If you are anything like me, watching or reading the news can be a stomach-churning event. The wickedness in this world is continually trying to outdo itself, which is both nauseating and disheartening. The battle against good and normalcy has been an unceasing one. The pervasiveness of evil and wickedness of this world has been relentless. Everywhere you look; something has or is in the process of being corrupted to accommodate a world in decline. Even worse is the western churches' role in aiding and abetting this cultural Titanic. Most churches today are not interested in warning people against this ill-fated journey but are actively helping people climb aboard.
For the purposes of this article, let me lead off with two caveats.
The first is I generally do not like posting huge portions of Scripture, primarily because I am limited in space, and can provide either the verse or hyperlink in a much more expedient manner. In fact, I expect you to read the passages for yourself so you do not have to take my word for it. However, I have to make an exception with this particular topic because of the similarities these passages bring out.
My second caveat is that this teaching/concept is not original to me. Over the years, I have come to appreciate and utilize resources from a variety of teachers. This concept comes by way of a Perry Stone video. Now, for those of you not familiar with Perry Stone, most people either love him or hate him. He has plenty of detractors. However, I am not here to cheerlead for him. Nevertheless, his eschatological teachings (personal visions aside) are usually pretty spot on. Personally, I do not have a strong opinion of him one way or the other. I only mention this to give credit where credit is due. However, the conclusion at the end of this article is my own. Now, on to the topic at hand.
“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” Then I, Daniel, looked; and there stood two others, one on this riverbank and the other on that riverbank. And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?” Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished. Daniel 12:4-7
Most prophecy students are well aware of Daniel 12. It is an intriguing, jam-packed chapter with a lot of information to investigate. Some of the main things that stick out in that chapter are the descriptions of the end times (knowledge and travel increase), and that Daniel’s book is sealed. Let us take note of the particulars. It contains:
A book that is sealed
One angel on each shore, and one hovering over it
The angel raising his hands to heaven and swearing by God
Most students of Bible prophecy are not as familiar with Revelation 10. When I say familiar, I mean understand it fully. In this chapter, we read about a vision John is given that seems somewhat out of place given the surrounding chapters.
I saw still another mighty angel coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud. And a rainbow was on his head, his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars.
When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices…The angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised up his hand to heaven and swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there should be delay no longer but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.…
Then the voice which I heard from heaven spoke to me again and said, “Go, take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the earth.” So I went to the angel and said to him, “Give me the little book.” And he said to me, “Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.”
Then I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter. And he said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.” Revelation 10:1-3, 5-11
Again, let us look at the similarities concerning this portion of Scripture.
A little book is unsealed
A mighty angel who stands both in the sea and on the land
The angel raises one hand to heaven and swears that there will be a delay no longer
In biblical times, it was not uncommon for an angel(s) to convey divine messages to prophets and others on direct orders from God. At this point in Daniel’s life (given the other interactions and dreams he was given), the message was to seal his writings until the time of the end. But did that end mean when John would receive his vision of the Apocalypse, or is the end in our day?
Perhaps the end refers to some future point in time. John was given the Revelation o/a 95AD, yet most of what he was shown, were things far off into the future. Certainly, the book of Revelation does reveal things that were hidden to those generations beforehand, but much of Revelation still remains a mystery…and will, until it finds its fulfillment inside the Tribulation. So let us look at what the symbolism potentially means.
The little book. The little book John is told to eat was the sealed book of Daniel. The primary reason to believe this is that there is far too much similarity between the two chapters and even the books themselves not to be. Daniel was a Jewish prophet and had been given prophecies primarily concerning the Jews and Jerusalem. Revelation is a New Testament book, but is extremely Jewish in its methodology and symbolism. There are more than 500 Old Testament allusions in the book of Revelation.
The water. In Daniel’s vision, two angels stand on the sides of the river, while one hovers above it. Could it be that the river symbolizes Israel’s then temporary (70 years) diaspora with Jews living both in Judaea and in Babylon? Whereas in John’s vision, the mighty angel is standing with one foot in the sea, and the other on the land. The sea in Revelation is symbolic of the gentile nations, tribes, and tongues of the world (Rev. 17:15). The land represents the land of Israel (as opposed to the sea). Since the word Hebrew means “one who crosses over” and the Jews in Daniel’s day were both in what was Israel and Babylon, the river could symbolize the separation. Whereas in John’s future vision, there is about fifty percent of the Jews living in the land of Israel, and the other fifty percent still scattered about the earth.
The Angels. It is unknown if it is the same angel in both books, but it could be. The only angel mentioned by name in Daniel 12 is Michael the archangel, that “great prince” who serves as the protector over Israel. The description in Revelation 10 would aptly describe him since he is identified as a “mighty angel” who declares by authority from God that only a short time remains for the kingdom of the antichrist.
Nevertheless, in both passages, the angel(s) raise their hand(s) to heaven and swear by God that something will be done. In Daniel, the angel raises both hands to heaven and swears by God that fulfillment will be done in times, time, and half a time (3 ½ years). In Revelation, the angel only raises one hand (the other is holding the little book) and swears by God that there should be delay no longer but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished.
The Sealing/Unsealing. In Daniel’s account, the angel tells Daniel that his book is to be sealed until the time of the end. In Revelation, John is told to eat (to digest) the book and that it would be sweet in his mouth, but bitter in his stomach. I believe this transition from sweet to bitter, is the realization by the Jews with finally understanding these prophesies, in this case, the book of Daniel. Even today, we can see many of them starting to make the connection with Ezekiel 37-39 as being the restoration of the nation of Israel and the potential coming Gog/Magog war. However, the seven thunders' proclamation remains sealed until the time of its fulfillment.
In summary, it is my belief that after the Rapture, the arrival of both the Two Witnesses (Rev. 11) and the conversion of the 144,000 (Rev. 7) are instrumental in bringing many Jews back to their Messiah, Jesus. This is when the Jews will finally start to make sense of the Old Testament prophecies and its correlation with the New Testament. This will naturally lead them to the book of Revelation. In so doing, they (believing Jews) will come to the realization that they are about to enter into the most horrific time in human history. This is why the little book represents symbolically both the sweet and the bitter. It shows them what is in store for them and their non-believing Jewish brethren in the time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7-11). Not a pleasant thought and probably why it made John’s stomach turn.
When you talk to unbelieving or orthodox Jews today, they still cannot (or will not) understand Daniel’s 70 Weeks because it points directly to Jesus Christ. Furthermore, their current spiritual blindness is ordained until the fullness of the gentiles is complete (Romans 11:25). The book of Daniel will then serve as the transition book to Revelation for these believing Tribulation Jews, and will use it as a guide to surviving in those difficult days. Both Revelation and Daniel will point them back to Matthew’s Gospel, and in particular, the Olivet Discourse. Here, they will read their Messiah warn them specifically,
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. Matthew 24:15-22