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1 And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:
Ver. 1. Come down from heaven ] Not from the bottomless pit, as Antichrist, that opposite to Christ’s unction and function. Christ cometh down from heaven, 1. By the assumption of our nature. 2. By the preaching of his word. 3. By punishing his enemies. 4. By relieving and delivering his people; and in this last sense chiefly it is here to be understood.
Clothed with a cloud ] Not yet so clearly to be seen and enjoyed by his as when he shall come in the clouds.
A rainbow upon his head ] The effect of the sun shining against a cloud, and is Nuncius foederis et serenitatis, the angel of God’s covenant, and of fair weather.
His feet as pillars of fire ] His meanest members stand out the hottest persecutions. Or, he will burn up his enemies as chaff and stubble.
2 And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth,
Ver. 2. A little book open ] The Bible translated and explained. It is called a great roll, written with the pen of a man, that is, clearly, that the simplest of men may conceive it, Isaiah 8:1 ; Deuteronomy 30:11 . But it is little in comparison to the volumes of school doctors and popish decretals, a wherewith the world was pestered, when the Bible lay locked up and obscured. We may well say of it as St Bartholomew (quoted by Dionysius) said of divinity, και πολλην και ελαχιστην , that in sundry respects it is both a little and a great book. This book Christ held open to his; though Antichrist hid it and shut it up in an unknown tongue for a long while. He was to them as a little sanctuary, Ezekiel 11:16 .
He set his right foot upon the sea ] As Lord of sea and land, defy all heretics and Antichrists that sought to throw him out of possession. Neither the beast that ariseth out of the sea nor the other that ariseth out of the earth shall be able to do it.
a A papal decree or decretal epistle; a document issued by a Pope, containing a decree or authoritative decision on some point of doctrine or ecclesiastical law. ŒD
3 And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.
Ver. 3. As when a lion roareth ] Gr. μυκαται , loweth like an ox, mugit for rugit. See here an ox in a lion, mildness mixed with fierceness. Satis est prostrasse Leoni. This Lion preys not upon the prostrate. Non mihi placet vindicta sed victoria, It is not appropiate for me to seek vengence but victory, said Caesar. So may Christ, I seek not revenge but victory.
Seven thunders uttered their voices ] As the echo of Christ’s loud voice. No sooner had he spoken, but great was the company of preachers, Psalms 68:11 , sons of thunder, who should speak powerfully, prophesy and cry down superstitious worships and heretical doctrines before peoples, nations, tongues, and kings, Revelation 10:11 ; of this chapter. This was fulfilled in Wycliffe, Huss, Luther, Lambert, and other heroic reformers. Confer Amos 3:7-8 .
4 And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.
Ver. 4. Had uttered their voices ] Not audible only, but articulate; so as what John heard and was much affected. Nescio quid divinum in auscultatione eat: there is no small efficacy in a lively voice to work upon the heart. (Diestius.) In Demosthene aliquid deest Demosthenis, quando legitur non auditur. (Val. Max.)
Seal up these things ] viz. Till the time appointed. SeeDaniel 8:26; Daniel 8:26 ; Daniel 12:9 . Or, for that the things were the secrets of God’s kingdom,Matthew 13:10-17; Matthew 13:10-17 , not fit or possible to be revealed, 2 Corinthians 12:4 .
5 And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven,
Ver. 5. Lifted up his hand ] And so swore solemnly,Genesis 14:22; Genesis 14:22 ; Numbers 14:30 ; Ezekiel 20:5 . Because it seemed improbable (if not impossible) that ever Babylon should down, Rome be ruined. But all the judgments in the Revelation (those of the seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven vials) are still upon Rome pagan, Christian, and Antichristian. We may therefore conclude with that emperor of Germany, Frederic II,
" Roma diu titubans, variis erroribus acta
Gorruet, et mundi desinet esse caput. "
"Rome tottering long, shall once be shattered,
And of the world shall cease to be the head."
6 And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:
Ver. 6. That there should be time no longer ] i.e. The beast’s time shall be no longer, but till the days of the seventh trumpet, which were shortly then approaching. Or there shall be now no longer delay or protraction of time.
7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
Ver. 7. The mystery of God ] The conversion of the Jews, called a mystery, Romans 11:25 , the bringing in of the Gentiles’ fulness,Ephesians 3:3-4; Ephesians 3:3-4 ; Ephesians 3:6 , the kingdom of the saints of the most high,Daniel 7:18; Daniel 7:18 , then when all the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord Jesus Christ, Revelation 11:15 .
8 And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.
Ver. 8. In the hand of the angel which standeth ] This description of Christ is here purposely repeated, that we may learn to trust in his power and fly to his wisdom, as Agur did, Proverbs 30:1-2 , for the understanding of divine mysteries.
9 And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it , and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.
Ver. 9. Give me the little book ] Let preachers ply the throne of grace, if ever they will preach to purpose. Bene orasse, est bene studuisse, said Luther. Three things make a preacher, reading, prayer, and temptation. He that will understand God’s riddles must plough with this heifer, the Spirit, which is not given but to them that ask it.
And eat it up ] By reading and meditation; ministers must so devour and digest the Holy Scriptures, that as good scribes they may draw out new and old for the use of the Church upon all occasions. Jacobus de Voragine was so called, quod esset veluti vorago bibliorum, because he as it were devoured the Bible. (Alsted. Chron.) So Petrus Comestor for the same reason. Joannes Gatius, a Sicilian, was so well versed in the Scriptures, and so great a divine, that he once said, Si libri sacri perirent, se per Dei gratiam restiturum, That if the Bible were lost out of the world, he could restore it: Some think that Ezra did so after the Babylonish captivity, but I cannot think so. (Vide Pareum in Gen. Proleg.)
10 And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.
Ver. 10. Sweet as honey ] The word is so to the spiritual palate; whereas to the carnal it relisheth no better than the white of an egg or a dry chip. Luther said he would not live in paradise without the word; at cum verbo etiam in inferno facile eat vivere, but with the word he could live even in hell itself. See Psalms 19:10 ; Psalms 119:103 ; Jeremiah 15:16 .
My belly was bitter ] By reason of the trials and tribulations that usually follow upon the faithful preaching of the word. Opposition is Evangelii genius, saith Calvin. And, Praedicare est nihil aliud quam derivare in se furorem mundi, saith Luther; To preach is to get the ill-will of the world.
11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
Ver. 11. Thou must prophesy ] For all the sorrow, thou and thy successors must set close to the Lord’s work, for the regaining of those peoples, nations, &c., whom Antichrist hath enslaved. Or thus: Thou must prophesy, that is, before the time of fulfilling of all things, this book of the Revelation shall be made as clear as if John were come to prophesy again before men, and to give us a revelation of his Revelation, according to Isaiah 30:26 . (Mr Burr, on Hosea.)
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 13 / Ordinary 18