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REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE - Chapter 10 - Verse 7

Verse 7. But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel. The days in the period of time embraced by the sounding of the seventh trumpet. That is, the affairs of this world would not be consummated in that period embraced in the sounding of the sixth trumpet, but in that embraced in the sounding of the seventh and last of the trumpets. Compare Re 11:15-19.

When he shall begin to sound. That is, the events referred to will commence at the period when the angel shall begin to sound. It will not be merely during or in that period, but the sounding of the trumpet, and the beginning of those events, will be contemporaneous. In other words, then would commence the reign of righteousness—the kingdom of the Messiah—the dominion of the saints on the earth.

The mystery of God should be finished. On the meaning of the word mystery, see Barnes "Eph 1:9".

It means here, as elsewhere in the New Testament, the purpose or truth of God which had been concealed, and which had not before been communicated to man. Here the particular reference is to the Divine purpose which had been long concealed respecting the destiny of the world, or respecting the setting up of his kingdom, but which had been progressively unfolded by the prophets. That purpose would be "finished," or consummated, in the time when the seventh angel should begin to sound. Then all the "mystery" would be revealed; the plan would be unfolded; the Divine purpose, so long concealed, would be manifested, and the kingdom of the Messiah and of the saints would be set up on the earth. Under that period, the affairs of the world would be ultimately wound up, and the whole work of redemption completed. As he hath declared to his servants the prophets. As he has from time to time disclosed his purposes to mankind through the prophets. The reference here is, doubtless, to the prophets of the Old Testament, though the language would include all who at any time had uttered any predictions respecting the final condition of the world. These prophecies had been scattered along through many ages; but the angel says that at that time all that had been said respecting the setting up of the kingdom of God, the reign of the saints, and the dominion of the Redeemer on the earth, would be accomplished. See Barnes "Re 11:15".

From the passage thus explained, if the interpretation is correct, it will follow that the sounding of the seventh trumpet (Re 11:15-18) is properly the conclusion of this series of visions, and denotes a "catastrophe" in the action, and that what follows is the commencement of a new series of visions. This is clear, because

(a) the whole seven seals, comprising the seven trumpets of the seventh seal, must embrace one view of all coming events—since this embraced all that there was in the volume seen in the hand of him that sat on the throne;

(b) this is properly implied in the word here rendered "should be finished"—telesyh—the fair meaning of which is, that the "mystery" here referred to—the hitherto unrevealed purpose or plan of God—would, under that trumpet, be consummated or complete, (see the conclusive reasoning of Professor Stuart on the meaning of the word, vol. ii. p. 210, foot-note;) and

(c) it will be found in the course of the exposition that, at Re 11:19, there commences a new series of visions, embracing a view of the world in its religious aspect, or ecclesiastical characteristics, reaching down to the same consummation, and stating at the close of that (Revelation 20) more fully what is here (Re 1:15-18) designated in a more summary way—the final triumph of religion, and the establishment of the kingdom of the saints. The present series of visions (Re 5:1-11:18) relates rather to the outward or secular changes which would occur on the earth, which were to affect the welfare of the church, to the final consummation; the next series (Re 11:19 and chapters 12-20) relates to the church internally, the rise of Antichrist, and the effect of the rise of that formidable power on the internal history of the church, to the time of the overthrow of that power, and the triumphant establishment of the kingdom of God. In other words, this series of visions, terminating at Re 11:18, refers, as the leading thing, to what would occur in relation to the Roman empire considered as a secular power, in which the church would be interested; that which follows Re 11:19; 12:1-10. to the Roman power considered as a great apostasy, and setting up a mighty and most oppressive domination over the true church, manifested in deep corruption and bloody persecutions, running on in its disastrous influence on the world, until that power should be destroyed—Babylon fall—and the reign of the saints be introduced.

{a} "seventh" Re 11:15 {b} "mystery" Ro 11:25; Eph 3:5-9

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