Revelation 10

The question here is “what is the relationship of this chapter to chapter 9? Is this, like all the previous chapters, actually “hard wired” to the previous chapter? In chapter 9 we saw a gigantic struggle between the “locusts” and the “horses,” with the “third of men,” who tormented the “horse” people for “five months,” being killed in the pitched battle of the fifth and sixth trumpets or the “first” and “second” woes.

At first glance, a quick survey of this chapter seems to bear no relationship to chapter 9 except verse 7. There “the voice of the seventh angel” is “sound[ed].” The “seventh angel” is clearly sequential to the sounding of the “sixth angel” in chapter 9!  Therefore, John is introducing some additional material in a parenthetical manner to the sixth trumpet scenario of chapter 9  in order to prepare us for what comes next. As we precede, we will this chapter to be primarily retrospective in relation to chapter 9.

The Commentary agrees, suggesting that “Chapters 10:1 to 11:14 constitute a parenthesis between the sixth and seventh trumpets.” [1] However, since it is clear that the “trumpets” are post probationary, it is more likely that the parenthetical portion must end in verse 7 of chapter 11 where the testimony of the two witnesses “is finished.” That suggests that verses 7 to 14 of Revelation 11 actually completes the scenario of the sixth trumpet; and also delineates Revelation 10:1 to 11: 6 as the parenthetical portion lying somewhere in the mist of the sixth trumpet, with the seventh following at the end of the sixth. Remember that  “the second woe” (Rev.11:14) is also the the sixth trumpet (see Rev.8:13).

But, in the meantime, lets commence our study of chapter 10.

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 of fire:

This picture is an illustrative attempt to show what John sees.  Each feature is full of significance. John saw the angel’s head, face and feet, but could not see his trunk because it is “clothed with a cloud.” His brilliant “face” surrounded by a “rainbow” and his fiery “feet” bear deep relevance to the scenarios of chapters 8 and 9 because they depict the generally confused religious condition of all the people of the world during the trumpet scenarios.

Although the previous “angel” was “the sixth angel which had the trumpet” in Revelation 9:13, this  “. . . mighty angel who instructed John was no less a personage than Jesus Christ” [2] who had issued the trumpets to his servant angels in Revelation 8:2. His was the “voice” heard “from the four horns of the golden altar . . . saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates” in Revelation 9:13.

A short time before He had placed “much incense . . . upon the [same] golden altar which was before the throne” in Revelation 8:3. [3] Note that “his feet as pillars of fire” are identical to Jesus’ “feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace” in Revelation 1:15.

Looking again at Revelation 9:13, which was after He “came and stood at the altar” and had “cast” the “censer . . . into the earth” in Revelation 8:3, 5, we only heard His “voice” speaking “from the four horns of the golden altar” which appear to represent justice without mercy because Jesus was not there neither was any blood placed upon the horns. The incense that was placed on the altar, did not touch the horns.

Then, with the release of the “four [bound] angels” in Revelation 9:14 John saw those strange “horses” used to slay “the third part of [the] men” in Revelation 9:15, 18. Evidently, those “men,” “which [had] not the seal of God in their foreheads,” [4] had been attacked and tormented previously by the locusts for “five months” in Revelation 9:5,10.

Consequently, the horse attack was in retaliation to the five month period of “torment” that was inflicted by the people represented by the “pale horse” of Revelation 6:8 against those of the “red horse” of Revelation 6:6:4.

That shows us what Satan will do even to those who serve him after God’s restraining power has been removed. Such treachery becomes apparent when the “key” is given to the “star” who fell “from heaven unto the earth” in Revelation 9:1. His name, according to Revelation 9:11, is “Abaddon” or “Apollyon” the destroyer.

Therefore, the “cloud” clothes Jesus represents the “mystery of [who] God” is. It is a mystery to the wicked because they had blinded themselves to the truth. As a result, only two options are opened to them with some believing Wormwood is God, while others believe Abaddon to be the deity instead of the true God.

Satan moves them to engage in the bloodiest conflict that will ever be fought.[5] As ironic as it is, everyone on either side of the conflict, whither of Wormwood or of Abaddon, are all, equally pathetic victims of the worst tyrant who ever lived. In this scenario, Satan favors no one. He manipulates them unmercifully according a scheme he has long been planning. Ironically, his plans will certainly be based on the very prophecies we are reading right now! No wonder he must do all he can to keep all  ignorant of his schemes because they expose just what he is going to do!  So, the ignorance and confusion especially regarding the information provided in book of Revelation, even in Adventist circles, is very much a part of his plan to defeat the purposes of God.

