Re 10:1-11. Vision of the
As an episode was introduced between the sixth and
seventh seals, so there is one here (Re 10:1-11:14) after the sixth and introductory to the
seventh trumpet (Re 11:15,
which forms the grand consummation). The Church and her fortunes are
the subject of this episode: as the judgments on the unbelieving
inhabiters of the earth (Re 8:13) were the exclusive subject of the fifth
and sixth woe-trumpets. Re 6:11 is
plainly referred to in Re 10:6
below; in Re
6:11 the martyrs crying to be
avenged were told they must "rest yet for a little season" or
time: in Re 10:6 here
they are assured, "There shall be no longer (any interval of) time";
their prayer shall have no longer to wait, but (Re 10:7) at the trumpet sounding of the
seventh angel shall be consummated, and the mystery of God
(His mighty plan heretofore hidden, but then to be revealed) shall
be finished. The little open book (Re 10:2, 9, 10) is given to John by the angel,
with a charge (Re 10:11)
that he must prophesy again concerning (so the Greek)
peoples, nations, tongues, and kings: which prophecy (as appears
11:15-19) affects those
peoples, nations, tongues, and kings only in relation to Israel and the Church, who form the main
object of the prophecy.
1. another mighty angel—as distinguished
from the mighty angel who asked as to the former and more
comprehensive book (Re 5:2), "Who
is worthy to open the book?"
clothed with a cloud—the emblem of God
coming in judgment.
a—A, B, C, and Aleph read
"the"; referring to (Re 4:3) the
rainbow already mentioned.
rainbow upon his head—the emblem of
covenant mercy to God's people, amidst judgments on God's foes. Resumed
4:3 (see on Re 4:3).
face as … the sun—(Re 1:16; 18:1).
feet as pillars of fire—(Re 1:15; Eze
1:7). The angel, as
representative of Christ, reflects His glory and bears the insignia
attributed in Re 1:15, 16; 4:3, to Christ Himself. The pillar of
fire by night led Israel through the wilderness, and was the symbol
of God's presence.
2. he had—Greek, "Having."
in his hand—in his left hand: as in
Re 10:5 (see on Re
10:5), he lifts up his right hand to heaven.
a little book—a roll little in
comparison with the "book" (Re 5:1) which
contained the whole vast scheme of God's purposes, not to be
fully read till the final consummation. This other, a less book,
contained only a portion which John was now to make his own (Re 10:9,
11), and then to use in
prophesying to others. The New Testament begins with the word "book"
(Greek, "biblus"), of which "the little book"
(Greek, "biblaridion") is the diminutive, "the little
bible," the Bible in miniature.
upon the sea … earth—Though the
beast with seven heads is about to arise out of the sea (Re 13:1), and the beast with two horns
like a lamb (Re 13:11)
out of the earth, yet it is but for a time, and that time
shall no longer be (Re 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
3. as … lion—Christ, whom the
angel represents, is often so symbolized (Re 5:5, "the Lion of the tribe of Juda").
"the seven thunders." They form part of the Apocalyptic
symbolism; and so are marked by the article as well known. Thus
thunderings marked the opening of the seventh seal (Re 8:1, 5); so also at the seventh vial (Re 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 (Re 11:19), and the seventh vial.
uttered their—Greek, "spake
their own voices"; that is, voices peculiarly their own, and
not now revealed to men.
4. when—Aleph reads, "Whatsoever
things." But most manuscripts support English Version.
uttered their voices—A, B, C, and
Aleph omit "their voices." Then translate, "had spoken."
unto me—omitted by A, B, C,
Aleph, and Syriac.
Seal up—the opposite command to Re 22:20. Even 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 by him to others in this book of Revelation; so
terrible are they that God in mercy withholds them, since "sufficient
unto the day is the evil thereof." The godly are thus kept from morbid
ponderings over the evil to come; and the ungodly are not driven by
despair into utter recklessness of life. Alford adds another aim in concealing them, namely,
"godly fear, seeing that the arrows of God's quiver are not exhausted."
Besides the terrors foretold, there are others unutterable and more
horrifying lying in the background.
5. lifted up his hand—So A and
Vulgate read. But B, C, Aleph, Syriac, and
Coptic, "… his right hand." It was customary to
lift up the hand towards heaven, appealing to the God of truth, in
taking a solemn oath. There is in this part of the vision an allusion
12:1-13. Compare Re 10:4, with
Da 12:4, 9; and Re 10:5, 6,
end, with Da 12:7. But there
the angel clothed in linen, and standing upon the waters, sware "a
time, times, and a half" were to interpose before the consummation;
here, on the contrary, the angel standing 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 (whereas in Daniel the book is
sealed) in his left hand (Re 10:2), and he lifts up only his
right hand to heaven.
