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Chap. x. 1-11. AND I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud : and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was 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. 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 earth, 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. 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.
The subject of the prophecy now turns upon the state of the Church in the western empire, to which this tenth chapter is an introduction. In the conclusion of the last chapter, a discovery was made to the Apostle of the impenitence of the western church, and of their perseverance in their abominable corruptions, during the period of the two first woe trumpets; but before he was made acquainted with the events which follow the sounding of the seventh trumpet, or the third woe, he had farther revelations made of the state of this antichristian church. This information was introduced by an august and consolatory vision. A mighty and glorious angel, “ clothed with a cloud, and with a rainbow around “ his head," came down from heaven. This was no other than Jesus Christ himself, or an emblematical display of his glory. The rainbow is the same emblem which surrounds the throne of God, and which denotes the covenant of peace. This symbol seems to imply that the Church should not be overwhelmed by that deluge which was about to proceed from the cloud. “ His face was as the sun, and his feet as “ pillars of fire.” These particulars agree with the description of our Lord, as given in the first chapter. The lustre of Christ, like that of the sun, is underived and inherent. “And he had in his hand a “ little book open;" or literally, according to the Greek, which had been opened. This opened little book is a subject which has exceedingly perplexed the writers on the Apocalypse. Bishop Newton supposes it to be a codicil to develope the state and circumstances of the western church after the description that had been given of the eastern, including the calamities of the former, till they should have a happy terinination under the seventh trumpet. Mr. Scott supposes it to be a codicil including the fourteen first verses of the eleventh chapter, as containing an important appendix to the ninth, and giving an account of the state of the western church during the fifth and sixth trumpets. Mr. Faber supposes it to be a codicil containing the prophecies from the eleventh to the fourteenth chapter inclusive. If the little book is to be considered as a codicil or appendix, Mr. Scott's view of the subject seems to be least objectionable. But, with all due deference to the opinions of these eminent men, I cannot but decidedly agree with those commentators * who consider the little book (RiCrapidlov) to be a part of the book (B.62.10v) before mentioned, having the seven seals. The little book having been opened, implies that it must previously have been sealed. It seems, therefore, to have been part of the book with seven seals opened by the lion of the tribe of Judah, or otherwise there must have been two sealed books, which would imply that the original book was imperfect. But this would not comport with its emblematical description, representing it as containing seven parts under seven seals, the number of perfection, and therefore indicating that it would completely reveal the whole mystery of God. Every one of these parts might with propriety be called “a “ little book.” The last of these, under the seventh seal, upon the principles of all commentators, contained vastly more in substance, whatever its size may have been, than all the rest, as it evidently includes in it the events of the seven trumpets and the seven vials, taking up a period of time from the year 325 to the commencement of the millennium. Some of the events under the seventh seal had been already disclosed by the sounding of the six trumpets, but
more remained yet to be revealed. The little book, therefore, seems to have been the seventh or inmost roll of the large book with seven seals, all of which Christ had opened, containing the remaining prophecies of the trumpets and vials, and including what has hitherto been omitted under the six trumpets, together with some retrospective information that preceded their sounding *.
* An objection will probably arise in the minds of some to the long space of time, and the variety of objects, contained in the little book; but this objection will lose its force, if it be considered as the seventh volume of the original sealed book. To view this BiGrazidov as a codicil, or separate book, with Mr. Faber, and as including the celebrated period of twelve hundred and sixty years, when the seven rolls of the great book do not comprehend so many as two thousand (if we consider the predicted times as terminating with the sounding of the seventh trumpet, when the kingdoms of the world shall have become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ), presents an objection to the mind to which a satisfactory answer cannot easily be given. This respectable commentator, in support of his opinion, observes that “the seventh angel is actually “ sounding in the little book.” (Rev. xi. 15.) But this argument, on the principle that the little book is a codicil, or separate volume, from the great book, is a begging of the question, as Mr. Scott considers the little book to terminate with verse fourteenth of that chapter. I agree with Mr. Faber, that the little book includes the three last trumpets; but this is admitted solely on the ground that it is the seventh roll included under the seventh seal of the large volume. This seems to be the true interpretation, for the reasons before stated; with the additional one, that if this little book be considered as a codicil of the large one, there is not the least indication given when its contents terminate, or when we are to return to the original book with seven seals, the contents of which are evidently not yet developed. If the little book be considered as a codicil terminating with verse fourteen of the eleventh chapter, the farther developement of the seventh seal, which is a little book in * comparison of the volume of which it is the seventh part, will repeatedly take us back to the same period of time to which the supposed codicil refers. If, therefore, we include only one more brief and general description of the western church in the predictions of the seventh seal, the idea of a codicil or separate book may be excluded; and all that follows may be considered as the remaining prophecies of that little book which had been opened by the seventh seal, which the mighty angel now held in his hand in that state, and of which part of the contents had been previously disclosed. It is, however, a matter of minor importance, whether the book in
This mighty angel, which the Apostle saw, set his right foot on the sea and his left on the dry land, which denotes his absolute dominion over the whole earth, and perhaps intimates his determination of spreading his Gospel through every part of it. He demanded attention with a voice like the roaring of a lion, which may imply that he was the same personage, or an emblematic representation of the same personage before described ; the lion of the tribe of Judah, to whom the sealed book was delivered to be opened. The majesty of his voice may denote the power and terror of his word to all his obstinate enemies. After this, seven thunders were heard, uttering in a most awful manner intelligible voices. The word seven, as the reader will have observed, is frequently made use of in this mystical book. The whole prophecy is described under seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven vials. Here a particular prophecy, or perhaps seven distinct ones, are uttered by seven thunders; but, whatever intelligence the Apostle might receive from this divine communication, he was forbidden to disclose it. This may teach us that some events belonging to this seal and trumpet are not revealed in the prophecy, and that important events may occur which are not here predicted. Or, according to the opinion of some, the prophetic voices of these thunders may have been
the hand of the angel be considered as an appendix, as the seventh roll of the large book, or (as Mr. Mede supposes) as another separate volume, containing all the remaining prophecies of the Revelation, to the sounding of the seventh trumpet. It is of vastly more consequence to obtain the wisdom that will lead us to understand and observe the words of the prophecy contained in the volume, whatever it may be. On either hypothesis, no alteration need be made in the grand outline of Mr. Mede. Every event may be referred to the times to which, according to the synchronisms of that father of the apocalyptic commentators, it belongs; and which are not founded upon mere conjecture or hypothesis, but evidently deduced from the internal structure of this mysterious prophecy.