|.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.|| Days
of the voice The section of the trumpet calls began at re0802.
Chapter 10 which we are studying is part of the call of the sixth angel.
The full sounding of the seventh and final trumpet angel is at re1115.
At that time Christ comes in glory and assumes control of the earth. This
means that our present chapter describes end time events. For more on this
time frame, go.
Mystery of God ... servants the prophets We discuss it based on Paul's statement, go.
Also on this notes page for this verse we see how the mystery is finished in us and discuss it under the wedding motif.
|.8 ¶ And the voice which I heard from heaven spake 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.|| The
voice ... from heaven spoke Discussed below.
The thunders help us understand. See note b.
Then in note c we look at the timing described
Go and take ... book The command from heaven directs John to the angel standing before him. He was to accept the little book. This led to disappointment as we see in the next verse.
|.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.|| I went
to the angel and said Why were those seeking for light allowed to
be disappointed? See the notes page for
Bitter ... sweet Imagery drawn from ez0314.
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
11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
|These verses are discussed below. The next comments table shows the text and directs readers back to these notes.|
The voice from heaven spoke
First, scan through the verses above noting especially verse 8.
Remember that, when the mighty angel with the little book appears, he declares that "time" is to be "no longer" (verse 6 1006). In Daniel 12, where the mighty angel was described by the prophet as "the man in linen," we also found that Daniel would stand again in his prophetic role (through his book) "at the end of the days" da1213; da0117. He had wanted to know the meaning of the prophecies, and God had told him he would have to wait. The mighty angel then was referring to the same time as was the man in linen in Daniel 12. That would be the time when the prophecies in that chapter involving all the "days" ended.
From verse 4 we found that knowledge would increase at the time of the end which, from other verses, we discovered was the period following the 3½ times or 1260 days da0725, re1206. We saw that end point as when the Roman church was essentially powerless which was in 1798. Add to that, our identification of the time of the finishing of the mystery of God (v7; 11:15) as being near the end of time which I believe is now. This brings us to the conclusion that the bitter book experience would occur during our general time in history.
We are in the
Okay, I'm assuming something here: that John's experience with the little book represents an experience near our day. Let me clarify. We know that prophets saw and heard things that God revealed to them. It goes beyond simple transmission of information, however, as we realized in chapter 5 when we identified John's weeping as representing the seriousness of no one being able to break the seals on the scroll. That feeling I believe is symbolic. Also, in our context here, we saw that the mighty angel (Christ) was appearing just before the 7th trumpet and when time would be no longer. So, eating the book in vision, John was sensing an event in the end time, not his actual time during the first century A.D. Compare ez0404, da1000top and note, and am0701.
The thunders help us
Above, I suggested that John's eating the little book while in vision represented an experience near the end of time (in the days when the seventh trumpet angel is about to sound). To understand, we have another puzzle piece to fit into the picture. When the mighty angel cried with a loud voice "seven thunders uttered their voices."
Remember, from Daniel 12,
that the prophet wanted to understand but his request was denied. Knowledge
would not increase until the time of the end da1204.
Although his request was denied (da1208),
the "wise" would understand, and those who would wait and come to the end
of the 1335 days would be happy or blessed (verse 12). (Go ahead — read
the chapter again.)
We found that "end of the days" da1213 = the time of "time no longer" re1006. Now, in the context of Rev. 10, we are seeing another identification mark of that same time — the speaking by the seven thunders and their sealing. And this is followed by the bitter book experience. So we expect the sealing of the thunders to be associated with the bitterness of the book, but how? Let's read on:
The voice that
"And the voice which I heard from heaven spake 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" (Rev. 10:8).
The voice from heaven which ordered the sealing of what the thunders said
What voice had John already heard from heaven? The voice that told him to seal up what the seven thunders said (verses 4). This time the voice sends him to take the little book held by the mighty angel. The voice being described as the same as the one before is a clue that the hidden words of the seven thunders may have held the information that could have kept the sweetness of the book from turning bitter. We can be fairly confident that they provided information related to the whole scene here. We cannot read the words today because John never told us what they were.
Shouldn't consuming the writings of God's prophet bring sweetness? je1516.
Another clue about
the time this happened
We will come back to the thunders. I want to tell you what I believe they said, but I don't want you to accept an idea without seeing it clearly from the Scriptures. The resolution to the puzzle is confirmed by all the pieces fitting. One piece can seem to fit but then might need to be rejected or replaced. This means building slowly. In our personal study, we guess and test our idea. If we don't find complete harmony, we go back and modify the idea, continuing until we see clearly. Of course we may expect God to grant us wisdom by asking in faith, willing to apply to our lives what we learn ja0105, re0103.
May we continue to find
joy in eating the words of our Lord
Times of oppression and blessing — seeing the whole picture
The period of "time, times, and the dividing of time" (1260 days or years) da1207, is the big mountain God's people would have to climb over before they would find their rest. Daniel must have been asking why the long wait, hoping that the people he knew then could soon go back to Jerusalem. But it wasn't just the 1260. It was the 1290. And it was 1335 which seemed still farther into the future. And he didn't see how the 2300 fit in. (Maybe you can identify with him.) See chart.
So now the 1260 was the obstacle. Looking back at our text in Daniel 12, we may see that the description of the 1290 days is still answering Daniel's question about the end of the 1260 — the terrible scattering (or "shattering," NKJV) of the holy people. To end with the end of the 1260 years, the 1290 would have begun 30 years earlier — in 508.
That year saw the pagan king Clovis baptized. He then committed all his power to advance the objectives of the group of bishops whose influence had assured him a recent victory in battle. This is discussed more with the commentary on Daniel.
