Times of Tribulation (Revelation 6-11) >Seven Trumpets >6th trumpet >The little book
Between the second and third "woes", and the sixth and seventh trumpets, there are two visions. The first is the vision of the little book, followed by the vision of two witnesses. In this lesson we think about the vision of the little book.
Strong angel This mighty angel acts and appears in such a manner as to prefigure the second coming of Christ. This angel is not Christ, but he is signifying Christ's advent. His presence is in the clouds and spans earth and sea.
Rainbow On the angel's head there is a rainbow (Genesis 9:13) —a symbol (in this vision) of the gospel covenant of promise including the forgiveness of sins.
Feet of fire The angel's feet were like pillars of fire, and he stood astride earth and sea (Revelation 10:1-2). This signifies the judgment of the whole world.
Little book open This is the main object of interest in the vision, and in this lesson we focus on its meaning. The book is open, to signify that it contains no mystery or secret. It is little, to signify that it relates to the short time granted to each sinner to repent. More is said later about this book.
Cries out The angel shouts with a loud voice to prefigure the Lord's cry and the voice of the archangel at the second coming (1Thessalonians 4:16). It was like the roar of a lion (Revelation 10:3).
The lion is a symbol of Christ the King of kings. This shout is followed by seven peals of thunder, a symbol of power and of the voice of God
Seal up John is not permitted to write down what he hears the thunders say, so we are not permitted to know it yet (Revelation 10:4).
This signifies that God’s judgment is not yet finally spoken, and those who now stand condemned still have an opportunity to repent and be forgiven (Acts 3:19-21).
You will recall that in the previous vision of the four killing angels, the deep tragedy was that those who were spared death "did not repent " (Revelation 9:20-21).
God gives even the Jezebels of this world "space to repent" (Revelation 2:21). So God’s judgment is not pronounced prematurely, rather he is "patient toward you, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2Peter 3:9).
However we should not rely upon this seal, nor test God’s patience, but hasten to repent, for the time is near.
Angel's oath The angel swears by God that there will be delay no longer and the mystery of God will soon be finished (Revelation 10:5-7).
The mystery spoken of here is the gospel preached to the prophets. It was a mystery then, but it now is manifest (Colossians 1:25-27). The swearing of an oath by the angel signifies the oath that God himself swore, in order to confirm his promises (Hebrews 6:13-20).
Eat the book John is told to take the book that is open in the angel's hand. When he obeys, the angel tells him to eat the book. The angel said that the little book would taste sweet in his mouth, but become bitter in his stomach. And so it was (Revelation 10:8-10).
The little book The book represents the sins of mankind, such as were listed in the previous vision (Revelation 9:20-21). Men commit sin because they seek the sweet taste of pleasure or satisfaction.
However, as Moses understood, the pleasures of sin are but "passing pleasures" (Hebrews 11:24-26). The sweetness is a deception, and the real result of sin is biterness. However, by God’s grace, if sinners will believe and obey Jesus, and repent of sins, they can escape the ultimate bitterness of sin.
Many peoples [TRANSITION] The angel reminds John that the message signified in the vision is applicable to every part of the world, to every generation, to people of every rank (Revelation 10:11). The angel anticipates the next vision, the vision of the two witnesses, before the seventh trumpet sounds.