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Revelation Chapter 10

by Karl Kemp  
8/13/2012 / Bible Studies

This article was taken (with modifications and improvements) from the internet version of my paper titled "A Verse-by-Verse Study of Revelation Chapters 1-10," which was taken from the paper by that title which was published in July, 1999. I was able to use bold, italics, underlining, and footnotes in the original paper and the version on my internet site. Sometimes I will use double brackets [[ ]] and (( )) to make them more obvious. All quotations from the Bible were taken from the New American Standard Bible, 1995 edition, unless otherwise noted. Are you aware that you can click on my name beside any of my articles on this Christian article site and see a listing of all my articles on this site (so too for any other author)?

Key parts of this chapter were discussed in rather thorough fashion in my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." I'll supplement what I said in the book in this article, but significant parts of what was said in the book will not be repeated here. (The primary discussion is on pages 167-172. For the full discussion on the identity of the angel/Angel, see pages 165-179. Also see number 10 on pages 299, 300.)

Revelation chapter 10 and Rev. 11:1-13 are two interludes (parenthetical inserts) between the sounding of the sixth trumpet (Rev. 9:13-21) and the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet of the book of Revelation at Rev. 11:15. (Revelation 11:14 serves as an introduction to 11:15.) The interlude of Revelation chapter 10 has much to do with the sounding of the seventh trumpet. For one thing, in Rev. 10:6, 7 we are told that it is now time for the seventh trumpet to sound - there will be delay no longer. Furthermore, in Rev. 10:1, 2 we see a mighty angel/messenger come down from heaven and put one foot on the sea and the other foot on the land, which pictures God's beginning to fully take over the world, a taking over that will officially begin with the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet.

As we'll discuss, this mighty angel/Angel/Messenger probably pictures the Lord Jesus Christ coming down to the earth in the middle of Daniel's 70th week to save and to judge, at the time of the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet. The evidence is very strong that this mighty angel/Angel is the Angel/Messenger of Yahweh of the Old Testament, who is God the Son. If it doesn't picture Christ, it pictures a mighty angel under Him.

"I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud [On the cloud, compare, for example, Dan. 7:13, 14; Matt. 24:30; 26:64; Acts 1:9-11; and Rev. 1:7.]; and the rainbow [cf. Rev. 4:3] was upon his head, and his face was like the sun [see Rev. 1:16; cf. Dan. 10:6; Matt. 17:2; and Rev. 21:23], and his feet like pillars of fire [[As discussed in "The Mid-Week Rapture" in some detail, the evidence is very strong that this angel/Angel is the Angel of the LORD [Yahweh], who appears quite often in the Old Testament. There is rather widespread agreement that this Angel (or we could translate Messenger) is the Eternal Son of God, through whom all things were created (cf., e.g., John 1:1-3). (I had a footnote here, "I'll add several names to the list of commentators I have in my book who hold the view (or at least prefer the view) that this angel/Angel is Christ: G. K. Beale, "Book of Revelation" [Eerdmans, 1999] pages 522ff.; Robert Van Kampen, "The Sign" [Crossway, 1992], pages 341-344; Walter A. Ewell, "Evangelical Commentary on the Bible" [Baker, 1989], page 1213; Donald W. Richardson, "Revelation of Jesus Christ" [Knox, 1964], page 101 (mentioned by R. H. Mounce, "Book of Revelation"); and, last, I'll list two commentators mentioned by John F. Walvoord ("Revelation of Jesus Christ" [Moody, 1966], pages 169, 170): Walter Scott, "Exposition of the Revelation of Jesus Christ" [Pickering and Inglis Ltd, no date], page 219 and William Kelly, "Lectures on the Book of Revelation" [W. H. Broom, 1874], page 200.)

