Cloud Robed Angel
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42. Cloud Robed Angel
Revelation 10.1-7

"Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from Heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head. His face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. And when the seven thunders sound, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven say, 'Seal up what the seven thunders sound have said and do not write it down.' Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, 'There will be no more delay! But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.'" (Revelation 10.1-7)✞

Cloud Robed Angels

Cloud Robed AngelThis passage is an interlude between the sounding of the sixth and the seventh trumpet blasts. The sixth trumpet has sounded, but the seventh does not occur until later in Revelation 11.15. In between, terrible things are happening. The mighty cloud robed angel with a rainbow above his head in this passage is described in terms which indicate that he comes straight from the presence of Almighty God and the risen Christ. The clouds, which are the chariots of God, robed him, for according to Psalm 104.3b, "God makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind."

Angel's Face

Mighty AngelThe light from the angel's face may cause the rainbow to shine through the cloud. Like white light passing through a prism, it splits into the red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet colors of the rainbow. The angel's face is like Jesus' face on the Mount of Transfiguration. The rainbow is part of the glory of the Throne of God from which the angel comes. Ezekiel 1.28a tells of the Lord's glory, "As the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. It was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord."

Seven Thunders Sound

Open scrollThe angel robed in a cloud, and with a rainbow above his head comes from Heaven. When he shouts, the voices of seven thunders sound. The angel's voice is like the roar of a lion. In Joel 3.16a, we read, "the Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem." An angel comes from the very presence of God. Some think that this is none other than the glorified Christ himself. The angel has "one foot on the sea and one on the land." In his hand, he holds a little scroll, unrolled and open. The dictionary defines the word "scroll" from the old French "escroe" as "Money, property, a deed, or a bond put into the custody of a third party for delivery to a grantee only after the fulfillment of the conditions specified." Here, the angel of God, or perhaps Jesus himself, steps forward with a little scroll open in his hand. Events written down in the manuscript are about to happen. Here the angel is giving John of Patmos a limited revelation about a short period. The seven thunders sound when the angel speaks. The "thunders" are most likely a reference to God's voice, as in Psalm 29.3, "The voice of the Lord is over the waters, the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters."

Mighty Heavenly Angel

Angel StatueThe mighty heavenly angel or archangel raises his right hand to heaven and announces no more delays. A mighty heavenly angel appears and comes to affirm the final judgment on the earth. Dr. William Barclay (1907-1978), an eminent Bible scholar, writes, "Clearly this angel has come from the very presence of God." He sets his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, for his words deal with all creation on land and sea. Here in Revelation, a cloud wraps this mighty angel. John seems to be back on earth, for he sees the angel coming down from heaven. Angels appear as Jesus ascends into heaven in Acts 1.9-11, "After he (Jesus) said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. Suddenly, two men dressed in white stand beside them as they look intently up into the sky as he was rising. 'Men of Galilee,' they said, 'why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.'"

No More Time

Clock Showing TimeThe mighty angel, which may refer to an Archangel like Gabriel, now makes an announcement and swears it with an oath. "There will be no more delay!" Sometimes this announcement is taken to mean that "time shall be no more." That is to say, time as we know it is ended, and eternity begins. It is more likely that the meaning is "there was no time left" and that there will be no further delay. The Antichrist is then about to burst upon the scene in all his destructive terror.

Purpose of Human History

AntichristThe angel in heaven reveals to John of Patmos what tomorrow holds together with how God's mystery reveals itself. When the seventh angel sounds his trumpet, "God's mystery will be accomplished." The whole purpose of God in human history will unfold. Much in life is difficult to understand, and wickedness seems to hold sway, but as John of Patmos sees it, there will be a showdown. God's army of angels and the Antichrist, a concentrated evil figure, with his forces will face each other. When God settles the final and total victory, he will answer all questions, right wrongs, and solve great mysteries. Beyond all the strange word pictures, history moves towards God's inevitable triumph and that, though evil may flourish, it cannot triumph. God will then reveal his mysteries.✞

What Tomorrow Holds

Road to Life's DestinySome people would love to know what tomorrow holds for them. They think that if they could see their future, they might feel better about their present circumstances. They may believe they are destined or predetermined to a particular course of events, to inherit a fortune or marry a beautiful wife or handsome husband. They imagine a crack in heaven, and the all-knowing God is somehow leaking out information. Wiser people understand, however, that events will only appear when God chooses to reveal them. I do not believe we would be any happier for knowing our future, but quite the opposite!✞

God's Plan Revealed

Lazarus and DivesIn the story of the beggar Lazarus and the rich man Dives, the words of Jesus clearly describe the impenetrable gulf fixed between them in heaven and earth. Luke 16.22-26 tells the story, "The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he (Dives) was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue because I am in agony in this fire.' But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been set in place so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'" Many people want to know the future, which is probably behind the misplaced and dangerous fascination in fortune-telling, horoscopes, tea leaf reading, ouija boards, and tarot cards. As in the story of Lazarus and Dives, Jesus makes clear that "between you and us a great chasm has been fixed." Far from being harmless, these things originate with Satan to lead people away from God and eventually destroy them. Wikipedia explains, "A séance or seance is an attempt to communicate with spirits." God only reveals what will happen in the future in the Word of God, the Bible. God prevents John of Patmos from recording some future details in the Book of Revelation. We read this in Revelation 10.4, "And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, 'Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.'"

Time Machine

Time MachineA voice from Heaven tells John of Patmos, "Do not write it down." God's plan is predetermined. Ephesians 1.11 reads, "In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will. So that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession — to the praise of his glory." The phrase "In him, we were also chosen" may also be translated as "In him, we were also made heirs." God's plan will eventually reveal everything but not just yet. God has told us all we need to know to live for him as Christians today. In our desire to be ready for the end, we must not emphasize speculation about the last days rather than living for God in the present. The Scriptures reveal God's plan for the completion of all human history. At that time, all prophecy will finish. The end of the age will have arrived.

"Cloud Robed Angel"
by Ron Meacock © 2020

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