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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 10

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations

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Revelation 10:1-4 A mighty angel appeareth with a book open in his hand,

Revelation 10:5-7 and sweareth by him that liveth for ever, that there shall be no more time.

Revelation 10:8-11 John is commanded to take and eat the book, and to prophesy.

Chapter Introduction

We have had in the former chapters Christ’s revelation to St. John of what should happen in the Roman empire under the first six seals, that is, during their pagan state, which determined in Constantine’s time, Anno 310, or 325. Under the seventh seal (that is, from Revelation 8:1) he hath revealed to him what should happen after that time to the Roman empire by the Goths and Vandals under the first four trumpets, and by the Saracens under the fifth trumpet, and the Turks under the sixth trumpet, who are yet rampant and going on in their outrages. The seventh trumpet in course should sound next, but we come not to that till Revelation 11:15. In this chapter, and to the 15th verse of the next chapter, seems an interruption of the history, that Christ might reveal to his prophet the main things that should concern his church. About the sense of this interpreters are divided, some thinking this a distinct prophecy relating to the affairs of the church, yet not in a continued story, but made up of several visions, some contemporary with the times before mentioned, some continuing to the time after the sixth trumpet; which prophecy, as they judge, beginneth at Revelation 11:1, to which what we have in this chapter is introductive. Of this mind are our Dr. More, Mr. Mede, and other very valuable interpreters, whose reasons may be read in Mr. Pool’s Latin Synopsis upon this chapter, and some of them may be noted by us as we go through this chapter. Others think it is no distinct prophecy.

Verse 1

And I saw another mighty angel; the most and best interpreters understand by this angel, Christ, formerly represented to us as a Lamb, here as an Angel; none but he could call the two witnesses, Revelation 11:3, his witnesses; besides, the glorious appearance of this angel speaketh him no ordinary angel.

Come down from heaven; God being about to do or speak some great thing, is oft thus set out as coming down from heaven.

Clothed with a cloud; Christ is described as coming with clouds, Revelation 1:7.

The Lord hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness, 2 Chronicles 6:1.

And a rainbow was upon his head; which was the sign of the covenant made with Noah, Genesis 9:16, and fitted Christ’s head, as he that brought peace to the world, and to his church in special.

And his face was as it were the sun: see Matthew 17:2.

And his feet as pillars of fire; signifying the steadiness and efficacy of his actions.

Verse 2

And he had in his hand a little book open; the same book with that mentioned Revelation 5:1; though some by it understand the Scriptures. There it was represented to John as sealed with seven seals; here open, to let us know that all the counsels of God, however sealed as to us, are open to Christ, and that he would open to John what should come to pass in his church to the end of the world.

And he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth; to let us know the dominion he had over the whole world, as well the more unquiet as quieter parts of it.

Verse 3

And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: this voice suited him who is the Lion of the tribe of Judah: the lion’s voice is both loud and terrible.

And when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices: interpreters judge these seven thunders to signify those judgments of God which should be executed in the world upon the sounding of the seventh trumpet, and precedaneous to the day of judgment, which we shall find more fully opened under the seventh trumpet by the seven vials poured out, which signify the same thing; yet some understand by these seven thunders the powerful preaching the gospel; but the other seemeth more probable.

Verse 4

I was about to write; to write what he understood of the voices of these thunders.

Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not; he was forbidden the publication of them, because they concerned things to be fulfilled at some distance of time, and should be afterward more fully revealed.

Verse 5

And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth: see Revelation 10:2; which Angel was Christ.

Lifted up his hand to heaven; as Daniel 12:7, with which prophecy this agreeth. It is an ordinary gesture used in swearing.

Verse 6

And sware by him that liveth, &c.; that is, by God; for this description can agree to no other, neither is it lawful to swear by any other: see Daniel 12:7.

That there should be time no longer; there shall be an end of the world, so some; but this John knew well enough. It is rather to be understood of the time of the fourth monarchy, the Roman empire should come to an end; or, the time of the afflictions of the church, whether by pagan or antichristian enemies, should be no more.

Verse 7

But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel; of whom, and his sounding, we shall read, Revelation 11:15.

When he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished; from that time that he beginneth to sound shall begin the mystery of God to be finished; either the mystery mentioned Revelation 11:15, when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord, and his Christ; or, more generally, whatsoever God hath revealed concerning the propagation of the gospel, the ruin of antichrist, and the end of the world.

As he hath declared to his servants the prophets; whatsoever God hath declared by his servants the prophets about these things, (as to which see Isaiah 24:1-23; Isaiah 26:1-13; Isaiah 66:1-24; Daniel 7:11,Daniel 7:12; Zechariah 14:1-21; Malachi 3:4), it shall be fulfilled, and begin to be fulfilled when the seventh angel shall begin to blow; within which period of time most interpreters judge we are, as being begun some time since.

Verse 8

And the voice which I heard from heaven; the voice mentioned Revelation 10:4.

Go and take the little book; the little book mentioned Revelation 10:2. John is bid to take this book, by which some understand the Scriptures; but it is most probably the book mentioned Revelation 5:1, before sealed, now open.

Verse 9

Take it, and eat it up: thus Ezekiel was bidden to eat the roll; and it was in his mouth as sweet as honey, Ezekiel 2:8; Ezekiel 3:3. The eating of a book signifies the due reading of it, digesting it, and meditating upon the matters in it.

And it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey; it should be sweet in his month, as it was the revelation of the mind and will of God, (which is sweet to all pious souls; see Jeremiah 15:16), but in his belly it should be bitter, being the revelation of the Divine will, as to the bringing such terrible judgments upon an impenitent people.

Verse 10

And I took the little book, and ate it up; according to the command, Revelation 10:9.

And it was in my mouth sweet as honey; as it was the revelation of God’s will.

And as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter; but when he came to think upon it, it was either so mysterious that he could not comprehend it, or the matter of it was so sad that it gave him great trouble.

Verse 11

Thou must prophesy again: these words (as many think) evince this a prophecy distinct from the former; he must prophesy again.

Before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings; who shall be concerned to hear what shall now be revealed to thee concerning the rise of antichrist, his rule and tyranny, and his fall and ruin, which are things began long before, during the periods of time, when the six before mentioned trumpets sounded, but were not there clearly revealed; which things I will reveal unto thee, that thou, and after thee the ministers of the gospel, may in their several periods reveal them in the hearing of many people, and nations, &c.; so that hereby John (as some think) was constituted a prophet to reveal the state of the church under antichrist, and his tyranny, and finally his ruin, which began at the sounding of the seventh trumpet, Revelation 11:15; but when it shall be finished, God alone must inform the world by the issues of his providence.

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 10". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/revelation-10.html. 1685.
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