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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 10

Godbey's Commentary on the New TestamentGodbey's NT Commentary

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Verses 1-11

IN chapter a notable scene comes on the prophetic drama. It is the Crusades, which began in the tenth century, and lasted two hundred years. After Jerusalem and all Palestine fell into the hands of the Mohammedans, A.D. 637, and all the Christians who would not turn Moslem and exchange the Bible for the Koran were either killed or driven out of Asia, consequently, the wilds of Europe became the asylum of the Lord’s people. Of course, the saints turned pilgrims by thousands and thronged the Holy Land, especially Jerusalem. How they loved to linger on Calvary and about the holy sepulcher! When I was there in 1895, I saw multitudes of pilgrims, representing many different nationalities. I myself was a pilgrim. So many Armenian pilgrims come to Jerusalem that they have a convent on Mt. Zion, which accommodates eight thousand. While these pilgrims were so intensely grieved to see the patrimony of our Savior, the manger of His nativity, the holy sepulcher, Mt. Calvary, all Jerusalem, and the Holy Land in possession of the infidels, the cruel Moslems treated them very roughly, and often killed them without the slightest provocation. Therefore, a deep conviction settled down on Christian Europe that it was their duty to go and drive the Mahometans out of the Holy Land. The pope of Rome approved and blessed the enterprise, commissioning Peter the Hermit and Walter the Penniless, two red-hot holiness cranks, to traverse all Europe, everywhere preaching the Crusades. The Continent was shaken with the momentum of an earthquake. It seemed that all Christendom would rise up and volunteer in these holy wars, responsive to the cause of these fire-baptized heralds, and march away into Asia to drive the infidels out of the Holy Land. Thus all Christendom united to drive the Turks out of the Holy Laud. They fought two hundred years, and lost two millions of lives, only in the end to succumb to hopeless defeat, and retreat crestfallen out of Asia without the vaguest hope of ever recovering the patrimony of our Savior. However, by terrible dint of arms and tremendous slaughter, they did capture Jerusalem and hold it seventy years. When I was there I saw much of their works. Quite a number of monuments and edifices, built by the Crusaders eight hundred years ago, are still to be seen at Jerusalem. Godfrey of Bouillon, a most amiable Christian character was the heroic leader of the Crusaders when they took Jerusalem. I saw and handled his sword while in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Yet the Moslems never ceased to fight. They continued to come from the ends of the earth and fight the Christians with desperation, till they drove them out of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Though all Christendom, united in a two-hundred-years’ war, signally failed to conquer the Turk, God in due time will kill him. Daniel 8:25: He shall be broken without hand.” Eight hundred years have rolled away, and the prophecies haste in their fulfillment. The Turk is doomed!

