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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Revelation 10

Verse 1

Another strong angel (αλλον αγγελον ισχυρον). But the seventh trumpet does not sound till Revelation 11:15. This angel is not one of the seven or of the four, but like the other strong angel in Revelation 5:2; Revelation 18:21 or the other angel in Revelation 14:6; Revelation 14:15. The sixth trumpet of Revelation 9:13 ends in Revelation 9:21. The opening of the seventh seal was preceded by two visions (chapter Revelation 10:7) and so here the sounding of the seventh trumpet (Revelation 11:15) is preceded by a new series of visions (Revelation 10:1-11).

Coming down out of heaven (καταβαινοντα εκ του ουρανου). Present active participle of καταβαινω picturing the process of the descent as in Revelation 20:1 (cf. Revelation 3:12).

Arrayed with a cloud (περιβεβλημενον νεφελην). Perfect passive participle of περιβαλλω with accusative case retained as in Revelation 7:9; Revelation 7:13. Not proof that this angel is Christ, though Christ will come on the clouds (Revelation 1:7) as he ascended on a cloud (Acts 1:9). God's chariot is in the clouds (Psalms 104:3), but this angel is a special messenger of God's.

The rainbow (η ιρις). See Revelation 4:3 for this word. The construction here is changed from the accusative to the nominative.

As the sun (ως ο ηλιος). The very metaphor applied to Christ in Revelation 1:16.

As pillars of fire (ως στυλο πυρος). Somewhat like the metaphor of Christ in Revelation 1:15, but still no proof that this angel is Christ. On στυλος see Revelation 3:12; Galatians 2:9.

Verse 2

And he had (κα εχων). This use of the participle in place of ειχεν (imperfect) is like that in Revelation 4:7; Revelation 12:2; Revelation 19:12; Revelation 21:12; Revelation 21:14, a Semitic idiom (Charles), or as if καταβαινων (nominative) had preceded in place of καταβαινοντα.

A little book (βιβλαριδιον). A diminutive of βιβλαριον (papyri), itself a diminutive of βιβλιον (Revelation 5:1) and perhaps in contrast with it, a rare form in Hermas and Revelation 10:2; Revelation 10:9; Revelation 10:10. In Revelation 10:8 Tischendorf reads βιβλιδαριον, diminutive of βιβλιδιον (Aristophanes) instead of βιβλιον (Westcott and Hort). The contents of this little book are found in Revelation 11:1-13.

Open (ηνεωιγμενον). See Ezekiel 2:9. Perfect (triple reduplication) passive participle of ανοιγω, in contrast to the closed book in Revelation 5:1. There also we have επ (upon) την δεξιαν (the right hand), for it was a large roll, but here the little open roll is held in the hand (εν τη χειρ), apparently the left hand (verse Revelation 10:5).

He set (εθηκεν). First aorist active indicative of τιθημ. The size of the angel is colossal, for he bestrides both land and sea. Apparently there is no special point in the right foot (τον ποδα τον δεξιον) being on the sea (επ της θαλασσης) and the left (τον ευωνυμον) upon the land (επ της γης). It makes a bold and graphic picture.

As a lion roareth (ωσπερ λεων μυκατα). Only instance of ωσπερ in the Apocalypse, but ως in the same sense several times. Present middle indicative of μυκαομα, an old onomatopoetic word from μυ or μοο (the sound which a cow utters), common for the lowing and bellowing of cattle, Latin mugire, but in Theocritus for the roaring of a lion as here, though in 1 Peter 5:8 we have ωρυομα. Homer uses μυκαομα for the clangour of the shield and Aristophanes for thunder. It occurs here alone in the N.T. It does not mean that what the angel said was unintelligible, only loud. Cf. Revelation 1:10; Revelation 5:2; Revelation 5:12; Revelation 6:10; Revelation 7:2; Revelation 7:10, etc.

Verse 3

The seven thunders (α επτα βροντα). A recognized group, but not explained here, perhaps John assuming them to be known. For βροντα see already Revelation 4:5; Revelation 6:1; Revelation 8:5. In Revelation 10:29 the Lord speaks in the sevenfold voice of the thunderstorm upon the sea.

Their voices (τας εαυτων φωνας). Cognate accusative with ελαλησαν and εαυτων (reflexive) means "their own." In John 12:28 the voice of the Father to Christ was thought by some to be thunder.

Verse 4

I was about to write (ημελλον γραφειν). Imperfect active of μελλω (double augment as in John 4:47; John 12:33; John 18:32) and the present (inchoative) active infinitive of γραφω, "I was on the point of beginning to write," as commanded in Revelation 1:11; Revelation 1:19.

Seal up (σφραγισον). Aorist active imperative of σφραγιζω, tense of urgency, "seal up at once."

And write them not (κα μη αυτα γραψηις). Prohibition with μη and the ingressive aorist active subjunctive of γραφω, "Do not begin to write." It is idle to conjecture what was in the utterances. Compare Paul's silence in 2 Corinthians 12:4.

Verse 5

Standing (εστωτα). Second perfect active participle of ιστημ (intransitive). John resumes the picture in verse Revelation 10:2.

Lifted up (ηρεν). First aorist active indicative of αιρω, to lift up.

To heaven (εις τον ουρανον). Toward heaven, the customary gesture in taking a solemn oath (Genesis 14:22; Deuteronomy 32:40; Daniel 12:7).

Verse 6

Sware (ωμοσεν). First aorist indicative of ομνυω to swear.

By him that liveth (εν τω ζωντ). This use of εν after ομνυω instead of the usual accusative (James 5:12) is like the Hebrew (Matthew 5:34; Matthew 5:36). "The living one for ages of ages" is a common phrase in the Apocalypse for God as eternally existing (Revelation 1:18; Revelation 4:9; Revelation 4:10; Revelation 15:7). This oath proves that this angel is not Christ.

