1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. 2 He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3 and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. 4 And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.” ~ Revelation 10:1-4
In Revelation 10 we are introduced to several mysteries that have confused many over time. Evil seems to go unchecked and evil people seem to be increasing everywhere. Many in our world today wonder how people in very high places get away with their obvious disdain for what is right. Many are wondering, "Why do we live in a world like this?" "Why doesn't God do something about it?" These are the questions upon which Revelation 10-11 sheds light.
Revelation 10 and 11 provides a parenthesis that comes in between the judgments of the sixth and seventh trumpets. We have already noted that in these series of judgments (the seals, the trumpets, and the bowls) there is always a break between the sixth and the seventh. That is what we have come to in the trumpet series. Revelation 10 presents three mysteries: The mystery of the mighty angel whom John sees as the chapter opens; then the mystery of God which the angel proclaims; and, finally, the mystery of the little scroll that is held in the angel's hand. Today, we will give our attention to the first 4 verses of Revelation 10.
In v.1 we read, "Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars."
This Angel always appears when Israel comes to the forefront of God's program. This great Angel comes "robed in a cloud." A cloud is characteristic again of the nation Israel. Remember that when Israel was marching through the desert they were preceded by a cloud by day and followed by a pillar of fire by night.
Actually the same cloud came to the rear at night and was lighted from some kind of fire within so that it appeared as a glowing, brilliant pillar. Later, when the tabernacle was completed, and later still when the temple was built, this same cloud came down and filled the Holy of Holies. It was called the Shekinah, the cloud of glory, an indication of the presence of God. So right from the start we have a clue that identifies this Angel as the Lord Jesus, God the Son, appearing as the Angel of the LORD.
Then, notice that He has "a rainbow above his head." We last saw a rainbow in Revelation 4, around the throne of God. The Angel's face, we are told, was "like the sun," and "and his legs were like fiery pillars." These words take us back to Revelation 1 where John saw the vision of the Lord Jesus standing in the midst of the seven churches. John describes his face as shining like the sun and his feet were like burnished, glowing bronze.
So Revelation 10 is an interlude for John to get a grip on what is being revealed to him, and for us as well. Interestingly, this is the longest of the interludes in the book of the Revelation, the interlude between trumpets six and seven. And, before the blowing of the seventh and last trumpet, we are given this view of the Lord Himself.
Bronze is illustrative of judgment throughout the Scriptures. So, the rainbow along with this garment of judgment is to balance off judgment with covenant. There’s a certain sense in which this Angel comes representing judgment, but representing promise and hope by virtue of the rainbow to those who are the recipients of God’s mercy. God first gave the rainbow, you will remember, after the flood as His covenant that He would never again destroy the world by water; the rainbow was His sign of the promise. And here is a promise rainbow, so that those who are seeing this vision of the coming judgment will know that God’s promise can be trusted.
In v.2-3 we read, "2 He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3 and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke."
In Revelation 5, the Lion from the tribe of Judah took the little scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. This is that little scroll. In it was the description of the judgments by which God would finally deal with evil.
To this point, Satan has controlled the earth, but now God puts His foot down. He puts His right foot on the sea, His left on the land because the earth and all that is in it belongs to the Lord. This action demonstrates sovereign authority in judgment over the whole earth; and it’s a symbolic anticipation of what will come in the seventh trumpet and the seven bowls.
Now, the first series of judgments, the seven seals, God judges one-fourth of the earth. Through the second series, the trumpets, God judges one-third of the earth. Now, we get the picture of the angel putting his foot on the sea and his foot on the land, and the judgment is going to be on the whole earth.
In v.3, the Lord Jesus roars like a lion. This reflects again the awesome authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. His form is massive, and He has the voice to match His form. It is quite interesting that a number of Old Testament prophets predicted such a cry would come in the time of His final judgment.
In Hosea 11:10 we read, "They will follow the Lord; he will roar like a lion. When he roars, his children will come trembling from the west."
And, in Joel 3:16 we read, "The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the heavens will tremble. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel."
Then in Amos 3:8 we read, "The lion has roared who will not fear? The Sovereign Lord has spoken who can but prophesy?"
Finally in v.4 of today's text we read, "And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down."
There are times in our walk with the Lord that He pauses. During these moments, I have discovered that there is much more for me to understand in what He has given me to that point. And, as is the point in this passage, He is sovereign and He is truly in control no matter how bad things look or seem. Everything God causes and allows in our lives have their design. Through His silence, His pauses, the seemingly unanswered prayers, God is always working behind the scenes, writing an amazing turn of events story that is yet to be revealed. In fact, God does some of His best work in the “pauses” of our lives. And, His greatest work is the revealing of Himself to those who struggle to know Him.