Revelation 10:1-11 Part 2


1)    Then I saw going down from the heaven another mighty Messenger having been cloud clothed, the bow above His head, His appearance as the sun, His feet as fiery pillars,

2)    and having the little scroll that had been opened in His hand.  Then He placed His right foot on the sea, but the left on the land,

3)    and uttered a great sound as a roaring lion.  And when He cried out, the seven thunders uttered their own voices.

4)    And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from the heaven saying “withhold the things that the seven thunders uttered.  You may not write them”.

5)    Then the Messenger that I saw having stood upon the sea and upon the land raised His right hand into the heaven

6)    and promised in the One living into the ages of the ages, Who created the heaven and all that’s in it, and the earth and all that’s in it, and the sea and all that’s in it, that there would be no more delay,

7)    but that in the days when the sound of the seventh messenger is to be trumpeted, the mystery of God would be fully accomplished as announced to His Own servants the prophets.

8)    Then the voice that I had heard from the heaven speaks with me again saying, “go take the scroll opened in the hand of the Messenger Who is standing upon the sea and upon the land”.

9)    And I did approach the Messenger, telling Him to give the scroll to me.  Then He says to me, “take and eat it all; it will embitter your belly, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.

10) So I took the scroll from the Messenger’s hand and ate it all; and it was as honey, sweet in my mouth.  But when I ate, it made my belly bitter.

11) Then they tell me “it is again necessary for you to prophesy about many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.


As John writes to the Churches, it would have been perfectly apparent to them that the mighty Messenger going down from the heaven, having the opened scroll in His hand, is none other than their Lord Jesus Christ – God the Son.

He is the only one in all of Scripture said to “wear” the glory cloud, which is the host of the heaven.  And He is the only one in Scripture Whose face is said to shine as the sun in all its power.  And He has the bow – the radiance of His glory – over His head. 

He is the One in the text of Holy Scripture Whose glory cloud covered the tabernacle, and Whose pillars “walked” before Israel by day and “stood” between Israel and the chariots of Egypt.  Therefore He IS Yahveh Lord of Hosts, God the Son.

And He is the One by Whom Job writes that the earth itself has “pillars”, for the earth is His “footstool” – connected as it is to its Creator by pillars of cloud and fire, the very “feet” of the One Who holds it all together.  For it all exists at the will of Yahveh Lord of Hosts; and we live and breath and have our very being in Him and by His divine providence.  The creation is here forever because it’s all connected and anchored to the One Who lives forever!  It is all “attached” to Him; it has “pillars”!

I realize that this is pushing at the edges of our abilities (and we certainly don’t want to go beyond the limits with which we are created); but it’s how the creation is perceived by its Creator, because it’s in His inspired Word. And as we explore this a little further, I don’t think there’s any better place to look than in the written record of Job, who was a righteous man, as God ultimately brings him to the table in order to reason with him.  And of course it’s God’s reasoning to which Job must be brought (and to which we need to be brought), for all our reasoning must begin with His.  And Job had to learn that (just as we have to learn it).  All our thought processes must have their bases in His thought, for His is the original.  And we are made in His image.

In Yahveh’s intense questioning of Job about the “ground” of his reasoning, He probes and challenges Job about many things, including the creation and foundation of the earth itself and what he knows about that, and what he’s able to do about it, or with it!

And I want to read just a small portion of Yahveh’s speech – His Words – about that (i.e. the foundation of the creation), for it will help us to see His perception and His reasoning regarding all that He has made.  Here’s some of what He said, as recorded in Job chapter thirty-eight:


1)    Then Yahveh addressed Job out of the whirlwind (the glory cloud) and said:

2)    "Who is this that obscures My counsel by words without knowledge?

3)    Get ready to answer like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.

4)    Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?  Tell me, if you have understanding.

5)    Who determined its measurements—surely you know!  Or who stretched a measuring line across it?

6)    On what were its bases socketed, or who laid its cornerstone; where were you

7)    when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

8)    Who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb,

9)    when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band,

10) and determined its boundaries and set its bars and doors in place,

11) and said, 'you may come this far and no farther, and your proud waves stop here?

