And 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.
This [mighty Angel] is the Lord Jesus Christ [clothed with a cloud;] Christ is often so described in the Prophets, and in the Psalms. (Read Ex. 14:20; 16:10; 19:9; Ps. 78:14; 104:3; Isa. 19:1; Ezek. 1:4; 10:3-4). [And a rainbow was upon his head:] whereby is signified the dignity and faithfulness of Christ mediatorship. (See Chap. 4:3. Read Ezek. 1:28.) The rainbow was (and is for ever) a sign of Godís covenant, (Gen. 9:4). And it is an everlasting testimony of his faithfulness, mercy, and truth, (Isa. 54:7-9). [And his face was as it were the sun.] Christ is called the Son of Righteousness, (Mal. 4:2). God gives his saints the light of the knowledge of his glory in the face of Jesus Christ, (2 Cor. 4:6). [And his feet as pillars of fire.] (See the exposition of chapter 1 verse 15 whereby it appears to be Christ.)
And 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.
John saw Jesus take the sealed book out of his Fatherís hand, and he opened the seals thereof: And now John saw [a little book] in the hand of Jesus Christ [open:]. It is called [a little book] because it contains but a part of the revealed will of God. It is said to be in the hand of Christ, to show us, first, that he will preserve and safe keep the Holy Scripture, and every book thereof, in his own hand by his Almighty Power. As the saints are in Christís hand, and none can pull them out of his hand, (John 10:28) so the Scriptures of Truth are in Christís hand, and none can pull them out of His hand. Secondly, that Christ will keep an open door for the Gospel, when the temple worship and public ordinances will be shut up, (vv. 9-11 and Acts 8:1-4) by persecuting the Church of God. [And he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth] Whereby is signified Christís sovereignty over all both at land and at sea. Christ hath the Supremacy and the Preeminency over and above all, (Col. 1:18). He is the only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, (1 Tim. 6:15). All power in heaven and earth is given unto our Lord Jesus Christ, (Matthew 28:18) and Christ (in his time) will take unto him his great power and reign, (Rev. 11:17).
And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices
And 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 thingsí which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.
The voice of Christ, (the Lion of the tribe of Judah) when he is angry, is like the roaring of a lion, (Isa. 31:4). So shall the Lord of Hosts come down to fight for Mount Sion, and for the hill thereof. [Seven thunders uttered their voices:] That is, their prophecies of Gods righteous judgments, which are often called thunders, (Isa. 29:6; Rev. 11:19; 19:6). [And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write] John heard and understood the voices of the seven thunders, and was about to write their prophecies unto the seven churches in Asia, as Christ had commanded him, (1:11-19). But he [heard a voice from Heaven;] that is the voice of Christ, [saying unto him, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not] Sealing up, signifies, to keep them secretly and safely until the time that God will have them revealed and performed.
And the Angel which I saw stand upon the sea, and upon the earth, lifted up his hand to Heaven,
And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created Heaven and the things that therein are, and the earth and things that therein are, and the sea and the things which are therein, that their should be time no longer.
But 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.
These three verses contain the oath of Christ, for the confirmation of the truth and certainty of what He Himself spake and witnessed unto his servant John, (Heb. 6:13-17). God willing to show the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath. Whence we may observe, first, that an oath is a sacred and solemn adoration and invocation of the only true living God. Secondly, that it is lawful in some cases or matters to swear by Almighty God. Thirdly, that the most usual gesture of them that sware was by lifting up their hands towards heaven, (Gen. 14:22; Dan. 12:7) and our Lord Jesus Christ (as Man and Mediator between God and men (1 Tim. 2:5) here lifted up his hand to Heaven. [And sware by him that liveth forever and ever;] that is, the eternal JEHOVAH (Isa. 65:16 and Jer. 4:1-2).
The matter of Christís oath here was, that there should be time no longer; that is, for the beast, the great whore, and the false prophet; and those kings of the earth, (that give their kingdom, power and strength unto the beast) to reign, rule and exercise dominion after the seventh trumpet begin to sound, (Rev. 11:15 compared with 1 Cor. 15:24-25). And this 7th verse. [But in the days of the voice of the Seventh Angel when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished.] By [the mystery of God] here, we may understand the conversion of the Jews unto Jesus Christ, (Rom. 11:25-27). Also the building and restoring of the church of God unto its primitive purity of worship and ordinances, according to the institutions of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the Church, (Eph. 5:25-32) [As he hath declared to his servants the prophets,] (Cant. 6:10 and Rev. 12:1-2; 21:1-6).
And 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.
And 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 they mouth sweet as honey.
And I took the little book out of the Angels hand, and eat it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.
The eating up of this [little book] doth signify Christís instruction unto his servant John what he should prophesy. As the Lord instructed his prophet Ezekiel what he should prophesy, by bidding him eat up the roll which was written within and without, (Ezek. 2:9-10; 3:1-14). Christ told John the double effect of his eating up this little book. First, it would be sweet as honey in his mouth; that is, in preaching of it. Secondly, it would be bitter in his belly [as soon as he had eaten it;] that is, it would occasion bitterness, sorrow, and persecution, after his testimony was witnessed by preaching and publishing thereof. And so it proved, (vv. 9-10). [And 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. And I took the little book out of the Angels hand, and eat it up, etc.] The preaching of the word is sweet, though persecution be bitter.
And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
The end of the Apostles eating up the little book, was to revive the work of the ministry and administrations of the Gospel; after great persecution, silencing, imprisoning and mystically killing the ministers and witnesses of Christ; and scattering and dispersing the churches of saints. Whereby we may understand, first, that the time will come shortly, when the Apostlesí Doctrine, the pure worship of God, and the most useful gifts of the Holy Spirit for the churchís edification, will be restored by our Lord Jesus Christ. Secondly, that Christís prophetical witnesses will shortly be revived by the Spirit of Life, that shall enter into them, (Rev. 11:11). And they shall bear their testimony against the beast, the great Roman whore, and the false prophet before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings, to convert them to Christ, and to make them obedient unto the gospel, as Romans 16:25Ė26.