And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever
That is, by the living God, who is the true God: and is so described to distinguish him from idol gods, who have no life nor breath in them; and to assert the excellency and perfection of his nature, who has life in himself originally, and independently, is the fountain of life to all creatures living, and who are supported in their life and being by him; and so he always was, is, and ever will be; this is the same as swearing by Ancuialus F16:
who created heaven, and the things that therein are;
the airy, starry, and third heavens, and the inhabitants of them, the fowls of the air, the sun, moon, and stars, and the angels of heaven, as well as the souls of departed saints, and the bodies of as many as are there:
and the earth, and the things that therein are;
men, beasts, and creeping things, trees, herbs, minerals
and the sea, and the things which are therein:
the several sorts of fishes in it: this is also said to distinguish the great God from all false gods, who made not the heavens and the earth, who alone is, and ought to be the object of an oath, or by whom an oath is to be made, and not any creature whatsoever; and since the Angel that here swears is the Lord Jesus Christ, this may be understood of him either as man, swearing by God the Father, in which respect the Father is greater than he; or as a divine person, and so swears by himself, ( Hebrews 6:13 ) ; for to himself do these characters belong of living for ever and ever, and of having made the heaven, earth, and sea, and all in them: the thing he swears to is,
that there should be time no longer
which is not to be understood of the cessation of time, and the swallowing of it up in eternity, at the end of all things, when it will be no more measured out by the revolutions of the sun and moon, which will then be no more; for this did not take place upon the angel's oath, or at the time this vision refers to; for after this, there is to be time for the seventh angel to sound his trumpet in, though perhaps that is excepted in the next verse; and after the sounding of that, there will be the space of a thousand years, in which Christ will reign with his people on earth; and after that there will be some space of time for the Gog and Magog army to attack the beloved city; all which will be before the end of all things, or before eternity, properly speaking, takes place; and besides, such an illustrious appearing of Christ as before described, and so solemn an oath as is here made, do not seem necessary to ascertain a truth which nobody doubts of; and everyone knows that after this world, and all things in it are at an end, time will be no more. The true key to this passage is ( Daniel 12:7 ) ; where the man clothed in linen swears, that to the end of wonders should be a time, times, and a half, and here the angel swears that time should be no longer; that is, that these time, and times, and half a time, should be no longer; that these dates would be up, and the events affixed to them be accomplished, when the seventh angel should begin to sound his trumpet: the same divisions of time are made in ( Revelation 12:14 ) ; and are the same exactly with the 1260 days, or years, and the forty two months of years, so often mentioned in this book: for a time is a prophetic year, that is, 360 years; and times are two prophetic years, or 70 years; and half a time is half a prophetic year, or 180 years, in all 1260 years: now add the several events to be accomplished in this period of time, and it will give the full sense of this passage thus; the angel swears that the thee of antichrist's reign, his tyranny over the saints, his persecution of them, which was to last forty two months, ( Revelation 13:5 ) , should be no longer; nor of the holy city being trodden under foot by the Gentiles, the Papists, which bears the same date, ( Revelation 11:2 ) , and is called the times of the Gentiles, ( Luke 21:24 ) ; nor of the witnesses prophesying in sackcloth, which has just the same measure of duration, ( Revelation 11:3 ) ; nor of the church's retirement, and being hid in the wilderness, ( Revelation 12:14 ) ; in short, the time of the four monarchies, and of the last of them, the Roman, and of the last branch of that, the Papal, should be no more than till the sounding of the seventh trumpet, when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; ( Revelation 11:15 ) ; the words will bear to be rendered, as some have observed, "that there should be delay no longer"; that is, of the coming and kingdom of Christ; though the bridegroom has tarried, he will come, and will not tarry beyond the time the angel swears to; every seal of the sealed book is a delay of, and a stop upon, the open appearance of Christ's kingdom; and the opening of every seal is an advance to it; and when the sixth seal was opened, and Paganism destroyed, and Christianity spread throughout the empire, the kingdom of Christ might have been expected to have appeared; but there was a seventh seal to be opened, which was a stop upon it, and which when opened brought ruin and destruction upon the Christian empire, both western and eastern, under the first six trumpets; and till the seventh sounds there will be a delay of Christ's kingdom, but when that sounds there will be no more a delay.
F16 Martial Epigr. l. 11. ep. 60.