12) "Have you ever in your life commanded the morning, and assigned the dawn its place? ...

22) "Have you entered the storehouses of the snow?  Or have you seen the treasuries of hail? ...

24) What is the way to the place where the light is distributed?  ...

28) Does the rain have a father? Who begets the drops of dew?

29) Out of whose womb does the ice come?  Who gives birth to the frost of heaven?

I think that’s enough for now.  I read more than enough of it; but it’s wonderful.  And there’s so much more… it just goes on and on.  Should you wish to be chastened into complete submission regarding the ground of rational thought, then you must study it all.

But that statement by Yahveh at the beginning having to do with the existence of the earth and its foundations is where we have to look carefully.  Here it is again:


4)    "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?  Tell me, if you have understanding.

5)    Who determined its measurements—surely you know!  Or who stretched a measuring line across it?

6)    On what were its bases socketed?


You won’t find that word “socketed” in any of the common translations; but it is the exact same word that Yahveh used when He prescribed the sockets to be used at the base of the pillars in the tabernacle at Sinai!  The Pillars.  And as we’ve heard numbers of times here, the tabernacle complex was the man-made image of that which is in the heaven.  And since, as Scripture says, the earth has “pillars” (in the image of the heaven), and since the earth is the “footstool” of the triumphant Son, then the pillars and sockets of the tabernacle are irrevocably connected to, and are the image of, the tabernacle in the heaven – the throne-room/judgment seat of Almighty God.

On what were its bases socketed?  The bases of the creation.

All of this is His perception of all that He has created!  All the earth is immanently fastened to the pillars of our Creator… the One Who wears the glory cloud/host of heaven, Who has the bow of His radiance above, and Whose fiery feet are the pillars of the earth.

When our God, in His speech to Job concerning His Own creation, uses the same words in His speech to Moses regarding the tabernacle, it’s not the imagination of men running free; but it is fitting our own thought processes into God’s perception of all that He’s made.  We have to think the thoughts of God after Him; and our thought must image His, for His is the original.

I urge you to read God’s reasoning to Job.  It goes on for chapters at the end of the book.  And at the end, all Job could do was just “shut up”.  You see, the very basis for our thought must be “socketed” to the reason and perception of God (if I am permitted to use that analogy), for without it all our reasoning is just futile.

And then, finally, the Churches would have immediately recognized the little scroll in the mighty Messenger’s hand, the one having previously been opened by the Lamb of God standing in midst of the throne.  And they would have known that this is the scroll revealed to Daniel (written in his prophecy) that was sealed unto the end (the end of the age).  And obviously they would also have known, since the seals were loosed by the Lamb, that the time, the end of the age, was near.  All things sealed in the scroll were now loosed and, according to Jesus in chapter one, were to take place quickly.

And now (as recorded by John in verse two) the mighty Messenger is seen going down from the heaven, clothed with the glory cloud, His face shining as the sun and the bow over His head, His feet as fiery pillars.


“And He placed His right foot on the sea but His left foot on the land, and uttered a great sound as a roaring lion.”


Let’s just see (as a reminder) that all through Scripture there is a distinction made between the land of Israel and the Gentile nations.  And all the nations are distinguished from Israel in God’s perception of His creation.  The nations are called the “sea”; and Israel is called the “land”.

That distinction is not made when God is revealing His creation called “earth”.  But on those occasions in which He makes the distinction, it is the sea and the land.  And that is especially true of the Revelation, since it is the fullness of God’s prophetic Word.

And in this case there is a clear distinction being made by our Lord, for this is the end of the age.  And He is judging His people Israel and extending His covenant to a righteous people – His elect from all the nations (which includes His elect of the twelve tribes – now “scattered” among those nations). 

In this image-of-the-heaven in which we live, God has made distinctions between His earthly creatures… for the cosmos is made in the “likeness” of the heaven.  And since He has covenantally made distinctions between the angelic creatures, He has also made covenantal distinctions between earthly creatures (and I mean “humans”).  And, allegorically, He uses His animal creatures to prophesy those distinctions.