Therefore, the whole world, with the exception of those who had received “the seal of God in their foreheads,” will be victimized by this terrible, future  delusion. All, accept the faithful, will worship at the feet of either Wormwood the false Christ, or Abaddon the destroyer. For that reason, John sees Christ “clothed with a cloud” symbolizing “the mystery of God” depicted in verse 7. Satan will have enveloped the whole world and fastened them in impenetrable spiritual darkness from which there will be no deliverance.

The “cloud” augments the significance of the “bottomless pit” metaphor to which Satan was given the “key” to in Revelation 9:1. But that transfer of power and authority must have actually taken place when the “four angels standing on the four corners of the earth” HAD released their hold on “the four winds of the earth” just before the first trumpet was sounded, and just after Jesus cast the “censer into the earth” in Revelation 8:5.

So, the “cloud” Jesus is “clothed” with represents the deep mystery of who God really is. He cannot be blamed because the wicked had chosen their state of confusion by default. They rejected the plain testimony of the loud cry given during the time of the sixth seal (Revelation 6:12 to 7:17) when the earth was “filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14). The 144,000 (white horse people) called out the “great multitude (of black horse people) which no man could number” (Revelation 7: 4-10). [6] The rest, under the icons of the red and pale horses, fell under the unlimited control of Satan to do with them as he wished.

But, those who gave the loud cry and those who responded to it saw the “rainbow” of hope “upon his head” and “his face was as it were the sun.” They saw prophecy unfolding right before their eyes! They saw the five month torment caused by the “locusts” ending exactly on time. They understood who Wormwood and Abaddon were, and had, in fact, warned the world of the coming deception long before Jesus cast the censer “into the earth!” [7]  With each change in the world scene, they saw God’s word vindicated giving them a deep sense of the glorious and the absolute certainty of His soon coming enabling them to “‘Look up! Look up! Every eye was lifted, and the heavens seemed to part as a scroll when it is rolled together, and, as Stephen looked into the heaven . . . The mockers were taunting and reviling [them] and boasting of what they intended to do to [them] if [they] continued obstinate in holding fast [their] faith. But now [they] were as those who heard them not. [They] were gazing upon a scene that shut out everything else.” [8]

But, understand this: even though the five months ended right on time, the saints will still be unable to set a date for the second coming. Nevertheless, they will be aware of the next event including the end of the horrible counter attack represented  by the sixth trumpet of Revelation 9:13-21 and 11:7-13 that corresponds to Daniel 11:40-43.

Verse 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,

Some mistake this “little book” to be the sealed “book” of Revelation 5 [9] that was held in the hand of God the Father and taken by God the Son. But, the “book” of Revelation 5 cannot have been opened at this time because one seal more remains to be loosed. In contrast, this “little book” is already “open.” Also this “angel” is the same Person that “took the [other] book” in Revelation 5:7.

Furthermore, the “book” of Revelation 5 contains “the  roll of the history of God’s providences, the prophetic history of nations and the church. Hereinwas contained the divine utterances, His authority, His commandments, His laws, the whole symbolic counsel of the Eternal, and the history of all ruling powers in the nations. In symbolic language was contained in that roll the influence of every nation, tongue, and people from the beginning of earth’s history to its close.” [10] Therefore the “book” of Revelation 5, is a book depicting the character and behavior of humanity throughout history. It will be open, or completely unsealed for the saints in heaven only after “judgment was given unto them . . . and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” according to Revelation 20:4. That book contains the evidence needed for them to pass “judgment” on the wicked, some of whom sought the shelter of the rocks and mountains in Revelation 6:16-17.

In contrast, “John sees the little book unsealed.” Then, Mrs. White writes:  “Then Daniel’s prophecies have their proper place in the first, second, and third angels’ messages to be given to the world.” [11]

What then do the three angel’s messages of Revelation 14:6-11 have to do with “Daniel’s prophecies?” The last sentence in that statement gives the answer: “The unsealing of the little book was the message in relation to time.”

The “message in relation to time” is found in Revelation 14:7 where “the hour of his judgment is come” which came at the end of the 2300 day “mar’eh” [12] of Daniel 8:14. During that “hour,” Jesus left the holy place in the heavenly sanctuary and passed into the most holy place October 22, 1844 to begin the investigative judgment in heaven. In the meantime, on earth, the three angel’s messages delineates the work of the church.

With Jesus “Setting His right foot on the sea, and His left upon the dry land, shows the part which He is acting in the closing scenes of the great controversy with Satan. This position denotes His supreme power and authority over the whole earth. The controversy has waxed stronger and more determined from age to age, and will continue to do so, to the concluding scenes when the masterly working of the powers of darkness shall reach their height. Satan, united with evil men, will deceive the whole world and the churches who receive not the love of the truth.” [13]

As we have just read, the “masterly working of” Satan, disguising himself as Abaddon and Wormwood and uniting “with evil men,” will have reached its “height.” Satan will be able to achieve such unity because “the whole world and the churches [did not] receive . . . the love of the truth.” “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:” (2 Thessalonians 2:11). And what a “lie” it will be!

