Category Archives: REVELATION 10

A strong angel assures John that God has not forgotten the nation of Israel.

REVELATION 10

SETTING OF THE CHAPTER
Chapters 10,11, and 12 form a distinct section in the Book of Revelation, for they deal with the question of Israel’s involvement in the events in the end times.  Chapter 11 deals with events in the first half of the Tribulation period, whereas chapter 12 deals with the second half.  In this chapter we are given insight into God’s attitude to the nation.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION CHAPTER 10, VERSES 1 TO 11:

10:1  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:

10:2  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,

10:3  And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.

10:4  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.

10:5  And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven,

10:6  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:

10:7  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.

10:8  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.

10:9  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.

10:10  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.

10:11  And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. 

10:1  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:

And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven- there are those who think this personage is Christ, but that cannot be so for at least two reasons.  First, the word for another means “another of the same sort”, and since the previous angel as mentioned in 5:2 was not Christ, because he asked the question, “Who is worthy”, and it was Christ who stepped forward.  He cannot be Christ, then.  The second reason is that he swears by God in verse 6.  Now it is true that God swears by Himself, Hebrews 6:13, but this angel is not doing that, but swearing by One who is outside of himself. 
That he comes down from heaven indicates that our attention is now going to be drawn to the earth, and in particular to God’s earthly people, Israel.  That he is a mighty angel, (and the word is the same as “strong” in 5:2), shows that God intends to put forth His power in relation to the nation of Israel.
Clothed with a cloud- the word for cloud John uses means a thin high cloud; not a black storm cloud.  This is the sort of word the psalmist used when he wrote, “Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds”. Psalm 36:5.  Or when he said, “Thy mercy is great in the heavens, and Thy truth unto the clouds”. Psalm 57:10.  Or again, “His excellency is over Israel, and His strength is in the clouds”, Psalm 68:34.  These metaphors express the greatness and the loftiness of God’s plans for Israel.
So the thin high cloud that clothes the angel tells us of the faithfulness, mercy, and strength of the God of Israel, and that He intends to display those features even in the midst of judgement. 
And a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun- in Psalm 89:35-37, David wrote of God’s promise to his house, “Once have I sworn by My holiness that I will not lie unto David.  His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before Me.  It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven”.  The faithful witness refers to the rainbow.  God is here signalling that he has not forgotten His promises to the nation and to David, and is moving to bring them to fulfilment, despite what the appearances may be. 
And his feet as pillars of fire- when Israel were coming out of Egypt and were being pursued by their enemies, God interposed for them, and the pillar of fire removed from its position at the head of the company, to stand between them and the Egyptian forces.  Then when they had safely reached the wilderness, the pillar of fire guided them during the night.  Israel will certainly be surrounded by their foes, and will pass through the night-season of the Tribulation Period, but God will be there for them, to protect and preserve.

10:2  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,

And he had in his hand a little book open- in chapter 5 it was the question of an sealed book, and who was worthy to open and to read what was written.  Here, the book is open, and it becomes clear that this was to show that there was nothing written on it.  That it was a little book showed it had to do with a limited subject.
And he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth- we shall learn in chapter 13 about two beasts, and one of them comes out of the sea, the other, out of the earth.  God is here proclaiming that he has control of both events, and those two beasts can only emerge and do their evil work if He allows it.

10:3  And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.

And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth- a lion roars to show he is the king of the forest, and also to terrify its prey.  This is a reminder from the angel that the Lion of tribe of Judah has prevailed in past, 5:5, and is about to prevail again, this time on behalf of the nation of Israel. 
And when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices- this is the sure sign that a severe storm is approaching, as indeed it is, in the form of the seven vial judgements.  Psalm 29 is a graphic description of a storm sweeping through the land of Israel, and the psalmist tells us that “the God of glory thundereth”.  The expression “the voice of the Lord” occurs seven times in that psalm, hence the thunder is the voice of the Lord in judgement.  The first two verses call upon those in heaven to worship God, and the last verse tells us “the Lord will give strength unto His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace”.  This would remind us that at Christ’s first coming there was “a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men'”, Luke 2:13,14.  Sadly, the nation rejected the One who came as Shiloh, the peace-bringer, and crucified Him.  But He will come again to them, and this time they will receive Him, and He will bless the people with peace, but not until the storm of judgement has swept through the land. 

10:4  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.

And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write- just as the sealed book of chapter 5, when read, disclosed God’s judgements on the earth, so these thunders, when heard, tell John of further judgements.  John only heard the voices, however, and did not have a vision depicting what was said.  He had been told, “what thou seest, write in a book”, 1:11, so John takes his pen to write what the thunder-voices said.
And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not- this situation is different, for he has seen nothing; the matters the thunders speak of have not been brought before his eyes.  Hence he is told not to write.  It may be that whether or not these thunder-judgements are inflicted on israel depends on their reaction to the other things that come upon them.  If they had been seen in vision by John and written down for all to see, God would have committed Himself to enacting them.  As it is, they are there as a threat which may or may not be carried out.  At the beginning of the book John tells us that the purpose of the book is to “shew unto His servants the things which must shortly come to pass”, 1:1.  Note the word “shew”, and the word “must”.  The things that are shewn must come to pass, but those that are not shewn, but are mentioned, may or may not come to pass.  This may have something to do with the words of the Lord Jesus when He said “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened”, Matthew 24:22.  The apostle Paul wrote of this with the words, “Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, ‘Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: For He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth'”, Romans 9:27,28.  Perhaps the days will be shortened by not inflicting the judgements of the seven thunders.

