The Mighty Angel with the Little Book
Revelation chapter 10 1 I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. 2 He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3 and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices. 4 Now when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them.”
5 The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand to heaven 6 and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer, 7 but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.
John Eats the Little Book
8 Then the voice which I heard from heaven spoke to me again and said, “Go, take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the earth.”
9 So I went to the angel and said to him, “Give me the little book.”
And he said to me, “Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.”
10 Then I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter. 11 And he[d] said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.”
THE SEVEN THUNDERS
Revelation 10:3 (paraphrased): “The angel cried out.” When the angel cries out, a very surprising thing takes place: seven thunders utter their voices. The thunders are personified as though they are people. There is a mystery as to what this is. Whatever it is, we know that it is the voice of the Holy Spirit. Are these thunders angelic beings? We don’t know and we don’t have to know.
We don’t necessarily have to know the way these thunders are operating in their ministry. What we care about is the source of the message behind these thunders, because when we think of thunders we do not think of a person, but this is personified. The thunders are described as beings who are giving a prophecy.
Verse 3 (paraphrased): “When the angel cries out”—and the assumption is that the angel is reading the little book—“the information in the little book stirs up these seven thunders.
We assume that they are spirit beings, angelic beings of some sort. It does not say so, but we know they have voices and they are speaking the prophetic word of the Lord. We know it is the Holy Spirit at the end of the day. It is Him giving it to them, whoever they are.
The point I want to make is that when the mighty angel read the little book and made the contents of the little book known, it made an impact in the spirit realm and these seven prophetic messages were released.
WHAT ARE THE SEVEN THUNDERS SAYING
John was really enthusiastic about these messages. Verse 4 (paraphrased): “When the seven thunders uttered their voices, John was ready to write.” He was eager. In his spirit he was saying something like, “Wow, this is something really important.” He was ready to write so that we would all know what those seven prophetic words are.
Then a voice comes from heaven—the Holy Spirit’s voice no matter what vessel is used to communicate that voice. We do not know who is speaking, but we know it is the Holy Spirit speaking through them.
So the voice of God is saying to John, “No, hold it. This is information we do not want to be made known at this time” (v. 4, paraphrased).
John is thinking, “We don’t want it known? This is really important information!”
“No, we are going to seal it.” Whenever in the Bible—there are several occasions—God gives a prophecy to a prophet and says, “Seal it,” it means, “Hold back the information, but only until the appointed time.”
The appointed time is always the end times. This happens several times in the Bible where the prophet receives a word and seals it. This is God’s way of saying to the rest of the body of Christ, “I have something to say, but I am going to hold it back. I am going to give it strategically at the appointed time.”
You can respond to that in one of two ways. “Well Lord, you have my address. You know where I live if You want to give it to me.” It is the passive, “If God wants to do it, He will do it.”
There is another mode, “Father, there is something on Your heart You want to say and I want to put myself in a position to receive the testimony of Your heart.”
Of course that is the response God wants us to have. The voice of God, through whatever vehicle, we do not know—again we do not know what the vehicle of the seven thunders is; an angelic being of some sort, it doesn’t really matter—the Lord says, “John, seal it up. Do not write it.”
The clear implication is the same thing that happened in Daniel’s day, “I will give it to the people of God later. I will give it to the people of God later as they seek Me.”
THE SEALED BOOKS
I think that there is a link. You have to kind of pay attention to this carefully. There are two sealed pieces of prophetic information. Number one, the little book, I believe—my opinion—was the sealed book back in Daniel 12. The sealed book about which the angel told Daniel, “Do not tell anybody, but I will tell my people at the right time.”
Now it is five hundred years after Daniel. John is on the island. The book is now open. I believe John was seeing what Daniel was supposed to hold back. Daniel saw it but was not supposed to communicate it. The book is opened and it is as if John is saying, “Lord, this is incredible information.” So when this angel is declaring the contents of this book to John, it has some kind of impact in the spirit realm. These seven thunders are stirred up and they start prophesying.
