Revelation 10–11:13 continues our study of how God wars against evil forces. Here we will find God raising up the Great Advent Movement to war against evil. They become His soldiers in the battle against error by receiving and proclaiming the truth. In particular, they will be the faithful who discover the “shut up words” of Daniel that point to the great 2300 year prophecy. See Daniel 12:4; 8:26, 27, 13, 14.
The verses that we will begin to study are placed between the sixth and seventh trumpet. Chapter ten serves as a parenthetical chapter, teaching us that the events of chapter ten must take place before Jesus returns.
Verse 1: Another Mighty Angel
An angel is a minister or messenger of God. We know that Jesus is not a literal angel. But He is that Mighty Messenger sent from God who is “clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon His head, His face as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire.” Revelation 10:1. This is the same description of Jesus as we saw in Revelation 1:14-16.
His face as it were the sun: The face of Jesus shining as the sun indicates that His people are receiving additional light to lead them further along the paths of righteousness. This chapter will show that God’s people have discovered more precious truth from His Word.
“God makes His sun to shine on the just and on the unjust, and this sun represents Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, Who shines as the light of the world, giving His blessings and mercies, seen and unseen, to rich and poor alike.” Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers, page 280. As we contemplate these words, we understand that the light that shines from Jesus is for the whole world. It is a message of mercy that leads to righteousness.
Rainbow upon His head: The rainbow is the emblem of divinity and eternity. It indicates that the message comes directly from the throne of God. God is in this movement and message.
“As the bow in the cloud results from the union of sunshine and shower, so the bow above God’s throne represents the union of His mercy and His justice.” Ellen G. White, Education, page 115
Clothed with a cloud: Jesus is clothed with a cloud. The Scriptures frequently associate clouds with the appearance of Christ. See Daniel 7:13; Acts 1:9; Revelation 1:7; 14:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17. When Jesus is taken in a cloud of angels it depicts great events in His ministry. We find Jesus taken in a cloud at His ascension. See Acts 1:9–11. We find Jesus taken in a cloud of angels into the Most Holy Place. See Daniel 7:9, 10, 13. And lastly, we find Jesus coming in a cloud of angels at His second coming. Matthew 24:30, 31; 25:31. The message is an urgent message about the soon return of Jesus.
“His feet as pillars of fire”: Of course, feet represent forward progress. Pillars represent something that is enduring. When we think of a pillar of fire, we think of the pillar of fire that was an emblem of God’s presence with the Hebrews in their wilderness journey. It was an emblem that God would protect them, that God would guide them, and that He was their Leader.
“In one of the most beautiful and comforting passages of Isaiah’s prophecy, reference is made to the pillar of cloud and of fire to represent God’s care for His people in the great final struggle with the powers of evil.” Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, page 283
“To those who obey them, the commandments of God are as a pillar of fire, lighting and leading the way to eternal salvation. But unto those who disregard them, they are as the clouds of night.” Ibid, Testimonies to the Church, volume 4, page 27
It would seem that “feet as pillars of fire” represent the endurance and strength of God’s everlasting kingdom, which is based upon His eternal law. It is a promise that God will always be with His commandment-keeping people, and that He is their Leader, Guide, and Protector.
Verses 2: A Message for the World
The position of the Mighty Messenger upon the sea and earth signifies the whole world. This message is so important that it demands that the whole world hear it. See Revelation 7:1–3; 14:6–14; 18:1–5. This message is so important that Jesus Himself personally gives it to John.
“A little book opened”: If the little book was opened, then it must have been closed at some point. The only part of the Scriptures that was ever closed or sealed for a time was the book of Daniel. “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. . . And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days. . . And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. . . And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the Sanctuary be cleansed. . . And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.” See Daniel 12:4; 8:26; 12:9; 8:14, 27.