In this chapter, the Angel of Revelation holds up a little open book. John, who represents the Church. is thrilled with enthusiasm to take it and respond to its contents. The Angel of Apocalypse gives him the most solemn warning. Standing with one foot on land and the other on sea, he, with uplifted hand, swears by Him that liveth forever and ever (not as your English reads, “Time shall be no more,” but as Dr. Clarke gives it), “The time is not yet.” Of this rendering we have an indubitable confirmation in the 7th verse, where the Holy Ghost says:” The mystery of God was finished in the seventh trumpet;” The Crusades took place in the sixth trumpet, whereas, the Holy Land is to be restored, the Jews converted, and the Lord come to reign in the seventh trumpet. “As He preached to His servants the prophets.” A universal conviction settled down on the Christian world that the Lord would come at the close of the tenth century, believing that He would come to Jerusalem, and there establish His millennial throne. Therefore, they wanted to be at Jerusalem to greet with shouts their descending Lord, and enjoy His glorified presence. Consequently, they determined to go and drive out the infidel Moslems and purify the city of Islam idolatry before the Lord should come. Here the notable dialogue between the angel representing the Divine administration, standing with one foot on the sea and the other on land, holding in his right hand the open book of prophecy, and John, the representative of the Lord’s people, supervenes. The angel adds to his proclamation all the solemnities of an oath, certifying that the time is not yet arrived for Jerusalem to be delivered, the Moslem power driven out of the Holy Land, and the King of Glory to descend on His throne; that these wonderful prophecies will not be fulfilled till the seventh trumpet sounds. The prophet, in his incorrigible enthusiasm, literally burns with celestial ardor to take the book out of the hand of the angel, read, and obey the prophecy, the angel having solemnly sworn that the time for these wonderful fulfillments has not yet come; but positively asseverates that the impatient Church must wait till the seventh trumpet sounds before she can possess the Holy Land, drive out the Mohammedans, and hail her descending King. We must remember this was in the midnight of the Dark Ages, when not one man in a thousand could read or write, and even the Lord’s holy people, as a matter of necessity, were profoundly ignorant and superstitious. They had this prophecy, but understood it not; otherwise, they would never have undertaken the Crusades. But when the angel sees they will go into the Crusades, he says: “Take the book and eat it up; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth sweet as honey.” John certifies that he did take the book and eat it up.. While eating it, it was sweet as honey in his mouth; but afterwards it awfully embittered and nauseated his stomach. John here is simply testifying for the Church. The Crusades were not only premature, but out of the Divine order. When the infidel Turk has finished his career, and adequately castigated the fallen Church, God will kill him (Daniel 8:25). All Christendom united and fought two hundred years to drive the Turk out of the Holy Land, and signally failed, having depopulated Europe and left a million of her best citizens to bleach their bones on Asiatic soil.

Thus out of the Holy Land the Christians are driven by the Turks, after an exterminating war of two hundred years. The final defeat of the Crusaders fell with paralyzing and deadening shock on all Christendom. When the sad news of Jerusalem’s recapture by the Saracens reached Rome, Pope Urban fell dead. God was not ready for Turkdom to fall. Hence it stood against the combined powers of Christendom. Eight hundred years of castigatory judgments and forlorn hope have passed away. Glory to God, the day is breaking, and the Sun of righteousness will soon rise upon the world with healing in His wings! Never did the world know such revival tornadoes as swept all Christendom while Peter the Hermit and Walter the Penniless, commissioned by the pope to preach the Crusades to all nations, moved like cyclones of fire throughout all Europe. Then the book was sweet in the mouth. After two hundred years of war, pestilence, and famine, impoverishing Europe, and slaying two millions of inhabitants, the last hope of recovering the Holy Land sank into the eclipse of rayless night. Then the book was hitter in the stomach.

11. This verse farther confirms the oath of the angel, certifying that the end of the age is not yet, as that was in the sixth trumpet; but it is reserved for the seventh trumpet to proclaim the end of the Gentile Age, the reoccupancy of the Holy Land by the Lord’s people, the castigatory judgments of the Almighty against a wicked world and a fallen Church, and the return of the glorified Savior, to sit on His millennial throne. In this verse we see that the Apocalyptic prophet is yet to deliver his message “ to many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.”

This whole tenth chapter is parenthetical between the two great periods of Mussulman conquest. The glorious victory achieved by Christendom in the battle of Tours, France, under the heroic leadership of Charles Martel, was like life from the dead. A hundred and fifty years had rolled away, during which victory had constantly perched upon the Crescent, while the Cross had everywhere trailed in the dust. The Moslem was sanguine upon the conquest of all Europe, which would have exterminated Christendom from the earth. So alarming were the conquests of Asia, Africa, and Spain, that all Europe trembled in fearful anticipation of what seemed to be inevitable doom. The victory of Tours was really a sunburst on all Christendom, and for the first time rolled back the bloody tide of the Saracen wars, and inspired all Christian nations with the hope, not only of self-defense, but laid the foundation of that co-operation and enterprise which eventually led to the Crusades. The final and signal defeat of the Crusaders by the Moslems, and their hopeless expulsion out of Asia, inspired the Mohammedan nations to resume their devastating and predatory wars for the extermination of Christianity and the conquest of the world.

Bibliographical Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on Revelation 10". "Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ges/revelation-10.html.
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