And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was on his head…
The Book of the Revelation is written for the comfort of the Church in presence of her oppressing foes. It is designed to sustain the faithful people in well doing, when the severities of cruel dealing make their lot hard and almost unendurable. Their patience is often severely tried; sometimes it has yielded under heavy pressure. Here is afforded another word of promise which is calculated to sustain the faint of heart. A vision is granted of" a strong angel" who brings assured promise of a certain and even speedy termination of the time of suffering and of struggle. "The mystery of God, according to the good tidings which he declared to his servants the prophets," shall be "finished." This is the encouragement to hope; and to the Church in the early times, under the pressure of her first destructive persecutions, this would be a word of the utmost comfort. It is the re-echo of "Behold, I come quickly." This word of consolation is of great preciousness and help to the suffering Church; for -
I. IT IS GIVEN BY THE LORD HIMSELF. The strong angel "coming down out of heaven, arrayed with a cloud," can be none other than the Lord himself. The surrounding symbols are his, and his alone. "The rainbow was upon his head;" "his face was as the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire." It is the reflection of the Divine glory in Christ. When he cries the seven thunders utter their voices, and his great voice was "as a lion roareth." From the word of such a one the Church may always gather the utmost comfort.
II. IT GIVES THE PROSPECT AND PLEDGE OF RELEASE. The suffering Church writhes in its anguish; but a definite limit is put to the days of sorrow. "In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound." This is not indefinite and uncertain: "There shall be time no longer " - there shall be no more delay. Relief is certain and speedy. This is assured by oath, even by the voice of the angel who "sware by him that liveth forever and ever, who created the heaven, and the things that are therein, and the earth, and the things that are therein, and the sea, and the things that are therein." This oath is for truest confirmation.
III. The word of consolation and promise IS GIVEN IN THE MOST SOLEMN AND ASSURING MANNER. This seen in the whole vision - the person, attitude, message, oath, and surrounding testimonies.
IV. IT IS THE TRUEST, THE UTMOST ENCOURAGEMENT TO HOPE. Upon this vision the Church should ever reflect in the time of suffering and fear. It is possible patiently to endure and hold out when a definite and assured prospect and pledge of relief is given. The words, "declared to his servants the prophets," shall have their fulfilment; "the mystery" shall be "finished." - R. G.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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: