Five interlude events – Revelation 10

                The events seen in chapter 10 and 11 occur between the time of the sixth and seventh trumpets. Chapter 10 describes the first half of this interlude, while chapter 11 describes the second half. Here in chapter 10, we find five events that occur during the first half of this interlude.

                The Angel. Notice what the scripture says in verse 1-2. “I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. He had a little book open in his hand.”[1] This angel is a very high ranking angel. It is a mighty angel coming down from heaven. These verses describe the attire of the angel. First of all it mentions that the angel was clothed with a cloud. Basically, He is wearing the drapery of the sky. The fact that he is clothed with a cloud symbolizes the power that he has. He is coming to bring judgment. There is also a rainbow on his head. This rainbow reflects the amazing and glorious splendor of the angel. John MacArthur writes, “Iris (rainbow) was the Greek goddess who personified the rainbow and served as a messenger of the gods. In classical Greek iris was used to describe any bright halo surrounding another object, such as the circle surrounding the eyes on a peacock’s tail, or the iris of the eye. Here it describes the brilliant, many-colored rainbow around the angel’s head, which reflects his glorious splendor.”[2] Also, his face was as it were the sun. This angel was particularly bright. His face shone bright as the sun. No doubt, he was accustomed to being in the very immediate presence of God. The glory of God seems to be radiating from him. His feet are as pillar of fire. Fire, in the Bible, is seen as a judgment that consumes the ungodly. The fact that the angel’s feet is as a pillar of fire demonstrates the stamping out of judgment on the earth. He is to stomp on the earth with fierce raging judgment against the ungodly world. The angel is also seen holding a little book open. The book that he is holding is most likely the same book described in Revelation 5. It is the scroll that was in the hand of God. The seals of the scroll were opened by the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Now that the scroll is completely opened, this powerful angel holds the book in his hand which reveals all the terrible horrors of the divine judgment that is yet to come.

                There are some who see this angel as being Jesus Himself. Though there are similarities to Jesus, I do believe that this angel is, in fact, Jesus. Every time Jesus is seen in the book of Revelation, John identifies Him clearly. The angel is later seen as raising his hands toward heaven and swearing by Him who created all things. If this angel was Jesus, then he would be swearing by himself. Also, the angel came down out of heaven. If we identify the angel as Christ, then we would have another coming of Christ to the earth. I believe that this is simply a very powerful angel who is displaying the glory of God; therefore, he does have some similarities to the appearance of Christ.

                The Act. In verses two and three, we see what the angel does. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices.”[3] This angel is described as being massive in size. He puts his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land. This shows the sovereignty of God over the earth. He has the authority to judge the whole earth. The actions of this angel is to show his anticipation of the judgments associated with the seventh trumpet as well as the seven vials or bowls. By placing his feet on the land and sea, we see the authority of God who is about to take back control of the earth from the hands of Satan. “Though the beast with seven heads is about to arise out of the sea (Rev 13:1), and the beast with two horns like a lamb (Rev 13:11) out of the earth, yet it is but for a time, and that time shall no longer be (Rev 10:6, 7) when once the seventh trumpet is about to sound; the angel with his right foot on the sea, and his left on the earth, claims both as God’s, and as about soon to be cleared of the usurper and his followers.”[4] The angel cries out with a voice as a lion. This loud cry is symbolic of the power and authority of God. After the angel cries out, the ‘seven thunders utter their voices.’ The number seven is associated with ‘completeness’ and the thunders are associated with ‘judgment.’ The thunder may have represented the very voice of God.

                The Answer.  “Now when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them.”[5] John us told to not write the things that the seven thunders said. Speculation as to what the seven thunders said is not necessary. No doubt, the seven thunders are the very words of God. These are the only words that John is commanded not to write. We may never know what is said this side of heaven, nor may we ever know, for that matter. We must simply trust God that if He wanted us to know what He said then He would have told us. There is a fundamental lesson to learn here. God has given to us His Word as His revelation of Himself to us. Those things that are not found in His Word should be left alone. We cannot add to or take away from His Word. We cannot read into His Word. Just simply trust God that He has told us all that we need to know and all that He wants us to know. Accepting this by faith is key.

                The Announcement. Notice what John writes in verses 5-7. “The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand to heaven and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer, but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.”[6] As the angel takes this vow, He is confirming that what he is about to speak is indeed the truth. The angel gives praise to God as the one who is the creator of all things. “That designation of god stresses His eternity and sovereign power in and over all creation. This identification of God as Creator echoes the praise song of the twenty-four elders recorded 4:11.”[7] The angel is announcing that there will no more delay. The final judgment on the ungodly world is about to commence. The angel is announcing that the final trumpet is a period of time and not just one event. This time period includes the seven vial or bowl judgments. The angel declares that the time of the end is here.

                The Assignment. There is an assignment given to John in verses 8-11. “Then the voice which I heard from heaven spoke to me again and said, “Go, take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the earth.”So I went to the angel and said to him, “Give me the little book.”And he said to me, “Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.”10 Then I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter. 11 And he said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.”[8] “The act of eating the scroll symbolized the absorbing and assimilating of God’s Word.”[9] The taste of the book is both sweet and bitter. As believers, we can certainly relate to this. God’s Word is bitter sweet. We rejoice in the goodness of God and the grace of God and in the salvation that He has given to us. However, it is a very bitter thing to know the truth concerning His judgment and wrath that will fall on the unbelieving world. John was given a commission to prophesy again and proclaim what is to come.

                We also have been given an assignment. We know what is to come. We know what God’s Word says. While we are living in this age, God has given the responsibility of proclaiming His truth to the church. It is our duty. It is our purpose. The only way people will be saved from God’s wrath is if we tell them how that can be saved through Jesus Christ. This is an assignment that we must take seriously. Thousands of souls are destined to hell, unless we give them the hope of salvation in Jesus. Will you answer to call? Will you carry the torch of the Gospel?

 


[1] The New King James Version. (1982). (Re 10:1–2). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[2] MacArthur, John. Because the time is near. Moody Publishers (2007). p. 173

 

[3] The New King James Version. (1982). (Re 10:2–3). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Re 10:2). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[5] The New King James Version. (1982). (Re 10:4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[6] The New King James Version. (1982). (Re 10:5–7). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[7] MacArthur, John. Because the time is near. Moody Publishers (2007). p. 175-176

[8] The New King James Version. (1982). (Re 10:8–11). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[9] MacArthur, John. Because the time is near. Moody Publishers (2007). p. 177

 

 

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