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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 10

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

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Verses 1-11

Revelation 10:1 . And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven. Sir Isaac Newton says, a created angel, because he does not swear by himself. But it must be recollected that Christ assumes different characters in addressing the seven churches, conformably to the mediatorial duties which devolved upon him. He is here represented as being clothed with a cloud, having a rainbow upon his head, his face like the brightness of the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire; all denoting the presence of the deity. Ezekiel 1:28. Revelation 4:3.

Revelation 10:2 . He had in his hand a little book open. The parchment unfolded for reading, a book of prophecies which he came to illustrate by their accomplishment. And he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left on the earth, as the Lord of the sea and of the dry land. Elsewhere, the church is described as the foundation, and the fluctuating nations are called “the multitude of the waters.”

Revelation 10:3 . And he cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth. The wrath of a king is as the roaring of a lion; the seven thunders also from the clouds responded in succession to the terror of his words, the thunderbolts of Jehovah to be hurled against his foes.

Revelation 10:4 . Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. Daniel was likewise commanded to seal up the vision of the evening and the morning, because it was for many days: Daniel 8:26. St. Paul, speaking of the Man of sin, says with great delicacy, “Only he [the Roman power] that now letteth, will let, until he be taken out of the way. Then shall that wicked One be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume.”

2 Thessalonians 2:7-8. Nevertheless, the secret of the Lord is with those that fear him. Paul, and the other apostles, had a perfect idea of the burning of Jerusalem, and of the dispersion of the jews. To guess at those seven thunderbolts is too assuming in short-sighted mortals: conjectures are irrelevant.

Revelation 10:5-6 . And the angel lifted up his hand to heaven; the attitude of swearing among all nations. Psalms 63:4. He swore by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, the earth, and the seas, that time should be no longer; that he would bear no longer with the fourth monarchy, the bloody and idolatrous Rome, as described by the prophet in three distinct visions. Daniel 2:40-45; Daniel 7:23; Daniel 8:23-26.

Now, as the Messiah was pleased to uplift the curtains of the future to the beloved Daniel, and after showing him the wars and afflictions of the church for more than a thousand years, it was proper that the same angel of the covenant, the Lord Christ, should come again, and confirm the truth of prophecy by a dissolution of this fourth empire, and break off the clay which gave shape and figure to the ten iron toes of the image, and then divide his empire into ten kingdoms. Thus would he cheer the saints with the assurance, that in the midst of those wars and desolations, “the God of heaven would set up an everlasting kingdom, which should not be left to other people.”

Nor should it escape remark, that while the false prophets in Judah were auguring eternal glory to their temple, and Jeremiah was denouncing its ruin: so now, while all the poets were flattering Rome with an uninterrupted succession of glory, this great Angel of the church was repeating his oath, that the time of the Roman power should be no longer. Daniel 12:7.

Hæc erit æternæ series ab origine Romæ.

Martial burns incense at the same shrine, calling Rome an earthly goddess, and promising her perpetuity of glory.

Terrarum DEA, gentiumque Roma, Cui par est nihil, et nihil secundum. Epigr. lib. 12. ep. 8.

I am quite surprised at Mr. Lowman’s translation of the Greek, “that the time shall not be yet!” I can find no version, nor gloss, that supports such a reading. It diverts the oath from the dissolution of the fourth empire, to the establishment of the fifth monarchy, the kingdom of Christ.

Revelation 10:8-10 . The little book take and eat it up. Let the prophecies and the promises be the food of thy soul by day, and thy meditation by night. Love the holy scriptures, as Jerome says, and wisdom will love thee. It shall be sweet in thy mouth as the delicious fruits of the tree of life. But bitter in thy belly [stomach] when called to prophesy in sackcloth, and fight with the horned lamb. Surely no scientific man would translate κοιλια , and בשׂן beten, Ezekiel 3:3, by any word but that of stomach, where the food is received.

Revelation 10:11 . He said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples and nations. The fall of the old empire and the rise of the new kingdoms must not interrupt the ministry, how much soever it may be inconvenienced by the catastrophes of war. Christianity will conquer the conquering Goths, and make them the best of christians. Tell thy successors to be strong in the Lord, and that all the barbarians of the north will be converted, and build churches and temples surpassing in architecture the pride of the Greeks. This amiable philosophy will soften their ferocious manners, and in the latter day, cause wars to cease to the ends of the earth.


The Lord Christ having opened the sealed book, the little open book is brought to John by an angel; for the gospel is open to all that hear. He must eat it as Ezekiel did. This book was sweet as honey to the taste, gathered from the flowers of paradise, but it was bitter in the belly when persecution comes, and when exile and martyrdom follow for the testimony of Jesus. This prophecy could not be for John himself to preach the gospel before many nations, for he was now old: and it could not properly, as Dr. Allix suggests in Whiston, refer to the times of the emperors, for then there were only governors or viceroys. It must therefore refer to the times of antichrist, when the empire contained many kings.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Revelation 10". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/revelation-10.html. 1835.
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