Revelation Ten

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Revelation 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:

mighty angel. The description of this “mighty angel” makes it obvious that He is none other than Christ Himself (compare with Revelation 1:7, 16, 15). John has seen Him first as the glorified Son of man (Revelation 1:13), then as God upon the throne (Revelation 4:10), the Lamb with the title scroll (Revelation 5:8), and the conquering Rider on the white horse (Revelation 6:2). Now He appears as the mighty Angel of the Lord, claiming possession of land and sea.

rainbow. The beautiful rainbow, an eloquent representation of both divine judgment and mercy in judgment, was first seen above the emerald throne and the One who sat upon the throne (Revelation 4:3), in heaven. Now, near the very middle of the tribulation, He descends to the earth, and the rainbow is still above His head as a glorious crown.

Revelation 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,

little book. “Little book” is from the Greek bibliaridion, which is the diminutive of biblion, as used for “book” in Revelation 5:1-9. The latter represented the title deed to the whole earth. All its seals will have been broken by this time, so that the book is fully “open,” with the writing signifying ownership fully displayed. Accordingly, the “mighty angel” or “mighty messenger” will descend from heaven and stand astride both land and sea, proclaiming His right thereto. As “joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17; Revelation 2:26-27; 3:21), God will graciously allot each of His saints a portion of that inheritance, and this seems to be represented by the “little book”—that is, a title deed to an appropriate portion of that inheritance. Each believer, as represented by John, will receive such a portion as John receives.

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

seven thunders. The “seven thunders” seem to correspond to the seven-times-manifested “voice of the Lord” in Psalm 29:3-9 (see notes thereon). This psalm is clearly describing retroactively the events of the great Flood in the days of Noah (“flood” in Psalm 29:10 is the Hebrew mabbul, a word used only for the Noahic cataclysm). At the first “voice of the Lord” (Psalm 29:3), the psalmist saw in his vision that “the God of glory thundereth: the Lord is upon many waters.” This great cataclysm marked the first time in history that the rebels on earth had ever heard thunder, for before that, “the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth” (Genesis 2:5). The seven thunderous voices at the Flood had been voices of judgment, and the inference here in Revelation is the same. Yet the Lord told John not to record what they said, implying that there would still be time for human repentance before the final destruction would come. Just as the earth's rainbow had signified God's mercy in Noah's day, so His rainbow crown will indicate that God's mercy and long-suffering have not yet been fully exhausted. Note also Daniel 12:4, 7, 9.

Revelation 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.

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

Revelation 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:

him that liveth. Daniel apparently saw the same glorified man in vision that John was seeing in reality (note Daniel 12:7 and Daniel 10:5-8). It may even be that both were describing the same scene, the same proclamation and the same prophecy—the prophecy that there was yet a little time remaining for human repentance. In fact, Daniel records that there would still be “a time, times, and an half” (Daniel 12:7), which corresponds to three and one-half years and agrees fully with the chronology of the remaining time indicated to John (Revelation 11:2; 13:5). Note also that the one who “liveth for ever and ever” is, of course, the Creator (Revelation 4:10-11), and yet also is the Lamb (Revelation 5:13), for they are one. “Because He could sware by none greater, He sware by Himself” (Hebrews 6:13).

created heaven. The sworn assurance that there will be a supernatural consummation of all things must appeal to the fact that there was a supernatural creation of all things. Those who deny a real creation by God tend also to deny a purposeful consummation by God (note 2 Peter 3:3-6).

time no longer. This does not mean that time itself will cease, for then the universe (which is a space-mass-time continuum) must also cease, and God has said it will last forever (e.g., Psalm 104:5; 148:6). Rather, God's purging of the earth will not be further delayed after the “days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound” (Revelation 10:7).

Revelation 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.

Revelation 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.

Revelation 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.

Revelation 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.

ate it up. By “eating” his title deed, John in effect was appropriating his portion of Christ's inheritance, as all the saints will be doing in this age to come, along with John.

belly was bitter. Along with all the “riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18), there will also be weeping and bitterness, for it will involve participating with Christ in His condemnatory judgment of the world (1 Corinthians 6:2; Psalm 149:6-9) and also ruling “with a rod of iron” the growing population of unregenerate human beings in the millennial age (Revelation 2:27). We must acquiesce with Christ in the perfect justice of consigning to hell the multitudes who have rejected or ignored His saving love, including perhaps the friends and loved ones we might have won to Christ if we had tried and prayed more diligently (note Ezekiel 3:18).

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

prophesy again. Lest John think that his job of writing would be completed now that Christ had proclaimed His ownership of the world and had said there would be no delay, he is instructed that he still must observe and record events of the judgments yet to come.