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Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
The description of a mighty angel with a little book in his hand, Revelation 10:1, Revelation 10:2. The seven thunders, Revelation 10:3, Revelation 10:4. The angel swears that there shalt be time no longer, Revelation 10:5-7. John is commanded to take the little book and eat it; he does so, and receives a commission to prophesy to many peoples, Revelation 10:8-11.
1And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:
Another mighty angel - Either Christ or his representative; clothed with a cloud; a symbol of the Divine majesty.
A rainbow was upon his head - The token of God's merciful covenant with mankind.
His face was as it were the sun - So intensely glorious that it could not be looked on.
His feet as pillars of fire - To denote the rapidity and energy of his motions, and the stability of his counsels.
2And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth,
A little book open - Meaning probably some design of God long concealed, but now about to be made manifest. But who knows what it means?
His right foot upon the sea, and his left - on the earth - To show that he had the command of each, and that his power was universal, all things being under his feet.
3And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.
Seven thunders - Seven being a number of perfection, it may here mean many, great, loud, and strong peals of thunder, accompanied with distinct voices; but what was said, St. John was not permitted to reveal, Revelation 10:4.
4And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.
5And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven,
Lifted up his hand to heaven - As one making an appeal to the supreme Being.
6And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:
By him that liveth for ever and ever - The eternal, self-existent Jehovah, the Maker of all things.
That there should be time no longer - That the great counsels relative to the events already predicted should be immediately fulfilled, and that there should be no longer delay. This has no reference to the day of judgment.
7But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
The mystery of God should be finished - What this mystery refers to who knows? Nor have we more knowledge concerning the sounding of the seventh angel. On these points there is little agreement among learned men. Whether it mean the destruction of Jerusalem, or the destruction of the papal power, or something else, we know not. And yet with what confidence do men speak of the meaning of these hidden things!
Declared to his servants the prophets - It is most likely, therefore, that this trumpet belongs to the Jewish state.
8And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.
Take the little book which is open - Learn from this angel what should be published to the world.
9And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.
Take it, and eat it up - Fully comprehend its meaning; study it thoroughly.
10And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.
It was in my mouth sweet as honey - There was in it some pleasing, some unpleasing, intelligence. I read of the consolations and protection of the true worshippers of God, and did rejoice; I read of the persecutions of the Church, and was distressed.
11And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
Thou must prophesy again - Thou must write, not only for the instruction of the Jews in Palestine, but of those in the different provinces, as well as the heathens and heathen emperors and potentates in general.
The reader will find, on comparing this chapter with Daniel 8:1-27; Daniel 12:1-13, and Ezekiel 2:1-3:27, that there are several things similar in both; and the writer of the Apocalypse appears to keep these two prophets continually in view. I must once more say that I do not understand these prophecies, therefore I do not take upon me to explain them. I see with regret how many learned men have mistaken their way here. Commentators, and even some of the most modern, have strangely trifled in these solemn things; all trumpets, vials, woes, etc., are perfectly easy to them; yet from their descriptions, none get wise either to common sense or to the things that make for their peace.
On the same ground I cannot admit the interpretation that is given of the word χρονος, translated time in Revelation 10:6, which some have construed into an artificial period of 1,111 years, which they term chronos; hence we have the chronos, half-chronos, and non-chronos. Bengel has said much on these points, but to very little purpose; the word in the above place seems to signify delay simply, and probably refers to the long-suffering of God being ended in reference to Jerusalem; for I all along take for probable that this book was written previously to the destruction of that city.