So the horn was in power for 1260 days [1260 literal years] but the desolating abomination had stood up in the holy place 30 years earlier mt2415, mt24table2. The time of relief for the saints is measured from both dates, and ending in 1798 when the pope was taken captive by the French general Berthier. Thus the "time of the end" began at the end of the time for wearing out the saints.
After mentioning the time of abomination — the 1290 days — Daniel was told "Blessed is he who waits" and comes to the 1335 days. Thus the 1335 extends for a waiting time beyond the 1290. So we see the same beginning as for the 1290 days; that is, 508. Adding 1335 brings us to 1843. Why are we interested in the 1335 days? Because Daniel would stand in his lot (or "allotted place," RSV) "at the end of the days" and this one is the last to end. At that time, through his book, the people coming to the 1335 days would experience his heart desire to know.
See the chart relating the time periods d12chart.
In the light of the whole book of Daniel
To get the full impact of the drama of the last chapter, we need to read through the whole book of Daniel. After the introduction in chapter 1, the prophet prays in chapter 2 and is given the awesome solution to the Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Following the stories of the image to the king in chapter 3, he explains the dream of the king's insanity in chapter 4. In 5 we have the handwriting on the wall during Belshazzar's feast. God gives him the answer. In 6 he is delivered from the lions.
Chapter 7 comes before 5 and 6 in time, but in the flow of the arrangement of the text, we begin to see mysterious problems for God's people. Daniel is assured of the good outcome of the series of beasts but the horn is granted power to persecute the saints for a period of 3½ times. In the end is a judgment and the saints and the Son of Man receive the kingdom. That's the good news, but Daniel is troubled about his contemporary people who are enjoying their pagan captivity and don't want to leave Babylon. How can God deliver them? Do they have to wait for centuries? In chapter 8 he has a vision of one nation after another, each crushing the previous one, with the horn power becoming the greatest in arrogance toward God. Then he is told about the sanctuary and the host being trampled da0812f with relief not coming until after 2300 days! What could that mean? He does not understand at all and is sick da0826f.
In chapter 9 we see him claiming the promise that the captivity would end after the 70 years predicted by Jeremiah. While he is praying, Gabriel comes to give him skill to understand the vision da0920ff. In the explanation, however, the prophet is given more to puzzle over. Another time span of 7 times 70 years is to begin with the resolution of the 70-years problem (in 457 B.C. when the decree allowing the Jews to restore Jerusalem would be given). The new time is a probationary period for his people to make good on the mission that God has given them.
The best clue about the vision of 2300 days is that the 70 weeks (70 x 7 days) would be "cut off" for Daniel's people. The Hebrew word is chataq. Its primary meaning is "cut off" although, by extension, it can mean "determined" or "allotted." We conclude that the cutting off would be from the 2300 days because Daniel was praying about the plight of his people and must have been worrying about how the 2300 symbolic days would fit into the 70-years picture. The context shows that it was the preceding "vision" (of chapter 8) that Gabriel was explaining. Daniel was concerned about the long number of days and about his people. The angel's message was that the first part of the long time would be a probationary period allotted for reform.
In chapter 9, the future of Daniel's people ends up getting worse instead of better. From our perspective in history, we can see how the Jews rejected their Messiah and responsibility shifted to the Gentiles when the gospel was given to them. From 457 B.C. we would come to 34 A.D. which would match with the approximate time of the stoning of Stephen and conversion of Paul. Other decrees were issued but only the one of 457 included the provision to restore the political function of the city. Also see on da0924+.
In chapter 10 we find Daniel praying again and fasting about the "long time." He understood something, but then Gabriel gave him the long narration of nations in chapter 11 climaxing in 12:1 with Michael standing up during a final time of trouble to deliver the "sons" of his people. Gabriel's parting statement certainly didn't satisfy Daniel's desire to understand. The long discourse ends with verse 4: Daniel's words and book would be sealed until "the time of the end" when knowledge would increase.
The man in linen then appears and Daniel is still wanting to know. Since the introduction of the horn power that would wear out the saints (7:25), the puzzle had become increasingly more complex. Daniel wants to understand as he had in the early years of his career. Although he was to go to his rest in death, the people arriving at the end of the 1335 days would be the blessed ones who would understand.
Does the 1335 end with the understanding of the 2300 days? I believe so. As we noted, the 70 weeks of Dan. 9 and the 2300 days of chapter 8 begin together since the 70 weeks were cut off, and because Gabriel had explained all of chapter 8 except the part about the 2300 days so the "vision" the angel came to explain about in chapter 9 had to have been the one of the previous chapter.
There's more evidence, but it's too much to add here. Counting from the charter granted in 457 B.C. by Cyrus to restore and rebuild Jerusalem and adding 2300 years, we arrive at 1844. You can't just subtract 457 from 2300 because B.C. years count backwards with the chronological beginning of a year at it's mathematical end. That requires adding 1 year to the total. Commands were given at several times for rebuilding. Only the one in Ezra 7 ezr07 also granted "restoration" of the political authority (See da0725).
leading up to the time the mighty angel spoke?
Before 1844 people studying the prophecies in different parts of the world began preaching that judgment was coming. To them that meant the world would end in that year and that Jesus would come to cleanse it with fire. William Miller was a leading advocate of the idea in the United States. Were those preaching this idea right? Obviously not. But their math was okay, so what went wrong? We'll look at that later. We are still headed back to a better understanding of the little-book experience.
This study has been fast and complex. Continue to pray for God's truth from the Bible. A interpreter like me could shuffle numbers quickly and lead you to the wrong conclusion. You can trust the Word for truth. Thank you for letting me share my thoughts. You have been very patient to follow all this.
May the Word be our textbook and the Holy Spirit our teacher,