On his feet compare Rev. 1:15. The NIV has "legs" instead of "feet," which is quite reasonable in light of the comparison with "pillars of fire." There's no doubting that the basic meaning of the plural of the Greek noun used here ("pous, podos") means "feet," and that the feet are included, but apparently the legs are included too. The BAGD Greek Lexicon says, "In Rev. 10:1 'pous' clearly means leg," and it gives some non-biblical references to substantiate this usage. "The comparison with 'stuloi,' 'pillars,' implies that the word here includes the leg, as 'cheir,' 'hand,' often includes the arm" (Isbon T. Beckwith, "Apocalypse of John" [Baker, 1979 edition, copyright 1919], page 580).]]; (2) and he had in his hand a little book [scroll] which was open. [[I assume this little scroll, which was open in the angel/Angel's hand, is the same scroll the Lord Jesus took from the hand of God the Father (as pictured in Rev. 5:1-7). In Rev. 6:1-8:1, we watch as He breaks the seven seals from the scroll. Only then could the scroll be opened, as it is seen open here in Rev. 10:2. It is very reasonable to expect that this same scroll would still be in the hand of the Lord Jesus here in Revelation chapter 10.

The fact that this scroll is called a "little scroll" in Rev. 10:2 (but not in Rev. 5:1-7) probably indicates that only part of the original scroll remains. The content of the original scroll probably equals the book of Revelation, starting about Rev. 6:1. Part of the revelation contained in the scroll has already been given. In Rev. 10:8-11, the apostle John was told that he should take the little scroll and eat it (cf. Ezek. 2:8-3:11). John was told that he should eat this scroll because he "must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings" (Rev. 10:11). He has already prophesied (probably starting at Rev. 6:1 and going through chapter 10).]] He placed his right foot on the sea and his left on the land [cf. Rev. 10:5, 8]; (3) and he cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars [The person/Person who "cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars," speaks with great authority. These words certainly fit the Lord Jesus well. He has the authority to save and to judge (cf., e.g., Matt. 28:18; John 5:22, 23, 25-29; and Eph, 1:20-23), and He is called "the LION that is from the tribe of Judah, the root of David" in Rev. 5:5 (cf. Gen. 49:8-12; Jer. 25:30-38; Amos 1:2; and Joel 3:16).]; and when he had cried out, the seven peals of thunder uttered their voices. [The seven peals of thunder probably relate to part of God's end-time judgment of the world. In Rev. 8:5; 11:19; and 16:18 (cf. Rev. 4:5), peals of thunder combined with flashes of lightning and sounds (and other phenomena) apparently picture God's power going forth in judgment. These judgments (assuming this is what the seven peals of thunder spoke of) probably will come to pass near the middle of Daniel's 70th week.] (4) When the seven peals of thunder had spoken, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven [cf. Rev. 10:8] saying, 'Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them.' [[Contrast Rev. 22:10. Quite a few times in the book of Revelation John was told to write what he had seen and heard (Rev. 1:11, 19; 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14; 14:13; 19:9; and 21:5). This is the only place where he was instructed not to write what he had seen and heard. Daniel 8:26 spoke of the need for Daniel to "keep the vision secret, for it pertains to many days in the future." In Dan. 12:4 he was told to "conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time [time of the end]; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase." And in Dan. 12:9 Daniel was told that "these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time [until the time of the end]." These verses in Daniel are different than Rev. 10:4, however, in that Daniel was to write down the revelations he received. Daniel's revelations were to be sealed (and concealed) in the sense that they weren't to be understood (by the people of Israel) in any full sense until later. The book of Revelation, which builds on the book of Daniel, is not a sealed book for Christians (cf. Rev. 1:1-3; 22:6, 7, 10-12; "And he said to me, 'Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near' " [Rev. 22:10]). This doesn't mean, however, that all (or most) Christians will have an adequate understanding of the book of Revelation. Far from it!