And, of course, by using the word “allegory” I’m not trying to demean God’s perception of His creation… it’s just the best word among several – none of which really describe how God perceives His creation very well.  After all, allegory is simply a literary device, and God’s Revelation is much, much more than that.  Perhaps “parabolic” might be a term that’s closer to much of God’s Revelation.

Anyway, we have to turn our attention now (and for all the rest of our time this morning) to two passages of the prophetic Word which will clarify for us why our Lord is seen by John going down from the heaven and placing His right foot on the sea but His left foot on the land… for by doing so He is distinguishing between the two; He is separating one from the other; He is differentiating between that which was once His covenant nation and that which will now be the beneficiary of His covenant blessings.

And that differentiation is made clearer by the adversative “but” when He reveals the locations of His feet.  His right foot on the “sea”, but His left on the land.  (Although the common translations don’t pick it up, it’s in the text.)

Now, the two passages which we have to address are by no means the only ones having to do with animal creatures being featured in parabolic prophetic language.  But they are two of the primary ones revealed by God having to do with the end of the age.  And as you will recall, our Lord spoke in parables extensively; and He explained to His disciples why He did so.  We’ll see one of those occasions shortly.

But the first passage is Yahveh’s Revelation through the prophet Ezekiel in chapter thirty-four.  This is an extensive Revelation using animal creature allegory (parabolic language) to represent the distinctions that God will make in His judgment of Israel.  Listen to just a small portion of it:


“… lo, I am against the shepherds.  I will demand My flock from them and prevent them from shepherding the flock. The shepherds will no longer feed themselves, for I will rescue My flock from their mouths so that they will not be food for them.

11) "For this is what Yahveh GOD says:  “See, I Myself will search for My flock and look for them.

12) As a shepherd looks for his sheep on the day he is among his scattered flock, so I will look for My flock.  On a cloud covered, dark day I will rescue them from all the places where they have been scattered.

13) I will bring them out from the nations, gather them from the countries ….

15) I will tend My flock and let them lie down."  [This is] the declaration of Yahveh GOD.

16) "I will seek the lost, bring back the strays, bind up the injured  and strengthen the weak.  I will shepherd them with justice; but I will destroy the fat and the strong.”

17) Yahveh GOD says to you, My flock:  “I am going to judge between one and another, between the sheep and the goats.

18) Isn't it enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of the pasture with your feet? Or [isn't it enough] that you drink the clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?

19) 1Yet My flock has to feed on what your feet have trampled, and drink what your feet have muddied.”

20) Therefore, this is what Yahveh GOD says to them: “Lo, I Myself will judge between the fat and the lean.

21) Since you have pushed with flank and shoulder and butted all the weak ones with your horns until you scattered them all over,

22) I will save My flock, and they will no longer be prey for you. I will judge between one and another.

23) I will appoint over them a single shepherd, My servant David, and he will shepherd them. He will tend them himself and will be their shepherd.


It will be enough to say that Ezekiel received this prophecy four hundred years after David; so it’s clear that the One spoken of here is the Anointed One of God – the Lord Jesus Christ, David’s Son and David’s Lord.

It’s also clear that the “shepherds of Israel” being addressed here are the princes, priests, elders and lawyers of Israel; and they are the ones “pushing” and “shouldering” and “butting”.  And it’s a fact that real shepherds always distinguished the goats from the sheep, separating the flock into two breeds; for the goats were the aggressive breed; and if they were pastured with the sheep, they took over the pasture and muddied up everything so that the sheep were left scattered and injured and hungry and thirsty.

But the Anointed One would locate all His scattered and bruised and hungry sheep and “save” them and salve their wounds and feed them and lead them upon green pastures.  But not the goats.  Not the ones doing the butting and shouldering and scattering.  There is a clear “differentiation” between the two kinds.

And as you remember, long before Ezekiel, at the inspiration of Holy Spirit David wrote that Psalm – twenty-three – which has this very same language.

Now.  The second of our primary prophetic passages is in the newer Testament.  It is by the “WORD” Himself, the One Who spoke to Ezekiel in the specific parabolic language that we just read.  In this passage Jesus the Christ is speaking to His disciples just before He is delivered up to be crucified.  And His language is right out of Ezekiel thirty-four!

