10. The World-Wide Proclamation of the Second Advent

Código VBPR-E0010-I

VIEW:574 DATA:2020-03-20

Verse 1 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 offire: 2 And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth.

In this scripture we another instance in which the consecutive line of thought is for a time interrupted. Revelation 9 closed with the events of the sixth trumpet. The sounding of the seventh trumpet is not introduced until we reach Revelation 11: 15. All of chapter 10 and a part of chapter 11, therefore come in parenthetically between the sixth and seventh trumpets. That which particularly connected with the sounding of the sixth trumpet is recorded in chapter 9. The prophet has other events to introduce before the opening of another trumpet, and takes occasion to do it in the scripture which intervenes to Revelation 11: 15. Among these is the prophecy of chapter 10. Let us first look at the chronology of the message of this angel.

The Little Book. "He had in his hand a little book open." We may infer from this language that this book was at some time closed. We read in Daniel of a book which was closed and sealed to a certain time: "Thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." Daniel 12: 4. Since this book was closed only until the time of the end, it follows that at the time of the end the book would be opened. As this closing was mentioned in prophecy, it would be but reasonable to expect that in the predictions of events to take place at the time of the end, the opening of this book would also be mentioned. There is no book spoken of as closed and sealed except the book of Daniel's prophecy, and there is no account of the opening of that book unless it be here in Revelation 10. We see, furthermore, that in both places the contents ascribed to the book are the same. The book which Daniel had directions to close and seal had reference to time: "How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?" Daniel 12: 6. When the angel of this chapter comes down with the little book open, on which he bases his proclamation, he gives a message in relation to time, as will be seen in verse 6. Nothing more is required to show that both expressions refer to one book, and to prove that the little book which the angel had in his hand, open, was the book referred to in the prophecy of Daniel.

An important point is now determined in our endeavor to settle the chronology of this angel We have seen that the prophecy, especially the prophetic periods of Daniel, were not to be opened until the time of the end. If this is the book which the angel had in his hand open, it follows that he proclaims his message after the time when the book should be opened, or somewhere this side of the beginning of the time of the end. All that now remains on this point is to ascertain when the time of the end began, and the book of Daniel itself furnishes data from which this can be done. In Daniel 11: 30, the papal power is brought to view. In verse 35 we read, "Some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make white, even to the time of the end." Here is the period of the supremacy of the little horn, during which time the saints, times, and laws were to be given into his hand, and from him suffer fearful persecutions. This is declared to reach to the time of the end. This period ended AD 1798, when the 1260 years of papal supremacy expired. There the time of the end began, and the book was opened. Since that time, many have run to and fro, and knowledge on these prophetic subjects has marvelously increased. (See comments on Daniel 12: 4.)

The chronology of the events of Revelation 10 is further ascertained from the fact that this angel appears to be identical with the first angel of Revelation 14. The points of identity them are easily seen: They both have a special message to proclaim, They both utter their proclamation with a loud voice. They both use similar language, referring to the Creator as the maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and the things that are therein. And they both proclaim time, one swearing that time should be no more, and the other proclaiming that the hour of God's judgment has come.

But the message of Revelation 14: 6 is located this side of the beginning of the time of the end. It is a proclamation of the hour of God's judgment come, and hence must have its application in the last generation. Paul did not preach the hour of judgment come. Martin Luther and his coadjutors did not preach it. Paul reasoned of a judgment to come, indefinitely future, and Luther placed it at least three hundred years beyond his day. Moreover, Paul warns the church against preaching that the hour of God's judgment has come, until a certain time. He say: "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is a hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed." 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-3. Here Paul introduces to our view the man of sin, the little horn, or the papacy, and covers with a caution the whole period of his supremacy, which, as already noticed, continued 1260 years, ending in 1798.

In 1798, therefore the restriction against proclaiming the day of Christ at hand ceased. In 1798 the time of the end began, and the seal was taken from the little book. Since that time, therefore, the angel of Revelation 14 has gone forth proclaiming that the hour of God's judgment is come. It is since that time, too, that the angel of chapter 10 has taken his stand on sea and land, and sworn that time shall be more. Of their identify there can now be no question. All the arguments which go to locate the one are equally effective in the case of the other.

