The Revelation of John: Chapter 10

17 Jul

I am continuing on with Revelation. In this series I have been comparing John’s vision with books with similar prophecies, such as Daniel, as well as section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which gives interpretations to a selected portion of the images of the Revelation. I also rely heavily on the Joseph Smith Translation (JST – given in red).

See also chapter one,  two, three, four, five, first five seals, Sixth Seal I, Sixth Seal II, Seventh Seal Opens, First Four Trumpets, Fifth Trumpet, Sixth Trumpet

Chapter 10

This chapter is somewhat odd. I am not sure it is continues the sixth trumpet, or if it is a side note inserted at this time. However, the symbolism is even more bizarre.

In the first verse John sees a new angel appear. This is a “mighty angel” that is “clothed with a cloud.” The rest of the description seems to simply be describing the glory, or possibly the power of the angel. He wears a rainbow on his head; his face shines like the sun; and his feet are like fire. These symbols are common symbols of glory and power. What isn’t so common is what is said in the second verse; that that this angel stands with “his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth” showing power over the entire planet.

This is one awesome angel, and to stand in his presence would be something indeed. But who is he?

If we look at the foot notes we are referred to Doctrine and Covenants section 88. In this section is revealed the events that comprise the second coming. Important to our discussion is that fact that seven angels will sound their trumps as part of these events. In verse 110 we read “the seventh angel…shall stand forth upon the land and upon the sea, and swear in the name of him who sitteth upon the throne, that there shall be time no longer.” Note that the seventh angel stands on the land and the sea, just as the angel that John saw.

Also, the angel that John saw “lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer” (v. 5-6). Again strikingly similar to what we read in D&C 88: 110. It seems to me that these two scriptures speak of the same angel.

So, if we look at D&C 88: 112 we read “Michael, the seventh angel, even the archangel,” which tells us that this angel that John saw was the archangel Michael. We learn from D&C 27:11 that Michael is none other than Adam, the first man, who is also called the Ancient of Days.

It would make sense that Michael would give this commission to John, as we are told that God has “given unto him the keys of salvation under the counsel and direction of the Holy One” (D&C 78: 16).

There are a few other things in this chapter that are interesting. This angel, or Michael, when he first appeared “cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices” (v. 3). Now, John was forbidden to write what the thunders said, but let us look again at D&C 88. In verses 108-110 we are told that the seven angels “sound [their trumps] in the ears of all living, and reveal the secret acts of men, and the mighty works of God” in each of the first six millenniums of earth’s history, with the seventh declaring the end of the work. We have seen the parallels in the description of the seventh angel, so can we not be confident in thinking that what John heard was this great revelation of all the acts of men and God in the history of the world?

A final event of this chapter is the little open book that the angel was carrying (v. 2). John tells us that he was told to “Go and take the little book” from the angel (v. 8). When he did the angel told him to “Take it, and eat it up” (v. 9) which John did. John also tells us that “it was in [his] mouth sweet as honey” but after eating it his “belly was bitter.” (v. 10) The the angel says “Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” (v. 11)

What does all this mean? In D&C 77: 14 we read that the book “was a mission, and an ordinance, for him to gather the tribes of Israel” and John is named as Elias. There are some interesting points here.

  1. The book was open, indicating that John was given a full understanding of the mission he was being called to.
  2. John ate the book, showing that he accepted it as part of him and his life.
  3. The taste was sweet, which tells us that the calling itself was something to cherish.
  4. It was bitter in the belly, showing that the mission would be fraught will trials and difficulties that would try the soul.

Now, considering that this is during the sixth trumpet, and thus in the last days (whether part of the sixth trump or incidental to it doesn’t matter) one might reasonably ask how John would again prophecy before nations and kings?

We read in D&C 7: 1-3 that John did not die, but was granted “power over death, that [he] may live and bring souls unto [Christ].” So, John has been on the Earth for 2000 years. According to John Whitmer’s account of a conference of the Church in June 1831, “the Spirit of the Lord fell upon Joseph in an unusual manner, and he prophesied that John the Revelator was then among the Ten Tribes of Israel who had been led away by Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, to prepare them for their return from their long dispersion, to again possess the land of their fathers” (History of the Church, 1:176 footnote 4).

 

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