John is in the same position as Daniel was in earlier. The Lord says, “No, I am going to have you do exactly what Daniel did. Hold it back.”
“Lord, they need to know.”
“Hold it back. I will give it to them when they cry out for it.”
John is able to peer into what Daniel held back, but we want to peer into what Daniel and John held back. I want to know what is in the little book mentioned in the book of Daniel, and I want to know what is in those seven thunder prophecies. They are two bodies of information, so to speak, which are related to the word of God. I want to know them both. The answer—I believe— of the Lord is, “That is exactly what I was hoping you would conclude.”
HOW TO KNOW THE CONTENTS OF THE LITTLE BOOK
That little book was opened to Daniel and to John, but I want to know what is in that book. I am not just happy that the seven thunders are stirred up. I want to be stirred up by that book. I want to know what is in that book and I want to know what the seven thunders were saying.
I know how to get it: humility and seeking the Lord with prayer and fasting and abandonment in our obedience to Him. That is how revelation increases. There is no secret. It is the same for every man or women in every generation.
We do know this: we are in the generation of the greatest outpouring of the spirit of prophecy. We just read it in Joel 2: 28-32 (paraphrased): “Our sons and daughters will prophesy… and whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Everyone who calls out with a spirit of prayer will end up prophesying in major ways. “Lord, I have my focus on the written Word of God”—our primary focus. “I want to know what is in that little book which Daniel held back and which is related to Daniel’s revelation.”
The Holy Spirit might say, “Read the revelation of Daniel over and over and over.”
“And I want to know what those seven thunders are saying.”
“Then read the book of Revelation over and over and over.”
The book of Revelation and book of Daniel, OK. I am also going to read the rest of the Word of God. I do not have any time to waste. I have lots of things to devour and so do you.
I have to make the point of the parallel situation between Daniel and John: they both have information, they both seal it, they both have a mighty angel.
The angel raises his hand to heaven, swears an oath to God, and they both talk about the final three and a half years. It is unmistakable that these are meant to be parallel passages to be searched out in the Spirit together.
Let’s read Daniel 12. This is Daniel’s little book. It does not say “little.” I am adding that in there. Every book is little compared to the book Jesus took from the Father’s hand—that is the big book. Every other book is little from there on. In Daniel 12:4, Daniel sealed the book. We have the book of Daniel, but Daniel has this additional information that he seals.
We have the four visions he gives us in Daniel 7-12, but he has this additional information. He seals it, which means that he will not let anyone know it, because the Holy Spirit told him to seal it.
The angel is telling him, “Daniel, seal the book until the end time” (v. 4, paraphrased). Verse 6 (paraprased): “How long shall it be?” Verse 7 (paraphrased): “Then angel holds up his hand and swears by the God who lives forever that it will be time, times and half a time.”
It is universally agreed upon throughout church history—although there are some guys who say “no”—that time, times, and half a time is three and a half years. Time is one year. Times is two—plural. Half a time is half a year. It is three and a half years.
INFORMATION FOR THE END TIMES
The angel tells Daniel in verse 9 (paraphrased): “Go your way, for these words are sealed up.” In other words, “I have given them to you, but I am not going to reveal them to the people until the end times.”
Of course John gets a peek at it. He gets a look at it because the angel is roaring like a lion reading this book. That is how I understand it. My opinion—a common opinion—is that this is the little book that was in Daniel’s hand as well.
Look at what it says in verse 10 (paraphrased): “But many will be purified”——believers. “Many will be made white”—holiness. “Many will be refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly and none of the wicked will understand what is happening, but the wise will understand.”
There will be a group of people in the earth in the end times who will be called “the wise ones” and they will understand. The same exhortation was given to Daniel by the angel in the same vision a little bit earlier. Just a moment before this, the angel said this to him slightly differently, but it is the same general idea—Daniel 11:33-35—talking about the end times.
