[Read Part 1 here, if you have not read it.]
And he swore an oath in the name of the one who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and everything in it, the earth and everything in it, and the sea and everything in it. (Rev 10:6 NSRV)1
Who created the earth? Who spoke creation into existence? (Heb 1, Col 1, John 1) Here Christ references the six literal, empirical, historical 24-hour days of creation, culminating with a literal 24-hour Sabbath day of rest, with the implication that human life on earth was non-existent before the literal creation week described in Genesis. Interestingly, to chase a rabbit here, Ellen White was aware of ideas similar to uniformitarianism and methodological naturalism. Yet, she continually repeated her clarion call to elevate a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-11 over humanity’s ideas of science. Therefore, if Adventist pioneer Ellen G. White were alive today, there is no evidence that she would accept reconstruction of either a historical creation week or a global flood.
Back to the oath. Here Christ swears by His own name. No more solemn oath could He take. And what was this oath, this declaration, this sworn statement?
Time will be no longer. (Rev 10:6)
Oh, yes, some of our favorite translations say, “There will be no more delay.” “Delay” is probably an unfortunate translation of the Greek word chronos. Certainly chronos is not translated “delay” anywhere else in the New Testament. For the sake of the argument of our pioneers, let’s translate chronos as time.
What time is Christ alluding to here? It can’t be earth time, because earth events are yet to unfold in the 7th trumpet. It can’t be probationary time, because we will see that people are still to be invited to make a decision for the Lord Jesus. So we have prophetic time, which ties nicely to the little book of Rev 10:2, which our pioneers identified as Daniel, particularly the prophetic portions, now to be understood by the people of God upon whom the ends of the earth have finally come. Our pioneers understood this to mean that after the fulfillment of the Scripture’s longest time prophecy of 2300 years culminated in 1844, there was to be no more time setting. Persons who announce Jesus’ coming on January 12, 2014, would be identified by our pioneers as false prophets!
But when the seventh angel blows his trumpet, God’s mysterious plan will be fulfilled. It will happen just as he announced it to his servants the prophets. (Rev 10:7 NLT)
What is God’s greatest miracle, His greatest mystery? Is it the raising of Lazarus? The creation of millions of galaxies? According to Ephesians 6:19 and Colossians 2:2, God’s greatest miracle, His greatest mystery, is the gospel! The renewal of my heart, and your heart, to be like the heart of Christ – that the things we once loved, we now hate, and the things we once hated, we now love. The fulfillment of God’s mysterious plan is taking out from the nations a people for God’s own name. The opportunity to be among God’s people is almost over. The gospel will be finished, according to our pioneers, when the number of God’s people is made up, when mercy ceases to be offered, and probation closes.
This is urgent! This is critical! There is importance connected to the finishing of any of the works of God.
Then the voice from heaven called to me again, “Go, and take the unrolled scroll from the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.”
So I approached him and asked him to give me the little scroll. “Yes, take it and eat it,” he said. (Rev 10:8 NRSV)
Jeremiah says, “I did take the word of God and I did eat it, and it became to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.” What does it mean to “eat the word of God?” I can tell you what it doesn’t mean! It doesn’t mean a quickie devotional with our hand on the doorknob on the way to our quickie life! Time with God, time with Scripture, will open our eyes and hearts, according to our pioneers, to expand on, build upon, and further clarify biblical understanding.
“Yes, take it and eat it,” he said. “At first it will taste like honey, but when you swallow it, it will make your stomach sour!” (Rev 10:9 NRSV)
So I took the little scroll from the hands of the angel, and I ate it! [And sure enough,] it was sweet in my mouth, but it made my stomach sour.” (Rev 10:10 NRSV)
Our spiritual ancestors saw these verses as a graphic description of their own experience of intense disappointment when Jesus, the center of their heart and hopes, did not return on October 22, 1844. They imagined the intensity of the heartbreak the disciples endured when Jesus did not meet their expectations of a deliverer from Roman oppression, and instead died, crucified, surrounded by mocking mobs.
For our spiritual pioneers, the resurrection of hope came October 23, as Hiram Edson pointed to the true significance of October 22, 1844, that our Lord and Savior began a new and beautiful and saving ministry in the Most Holy Place. Our pioneers met in Bible study to consider this interpretation. Ultimately their study of the Scriptures confirmed and expanded Edson’s insights. 2
Nonetheless, if the vision ended at verse 10, we might, like the proverbial dog, run yelping back to our doghouses with our tails between our legs. It is sometimes in our failure and mortification that God calls us once again to be agents to teach and proclaim the mystery of Himself.
And so it is with Revelation 10.
Then he said to me, “You MUST prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings.” (Rev 10:11)
“You MUST – note the emphatic Greek, no ambivalence here! – You MUST prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings.”
And what is to be the burden of our message this time? The second coming? Oh, yes! Referenced hundreds of times in Scripture, it is the hope, the holy expectancy, of every believer. The Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is Good News! It’s a “must-share!” But this time, central to that Good News is the ministry of our Lord and Savior in the Most Holy Place.
Ellen White states it so wonderfully in Ms 40, 1900:
“The gospel that is to be preached to all nations, kindreds, tongues and people presents the truth in clear lines, showing that obedience is the condition of gaining eternal life. Christ imparts His righteousness to those who consent to let Him take away their sins. We are indebted to Christ for the grace which makes us complete in Him.”
Precious Savior! Is He and His present work to be presented only to the unchurched? Oh, no! In Revelation 18:1-4, the angel declares that those systems, including religious systems, including ostensibly Christian religious systems, which teach confusion, false doctrine, are fallen. It is the privilege of our Adventist community of faith to call God’s people out of Babylon, so that they will not receive of the seven last plagues, and so that they can be part of one faith, one Lord, one baptism. (Eph 4:5)
This is our sacred heritage, our holy calling. Our pioneers were on fire with a passion for introducing people to Jesus Christ. That inner fire changed what they talked about, what they did in their spare time, how they spent their money, how they planned the church budget, how they did youth ministry — in short, the gospel commission was their mission!
What about us?