And He begins what we now call “The Olivet Discourse” as an answer to the disciple’s request for some vital information.  Here’s that request:  “tell us when these things shall be and what is the sign of Your coming (Parousia) and consummation of the age?

And Jesus answered them while sitting there on the Mount of Olives.  And the apostle Matthew recorded His answer.  And the answer to this specific request covers two whole chapters in our Bibles where Jesus explains to them the “sign of His Parousia and consummation of the age”, and when it will be.

The whole two-chapter discourse explains the requested information, and there is no interruption in His answer.  The context does not change.  In chapter twenty five of Matthew’s Gospel (without any interruption from chapter twenty four) Jesus proceeds to give His disciples three parabolic allegories (all of it already prophesied in the older Scripture) regarding His Parousia and consummation of the age.  And He had already answered the request for information about “when” in chapters twenty-three and twenty-four; as He said “all these things will happen in this generation”.

The first of the three parables in chapter twenty-five (having to do with Jesus’ Parousia and consummation of the age) is that of the Bridegroom Who comes for His betrothed.  The second is the parable of the Owner Who goes away, and then returns as King, to rule and judge His domain.

Now, both of those are important in the understanding of our text; but the third of Jesus’ explanations to His disciples regarding His Parousia and consummation of the age is the one we need to deal with for a few minutes, for it has the specific language of Ezekiel; and it has the language relating to verse two of our text where John sees the Lord place His right fiery pillar on the “sea” but His left on the land.

Here is that third parable as Jesus completes His answer to the disciple’s request (Matthew twenty-five):


31) ….when the Son of Man shall come in His glory and all the angel (messengers) with Him (that’s the glory cloud), then He shall sit upon His throne of glory;

32) and all the peoples shall be convened before Him, and He shall set them apart from each other just as the shepherd sets the sheep apart from the goats (right out of Ezekiel chapter thirty four),

33) and He shall set the one, sheep, out from His right, and the other, goats, out from His left.

34) Then the King shall say to those out from His right, “come, the ones blessed of My Father, receive possession of the Kingdom having been prepared for you from cosmos’ foundation;

35) for I did hunger and you gave to me to eat; I did thirst and you watered Me; I was alien and you brought Me in;

36) naked and you clothed me.  I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to me.”

37) Then the just ones shall answer Him saying, “Lord, when did we see you hungering and we fed you, or thirsting and we watered You?

38) When did we see you alien and we brought You in, or naked and we clothed You?

39) And when did we see You when You were sick or in prison and we came to You?”

40) And answering, the King shall say to them, “Amen I say to you, in as much as you did to one of these the least of My brothers, you did to me.”

41) Then He shall say to the ones out from His left, “cursed ones, go away from Me into the eternal fire having been prepared for the devil and his angels;

42) for I did hunger and you did not give to me to eat; I did thirst and you did not water Me;

43) I was alien and you did not bring Me in; naked and you did not clothe Me; sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.”

44) And they then shall answer saying, “Lord, when did we see you hungering or thirsting or alien or naked or sick or in prison and we did not minister to you?”

45) And He shall answer them saying, “Amen I say to you, in as much as you did not do to one of the least of these, neither did you do to me.”

46) And these (Jesus said) shall go away into eternal punishment; but the just ones into eternal life.


He shall separate them as a shepherd separates sheep from goats.  In that great “company of peoples” (the convened nations under the rule of the King), the “sheep” will be set apart out from His right, but the “goats” out from the left.

Then the King will say to those to the right (the sheep), those who are presently in a state of having always been blessed of the Father (that’s the sense of the perfect, passive participle), Come… receive to you (inherit is a good word) the Kingdom which is presently in a state of having always been in process of being prepared (perfect passive participle) since the foundation (laying, casting down) of cosmos!

Then (directly from Isaiah fifty-eight and our Ezekiel thirty-four passage), the King shall relate to them all the means by which the people of God are to be shepherded.  And the “sheep” will be credited with having done all of them to the King.  The “sheep” won’t know they’ve done that, and they will ask the King when they did it!  And He will say, “In as much as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.”

