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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Revelation 10

 

 

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Verse 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:

As there was an episode between the sixth and seventh seals, so there is one (Revelation 10:1-11) after the sixth, introductory to the seventh trumpet (Revelation 11:15, the grand consummation). The Church and her fortunes are the subject: as the judgments on the unbelieving inhabiters of the earth (Revelation 8:13) were the subject of the fifth and sixth woe-trumpets. Revelation 6:11 is referred to, Revelation 10:6 : the martyrs crying to be avenged were told they must 'rest yet for a little time.' In Revelation 10:6, they are assured 'there should be no longer (any interval of) time;' but (Revelation 10:7) at the trumpet sounding of the seventh angel, the mystery of God (His mighty plan heretofore hidden, but then to be revealed) shall be finished. The little open book (Revelation 10:2; Revelation 10:9-10) is given to John by the angel with a charge (Revelation 10:11) that he must prophesy again concerning [ epi (Greek #1909)] peoples, nations, tongues and kings (Revelation 11:1-19), only in so far as these affect ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH, the main object of the prophecy.

Another mighty angel - as distinguished from the mighty angel who asked as to the former more comprehensive book (Revelation 5:2), "Who is worthy to open the book?"

Clothed with a cloud - emblem of God coming in judgment (Revelation 1:7).

A. A B C 'Aleph (') read, 'the:' referring to the rainbow, in Revelation 4:3.

Rainbow was upon his head - emblem of covenant-mercy to God's people, amidst judgment on God's foes (note, Revelation 4:3).

Face was as ... the sun - (Revelation 1:16; Revelation 18:1.)

Feet as pillars of fire - (Ezekiel 1:7; Revelation 1:15.) The angel, as representative, reflects Christ's glory, and bears the insignia attributed in Revelation 1:15-16; Revelation 4:3, to Christ Himself. The pillar of fire by night led Israel through the wilderness: the symbol of God's presence.


Verse 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,

He had - `having.'

In his hand - in his left hand: as in Revelation 10:5 (note), he lifts up his right hand to heaven.

A little book - a roll, little in comparison with the "book" (Revelation 5:1) which contained the whole vast scheme of God's purposes, not to be read until the consummation. The less book contained only a portion which John was now to make his own (Revelation 10:9; Revelation 10:11), then to use in prophesying to others. The New Testament begins with "book" [ biblos (Greek #976)], of which the "little book" [ biblaridion (Greek #974)] is the diminutive, the Bible in miniature.

Upon the sea ... earth. Though the beast with seven heads is to arise out of the sea (Revelation 13:1), and the beast with two horns like a lamb (Revelation 13:11) out of the earth, yet it is but for a time, and that time shall no longer be (Revelation 10:6-7), when once the seventh trumpet is to sound. The angel with his right foot on the sea and his left on the earth, claims both as God's, and as soon to be cleared of the usurper and his followers.


Verse 3

And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.

As ... lion. Christ, whom the angel represents, is often so symbolized (Revelation 5:5).

Seven thunders - `the seven thunders.' Being part of the apocalyptic symbolism, they have the article as well known. Thunderings marked the evening of the seventh seal (Revelation 8:1; Revelation 8:5): so at the seventh vial (Revelation 16:17-18). Wordsworth calls this the prophetic use of the article: 'the thunders, of which more hereafter.' Their full meaning shall be only known at the grand consummation marked by the seventh seal, the seventh trumpet (Revelation 11:19), and the seventh vial.

Uttered their - `spake their own voices:' peculiarly their own, not now revealed. Compare the seven voices of Yahweh, Psalms 29:1-11.


Verse 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.

When. So A C, Vulgate; but 'Aleph ('), 'whatsoever things.'

Uttered their voices. A B C 'Aleph (') omit "their voices." 'Had spoken.'

Unto me. Omitted by A B C 'Aleph ('), Syriac.

Seal up - the opposite to Rev. . Though at the time of the end the things sealed in Daniel's time were to be revealed, yet not so the voices of these thunders. Though heard by John, they were not to be imparted to others in this book: so terrible are they that God in mercy withholds them, since "sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." The godly are kept from morbid ponderings over the evil to come, and the ungodly not driven by despair into utter recklessness. Alford adds another aim, 'godly fear.' Besides the terrors foretold, there are others unutterable and more horrifying in the background.


