“Surely HaShem G-d does nothing
Unless He reveals His secret counsel
To His servants the prophets.” –Amos 3:7
This chapter, like chapter 7, is a type of interlude. Chapter 7 however, is an intermission that reveals the seed of a plot thread which will find its fulfilment in chapter 14, whereas chapter 10 is more of a preface to the seventh shofar. Both these chapters provide waiting periods for the reader between the sixth and seventh elements (Seals, Shofrot), showing the need for patience in anticipating the revelation of G-d and its completion.
Chapter 7 begins, “After this” whereas chapter 10 begins, “Then”, which emphasises the fact that where chapter seven had stepped out of chronology and into the future, chapter 10 simply pauses within chronology. Unlike chapter 7 which is a self-contained intermission, chapter 10 begins an interlude that lasts until chapter 11:14, at which point the second woe has passed. From 11:15 we are introduced to the transitional seventh shofar and the subsequent future judgements poured out from the 7 bowls.
Regardless of chapter and verse headings—which are not present in the original Greek text—we’re able to appreciate the rhythm of the writing and the purpose of the interludes. We are being prepared for what is coming, anything that remains hidden from us is kept secret for our good and is not for us to search out. The unveiling of Revelation is a gift from Messiah to the Ecclesia, however, even in this unveiling there are things that He gives only to His prophet (Yochanan), and like Shaul/Paul(2 Cor. 12:4), they are things that are between the prophet and his Master alone.
10:1 I saw another mighty (Gibor) messenger coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud; and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs (The Greek text reads, “feet-podes”, however Hebrew has one word that combines legs and feet, Raglayim) like pillars of fire;
Like the angel Abbadon, this mighty angel has come down from heaven to serve G-d’s purpose over the earth. However, rather than being given authority, as Abbadon was (an angel receiving permission), this angel clearly has authority. Abbadon was given rule over a single element of the outworking of G-d’s plan, whereas this angel, by placing his feet on land and sea and having come down from heaven, shows that his authority is over all creation.
The phrase, “another mighty angel” is proof in itself that this angel is not the mighty angel of Revelation 5:2 (Who is most likely Gabriel, “My mighty One of G-d”). Therefore we are being presented with another angel who is, “Mighty” but isn’t Gabriel. There are no other angels among the arch angels or the 7 angels of the presence who bear names that denote the title, “Mighty”, therefore we must look elsewhere to determine the identity of this messenger.
One of the keys to identifying this mighty angel (messenger) is in the symbolism presented by his body and clothing. The symbols here offer parallels to Israel’s escape from Egypt.
Clothed with a cloud:
This symbolic clothing has three clear Scriptural meanings:
1. The Cloud of the Angel of HaShem is said to have guided (Exodus 13:21-22) and protected (Exodus 14:19, 24) Israel as she escaped the bondage of Egypt.
2. G-d makes the clouds His chariots (Psalm 104:3).
3. Messiah was engulfed in cloud at the transfiguration (Matthew 17:5; 24:30), which reflects the impartation of the Torah at Sinai.
A rainbow was upon his head:
As discussed previously, the rainbow is full of meaning, the primary meaning being that of representing G-d’s covenant promise never again to destroy the earth by flood (Gen. 9:8-13). It is a symbol of the work of the Messiah, Who by His sacrificial death and resurrection has bridged the gap between G-d and humanity. It is also symbolic of the sevenfold Spirit of G-d, being the result of the refraction of white light as it passes through water crystals in the atmosphere.
Ezekiel describes the likeness of the glory of the L-rd like this:
“There was a radiance around Him. 28 As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.” –Ezekiel 1:27-28
Thus Ezekiel combines the first two elements of cloud and rainbow.
His face was like the sun:
Practically speaking, the rainbow is caused by the radiant light of the Angel’s face, which shines like the sun, as its rays move through the cloud. Yeshua’s face is said to radiate this way at the transfiguration (Matthew 17:2).
His legs like pillars of fire:
Hebrew uses the word, “Raglayim” to denote both legs and feet, context confirms that the Hebrew is the more accurate reading. The Greek text here uses the Greek, “podes” meaning feet, however, feet can’t be, “pillars”, therefore the Hebrew, “Raglayim” is a better choice. This verse is evidence of one of two things: the Greek scribes of the New Testament were either conveying a Hebrew author’s (John) best guess at the Greek equivalent term, or, they were translating a Hebrew original text into Greek. In either case a Hebrew meaning is the intention of the author.
The phrasing, “pillars of fire” is a clear reference to the Exodus:
“HaShem was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. 22He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” –Exodus 13:21-22
This should be of great comfort to us His people, with whom He is continually present.
We should take note that the fire of the Angel’s legs and feet is symbolic of the affliction of G-d’s Ecclesia (people, both Jew and Gentile) and the refining of His Spirit among them upon the earth.
