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Bible Commentaries

Simeon's Horae Homileticae

Revelation 10

Verses 5-6


Revelation 10:5-6. The angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever ..that there should be time no longer.

NEVER was there a more beautiful instance of descriptive imagery than that before us. In ver. 1, a mighty angel (probably the Angel of the covenant, the Lord Jesus Christ) is represented as coming from heaven to make known to the beloved Disciple the purposes and decrees of God. His vesture was a cloud, which intimated that “clouds and darkness being round about him,” neither his person nor his message could be fully known. His face shone as the brightness of the meridian sun, which denoted his transcendent excellency and glory; while a rainbow, intimating his faithfulness to all his covenant-engagements, encircled his head as a royal diadem. His feet were as pillars of fire, marking at once his immoveable firmness, and irresistible power. His posture was such as became his august appearance, and the solemn embassy on which he was come: he set his feet, the one on the earth, and the other on the sea, expressing thereby his sovereign dominion over the whole universe. In this situation he cried with a loud voice, like the roaring of a lion: upon which seven thunders, like a responsive echo, uttered their voices. The attention of the whole creation being thus deeply fixed, this glorious personage, in the manner of those who appeal to God, lifted up his hand, and sware by him who liveth for ever and ever, even by the Creator of heaven and earth; and that which he thus solemnly affirmed with an oath, was, that there should be time no longer.

Commentators understand this oath in different ways. Some think it relates to the introduction of the millennium; others to the commencement of the eternal state. The whole period fixed for the reign of antichrist was twelve hundred and sixty years, or, in the language of prophecy, “a time, and times, and half a time:” and the oath declares, that the power of antichrist shall continue no longer than to that precise period; and that then the end of the world (as some think) or the happy state of the Church (which is the more probable opinion) shall succeed. But without entering into this question, the words, in whichever way they be understood, will furnish us with this important observation, that,

our times are in god’s hands.

That God has fixed the duration of the world itself, and the limits of every man’s existence in it, is a truth so evident, that it is needless to dwell long upon the proof of it [Note: See Job 14:14; Job 7:1; Job 14:5.]. But to get it suitably impressed upon our minds, is a work of great difficulty, and worthy of our united attention. To promote this end, let the following considerations be laid to heart:


If God has fixed the period for our existence here, it is impossible for us to prolong it

[No strength of constitution can withstand the stroke of death [Note: Job 21:18; Job 21:23-26.] — — — No physician’s skill can administer either antidote or cure [Note: They are extremely useful as God’s instruments to effect his will: but they cannot in any instance counteract it. The monarch as well as the beggar must obey the summons of his God.] — — — No friends or relatives can procure one moment’s respite [Note: They may cry till their throats are dry, their eyes are bloated, and their very hearts break with sorrow; but death, that relentless messenger, will be deaf to their intreaties, and inflict the stroke on the devoted victim.] — — — Nor shall any want of preparation in us avail for the lengthening out of our appointed time [Note: We may be living securely and without thought; or be intending soon to reform our lives; or be professors of religion in a backslidden state, and hoping for a season of revival; but no regard will be paid to our unfitness for death: yea rather, that very circumstance may be God’s reason for removing us without a moment’s warning. Matthew 24:48-51. 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3.] — — — If God has said, “This night shall thy soul be required of thee,” even though we retired to our bed in perfect health, we should never behold the morning light [Note: Luke 12:20.].]


When the period fixed for our existence here shall arrive, there will be an end of all present things

[All our earthly connexions will be dissolved [Note: We shall no more rejoice in the wife of our youth, or fondle in our arms our infant offspring, or enjoy the friend that is as our own soul: every social tie will be cut asunder, and every gratification of sense be taken from us.] — — — All our plans and purposes will be broken [Note: If we were forming vast and comprehensive plans for our own personal benefit, or the good of the state, and had almost brought them to maturity; if we were just on the eve of renouncing our earthly and carnal lusts in order to turn more fully unto God; if we were in the very act of determining to read our Bible, to attend ordinances, and to devote ourselves to God; all would be frustrated the very instant that our time was come. Psalms 146:4.] — — — All our opportunities of spiritual improvement will for ever cease [Note: All things are ready for us now: the Holy Spirit is ready to teach us, Christ to cleanse us, and the Father to accept us: ministers are ready to lead us, angels to welcome us, the oxen and fatlings to feast us, and all the promises to own us as their lawful heir. But, as soon as the last sand of our glass is fallen, all will be past and gone. There will be no more ordinances to instruct, or promises to encourage, or pastors to guide, or drawings of God’s Spirit to incline us: the fountain of Christ’s blood will be for ever closed; the bowels of divine mercy will yearn over us no more; nor will the angels any more tender us their friendly services. The day once ended, we can work no more for ever.] — — —]


When the appointed moment shall come, our eternal state will be irrevocably fixed

[There will be no change whatever in the grave [Note: Ecclesiastes 9:10. Whatever our real character was in death, such it will remain, Revelation 22:11. just as Babel remained, from the instant that God confounded the languages of the builders.] — — — They who die without an interest in Christ will be for ever miserable [Note: There was an impassable gulf fixed between the rich man and Lazarus: nor was there so much as the smallest mitigation of pain allowed to him that was in hell. Luke 16:26. Revelation 14:10-11. As on Noah’s entrance into the ark the door was shut; so there will remain no possibility of admission into heaven, if once we die without an interest in Christ.] — — — They who have improved their time for the great ends and purposes of life, will be for ever happy in the presence of their God [Note: They shall be as pillars in the temple of their God, and shall go no more out. Revelation 3:12; Revelation 4:8; Revelation 7:15.] — — —]


This very day or night may be our last—

[Yes; if the term of our continuance on earth be now to expire, we cannot resist the Divine will; we must go: but whither? Can it be to the regions of the damned? O how shall we dwell with everlasting burnings [Note: Isaiah 33:14.]? Is there reason to hope that we should go to heaven? then welcome sickness! welcome death! But let us not rest one moment while this awful matter is in suspense.]


Our last day must come soon, at all events—

[What if we live fifty or sixty years! the time will soon be gone, as a weaver’s shuttle passing through the loom [Note: Job 7:6.]; and then the thread of life will be cut. They who are now advanced in years look back upon their past life as a dream. So will it appear to us also, when it is spent. Let us then work while it is day; and before the night comes, in which no man can work [Note: John 9:4.].]


The present moment is of infinite importance to us all—

[It is all that we can call our own: and on this eternity depends. Let us therefore live as those who live for eternity [Note: 1 Corinthians 7:29-31.]. If ever we should be with Christ in Paradise, shall we regret that we took so much pains to get thither? If, on the contrary, we should ever lift up our eyes in hell, shall we not bewail the supineness that brought us thither? Let us then awake from our slumbers; and labour, that, at whatever time our Lord may come, he may find us watching [Note: Much of the foregoing matter would serve to illustrate another text, Jeremiah 28:16. This year them shall die. It might be treated thus: 1. What prospect there is that the text will be fulfilled in us—(Many will die this year—No one has any security that he himself shall not be among the number—We all feel in ourselves the seeds of death—Many who in all respects were as likely to live as we, are dead already—There is a year coming wherein every one of us must die.) 2. What effect that prospect should have upon us—(It should make us, dead to the world—serious in self-examination—diligent in working out our salvation.)].]

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Bibliographical Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Revelation 10". Simeon's Horae Homileticae. 1832.