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Bible Commentaries

Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NT

Revelation 10

Verse 1

Introduction

There was a pause after the sixth seal. Paul Rogers wrote, “This chapter was written to assure the faithful that the hour for the final woe has come and the mystery must be fulfilled. Just as there is a pause between the opening of the sixth and seventh seals to heighten expectancy, so now there is an interlude between the blowing of the sixth and seventh trumpets. During the pause two events take place, the presentation of the little book and the ministry of the two witnesses. There is no corresponding interlude between the sixth and sevenths bowls.” (3, 44)

1 I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire.

A. A mighty angel comes from heaven. The angel is “mighty” showing that this angel has great strength. There are four symbols used to describe this angel.

B. Cloud - Commentaries are in great disagreement as to the meaning of the cloud. Some believe it could symbolize the coming of God as he did in Psa_104:3 . Jesus left this earth with clouds and will return in clouds. Some believe that the mighty angel is one of the archangels - Michael or Gabriel.

C. Rainbow - From the time of Noah and the flood, the rainbow has represented the promise of God. God made a promise and the rainbow is the sign of that covenant.

D. Face like the sun - Jesus is the light of the world. ( Joh_8:12 ) Jesus came to bring light to a dark world. The gospel is the light of life. This symbol is used in 1:16 to describe Jesus.

E. Feet like pillars of fire - With one foot on the sea and one on land, showing that all mankind is involved. Fire is often a symbol of passion, fervor, and zeal. The fire represents the burning message of the gospel.

Verse 2

2 He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land,

A. In his hand was a “little book open.” Several comments are needed here.

B. Little book - Most commentators believe this is not the size of the volume, but the simplicity of the message. This is NOT a big, difficult, hard to understand book. It is little, small, and easy to learn the message from God.

C. Open - The Word of God is always open. The invitation of the gospel is not closed. I have aided people in obeying the gospel at all hours of the day and night. At worship services we extend a formal invitation, but responding to the gospel call is not limited to those moments.

D. This little book is the gospel , the New Testament. Here are some reasons I reach this conclusion.

1. The book is always open. The Gospel is always open to all who will obey it.

2. John was told to “take” the book. It is not thrust on anyone. They must choose to take it.

3. John was instructed to “eat” the book. The Bible cannot be just read. It must be chewed, swallowed, and digested.

4. After eating the book, John was told to prophesy. A prophet is one who speaks the message of God. John has eaten the book. Now, he can speak. Before a preacher or teacher can teach the Word, it must be studied, and digested.

5. This book is called the “mystery of God” in verse 7.

Verses 3-4

3 and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices. 4 Now when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them.”

A. The angel cries with a loud voice. The sound was like a lion roaring. Then seven thunders utter their voices. John is about to record what he has heard from the seven thunders. A voice from heaven told John not to write. They were to be sealed, kept secret, not revealed.

B. There has been much speculation about the reasons for keeping this information sealed. Many have also tried to speculate about the content of these seven thunders. There is simply no way for us to know what the thunders said. There is no information given on that subject.

C. However, there are some logical guesses about why they were sealed and not revealed to us. Since the little book is the New Testament, the gospel of Christ, the will of God is complete. We do not need this information to obey God, serve God and live eternally with Him.

D. NOTE: There are many things of curiosity, things we wonder about, things we would like to know, but are not needed for us to please God. God did not reveal ALL THINGS to us. He did reveal all things that pertain to life and godliness. ( 2Pe_1:3 )

Verses 5-6

5 The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand to heaven 6 and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer,

A. The mighty angel lifts his hand toward heaven and swears by the God of heaven. God is the one who created all things. Therefore, when all things are about to end, God is the one to whom the angel speaks.

B. The message is simple: “Time will be no longer.”

C. Our ability to measure time is based upon the solar system. We measure days as the earth rotates; we measure months by the orbit of the moon; we measure a year by the earth’s orbit of the sun. When the sun, moon and earth are burned up, there will be no time. We will lose all sense of days, months and years. Eternity for Christians is only one day long. There is no night there. We will never enter the second day of heaven.

D. There will come a point where the time of opportunity will end. The little book will be closed. The offer of the gospel will cease.

Verse 7

7 but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.

A. The “mystery of God” will be finished.

B. I have titled this work “Revelation: Book of Mystery” not because it is beyond our ability to understand. It is a book of mystery because it deals with things we have not yet experienced.

C. When this world ends and time shall be no more, the mystery will be completed. Study Col_1:26-28 about the mystery of the gospel.

Verse 8

8 Then the voice which I heard from heaven spoke to me again and said, “Go, take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the earth.”

A. John is told to take the book.

B. The voice is either God or Christ here.

C. John is given a simple command. It is not difficult.

D. John is expected to obey the command - as stated.

Verse 9

9 So I went to the angel and said to him, “Give me the little book.” And he said to me, “Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.”

A. John hesitates to take the book. He walks up to the mighty angel and asks for the book. The angel responds, “Take it, and eat it.”

B. It is clear that expects His commands to be obeyed - period. No changes. John wanted to change the command from “take” to “ask for” and it was not allowed.

C. The further instruction is that the book was to be eaten (chewed, swallowed and digested) before it can be of value. Many just read. While this is a good place to start, it is not the end of what we must do as we seek to understand and apply the Word of God to our lives.

D. In John’s mouth it would taste sweet, but in the stomach there would be bitterness. The symbolism is clear. Many hear the gospel, understand the message of salvation, forgiveness and redemption. They obey the gospel, are baptized, and begin living the Christian life. It is wonderful to know that they are forgiven. We are filled with joy and delight, knowing that they are saved.

E. Then, along comes some bitterness. Some calamity, hardship or persecution enters our life. Now the gospel has some “acid reflux,” a burning, and bitterness. When the gospel becomes bitterness, when living the Christian life becomes heartburn, many abandon the faith they once proclaimed and confessed.

Verse 10

10 Then I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter.

A. It happened just as it had been explained to John. He took the book and ate it.

B. In his mouth it was sweet and pleasurable, but in his stomach it was a bitter pill to swallow.

Verse 11

11 And he said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.”

A. Now that the book is digested, it is time to expound the message to all people.

B. Before we can teach others, we must digest the meat of the Word. This does not mean that we must understand every detail, answer every false teaching, and explain every difficult passage. It does mean that the Word must become part and parcel with us.

C. NOTE: John is not just watching a movie. He is an active participant in this vision. When no man was found to open the seals, John wept. Here John takes, eats, and digests the Word of God, then he must teach the gospel to all people of all nations.

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Bibliographical Information
Luscombe, Manly. "Commentary on Revelation 10". Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mlc/revelation-10.html. 2021.