When There is Time No Longer
Lesson 41

Revelation 10 is an interruption to a line of thought begun in chapter 8 and not completed until the later part of chapter 11. The sequence of events that is interrupted is the sounding of the seven trumpets. It is apparent that the seventh and final trumpet (see Revelation 11:15) marks the end of this world’s history. This last angel is, however, restrained from sounding his trumpet while the events described in chapter 10 and the first part of chapter 11 take place. These verses should therefore be considered parenthetical—an explanation of events that take place just before the close of time.

1. What is the Angel said to be holding in His hand?

Revelation 10:2
Revelation 10:2

Note: The fact that the little book is said to be open, suggests that it was at one time closed.

2. What book does the Scripture describe as being closed?

Daniel 12:4
Daniel 12:4

Note: The book of Daniel is the only book in Scripture that is said to be closed. Since this book was to be closed up until the time of the end, it naturally follows that at the time of the end it would be opened. As the closing of this book was mentioned in prophecy, it is reasonable that its opening would also be marked.

3. What promise was given to Daniel?

Daniel 12:13
Daniel 12:13

Note: Daniel sought to understand the meaning of the things he had been shown. See Daniel 12:8. The angel then told him that the things he had seen could not be understood until the time of the end, which implies the promise that at that time they would be understood. In telling Daniel that he will stand in his lot at the end of time, the angel is giving him the assurance that the prophecies he had recorded, but which he could not then understand, would later be properly understood and proclaimed.

4. What did the Angel proclaim had ended?

Revelation 10:6
Revelation 10:6

Note: It is apparent from the events yet to follow that this cannot be the end of this world’s history, nor can it be the end of probationary time, for this does not end until Christ ceases His priestly ministry. Probation does not close until the seventh angel begins to sound his trumpet. See Revelation 11:15, 19. It must, therefore, indicate an end of prophetic time, for there is no other time to which it can refer.

5. What did the Angel indicate would end when the seventh angel would begin to sound?

Revelation 10:7
Revelation 10:7

Note: Ephesians 1:9–10 tells us that God’s purpose to gather all things in Christ is the “mystery” of His will. Later in this same letter to the believers in Ephesus, Paul states that the preaching of the gospel is a “mystery.” See Ephesians 6:19. In Romans 16:25 we are told that the “mystery” which had been hid from the beginning is the preaching of Christ. It is clear from these texts that the finishing up of the gospel commission—the taking of the gospel to the whole world — given to the disciples by Christ (see Matthew 24:14), is pictured here.

6. As the gospel goes to the world, what event takes place?

Revelation 14:6–7
Revelation 14:6–7

Note: The sounding of the gospel message to the world for the last time is a call for men to prepare for the judgment that is taking place. It is clear from these passages that, at the end of the prophetic periods of time brought to view in Daniel, the gospel message would sound to the whole world, accompanied by a message of the impending judgment.

The message of the Angel with His hand uplifted in the attitude of an oath, proclaiming that time should be no longer, was the solemn announcement that the last of the prophetic periods had reached its fulfillment, and that no chronological prophecy would extend beyond that time. No longer could men look to a future event as marking a definite period of time that must yet elapse. The next event to which their eyes were pointed was the return of Christ.

As the close of the last great time period, ending in 1844, approached, there was an increased interest in Bible prophecies such as had never been before. Far and wide was heralded the message of the soon return of Christ. It was during this time that the great foreign Bible societies were formed and the first missionaries were sent out.

7. What was the apostle John told to do with the little book?

Revelation 10:9
Revelation 10:9

Note: The eating of the book is the acceptance of the message by the believer. See Jeremiah 15:16. The hope of a soon returning Saviour filled the hearts of the believers with inexpressible joy. It was truly sweet as honey in their mouths.

8. Though sweet at first, what is said regarding the book once it had been eaten?

Revelation 10:10
Revelation 10:10

Beginning shortly before the expiration of the 2300 day prophecy in 1844 religious revival took place. Though this revival was worldwide in its scope, it found its greatest acceptance in the United States where it became largely known as the Millerite Movement, after William Miller, the first, and most prominent minister to teach the soon return of Jesus, based on the 2300 day prophecy of Daniel 8.

While William Miller was correct in his understanding of the premillennial second appearing of Christ, he, along with the majority of Christianity, had adopted the view that the earth was the sanctuary. It was in this one area that he failed to reject his preconceived ideas, and that mistake led to his false expectations.

In his application of the prophetic symbols of Daniel and John, and in his understanding of the prophetic periods, he was correct. The dates at which he arrived have withstood the closest scrutiny and severest criticism, but in the event that was to take place at the close of the prophetic period he was mistaken.

Believing, as he did, that the second coming of Christ was imminent, William Miller felt the conviction of the duty to share this new understanding with others. He began to present his views in private, praying that some minister would feel their significance and himself preach them publicly. None did, and eventually, through the opening providence of God, William Miller was led to publicly share his views. As the believers accepted the prophecies, as they understood them, they were to them surely sweet as honey. The prospect of a soon returning Saviour was indeed sweet and joyous. In spite of strong opposition, the preaching of the Second Advent gave birth to a tremendous religious revival in America which spread across all denominational boundaries. This revival drew the believers together in unity and sweet fellowship.

The students of prophecy did not at first distinguish between the work of judgment and the return of Christ. Having accepted the commonly held understanding that the earth was the sanctuary, they understood the cleansing of the sanctuary to be the purification of the earth by the fire of the last day. See 2 Peter 3:10–12. When the time pointed out in the prophecy of Daniel 8 and 9 as the time for the sanctuary to be cleansed passed and the Lord did not return, the disappointment that followed was as bitter as their hopes had been sweet. Even in this, however, was to be found evidence that their experience had been a fulfillment of the prophecy .

The question is raised: Is it possible that God would work with a people so very mistaken as to the message they were giving?

In looking back we see that the experience of the apostles who preached the gospel of the kingdom at the first advent of Christ had its counterpart in the experience of those who proclaimed the message of His second advent. The preaching of Miller and his associates announced the termination of the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14, of which the 70 weeks of Daniel 9:24–27 foretelling the first coming of Christ, form a part. The preaching of the apostles as they went out proclaiming the fulfillment of the 70 weeks, and those who proclaimed the Second Advent in 1844, were both based on the fulfillment of events that were a part of the same prophecy. In both cases there was an acceptance of, or rather an adherence to popular errors of the day that blinded their minds to the full understanding of the truth. In the providence of God, both groups fulfilled the purposes of God in proclaiming the messages that He desired to be given. And both, through their misunderstandings of the messages they gave, suffered bitter disappointment.

9. What was said must yet take place?

Revelation 10:11
Revelation 10:11

Note: Following the great disappointment of 1844, the believers discovered the truth of the heavenly sanctuary. They saw that rather than Christ’s return, the prophecies pointed to a closing work to be accomplished for the believers just before His return to receive His waiting church.

Lesson Home◄Previous LessonNext Lesson►

Print Lesson in Adobe Acrobat