Certain words were “shut up” in the book of Daniel until the “time of the end.” The “vision of the evening and the morning” was “shut up.” Daniel 8:26. What is the “vision of the evening and the morning”? It is the 2300th day prophesy found in Daniel 8:14 which reads, “And He [Jesus, the Wonderful Numberer] said unto me [Daniel], Unto two thousand and three hundred days [literally: “2300 evening and morning”]; then shall the [heavenly] Sanctuary be cleansed.” It wasn’t the whole book of Daniel that was closed. There were only certain words that were “shut up.” These certain words had to do with the 2300th day prophecy, which is the “vision of the evening and the morning.”
When would this great time prophesy be unsealed? “But thou, O Daniel shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and from, and knowledge shall be increased.” Daniel 12:4
The “time of the end” is not the end of time, but it is a period of time that immediately precedes the end of time. God would give His servants time to present the 2300th day prophesy to the whole world.
What led to the unsealing of the 2300th day prophecy? It was the fulfillment of another time prophecy, namely the 1260 year prophecy. See Daniel 7:25; 12:7; Revelation 12:6, 14; 13:5. Students of Bible prophesy knew that the 1260 year prophecy began when the Papacy gain both civil and religious power over the Roman empire. Her political power would last for 1260 years. And in the year of 1798, the Papacy would receive her deadly wound and cease to hold political power when Napoleon’s general captured the pope and declared Rome to be a republic.
When Bible students saw the fulfillment of 1260 year prophesy, they began to pour over the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation as never before. In their studies, they discovered the great time prophecy of Daniel 8:14. The great time prophecy that had been sealed up for over two thousand years was now unsealed.
When would this prophecy begin and end? By recognizing the close association between the 2300 year prophecy in Daniel chapter eight with the 70 weeks prophecy in Daniel chapter nine, they knew that the 2300 year prophecy would begin in the year of 457 BC. This was the year when Artaxerxes issued the decree to restore and to rebuilt Jerusalem. That would bring the fulfillment of the 2300 year prophecy to the year of 1844 AD. More on this point later.
Verse 3: The Seven Thunders
Since John was told not to write down “those things which the seven thunders uttered,” we will only gain a general understanding of them. There are some very helpful statements by Ellen G. White. Of course, the context of the seven thunders is tied up in the Great Advent Movements described throughout the rest of the chapter. Therefore, we may understand the seven thunders to deal with events that helped make the Great Advent Movement a reality. Let us now prayerfully consider several statements:
“The mighty angel who instructed John was no less a personage than Jesus Christ. 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 had waxed stronger and more determines 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. But the mighty angel demands attention. He cries with a loud voice. He is to show the power and authority of His voice to those who have united with Satan to oppose the truth.” Seventh day Adventist Bible Commentary, volume 7, page 971.
So far, we find a focus on the superiority and authority of Jesus. There is nothing specifically said about the seven thunders at this point. However, we do find two opposing sides. There is Jesus, and there is Satan uniting “with evil men,” endeavoring to “deceive the whole world and the churches.” How does he deceive them? By keeping them from receiving “the love of the truth.” Therefore, we can only assume at this point that Jesus will be presenting some new light to His servants, while Satan does all that he can to keep the various churches from receiving it. Let’s read on.
“After these seven thunders uttered their voices, the injunction come to John as to Daniel in regard to the little book: ‘Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered.’ These relate to future events which will be disclosed in their order. Daniel shall stand in his lot at the end of the days. John sees the little book unsealed. Then Daniel’s prophecies have their proper place in the first, second, and third angels’ messages to be given to the world. The unsealing of the little book was the message in relation to time.” Ibid.
In summary, we find that “the unsealing of the little book [of Daniel] was the message in relation to time.” This is unquestioningly in reference to the great time prophecy of 2300 years, ending in 1844. We were told that the seven thunders related “to future events which will be disclosed in their order.” This gives us the impression that the seven thunders would described a series of events in perfect order. As such, they are closely tied to “the first, second, and third angels’ messages to be given to the world.” The first angel’s message was first proclaimed in 1831; the second angel’s message in the summer of 1844; and the third in the fall of 1844. Therefore, we may infer that the seven thunders, are a delineation of events that led up to the Great Disappointment on October 22, 1844? Let’s read on.
