A “mighty angel” descends from heaven holding an open book (Revelation 10:1). I agree with Richard Bauckham’s argument (Climax of Prophecy: Studies on the Book of Revelation) that this is the same as the book opened by the Lamb.
When the book first appears, it is on the right side of the Father, the Enthronement (Revelation 5:1). The Lamb took the book, opened the seals. The angel is clearly the angel of Yahweh, Jesus in Angelic form (as the Lamb is Jesus in animal form). When He descends to the earth and sea, Jesus has the book in His right hand.
It’s moved from the Father’s right hand to the Son’s. And from there?
The right hand speaks authority, but we use our hands not only to hold but to hand off, to confer. That’s what the Father did for the Son, handing Him the book from His hand. The Father’s hand is opened so that the book may be taken; will the Son grab and grasp? Hardly: The Son does nothing but what He sees the Father doing. As soon as we see the book in the right hand of the angel, we know it will be handed off, handed on. But to whom?
The text tells us: John is offered the book, takes and eats, so that He may prophesy (10:9-11). The sequence here is what John said at the beginning: God communicate the revelation of Jesus by His angel to the bond-servant John.
The mystery of God is not accomplished when the Father hands the book to the Lamb to open. The mystery of God is accomplished also through the ministry of the Church. The mystery of God is not completed until the prophet consumes and speaks its contents; it is not completed by the descent of the Angel but only when the words of the book have become food.
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Friday, October 19, 2012 at 1:59 pm
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