Then He will say to the ones out from His left, “Depart from Me you who are in a present state of having always been cursed (perfect passive participle), (depart from me) into the eternal fire which is in a present state of having always been in process of being prepared (perfect passive participle) for the devil and his angels!”

They will be told that they have not done to the King the things that a good shepherd does!  But this group protests, you see, and says, “When did we not do those things to You?”

And the King shall say, “When you didn’t do them to the least of these (“My brothers”), you didn’t do them to Me!” 

Then in the last verse Jesus says, “and they (those out to the left) will go away into eternal punishment.  But the just (the righteous… those who are presently in a state of being blessed of God, and who are credited with having ministered to the King – and who didn’t claim anything!), (the just) into life eternal.”

Now.  That’s the structure of this third parable about the imminent Parousia of Christ.  It is not about judgment day at Christ’s second coming!  Remember, the first concerned the appearance of the Bridegroom to receive His bride to Himself, and found that she had become a harlot during the betrothal; the second was the lord of the house who went far away from home to receive his kingdom, and when he returned there were many who didn’t wish him to reign over them! 

Now, what might you think this last parable concerns?

Even though it is an elaborate parabolic allegory, it is much more open and direct in its purpose; and its references to the Law and the Prophets are very specific.

Let me give you only two or three examples of that.  And, as usual, these Older Testament passages open up the meaning for us; and then we can go ahead with a full interpretation of the parable (it will be almost automatic at that point!).

The first example comes out of the first verse (verse thirty-one of Matthew chapter twenty-five.  It is the reference to all the angel/messengers.  The “myriads upon myriads” of messengers… the host of heaven… appear in the visions of the prophets (and therefore on the pages of Scripture) only at certain events.  This being one of them… Daniel chapter seven (which we’ve read so many times) being the prophecy of the crowning of the King!  Jesus almost quotes that prophecy at the coming of the King in this parable.

But listen now to an almost exact replica of Jesus’ parable in another occasion in which the myriads of angel/messengers appear.  This is Deuteronomy thirty-three.  This is where Moses is blessing Israel and recounting what God had done.  At verse one:


“And this is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death.  And he said, ‘The Lord is come from Sinai… with the ten thousands of His messengers on His right.  And He spared His people; and all His sanctified ones are under thy hands.  A fiery Law went out from his right, the Law which Moses charged us – an inheritance to the assemblies of Jacob.”


At the point at which God chose and separated out His people, and constituted them and gave them His Sovereign original Law and its sanctions, the myriads of the angels were with Him, just as they are in Jesus’ parable here in Matthew twenty-five.

The same is also true of the prophecy of Zechariah in chapter fourteen.  He says, in referring to the last days in Israel, that Yahveh will come with all His holy angel/messengers and shall separate out the remnant… who will flee to His Sovereign protection through a split in the Mount of Olives.  There shall be judgment and deliverance… then the Lord shall be King over His possession; and Rivers of Living Water will flow from Jerusalem to the nations.  (This is an obvious prophecy of the King of Kings, and His Gospel flowing out to the rest of the world.)

And then back, of course, to the Daniel chapter seven passage in which the Throne of God is seen… with fire coming out, and with myriads of angels.  And the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven (the glory cloud) into the Throne-room of God and He was given a Kingdom over which He had absolute sovereignty… all of that pictured here in the parable in Matthew twenty-five. And the Sovereign Ruler separated out His people (just as in the Deuteronomy passage, and in the prophecy of Zechariah) and judged righteously by the sanctions of His Own original Law-word, freely giving righteousness to His people on the right, and justly separating the others to eternal judgment!

And what do we see here at the beginning of chapter ten of our Revelation text? The Lord Jesus Christ coming “cloud-clothed”; clothed with the glory cloud of angelic messengers, ready to separate – ready to differentiate between the sheep and the goats.

These three passages are almost identical in language and purpose:  the myriads of the glory cloud; the separating out of an elect people; and the application of the sanctions of Divine Sovereign Law!  The hosts of the heaven are there in each of the three cases to carry out the decrees of the Lawmaker.  And that’s exactly the image which Jesus portrays in the parable.