We not enter into any extended argument here to show that the present generation is witnessing the fulfillment of these two prophecies. In the preaching of the second advent, more especially from 1840 to 1844, began their full and circumstantial accomplishment. The position of this angel, one foot upon the sea and the other on the land. Had this message been designed for only one country, it would have been sufficient for the angel to take his position on the land only. But he has one foot upon the sea, from which we may infer that his message would cross the ocean, and extend to the various nations and divisions of the globe. This inference is strengthened by the fact that the advent proclamation above referred to did go to every missionary station in the world. More on this will be found in comments on Revelation 14.

Verse 3 And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. 4 And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.

The Seven Thunders. It would be vain to speculate upon the seven thunders, in hope of gaining a definite knowledge of what they uttered. Something evidently was uttered which it would not be well for the church to know. We must acquiesce in the directions given to John concerning them, and leave them where he left them, sealed up, unwritten, and consequently to us unknown.

Verse 5 And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, 6 and sware by Him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer.

"Time No Longer." What is the meaning of this most solemn declaration? It cannot mean that with the message of this angel, time, as computed in this world, in comparison with eternity, should end. The next verse speaks of the days of the voice of the seventh angel, and Revelation 11: 15-19 gives us some of the events to take place under this trumpet in the present state. It cannot mean probationary time, for that does not cease until Christ closes His work as priest, which is not until after the seventh angel has begun to sound. (Revelation 11: 15, 15: 5-8.) It must therefore mean prophetic time, for there is no other to which it can refer.

The word "time" in this verse is translated "delay" in the American Revised Version a very unusual rendering of the Greek original {GREEK CHARACTERS IN PRINTED TEXT}, chronos, "time," and the only one in the New Testament. Evidently the translators did not have prophetic time in mind, and could discern no other proper rendering of the word than "delay." Though by extension and implication this may be an admissible translation when the context seems to justify it, there is nothing in the context of verse 6 to call for such a rendering. In fact, the bitterness of the experience that follows the symbolic eating of the little book in verse 8-10 was for the very reason the Lord's coming was to be delayed beyond the expectation of those who were looking for Him in 1844 and this for the very reason that their work of preaching the gospel was not yet finished, as clearly indicated in verse 11. Surely in an announcement given with so much emphasis as the one recorded in verse 6, if delay were meant instead of (prophetic) time, the regular word for "delay," {GREEK CHARACTERS IN PRINTED TEXT}, anabole, would be used, as in Acts 25: 17, or {GREEK CHARACTERS IN PRINTED TEXT}, okneo, as in Acts 9: 38. It is true that a verb derived from chronos, namely, {GREEK CHARACTERS IN PRINTED TEXT}, chronizei, is used in the sense of "delay," as in Matthew 24: 48 and Luke 12: 45. But chronizei means simply "pass time," or "letting time pass," and gains its meaning of "delay" in this way. The word chronos, however, denotes "time" in the absolute, and there is every reason to believe this is its meaning (in a prophetic sense) in verse 6; and that since it is used in a prediction connected with a very important prophecy, we are justified in understanding it to mean prophetic time. In other words, prophetic time shall be no more not that time should never be used in a prophetic sense, for the "days of the voice of the seventh angel" spoken of immediately after, doubtless mean the years of the seventh angel. It means, rather, that no prophetic period should extend beyond the time of this message. Arguments on the prophetic periods, showing that the longest ones did not extend beyond the autumn of 1844, will be found in remarks on Daniel 8: 14.

Verse 7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets.

The Seventh Trumpet. This seventh trumpet is not that which is spoken of in 1 Corinthians 15: 52 as the last trump, which wakes the sleeping dead; but it is the seventh in the series of the seven trumpets, and like the others of this series, occupies prophetic days (years) in sounding. In the days when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God shall be finished. Not in the day when he shall begin to sound, not in very beginning of his sounding, but in the early years of his sounding, the mystery of God shall be finished.

Form the events to take place under the sounding of the seventh trumpet, its beginning may be located with sufficient definiteness at the close of the prophetic periods in 1844. The great event, whatever it is, is right upon us. Some closing and decisive work, with whatever of importance and solemnity it bears in its train, is near at hand. There is an importance connected with the finishing of any of the works of God. Such an act marks a solemn and important era. Our Savior, when dying upon the cross, cried, "It is finished." John 19: 30. When the great work of mercy for fallen man is completed, it will be announced by a voice from the throne of God, proclaiming in tones like thunder the solemn sentence, "It is done!" Revelation 16: 17. It is therefore no uncalled-for solicitude which prompts us to inquire what bearing such events have upon our eternal hopes and interests. When we read of the finishing of the mystery of God, we ask what that mystery is, and in what its finishing consists.

