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Revelation 10 and the Advent Movement

ARevelation 10

The Advent Movement and Message

 

Brief idea: The Bible clearly predicted the Great Disappointment. More than that, it predicted the ‘shut door’ error and prophesied of its correction.

 

Habakkuk 1 describes the prophet’s concern for God’s lack of intervention in the face of carnage against the godly. God responded that He would punish Israel with the Babylonians. Habakkuk countered that they, too, needed to be punished. Then the prophet rested his case to see what answer God would give Him, what rebuke he would receive for asking such daring questions. Hab. 2:1.

 

God’s answer was almost cryptic. He told the prophet to write “the” vision and to make it plain upon tables. He said that those that read it would be enabled to “run.” God said the vision would be one to wait for, that it would come at an appointed time. It would speak at the “end.” God also said that it would appear to tarry but that it would not tarry. He said that the just would live by holding on to his confidence in the vision and that those that became exalted at the apparent delay in the vision would not be the upright ones.

 

And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. Hab 2:2-4.

 

Paul saw significance in this teaching of Habakkuk. He used it as the basis for the last portion of Hebrews 10.

 

For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But . . . ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. Hebrews 10:30-39.

 

From Hebrews we learn the object to be waited for in Habakkuk—the Second Coming of Jesus and its attendant judgment or “vengeance.” We also learn that those that do the “will of God” need patience if they are to receive the promise of a happy end.

 

We also learn that those that draw back at the trying stage do so “unto perdition.”

 

Summary from Habakkuk and Hebrews

 

There will come a time when men will be waiting for the execution of the judgment and the Coming of Jesus. These men will be disappointed when it appears that the vision they are depending is delayed in its fulfillment. Yet they are forbidden to draw back from their confidence on pain of destruction.

 

Seeing Justice in the Sanctuary

 

There is another prophet, Asaph, that had concerns similar to those of Habakkuk. He nearly lost his hold on God through his perplexity about the prosperity of the wicked. But then he came to understand the end of sinners as he studied the sanctuary message. Sinners were bound for destruction.

 

My feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. . . .They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. . . .They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. . . They say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. . .[Then] I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.  Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. Ps 73:2-19

 

So Asaph and Habbakuk had the same question and God gave them the same answer—the Judgment would settle all things and make wrongs right. Asaph saw it in the sanctuary. Habakkuk was pointed to a vision.

 

But where can we find a vision that meets the qualifications of Habakkuk 2? A vision that speaks at “the end” and that postulates a certain time for judgment that would be understood as the time of the second coming? A vision that men were to be running with? Would it, perhaps, be a vision that also described the sanctuary that Asaph saw?

 

There is just such a vision in scripture. The vision of Daniel 8 was fit to be put into tables and charts. It was to speak at the “end” according to the angel. It was understood to predict the Second Coming to the Adventists when it really pointed to the judgment in the sanctuary. The Adventists were to continue waiting for the Advent after an apparent (and unreal) delay.

 

The prophecy of Habbakuk 2:2-4 was fulfilled to the letter.

 

Revelation 10

 

Revelation 10 describes the same experience. There the little book of Daniel is unsealed and preached. In the mouth of the church (under the figure of John) it was sweet. But when it was truly understood (in the belly) it was a bitter pill.

 

Then the angel gives John a peculiar message. He must “prophesy again.” Why did he stop the first time? In the metaphor it ceased to be sweet at the same time it ceased to be in the “mouth.” In other words, the church stopped preaching when its experience became bitter.

 

So it was prophesied that the book would be unsealed, that it would be preached, that it would be a sweet experience, that it would be followed by a bitter experience and an end to preaching

 

But following this the church is to preach “again” to every kindred, nation, tongue, and people.

 

And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. Rev 10:10-11.

 

How could a prophet have better predicted the shut-door heresy and its demise? And is there a scripture that connects the message of the timing of the judgment (as given to Asaph and Habakkuk) and that of preaching to all peoples?

 

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: Re 14:6-7.

 

The truth is beautiful.

 

Malachi and Jesus

 

The Great Disappointment of the Advent people was also the subject of a prophecy by Malachi and of a parable by Jesus.

 

Some might question why such a small event (perhaps 50,000 to 100,000 disappointed persons) so long before the end (it has been 165 years) would get so much attention in scripture. But the answer is sensible. The Advent Message is to be carried to every kindred, nation, tongue, and people. And wherever it is taken it is also mocked for its bitter experience 165 years ago. And so scripture high-lighted the experience for the benefit of the billions that must be confronted with the call to join the Advent band.

 

Malachi’s prophecy about Christ’s Coming indicates that there would be a preparatory work done first by a messenger. Jesus applied this prophecy to John the Baptist.

 

John the Baptist was one that prepared people for Christ’s first coming, and so he fulfilled the specifications of the first verse of Malachi 3. Reading on we find that the passage is, contextually, about the Second Coming. That is why we expect someone to come in the spirit and power of Elijah before the “great and terrible day of the Lord.” Mal. 4:5. We expect some message to prepare the world for Christ’s Second Coming as John the Baptist did for Christ’s First Coming.

 

With this understanding it is interesting to reread the first two verses of Malachi 3.

 

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: Mal 3:1-2.