And once more let’s mention this allusion to the shepherd in Jesus’ parable.  Just as the shepherd sets the sheep apart from the goats, the King, in righteous Divine judgment, will set the people apart!

Shepherds did set sheep apart from goats.  They are two different kinds of animals.  And their characteristics are different.  Goats are hairy and have a very strong odor, and they are aggressive by nature… pushing and shoving and butting.  (In fact the name “he-goat” has the same Hebrew root as “hairy.”  And you remember that Isaac, blind and near death, could tell the difference between his sons Jacob and Esau by Esau’s odor and body hair.  He was called a “hairy” man… and that’s the same root word in Hebrew as “he-goat.”  Jacob was elect and loved by God; but Esau was hated and reprobated by God!  They were set apart!  There was a differentiation between sheep and goats all the way back to the births of Jacob and Esau!  And Jacob became the father of many nations… synagogued (convened, gathered) at the right of the King!)

But there are two main passages in which God condemns the “shepherds” of Israel.  Isaiah fifty-eight describes the wicked leadership of Israel as participating in solemn fasts (hypocritically, of course), and ripping off the people of God at the same time!  And He says to them:  “Isn’t this the fast that I have chosen… to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to free the oppressed and break every yoke, to give bread to the hungry, gather the outcasts, and clothe the naked?”  You fast?  And you rip the people off at the same time?  This is My Temple?

You see, these are the things by which the newly enthroned King (in the parable from Jesus), whose Parousia was imminent, judged the people on his left to eternal fire!

And then of course there is that great Ezekiel chapter thirty-four passage that we’ve already read in which the whole chapter is taken up in prophesying against the shepherds of Israel.  For thirty-one verses he lists their evils and mistreatment of the scattered flock of God.  They have left them hungry and thirsty and naked and sick and in prison!!  But The Good Shepherd will seek them out and gather them, convene them, synagogue them, and heal their wounds and set a table before them.

And through Ezekiel God says:


“…therefore thus saith the Lord God unto (the shepherds):  ‘Lo I, even I, will judge between the fat and the lean.  Because you have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns til you have scattered them to the outside (goats’ behavior), therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between ram and ram (sheep ram and goat ram)  And I will set up One Shepherd over them, and He shall feed them… even My servant David.”


In a day of deep, dark clouds (the glory cloud) the great Shepherd of the Sheep will come (the Parousia) and judge between the sheep and the goats.  And the shepherds of Israel will suffer the sanctions of the Law of the King for every drop of blood spilled of God’s righteous elect from Abel to the present.  (23:35; 24:9)

God loves His elect sheep and knows each of them by name.  And Christ the Lord came to save them by His Own blood.  If a cup of cold water is given to the least of these brothers of His in His Name, then it has been given to Him.  And if it has not been done to the least of these brothers of His, then it has not been done unto Him.  Entrapments are inevitable; but woe unto the one through whom the entrapment comes (Matthew eighteen).  For if the least of these newborn babes is entrapped, then it would have been better for that man to have been cast into the lake tied to a millstone.  The sheep are His; the babes are His; the elect of God are His.  He came with the host of the heaven to separate them out and save them.

This third parable of Jesus in Matthew twenty-five is a parable of separation.  Israel is to be separated out and destroyed; and God’s elect scattered among all the nations are to be gathered – convened – synagogued under His sovereign rule.

And that’s what we see in our text here in Revelation ten.  Newly crowned, Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ comes (Parousia) clothed with the glory cloud of the heaven, His feet as fiery pillars, and ready to convene the nations and differentiate between the sheep and the goats.  He places one fiery pillar upon the sea (the nations).  It’s His Right.  And He places the second fiery pillar upon the land (Israel).  And that’s His left.

And the ones on His left are “different”.  They are the ones who have pushed and shouldered and butted the sheep, and they have scattered them into the nations.

The householder Who has returned as King is ready to judge between the two!

The Bridegroom has come for His bride and found that she is a harlot.

And the Good Shepherd knows that there are two “kinds” in His flock; and the separates them – one kind over here on His Right, and the other kind over here on His left.