10 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.
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 said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.”
A mighty angel brings it down from heaven – the bible is only a little book but it sure has had a big impact! So it is not surprising that it should be introduced with such a fanfare. We also know that of all books this one has the right to be considered as coming from heaven (2 Tim. 3:16).
Robed in a cloud – the book can be surrounded with mystery at times.
With a rainbow above his head – the rainbow is the sign of the covenant made with all mankind after the flood (Genesis 9:8-16). We don’t have too many physical things that speak as loudly as the bible does about the fact that God is with us. However whenever I see a rainbow I rejoice in this other clear sign that God cares about us.
His legs were like fiery pillars – so we can stand firm in the midst of trial once we have this book, this little book.
He was holding a little scroll (book) which lay open in his hand – this book reveals so much, and it is open to all, not the preserve of a few.
He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land – in this case we could consider the sea as being things of the spirit and the land as things of the earth with the book connecting the two in a way nothing else does (see this blog on the sea).
He gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion – this book proclaims God’s word just as loudly and with just as much authority.
When he shouted the voices of the seven thunders spoke. When God the Father spoke to His Son (John 12:28-30) some of those who stood by said it thundered, they didn’t hear the words. Similarly, in this passage, we also are not going to hear what was said by the 7 thunders.
In verses 8 – 11, John is told by the Spirit to go and take the book from the angel, who then tells him to eat it. There is no doubt in my mind that if anyone comes to God he will be quite clearly shown by the Spirit that he ought to devour the bible, feast on it, take it all in. It will taste like honey when you do.
But it will make your stomach bitter, you will not be able to hold it in, it must come out.
You must prophesy if you eat this book. You will have no choice but to.
(Note: there are other interpretations of what the little book is (e.g. the book of life) but I think this fits best).