Verse 3: And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.

A “loud voice” sounding like the roar of “a lion” “demands attention . . . to show the power and authority of His voice to those who have united with Satan to oppose the truth.” [14]

His “loud voice” may be a reference to the first and third angels who also say: “with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come” followed by the third who also cries “with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark . . . the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, . . .” in Revelation 14:6, 10. It will sound like the roar of “the Lion of the tribe of Juda” instead of the bleating of “a Lamb as it had been slain . . .” (Revelation 5:5,6)

This loud, ear splitting symbolism is suggestive of a thunderous proclamation that cannot possibly be ignored. It warns the world of what is about to come, giving everyone a chance to prepare as well as eliminating any excuse for being snared in Satan’s trap which will be sprung during the post probationary scenarios of the seven trumpets outlined in Revelation 8 and 9. Do those “seven thunders” have anything to do with the “seven trumpets?” Very likely they do, but God, according to the next verse, has closed the window on the subject of the “seven thunders” for now.

In the meantime, for those who received the “seal of God in their foreheads” “. . . the Lion of Judah, Christ will defend his chosen ones and bring them off victorious, because they accepted him as ‘the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

“In the time of trial before us God’s pledge of security will be placed upon those who have kept the word of His patience. Christ will say to His faithful ones: ‘Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment until the indignation be overpast’ (Isa. 26:20). The Lion of Judah, so terrible to the rejectors of His grace, will be the Lamb of God to the obedient and faithful. The pillar of cloud which speaks wrath and terror to the transgressor of God’s law is light and mercy and deliverance to those who have kept His commandments. The arm strong to smite the rebellious will be strong to deliver the loyal. Every faithful one will surely be gathered. ‘He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matt. 24:31).” [15]

Then, while John hears lion-like roaring as Jesus speaks, the sound seems to blend into the “voices” of “seven” distinct “thunders.”

Verse 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.

So the “seven thunders,” must have contained special messages that John could have recorded but not necessarily understand. But, “a voice from heaven,” which must have been Jesus’ voice, commanded him to “Seal” them up “and write them not.” But, note the similarity of these words to Gabriel’s instruction in Daniel 12:4 when he said: “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end:”

Nevertheless, “The special light given to John which was expressed in the seven thunders was a delineation of events which would transpire under the first and second angels’ messages. It was not best for the people to know these things, for their faith must necessarily be tested. In the order of God most wonderful and advanced truths would be proclaimed. The first and second angels’ messages were to be proclaimed, but no further light was to be revealed before these messages had done their specific work.” [16]

That statement implies that “further light” will be given when “the first and second angels’ messages” of Revelation 14:6-8 have “done their specific work.” And that “most wonderful and advanced truths” will come under the metaphor of the “seven thunders.”

However, even at this time, “ . . . the perfect fulfillment of Rev.14:8 is yet future.” [17] Therefore, if the “specific work,” and “the perfect fulfillment” are the same. “Further light” about the “seven thunders” will be revealed when Babylon’s “fall” is complete. Even though Seventh-day Adventists have been proclaiming that “Babylon is fallen” for more than 160 years, Babylon has not yet completely “fallen.” That takes place when the “abomination that maketh desolate (Dan.11:31; 12:11) is “set up.”

Therefore, the complete fall of Babylon, announced by the “second angel” is still future, and the full proclamation is also future when Jesus’ “loud voice” will be echoed by His servants throughout the world under the full power of the Holy Spirit even after “their faith” has been “tested” by the opening of the “fifth seal” of Revelation 6:9-11. Possibly, that is the time when “further light” expressed by the “seven thunders” will be disclosed.

Verse 5: And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven,

Notice the similarity of this posture to what Daniel saw in Daniel 12:7 where “the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river” also “held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven . . .” This is “A gesture characteristic of the utterance of an oath, in ancient times as now.” [18]

An “oath,” in this case, is not a complaint, but a pledge. His stance “upon the sea and upon the earth” while uttering this pledge, must represent His determination to bring the great controversy with Satan involving the whole world, and which has been going on far too long, to an end.

His position “shows the part which He is acting in the closing scenes of the great controversy with Satan” and “denotes His supreme power and authority over the whole earth,” a fact which is tremendously reassuring in view of the context depicting Wormwood and Abaddon, in chapters 8 and 9,  having a field day with the inhabitants of the earth. The people know not they are under the most horrendous delusion ever perpetrated upon humanity. They will experience what its like to live without the restraining power of God. This will come after his angels stationed on the “four corners of the earth,” in Revelation 7:1-3 holding back the “four winds” of Satanic power, will have released them.

