Focus on Jesus
While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!"
-Matthew 17:5, emphasis added
After the opening of the six seals of Revelation 6 the seventh seal initiates the six trumpets of Revelation 8-9. In Revelation 10 John now sees what lies ahead with the seventh trumpet. This trumpet, which sounds in 11:15, holds the longest of the messages of doom.
Do you remember what has happened to set off this chain of terror? The Lamb who was worthy opened the scroll (Revelation 5:7). What made Him worthy to be the heir of the universe (Hebrews 1:2)? He was the Lamb slain for sin! In Revelation 10, Jesus is now wrestling the dominion of all things back from the thief, the liar, and the murderer-Satan. He is in the process of judging all that the usurper to the throne has caused in the cosmic rebellion.
At this midpoint in the vision, John records the drama of redemption, and we are reintroduced to the hero-our Lord Jesus. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, John paints a beautiful picture of Jesus as the almighty Redeemer and absolute victor. Thus Revelation 10 may well be a snapshot capturing the work of Christ and the grandeur of God's plan of redemption.
Jesus reflects God's image: 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, emphasis added). Jesus was often seen in the Old Testament as a pre-incarnate angel of the Lord. When He appeared it was as a special and mighty angelic messenger from God. In these instances, He would accept and receive worship, which no angel would ever accept, unless it was the usurper himself, Satan. The four descriptions of this mighty angel in verse 1 correspond at each point with previous descriptions of Jesus in Revelation.
This mighty angel comes "clothed with a cloud"-the cloud of God's glory. Revelation 1:7 says, Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. Jesus was clothed in a cloud like this the last time the apostle John saw Him ascend into heaven in Acts 1:9 And John heard the angels who spoke with the apostles say that Jesus would return "in like manner" (Acts 1:11).
In the Old Testament, God manifested His presence by a visible glowing cloud signifying His glory. Israel was led by a pillar of fire and a cloud (Exodus 13:21). They saw the cloud when God's glory appeared (Exodus 16:10), when the tabernacle was commissioned by God (Exodus 40:38), and over the mercy seat (Leviticus 16:2). In the New Testament, Paul tells us that it was Christ in that cloud who led, watered, and fed them (1 Corinthians 10:1-4). Just as the shekinah (the glory cloud) hovered over the Holy of Holies when God's presence was there, so what Matthew describes as a "star" was probably also another of these Old Testament glory clouds that stood over the manger when God was incarnated. Thus the cloud is always associated with Deity.
Revelation 10:1 says that a rainbow was on his head. The rainbow is a crown. We encountered the rainbow in Revelation 4 as it encircled the throne, reminding us of God's grace from the time of Noah and the Flood (Genesis 9:13). Ezekiel also saw this rainbow around the throne of God (Ezekiel 1:28). Because of the article used in Revelation 10:1, "the rainbow," this seems to be God's special crown for His beloved Son, Jesus. It is very interesting that the Hebrew word "bow" is used for both a rainbow and a weapon that shoots arrows. So this rainbow could speak of God's grace as well as His judgment, which perfectly meet in the person of Jesus (Psalms 85:10). As we have seen so far, the greatest multitude saved in history is coming out of the time of earth's greatest judgment (Revelation 7:14). Jesus loves and seeks sinners at all times and in every place.
John tells us that his face was like the sun (Revelation 10:1). In Revelation 1, he also saw the face of Jesus with a countenance "shining like the sun" (v.16), so this description matches again. Just like at His Transfiguration (Matthew 17:2) and on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3), Jesus shines as bright as the sun. This fits what Malachi said when he predicted the coming "Sun of Righteousness" (Malachi 4:2).
Here is the fourth description of this mighty angel: his feet [are] like pillars of fire. In Revelation 1:15, the feet of Jesus were like brass glowing from a furnace, which sounds exactly like this mighty angel's description. This being may well be our Lord Jesus Christ appearing to John as a kingly angel. He often appeared in the Old Testament as "the Angel of the Lord" (Exodus 3:2; Judges 2:4 Judges 6:11-12 21-22; 2 Samuel 24:16 . This was a temporary manifestation for a special purpose, not a permanent incarnation. Whenever Jesus appeared that way, the people would be scared to death and fall on their faces to worship Him. And only Jesus accepts worship!
How is your worship of Jesus these days? Are you remembering to worship first--and then serve Him?
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