“The books of Daniel and the Revelation are one. One is a prophecy, the other a revelation; one a book sealed, the other a book opened. John heard the mysteries which the thunders uttered, but he was commanded not to write them. 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. This is represented by the angel standing with one foot on the sea, proclaiming with a most solemn oath that time should be no longer.” Ibid.
This statement focuses on the first and second angels’ messages, the former was first proclaimed in 1831, and the latter in the summer of 1844. The servants of God that proclaimed these messages “must necessarily be tested.” And “no further light was to be revealed before these messages [the first and second angels’ messages] had done there specific work.”
What work did these messages found in Revelation 14:6-12 produce? It produced a consecrated movement of saints who were preparing for the soon return of Jesus. Not since apostolic times had such a movement been seen with such consecration and Christlikeness. Yet, though all of this, “most wonderful and advanced truths would be proclaimed.” This would all happen when the Mighty Messenger would proclaim “with a most solemn oath that time should be no longer.” If “time should be no long,” then some specific time much have been fulfilled. What was fulfilled? It was the great 2300 year time prophecy, that spans more than one-third of Earth’s history. It is a time prophecy that began in 457 BC and ended in 1844 AD. Therefore, it only stands to reason that the delineation of events during the time of the seven thunders is when Jesus proclaims in 1844 that time is no longer. Let’s read on.
“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 precede 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. The angel’s position, with one foot on the sea, the other on the land, signifies the wide extent of the proclamation of the message. It will cross the broad waters and be proclaimed in other countries, even to all the world. 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. The greatest work to be done in this life is to make preparation for the future life, for that life which measures with the life of God. A probation has been granted us that, notwithstanding the difficulties, we may cultivate virtues which shall carry us into the higher life. Pure love for one another is exercised by those who are partakers of the divine nature.” Ibid.
In our final summary of the seven thunders, we see that the context is clearly associated with the fulfillment of the 2300 year prophecy in 1844. The servants of God that formed this godly movement were indeed making “preparation for the future life.” While God’s people would never again be tested on time, they were to prepare the world for the Second Coming of Christ. Truths that had been lost during the Dark Ages of Papal rule, would be found and proclaimed. Among these grand truths we find the ministry of Jesus in the Heavenly Sanctuary, the perpetuity of the law of God, the seventh-day Sabbath, the non-immortality of the soul, the resurrection, and much more. While it can be said that these events have already taken place. These messages are to be repeated with more power than that even at the time of Pentecost.
In God’s wisdom, it seemed that God had permitted His servants to go through certain tests and trials, that they may discover glorious truths that had been lost by the apostasy of the various churches. The faithful would come forth strengthened by the test, that the Great Advent Movement may begin as pure as possible. More on this later.
Creation factor: This special message is given by authority of the Creator of the universe. This corresponds with the command to worship God as our Creator in Revelation 14:6, 7. This creation connection puts added emphasis on the Sabbath commandment to worship God as our Creator. See Exodus 20:8–11. As a result, God has a last-day church “that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12.
Seven thunders: The seven thunders did not utter their voices or proclaim their messages until after the angel had finished his testimony in all the earth. That the seven thunders are seven messages is evident by the fact that the prophet was ready to write them down.
Verses 5, 6: Jesus and the Final Message
“Lifted up His hand to heaven”: The description of Jesus lifting “up His hand to heaven,” is very similar to the description of Jesus in the book of Daniel, which reads, “And I head the man clothed in linen [which refers to Jesus] when He held up His right hand and His left hand unto heaven, and sware by Him that liveth forever that it shall be for a time, times, and a half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.” Daniel 12:7
Jesus, who is seen “upon the waters of the river” (12:6), swares by Himself, as He raises both His right and left hand. He takes the oath that the adversary spoken of in verse 7, which is the Papacy, “shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people. . . for a time, times, and a half.” How long is a “time, times, and a half”? It is exactly 1260 years. How long would the Papacy rule as a political power? Exactly 1260 years. Who alone could predict that the Papacy would rule for exactly 1260 years? It is Jesus.