Israel’s escape from Egypt has been used as a clear foundation for the unravelling of the events of the book of Revelation. We have just read of the many plagues in Revelation that emulate the plagues of Egypt, we now see a figure like that of G-d’s Angel, “Ha-Malakh HaShem”, Who lead Israel from Egypt into the wilderness and protected her from her enemies and her from returning to her old way of life in the land of bondage.
Surely the angel Gabriel received the title, “Mighty” as a reflection of the, “Mighty G-d” whom he serves. Therefore the only other Angel (Messenger) that can bear this title is the Angel of HaShem, Who is the “Malakh shel El-Shaddai”, the Angel of G-d Almighty.
The Angel of HaShem and HaShem Himself are indistinguishable in a number of Tanakh passages (Genesis 16; 22; 24; 32; Exodus 3; Numbers 22; Judges 2; 5; 6; 13 etc.) It seems probable that in many instances in the Tanakh the Angel of HaShem is in fact the manifest presence of the Messiah (acting outside the bonds of time and space). Therefore there is no reason to discount the view that this mighty angel is the Messiah simply because Messiah is not referred to as an angel in the book of Revelation.
“The G-d before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
The G-d who has been my shepherd all my life to this day,
The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil,
Bless the boys;” –Genesis 48:15
On the other hand, the Hebrew view holds that the Angel of HaShem or the Angel of HaShem’s presence is a separate entity within the divine court. What is clear is that each of the symbols that make up this angel’s appearance, are direct representations of G-d Himself and denote His presence and participation in the words and actions of this mighty angel. If this angel isn’t Yeshua, he is most certainly the manifest representation of both The Father (G-d) and the Son (Yeshua, G-d with us).
2 and he had in his hand a little scroll which was open.
This scroll is called, “little” for a reason: it’s not the scroll of seven seals but rather a little/small part of the whole story of G-d. This scroll is open to Yochanan and needs not have any seals broken from it. Given that this scroll is taken from the Angel by Yochanan and that what follows is his consuming of it and prophesying to the nations, it seems likely that this scroll contains the writings of Yochanan; those being John’s gospel and the Revelation. This means that Yochanan is to bring to the nations the gospel of repentance and salvation along with the prophetic consequences of refusing it.
He placed his right foot on the sea and his left on the land; 3 and he cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars; and when he had cried out, the seven peals of thunder uttered their voices.
His right foot on the sea and His left on the land signify His authority over all the earth. His voice is loud because it is heard throughout the earth and even to the heavens where the thunders respond. G-d’s voice is likened to that of a roaring lion throughout the Scriptures (Hosea 11:10; Amos 3:8):
“HaShem roars from Zion
And utters His voice from Jerusalem,
And the heavens and the earth tremble.
But HaShem is a refuge for His people
And a stronghold to the sons of Israel.” –Joel 3:16
Yeshua is the lion of the tribe of Judah, a Messianic title from the Tanakh.
“Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open thea]" > book and its seven seals.” –Revelation 5:5
“Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He couches, he lies down as a lion, And as a lion, who dares rouse him up?” –Genesis 49:9
The seven peals of thunder uttered their voices
Both the cloud and the peals of thunder are traditional images from storm theophany (manifest meeting between G-d and man: Psalm 18:6-15; Psalm 29).
There is a direct correlation between the voice of HaShem and the sevenfold thunder, as clearly presented in Psalm 29:
“ The voice of HaShem is upon the waters;
The God of glory thunders,
HaShem is over many waters.
4  The voice of HaShem is powerful,
 The voice of HaShem is majestic.
5  The voice of HaShem breaks the cedars;
Yes, the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
And Sirion like a young wild ox.
7  The voice of HaShem hews out flames of fire.
8  The voice of HaShem shakes the wilderness;
HaShem shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9  The voice of HaShem makes the deer to calve
And strips the forests bare;
And in His temple everything says, “Glory!” –Psalm 29:3-9
Therefore, the seven thunders are the voice of The L-rd, G-d of Israel (HaShem).
4 When the seven peals of thunder had spoken, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them.”
Yochanan clearly understood and intended to write down what the thunders had spoken, however he is instructed not to write them down, meaning that they are not to be communicated to humanity. While this finds a correlation in the book of Daniel (Daniel 12:4-9), it is different in that there is no indication as to when the things spoken by the thunders will be revealed.
There are times when a prophet receives intimate words from HaShem that are between HaShem and the prophet alone. Shaul/Paul had a similar experience, which is recorded in 2 Corinthians 12:4.
5 Then the messenger whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to heaven, 6 and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in it, and the sea and the things in it, that there will be delay no longer,
Here the messenger is compared to the messenger of Daniel 12:
“I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people (Ethnic Israel), all these events will be completed.” –Daniel 12:7
However, what the Angel of Revelation 10 swears is quite different from the oath of the angel of Daniel 12. The Angel of Revelation 10 doesn’t swear concerning a period of waiting (a time, times and half a time), rather He says that, “There will be time no longer”, there will be no further delay, the time is now. That being in the days when the seventh messenger sounds his shofar.
