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December 27 Today’s Reading: Revelation 8-10
“I saw another mighty Angel come down from heaven.”
As we come to Revelation 10, six trumpets have sounded and the seventh, final trumpet is about to sound. Just before John sees the final, consummate judgment of God fall upon the earth, the Lord Jesus Christ appears with one last word of warning. He stood “upon the sea and upon the earth (and) lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever,” (Because he could sware by no greater, he swore by himself!), “that there should be time no longer.” It is as though the Lord is saying, “No more delay! Prepare to meet thy God!” If you read chapters 8-11 at one sitting, you cannot fail to see that chapter 10 is an abrupt interruption of events. It is almost parenthetical. It stands as both a word of warning to God’s enemies of the certainty of divine judgment, and a word of comfort to God’s elect for it portrays and assures us of the providential rule of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Angel of the Covenant. What could be more comforting than the fact that he who loved us from eternity, died to redeem us at Calvary, and saves us by his almighty grace sovereignly rules all things according to God’s eternal purpose for us? This is the picture we have before us in this wondrous chapter.
A Mighty Angel
Here, John sees the Lord Jesus as “a mighty Angel.” Our Lord Jesus Christ is the mighty God, our Savior, the mighty Mediator, and the mighty King. He is able to protect, defend, and save his own. Chapter 9 describes the terrible woe that must come upon the earth. Then, Christ, the mighty Angel, appears. This appearance seems to say, “Let not your heart be troubled. The ark of God is safe.” This mighty Angel is Christ our Savior, who sovereignly rules all things.
Next, we are told that John saw Christ, as a mighty Angel “come down from heaven.” This does not refer to our Lord’s incarnation, or to his coming down to judge the world in the last day. These words refer to our Lord’s appearance in providence to protect, defend, and comfort his people. Though the Lord Jesus is in heaven, seated upon the throne of glory, he has not forsaken his Church. His body has been taken from us, but not his heart. Christ is always with his people. As often as we need him, he comes to us in special grace, revealing his presence and power to us (Daniel 3:25).
Clothed with a Cloud
When Christ appeared to John, he was “clothed with a cloud.” Remember, John has just seen days of terrible spiritual darkness, apostasy, and false religion, which devour men’s souls as locusts devour vegetation (9:3-4). In such times, the Lord Jesus hides himself from men. They cannot see his glory. It is as though he has hidden himself in a cloud. They know his name, but not his power. They know the facts of his death, burial, and resurrection, but not the accomplishments of his redemptive work. They know that Christ is in heaven, but know nothing of the majesty of his heavenly throne. They know that he makes intercession, but know nothing of the efficacy of his intercession. They know that Jesus saves, but not how he saves. They know the words “redeeming blood,” “saving grace,” and “matchless love.” But they know nothing of the blood’s atonement, grace’s power, or love’s immutability. This world is in a fog in so far as the things of Christ are concerned. If we see the glory of his Person and the efficacy of his saving grace, we have great reason to pause and give thanks. — “Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” (See Matthew 11:25-27).
The rainbow upon our Redeemer’s head tells us that the covenant of grace is fulfilled in him and by him. He is ever mindful of his covenant. Even in the worst of times, our dear Savior rules this world according to the stipulations of the covenant. He will not allow his people to be overwhelmed by the flood of antichrist’s religion. The gates of hell shall not prevail against his Church. The Messenger of the covenant appears to bring us peace, to let us know that better days are coming. Soon we shall have times of refreshing, either from the presence of the Lord, or in the presence of the Lord. No matter how dark the storms of life may be, if we can see that rainbow upon that head, our hearts will find peace and satisfaction (2 Samuel 23:5).
Like the Sun
Next, our Savior’s face is “as it were the sun.” This is how the disciples saw him on the mount of transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8). This expression speaks of the purity and glory of Christ, both as God and as man. Being God, Jesus Christ our Savior is the brightness of the Father’s glory and the express image of his Person. He lived as a man in this world in perfect righteousness. In all things he was and is, holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. And the God-man in heaven is clothed with all the ineffable glory of the eternal God, for he is God. As God, he is light (1 John 1:5). As the Mediator between God and men, he imparts the light of grace and glory to the sons of men.
Pillars of Fire
His feet are “as pillars of fire.” Our Lord’s feet are like fire. In all his ways of providence, he is a consuming fire to his enemies. He will destroy them in a moment, like raging fire consumes dried grass. But he is a wall of fire about his Church to defend and protect us. His feet are pillars, unshaken, immovable pillars to uphold all who trust him. Lean upon him. Christ is a mighty Savior. All his ways of grace, providence, mercy, and judgment are righteous altogether. He is too wise to err and too good to do wrong. His throne, his work, and his purposes are both righteous and sure. His feet are “as pillars of fire.”