Verse 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:

At first, the “man clothed in linen” in Daniel 12:7 said virtually the same thing: “ . . . and sware by him that liveth for ever . . .” But, instead of exalting God for creating all things as proclaimed by the “first angel” in Revelation 14:6, he declared “that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he [the “vile person” of Daniel 11:21] shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.”

Even though the similarity ends with the first sentence, the subject of both “the man clothed in linen” and that of the “mighty angel” is the subject of “time.” And as for the angel John saw: “This time, which the angel declares with a solemn oath, is not the end of this world’s history, neither of probationary time, but of prophetic time, which should preceded the advent of our Lord. That is, the people will not have another message upon definite time. After this period of time reaching from 1842 to 1844, there can be no definite tracing of the prophetic time. The longest reckoning reaches to the autumn of 1844.” [19]

Most have concluded this means there are no future time prophecies to be considered in either Daniel’s or John’s prophecies. But, as we have already discovered in both books, there truly are some time prophecies remaining that have not yet been fulfilled, not the least of which, are those of Daniel 12 as well as the “five months” of Revelation 9.

One major failure of those who hold to the traditional understanding of all the time prophecies is neglecting to define the term “definite time” which Mrs. White uses repeatedly [20] in her comments regarding time prophecies.

The usual definition of “prophetic time” is day-for-a-year time as stipulated in Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6. Since the angel’s declaration “is not the end of this world’s history” or even “of probationary time,” it leaves open the option of “indefinite,” post 1844 “time.”

But, what is “definite time?” Even though the Commentary observes that after 1844 “there is to be no further message bearing on a definite time,” it fails to define what “definite time” is.  Rather, it adds, “No time prophecy extends beyond 1844.”  [21] If that were truly the case, we would be obliged to renounce the future application of the “thousand years” of Revelation 20, would we not?

From our study of the time prophecies of Daniel 12, including the “time, times, and a half” of Daniel 12:7, the “thousand two hundred and ninety days” of Daniel 12:11 and the “thousand three hundred and five and thirty days” of Daniel 12:12, it is clear, from a number of approaches, that they also apply to time beyond 1844. [22] And it is also clear that they must be interpreted as literal “day-for-a [literal]-day” time just as we apply to the “thousand years” of Revelation 20. [23]

That understanding does not violate the “no definite time after 1844” principle because it is not time setting as we have been cautioned against. Therefore, we must conclude that the “thousand years” of Revelation is “indefinite time.” It is “indefinite” because its beginning point (the time of Christ’s secondcoming) cannot be established.

The same principle holds true for the 2300 days that were revealed to Daniel. When God told him “unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,” he had no idea when it would begin even though he may have supposed it would begin 2,300 years from the time he was living right at that moment. Later he was told that the “mar’eh” in Daniel 9:23, [24] that Gabriel asked him to “consider,” would begin when “the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” was issued as we read in Daniel 9:25.

Consequently, when Cyrus issued his decree at the end of the “seventy years” in 536 B.C. to rebuild Jerusalem, Daniel must have been certain that was the beginning of the 2,300 years. But, if he did, he would have mistaken by nearly eighty years. The actual year of its beginning was 457 BC. Therefore, to Daniel, it was “indefinite time.” To us, in our period of history, it became “definite time” when 457 B.C. came to be understood retrospectively as it beginning point. [25]

Therefore, the angel’s declaration “that there should be time no longer” simply means there will be no more “prophetic” day-for-a-year time from now on. Rather, all post 1844 time periods must be calculated in literal day-for-a-day, “indefinite” time which is NOT time setting! [26]

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.

By now, it should be clear that this “the seventh [trumpet bearing] angel” is the last of the three “woes” alluded to in Revelation 8:13. In fact, it is called “the third woe” in Revelation 11:14 that sounds when the “second woe is past” with “the seventh angel sound[ing]” his trumpet in verse 15. [27]

But, what is “the mystery of God [that] should be finished?” Many suggest “the mystery of God” is “the mystery of the kingdom of God in Mark 4:1, the mystery of Christ in Ephesians 3:4 and Colossians 4:3, the mystery of the Gospel in Ephesians 6:19, the mystery of the faith in 1 Timothy 3:9, or “the mystery of Godliness” in 1 Timothy 3:6. This is all well and true, but, we must not ignore the contextual setting of this special “mystery.” The context demands that we take the mysterious “cloud” clothing Jesus in verse one, and the “seventh” trumpet that follows the sixth in chapter 9 into account. Both require a special interpretation of “the mystery of God.”

Since it is God Himself who “declared” “the mystery . . . to his servants the prophets,” all the writings of “the prophets” from Moses to John’s Revelation reveal “the mystery [28] of God.”  “The word of God is to be the guide book, the counsellor, the teacher in the highest class of education. The Bible teaches the whole will of God concerning the plan of salvation, and if men are ignorant, it is because they do not choose to be wise.” [29] Such choices leave them inexcusably ignorant unlike the people represented by the “black horse” of Revelation 6:5 whose ignorance is excusable.

