Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. I saw another mighty Angel. Some expound it of Christ himself: others of an Angel, representing the power of God over the sea and land. (Witham)
Ver. 3. Seven thunders uttered their voice, to signify the following approaching evils, which St. John is ordered not to write down, though they were shewn to him; and if he was not to write them, even in such a mystical and prophetical manner as he wrote the other things, who can pretend to know any thing of them? (Witham)
Ver. 4. And when the seven thunders had, &c. St. John is not permitted to write, but ordered to seal up the things which the seven thunders had spoken; which circumstance seems to insinuate, that the things spoken by the seven thunders were seven particulars of antichrist’s persecution, as the word thunder is generally used in the Apocalypse to denote some disaster; and these seven particulars being most dreadful and severe, the Almighty chose to have them sealed up, or kept concealed, lest the foreknowledge of them should too much terrify and damp the human mind.
Ver. 5-6. The Angel….swore….that time shall be no longer. This seems to favour very much the exposition of those interpreters who think that all these things are not to be fulfilled till some short time before the end of the world. Others (of which see Alcazar, &c.) take this to be a prediction of the ruin and destruction of the Jews, particularly under the emperor Adrian. Others (see the bishop of Meaux[Bossuet]) understand by this, that the time was approaching when God, by his judgments, would put an end to the idolatry and heathen worship of pagan Rome, and that his providence would make the Christian faith triumph over all its adversaries, and his Church flourish, as foretold by the ancient prophets; that is, this should come to pass when the seventh Angel should sound his trumpet. (Witham)
Ver. 7. Declared. Literally, evangelized, to signify the good tidings, agreeable to the gospel, of the final victory of Christ, and of that eternal life which should be the reward of the temporal sufferings of the servants of God. (Challoner)
Ver. 9-10. Take the book, and devour it. See Ezechiel ii. and iii. It was sweet in my mouth; I was delighted to read and hear the victories and glory of God’s faithful servants; but it became bitter in my belly, when I considered the judgments of God upon so many sinners, who by their own wilful blindness were lost for eternity. (Witham) — This mysterious book, presented to St. John precisely between the sound of the sixth and seventh trumpet, or rather between the irruption announced at the sound of the sixth trumpet, and the persecution which is then to follow and to precede the sound of the seventh trumpet, appears to represent the book of the gospel, which shall be given to the Jews at the end of the sixth age of the Church. This book will be then to them full of sweetness, because they will see in it the tender love of Jesus Christ; but at the same time it will cause bitterness, because they will see in it with grief their infidelity and that of their fathers. (Bible de Vence)
Ver. 11. Thou must prophesy again: we may understand what still follows in this Apocalypse, or his gospel written afterwards, or his preaching and instructing the Asiatic Churches. (Witham)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The cry of a mighty Angel: he gives John a book to eat.
1 And I saw another mighty Angel come down from heaven clothed with a cloud, and a rainbow upon his head, and his face was as the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire;
2 And he had in his hand a little book, open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot upon the land:
3 And he cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth. And when he had cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices.
4 And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying to me: Seal up the things which the seven thunders have spoken: and write them not.
5 *And the Angel whom I saw standing upon the sea, and upon the land, lifted up his hand to heaven:
6 And he swore by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things which are therein; and the earth, and the things which are therein; and the sea, and the things which are therein: That time shall be no longer:
7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh Angel, when he shall begin to sound the trumpet, the mystery of God shall be finished, as he hath declared by his servants, the prophets.
8 And I heard a voice from heaven speaking to me again, and saying: Go, and take the book, that is open, from the hand of the Angel standing upon the sea, and upon the land.
9 And I went to the Angel, saying unto him, that he should give me the book. And he said to me: *Take the book and devour it: and it shall make thy belly bitter, but in thy mouth it shall be sweet as honey.
10 And I took the book from the hand of the Angel, and devoured it: and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and when I had devoured it, my belly was bitter:
11 And he said to me: Thou must prophesy again to many nations, and peoples, and tongues, and to kings.
5: Daniel ii. 7.
9: Ezechiel i. 1.