This short chapter is almost like a little sidebar that is placed in the account of how God is warning on His coming judgment by sounding trumpets.
v1-4 - The mighty angel is described in amazing ways.
Among other traits, he has a face like the sun and "When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke (v3)." Imagine what that sounded like!
John is instructed not to write down what he hears.
v5-7 - The angel announces the time has come. The seven trumpets warning of God's impending wrath will transition into seven bowls of wrath poured out on the earth.
v8-11 - John is asked to take the little scroll the angel has and eat it. Commentator William Hendriksen explains this strange command this way:
Psalm 119:103 makes clear what is meant: the scroll is the Word of God, His gospel in which the mystery of salvation is set forth. That gospel is in itself glorious and sweet. But its proclamation is always followed by bitter persecution... The meaning is very clear: John must not merely understand and digest the message of the gospel; he must experience both its sweetness and the suffering, the cross-bearing, which is always the portion of those who truthfully proclaim it.
[The angel] gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion.
When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke.
And when the seven thunders spoke,
I was about to write;
but I heard a voice from heaven say,
“Seal up what the seven thunders have said
and do not write it down.”
John hears the seven thunders speak (imagine what that sounded like!), but then he's told not to write down what he heard. We have no idea what the angel said. This is critical for our interpretation of Revelation: even though this book reveals much about the future, we still don't know everything. We have to be very careful coming to hard and fast conclusions about things we are not told directly because there are facts that we do not know. Remember to stay humble as you interpret this book.
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
Psalm 119:103 (NIV)
How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
EYE FOR DETAIL— How are the angel's legs described (v1) and where were they (v2)?
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The One who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it (v6)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Though the gospel is sweeter than honey, ask God to prepare you for the pain the world will inflict upon you because of it (v9-11)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: