Saturday, 03 June 2017 00:22

68. The little scroll: an oath about time * Revelation 10:1-7- Part 3 of 3

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5 And the angel whom I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven,

6 And swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that are therein, and the earth, and the things that are therein, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:

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 has declared to his servants the prophets.

 

Part 3 - Revelation 10:5-7

 

*** Background text ***: We read about a very similar scene in Daniel 12:7:"And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and swore by him that lives forever that it shall be for a time, times, and a half; and when he shall have accomplished the shattering of the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished." Let's take a look, and compare the text in Revelation 10:1, 2, 6 and 7 and Daniel 12:7, so we can have a better understanding of what John was seeing in his vision.

 

  Revelation 10:1, 2, 6 and 7 Daniel 12:7
A messenger clothed with a cloud (verse 1) in linen
Was standing up with his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth (verses 2 and 5) above the waters of the river
Had hands lifted up lifted up his hand to heaven (verse 5) he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven
Swore the oath by God swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that are therein, and the earth, and the things that are therein, and the sea, and the things which are therein (verse 6) swore by him that lives forever
The oath had to do with time there should be time no longer (verse 6) it shall be for a time, times, and a half
The time frame 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 has declared to his servants the prophets (verse 7) when he shall have accomplished the shattering of the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.

 

The messengers in the texts of Revelation 10 and Daniel 12:7 are making an oath about a prophetic time. In Daniel 12:7, the emphasis is on when that period of time will end. The emphasis in Revelation is on when that time would begin. Are they talking about the same period of time? Or does one time begin when the other one ends? If they are different, which one comes first? Clearly, both passages are related. Let's look further into the text in Revelation, in order to answer these questions.

*** Hands lifted up ***: John was paying close attention to the strong angel in his vision. In study #66 and #67, we saw the description of the angel and the importance of the unsealed prophetic message of God. John saw the angel lift up his hand to Heaven (Revelation 10:5). The angel was about to swear an oath. The angel is the vessel for the message, but the oath the angel is pronouncing is God's own oath. The angel has no control over God's timing of events. God is in control of determining when "there should be time no longer" (Revelation 10:6).

*** The oath: There should be time no longer ***: The oath itself is very short. It tell us that "there should be time no longer" (Revelation 10:6). In contrast, the oath in Daniel 12:7 has to do with the setting of a time: "it shall be for a time, times, and a half". In other words, in Revelation, there is no more time. In Daniel, there is one. Here we can see that these oaths refer to different moments in the history of humanity. The message in Revelation is open, unsealed. The message in Daniel 12 is to be "closed up and sealed up until the time of the end" (Daniel 12:9). Then we ask ourselves: what does God mean by "time"? There are two Greek words which are translated as time: kairos and chronos. Kairos refers to a single and fixed point in time, like a moment, a day, or a season. Chronos, which is the root of the word chronometer, refers to a span of time, the duration of a period, a time frame with a beginning and end. In mathematical terms, it would be the same as describing kairos as a dot, and chronos as a line. The word used for 'time' in Revelation 10 is the word chronos. Some Bible scholars suggest that the phrase could read as "there will be no more 'delay'". The word 'delay', however, implies that the events of the time of the end have been shifted to a later time. God's time is perfect, and nothing is unforeseen that should make Him change His timing of things. Perhaps, a better understanding of the oath would be to say that the span of time given is over. The time of precisely determined dates being revealed to mankind is up. The last events are about to unfold.

The time mentioned in Daniel 12:7 is also a span of time: "it shall be for a time, times, and a half". The Hebrew word translated as time is moed, which means "appointed time, place, or meeting". In Hebrew, they used this term "a time" to refer to one year. The term times referred to two years. The prophecy in Daniel 12:7 then reads as "a year, 2 years, and half a year", which totals 3.5 years. As we've seen in studies #16 and #20, the time periods in prophecy are often not literal. In prophecy, 1 prophetic day equals 1 literal year (Ezekiel 4:6,7; Numbers 14:34; Leviticus 25:8). In the case of Daniel 12:7, which includes 3.5 prophetic years, the span of literal time of this prophecy is actually 1260 literal years. Le'ts take a closer look at how we arrived at this number:

- First, we need to know that the Jewish people counted years and months differently than we do today. They followed the lunar cycle. The months had 30 days, and a year had 360 days. Every so often, they would have an extra month to compensate. Today, we do basically the same thing on our calendar. We add an extra day to February every 4 years and we have some months with 31 days.

