Good evening and welcome to EBible Fellowship's Bible study in the Book of Revelation. Tonight is study #1 of Revelation, chapter 10, and we are going to be reading Revelation 10:1-2:
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: 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,
I will stop reading there. We are progressing and moving on into Revelation, chapter 10, but we have to keep in mind what began in Revelation 9. Remember the last three trumpets (trumpets five, six and seven) were still to sound. Trumpets one, two, three and four already sounded; we read about that in Revelation, chapter 8, and Revelation 9 began with the fifth trumpet that sounded and that matched up with the “first woe.” Then we saw in Revelation 9:12: “One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter;” that is, the fifth trumpet is past and the sixth and seventh trumpet, “two woes more,” are still to come. Then it says in Revelation 9:13: “And the sixth angel sounded,” and that sixth angel is the “second woe.” Then from Revelation 9:13 through the rest of chapter 9, we are reading information that God has given in relationship to the “second woe,” which is the “sixth trumpet,” and there is no indication that the “second woe” finished at the end of chapter 9, so we continue now into chapter 10. We will find that it is not until we get into Revelation 11:14 (including most of the chapter) that we read, “The second woe is past; and behold, the third woe cometh quickly.”
So, somehow the information in Revelation, chapter 10 and chapter 11 relate to the “second woe.” What God did in chapter 11 was He “backed up” and He went from the beginning of the church age to the “loosing” of Satan as he comes as the beast and kills the two witnesses, and then He leads all the way up to the “second woe” or Judgment Day.
But Revelation 10 is a different matter and it is up to us to try to understand why God is giving us this information; it is only a little chapter, consisting of eleven verses. It starts off with another mighty angel: “And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven.” There is no doubt and no question at all, when we read about this “mighty angel” and we read the description God gives, that the “mighty angel” is the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no difficulty with that, once we get into the language in verse 1 which describes the “mighty angel” and you will see it is very familiar language to us. We actually encountered it earlier in the Book of Revelation.
Again, Christ is not an “angel,” but He is God, and the word “angel” can also be understood as “messenger,” so this really should be translated as, “Another mighty messenger come down from heaven,” and that is Jesus.
Then it says in the first part of Revelation 10:1:
And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud…
The Lord Jesus Christ is “clothed with a cloud.” We wonder why it says that He is “clothed with a cloud.” Why not clothed with something else? Actually, it said back in Revelation 1:13:
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
Here is Jesus in another “figure” and He is clothed with a garment, which is more understandable to us. We do not understand clothing that comes in the form of a cloud. Why is this “mighty messenger” clothed with a cloud? I think we can understand why it is, once we understand that a cloud at times in the Bible points to judgment and Revelation 10 is continuing to discuss the same topic as Revelation 9, which is Judgment Day for this world. So Christ is seen “clothed with a cloud.” After all, look at Revelation 14:14-16:
And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
This is illustrating the Lord Jesus Christ in the Day of Judgment and He is seen here as “seated” (because He is ruling) on a cloud. The cloud relates to the fact that it is Judgment Day. Remember what the Bible says in Matthew 24:29:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
This identifies with May 21, 2011, when the Great Tribulation period ended and immediately after, and then we read in Matthew 24:30:
And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven…
The word “sign” is often overlooked by people who want to insist, “Well, right after the tribulation, Christ comes to destroy the world. Look, it says it here.” And then they read this verse:
And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Then these people say, “See, Christ is coming in the clouds. It is Judgment Day, with power and great glory.” They completely overlook the word “sign.” It says, “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven.” You know, a “sign” is an indicator; it is like a sign post. It is something that points to something else. It is not the reality. It is not the actual coming of the Son of man, but it is a “sign” of His coming, and that is what we have here.
What is the “sign” in heaven? By the way, let us not forget that the “sun, moon and stars” were in the heaven and we rightly understood that was all spiritual language. The “heaven” is unfurled by the Word of God; God populated the spiritual heaven with these types and figures of the “sun, moon and stars” to typify the light of the Gospel; in other words, through His Word, the Bible, it is as though God just threw the lights out there; the Bible put the lights in the sky, spiritually speaking, and in the Day of Judgment, God turns out the lights. He removes all the lights in the exact same way. The Bible put them there and the Bible takes them away, in the plagues written herein. In the Day of Judgment, the Word of God decrees that God has stopped saving and “the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together.” When you do that, it is as if the Bible is a closed Book, as far as the unsaved go. It will no longer give light unto salvation to spiritually dead sinners. That is what this is referring to – this is the “sign” of the Son of man in heaven, as the Bible is that Book that comes down from above; it is what determines the spiritual heaven to be. As we read information concerning Judgment Day and we learn about it from the Word of God, the Bible, that is the “sign.”