 

Notice that in connection with the message, a people begin to “seek” the Lord. They are waiting for Him to come. But where does He come? “to his temple.” And he comes there to spread a message to the world about “the covenant.”

 

But that coming to His temple is not the end of the matter. “Behold, he shall come” and then the question will be “who may abide the day of His coming?” And the answer to that is that (before He comes) He will do a special work of purification of His people.

 

So from Malachi we learn that an end-time preparation message would be looking for Jesus when, to their surprise, he would come first two His temple to do a work of purifying his people.

Jesus also alluded to the disappointment in the story of the ten virgins.

 

While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Matt 25:5-6.

 

Here the church is pictured as a body of persons waiting for Christ’s return. They expect him at a certain point, but He does not return at that point. And in view of his apparent tarrying some let go of their preparedness.

 

Those that don’t let go are those that go in with Him, but first they got “out” from their previous situation.

 

These things well describe the experience of the Advent people and an exposition of the parable along the lines described can be found in the Great Controversy.

 

Other Thoughts on Revelation 10

 

Like most prophecies in Daniel and Revelation, the focus of the prophecy is found in the last and most detailed portion of the prophecy. That is the part that we have just noted and it is the main point in Revelation 10.

 

But a few earlier points must not escape our notice.

 

How do we know, for example, that the “little book” is the book of Daniel? We find several hints.

1.         The “angel” of verses 1-6 lifts his hands and swears much like the being of Daniel 12.

2.         The book is a “little” book. So is Daniel.

3.         The book is noted to be “open”, in the context of a sealed book (Re 4-8:1) and a sealed message (Re 10:4). This hints that it has recently been thus opened. And only one book in the Bible is “closed.” That is Daniel.

4.         The open nature of the book is connected with a “loud” cry. (Re 10:3). This is reminiscent of Matthew 25, etc..

 

More than this, the history of the Advent movement precisely fulfilled the specifications of the prophecy, and at the right time (around the fulfillment of the sixth and seventh trumpets) and was based on an understanding of the book of Daniel.

 

Ellen White tells us the nature of the content of the Seven Thunders. From the context of Revelation 10 we could arrive at the same conclusion. In the chapter we find, during the time of the sounding of the 7th trumpet, just prior to the great disappointment, seven voices making declarations. These messages thus, in point of time, are before the third angel’s message and contemporary with the first and second angel’s messages. This simple conclusion is what Ellen White saw to be true.

 

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.  {7BC 971.6}

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.  {7BC 971.7}

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 (MS 59, 1900).  {7BC 971.8}

 

It was just prior to the Day of Atonement, in the Jewish year, that men celebrated the feast of trumpets for seven days.

 

If the church history events that occurred during the time period of 1842-1844 had been revealed previous to the Advent movement, the movement would not have happened as it did. The churches would not have opened up to a movement that knew it would one day call men out from them.

 

And men would not have geared up and moved so deliberately forward with the message if they had known they would be disappointed.

 

And so it is perfectly sensible that the seven thunders were sealed until after those events transpired.

 

Time No Longer

 

Speculative interpreters of prophecy often make a sensation by reinterpreting the time prophecies of Daniel and Revelation to have future fulfillments.

 

Revelation 10 was intended to put an end to that. The “time no longer” in verse 6 is followed by the sounding of the seventh angel in verse 7, and the completion of the gospel work in the same verse. That is how one can show that it is not earth’s history that is “no longer” and how that it is not man’s probation that is “no longer.”

 

In the context of the opening of the book of Daniel, the experience of the great disappointment, and of the midnight cry, in light of the prophecies of Habakkuk 2 and of Hebrews 10, Ellen White’s view is well founded. The fulfillment of the prophetic periods is the event to which “time” refers.

 

The importance of the “time no longer” declaration can not be overestimated. It is one of only a very few statements that are bolstered in scripture by a Divine Oath. No wonder the Devil has worked so tirelessly to lead men to heed it not.

 

A wide study of Ellen White’s statements regarding time prophecy would only confirm the Bible truth expressed in this section.

 

The Mystery of God

 

Re 10:7  But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

 

The mystery of iniquity has featured largely both in prophecy and history. In the days of the Apostles it was already at work. 2Th 2:7. And its exposure marks the beginning of the time of the end. 2Th 2:1-2.

 

In direct opposition to the mystery of iniquity stands the mystery of God. What is the mystery of God? It is the incredible truth that God can dwell in human flesh. On a personal level, it is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

 

Joh 1:14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

1Ti 3:16  And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh . . . .

Col 1:27  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:

 

In the days of the sounding of the seventh angel the process of reproducing Christ’s character in men is going to be finished. This truth is bound up, by its inclusion in Revelation 10, with the most fundamental content of the Adventist message.

 

And for that very reason it is so attacked in Laodicea that by many its truth is not even acknowledged. Yet the truth of this mystery is a unifying truth. This “hope of glory” knits hearts together as do the most noble of common aims.

 

1Jo 3:3  And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Col 2:1*  For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, . . . That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God. . .

 

For more on this topic see the chapter “The Timing of the Finishing of the Mystery of God” found in the little book “The Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection.”

 

*2:1 is only three verses after 1:27 and is in its immediate context

For a Word Doc, click here: Rev_10_-_The_Advent_Movement_and_Message

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