It's a little surprising that John would be permitted to hear what the seven peals of thunder said, and to inform us of that fact, but that he would not be permitted to tell us what they said. (But compare 2 Cor. 12:4.) Apparently these verses set the stage for God to reveal to us at a later time (at the right time) what the seven peals of thunder said. Such a revelation could come, for example, through the two end-time prophets of Rev. 11:3-12. There can be no doubt that God keeps some information hidden until the proper time. For example, if the enemies of God had understood the cross of Christ, "they would not have crucified the Lord of glory" (1 Cor. 2:8).]] (5) Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land [cf. Rev. 10:1, 2] lifted up his right hand to heaven [cf. Deut. 32:40; Dan. 12:7], (6) and swore [As discussed in "The Mid-Week Rapture," I believe the "man dressed in linen" of Dan. 12:5-7, who "raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever" is God the Son (the Angel/Messenger of Yahweh). On this oath also compare Deut. 32:40; Heb. 6:13.] by Him who lives forever and ever [cf. Rev. 4:9], WHO CREATED HEAVEN AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE EARTH AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE SEA AND THE THINGS IN IT [Compare Rev. 4:11. The angel/Angel/Messenger would be taking this oath before/by God the Father (or possibly the Trinity). This affirmation with an oath (which is the only oath in the book of Revelation) serves to confirm the importance and truthfulness of that which is stated in the following words, through verse 7. God's Word is true, of course, without an oath - God doesn't lie; see Heb. 6:13-20, for example, "it is impossible for God to lie" (Heb. 6:18).], that there will be delay no longer [[In other words, at the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet of the book of Revelation - and the seventh trumpet (Rev. 11:15) will be on the verge of sounding at that time - God the Father will send His Son to save His own and to judge and take over the world. The millennial kingdom will be established after Daniel's 70th week; then after the millennial kingdom and the great white throne judgment, it will be time for the new heaven and new earth with its new Jerusalem of Revelation chapters 21, 22.

I'll quote part of what George Eldon Ladd said regarding the translation of the KJV here ("Revelation of John" [Eerdmans, 1972], page 144). "The translation of this phrase in the AV [KJV] is very misleading: 'that there should be time no longer.' [This translation didn't result from a different Greek reading, as it sometimes happens with the KJV in the book of Revelation; it's a matter of interpretation. Most commentators of our day agree with Ladd here.] We sing in the stirring hymn, 'When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more....' This rendering suggests that the angel announced the end of time and the beginning of eternity, as though eternity were somehow qualitatively different from time as we know it. ... What the angel announces is that there will be no more time intervening before the coming of the end [before the seventh and last trumpet sounds]."], (7) but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished [cf. Rev. 21:6], as He preached to His servants the prophets. [[I can't live with the translation of the NASB (which is basically the same as the KJV and NIV): "when he is about to sound." The Greek could be translated this way, but I don't believe this translation communicates the intended meaning. I believe the idea is that the mystery of God, which He preached to His servants the prophets, will be finished during the days of voice of the seventh angel WHEN HE SOUNDS, not when he is about to sound. The Greek verb "mello," which the NASB translated "is about to sound," is often used in the New Testament with no idea of "about to." The NASB, for example, translated "mello" as "going to" nineteen times. See the BAGD Greek Lexicon.

Note the following translations of Rev. 10:7: "But when the seventh angel blows his trumpet, God's mysterious plan will be fulfilled. It will happen just as he announced to his servants the prophets" (New Living Translation). "In the days which shall soon be announced by the trumpet blast of the seventh angel the mysterious purpose of God shall be completed, as he assured his servants the prophets" (The New Testament in Modern English [translated by J. B. Phillips]). "but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God, as he announced to his servants the prophets, should be fulfilled" (RSV). "When the time comes for the seventh angel to blow his trumpet, the mysterious plan of God, which he announced to his servants the prophets, shall be accomplished in full" (New American Bible). Also, many commentators get this right (from my point of view).

I'll quote part of what Ladd said regarding the translation of this verse ("Revelation of John," page 145). "The AV [KJV] renders the passage 'when he shall begin to sound,' but this is the less likely translation. ... If this is correct, the verse asserts that the end will come just before the seventh trumpet sounds ["when he shall begin to sound"]; but this is impossible. ... The verse does not say, 'when the trumpet sounds,' but 'in the days of the trumpet call.' This suggests clearly that the sounding of the seventh trumpet is not to be thought of as a simple act; it embodies a period of time. We shall see that the period of the seventh trumpet includes the seven bowls (16:1-20)...and the consummation itself."