It had an application after Daniel’s day, but only a partial application. For those who study the book of Daniel, there was a partial fulfillment in Antiochus Epiphanes’ day—some of you know that name—that Syrian king in 175 B.C—but this prophecy in Dan. 11:33-35 has its major application in the end times.
The reason I mention this king is because you will read the commentators and most of them are secular in their thinking. They want to get rid of all end-time prophecy, so wherever there is a partial fulfillment, even a little fulfillment, they want to put the whole prophecy there, to dismiss the possibility that it is a future event which is still to come. But we are not going to let them do that. Our faith is going to be strong. We are not buying the cynicism of intellectualism when it comes to the Word of God.
Many prophecies have a partial and a local fulfillment, but there is a final, global fulfillment of these prophecies which is still to come.
PEOPLE OF UNDERSTANDING
In Daniel 11 the angel says, “The people who understand—forerunners—they will instruct multitudes of people” (v. 33, paraphrased).
You say, “I am not a preacher.” Well, the pulpit of the future is your laptop, it is your cell phone, it is your iPod. That is where the pulpit of the future is. I do not mean that there will not always be pulpits where people preach to numbers and groups, but the information technology explosion that is taking place, means that you can preach to millions through technology. Do not sign off because you are not a public preacher, “Ah, I am not a part of this.” You may write the paragraph that changes a nation. Let the people who understand instruct multitudes.
Some of those of understanding are going to be martyred. There are going to be men and women—prophetic messengers—who will fall. They will be martyred. They will not fall into sin, this is talking about being killed. When they fall, it will purify the rest of the body of Christ, because the time of the end is still to come.
My point is that I want to be a person of understanding among a people of understanding.
GOD IS BECKONING US TO SEARCH IT OUT
Daniel and John the apostle are in parallel experiences—seeing information that was held back for the end-time prophetic movement. The reason Daniel received information and was told to hold it back and the reason John received a different piece of information and told to hold it back—the reason it was recorded in the Bible is so that we would be hungry to go after it in the greatest outpouring of the Spirit in history.
It was recorded so that it would stir us and focus us. We know there is more God wants to give us because these very experiences which are in canonized Scripture, are beckoning us to search these things out. We do not just search them out in subjective ways. We search the Word of God. We meditate on the written Word and we posture ourselves just like Daniel and John did to receive insights that are unlocking these keys which are in the Word of God.
TAKE THE BOOK AND EAT IT
“The angel whom I saw standing by the sea raising his hand, swore by Him who lives forever and he swore to the God who created the heavens and the earth, the God who created the sea” (Rev. 10:6, paraphrased).
This is the same oath the angel took with Daniel. It is probably the same mighty angel. He takes the same oath. He says in essence, “These things are all going to come to pass, I assure you.” That is the essence.
Now the voice of God through some messenger of sorts—an unnamed messenger—the voice says to John the apostle, “John, do you see that book in the angel’s hand, the one that Daniel sealed? Go get it” (Rev.10:8, paraphrased).
The angel roared the contents of the book is what I believe we are led to conclude. And the opinion is, that it is Daniel’s book. And because the parallel experiences are so clearly working together, I think it is a good opinion.
The voice says, “Go take the little book”—we’ll just call it the book of Daniel—“which is in the angel’s hand” (v. 8, paraphrased).
So I went up to the angel and said, “Give me the book.”
BITTER AND SWEET
And the angel said, “OK, I am going to give it to you, but there is something you have to do if I give you this prophetic information. You have to eat it. I am warning you it will make your stomach bitter.” ( v. 9, paraphrased).
Because the contents which Daniel saw, made Daniel’s stomach bitter. When Daniel had this revelation, he was grieved beyond measure at what he saw.
Not only is it bitter, it is sweet. Because the note of victory, the release of justice, is such a clear part of the message, but it is—as the prophets say—great and terrible. It is great for those who say yes. It is a sweet message for their lives. To those who say no, it is a bitter message. We love the people who say no, so it is bitter to us too, and it is a terrible message for them.
