Saturday, January 7, 2012

Revelation 10 - Big angel, little scroll

Whew, haven't written for a while. Too busy with all my New Year's Resolutions! At this rate I won't finish my "one year bible blog" until early February. Oh well - that's as good a time as any to end one season and begin another, I guess.

So. Revelation 10. There's a big angel who stands (sort of) like the Colossus of Rhodes with one foot on land and the other in the ocean. There's a voice of seven thunders who speaks "off the record" as far as John is concerned - don't write it down, don't print it; or rather the information it shares is "embargoed until a later date" when "the mystery of God is about to be accomplished" as the seventh angel is about to blow his trumpet. I think this voice is the judgement voice of God majestic, mysterious, the One who glows like jasper and carnelion on the throne. He 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, and the sea and all that is in it" (vs. 6).

As for the little scroll - John is told to swallow it, and is warned that it will taste like honey going down but will then turn his stomach sour. John obeys and bears witness to the truth of the warning. And then he is told he must prophesy about nations, peoples, etc. Best guess is that this refers to the mountaintop-valley experience of hearing from God (honey) and then having to tell it to scoffers (sour), or to the two Gandalf-like witnesses of Rev. 11 doing God's miraculous will (honey) before being killed by the Balrog (sour). Or both.

Death can quickly turn what was the sweetness of life into stomach-knotting sourness. Death of a person, death of a false self-image or image of another. Not to get too carried away with Tolkien, but when Gandalf died, the mantle of leading the Fellowship fell to Aragorn, whose Elven name is Estel: "hope". Amid all death, my hope is Jesus. Now, as I die daily to self through his teaching, example and power, and in eternity, before the eternal carnelian throne as the worthy Lamb that was slain for my sins.

And what's with these angels, anyway? To quote the Sundance Kid: "who ARE those guys?" No wonder the psalmist sometimes refers to them as "gods", in the sense of having some of the superhuman characteristics of pantheon of non-Jewish antiquity. Unlike these false gods - themselves perhaps fallen angels longing to exalt themselves over the Most High - they refuse adoration. C.S. Lewis in "Out of the Silent Planet" posited that angels are beings from unfallen planets, come to serve God in the Great Work of Souls on earth. I think of Mars and other inhabitable planets whose atmospheres have been torn away like a scroll and are subject to raging winds from the four corners of the planet, and wonder: are they post-Judgement planets? Are the angels the faithful beings from those places, now serving us at His command? And - will I someday be an "angel" (for that is what Gandalf was if you look hard enough in the Tolkien cosmology) sent to minister on one of the "billyuns and billyuns" planets throughout the universe - part of the Great Work of the Redemption of All Creation for which my everyday "yes" to God is preparing me, even now?

I don't know. Perhaps I will, when the mystery of God is accomplished and the seventh trumpet is blown,. This I DO know - Father God cherishes my every free gift of obedience and love.

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