Who created (ος εκτισεν). First aorist active indicative of κτιζω, a reference to God's creative activity as seen in Genesis 1:1; Exodus 20:11; Isaiah 37:16; Isaiah 42:5; Psalms 33:6; Psalms 145:6, etc.

That there shall be time no longer (οτ χρονος ουκετ εστα). Future indicative indirect discourse with οτ. But this does not mean that χρονος (time), Einstein's "fourth dimension" (added to length, breadth, height), will cease to exist, but only that there will be no more delay in the fulfillment of the seventh trumpet (verse Revelation 10:7), in answer to the question, "How long?" (Revelation 6:10).

Verse 7

When he is about to sound (οταν μελλη σαλπιζειν). Indefinite temporal clause with οταν and the present active subjunctive of μελλω and the present (inchoative) active infinitive of σαλπιζω, "whenever he is about to begin to sound" (in contrast to the aorist in Revelation 11:15).

Then (κα). So in apodosis often (Revelation 14:10).

Is finished (ετελεσθη). First aorist passive indicative of τελεω, proleptic or futuristic use of the aorist as in 1 Corinthians 7:28. So also Revelation 15:1.

The mystery of God (το μυστηριον του θεου). This same phrase by Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:1; Colossians 2:2. Here apparently the whole purpose of God in human history is meant.

According to the good tidings which he declared (ως ευηγγελισεν). "As he gospelized to," first aorist active indicative of ευαγγελιζω, a rare use of the active as in Revelation 14:6 with the accusative. See the middle so used in Galatians 1:9; 1 Peter 1:12. See Amos 3:7; Jeremiah 7:25; Jeremiah 25:4 for this idea in the O.T. prophets who hoped for a cleaning up of all mysteries in the last days.

Verse 8

Again speaking and saying (παλιν λαλουσαν κα λεγουσαν). Present active predicate participles feminine accusative singular agreeing with ην (object of ηκουσα), not with φωνη (nominative) as most of the cursives have it (λαλουσα κα λεγουσα). Ordinarily it would be ελαλε κα ελεγεν. See Revelation 4:1 for like idiom. This is the voice mentioned in verse Revelation 10:4. No great distinction is to be made here between λαλεω and λεγω.

Go, take (Hυπαγε λαβε). Present active imperative of υπαγω and second aorist active imperative of λαμβανω. The use of υπαγε (exclamation like ιδε) is common in N.T. (Matthew 5:24; Matthew 8:4; Matthew 19:21; John 4:16; John 9:7). Charles calls it a Hebraism (Revelation 16:1). Note the repeated article here (το) referring to the open book in the hand of the angel (verse Revelation 10:2), only here βιβλιον is used, not the diminutive of βιβλαριδιον of verses Revelation 10:2; Revelation 10:9; Revelation 10:10.

Verse 9

I went (απηλθα). Second aorist active indicative ( form), "I went away" (απ-) to the angel. John left his position by the door of heaven (Revelation 4:1).

That he should give (δουνα). Second aorist active infinitive of διδωμ, indirect command after λεγων (bidding) for δος in the direct discourse (second aorist active imperative second person singular). This use of λεγω to bid occurs in Revelation 13:14; Acts 21:21.

He saith (λεγε). Dramatic vivid present active indicative of λεγω.

Take it and eat it up (λαβε κα καταφαγε αυτο). Second aorist (effective) active imperatives of λαμβανω and κατεσθιω (perfective use of κατα, "eat down," we say "eat up"). See the same metaphor in Ezekiel 3:1-3; Jeremiah 15:6. The book was already open and was not to be read aloud, but to be digested mentally by John.

It shall make thy belly bitter (πικρανε σου την κοιλιαν). Future active of πικραινω, for which verb see Revelation 8:11; Revelation 10:10; Colossians 3:19. There is no reference in Ezekiel or Jeremiah to the bitterness here mentioned.

Sweet as honey (γλυκυ ως μελ). For the sweetness of the roll see Psalms 19:10; Psalms 119:103. "Every revelation of God's purposes, even though a mere fragment, a βιβλαριδιον, is 'bitter-sweet,' disclosing judgement as well as mercy" (Swete). Deep and bitter sorrows confront John as he comes to understand God's will and way.

Verse 10

I took--and ate it up (ελαβον--κα κατεφαγον αυτο). Second aorist active indicatives of the same verbs to show John's prompt obedience to the command. The order of the results is here changed to the actual experience (sweet in the mouth, bitter in the belly). The simplex verb εφαγον (I ate) is now used, not the compound κατεφαγον (I ate up).

Verse 11

They say (λεγουσιν). Present active of vivid dramatic action and the indefinite statement in the plural as in Revelation 13:16; Revelation 16:15. It is possible that the allusion is to the heavenly voice (Revelation 10:4; Revelation 10:8) and to the angel (Revelation 10:9).

Thou must prophesy again (δε σε παλιν προφητευσα). Not a new commission (Revelation 1:19), though now renewed. C.f. Ezekiel 4:7; Ezekiel 6:2; Jeremiah 1:10. The παλιν (again) points to what has preceded and also to what is to come in Revelation 11:15. Here it is predictive prophecy (προφητευσα, first aorist active infinitive of προφητευω).

Over (επ). In the case, in regard to as in John 12:16 (with γραφω), not in the presence of (επ with genitive, Mark 13:9) nor against (επ with the accusative, Luke 22:53). For this list of peoples see Revelation 5:9, occurring seven times in the Apocalypse.

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 10". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/revelation-10.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.