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 of fire:
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,
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.
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 forever 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:
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.
Note.-- "Time no longer," or as the Revised Version puts it, "delay no longer." The longest prophetic time period, as we have seen in the study of Daniel 8 and 9, ended in 1844. The angel told Daniel the prophet that this prophetic outline reached into "the time of the end" (Dan. 8"17) -- not the end of time, but the time of the end. Events were to be shaping toward the finishing of God's work in the earth and the coming of Christ in glory.
"It cannot mean that with the message of this angel, time, as computed in this world, in comparison with eternity, should end; for the next verse speaks of the days of the voice of the seventh angel; and chapter 11:15-19 gives us some of the events to take place under this trumpet, which is not till after the seventh angel has commenced to sound. Rev. 11:15,19; 15:5-8. It must therefore mean prophetic time; for there is no other to which it can refer. Prophetic time shall be no more....
"Not many years from that date, then, the mystery of God is to be finished.... 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."-- Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation," by U. Smith.
No wonder, then, that we see today the great movement of worldwide missions. The sounding of the seventh trumpet has begun, and the message of Christ's saving gospel is hastening on to all lands and peoples.
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.
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.
11. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
Note.-- In Daniel 12:4 we read these words: "Thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end." In this tenth chapter of the Revelation an angel stands upon sea and land, signifying a world-wide proclamation, holding in his hand a little book open, evidently the same book previously closed up and sealed. This little book, the prophet, representing the people in whom and to whom the prophecy would be fulfilled, is bidden to take the book and to eat it up; not literally, of course, but as books are devoured. The book is sweet in the mouth, but a bitter experience follows. This was literally fulfilled in the experience of those who participated in the great advent awakening of the early decades of the nineteenth century, culminating in the days of 1844, when the longest prophetic period of Daniel came to its end, the 2,300 days, or, literally, years, of Daniel 8:14. "Then shall the sanctuary be cleansed," said the prophecy. Many took this to mean that Christ would come in 1844, to cleanse the earth from sin. They looked with joy for the appearing of the Saviour at that time, and were disappointed. The bitterness of that disappointment is here fitly represented.
NOTE: The past fulfillment of this chapter consisted of a group of people led by God to great new truths, which they ate as the "hidden manna"; however, as they spread the gospel and waited for the end, the experience was bitter. There are more great truths being gleaned from the Word of God, and God's people are still required to share with the world these truths.
(verse 11): "Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings." Every believer is called to join now in this work of sending the message of the soon-coming Saviour to all the peoples of earth. The next chapter tells of the bitter experience that is before them, and of their triumph in the end, with the reward given by God.