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THE OPEN BOOK
CRITICAL AND EXEGETICAL NOTES
“AND yet, notwithstanding all these calamities—last appeals from the Divine holiness to the conscience of man—men do not come to themselves. They continue to live in their idolatrous and corrupt practices. The seventh trumpet is preceded by an episode which has specially in view the destiny of Israel in the crisis which is coming on. In order clearly to indicate that we are here dealing with a scene by itself, and, as it were, isolated in the midst of the great apocalyptic drama, the author makes it the subject of a special little book, inserted within the great one. John is to eat it. This represents the most complete spiritual assimilation. This nourishment is to strengthen him for taking up again the great prophecy relating to ‘peoples and nations, and tongues and kings’ (Revelation 10:11). The contents of ‘the little book,’ which are at once joyful and bitter are comprehended in Revelation 11:1-13 (Godet). The ‘little book’ certainly indicates a supplementary prophecy, introducing a fuller account of the rise, progress, decline, and restoration, of Christianity, preparatory to the revelations of the seventh trumpet. This account is presented in a twofold form.
1. In the discourse of the angel (Revelation 11:1-13).
2. In the visions seen by St. John, Revelation 12:1-14” (W. and W.).
Revelation 10:1. Another mighty angel.—This angel comes as the representative, and in the power of, Christ, to remind God’s secret ones that Christ is with them “all the days,” and will surely instruct them as to their conduct amid these calamities. Clothed with a cloud.—The token always of the Divine presence. Rainbow.—Revelation 4:3. Token of covenant. Sun, etc. See figures of chap. 1.
Revelation 10:2. Little book.—Contrasted with the book of Revelation 5:1. The attitude of the angel symbolises his taking possession of the whole world. The contents of the little book are partly given in the following chapter.
Revelation 10:4. Write them not.—The idea is that some things are only for those who have ears to hear. St. John may hear and understand, but it is useless to expect others to understand. Compare our Lord’s words, “I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.”
Revelation 10:6. Time no longer.—Not “finite time,” as opposed to “eternity.” The idea of time here is delay. There shall be no time lost before judgment shall fall. The suffering saints had cried, “How long?” They were bidden to wait awhile. Now they are told that they will have to wait no longer.
Revelation 10:7. Mystery of God.—“The whole of His plan and of His counsel concerning this earth in its present state of discipline and of imperfection—all that God means to do upon it and towards it, even till that which we read of as the “time of the end” (Daniel 12:4-9).
Revelation 10:9. Eat it up.—“Thoroughly consider and digest it,” “make its contents your own” (see Ezekiel 2:8; Ezekiel 3:3). Belly bitter, etc.—The first effect of being admitted to share in the Divine counsels is delightful, but when those counsels are known and realised, they may cause grave distress and anxiety; the Christ-like sorrow for those against whom God’s wrath is revealed, who “knew not the time of their visitation.” The devouring of the book is a figure for the thorough and eager perusal of it. What the seer learns by the reading is matter both for joy, and grief: for joy, because of the good tidings respecting the faithful disciples of Christ; of grief, because of the evils which were to come upon many who would persevere in their wickedness.
Note on the “Little Open Book.”—It is that gospel which is the sword of the Spirit, the weapon of the Church, that Word of God, open to all, hidden only from those whom the god of this world has blinded. The fallen powers may bear the key, and let loose darkening clouds of confused thought and unworthy teaching; the outer courts of the Church may be overcast; but unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness, and God’s Word has risen with new light and power upon the bewilderments and glooms of the age.—Bishop Boyd Carpenter.
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Revelation 10". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17