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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 10

Gann's Commentary on the BibleGann on the Bible

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Verse 1

Revelation 10:1

Mighty Angel With the Little Book

(The opening of the 7th seal was likewise proceeded by by two visions.)

I saw . . Notice that John is back on earth after the vision of chapters 4–5. - Utley

another mighty angel . . Many commentators understand this to be Jesus Christ. But the Greek. word translated “another” means one of the same kind, that is, a created being. This is not one of the 7 angels responsible for sounding the trumpets (Revelation 8:2), but one of the highest ranking in heaven, filled with splendor, greatness, and strength (cf. Revelation 5:2; Revelation 8:3; Revelation 18:1). - MSB

mighty angel . . Whereas a few commentators have identified this strong angel as Jesus Christ, the evidence for his being simply another (Gr. allon, another of the same kind) strong angel seems more convincing (cf. Revelation 10:5-6). Other commentators have identified him as Gabriel or Michael (cf. Daniel 8:16; Daniel 12:7), but this is only guessing. - Constable

another angel, a strong one . . is exactly like Revelation 5:2; σχυρός, “strong,” is added because of the whole appearance and the action of this angel. - Lenski

angel . . = Could it be Gabriel, or Michael? (of verse Revelation 10:6 ) Revelation 5:2 ; Revelation 18:21 ; Daniel 12:7 ; Zephaniah 1:15 ; An angel announced the 2nd Woe of Revelation 9:12; and Revelation 11:14 ; (Revelation 11:17)

coming down . . descending . . John’s visions shift between earth and the throne room in heaven. This chapter takes place on earth. - FSB

When John writes that he saw him “coming down out of the heaven,” we need only to remember that each of these visions presents all that is necessary for its purpose, and that thus there is no need to ask how John, while in spirit, could see this great angel coming down and taking his stand on sea and on earth. - Lenski

clothed with a cloud . . “Having thrown around him” (as a garment) is a passive with the accusative, which is often used with this verb, although it occurs with ν in Revelation 4:4. This perfect participle, like the other in v. 2, has its present connotation. The cloud thrown around him lends a heavenly majesty to the angel. - Lenski

wrapped in a cloud . . Recalls the Son of Man imagery from Daniel 7:13 and Rev 1 as well as the ascension scene from Acts 1:9. This angel shares similarities with the glorified Christ from Rev 1; he may serve in close proximity to the Lamb. John identifies this being as an angel. - FSB

rainbow . . Recalls God’s covenant with humankind in Genesis 9:8-17. Following the seven seals and six trumpets, this angel is a harbinger of mercy. - FSB

rainbow on his head . . = God’s assurance of justice, hope, and peace.

rainbow over his head . . This is a reminder that the enthroned God is encircled by a rainbow (Revelation 4:3), a biblical symbol of God’s covenant with humanity (Genesis 9:8-17). - NLTSB

his feet were like pillars of fire . . See Revelation 1:15. The combination of pillars of fire and cloud recalls God’s leading Israel in the exodus event (see Exodus 13:21). The exodus deliverance motif, established in ch. 8, may be hinted at here to bring hope to God’s people. - FSB

Verse 2

Revelation 10:2

a little scroll . . The diminutive term is suggestive of size, not importance. It was small enough to be consumed. - FSB

little Book . . It was not sealed like the book of Revelation 5:1 which was in the right hand . Perhaps only a "little book" of the next portion John is to see.

that was opened . . Though its contents are unknown, it is opened, suggesting the contents are not secret. - FSB

little scroll … open . . Alludes to Ezekiel 2:9-10; see Revelation 10:9 and note. May refer to the scroll that the Lamb opened in rev 6:1–8:1 or to a different scroll. - NIVZSB

The scroll is open because the Lamb has broken its seals. The scroll is little compared to the great size of the angel, whose stride spans sea and land. It will be given to John to eat and to proclaim (Revelation 10:10-11), completing the process of transmission (from God to Christ to angel to John to the churches) initiated in Revelation 5:7. - ESVSB

The little scroll in his hand must be different from the scroll Jesus Christ unrolled (rev 5:1; Revelation 6:1). John used a different and rare Greek word to describe it (biblaridion, not biblion). The tense of the Greek verb translated “was open” (perfect passive) indicates that someone had opened it and it was then open in his hand. ... (cf. Ezekiel 2:8-9 ff –Ezekiel 3:3; Jeremiah 15:15-17). - Constable

hand . . = his left hand, for he raises his right hand in an oath in Revelation 10:5 τῇ χειρὶ αὐτοῦ

sea ... earth . . = Seems to exercise command of both. Describes a colossal angel. His stance may suggest his authority as well as the universal scope of his message.