But Jesus is doing more than making a prediction, He is taking an oath. He has determined that the Papacy would only be allowed to scatter His “holy people” for exactly 1260 years. Who has that kind of authority? Jesus does.
Therefore, when Jesus lifts up His hand to heaven in Revelation 10:5, He is taking an oath. He, “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,” has said, “that there should be time no longer.” Revelation 10:6, 7
If Jesus says there is “time no longer,” then there is time no longer. If He says we are no longer tested on time, then we are no longer tested on time. If the 2300 year prophecy spans the furthest into the future, then no other time prophecy shall go beyond it.
“That there should be time no longer,” indicates that a time had just ended. The last great time prophecy is the 2300 year prophecy that ended in 1844. Therefore, we are not waiting for a particular time or date. Rather, we are to prepare a people for the soon return of Christ. God’s people must prepare themselves to receive the latter rain. Until the latter rain shall fall, there can be no perfecting of the precious wheat for harvest.
Before we move on to verse 7, let us recognize two great truths paired up in verse six. There is the reference to Jesus as our Creator “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.” Then there is the oath that “there should be time no longer.” What specific time is being referred to here? It is the 2300 day prophecy. What does the 2300 day prophecy point to? “And He [Jesus] said unto me [Daniel], Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the [heavenly] Sanctuary be cleansed.” Daniel 8:14.
The 2300 day prophecy is in reference to the cleansing of the sanctuary, which is the same as the Day of Atonement or the Day of Judgement. It is often called Yom Kippur on our calendar. In the sanctuary service, the high priest would enter the Most Holy Place compartment once a year. He would do so at the end of the religious year. Why?
Throughout the entire religious year, the Hebrews brought their sins to the sanctuary and confessed them. Their confessed were transferred to the lamb that was slain. The blood of the lamb was then administered in the sanctuary. At the end of the religious year, all those confessed would now be cleansed from the sanctuary. This cleansing of the sanctuary was the day when God’s people were cleansed as well. It was essential that they had confessed every sin before the high priest finished his work on this most holy day, the Day of Atonement, or the Day of Judgment. Otherwise, that individual was cast out of Israel. As the sanctuary was being cleansed on this holy day the people were judged.
Since the earthly sanctuary was but a copy of the heavenly (Hebrews 8:1-6), then Jesus as our High Priest would enter the Most Holy Place compartment of the Heavenly Sanctuary. When would this happen? At the fulfillment of the 2300 year prophecy, ending on October 22, 1844. Once Jesus opened the books for judgment, we would no longer be tested on time. Christ will come when the last soul is judged and every case has been decided for eternal life or eternal death. Jesus said, “And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12. Note that Jesus will bring every man’s reward when He returns the second time. Therefore, everyone will need to have been judged before Jesus leaves the heavenly courts for planet Earth.
Where do we find these two great truths, namely, God as our Creator and the Judgment in the heavenly courts above? We find it in the first angel’s message, which reads, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” Revelation 14:6, 7. Prayerfully consider the fact that the Revelation repeats these two essential truths for those living in the end of time. There is a work to be done to restore the Seventh-day Sabbath to its rightful place, as we worship God as our Creator. Then the world deserves to know that the judgment has already begun. We are not told when it will end, but we have been given many signs that tell us that His coming is near. That means that the judgment will soon come to an end.
Verse 7: Days of the Seventh Angel
The “days of the voice of the seventh angel” began in 1844 with the fulfillment of the 2300 day prophecy. As we studied earlier in chapter nine, the events of the sixth trumpet were pre-1844. The great time prophecy under the sixth trumpet was fulfilled on August 11, 1840. The seventh trumpet clearly follows the sixth trumpet, and hence, begins in 1844. During the time of the seventh angel “they mystery of God should be finished.” The great mystery is how man can become a progressive revelation of the character of God. How is God able to take a sinner and turn him into a saint? How can sinful man become a reflection of His Maker’s image?