Consequently, the great majority of the human population is just as ignorant of God and the plan of salvation as if it had never been written. WhenWormwood and Abaddon appear, there will be nothing to shield them from Satan’s overwhelming deceptions. By that time, the “great apostasy” will have “develop[ed] into darkness deep as midnight, impenetrable as sackcloth of hair” and the “Darkness will become more dense in human minds after the truth has penetrated and been rejected.” [30] The true God, that can be seen only with the eye of faith, is invisible to the faithless multitude who turned their backs to God when the brilliant light of the “loud voice” off verse 3 gave the warning message.

But, the finishing of this “mystery,” predicted to occur “in the days [or the time period] of  . . . the seventh angel,” suggests that the “cloud” the “mighty angel” is “clothed with” in verse 1, will be swept away during the time of the seventh angel or “third woe.” Then, the real God will manifest Himself to all. That must be the “overwhelming surprise” that “is to break upon the world” when transgression had “reached its limit.” [31] But, their acknowledgment will not save them because “without faith, it is impossible to please . . . God” (Hebrews 11:6).

Verse 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.”

As the Commentary observes, this is “doubtless the voice that had forbidden John to write what had been declare by the seven thunders” in verse 4 [32] and probably the same “voice from the four horns of the golden altar” Revelation 9:13.

However, this must be a retrospective view in contrast to the post probationary time of the trumpets, because the invitation to “take the little book” that is “open” suggests God’s wish to engage humanity it is study, an effort that would bear fruit only during probationary time. It would be fruitless and vain during post probationary time.

Therefore, John now directs our eyes back into probationary time when the book of Daniel received more intense study than it ever had before and consequently it began to be more fully understood and applied, especially its messages in regard to “time.”

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.

Having already understood from our study of verse 2 that “the little book” is the book of Daniel, the command to “eat it up” suggests more than just a cursory look at its contents. It was to be devoured and digested. Even though Adventists have always considered John’s action in these verses to represent the movement called the “midnight cry” prior to 1844 [33],  we do ourselves an injustice by relagating it strictly to history and consider it irrelavent to us in our time. Not so! This is a Divine imperative that still stands. We too must “eat it up” whether is tastes sweet or bitter and let it become a part of us.

Verse 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.

One wonders if there is a possible relationship between the “sweet bitter book” experience John was instructed to act out here and the “waters” that were contaminated by “Wormwood” and “made bitter” in Revelation 9:10,11.

While the “waters” contaminated by “Wormwood” likely represent truth mixed with deliberate  error that was fatal because “many men died of the waters” even though they should have known better, the bitterness of the book that John tasted came about because of an honest misunderstanding of a time prophecy in the book of Daniel.

In brief, this is how Adventists have understood this scenario. Prior to October 22, 1844, “The comprehension of truth, the glad reception of the message, is represented in the eating of the little book. The truth in regard to the time of the advent of our Lord was a precious message to our souls.” [34] In other words, it was “sweet.” After October 22, 1844: “The disappointment of those who expected to see our Lord in 1844 was indeed bitter to those who had so ardently looked for His appearing. It was in the Lord’s order that this disappointment should come, and that hearts should be revealed.” [35]

Therefore, “bitter” represents disappointment. The people’s reaction to the “disappointment” they suffered had not, in that case, resulted from definite time setting, rather it resulted from a misunderstanding of what was to happen at the end of that “time.”

Nevertheless, “it was in the Lord’s order” that the disappointment should come from that misunderstanding and it became a test of their loyalty and drove the true hearted back to the Bible to understand where they had gone wrong. The Lord wanted to see who would endure in spite of the disappointment.

In our case, in spite of the future time prophecies that exist in both Daniel and Revelation, they will never  again be a “test” like the pre and post 1844 experience. [36] Instead, they will be “waymarks” that will confirm our faith rather than being a test.

Those future time prophecies will not begin until the “fifth seal” is opened and the “fellowservants . . . that  should be killed” (Revelation 6:11) for refusing receive the “mark of the beast” (Revelation 20:4). Those atrocities will probably last only “ten [literal] days” (Revelation 2:10) before Christ casts the censer “into the earth” (Revelation 8:5), but we can only be sure after the fact. Therefore, just as in Daniel’s case, the saints will be able to establish the beginning point of Daniel and John’s future time prophecies only retrospectively (sometime during post probationary time), never prospectively during probationary time.