another mighty angel . . (see Revelation 5:2; Revelation 7:2; cp. Revelation 1:12-16): This angel appears similar to the huge bronze Colossus that stood as a symbol of human power in the harbor of Rhodes for several decades before it was toppled by an earthquake in the late 200s bc. The statue still lay broken at the time that John wrote Revelation. It was about 100 feet tall and represented the sun god, Helios. - NLTSB

Verse 3

Revelation 10:3

cried . .[ he gave a great shout ] . . Cp. Job 37:2-5; Psalms 18:13; Psalms 29:3-4.

lion’s roar . . The shout was likely meant to gain attention so all would hear his message (vv. Revelation 10:6-7).

as when a lion roars . . This term “roars” (mukaomai) is usually used for the voice of oxen (a low bellow). However, it seems appropriate given that this is an allusion to the OT passages where God spoke as a lion (cf. Jeremiah 25:30; Hosea 11:10; Joel 3:16; Amos 3:8). - Utley

as roar of a lion. . = terrifying and deafing. John 12:29 . When God speaks it is likened to thunder.

seven thunders utter . . These may be heavenly voices or God’s voice (compare John 12:28-29). The following verse, which indicates John was going to write down what they said, suggests that the thunder was more than just noise. - FSB

Thunder warns of coming storms, more judgments. These thunders spoke. - Constable

... it is scarcely possible to doubt that these thunders, voices from heaven, are from God, or at least directed by Him. - CBSC

Here we see that these thunders not only made a reverberating noise but also spoke something that John was about to write down. It may be possible that they spoke the same words in unison, or, as we deem less likely, that the seven spoke in succession. - Lenski

Verse 4

Revelation 10:4

seven thunders . . may be an allusion to Psalms 29:1-6.

uttered their voice . . An authoritative voice, probably belonging to God or Christ . see Revelation 10:3

I was about to write . . See Revelation 1:19. It is useless to speculate how far the book was written at the same time that the vision was seen: possibly it may have been in part, but it is enough to suppose that, having been bidden to write, the seer seemed to himself to write, or (so to speak) saw himself writing, at appropriate points of the vision. - CBSC

Seal up those things . . - 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 , (Daniel 8:26, Daniel 12:4, Daniel 12:9) As much as we would like to know what was said, there is no way. The message was sealed up. This is not to be revealed - 1 Aor. Imperative.

Apparently John used the intervals between events in his visions to write down what he had seen and heard or at least to make notes. - Constable

Seal up . . A seal would prevent disclosure.

Seal up . . John does not disclose what precisely the seven thunders said. Cf. Daniel 8:26; Daniel 12:4, Daniel 12:9; contrast Revelation 22:10. - NIVZSB

do not write . . Contrast Revelation 1:19.

There are several places in the Bible where someone has received a revelation from God but could not reveal it. Two of these are (1) Daniel (cf. Daniel 8:26; Daniel 12:4, Daniel 12:9) and (2) Paul (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:4). (3) John here in Revelation 10:4; John is told in Revelation 22:10 that the words of this prophecy are not to be sealed up.

Verse 5

Revelation 10:5

the angel . . Revelation 10:1-2; The fact that the angel took an oath and swore by God seems to confirm that he is not God.

lifted up his hand to heaven . . Read, “his right hand.” Cf. Daniel 12:7, where the angel lifts up both hands: here, his left is occupied with the book, Revelation 10:2 - CBSC

lifting up hand . . - as in an oath, his right hand, τὴν (αὐτοῦ τὴν δεξιὰν)

While raising one’s right hand is common in taking an oath today, it is rare in biblical literature (cp. Genesis 14:22; Genesis 24:9; Dan 12:7).

• When making an oath, Jews were very careful not to swear lightly by God’s name (see Exodus 20:7). Jesus also rebuked insincere oath-taking (see Matthew 5:33-37; Matthew 23:16-22). When God swore an oath, he did so in his own name as the highest possible point of reference (see Genesis 22:16; Psalms 89:35-36; Jeremiah 22:5; Hebrews 6:13-18). - NLTSB

raised up his hand . . This Gr. verb appears often in the technical sense of raising the hand to take an oath or a solemn vow (cf. Daniel 12:7; see notes on Matthew 5:33-37). The hand is raised toward heaven because that is where God dwells. The angel is taking an oath. - MSB

to heaven . . The angel makes a solemn oath and proclamation before God (see Daniel 12:7).