"The Mystery of God." A few direct testimonies from God's word, which has been given as a lamp to our feet, will show what this mystery is. "Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him." Ephesians 1: 9, 10. Here God's purpose to gather together all things in Christ is called the "mystery" of His will. This accomplished through the gospel. "For me [Paul asks that prayers be made], that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel." Ephesians 6: 19. Here the gospel is declared plainly to be a mystery. In Colossians 4: 3, it is called the mystery of Christ. Again, "How that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery (as I wrote afore in few words), . . . that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel." Ephesians 3: 3, 6. Paul here declares that the mystery was made known to him by revelation, as he had before written. In this he refers to his Epistle to the Galatians, where he recorded what had been given him "by revelation," in these words: "I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by revelation of Jesus Christ." Galatians 1: 11, 12. Here Paul tells us plainly that what he received through revelation was the gospel. In Ephesians 3: 3, he calls it the mystery made known to him by revelation, as he had written before. The Epistle to the Galatians was written about AD 54, and that to the Ephesians about AD 65.

In view of these testimonies, few will be disposed to deny that the mystery of God is the gospel. It is the same, then, as if the angel had declared, In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the gospel shall be finished. But what is the finishing of the gospel? Let us first inquire for what it was given. It was given to take out from the nations a people for God's name. (Acts 15: 14.) Its finishing must, as a matter of course, be the close of this work. It will be finished when the number of God's people is made up, when mercy ceases to be offered, and probation closes.

The subject is now before us in all its magnitude. Such is the momentous work to be accomplished in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, whose trumpet notes have been reverberating through the world since the memorable epoch of 1844. God is not slack. His work is not uncertain. Are we ready for the issue?

Verse 8 And the voice which I heard from heaven spoke unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. 9 And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. 10 And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.

John is here brought in to act a part as a representative of the church, probably on account of the succeeding peculiar experience of the church, which the Lord of the prophecy would cause to be put on record, but which could not well be presented under the symbol of an angel. When only a straight-forward proclamation is brought to view, angels may be used as symbols to represent the religious teachers who proclaim that message, as in Revelation 14. But when some particular experience of the church is to be presented, it could most appropriately be set forth in the person of some member of the human family. Hence John is himself called upon to act a part in this symbolic representation. This being the case, the angel who here appeared to John may represent that divine messenger, who has charge of this message; or he may be introduced for the purpose of representing the nature of the message, and the source from which it comes.

The Sweet and the Bitter. The angel of this chapter has in his hand "a little book open." In comments on verse 2 we have shown this "little book" to be the book of Daniel which was "sealed till the time of the end." Daniel 12: 9. It would be opened when the prophecies of the book were to be understood.

In comments on Daniel 8: 14 it has been shown that the work of cleansing the heavenly sanctuary began in 1844. Students of prophecy who made this discovery understood the sanctuary to mean the earth, and mistakenly regarded this prediction to mean that the Lord would come to cleanse the earth of its pollution and sin at that time.

This message of the coming of the Lord in the autumn of 1844 spread rapidly throughout America and other parts of the world. It greatly moved the hearts of men and stirred the Protestant churches of that time. Tens of thousands looked for the coming of the Lord at the close of the great prophetic period of 2300 days in 1844. (See Daniel 8: 14; 9: 25-27.) Every preparation was made to greet Him with great joy and gladness, and then came the bitterness of disappointment, for the Lord did not come. Their mistake was in their misunderstanding of the event to take place at the end of this prophetic period, and not in their reckoning of the time.

Accordingly, we read in verse 10, "The little book . . . was . . . in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter."

More Work to Be Done. The disappointment, however, was no evidence that the Lord was not in the movement, for in this tenth chapter of Revelation He anticipates this very experience, and in the last verse points His people to a task of world-wide extent He had yet for them to perform prior to His glorious appearing, for their work had not yet been finished. This work is brought to view quite fully in the three angels' messages of the fourteenth chapter. (See similar experiences in Jeremiah 15: 16-18; Ezekiel 3: 1-3, 10.)

Verse 11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

John, standing as the representative of the church, here receives from the angel another commission. Another message joining the first and second angels' messages, it to go forth to the world. In other words, we have here a prophecy of the third angel's message, now, as we believe, in process of fulfillment. Neither will this work be done in a corner, for it is to go before "many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings," as will be clearly seen in our study of Revelation 14: 6-12.




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