This chapter and the greater part of the next, from the first to the fourteenth verse inclusive, is of the nature of a parenthesis; for the fifteenth verse of the 11th chapter evidently connects the narrative or
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series of events with the ninth chapter. The ninth chapter closes with an intimation of impenitence on the part of those who had been punished by the plagues of the preceding trumpets. Then it follows, as we have seen, that they are to be still farther visited by the infliction of the closing judgment symbolized by the seventh trumpet. The immediate design, therefore, of interrupting the natural order of the narrative is to place before us the actual condition of society when the seventh trumpet sounds.1. And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:
2. And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth,
3. And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.
pet had been without its appropriate object, as presented in any preceding part of the prophecy. To present that object is the special design of the little book. All the events predicted in this book of Revelation are not successive in the order of time, but some are coincident; and the inspired writer of the Apocalypse, on several occasions goes back, as we shall see, in order to explain at greater length, what had been but briefly and obscurely narrated.
"sealed up." until it be demonstrated to all the world by the seventh trumpet and vial.
4. And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.
5. And the angel, which I saw stand upon the sea, and upon the earth, lifted up his hand to heaven,
6. And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, 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 hath declared to his servants the prophets.
draweth nigh." (Luke xxi. 28.) To the prophet Daniel the same event was attested with like solemnity. (Dan. xii. 7.) This is the period to which the suffering saints of God have been long looking forward with believing and joyful hope. As Abraham rejoiced to see Christ's day of appearing in our nature, and by faith saw and it and was glad; so the covenanted seed of the father of the faithful, in the light of prophecy, and by like precious faith, are favored with a view of the certain downfall of mystical Babylon.
8. And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.
9. And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.
10. 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.
11. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
(Jer. xv. 16.) A speculative knowledge of the word of God, and especially of those parts that are prophetical, will afford pleasure to the human intellect, even though the mind be unsanctified. (Matt. xiii. 20, 21.) But when the prophet gets a farther insight into the contents as containing "lamentations, and mourning and woe," like Ezekiel's roll; the pleasure is converted into pain. A foresight of the sorrows and sufferings of Christ s witnesses causes grief to the Christian's sensitive heart. He "weeps with them that weep," by the spontaneous sympathies of a common and renewed nature. "Sweet in the mouth as honey, but in the belly bitter as wormwood and gall."