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Revelation 10

SUMMARY.--The Strong Angel. The Open Book. Standing on Sea and Land. The Seven Thunders. The Angel's Oath. John Asked to Devour the Book. Sweet, and Yet Bitter. Called on Again to Prophesy.

      John says that he was about to write what they uttered. His act is symbolic. He becomes himself a part of the symbolism. His act shows that the voices of the seven thunders claimed a record as of divine authority. There was something uttered, and what was uttered was so presented that John was about to record it in the word of God. Then he heard a voice from heaven which bade him seal up what was uttered and write it not. When we remember that the thunders that issued from the Vatican were regarded by the nations as the voice of God, and that the Pope claimed to be the vicar of Christ, we can understand the meaning of John's symbolical purpose to record them as a part of the word of God, and also that of the heavenly voice which forbade them to be written. It simply represents what did take place among the reformers. There was an open book offered to the world. This resulted in the voices of thunder of the seven-hilled city. At first there was a disposition on the part even of Martin Luther, to listen to these thunders as divine, but finally he committed the Papal Bull issued against his teachings to the flames to be rejected, and it was rejected by the Reformers.

      5-7. And the angel . . . sware . . . that there should be time no longer. The whole passage means that the time remaining is short, and that in the time of the seventh trumpet angel the whole consummation shall be reached. In response to the anathemas, thunders, and persecutions, called forth by the Reformation, the great angel who stands on both sea and land lifted his hand and uttered his solemn oath that the period of probation, persecution and suffering on the part of the Church, soon shall end. In chapter 6, verse 10 the suffering martyrs of Pagan persecution cry, O Lord, how long? And here to the second great body of martyrs assurance is given that events are hastening to the end. The mystery shall be finished when the seventh angel shall sound.

      8-11. Go and take the little book . . . eat it up. I will give a synopsis of the events of the chapter. 1. The angel holds in his hand an open book. 2. He calls attention to it in a loud voice. 3. The seven thunders launch their thunderbolts against the reception of the open book by the world. 4. John is about to record their words, but is forbidden. 5. The angel affirms with an oath, that the duration of the power and terror of the seven thunders shall be short, and that soon the seventh angel shall sound universal redemption and triumph. 6. John is bidden to take the book. 7. He receives it and is told to eat it, or to receive and devour its contents. 8. Its words are sweet like honey. In the nineteenth Psalm the word of the Lord is compared to the sweetness of honey. 9. There are bitter effects that follow. The great object of this angel seems to be to present the open book to the world. The book is mentioned four times in the chapter; twice it is stated that the book was open. John, in behalf of humanity, receives the book; a symbol of the reception of the New Testament in their own tongues, received by the nations as a result of the Reformation. The word of the Lord was received by the people with great eagerness and joy. They found it "sweeter also than honey and the honey comb." But while they devoured the word with great enjoyment, there were bitter effects that followed. Millions, perhaps, in all, were persecuted and put to death because they had accepted the book and suffered it to determine their lives and worship.

      There is portrayed last another consequence of eating the book. "Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings." To prophesy is not only to foretell future events, but to declare the message of God. This message had been declared once by the apostles, both in person, and by those who preached their words. Apostolic preaching had almost ceased for many ages before the Reformation. John, the representative of the apostolic body, commanded to prophesy, implies a revival of apostolic preaching among all people and nations.

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