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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Revelation 10



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Verse 1

Another strong angel (αλλον αγγελον ισχυρονallon aggelon ischuron). But the seventh trumpet does not sound till Revelation 11:15. This angel is not one of the seven or of the four, but like the other strong angel in Revelation 5:2; Revelation 18:21 or the other angel in Revelation 14:6, Revelation 14:15. The sixth trumpet of Revelation 9:13 ends in Revelation 9:21. The opening of the seventh seal was preceded by two visions (chapter Rev 7) and so here the sounding of the seventh trumpet (Revelation 11:15) is preceded by a new series of visions (10:1-11:14).

Coming down out of heaven (καταβαινοντα εκ του ουρανουkatabainonta ek tou ouranou). Present active participle of καταβαινωkatabainō picturing the process of the descent as in Revelation 20:1 (cf. Revelation 3:12).

Arrayed with a cloud (περιβεβλημενον νεπεληνperibeblēmenon nephelēn). Perfect passive participle of περιβαλλωperiballō with accusative case retained as in Revelation 7:9, Revelation 7:13. Not proof that this angel is Christ, though Christ will come on the clouds (Revelation 1:7) as he ascended on a cloud (Acts 1:9). God‘s chariot is in the clouds (Psalm 104:3), but this angel is a special messenger of God‘s.

The rainbow (η ιριςhē iris). See Revelation 4:3 for this word. The construction here is changed from the accusative to the nominative.

As the sun (ως ο ηλιοςhōs ho hēlios). The very metaphor applied to Christ in Revelation 1:16.

As pillars of fire (ως στυλοι πυροςhōs stuloi puros). Somewhat like the metaphor of Christ in Revelation 1:15, but still no proof that this angel is Christ. On στυλοςstulos see Revelation 3:12; Galatians 2:9.

Verse 2

And he had (και εχωνkai echōn). This use of the participle in place of ειχενeichen (imperfect) is like that in Revelation 4:7.; Revelation 12:2; Revelation 19:12; Revelation 21:12, Revelation 21:14, a Semitic idiom (Charles), or as if καταβαινωνkatabainōn (nominative) had preceded in place of καταβαινονταkatabainonta little book (βιβλαριδιονbiblaridion). A diminutive of βιβλαριονbiblarion (papyri), itself a diminutive of βιβλιονbiblion (Revelation 5:1) and perhaps in contrast with it, a rare form in Hermas and Revelation 10:2, Revelation 10:9, Revelation 10:10. In Revelation 10:8 Tischendorf reads βιβλιδαριονbiblidarion diminutive of βιβλιδιονbiblidion (Aristophanes) instead of βιβλιονbiblion (Westcott and Hort). The contents of this little book are found in Revelation 11:1-13.

Open (ηνεωιγμενονēneōigmenon). See Ezekiel 2:9. Perfect (triple reduplication) passive participle of ανοιγωanoigō in contrast to the closed book in Revelation 5:1. There also we have επιepi (upon) την δεχιανtēn dexian (the right hand), for it was a large roll, but here the little open roll is held in the hand (εν τηι χειριen tēi cheiri), apparently the left hand (Revelation 10:5).

He set (ετηκενethēken). First aorist active indicative of τιτημιtithēmi The size of the angel is colossal, for he bestrides both land and sea. Apparently there is no special point in the right foot (τον ποδα τον δεχιονton poda ton dexion) being on the sea (επι της ταλασσηςepi tēs thalassēs) and the left (τον ευωνυμονton euōnumon) upon the land (επι της γηςepi tēs gēs). It makes a bold and graphic picture.

As a lion roareth (ωσπερ λεων μυκαταιhōsper leōn mukātai). Only instance of ωσπερhōsper in the Apocalypse, but ωςhōs in the same sense several times. Present middle indicative of μυκαομαιmukaomai an old onomatopoetic word from μυmu or μοοmoo (the sound which a cow utters), common for the lowing and bellowing of cattle, Latin mugire, but in Theocritus for the roaring of a lion as here, though in 1 Peter 5:8 we have ωρυομαιōruomai Homer uses μυκαομαιmukaomai for the clangour of the shield and Aristophanes for thunder. It occurs here alone in the N.T. It does not mean that what the angel said was unintelligible, only loud. Cf. Revelation 1:10; Revelation 5:2, Revelation 5:12; Revelation 6:10; Revelation 7:2, Revelation 7:10, etc.

