Sunday, 24 January 2021
I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. Revelation 10:1
Chapter 10 begins a new scene, but it is from an earthly perspective. John begins with, “I saw still another mighty angel.” This is certainly another revelation of Jesus Christ, as will be explained as the chapter unfolds. The word translated as “mighty” has been seen in Revelation 5:2. The word is being used to reveal the nature and character of the Lord for this particular unveiling. Everything about the presentation supports the notion of His might. It next says the Angel is “coming down from heaven.”
As he is seeing the Angel coming down from heaven, it signifies John is seeing things from the earth. The statement of John is reminiscent of the statement Jesus made in John 1:51 –
“Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
The previous verses have been centered on battles occurring on earth. Now this Angel is coming to that realm. John then further describes Him as “clothed with a cloud.” It speaks of divine glory surrounding Him. Several times in Revelation, a cloud is mentioned in connection with the Lord (1:7; 10:1; 14:14-16), but more, the Lord is seen to ascend or descend in a cloud numerous times. This is an indication that this Angel is the Lord. And again, John says, “And a rainbow was on his head.”
The symbolism is first seen in Ezekiel 1:28 in relation to the Lord. This ties the Angel now in Revelation directly to the Lord of the Old Testament. The Angel is Jesus –
“Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.”
The rainbow also corresponds to the rainbow around the throne in Revelation 4:3. The rainbow, then, accompanies the Lord who is on the throne and who is now descending. The Greek word translated as rainbow is iris. It is seen only here and in verse 4:3. The rainbow is a symbol of divine mercy as well as His faithfulness in relation to that mercy. The allusion to the bow in the cloud from Genesis 9 is obvious. The reason for the accompanying rainbow now may be as indicated by Albert Barnes –
“The rainbow is properly an emblem of peace. Here the symbol would mean that the angel came not for wrath, but for purposes of peace; that he looked with a benign aspect upon people, and that the effect of his coming would be like that of sunshine after a storm.”
Whether of mercy or of peace, the rainbow speaks to the deity of the Lord here. Next, John notes that “his face was like the sun.” This takes the reader back to verse 1:16, another indication that this is the Lord. His appearance as the sun indicates that what He shines on is fully illuminated. The radiance of the light of life is in Him and it shines forth from Him. There is nothing that He will not see. All that is dark or hidden will be brought to light. It also probably is conveying the idea of the Lord coming in a benign manner. Were it otherwise, a dark cloud could be anticipated instead of the radiant sun.
And finally, John says, “and his feet like pillars of fire.” This then refers back to verse 1:15. There it spoke of his feet being like fine brass that had been refined in a furnace. Brass speaks of judgment whereas fire speaks of purification as well as judgment. The idea of pillars is that of authority, strength, and stability, even permanence (see Galatians 2:9, 1 Timothy 3:15, and Revelation 3:12).
Everything about this Angel so far (and to come) speaks of the Person of Jesus Christ in His deity.
Life application: The Greek word allos used here, and translated as “another,” can signify “another of the same kind.” In other words, it can be (and most surely is) another description of the Lord – this book is the revealing or unveiling of Jesus and it is He who is being depicted.
This verse begins an interlude between the sixth and seventh trumpets, just as there was one between the sixth and seventh seals. This interlude will last for quite a while and the final trumpet isn’t blown until Revelation 11:15. The majestic description of this portion of the heavenly vision is given to prepare us for the verses ahead – all of which are amazing and glorious.
The important point to remember is that God is in control. The future is laid out to show that He is both aware of it and is in control of it. He is revealing Himself to us in these many varied ways to help us have confidence that He is intervening at times in order to bring about the end that He has promised.
And with that thought in mind, we are to remember that He is doing it through His Son. The same One who came to die for us on the cross of Calvary, in order to redeem us, is now attending to the stream of human existence for the sake of those He has redeemed. Let us, therefore, not fret about the world events that would otherwise trouble our hearts. Instead, let us be filled with joy and hope as God continues to bring us back to Himself through our Lord JESUS.
Lord God, how beautiful it is to read the various descriptions given to us in Scripture that show us the glory and beauty of the heavenly realm. Above all, how wonderful is the majesty and splendor of Jesus, our Lord who rules at Your right hand. Thank You, O God, for the wonderful insights into these things. They give us hope in this fallen world as we look to You and your glory with amazement and anticipation of better days ahead! Amen.