6. liveth for ever and
ever—Greek, "liveth unto the ages of the ages"
created heaven … earth … sea,
&c.—This detailed designation of God as the Creator, is
appropriate to the subject of the angel's oath, namely, the
consummating of the mystery of God (Re 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—Greek, "that time (that is, an interval of
time) no longer shall be." The martyrs shall have no longer a time to
wait for the accomplishment of their prayers for the purgation of the
earth by the judgments which shall remove their and God's foes from it
6:11). The appointed
season or time of delay is at an end (the same
Greek is here as in Re 6:11,
chronus). Not as English Version implies, Time shall end
and eternity begin.
7. But—connected with Re 10:6. "There shall be no longer time (that
is, delay), but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel,
when he is about to (so the Greek) sound his trumpet (so the
Greek), then (literally, 'also'; which conjunction often
introduces the consequent member of a sentence) the mystery of God is
finished," literally, "has been finished"; the prophet regarding the
future as certain as if it were past. A, C, Aleph, and
Coptic read the past tense (Greek, "etelesthee").
B reads, as English Version, the future tense (Greek,
"telesthee"). "should be finished" (compare Re 11:15-18). Sweet consolation to the waiting
saints! The seventh trumpet shall be sounded without further delay.
the mystery of God—the theme of the
"little book," and so of the remainder of the Apocalypse. What a grand
contrast to the "mystery of iniquity Babylon!" The mystery of God's
scheme of redemption, once hidden in God's secret counsel and 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 at the end. Then finally His servants shall praise
Him most fully, for the glorious consummation of the mystery in having
taken to Himself and His saints the kingdom so long usurped by Satan
and the ungodly. Thus this verse is an anticipation of Re 11:15-18.
declared to—Greek, "declared
the glad tidings to." "The mystery of God" is the Gospel glad
tidings. The office of the prophets is to receive the
glad tidings from God, in order to declare them to others.
The final consummation is the great theme of the Gospel announced to,
and by, the prophets (compare Ga 3:8).
8. spake … and said—So
Syriac and Coptic read. But A, B, C, "(I heard) again
speaking with me, and saying" (Greek, "lalousan …
little book—So Aleph and B
read. But A and C, "the book."
9. I went—Greek, "I went
away." John here leaves heaven, his standing-point of
observation heretofore, to be near the angel standing on the earth and
Give—A, B, C, and Vulgate read
the infinitive, "Telling him to give."
eat it up—appropriate its contents so
entirely as to be assimilated with (as food), and become part of
thyself, so as to impart them the more vividly to others. His finding
the roll sweet to the taste at first, is because it was the Lord's will
he was doing, and because, divesting himself of carnal feeling, he
regarded God's will as always agreeable, however bitter might be the
message of judgment to be announced. Compare Ps 40:8, Margin, as to Christ's inner
complete appropriation of God's word.
thy belly bitter—parallel to Eze 2:10, "There was written therein
lamentations, and mourning, and woe."
as honey—(Ps 19:10;
119:103). Honey, sweet to the
mouth, sometimes turns into bile in the stomach. The thought that God
would be glorified (Re 11:3-6, 11-18) gave him the sweetest pleasure. Yet,
afterwards the belly, or carnal natural feeling, was embittered
with grief at the prophecy of the coming bitter persecutions of the
Church (Re 11:7-10); compare Joh 16:1, 2. The revelation of the secrets of
futurity is sweet to one at first, but bitter and
distasteful to our natural man, when we learn the cross which is to be
borne before the crown shall be won. John was grieved at the coming
apostasy and the sufferings of the Church at the hands of
10. the little book—So A and C, but B,
Aleph, and Vulgate, "the book."
was bitter—Greek, "was
11. he said—A, B, and Vulgate
read, "they say unto me"; an indefinite expression for "it was
said unto me."
Thou must—The obligation lies upon
thee, as the servant of God, to prophesy at His command.
again—as thou didst already in the
previous part of this book of Revelation.
before, &c.—rather as Greek
(epilaois), "concerning many peoples," &c., namely,
in their relation to the Church. The eating of the book, as in
Ezekiel's case, marks John's inauguration to his prophetical
office—here to a fresh stage in it, namely, the revealing of the
things which befall the holy city and the Church of God—the
subject of the rest of the book.