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Notes for

The Revelation

Chapter Ten


1. Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, assumes a special position showing His power over the whole world. The "little book" is not the Bible but a portion of it. It represents the only part of the Bible which has ever been sealed – the book of Daniel.

Daniel 12:4 It would be unsealed when men began to run to and fro in it

But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro [then], and knowledge [of these words] shall be increased.

The Spirit does not willingly cease to interpret any part of the Bible. It is because men have said that it is too difficult to understand and have stopped looking that it is not comprehended. As soon as earnest seekers after truth began their search, they were enlightened.

Deuteronomy 29:29

The secret things belong to the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

A rainbow is represented in Heaven round about the throne and above the head of Christ, as a symbol of God's mercy encompassing the earth. When a man or woman by great wickedness provokes the wrath, or the withdrawal of the protection of God, Christ, our intercessor, pleads for them, and points to the rainbow in the cloud, as evidence of God's great mercy and compassion for the erring.

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2. We are not told who the seven thunders were, nor what their message was, but the timing of their utterance soon after the opening of the book tells us that it may have something to do with the advent movement.

The apostle Paul warned the church not to look for the coming of Christ in his day. "That day shall not come," he says, "except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed." 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Not till after the great apostasy, and the long period of the reign of the "man of sin," can we look for the advent of our Lord.

The "man of sin," which is also styled "the mystery of iniquity," (verse 7), "the son of perdition," (verse 3) and "that wicked," (verse 8) represents the papacy, which, as foretold in prophecy, was to maintain its supremacy for 1260 years. This period ended in 1798 as we have seen. The coming of Christ could not take place before that time. Paul covers with his caution the whole of the Christian dispensation down to the year 1798. It is this side of that time that the message of Christ's second coming is to be proclaimed.

No such message has ever been given in past ages. Paul, as we know, did not preach it; he pointed his brethren into the then far-distant future for the coming of the Lord. The Reformers did not proclaim it. Martin Luther placed the judgment about three hundred years in the future from his day. But since 1798 the book of Daniel has been unsealed, knowledge of the prophecies has increased, and many have proclaimed the solemn message of the judgment near.

Like the great Reformation of the sixteenth century, the advent movement appeared in different countries of Christendom at the same time. In Europe, America and Asia men of faith and prayer were led to the study of the prophecies, and, tracing down the inspired record, they saw convincing evidence that the end of all things was at hand. In different lands there were isolated bodies of Christians who, solely by the study of the Scriptures, arrived at the belief that the Saviour's advent was near.

See "Advent Workers of the World"

 

The failure of their interpretation of prophecy

Five hundred years before Christ’s entry into Jerusalem on what is now called Palm Sunday, the Lord had declared by the prophet Zechariah: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, your King comes to you: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." Zechariah 9:9. Had the disciples realised that Christ was going to judgment and to death the following Friday, they could not have fulfilled this prophecy.

In like manner the advent teachers fulfilled prophecy and gave a message which Inspiration had foretold should be given to the world, but which they could not have given had they fully understood the prophecies pointing out their disappointment, and presenting another message to be preached to all nations before the Lord should come. The first and second messages were given at the right time and accomplished the work which God designed to achieve by them.

The world had been looking on, expecting that if the time passed and Christ did not appear, the whole system of Adventism would be given up. But while many, under strong temptation, yielded their faith, there were some who stood firm, the wise bridesmaids. The fruits of the advent movement, the spirit of humility and heart searching, of renouncing of the world and reformation of life, which had attended the work, testified that it was of God. They dared not deny that the power of the Holy Spirit had witnessed to the preaching of the second advent, and they could detect no error in their reckoning of the prophetic periods. The ablest of their opponents had not succeeded in overthrowing their system of prophetic interpretation.

They could not consent, without Bible evidence, to renounce positions which had been reached through earnest, prayerful study of the Scriptures, by minds enlightened by the Spirit of God and hearts burning with its living power; positions which had withstood the most searching criticisms and the most bitter opposition of popular religious teachers and worldly-wise men, and which had stood firm against the combined forces of learning and eloquence, and the taunts and revilings alike of the honourable and the base.

True, there had been a failure as to the expected event, but even this could not shake their faith in the word of God. When Jonah proclaimed in the streets of Nineveh that within forty days the city would be overthrown, the Lord accepted the humiliation of the Ninevites and extended their period of probation; yet the message of Jonah was sent of God, and Nineveh was tested according to His will.

Adventists believed that in like manner God had led them to give the warning of the judgment.

"It has," they declared, "tested the hearts of all who heard it, and awakened a love for the Lord's appearing; or it has called forth a hatred, more or less perceivable, but known to God, of His coming. It has drawn a line, . . . so that those who will examine their own hearts, may know on which side of it they would have been found, had the Lord then come--whether they would have exclaimed, "Lo! this is our God, we have waited for Him, and He will save us;" or whether they would have called to the rocks and mountains to fall on them to hide them from the face of Him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. God thus, as we believe, has tested His people, has tried their faith, has proved them, and seen whether they would shrink, in the hour of trial, from the position in which He might see fit to place them; and whether they would relinquish this world and rely with implicit confidence in the word of God."—

The Advent Herald and Signs of the Times Reporter, vol. 8, No. 14 (Nov 13, 1844).

This "line" is still being drawn by the words of those who proclaim the advent today. Those who hear the message make up their minds for or against and thus show the "watchers and the holy ones" where they stand.

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3. 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 Some other words heard by a prophet and not passed on

[Paul wrote] I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) how that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

The first "heaven" is the atmosphere, where birds fly. Genesis 1:8. The second "heaven" is what we know as space. Genesis 15:5; Deuteronomy 4:19. The third "heaven" of the Bible is the planetary system where God has His centre of government and where angels live. Deuteronomy 4:39; 26:15.