Verse 6

Revelation 10:6

swore . . Apparently this angel is a created being. Daniel 12:7 The angel swore to the truth of his proclamation. The oath emphasized the certainty of what he announced. What was about to happen was extremely important.

who lives for ever and ever . . Refers to God. He appealed to God as the eternal Creator who can cause whatever He pleases to happen. This appeal strengthens the force of the oath and the certainty of its outcome.

there should be time no longer . . The prayers of the saints will be answered, Revelation 6:10 ; No further delay in sounding the 7th trumpet;

Emphasizes that God will soon accomplish his purposes (cf. Daniel 12:9; Habakkuk 2:3) to vindicate his suffering people (cf Revelation 6:10-11). - NIVZSB

The angel swears that the era of God’s longsuffering, which entailed delay of his martyrs’ vindication (Revelation 6:10), will end when the last trumpet sounds. - ESVSB

should be delay no longer . . see ASV; NASB; NIV ; ISV; GW

there will be delay no longer . . This is literally “that time (chronos) no longer shall be.”

The concept of time is very fluid in this book for several reasons: (1) there are two different Greek words that express time—chronos, the passing of time (cf. Revelation 10:6) and kairos, a special time, season, or event (cf. Revelation 1:3; Revelation 11:18; Revelation 12:12, Revelation 12:14); (2) there are several idioms used: “the things which must shortly take place” (cf. Revelation 1:1; Revelation 22:6); “the time is near” (cf. Revelation 1:3; Revelation 3:11; Revelation 22:10); “I am coming quickly” (cf. Revelation 2:5, Revelation 2:16; Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:12, Revelation 22:20); “I will come like a thief” (cf. Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15). All of these speak of immediacy. However, some passages speak of a delay (cf. Revelation 6:11; Revelation 10:6; Revelation 14:13). Another idiom is that the day of judgment and rewards has arrived, “it is done” (cf. Revelation 16:17; Revelation 21:6) or “the time has come” (cf. Revelation 11:18; Revelation 20:12). - Utley

Verse 7

Revelation 10:7


(7th Trump see Revelation 11:19 )

(The voice of Revelation 10:3 ?? )

mystery of God . . = 1 Corinthians 2:7 ff; Ephesians 3:2-6 ff The mystery of how God would make JEW and GENTILE into one universal body, the Gospel.

mystery finished . . = completed, [No further revelation after AD 70]

“Mystery” implies that we ourselves do not know except by a revelation which God has supplied. - Lenski

mystery finished . . The mystery is finished (the aorist passive of teleo). Jesus had much to say in Matt 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 about the destruction of the city of Jerusalem (God’s judgment on the Jewish leaders and priests for rejecting God’s Messiah). With the coming end of the city and the nation, that prophecy was to be finished, completely filled.

mystery of God . . Whately’s paradox is hardly an exaggeration, that for “mystery” one might substitute “revelation,” without altering the sense: see on Revelation 1:20. - CBSC

mystery word study, see Bible Study Text Series, p. 120. (two senses, here #1 )

#1 The Total Christian Revelation - 1 Corinthians 2:1 ; Romans 16:25 ; Colossians 1:26; Colossians 2:2; Colossians 4:3 Ephesians 1:9 ; Ephesians 6:19 ; 1 Timothy 3:9; 1 Timothy 3:16

#2 Special Christian Doctrines - 2 Thessalonians 2:7 ; 1 Corinthians 4:1 ; 1 Corinthians 13:2 ; 1 Corinthians 14:2 ; 1 Corinthians 15:51 ; Romans 11:25

the mystery . . In the NT, a “mystery” is a truth that God concealed but has revealed through Christ and His apostles (see notes on Ephesians 3:3-5; cf. Romans 16:25).

the mystery of God . . is truth that has not been previously revealed or fulfilled, but is being revealed now (Ephesians 3:9). The phrase his servants the prophets echoes the same wording in Amos 3:7, but it probably refers to both OT and NT (Ephesians 2:20; Ephesians 4:11) prophets in this passage. - CSB