 

- 1 year = 360 days
- 3.5 years = 3 x 360 = 1260 days

- 1 prophetic day = 1 literal year
- 1260 prophetic days = 1260 literal years

 

This prophetic period in Daniel is part of an even bigger time prophecy: the 2300-day prophecy (Daniel 8:14). The 2300-day prophecy is the longest time-prophecy stated in the Bible. Using the '1 day = 1 year' rule, the prophecy in Daniel 8:14 equals to 2300 years. This period would be useless to us if we did not know when it started. But the Bible tells us exactly when it did. This period started when the decree to restore Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25). That happened in 457 BC. When we add 2300 years to the year 457 BC, we arrive at the year 1844. If you are calculating it yourself, remember to add 1 year to your result to compensate for the lack of a year zero. There was no year zero. The AD calendar started in the year 1.

The prophecy of Daniel 12:7 does not end in 1844, but is rather contained within the 2300 prophecy. The study today is not aimed to describe the prophecies in the book of Daniel in great detail, but just to situate them in relation to the oath stated in Revelation 10:6. The sections of time contained in the 2300-day prophecy were very accurate and pointed to an exact year in the calendar. The Bible, however, does not give us a specific time prophecy after the end of the 2300-day one. We have prophecies of things that will happen after the year 1844, such as the final events and the Second Coming itself. But we don't know the exact year when those things will happen. In that sense, "time should be no longer" after 1844. Exact dates are no longer directly revealed to humans after that year. And so, after 1844, the last period of human history began.

*** The mystery of God ***: The little scroll contained a small section of the mystery of God. The disclosure of the contents of the larger sealed scroll seen in Revelation 5 will only take place at the sound of the seventh trumpet (Revelation 10:7). The scene where the little scroll is being presented to John happens between the sixth and the seventh trumpet. But God has always revealed portions of His mystery to humans. He has been doing that since the Garden of Eden. He continued to do so throughout History. We can see God's revelations through many books in the Bible, especially the prophetic ones in the Old Testament (such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Zachariah, and many others). God never leaves His people in the dark. He always tells them what His plans are: "Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, unless he reveals his secret unto his servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7). Today, we continue to preach God's mystery, as we spread the Gospel (Romans 16:25-26; Ephesians 3:4-12; Colossians 1:26,27). Just like the small scroll John saw, at this point, we only have a portion of the complexities that are involved in the entirety of God's mystery. No one prophet was given the complete message. Even when we put together all that we know to date, we still can't comprehend the depths of the love of God, His plan of Salvation, or God Himself.

*** Overview ***: The strong angel is the one proclaiming the statement, but actually, God is the One making the oath. When God makes such a declaration, it cannot be revoked: "So God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in that it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong encouragement, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us" (Hebrews 6:17,18). God's promise is immutable, as well as the oath that confirms His promise. Christ's death on the cross was in itself the revelation of a great part of God's mystery. Salvation through Jesus' sacrifice is the key element in the proclamation of God's mystery through the Gospel (Romans 16:25,26; Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 3:4-12; Colossians 1:26,27). The scene with the little scroll takes place in or after 1844, which is much later than the end of the prophecy of Daniel 12 in 1798. Times which had been set are now in the past - "there should be time no longer" (Revelation 10:6). The contiguous time of the end has started.

To answer our initial questions regarding the oaths in Daniel 12 and Revelation 10: Are they talking about the same period of time? No. they refer to different periods in history. Does one time begin when the other one ends? Not quite. The prophecy in Daniel 12 ends in 1798, and the oath marks the time beginning after the year 1844. There is a gap there, which is covered by other prophecies.

The main point of the oath stated in Revelation 10:6 is that just as God had kept His promise regarding the prophecies given in Daniel 12, He will continue to keep His promises to His people after the sixth trumpet. This message is directed to Christians living in the last days. God is once again reassuring us that He is Truth. The circumstances around the end-time believers may be grim as if the enemy could be dominating the spiritual war. But we must not be afraid. We can trust God. We can feel encouraged because His word is immutable (Hebrews 6:17,18). God will prevail!

 

   
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