“We are incapable of looking into the future, which often causes us disquietude and unhappiness. But one of the greatest evidences we have of the loving-kindness of God is His concealment of the events of the morrow. Our ignorance of tomorrow makes us more vigilant and earnest today. We cannot see what is before us. Our best-laid plans sometimes seem to be unwise and faulty. We think, ‘If we only knew the future!’ But God would have His children trust in Him and be ready to go where He shall lead them. We know not the precise time when our Lord shall be revealed in the clouds of heaven, but He has told us that our only safety is in a constant readiness–a position of watching and waiting. Whether we have one year before us, or five, or ten, we are to be faithful to our trust today. We are to perform each day’s duties as faithfully as though that day were to be our last.” [37]

The effort to set new times, such as the time for the national Sunday law, the close of probation or the second coming will, inevitably lead to disappointment, followed by cooling of spiritual ardor. In spite of the future time periods, depicted in Daniel and Revelation, we must conclude they are “indefinite” from our perspective in history with no well defined beginning points. When they finally become “definite,” when their beginning points can be accurately established retrospectively, there will be no opportunity to proclaim them prospectively or to make spiritual preparation for them. This must be true, not only because they will already be in effect when we become aware of them, but because probation will have closed launching us into the period of time known in Jeremiah 30:7 as “the time of Jacob’s trouble.”

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

This is the major difference between the “bitter water” experience of Revelation 8:8,9 and the bitter book experience. “Many men died” of the bitter waters, but, in the “bitter book” experience, many men lived to “prophesy again” with renewed hope after recovering from their bitter experience.

So, being asked to “prophesy again,” confirms that God approved of what was formerly prophesied even though it was flawed. God didn’t even ask them to repent of their error, certainly not to abandon all study. He just asked them to go back again and see where they had gone wrong, then “prophesy again before” the world.

Their experience, was, in effect, a “definite time” test. Those who passed the “test,” went back to the Bible and sorted out what they had misunderstood. Those who flunked, attempted to establish more “definite time[s],” or abandon any further study of the prophecies, if not the whole Bible.

Those who went back to where they left off confirmed, with the help of God, that they were correct in their understanding of the 2300 years, but discovered to their amazement that the “sanctuary” of Daniel 8:14 was in heaven, not on earth and that Jesus had come to the Most Holy place in Daniel 7:9, 10 and 13, instead of the earth.

That has now been more than 160 years in the past. By now, numerous false, predicted “definite time” settings have come and gone leaving in their train, more bitter experiences and dashed hopes. Many have come to the conclusion that the doctrines based on 1844 and the heavenly sanctuary are irrelevant. Whether they realize it or not, they are setting themselves up for drinking the “waters” made bitter” by Wormwood, the “great star” fallen “from heaven” (Revelation 8:10, 11). Those who reject the Bible altogether, are set up for Abaddon, the other “star” John saw “fall from heaven” (Revelation 9:1).

But “he that shall endure unto the end” (Mark 13:13) must walk “a straight and narrow path, cast up high above the world. On this path the Advent people were traveling to the city, which was at the farther end of the path. They had a bright light set up behind them at the beginning of the path, which an angel told me was the midnight cry. This light shone all along the path and gave light for their feet so that they might not stumble. If they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, who was just before them, leading them to the city, they were safe. But . . . some grew weary, and said the city was a great way off, and they expected to have entered it before. Then Jesus would encourage them by raising His glorious right arm, and from His arm came a light which waved over the Advent band, and they shouted, ‘Alleluia!’ Others rashly denied the light behind them and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out, leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and lost sight of the mark and of Jesus, and fell off the path down into the dark and wicked world below. Soon we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus’ coming. The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake. When God spoke the time, He poured upon us the Holy Ghost, and our faces began to light up and shine with the glory of God, as Moses’ did when he came down from Mount Sinai.” [38]

Probably one of the most difficult trials to endure is the bitterness of disappointment caused by delay. Time setting, only intensifies the trial. It sets one up for a roller coaster religion with spiritual highs following bitter lows eventually ending in “a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of” (Matthew 24:50). In other words, we will always miss if we keep trying to set time.

On the other hand: “Though no man knoweth the day nor the hour of His coming, we are instructed and required to know when it is near. We are further taught that to disregard His warning, and refuse or neglect to know when His advent is near, will be as fatal for us as it was  for those who lived in the days of Noah not to know when the flood was coming.” [39] Furthermore, God Himself will eventually speak “the time” Himself when he declares the exact “day and hour of Jesus coming.” [40]  Consequently, while “time setting” is God’s prerogative, knowing its nearness is a Divine imperative.

Note also the great importance of the “midnight cry” known today as the “Millerite movement which stressed eschatological events—the resurrection, the last judgment, the punishment of sin and sinners” [41] including the “definite” beginning and ending date of the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14.  The “wise” will look beyond the honest mistake in the event and treasure the “light” which will always shine “all along the path” to the holy city.