10:5  And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven,

And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven- although standing upon the earth and the sea, the angle is going to utter  solemn oath in relation to heaven, and its purpose for the earth.  His hand figuratively links the two.

10:6  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:

And sware by Him that liveth for ever and ever- the fact that the angel swears by God shows he is not the Lord Jesus, for He is equally God.  God lives for ever and ever, so he inhabits eternity, but this does not mean He takes no account of time.  He is never in a hurry, nor is He late, but at the precise moment of His choosing He culminates His purpose.  Because He is eternal, He will certainly outlast His enemies.
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- this is a summary of what is described in Genesis chapter 1.  We learn from Hebrews 4:3,4 that there is a connection between the creation of the earth and the kingdom of the Messiah.  Just as God rested from all His work on the seventh day, which became the Sabbath day, there is to be a Sabbath for the earth under the Messiah.  The apostle Paul tells us on the basis of what the Lord Jesus did on the cross, God will “reconcile all things unto Himself: by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth or things in heaven”, Colossians 1:20, and shall be reinstated to the state they were in before man sinned.  For “the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God”, Romans 8:21. 
That there should be time no longer- although we have only reached chapter 10 in the Book, the judgements of God are nearly finished, as the next verse says.  God is about to call a halt to the wicked rebellion of man.  In particular, this means that the purpose of God with regard to the mystery of God is about to reach its climax.  The timing of this is completely in God’s control.

10:7  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 in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound- the seventh angel sounds in 15:15, and summons the seven angels with the last seven judgements, that of the vials or bowls of wrath, which are detailed in chapter 16.  The mention of the days of the voice of the angel suggest that the seven judgements shall come upon the earth in swift succession at the end, perhaps even over seven days, hence the expression in verse 6, “time no longer”, for the end of the tribulation period is drawing near.
The mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets- the angel makes a solemn affirmation on behalf of God that two things should happen because He decrees it.  First, that there be time no longer, verse 6.  Second, that the mystery of God should be finished.  The finishing or culmination of the mystery of God is here said to have been declared by God to His servants the prophets.  The word for declare means “to tell good news”.  So the prophets were given good news about Israel, which they duly recorded in their writings. 
There was something they did not know, however, and this was the bringing in of Gentiles into blessing without having to become Jews.  Connected with this, there was the national unbelief of Israel imposed on them for crucifying their Messiah.  As the apostle Paul wrote, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.  And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, ‘There shall come out of Zion the deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins'”, Romans 11:25-27.  So the glad news was known to the prophet, that the Messiah-Deliverer would come, and the nation would have their sins forgiven.  But what was not known was the mystery of the blessing to Gentiles.  John is learning that as the Tribulation Period draws to an end, this mystery is about to be finished, as it reaches its Divinely ordained climax, and the fulness of the Gentiles comes in.

10:8  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.

And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again- the first time, the voice instructed John to not write the contents of the seven thunders, verse 4.  Now he hears the same voice 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- unlike the book in chapter 5, this one is open, and does not have to be unsealed.  No doubt there is some connection between the mystery of God being about the finish, and the fact that the book is open.  All can now be revealed as to God’s purpose for Israel once their national blindness in removed in the mercy of God. 

10:9  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.
10:10  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.

And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book- John is confident that the one whose voice he heard had authority to direct him; he commands the angel in the exercise of that authority he has received.
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.  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 angel warns him about the bitterness first, so that he does not get carried away by the initial sweetness.  Ezekiel had a similar experience to this, as recorded in Ezekiel 2:9-3:3.  He too was given a roll that was sweet to the taste, but which had words of “lamentation and mourning, and woe”.  Ezekiel is about to have disclosed to him the sins of his own people, culminating with a vision of their wickedness as the high priests and the other priests worshipped idols in the temple courts in Jerusalem, with an image of jealousy near the altar, and women weeping for Tammuz, and the priests worshipping the sun.  Then came the command that those who worshipped idols in Israel should be slain.  This experiences will be John’s as well, as it is disclosed to him the depths of wickedness the majority of Israel shall sink to, as they enter into a covenant with the Antichrist.  They will be deceived, however, as in the midst of the Tribulation period he breaks that covenant, and sets up idolatry in the very temple, just as in Ezekiel’s day.  No wonder the book was bitter to his taste. 
But there was a sweetness about it too.  The last part of Ezekiel’s prophecy is taken up with a description of the Millenial Temple, into which the glory of God shall come.  And John also knew that glorious times were ahead for the nation of Israel, once they have repented of the sin of crucifying their Messiah, and owning allegiance to Antichrist.  Perhaps John does not tell us what is written in the book because we already know the character of its content through reading Ezekiel’s prophecy.

10:11  And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings- the book of the Revelation is described as a prophecy, 1:3; 22:18, so up to this point John has been prophesying.  But as he wrote down what he saw and was told, he had not foretold anything about specific nations or kings.  All had been general, but that is to change, and he will deal from chapter 13 onwards with Antichrist, and the ten kings that are in league with him, and the kings of the east.  We should not think that John will have to actually be in the presence of these kings.  The idea is that he will prophesy again “as to”, or “in connection with”, nations and kings.