Revelation chapter 10 describes how God gave John the strength to continue his work as a prophet. A prophet is someone who declares a message from God; a prophetís work is not an easy task.
It would have caused John great strain to see the things that he describes in chapter 9. It was a terrible shock to know how cruelly those evil spirits would attack people. The people of the world will suffer greatly during the last few years before Christís return. John would probably consider it an even greater shock to see how wicked the people would become at that time.
John does not record his own feelings, but he probably felt very weak. So God sent a strong angel to him. The angels are Godís special servants in heaven; this one is called Ďa strong angelí, like the one that John saw in Revelation 5:2.
The description of this angel is extraordinary and wonderful. It astonishes us when we try to compare this description with the descriptions of the evil forces in chapter 9. Those evil forces came from the darkest, deepest part of hell (9:2); this strong angelís face shines with the splendid light of heaven. The colours of those evil forces only express the cruelty of their attack (9:17). This strong angel has a rainbow upon his head; the rainbow is the sign that God will always carry out his promises to his people (Genesis 9:12-17).
In the desert, a column of cloud guided Godís people. A column of fire gave them light by night (Exodus 13:21-22). Perhaps, therefore, the fire and cloud would remind John that God looks after his people. However, in Isaiah chapter 6, the special angels are called seraphim, which means angels of fire. So the fire may show that this angel is holy. Other meanings may be possible. However, it is clear that John considered the angel very impressive.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.