The mystery of God, which He revealed to His servants, the Old Testament prophets (cf., e.g., Amos 3:7), and has revealed in a fuller sense through the New Testament apostles and prophets, includes His plans to save His people (true Israel), to judge and remove all who persist in rebellion (including the devil), and to bring about His new heaven and new earth with its new Jerusalem. These things will come to pass, or be brought to completion, through the events associated with the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet (cf., e.g., Rev. 11:15-18; 12:10). On God's keeping the promises which he made to Israel through the old-covenant prophets, see Rev. 11:19 (page 304 in "The Mid-Week Rapture"); 15:3 (the "song of Moses"); and 15:5.

In the margin the NASB says that the Greek verb translated "He preached" literally means "He preached the gospel." A translation like "as He proclaimed the good news to His servants the prophets" might be preferable here. The BAGD Greek Lexicon gives "bring or announce good news" as the basic meaning of this Greek verb ("euangelizo"). Ladd comments ("Revelation of John," page 145). "It might be more closely (if a bit awkwardly) rendered, 'as he announced the good news to...the prophets.' " The Jerusalem Bible has "just as he announced in the Good News told to his servants the prophets." The Twentieth Century New Testament has, "of which he told the good news to his servants, the Prophets." This emphasis on good news doesn't eliminate the judgments from God's mystery: His salvation and His eternal kingdom cannot come forth in any full sense without removing those who never will repent. It's also true that chastening, refining judgments are sometimes needed by God's elect, which He supplies - they work for good, including the good of God's people.]] (8) Then the voice which I heard from heaven [cf. Rev. 10:4], I heard again speaking with me, and saying, 'Go, take the book [scroll] which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the land [cf. Rev. 10:2].' (9) So I went to the angel, telling him [asking him] to give me the little book [scroll]. And he said to me, 'Take it and eat it [cf. Jer. 15:16; Ezek. 2:8-3:4 (I'll quote and briefly comment on these verses from Ezekiel at the end of this discussion of Revelation chapter 10.)]; it will make your stomach bitter [These words, which weren't used in Ezek. 2:8-3:4 (though they apparently could have been used there too [cf., e.g., Ezek. 2:10]), apparently relate to the bitter words of judgment that are contained in the little scroll that John was to eat and then to prophesy.], but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.' [[Compare Ezek. 3:3; Jer. 15:16; Psalms 19:10; and 119:103. These words about the scroll being sweet as honey, which were spoken to both John and Ezekiel, relate to the extreme privilege of receiving/taking in God's Word, which always is very good (even when it includes a bitter message, a message that includes impending judgment). The scroll that John was to eat and then to prophesy included very much good news for God's people, culminating in eternal glory. Ezekiel 2:8-3:4 don't mention anything positive, but it is to be understood that God's judgments of Israel would ultimately lead to the full salvation of the elect of Israel that is spoken of in later chapters of Ezekiel.]] (10) I took the little book [scroll] out of the angel's hand and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. [The same verb translated "made bitter" was also used in Rev. 8:11 ("they [the waters] were made bitter").] (11) And they said to me [This is a literal translation of the Greek, but it's not clear who was speaking. Many commentators (and probably rightly so) favor a translation like "it was said" here, with the plural being understood in an indefinite sense, equivalent to a passive. The NIV takes this viewpoint: "I was told."], 'You must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings [I assume these words speak of the rest of the book of Revelation, which John was yet to prophesy.].' "

I'll quote Ezek. 2:8-3:4. Revelation 10:8-11 undoubtedly build on these words spoken to Ezekiel. " 'Now you, son of man [Ezekiel], listen to what I am speaking to you [The One speaking to Ezekiel was God (Ezek. 1:26-2:7).]; do not be rebellious like that rebellious house [Israel]. Open your mouth and eat what I am giving you.' (9) Then I looked, behold, a hand was extended to me; and lo, a scroll was in it. (10) When He spread it out before me, it was written on the front and back; and written on it were lamentations, mourning and woe. (3:1) Then He said to me, 'Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.' (2) So I opened my mouth, and He fed me this scroll. (3) And He said to me, 'Son of man, feed your stomach, and fill your body with this scroll which I am giving you.' Then I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth. (4) Then He said to me, 'Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words [i.e., prophesy] to them.' "

May God's will be fully accomplished through this article and His people be edified!

Copyright by Karl Kemp Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.

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