“The work is soon to close. The members of the church militant who have proved faithful will become the church triumphant. . . . We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and his teaching in our past history.”[42]

So, verse 11, concludes with the time when we “ . . . must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations and tongues, and kings.” It brings us, from the “bitter book” experience to where we have been for 160 plus years since 1844. Mrs. White calls it “the patient waiting time.” [43] It is the post 1844 period represented by the “church in Laodicea” in Revelation 3:14-21. Even though we might think things are relatively smooth, we are still having to struggle with “delay.”  Let us resolve not to lose sight of “the light behind” us and fall “off the path down into the dark and wicked world below.” We are still in a “testing time,” better known as a “shaking time when everything that can be shaken will be shaken.”[44]

Summary of chapter 10: This chapter is divided into two parts. The first part is a symbolic characterization of Jesus who is “clothed with a cloud” representing the “mystery” of His identity to the wicked, yet with his face like the sun and his feet as pillars of fire represents the clear understanding of the righteous who recognize fully that both Wormwood and Abaddon are Satan’s disguises actively working to deceive the whole world into deifying him as God during the final stages of the trumpet scenario that is left uncompleted at the end of chapter 9.  Jesus’ “feet as pillars of fire” suggests the administration of justice as depicted by the sounding of the seven trumpets. Jesus’ loud, thunderous voice must be representative of the loud cry message which was fair warning to the world of the coming deception. The second part of chapter 10 is the sweet/bitter book experience representing the honest misunderstanding of God’s people whom God allowed to base their disappointed expectation of His soon coming on a misunderstanding of the 2,300 days of Daniel 8:14 which really represented a change in Jesus’ heavenly ministry and not his second coming. The last verse represents Jesus’ charge to His church during probationary time: the three angel’s messages of Revelation 14:6-11.

[1] SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 796 (right column under “1. I saw.”)

[2] and Ellen G. White comment found in: SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 971

[3] Remember that the “incense” in this case represents God’s sustaining grace in behalf of the saints during post probationary time, namely, the time of Jacob’s trouble, a precious concept that few have recognized.

[4] we can assume those who had “not the seal of God in their foreheads” (Rev.9:4) must have the “mark of the beast” depicted in chapter 13 because everybody, during that time in earth’s history will either have the seal of God or the mark of the beast. There will be no middle ground.

[5] see Revelation 14:20 where “blood came out the the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs” probably from the “third part of men” that were killed in Revelation 9:15, 18.

[6] The loud cry is further expounded upon in Revelation 18:1-4 where the “multitude” that God calls “my people”  is called out of Babylon.

[7] note that the world rejoices over the death of the two witnesses “because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth” in Revelation 11:10. It must have been the loud cry that tormented them.

[8] Manuscript Releases Vol.21, page 326 (brackets placing the quote in the third person, supplied) I believe this quotes typifies the experience of those enduring the time of the trumpets or more commonly known as the time of Jacob’s trouble. The Lord’s face represented as the “sun” and “his feet as pillars of fire” are apt symbols of what they are seeing (in the minds eye) during that time.

[9] The term “little book” is translated from one Greek word: “bibliaridion” (Strong’s #974) meaning: “a little book.” It is found four times in Revelation 10 and nowhere else in the Bible. The word “book” in Revelation 5 is from “biblion” 1) a small book, a scroll, a written document, 2) a sheet on which something has been written 2a) a bill of divorcement.

[10] Manuscript Releases Vol.20, page 197

[11] Ibid Vol.19, page 320

[12] If the word “mar’eh” is unfamiliar to you, go back to our study of Daniel 8:14 -26 where Jesus told Gabriel in verse 16 to explain the “mar’eh” even after Daniel already said he saw the “chazown.” This is an important point that has escaped most of us.

[13] Manuscript Releases Vol.1, page 99 & SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 971

[14] Manuscript Releases Vol.1, page 99 & SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 971

[15] Conflict and Courage page 91

[16] Manuscript Releases Vol.1, page 99 & SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 971

[17] see Great Controversy page 389

[18] SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 798 (top left column under “5. Lifted up his hand.”) Note the reference to Daniel 12:7 along with others.

[19] Manuscript Releases Vol.1, page 99 & SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 971 (italics supplied)

[20] Here is a list of sources where Mrs. White used the term “definite time:” Manuscript Releases Vol.1, page 100; Vol.10 pages 268, 269, 270; Vol.16 pages 176, 177, 178; Vol.19 page 320; Spirit of Prophecy pages 225, 242, 290; Testimonies For the Church Vol.1 pages 56, 72; Vol.4 pages 307, 308; Spiritual Gifts Vol.1 pages 134, 152; Vol.2 page122; Early Writings pages 233, 246; 1888 Sermon page 956; Review and Herald 3-20-92; 3-22-92, 8-16-87, 8-21-88, 10-20-85;  Maranatha page 136; Evangelism page 221; Life Sketches S8O  pages 190, 205, 265; Life Sketches15 pages 62, 128; Life Sketches pages 88 190, 221; Great Controversy pages 353, 370, 456; SDA Bible Commentary Vol.6 page 1052; Vol.7 page 971; Last Day Events pages 32, 33, 35, 36; Selected Messages Vol 1 pages 75, 188, 189; Vol.2 pages 73; PH030 page 9; Signs of the Times  4-20-76, 4-22-80, 5-11-76, 10-8-02; Christian Education page 114; Publishing Ministry page 18; Fundamentals of Education page 137; 1888 Materials page 958. The concept must be important, otherwise why did she use it so frequently?

