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Bible Commentaries

F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary
Revelation 10



Other Authors
Verses 1-11

THE RECORD OF the things that come to pass, under the sixth trumpet and second woe, does not come to an end with Revelation 9:1-21. We have to read on to Revelation 11:14 before we get the words, “the second woe is past.” After the opening of the sixth seal and an account of the immediate results, we had the angelic action, recorded in Revelation 7:1-17 and the early verses of Revelation 8:1-13, as a kind of appendix to it. Now, after the sounding of the sixth trumpet, angelic action is recorded, and also the way in which a witness to God and His claims will be raised up on earth, as an appendix before the seventh and final trumpet sounds.

The close of Revelation 9:1-21 showed us a state of affairs amongst rebellious men which could hardly be exceeded in its depravity and wilfulness. Chapter 10 opens with a vision of an Angel of peculiar majesty and glory, who announces a speedy ending of God’s mysterious dealings with the earth. Thus the final blow that is to fall is preceded by solemn and ample warning in the mercy of God.

In this mighty Angel we see again the One who formerly acted as the Angel of Jehovah’s presence—our Lord Jesus Christ. The description of Him in verse Revelation 10:1 agrees very much with that given in Revelation 1:14-16. None but He has a face like the sun. Cloud and rainbow and pillars of fire are also characteristic of Deity. His voice moreover was of highest power and majesty, which had as its echo or reverberations the seven thunders, which surely speak of further judgment actions. The seals, the trumpets, the vials are all made public but the thunders are unrecorded by express command. It is a solemn thought that though many details of the Divine judgments are revealed, there are to be judgments beyond anything made known to us.

The Angel stood with His right foot on the sea and His left on the earth: that is, the whole world is dominated by Him, whether the unstable, turbulent masses or more stable and organized kingdoms. This will be the true situation then—as seen by John and revealed to us—just before the time arrives when God will publicly put all things under His feet. Thus He is viewed as dominating the entire scene, though for a short time yet His supremacy is not manifested nor acknowledged by men.

There is, however, the solemn oath and proclamation, of which verses Revelation 10:5-7 speak. If we are right in identifying this “mighty Angel” with our Lord, in swearing “by Him that liveth for ever and ever,” He was really swearing by Himself, as when the promise was made to Abraham (Hebrews 6:13). That was an oath for blessing: this an oath for judgment; but both are alike immutable. The word, “time,” at the end of verse Revelation 10:6 should be, “delay.” The full stroke of Divine judgment had been held back in the longsuffering and patience of God, but the atrocious nature of the evil, together with the utter lack of repentance, exposed at the end of chapter 9, was now precipitating the climax, to be reached when the seventh trumpet sounded. At last the cup of man’s iniquity was full.

“The mystery of God” (verse Revelation 10:7) is of course the mystery of His ways and dealings with men in relation to their sin. Contemplating more particularly God’s ways and judgments with Israel as a nation, the Apostle Paul had to exclaim, “How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33). What is this but a confession that to the most enlightened of the Lord’s servants His ways and judgments are full of mystery. At present God is acting behind the scenes and we cannot penetrate the veil, but when He brings His judgments into the light of day, the mystery of it will vanish away and be finished. What the prophets have declared will be fulfilled, and the rightness of all His dealings through the ages will be seen, as well as of His final judgment at the Second Advent.

The episode, which John relates in verses Revelation 10:8-11, reminds us of the similar incident in the visions of Ezekiel, related in Ezekiel 2:1-10 and Ezekiel 3:1-27. Take note of the underlying thought that what the servant of God gives out in the way of prophecy or instruction must first be eaten, digested, assimilated by himself. Nothing is more ruinous spiritually than to proclaim and parade our knowledge of truth, which as yet we have not really made our own in meditation, in prayer, in experience. The acquisition of fresh truth is sweet and exhilarating as honey, but when inwardly digested and assimilated it ever displaces flesh and self and the world, and that is a bitter process. This is so, even if, as here, the little book is concerned with judgment which is to fall on others and not on oneself. Twice the book is spoken of as “open,” so in this short chapter we get things that were uttered and yet sealed and not to be published, and also things which though open were to be eaten by the prophet before he conveyed them to others. Even in the solemn matter of judgment there is a time to keep silence and a time to speak.


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Bibliography Information
Hole, Frank Binford. "Commentary on Revelation 10:4". "F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary". 1947.

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Friday, December 4th, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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