… and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Again, we did not literally see the Son of man coming in the clouds. It is “seeing” Him coming in judgment through the teaching of the Bible. Remember the High Priest of Israel when Christ was before him, as we read in Matthew 26:62-64:
And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
This is a very similar statement to Matthew 24:30:
…and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Let us ask the question: Did the High Priest of Israel hereafter (which means from this point on) “see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” literally? The answer is, “No.” We have no record of that. There is no instance where that is recorded by God in the Bible. Therefore, we can only determine that it was fulfilled spiritually somehow, as the Lord Jesus went on to rise from the dead and His disciples went on to follow in His steps with healings and sharing the Gospel as the New Testament church grew. In that way, God spiritually fulfilled that statement that the High Priest would “see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven,” but not with his physical eyes. We have to get away from that idea. So many times we will be wrong if we just think “naturally.” This is the Bible – we see through “eyes of understanding,” and this is basically saying that after Christ was crucified and after He rose from the dead, God would prove and give evidence that the High Priest of Israel would be witness to which he could not deny. Now he might have denied it (and more than likely he did), but he could not deny it legitimately or honestly, so it is said that he “shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven.”
That is exactly what is happening now. The elect are learning as God opens our spiritual eyes to the righteous judgment of God and increases our understanding of the things He has already written in His Word, the Bible, and we are seeing Christ “coming in the clouds” at this time, since May 21, 2011, and in these days after that tribulation. We see the “sign of the Son of man” and we see Him coming in judgment on this world, where others may not see Him. Unsaved individuals certainly do not see Him in that way and, yet, that is why we read in Revelation 10:1 that the “mighty angel” came down from heaven, “clothed with a cloud,” because it is Judgment Day.
Then it goes on to say in Revelation 10:1:
… and a rainbow was upon his head…
The “rainbow” is something that goes back in history all the way to the time after the flood of Noah’s day. The flood occurred in 4,990 B.C., so the rainbow was first seen over seven thousand years ago. We read in Genesis 9:8-16:
And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.
This is the “bow” or the “rainbow” which we still see today, sometimes, after a rain. If you look up, you will see this colorful bow that is an arc in the sky. God has set His bow in the cloud and it means the same thing today as it did then – it means God will not destroy the earth with a flood, ever again; there will be no world-wide deluge to drown the people of the world. It is not God’s plan to drown the world, but to destroy the world by fire on the very last day. We read of that in 2 Peter, chapter 3.
So this “bow” which is “a token of the covenant,” which God calls an everlasting covenant, can only point to Jesus. Jesus is the one who prevents God from destroying the earth with a flood. That is just a picture and the picture is that through Christ (through God’s bow, the covenant which is between man and the Lord Jesus Christ) there will not be destruction for the people of the world. Of course, this is only true of God’s elect, those that Jesus has saved and for whom He has entered into a covenant with by dying for their sins. God has obligated Himself only to those individuals, but He uses the occasion of establishing the “rainbow” to paint a picture.
The word “bow,” found three times in Genesis 9, is a typical word used many times in the context of a “bow and arrow.” It is just a “bow,” and it means exactly that. It is used one other time in regard to the “rainbow,” in Ezekiel 1:27-28:
And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of JEHOVAH. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.
There is clear evidence here, as God makes the connection between the “bow in the day of rain” with the “the appearance of the likeness of the glory of JEHOVAH.” That would be Christ; He is the “glory of JEHOVAH.”
There is one other place in the New Testament and it is also in Revelation. It says in Revelation 4:2-4:
And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting…
So the “rainbow” is round about the throne of God and who else do we find round about the throne of God but the twenty four elders. We never want to attempt to visualize an image of God, but the picture is that there is God’s glorious throne and there is the “rainbow” in an arc like a bow round about and there also is the twenty four elders. Those twenty four elders would represent twelve tribes of Israel to represent the Old Testament believers and twelve apostles of the Lamb to represent the New Testament believers and they are all seated beneath the “bow,” with the “bow” arched over above them. Of course, we can see how that relates to Christ, as Christ is our “covering.” It is through the everlasting covenant that He has developed with the Father on our behalf that we are able to live at all, let alone to enter into the throne room and into the presence of the Great God of the Bible. And, yet, that is where we are and where we will be for evermore, because of what Jesus has done for us.
When we get together in our next study, we will continue to look at Revelation 10:1 and we will see that the description of the “mighty messenger” can only be Christ. Then we will see that He has something very interesting in His hand. It is a “little book open.” We are going to try to answer two questions concerning this “little book.” Number one: What is that little book? Number two: Why is it open?