Read Revelation 10. What is the message of the angel with the little scroll? What does it mean to “prophesy again”?
The portrayal of the angel recalls the description of Christ (Rev. 1:13–16) and of the divine-like “man in linen” in Daniel’s last vision (Dan. 10:5-6; 12:5–7), suggesting that they are identical. In Daniel 12:6-7, He swore by the One who lives forever as He gave the prophecy of three and a half times (1,260 years). This is a repeat of the crucial prophecy given in Daniel 7:25, describing that God’s people would face terrible persecution, another truth that is repeated in Daniel 12:7, as well.
The book of Daniel was supposed to be sealed until the end of time. Then it would be opened, and many would gain knowledge from it (Dan. 12:4–9). When the prophesied period of 1,260 years ended, the time had come to open the book for further knowledge. This is symbolized by the open book in the hand of the angel in Revelation 10. From then on, Daniel’s prophecies were to be better understood.
At the same time, Revelation 10 reveals that the experience would not all be pleasant. John ate the book as commanded, and it was sweet in his mouth but bitter to his stomach. John stands symbolically for the people who internalized the book of Daniel. This prophetic description, we believe, was fulfilled in the Millerite movement, which arose in the first half of the nineteenth century amid great worldwide interest in end-time events. It also describes the bitter disappointment of those who understood that the long-time prophecies in Daniel referred to their time, but not as they had first thought. The “2,300 evenings and mornings” did not signal the return of Christ but, rather, the beginning of the great judgment scene of Daniel 7.
Right after the bitter experience, John was told to “prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings” (Rev. 10:11, NASB). This is being fulfilled as Seventh-day Adventists preach the “everlasting gospel” to the world.
Disappointment isn’t alien to Christians, especially when they misinterpret the meaning of events. Certainly the experience of the disciples between their Master’s death and His resurrection was a disappointment. Such was the experience of the Millerites in 1844. How can we handle disappointments without losing our faith? What Bible promises can you hold onto during your own times of disappointment?