Verse 3

The seven thunders (αι επτα βρονταιhai hepta brontai). A recognized group, but not explained here, perhaps John assuming them to be known. For βρονταιbrontai see note on Revelation 4:5; and note on Revelation 6:1; and note on Revelation 8:5. In Psalm 29:1-11 the Lord speaks in the sevenfold voice of the thunderstorm upon the sea.

Their voices (τας εαυτων πωναςtas heautōn phōnas). Cognate accusative with ελαλησανelalēsan and εαυτωνheautōn (reflexive) means “their own.” In John 12:28 the voice of the Father to Christ was thought by some to be thunder.

Verse 4

I was about to write (ημελλον γραπεινēmellon graphein). Imperfect active of μελλωmellō (double augment as in John 4:47; John 12:33; John 18:32) and the present (inchoative) active infinitive of γραπωgraphō “I was on the point of beginning to write,” as commanded in Revelation 1:11, Revelation 1:19.

Seal up (σπραγισονsphragison). Aorist active imperative of σπραγιζωsphragizō tense of urgency, “seal up at once.”

And write them not (και μη αυτα γραπσηιςkai mē auta grapsēis). Prohibition with μηmē and the ingressive aorist active subjunctive of γραπωgraphō “Do not begin to write.” It is idle to conjecture what was in the utterances. Compare Paul‘s silence in 2 Corinthians 12:4.

Verse 5

Standing (εστωταhestōta). Second perfect active participle of ιστημιhistēmi (intransitive). John resumes the picture in Revelation 10:2.

Lifted up (ηρενēren). First aorist active indicative of αιρωairō to lift up.

To heaven (εις τον ουρανονeis ton ouranon). Toward heaven, the customary gesture in taking a solemn oath (Genesis 14:22; Deuteronomy 32:40; Daniel 12:7).

Verse 6

Sware (ωμοσενōmosen). First aorist indicative of ομνυωomnuō to swear.

By him that liveth (εν τωι ζωντιen tōi zōnti). This use of ενen after ομνυωomnuō instead of the usual accusative (James 5:12) is like the Hebrew (Matthew 5:34, Matthew 5:36). “The living one for ages of ages” is a common phrase in the Apocalypse for God as eternally existing (Revelation 1:18; Revelation 4:9, Revelation 4:10; Revelation 15:7). This oath proves that this angel is not Christ.

Who created (ος εκτισενhos ektisen). First aorist active indicative of κτιζωktizō a reference to God‘s creative activity as seen in Genesis 1:1.; Exodus 20:11; Isaiah 37:16; Isaiah 42:5; Psalm 33:6; Psalm 145:6, etc.

That there shall be time no longer (οτι χρονος ουκετι εσταιhoti chronos ouketi estai). Future indicative indirect discourse with οτιhoti But this does not mean that χρονοςchronos (time), Einstein‘s “fourth dimension” (added to length, breadth, height), will cease to exist, but only that there will be no more delay in the fulfillment of the seventh trumpet (Revelation 10:7), in answer to the question, “How long?” (Psalm 6:10).

Verse 7

When he is about to sound (οταν μελληι σαλπιζεινhotan mellēi salpizein). Indefinite temporal clause with οτανhotan and the present active subjunctive of μελλωmellō and the present (inchoative) active infinitive of σαλπιζωsalpizō “whenever he is about to begin to sound” (in contrast to the aorist in Revelation 11:15).

Then (καιkai). So in apodosis often (Revelation 14:10).

Is finished (ετελεστηetelesthē). First aorist passive indicative of τελεωteleō proleptic or futuristic use of the aorist as in 1 Corinthians 7:28. So also Revelation 15:1.

The mystery of God (το μυστηριον του τεουto mustērion tou theou). This same phrase by Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:1; Colossians 2:2. Here apparently the whole purpose of God in human history is meant.

According to the good tidings which he declared (ως ευηγγελισενhōs euēggelisen). “As he gospelized to,” first aorist active indicative of ευαγγελιζωeuaggelizō a rare use of the active as in Revelation 14:6 with the accusative. See the middle so used in Galatians 1:9; 1 Peter 1:12. See Amos 3:7; Jeremiah 7:25; Jeremiah 25:4 for this idea in the O.T. prophets who hoped for a cleaning up of all mysteries in the last days.

