Thursday, 28 January 2021
The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand to heaven Revelation 10:5
John continues the vision of the “mighty angel” who came down from heaven as noted in verse 10:1. Of this Angel (capitalized because it is certainly referring to the Lord Jesus), John says, “The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land.” That was noted in verse 10:2, and it was a note of claiming rule and authority over both the sea and the land and all business conducted in connection with them. It is a note of supreme authority.
While in this stance, John says He “raised up his hand to heaven.” Many manuscripts say, “his right hand,” and this might be the case here. The right hand is the hand that is often used in such instances of vows, blessing, and the like. Raising one’s hand in an oath goes back even to the book of Genesis –
“But Abram said to the king of Sodom, ‘I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, “I have made Abram rich”— 24 except only what the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me: Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.’” Genesis 14:22-24
The symbolism is that of calling on heaven to witness the act, and thus it is a solemn affirmation that what is stated will be performed.
This verse, combined with the next one to come, provides a reason why scholars have denied that this Angel is Jesus. In the next verse, the raising of the hand is accompanied by swearing by “Him who lives forever and ever.” If this Angel is swearing by “Him who lives for ever and ever,” the thought is that it cannot be Jesus because Jesus is God and it is He who lives for ever and ever. This logic is incorrect.
Deuteronomy 32:40, Jeremiah 22:5, Daniel 12:7, and elsewhere contain such vows made by the Lord when speaking of Himself. For the Angel to raise His hand to heaven and make such a statement in no way negates His deity.
The only thing that can be inferred from this verse is that an oath is going to be made, and it is being made by One who has authority over the sea and the land. Here is how the Lord presents His vow in Deuteronomy 32 –
“For I raise My hand to heaven,
And say, “As I live forever,
41 If I whet My glittering sword,
And My hand takes hold on judgment,
I will render vengeance to My enemies,
And repay those who hate Me.” Deuteronomy 32:40, 21
Life application: When God swears by Himself, in either testament, it is making a proclamation that what is said will absolutely and assuredly come to pass. We have every confidence that what God speaks is absolute truth and that the Bible is God’s word.
Whatever God says, as is recorded in His word, is as an oath. This is because God is unchanging in His being. What He speaks forth will come to pass. And any promise He has made shall be fulfilled. God has spoken in His word that those who come to Him by faith in Jesus Christ will be granted eternal life. Be comforted in this thought and be confident in your salvation. God has spoken, and His Son has performed according to that word. We have a sure and eternal hope because of God’s unfailing promise – the giving of JESUS.
We know, O God, that You can do all things and that You have all authority and all power. We also know that Your word is truth and that what You proclaim will surely come to pass. Thank You for having given us such confidence. By resting in Your truth, we can live at peace in this world full of trouble and trial. Amen.