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4. Obviously not the end of historical time because there is one more "woe" to come yet. It applies to prophetic time. The longest time prophecy in the Bible, "unto 2,300 days then shall the sanctuary be cleansed" came to a fulfilment in 1844. Jesus is telling us that since that date there is no later prophetic time in the Bible words, all time prophecies after that are to be seen as literal time.

And has not this word been fulfilled in every particular? Some groups of Adventists have set time after time for the second coming, and notwithstanding the repeated failures, they have gathered courage to set new times. God has not led them in this. Many of them have rejected the true prophetic time, and ignored the fulfilment of prophecy, because the time passed in 1844, and did not bring the expected event. They rejected the truth, and the enemy has had power to bring strong delusions upon them that they should believe a lie. The great test on time was in 1843 and 1844; and all who have set time since then have been deceiving themselves and deceiving others.

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5. Colossians 1:25-28 The gospel teaching

[Paul wrote] Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; even the mystery which has been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

Ephesians 1:9-10 God's ultimate purpose

Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He has purposed in Himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness 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…

When all have heard and accepted or rejected, then God can bring all things to an end.

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6. John was told to take the book of Daniel and consume it so that it became a part of him. But he found that it was not what he expected, for a great disappointment waited for him [and the people of 1843-44, and us].

Jeremiah 15:16 It is the only way to study the Bible

Your words were found, and I did eat them; and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart: for I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.

Job 23:12 It is absolutely necessary that we eat

Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.

Psalm 119:103-104 The truth sets us free

How sweet are Your words to my taste! yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.

Deuteronomy 8:3 Safety is by following God’s advice

And He humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither did your fathers know; that He might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD does man live.

Ezekiel 2:8-9; 3:1-10 It tastes good but leads to sorrow

But you, son of man, hear what I say to you; Be not you rebellious like that rebellious house: open your mouth, and eat that I give you. And when I looked, behold, a Hand was sent to me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein; and He spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe [for ALL they that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution].

Moreover He said to me, Son of man, eat that you find; eat this roll, and go speak to the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that roll. And He said to me, Son of man, cause your belly to eat, and fill your bowels with this roll that I give you. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.

And He said to me, Son of man, go, get you to the house of Israel, and speak with My words to them. For you are not sent to a people of a strange speech and of a hard language, but to the house of Israel;

Not to many people of a strange speech and of a hard language, whose words you can not understand. Surely, had I sent you to them, they would have hearkened to you. But the house of Israel will not hearken to you; for they will not hearken to Me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.

Behold, I have made your face strong against their faces, and your forehead strong against their foreheads. As an adamant harder than flint have I made your forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.

Moreover He said to me, Son of man, all My words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears.

Isaiah 29:17-20 It is the ONLY way to defeat Satan

Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest? And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off.

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7. Too many professed Christians have made a church their safety net and refused to believe that Jesus is the only Saviour, and that He has called them to do a work here on earth. When presented with God’s request, many reject the call and settle down to "sleep" as did the bridesmaids. This may be because when Isaiah asked about his commission, he was told a horrifying truth.

Isaiah 6:8-13 The Christian work

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?

Then said I, Here am I; send me.

And He said, Go, and tell this people, Hear you indeed, but understand not; and see you indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

Then said I, Lord, how long? And He answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, and the LORD have removed men far away [into the exile in Babylon - about 150 years!], and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.

But yet in it shall be a tenth [a remnant], and it shall return, and shall be eaten: As a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance [or life] is [still] in them [even though they look dead], when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance [or real life] of it.

A Jewish translation of the last paragraph reads:

But while a tenth part yet remains of it, it shall repent. It shall be ravaged [cut down] like the terebinth and the oak, of which stumps are left even when they are felled: its stump shall be a holy seed.

Tanakh, A New Translation of The Holy Scriptures according to the Traditional Hebrew Text. 1985.

The discouraging picture of the people of God persisting in their perversity, blind and deaf to the messages He was sending to them until they should be swept away into captivity, here blends into one of assurance that they will not remain wholly forsaken forever and that God's purpose for them will eventually be accomplished through a few.

So the advent believers of 1844 started off well, but, as part of the Protestants of the church of Philadelphia, soon gave up on their royal commission and became Laodiceans. Therefore Jesus is still waiting for the call to the marriage feast to go out as it should.

However, He has not told us of a satisfying victory to come, but of what appears to be a heart-wrenching failure, typified by His death on the cross. We are not to go out with false hopes that the whole world will be saved, for that is not going to happen. Rather, we are to go out and warn the people because we cannot bear to think of them going on in willing ignorance. It is love for our enemies that will impel the last message to go to all the world that they may make an informed choice. Jesus has offered us nothing more and nothing less than that which He endured. He left His home and safety in heaven and came to this world to be reviled and hated because of our willing ignorance.

It will be for us as it was for Him, EXCEPT we do not need to die to show our love. He did, but He was the ONLY Christian who needed to die, because it was as God that He went to Calvary, not as a Christian. Unfortunately, as we have seen, many will not understand this principle of God's kingdom and will end up as martyrs in the next "war". How He will love them for their needless sacrifice!

Isaiah 53:1-12 It was His demonstration of goodness that drew us to Him

Who has believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He has no form nor comeliness and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.

He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not his mouth [in angry retort]: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.

He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? For He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was He stricken. And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth [He was killed because of His goodness].

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him [for it is the contrast in behaviour that manifests good from evil]; He has put Him to grief: when you shall make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed [or children], He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied.

By His knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He has poured out His soul to death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

This is what the last message contains.

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