The Book of Revelation with commentary by Dr. Henry M. Morris and paintings by Ramona Lowe
The paintings are a work in progress and the finished pieces are highlighted in red on Page 2

Page 72

A Bitter-Sweet Inheritance

(Revelation 10) 

     The earth is ravaged, multitudes are slain, and the world’s inhabitants are benumbed with both wickedness and fear. Yet the cosmic and terrestrial rebellions continue.  The tribulation period is only half consummated and there is one mighty trumpet yet to sound.

     All the terrifying judgments throughout the first half of the tribulation had ensued when the Lamb received the title scroll from the hand of God on His heavenly throne (Revelation 5:7).  The inheritance of the world was His, by right of both creation and blood redemption.  He was the rightful heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2) though He must still wrest His dominion from the great usurper and pretender, Satan, with all his host of fallen angels and wicked men.

     It is appropriate that at this midpoint of Christ’s work of reclamation, as it were, John be given, and through him to us, a fresh vision of the mighty Redeemer and His sure victory.  He (and we) would now be ready to comprehend the fuller meaning of the great conflict of the ages and its imminent consummation.  This is the grandeur of the beautiful drama in Revelation 10.

The Rainbow Crown

     John had already witnessed a glorious coronation.  The four and twenty elders had received golden crowns (Revelation 4:4), which they had all laid down before the throne of the Creator (Revelation 4:10), acknowledging that He alone was worthy to be crowned with many crowns. Then, after the Lamb had received the Book (the title deed to the redeemed creation) John had watched Him receive a glorious crown as He rode forth on the great white horse of heaven, to conquer and regain His dominion (Revelation 6:2).

     And now once again he sees the mighty Conqueror, with the most glorious crown one could ever imagine gracing His head.  Once He had worn a crown of thorns, but now He was crowned with God’s rainbow.

Revelation 10:1.     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 can be none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.  Both in the Old Testament and in the Book of Revelation, in His preincarnate state and in His postresurrection state, respectively, Christ is presented a number of times as a glorious angel (or “messenger”) of the Lord.

     That this angel is not one of the created angels (not even one of the seven powerful angels that stand in God’s presence) is evident from the context in general and from His appearance in particular.  John saw Him coming down from heaven, thus to reach the earth itself.  He is Creator, Redeemer, and Heir of earth and now is symbolically coming down to lay claim to His possession.  Whether or not He is ready yet to take possession, He must at least let those in heaven and on earth know His claim.

     That He is the same glorified Son of man seen by John at the beginning of the Apocalypse is clear from three striking marks of identification.  As He descended from heaven, He was arrayed in a glory cloud, His face was like the sun (it was not the sun, but “as it were” the sun), and His feet were “as pillars of fire.” 

     Those are precisely the characteristics noted by John in the first chapter of Revelation.  “Behold, he cometh with clouds” (Revelation 1:7) was the initial testimony there.  Furthermore, when He had first ascended into heaven (John had also been present then), it was recorded that “a cloud received him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9), and that He would someday return to earth “in like manner” (Acts 1:11).  He had already descended from heaven to meet His redeemed ones “in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17) but now, for the first time, He will stand again on the earth, and He comes in a cloud.

     Similarly, John had noted when He first saw the glorified Christ that “his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength” (Revelation 1:16), and “his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace” (Revelation 1:15), with the appearance of glowing-hot boots, thus making his feet seem as pillars of fire.

     But there is something new this time.  The beautiful rainbow had been seen first by John above the throne of God, speaking (as it did in the days of Noah) of grace and salvation even in the midst of judgment.  But now it encircles the head of Christ, the mighty angel.  It is as though the rainbow had been above His head when He was seated on His throne and then had traveled with Him as He descended to earth.

     In any case, it is singularly appropriate that His crown should be God’s beautiful rainbow.  The definite article in the original – “the rainbow” – indicates that it is the bow specially associated with God.  In the first biblical reference to the rainbow, right after the great Flood, God spoke to Noah of “my bow” (Genesis 9:13).  As noted earlier, the bow had also been seen by Ezekiel about God’s throne (Ezekiel 1:28).

     In the Old Testament, the same word is used both for the rainbow and for the weapon (“bow” and arrow).  Perhaps there is thus a suggestion in the rainbow that God is a God of both grace and judgment.  That is, even in the midst of judgment, God’s grace is still extended and multitudes will be saved out of the great tribulation (Revelation 7:14).  By the same token, those who spurn God’s grace must experience His wrath.  “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:29).

     What a marvelous sight it will be!  John saw Him (and so shall we) coming down from heaven, arrayed in a cloud of glory and crowned with the beautiful bow, to stand once again on the earth.

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