7 but in the days of the voice of the seventh messenger, when he is about to sound (the shofar), then the mystery of G-d is complete, as He preached to His servants the prophets.
The mystery of G-d complete, as preached to His servants the prophets is the fullness of the gospel of Messiah given to all people for the purpose of salvation and judgement. This mystery is established in Messiah and is revealed through Israel (Ethnic) according to Romans 11:25:
“For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Nations has come in;”
Can a mystery be known? Shaul/Paul says it can, “I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery”. This is a promise to Paul’s Jewish brothers and sisters (brethren).
This mystery is further clarified in Romans 11:25-36, 16:25; Ephesians 1:9-10; 3:3-11 and Colossians 1:26-27. The completion of this mystery includes the redemption of the entire remnant of ethnic Israel and the resurrection of the dead (Romans 11:15).
Preached to His servants the prophets: refers to the prophets of the Tanakh who received the gospel in its foundational form to pass on to future generations.
“Surely HaShem G-d does nothing
Unless He reveals His secret counsel
To His servants the prophets.” –Amos 3:7
“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of G-d rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Messiah as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” –Hebrews 11:24-26
“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is G-d.” –Hebrews 11:8-9
8 Then the voice which I heard from heaven, I heard again speaking with me, and saying, “Go, take the scroll which is open in the hand of the messenger who stands on the sea and on the land.” 9 So I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, “Take it and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” 10 I took the little scroll out of the messenger’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 voice from heaven is that of the Father G-d.
The correlation between this text and that of the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 2:8-3:11) is profound, however the prophet Ezekiel is given a scroll that is to be eaten and spoken to the children of Israel, whereas the scroll that Yochanan will consume is to be prophesied to the nations of the earth. The scrolls of both prophets bring a bitter outcome for those who refuse the sweetness of its salvation. The outcome for Israel was to be sent into a bitter but temporary exile, the outcome for those of the earth that reject Yochanan’s message will be a bitter and eternal exile.
The sweetness of the scroll is associated to the Scriptures themselves (Jeremiah 15:16; Ezekiel 2:8-3:3; Psalms 19:10). I’m reminded of Simchat Torah (Rejoicing in the Torah) celebrations, where candy is laid out for the children and following the Torah readings and the celebration dance of the remembrance, the children are invited by the Rabbi, to gather as much candy as they can carry.
“The fear of HaShem is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of Hashem are true; they are righteous altogether.
They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.” –Psalm 19:9-10
“How sweet are Your words to my taste!
Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” –Psalm 119:103
In ancient times we would teach our children the characters of the Hebrew Aleph Beit by writing the letters on a slate using a mixture of flour and honey, if the child identified and pronounced a letter correctly he was allowed to lick the letter from the plate. This was a kinetic, tactile, sensory lesson that was intended to help the child identify the intrinsic value of G-d’s word.
Many today would call the passing on of G-d’s word a manipulative religious practice, however, it’s not manipulation to introduce a child to truth. It’s equally true to say that by failing to teach our children the truth about G-d we leave them vulnerable to being manipulated by others. If radical Islam can teach hatred and secular philosophy can seed doubt, and if the subjective masses are free to allow their children to float unaided in a sea of nihilistic uncertainty, then how much more right do we have as servants of G-d, to teach our children the sweetness of His Word.
Like the gospel itself, the scroll is sweet salvation to those who receive its words and repent and the stench of death to those who refuse the merciful offering of G-d’s grace.
“For we are a fragrance of Messiah to G-d among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life” –2 Corinthians 2:14-17
The prophet Yochanan like many prophets before him, will experience grief and anguish when his words of hope and warning are rejected by the enemies of G-d. Hence the scroll becomes bitter in his stomach.
It’s important to note that Yochanan is told twice to, “take the scroll”. After the first instruction to, “take the scroll” Yochanan approaches the Angel and asks Him to give the scroll to him. The Angel responds, “take it”. The gospel and the calling of G-d are held out to every believer in the open hand of Messiah, however, a drink not drunk will leave us parched, a gift unwrapped will remain a mystery and the unapplied word of G-d will benefit no one. We have been offered the sweet word of HaShem, if we are to speak it, we must first eat it, digest it and allow its energy to strengthen every part of our being.
“The work of G-d is this, to believe in the One Who He has sent.” –Yochanan 6:29
11 And they said to me, “You must prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”
I’ve rendered the opening phrase literally here. “They said to me”, meaning the seven thunders uttered to me; that is, the sevenfold thunderous voices of G-d.
Yochanan has prophesied to Israel and to the Ecclesia (G-d’s people, both Jew and Gentile), he must now prophesy again to the tribes, nations, clans and rulers of the earth (non-believers), the words of redemption and wrath.
“For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; however, mercy triumphs over judgment.” –Yaakov 2:13
© Alastair Brown 2015