And he said unto me
That is, the angel, from whom John received the little book; the Alexandrian copy reads, "they said unto me": both the voice of God the Father from heaven, that bid him take the book, and the angel that bid him eat it:
thou must prophesy again before many people, and nations, and
tongues, and kings;
which is to be understood not of John's preaching again to many people, and nations, after his return from his exile at Patmos, as he had done before his banishment thither; and much less of his prophesying along with Enoch and Elias, towards the end of the world, grounded upon two fabulous notions, the one that Enoch and Elias will appear in person before the coming of Christ, and the other, that John died not, but is still alive somewhere, and will continue till Christ's second coming; but rather of his delivering more prophecies out of the open little book; not "before", as we render it, but either "concerning" many people, nations, tongues, and kings, as the Syriac version renders it: or "against" them, that is, those people, multitudes, nations, and tongues, over which the whore of Babylon reigns, or has reigned, and the ten kings, and kings of the earth she rules over, ( Revelation 17:12 Revelation 17:13 Revelation 17:15 Revelation 17:18 ) . Moreover, this may not so much design John's prophesying in person, as the prophesying: of the witnesses or ministers of the word in the several periods of time, whom John personated and represented; and of whom mention is made in the next chapter, to which this seems to be a transition.