He declared to His servants . . Amos 3:7 ; Jeremiah 7:25 ; Jeremiah 25:4 ( 1 Corinthians 1:8)

the prophets . . While generally referring to the ot prophets, this may be a reference to prophets of the gospel (compare Revelation 11:18). Either association is possible if the mystery is related to the kingdom (see Amos 3:7). - FSB

the prophets . . who served God in the past warned that the day of the Lord would come (see Joel 2:1-3, 10–11; Amos 5:18-20; Zephaniah 1:14-18). - NLTSB

Verse 8

Revelation 10:8

the voice which I heard from heaven, I heard again . . There has been much speculation about the identification of the speaker. Some have asserted that it is God, or Christ, or the Holy Spirit, or one of the powerful angels. - Utley

spake unto me again . . The true reading is scarcely grammatical, but must mean “[I heard] again speaking unto me.” - CBSC

take . . 2Aorist, Imperative

This is the same voice that forbade John to write what the seven thunders uttered ( Revelation 10:4) and now again gives him directions. παγε is exclamatory (R. 855) and is often used with other imperatives (R. 449) for the purpose of intensification just as we say, “go do this or that.” John is to go and to take the booklet that is in the angel’s hand. Once more it is noted that this booklet is open. - Lenski

take the opened scroll . . Unlike the scroll in ch. 5 (which could only be opened by the Lamb), this scroll is already open, and John is allowed to take it. - FSB

little book . . Revelation 10:2

Verse 9

Revelation 10:9

I went . . Apparently from his place in heaven to the earth: but there are difficulties in tracing coherently the changes in the point of view. - CBSC

It was not necessary for John to move from heaven to earth, between the sea and the earth, in order to get this book. - Lenski

angel . . = Revelation 10:1.

and said unto him, Give me, &c. . . Read, ’saying unto him that he should give me. ’ - CBSC

little book . . = scroll;

he said . . the angel,

eat it . . = Ezekiel 2:9-10 ; Ezekiel 3:1-3 ; Jeremiah 15:15-16 (the Greek κατάφαγε, “eat it down”)

Take and eat it . . By eating the scroll, John can speak the very words of God (Revelation 10:11). In Ezekiel, the prophet is also told to consume a scroll (the words of God) in order to make them known (compare Ezekiel 2:9 –3:4). - FSB

Take it and eat it’ ” This is an allusion to Ezekiel 2:8 –3:14 or Jeremiah 15:16-17.

This symbolizes being commissioned to speak God’s message. The little book symbolizes God’s message which contains both assurance to believers (honey, cf. Psalms 19:10-11; Psalms 119:103) and judgment to unbelievers (bitter). This scroll is not the same as the one that Jesus opened in chapter 6. This refers to the message from the almighty angel (cf. Revelation 10:7-11). - Utley

book = About judgment upon Jerusalem: Bitter because John was Jewish, Sweet because he was a Christian.

bitter . . - Oh that Israel might be saved - Romans 9:4 ; Romans 10:1

Like in Ezek ch. 2 & 3, Israel was rebellious to the end. Ezekiel 2:3 ff ; Ezekiel 3:1 ff

bitter . . The scroll is bitter or sour because it contains God’s judgments. - FSB

As in Ezekiel’s experience, the scroll tasted sweet in the mouth (Ezekiel 3:1-3; see Jeremiah 15:16; see also Psalms 19:10; Psalms 119:103). The experiences yet to come for God’s people would be sweet, including the victory of God’s plan and the vindication of his people. John’s sour stomach resembles the effects of Ezekiel’s hard message for Israel (Ezekiel 3:8-9). The process of bringing God’s plan to fruition involves hardship. - NLTSB

sweet as honey . . The scroll is also sweet because it contains God’s words (see Psalms 19:10; Psalms 119:103). - FSB

Verse 10

Revelation 10:10

Then I took . . John obeys his commission, internalizes God’s word, - NIVZSB

John may have actually eaten the little book or he may have only devoured it metaphorically. This revelation was pleasant at first because it was a revelation from God (cf. Ps. 119:103). - Constable

John taking the open scroll from the hand of the angel represents delegated authority, even as it did when the Lamb (Christ) took the unopened scroll from God the Father in Revelation 5:7. For John to eat the scroll recalls Ezekiel being commanded to do the same thing (Ezekiel 3:1-3). - CSB

sweet -- bitter . . eating the book = Ezekiel 3:1-3 ; Jeremiah 15:15-16

The fact that the sweetness is now mentioned before the bitterness is due only to the fact that in eating the mouth comes first. Κοιλία is the abdominal cavity with its various organs: “belly,” and, when eating is referred to, the belly as containing the stomach. - Lenski

sourstomach . . resembles the effects of Ezekiel’s hard message for Israel (Ezekiel 3:8-9).

