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Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the earth

lifted his right hand

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toward heaven

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Then God’s agent whom I saw, the one with authority over the inaccessible places and the creatures that dwell there, and over the familiar places and all life forms we are familiar with,

took an oath

based on the certainty and reliability of God


1: “lifted his right hand”

This is how they took oaths, by raising their right hand. Our tradition of raising the right hand to take an oath comes from these ancient practices. The right hand was a symbol of one’s honor and strength, thus they were placing their honor at stake in committing to the oath.

2: “toward heaven”

By swearing an oath based on heaven, one was saying that this oath was intended to be as certain, as immovable, as reliable, as trustworthy and as long lasting as heaven itself, and the one who dwells there—God.