Verse 8

Again speaking and saying (παλιν λαλουσαν και λεγουσανpalin lalousan kai legousan). Present active predicate participles feminine accusative singular agreeing with ηνhēn (object of ηκουσαēkousa), not with πωνηphōnē (nominative) as most of the cursives have it (λαλουσα και λεγουσαlalousa kai legousa). Ordinarily it would be ελαλει και ελεγενelalei kai elegen See Revelation 4:1 for like idiom. This is the voice mentioned in Revelation 10:4. No great distinction is to be made here between λαλεωlaleō and λεγωlegō take (υπαγε λαβεHupage labe). Present active imperative of υπαγωhupagō and second aorist active imperative of λαμβανωlambanō The use of υπαγεhupage (exclamation like ιδεide) is common in N.T. (Matthew 5:24; Matthew 8:4; Matthew 19:21; John 4:16; John 9:7). Charles calls it a Hebraism (Revelation 16:1). Note the repeated article here (τοto) referring to the open book in the hand of the angel (Revelation 10:2), only here βιβλιονbiblion is used, not the diminutive of βιβλαριδιονbiblaridion of Revelation 10:2, Revelation 10:9, Revelation 10:10.

Verse 9

I went (απηλταapēltha). Second aorist active indicative (α̇a form), “I went away” (απaṗ) to the angel. John left his position by the door of heaven (Revelation 4:1).

That he should give (δουναιdounai). Second aorist active infinitive of διδωμιdidōmi indirect command after λεγωνlegōn (bidding) for δοςdos in the direct discourse (second aorist active imperative second person singular). This use of λεγωlegō to bid occurs in Revelation 13:14; Acts 21:21.

He saith (λεγειlegei). Dramatic vivid present active indicative of λεγωlegō it and eat it up (λαβε και καταπαγε αυτοlabe kai kataphage auto). Second aorist (effective) active imperatives of λαμβανωlambanō and κατεστιωkatesthiō (perfective use of καταkata “eat down,” we say “eat up”). See the same metaphor in Ezekiel 3:1-3; Jeremiah 15:6. The book was already open and was not to be read aloud, but to be digested mentally by John.

It shall make thy belly bitter (πικρανει σου την κοιλιανpikranei sou tēn koilian). Future active of πικραινωpikrainō for which verb see Revelation 8:11; Revelation 10:10; Colossians 3:19. There is no reference in Ezekiel or Jeremiah to the bitterness here mentioned.

Sweet as honey (γλυκυ ως μελιgluku hōs meli). For the sweetness of the roll see Psalm 19:10.; Psalm 119:103. “Every revelation of God‘s purposes, even though a mere fragment, a βιβλαριδιονbiblaridion is ‹bitter-sweet,‘ disclosing judgment as well as mercy” (Swete). Deep and bitter sorrows confront John as he comes to understand God‘s will and way.

Verse 10

I took - and ate it up (ελαβονκαι κατεπαγον αυτοelabon- επαγονkai katephagon auto). Second aorist active indicatives of the same verbs to show John‘s prompt obedience to the command. The order of the results is here changed to the actual experience (sweet in the mouth, bitter in the belly). The simplex verb κατεπαγονephagon (I ate) is now used, not the compound katephagon (I ate up).

Verse 11

They say (λεγουσινlegousin). Present active of vivid dramatic action and the indefinite statement in the plural as in Revelation 13:16; Revelation 16:15. It is possible that the allusion is to the heavenly voice (Revelation 10:4, Revelation 10:8) and to the angel (Revelation 10:9).

Thou must prophesy again (δει σε παλιν προπητευσαιdei se palin prophēteusai). Not a new commission (Revelation 1:19), though now renewed. C.f. Ezekiel 4:7; Ezekiel 6:2; Jeremiah 1:10. The παλινpalin (again) points to what has preceded and also to what is to come in Revelation 11:15. Here it is predictive prophecy (προπητευσαιprophēteusai first aorist active infinitive of προπητευωprophēteuō).

Over (επιepi). In the case, in regard to as in John 12:16 (with γραπωgraphō), not in the presence of (επιepi with genitive, Mark 13:9) nor against (επιepi with the accusative, Luke 22:53). For this list of peoples see Revelation 5:9, occurring seven times in the Apocalypse.


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 10:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

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