It is sweet for our personal lives, but we care about more than our own lives. It is sweet because justice will cover the earth and evil will be driven off the planet, but in the process of this, real people are going to go through anguish and pain because they are saying no to Jesus. God Himself is deeply grieved over the people who say no.
It does not remove the fact that trouble is coming. The angel says, “I am going to warn you. It is bitter, but it is sweet.” There are two dimensions. It is sweet for you personally and it is sweet because you want to see the kingdom take over the earth and see evil driven off the planet. There is victory and justice is coming, but it will wound your heart when you really grasp it.
DIGESTING THE MESSAGE
Verse 10 (paraphrased): “I took the book and I ate it and it was sweet.” It means that he is digesting the message. The message is, “Jesus is going to take over all the nations of the earth and establish His glory in the nations.”
“Wow, what a great message. All the oppression of the earth is going to be stopped.” “Yes, that means that the oppressors are going to be converted or killed.”
“OK, let’s kill them.”
“Here is the problem. There are hundreds of millions of them.”
“Can the oppressors just go away somewhere? Let’s liberate the oppressed and have the oppressors in neutral. Tell them to go somewhere and not do something bad. Just go somewhere.”
It does not work that way. When the oppressed get liberated the oppressors get mad and they fight back. It goes up a notch and causes pain everywhere. He said, “Well, when I had eaten it— verse 10—my stomach became bitter.”
Then the angel said in effect, “I want you to know that now that you have this message, you are in a new dilemma. You need to prophesy it to the nations, because if you taste it and you are touched by it then you are now responsible to proclaim it.”
The angel says in Ezekiel 3:1 (paraphrased): “Son of man—he is talking to Ezekiel, that is the name he is called in the book of Ezekiel—eat the scroll.” This means, “Digest the message and then go and speak it.” Verse 2: “So I opened my mouth and He caused me to eat that scroll. Verse 3 (paraphrased): “Then he said, ‘Son of man, feed on it. Fill your stomach with the scroll.’”
This means that you need to consume this message completely, so that it becomes part of your being: it changes your thought processes, your paradigms and it transforms your emotions. You are sad when God is sad and you are glad when God is glad if it is politically correct or not.
The nations are opposing it. The nations are glad about things that grieve God. The nations are really mad about things that God is doing.
He tells Ezekiel—verse 4—“Ezekiel, you have to speak the words.” That is the down side which is the upside. If you eat the scroll you have to speak the words. There is a down side because it gets you into big trouble.
There is an upside, because you are a friend of the Bridegroom. You are doing the things that are nearest and dearest to His heart, causing His kingdom to go forth in the earth. That is a good upside. Ezekiel got into big trouble for this, just like John did: he is in prison.
GOING HARD AFTER GOD FOR MANY YEARS
Daniel and John both received unusual revelation, but in context to a lifetime. John and Daniel both started in their youth and both sought God, I mean six or seven decades. I am not talking about a summer or a good year at Bible school. They went fifty, sixty, seventy years—more like seventy, both of them actually—hard after God, straight through with fasting and prayer, and they would not turn to the right or to the left. They both devoured the Word and they were both visited later on in life with end-time revelation.
You have heard the phrase, “A king can be anointed in one day, but it takes a lifetime to raise up a deliverer.” You can pick a president in a day or anoint a king, but it takes a lifetime with God to raise up a deliverer of a nation. These guys were deliverers in that sense.
My prayer is that God would raise up 10,000 forerunners. I do not mean in the whole world, but just in my sphere. He is going to raise up many more worldwide.
I was to pray and believe Him for 10,000 forerunners—mostly young people—who were going to go after this like John and Daniel. That is one of the major mandates of the IHOP–KC Missions Base: to raise up forerunners who eat the scroll. They do not care if it takes them a decade or five decades. They are like John and Daniel. They are going after the eating of the scroll. And then they are going to be faithful to speak the message, even though it makes their stomach bitter, and others as well.
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