It is not John who uses this symbolism as though John borrows from Ezek. 2:8–3:3; it is the strong angel who borrows from Ezekiel. Yet in the case of Ezekiel there was no bitterness in the belly. Here, as elsewhere, the Old Testament features are exceeded, and it is unwarranted to say that John used literary sources as though Revelation is a composition that was devised by John’s own mind. - Lenski

Verse 11

Revelation 10:11

he said to me . . ( they said to me) The powerful angel or the Triune God is affirming John as prophetic recorder and spokesman. - Utley

Some simply translate this "I was told." RSVA, NIV, ESV

The indefinite plural λέγουσι, “they say to me,” hides the speakers just as the passive does in many cases, and just as John’s statement does: “I heard a voice saying” (v. 4 and 8). - Lenski

“They” . . may refer to God or Jesus Christ (vv. Revelation 10:4, Revelation 10:8) and the strong angel (v. Revelation 10:9). Many interpreters, however, believe this is a third person plural of indefinite reference that expresses reverentially the divine prompting that John experienced (cf. Revelation 12:6; Revelation 13:16; Revelation 1:1). - Constable

prophesy again . . A call for John to warn men about the bitter judgment in the seventh trumpet and the 7 bowls. peoples, nations, tongues, and kings. See note on Revelation 7:9. - MSB

prophesy again . . This could be another indication of an early date for the book of Revelation.

Thou must prophesy again . . Here is the clear indication that John survived the Patmos revelation.

He survived the castastrophe of Jerusalem, to go among the nations, peoples, tongues, kings, proclaiming the passing away of the old things of Judaism and the end of the old system, preaching again the word that concerns the people of all nations. He would himself fulfill Matthew 24:31. - Wallace

prophesy again . . Some believe this refers to the latter part of Revelation (Rev 12–22). (FSB,

prophesy again . . To preach to people, nations, tongues and kings. (f John is only in his 60’s this may be expected, but it is more difficult to imagine of a man 96 years plus !? The reply would probably be that John did so through his book "Revelation".

about . . Unlike Ezekiel, who prophesied for Israel alone, John must prophesy about (or against) all the people of the world. There is debate whether “about” or “against” is the best translation; “about” allows for both promise and judgment (see both at 21:24–27). - NLTSB

many peoples and nations and tongues and kings . . This terminology is used of both unbelievers (cf. Revelation 11:9; Revelation 13:7-8; Revelation 14:6; Revelation 17:15) and believers (i.e. before Judgment Day cf. Revelation 7:9; Revelation 15:4 and after Judgment Day cf. Revelation 21:24, Revelation 21:26; Revelation 22:2). This verse could refer to preaching the gospel (cf. Revelation 10:11; Revelation 14:6) to all nations (cf. Matthew 24:14; Mark 13:10) or the prediction of further temporal judgments of the wrath of God. - Utley

Reiterates John’s prophetic calling (cf. Revelation 1:19). many peoples. Stresses the universal scope of John’s witness, recalling Jeremiah’s calling as “a prophet to the nations” who is given authority “over nations and kingdoms” (Jeremiah 1:5, 10). The nations must worship God and the Lamb (Revelation 5:9; Revelation 7:9-10; Revelation 15:4; Revelation 21:24); those who ally with Babylon will face divine wrath (Revelation 11:18; Revelation 14:8-10). - NIVZSB

Before peoples, nations, tongues and kings . . To apply the expression prophesy again to the further things in the Revelation does not fit the language used by the angel, before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. The statement is comparable to the words of Jesus to Saul on the Damascus road in that commission to be executed by Paul, the apostle, recorded in Acts 9:15 :

Furthermore, to make prophesy again mean to continue what he was then doing, and in the same way, would be a disregard for proper use and meaning of words. The passage indicates that John left the scene of these visions and became an active evangelist in many countries, among many peoples and tongues. - Wallace

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Revelation 10". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/revelation-10.html. 2021.
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