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Bible Commentaries

Hamilton Smith's Writings

Revelation 10

Verses 1-11

9 The Witnesses of God (Rev_10-11:18)

With the tenth chapter we reach a pause in the prophecy of the seven trumpet judgments in order that there may be brought before us the ways of God in maintaining a witness for Christ in connection with the earth during the solemn period of the sixth trumpet, or second woe, judgment. This parenthetical portion closes with the statement in Rev 11:14 that "the second woe is past, and behold the third woe comes quickly." This surely indicates that the events described in this portion take place during the second woe, and are immediately followed by the third woe, or seventh trumpet judgment. From the details given in this passage we shall see that the events recorded take place during the period of three and a half years that immediately precede the coming of Christ to claim His earthly kingdom.

(V. 1) The passage opens with a vision of a "mighty angel come down from heaven." From the description that follows we shall surely be right in concluding that in this mighty angel we have a presentation of Christ. He is clothed with a cloud that so often, in Scripture, betokens the Divine Presence. The rainbow that in Rev 4:3 was seen round about the throne is now upon the head of this angel, and sets forth that this is the One through whom God's covenant of mercy with the earth will be carried out. His face like the sun reminds us that in this Person all the glory of God will be set forth and supreme authority displayed. His feet as pillars of fire would indicate that He is treading a path of holy judgment against sin.

(V. 2) In His hand He held "a little book open." From the verses that follow we may infer that the open book refers to the prophecies of the Old Testament, which have been plainly revealed, in contrast to the book with the seven seals that foretells things not disclosed in Old Testament days.Revelation 10 is deeply significant and full of instruction. John is told to take the little open book and "eat it up," and that, so doing, he would find it bitter to his belly, but sweet as honey in his mouth. Does this not set forth the fact that the truth of all that God is to bring in - the unfolding of coming glories - is indeed sweet to our taste, but it involves the setting aside of the flesh, and the utter judgment of all that the flesh lusts after? We have to discover that as believers the flesh is still in us, and hence the truth, however sweet to the taste, involves bitter exercises as it discovers to us the true character of our own hearts. It is necessary not only that we should judge the world around us, but that we also should judge the flesh within us; for if we judge ourselves we shall not be judged. When we have judged the flesh the Lord can use us as witnesses to others, even as John, having passed through these exercises, is told, "Thou must prophesy again as to peoples, and nations, and tongues, and many kings." Isaiah, in his day, had to learn the bitterness of his own visions. In Revelation 6 he sees a vision of the whole earth filled with the glory of the LORD. Surely a sweet foretaste of blessing and glory to come: but immediately he says, "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips." This is the bitter exercise that the word produces as it discovers to him the character of his own heart. But when all is owned he at once finds it is met by a coal from off the altar. So when we discover and own what we are, we find that all has been met by the One that died for us. Having been cleansed by sacrifice Isaiah is the very one that the LORD can send with a message to others (Isa 6:3-10).

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Bibliographical Information
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Revelation 10". "Hamilton Smith's Writings". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hsw/revelation-10.html. 1832.