Verse 5

And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, Lifted up his hand. So A, Vulgate; but B C 'Aleph ('), Syriac, Coptic, 'his right hand.' It was customary to lift up the hand toward heaven, appealing to the God of truth, in a solemn oath: an allusion to Daniel 12:1-13 :Compare Revelation 10:4-6, end, with Daniel 12:4; Daniel 12:7; Daniel 12:9. But there the angel clothed in linen, standing upon the waters, sware 'a time, times, and a half' were to interpose before the consummation: here the angel with his left foot on the earth, and his right upon the sea, swears there shall be time no longer. There he lifted up both hands to heaven; here he has the little book now open (in Daniel the book is sealed) in his left hand (Revelation 10:2), and he lifts up only his right to heaven.


Verse 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:

Liveth forever and ever - `unto the ages of the ages.'

Created heaven ... earth ... sea ... This detailed designation of the Creator is appropriate to the subject of the angel's oath-namely, the consummating of the mystery of God (Revelation 10:7), which can surely be brought to pass by the same Almighty power that created all things, and by none else.

That there should be time no longer - `that time (i:e., an interval) no longer shall be.' The martyrs shall have no longer to wait for the accomplishment of their prayers for the purgation of the earth by judgments to remove their and God's foes from it (Revelation 6:11). The appointed time of delay is at an end [the same Greek as Revelation 6:11, chronos (Greek #5550)]. Not, time shall end and eternity begin.


Verse 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.

But. 'There shall be no longer time (Revelation 10:6, delay), but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound his trumpet [melle salpizein], then (also [ kai (Greek #2532)] often introduces the consequent member of a sentence) the mystery of God is finished' [aorist, etelesthee (Greek #5055)]: the prophet regarding the future as certain as if past. So A C 'Aleph ('), Coptic; B, the future [ telesthee (Greek #5055)], 'should be finished' (cf. Revelation 11:15-18). Sweet consolation to the waiting saints!

The mystery of God - the theme of the "little book;" so of the remainder of the Apocalypse: a grand contrast to the 'mystery of iniquity-Babylon' (Revelation 17:5). The mystery of redemption, once hidden in God's secret counsels, dimly shadowed forth in types and prophecies, but now more and more clearly revealed according as the Gospel kingdom develops itself, up to its fullest consummation. Finally, His servants shall praise Him fully for the glorious consummation, in taking to Himself and His saints the kingdom so long usurped by Satan and the ungodly. This verse is an anticipation of Revelation 11:15-18.

Declared [ eueengelisen (G2097): the glad tidings] to. "The mystery of God" is the Gospel. The office of the prophets is to receive the glad tidings from God, in order to declare them to others. The final consummation of "the Gospel" is their great theme (cf. Galatians 3:8).


Verse 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.

Spake ... and said. So Syriac and Coptic; but 'Aleph (') A B C, '(I heard) again speaking with me, and saying' [ lalousan (Greek #2980) ... legousan (Greek #3004)].

Little book. So 'Aleph (') and B but A C, 'the book.'


Verse 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.

'I went away.' John leaves heaven, his standing-point heretofore, to be near the angel standing on the earth and sea.

Give. 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate, Syriac, read the infinitive, 'Telling him to give.'

Eat it up - appropriate its contents so entirely that they become assimilated with thyself (as food), so as to impart them the more vividly to others. His finding the roll sweet to the taste is because, divesting himself of carnal feeling, be regarded God's will as always agreeable, however bitter might be the message. Compare Psalms 40:8, margin: Christ's inner appropriation of God's Word.

Thy belly bitter - parallel to Ezekiel 2:10.

As honey - (Psalms 19:10; Psalms 119:103.) Honey, sweet to the mouth, sometimes turns into bile in the stomach. The thought that God would be glorified (Revelation 11:3-6; Revelation 11:11-18) gave him sweet pleasure. Afterward the belly, or natural feeling, was embittered with grief at the coming persecutions of the Church (Revelation 11:7-10 : cf. John 16:1-2). The revelation of futurity is sweet at first, but bitter to our natural man, when we learn the cross to be borne before the crown. John was grieved at the coming apostasy and the sufferings of the Church from be borne before the crown. John was grieved at the coming apostasy and the sufferings of the Church from Antichrist.


Verse 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.

The little book. So A C but B 'Aleph ('), Vulgate, 'the book.'

Was bitter - `embittered.'


Verse 11

And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

He said. A B 'Aleph ('), Vulgate, read, 'they say unto me:' indefinite for 'it was said unto me.'

Thou must - as the servant of God, bound to prophesy at His command.

Again - as thou didst already in the previous part of this book.

Before - rather [ epi (Greek #1909) laois (Greek #2992)], 'concerning many peoples,' in their relation to the Church. The eating of the book, as in Ezekiel's case, marks John's inauguration to a fresh stage in his prophetic office-namely, revealing the things which befall the holy city and the Church of God-the subject of the rest of the book.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 10:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-10.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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