stand until Jesus comes. Amen.


[1] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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