VII. VISIONS INSERTED BETWEEN
THE SIXTH AND SEVENTH TRUMPETS
A. A Strong Angel
1. Revelation 10:1
"And I saw another strong Angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon His head, and His face was like the sun, and His feet like pillars of fire."
This strong Angel refers to the Lord, because:
(1) The Lord is manifested here as the Angel, the position He takes in the Old Testament.
(2) He is in the midst of a cloud, or clothed with a cloud; He is not riding on top of it (Matt. 24:30). Since the Lord sets Himself in the clouds, this is still the time of mystery, for He has not yet manifested His glory.
(3) In Revelation 4:3, a rainbow surrounds the throne. In 10:1 a rainbow is upon the Lord’s head. Since the Lord is clothed with a cloud, the rainbow is certainly in the cloud also. Although the rainbow signifies that the Lord remembers grace and mercy, the fact that He is in the cloud means that such remembrance is still a mystery and is not yet manifested.
(4) "His face was like the sun." This manifests His glory, though at this time He is still in the cloud.
(5) "His feet like pillars of fire." This indicate steadfastness (Gal. 2:9; Jer. 1:18). "Fire" signifies the holiness and righteousness of God (Exo. 19:18; Heb. 12:29).
2. Revelation 10:2
"And He had in His hand a little opened scroll. And He placed His right foot on the sea and the left on the land."
"His right foot on the sea and the left on the land." The Lord’s head faces upward toward the heavens and does not bear direct relationship with the earth. The Lord places His two feet as pillars of fire upon the sea and the earth. This means that He casts fire upon the sea and the land, signifying His judgment of them with the holiness and righteousness of God. To "place" means to claim. Whatever the Lord places His feet upon, He claims for Himself (Deut. 11:24; Psa. 8:6).
"A little opened scroll." Some say that this little scroll refers to the Old Testament. Others say that it is the prophecy concerning the Jews in the Old Testament. Still others say that it refers to Revelation 11—22. However, none of these is acceptable. There is much evidence to show that this scroll is the scroll spoken of in chapter five:
(1) According to Revelation 5:3-7, when the scroll is in the hands of the Lamb, it is not yet open. In Revelation 10:2 it is in the Angel’s hand and it is open.
(2) Because in 5:1-3 the scroll is tightly sealed, nothing is said about its being large or small. In 10:2 it has been opened. One can now know what it is like and can thus say that it is a little scroll.
(3) In Revelation 10:9-10, John eats this little scroll, meaning that God has revealed the things to him.
(4) The "days" in Revelation 10:7 is "a period" in the original text. As soon as the seventh trumpet is blown, the mystery of God is over and becomes manifest. When the seventh seal is opened, the scroll is still unopened because the seventh seal produces the seventh trumpet. The seventh trumpet must first be blown before the scroll can be opened. Hence, as soon as the seventh trumpet is blown, the mystery is completed.
(5) In Revelation 10:2, 7, and 8, John foresees the scroll being opened in the vision. But this does not mean that the scroll is opened at the time of the sixth trumpet.
(6) Revelation 10:11 says to "prophesy again." From this we see that the prophecy is divided into two sections. Just as the little scroll is divided into two sections, so the prophecy of Revelation is divided into two sections. The little scroll begins to open as soon as the seventh trumpet is blown. Hence, the first section extends from the first seal to the blowing of the seventh trumpet, and the second section follows from the seventh trumpet to the new heaven and new earth. At the blowing of the seventh trumpet, there are the plagues of the seven bowls. How do we know that the second section of the little scroll not only covers the kingdom and the new heaven and new earth, but also the seven bowls? Revelation 10:10 says that as soon as John has eaten the little scroll, his stomach becomes bitter and his mouth sweet. There is bitterness as well as sweetness.
The scroll is opened only when the seventh trumpet is blown. This means that the first section of the little scroll is closed, whereas the second section is open. Consequently, the first section of this book’s prophecy is a mystery. It extends from the first seal to the blowing of the seventh trumpet, that is, from 6:1 through 11:19, because 10:7 clearly says that when the seventh trumpet is blown, the mystery of God is finished. Revelation 11:15 also says clearly that as soon as the seventh trumpet is blown, the kingdom will come. Hence, the second section is open; it extends from the seventh trumpet (yet not including the blowing of it) on through the new heaven and new earth, that is, from 12:1 through 22:21.
The judgments of the seven seals and of the seven trumpets are the procedure for opening the scroll; this brings in the kingdom and also eternity.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 16: Study on Revelation, Chapter 6, by Watchman Nee)