[21] SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7 page 798 (left column under “There should be time no longer.”)

[22] if this seems out of line, go back and review our study on Daniel 12.

[23] The Commentary addresses this problem saying that “Some commentators take this to be prophetic time, that is, 360,000 literal years . . .” (SDA Bible Commentary Vol. 7, page 880 (under “Thousand years.”)

[24] If this puzzles, go back and review our study of Daniel 8:26 where Gabriel tells us that “the mar’eh’ of the ‘ereb and the boqer” is true which is the 2300 “’ereb boqer” or “days” of verse 14.

[25] consider this statement: “I was a firm believer in definite time in 1844, but this prophetic time was not shown me in vision, for it was some months after the passing of this period of time before the first vision was given me. There were many proclaiming a new time after this, but I was shown that we should not have another definite time to proclaim to the people. All who are acquainted with me and my work will testify that I have borne but one testimony in regard to the setting of the time.” (Manuscript Releases Vol.16, page 177) Therefore, “definite time” is synonymous with “time setting.” The phrase “definite time” can be found more than eighty times (see note #20) in the Spirit of Prophecy, therefore, we need to have a clear understanding of what it really means. “Indefinite time” is not time setting. A lot of heated arguing could be avoided if that were understood!

[26]  This diagram, I used in Daniel 4, might be helpful here in picturing what is meant by “definite time.” It will work with any of the future time prophecies of either Daniel or Revelation. Just substitute the time period in place of the 7 years used here as an example of the application of “definite” and “indefinite” time:

[27] Unfortunately, the Commentary fails to point that out saying only: “The seventh trumpet marks a climatic point in the great controversy between Christ and Satan . . .” (SDA Bible Commentary Vol. 7, page 798 [bottom left column to top right under: “The seventh angel.”])

[28] The Commentary points out that the Greek word for “mystery” ‘”’musterion’ means “’one who has been initiated.’ In early Christian usage the term ‘mystery’ did not mean something that could not be understood, as it does today, but something that could be understood only by those who were initiated, that is, those who had the right to know. Thus Christ told His disciples that it was ‘given’ unto them ‘to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,’ but not to the multitudes. Paul speaks of the resurrection as a ‘mystery’ (1 Cor.15:51), and often so refers to the plan of salvation itself.” (SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 740 [under “20. Mystery.”])

[29] Manuscript Releases Vol. 6, pages 15, 16

[30] wording adapted from Manuscript Releases Vol, 19, page 392

[31] wording adapted from: Testimonies for the church Vol. 8, page 28

[32] see, for example, Spirit of Prophecy Vol.4, page 248 or Great Controversy page 398

[33] for example, see Manuscript Releases Vol.1, page 99, 100

[34] Manuscript Releases Vol.1, page 100; Vol.19, page 321; SDA Bible Commentary Vol.7, page 971

[35] Spiritual Gifts Vol.1 page 149; Manuscript Releases Vol.1, page 46, Vol.17 page 9 (italics supplied)

[36] “time will never be a test again.” 1888 Materials page 959 (the same quote can be found in many other articles)

[37] That I May Know Him page 358

[38] see Early Writings pagees 14, 15 (italics supplied)

[39] The Great Controversy page 371 (italics not supplied)

[40] you can find this quoted in: The Day-Star 3-14-41; Word to the Little Flock page 14, 20; Spiritual Gifts Vol.2 pages 30, 32; Maranatha page 279; Early Writings pages 14, 285, 297; Review and Herald 7-2-51; Manuscript Releases Vol.16, page 176; Great Controversy page 640; Testimonies for the Church Vol.1, page 59; Spiritual Gifts page 205; Spirit of Prophecy Vol.4 page 458; Selected Messages Vol. 1 page 75; Vol.3 page 112; My Life Today page 344; Life Sketches pages 65, 202; Last Day Events page 272; Amazing Grace page 356; Faith I Live By page 182

[41] Selected Messages Vol.3, page 380

[42] Advent Review and Sabbath Herald 10-12-05

[43] Testimonies for the Church, Vol.1, page 409

[44] Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, 01-22-01

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