The final of work of Jesus in the heavenly Sanctuary is not only a work of judgment, but one of purification and cleansing of His people. When the days of the seventh angel are nearly finished, God will have a people who will reflect His altogether beautiful character. They will receive the latter rain and the last gospel call will be given to the world. Then the time of human probation will come to a close. This tells us that chapter ten is about God raising up a movement of saints to finish the work of the gospel. As such, it is imperative that they eat the little book of Daniel.
Verse 8-10: Take the book and eat it
The discovery of Daniel 8:14, and the great 2300 day prophecy produced a movement of saints called Millerites or Adventists. They believed that the 2300 day prophecy pointed to the Second Coming of Christ. As such, the book was sweet in their mouth as honey.
The disappointment: When the time had come and Christ did not return in 1844, the Advent believers experienced a bitter disappointment akin to that of the disciples when Christ was crucified and their hopes were shattered. But this very disappointment is foretold in this prophecy. When God’s people ate up the prophecies of Daniel and believed Christ was coming at the end of the 2300 year prophecy, the little book was sweet in their mouth. However, it became bitter in their belly when Jesus did not return. See Revelation 10:8–10.
The little book had to be eaten before its content could be proclaimed to the world. Eating a book means to study its contents carefully and to digest and fully comprehend its meaning. See Ezekiel 2:8–3:3. A book thus eaten and digested becomes a part of the reader. This consecrated movement of Advent believers lived and breathed the soon return of Jesus. It was their greatest joy and hope.
Of all the great movements throughout the Christian era, none have been freer from human imperfections and the wiles of the devil than this movement of Advent believers. There was a consecration then that we have not seen since. These were men and women of the Bible. However, their mistake in misinterpretation was not in time, but in the event. They believed that Jesus was coming soon. They were right! They believed that they needed to be in agreement with God and live consecrated lives. They were right! They believed judgment was soon to come. They were right! They believed the 2300 day prophecy represents 2300 literal years. They were right! They believed that the 2300 year prophecy began in 457 BC. They were right! They believed that the 2300 years ended in 1844. They were right! They believed that Jesus was coming to the earth in 1844. They were wrong! Jesus was not coming to the earth, but to the Ancient of days, the Father. See Daniel 7:9–13. Jesus would follow the Father into the Most Holy Place to begin the work of judgment. It is important to note that no one in those days could prove the Advent believers wrong on their belief that Jesus was returning in 1844. For more information on the 2300 day prophecy, see my study notes on Daniel 8.
A blessed disappointment: The bitter disappointment that came to the apostles when Christ was crucified was a blessing in disguise. It was the most effectual way of erasing from their clouded minds a false idea regarding the purpose of Jesus’ first advent. Just before His death, Jesus said to His disciples, “I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Verily, verily, I say to you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” John 16:12, 20. The very depths of the sorrow and disappointment that came to the disciples because of their mistaken ideas regarding the mission of the Messiah, raised their joy to greater heights than would otherwise have been possible. To Christ’s true followers, disappointments are His appointments.
The Advent believers in 1844 passed through an experience similar to that of the disciples of Jesus. As soon as the time passed and Christ had not returned, their disappointment and sorrow were great. The world began to scoff at their “mistake.” But God turned their disappointment into a great joy. When God showed them their mistake, a new Bible truth was revealed that would prove to be one of the greatest blessings of knowledge in all Scripture, namely, the truth of Christ’s mediatorial work for man in the heavenly Sanctuary. The truth of Christ’s priestly work was obscured for centuries by the earthly work of the Papal priests.
Verse 11: Go forth!
Like the disciples of old, the Advent believers then took this new found knowledge to the world. The world must know about Christ’s special work in the heavenly Sanctuary. The inhabitants of the earth must know that the judgment has begun.