Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Review of Revelation -- Part 10 -- The Mighty Angel (Updated)

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[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5] [Part 6] [Part 7] [Part 8] [Part 9] [Part 10]

          This is a continuation of my series reviewing Revelation as part of my reading of The Book of Revelation: Things Which Must Shortly Come to Pass by G. Erik Brandt. In my last part (Part 9 -- Armageddon), I finished up a discussion of chapter 9 of the Revelation, including a preliminary look at the battle of Armageddon. In this installment, we will be looking at Chapter 10 of the Revelation, which takes a detour from the chronological account begun with the opening of the first seals.

         Chapter 10 is actually a short chapter, so I will set it out in its entirety:
 1 And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: 
 2 And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, 
 3 And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. 
 4 And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. 
 5 And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, 
 6 And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: 
 7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. 
 8 And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. 
 9 And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. 
 10 And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. 
 11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
          Brandt notes that the mighty angel is Michael, the Archangel (a.k.a., Adam), as was revealed to Daniel (see Daniel 12:1):
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
Brandt states that "[t]he rainbow is a symbol of God's promise to Enoch that Zion will again return to the earth." The description is reminiscent of that in Ezekiel 1:28:
As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.
The significance of one foot placed in the sea and the other on land is to signify that all things, both in the sea and on the land, are subject to the angel--"a stewardship," Brandt reminds us, which was "given him in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:26 (26-28))."

        John does not record what command was uttered by the Archangel, nor the responses of the seven angels that reply. However, we understand that these seven angels recite the true history of the world (the mighty works of God and the secret works of men) during the six thousand years of earth temporal history and through the Millennium (see D&C 88:108-110), with the final angel (as noted above in verse 7) finishing up the history (i.e., "the mystery of God"). Brandt suggests that each of voices heard by John are the heads of each of the dispensations (1,000 year periods). However, John is forbidden to write down what was said  by the angels. Whether he wrote it down later, or not, what was said is sealed up until after the Millennium. Brandt writes that "[t]hese writings will be unsealed in the day when the earth is full of knowledge of the Lord and its inhabitants are ready (Isa. 11:9, Dan. 9:24)."

         After the seven voices are done, Michael makes an oath in the name of Christ that "there should be time no longer." Brandt indicates that the Greek word "chronos" literally means "time," but the verse should not be interpreted as meaning the end of time, but a delay--i.e., that there will be "no time" or "no delay," but that the judgments will be poured out upon the peoples of the Earth.*

         As noted, at the time that Michael stands "there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time[.]" It is a time of anti-Christs, when "the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up." (See Dan. 12:11 and 8:11). Brandt explains: "The daily sacrifice symbolized the worship of Jehovah by the people of Israel. The language indicates that Michael will come in a dark hour when the practice of religion in the chapels and temples will be greatly persecuted, even prohibited by the prevailing powers." Like in 167 B.C., when Antiochus Epiphanies IV suspended temple worship and desecrated the temple in Jerusalem, "in the latter days, when the anti-Christs come to power, similar persecutions will befall the Saints."
Evil men will seek to “scatter the power of the holy people”(Dan. 12:7), bringing severe disruptions to their religion. The Latter-day Saints will suffer set-backs and restrictions of their free worship. They will endure many of the hardships that were inflicted on the Primitive Church under the Caesars. Daniel was told that the persecutions will be a “thousand two hundred and ninety days”or 3 1/2 years, the number symbolizing a time of crisis, when wickedness rules.
(Unlike Brandt, I do not believe that this time period is wholly symbolic, but is a half "week" of years that mirrors the half "week" of years that comprised the Savior's earthly ministry).

         Brandt goes on to warn:
The latter day persecutions may become so egregious that the holy sanctuaries will be desecrated and the Saints compelled to close them as was the temple at Jerusalem. The anti-Christs will change the laws to enforce their own form of secular idolatry (Dan. 7:25). Their edicts will remain in place until Michael exercises his priesthood declaring the end of such injustices and the commencement of events which will bring the Saint’s redemption. Daniel foresaw this turmoil as the abomination of desolation is “set up,”meaning, when the nations will gather under the anti-Christs for battle against the Jews.
I would suggest that it probably will not be just the Saints that will suffer persecution, but all those that worship God rather than whatever philosophies or religions that will be deemed acceptable by those in power. However, God will not forget His remnant:
The archangel’s oath signifies that there should be no postponing of prophesied judgements. The final destruction of the wicked is to proceed without delay. With the declaration comes the promise that “thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book”, meaning the Book of Life (Dan. 12:1).
Brandt also points out:
Michael’s announcement is in response to the frequently asked question posed by many seeking peace and harmony from the wicked and unjust: “How long shall wickedness reign and darkness prevail on the earth and when will it end?”(Ps. 13:2; Dan. 12:6; Moses 7:58; D&C 109:49). The answer is: It will end now! The day of probation is over and the hour of judgments is come. The proud, angry and disobedient are to be swept away. The time when Satan and his servants reign is at its end (D&C 88:110; 84:100). The wrath of God is to released without mixture.
          John had seen a little book in Michael's hands, and is commanded to take the book and eat it up. This imagery is similar to that of Ezekiel who was commanded to consume a scroll, representing his selection and acceptance of a special mission to preach to the Jews. (See Ezekiel 2:9-10 and Ezekiel 3:1-3). So, too, with John. Brandt relates that the book “was a mission, and an ordinance, for him to gather the tribes of Israel.” That is, John is to serve as an Elias, one “who, as it is written, must come and restore all things”(D&C 77:14). The book is both sweet and bitter; likely, as Brandt reasons, because John's time as an apostle accompanying Jesus was sweet, but the knowledge of the persecution and apostasy of the early Church and the judgments to come must have been terrible.

          Brandt also goes on to remind us that John went on to serve a key role as an Elias in these latter days. Brandt writes:
By extending the calling contained in the book, Michael gives John his very important assignment in the great historical events to come. John plays a key role in restoring the gospel in the last dispensation, in the gathering of Israel from the four corners of the earth, and in preparing the (lost) ten tribes to return from the land of the north (D&C 110:11).
The remainder of Brandt's chapter discusses the lost Ten Tribes, and the information we have been given indicating that they still survive as a distinct people that will return in a cohesive body. The important point, for purposes of understanding what will come to pass, is that they will be led forth from the north into the heart of the present Church to receive their endowments and further prophetic guidance. Brandt explains:
As are all the Church faithful, they too must be endowed and receive the seal of the Father in their foreheads in order to be received by the Son of Man. And then the words of the Prophet Isaiah shall be fulfilled, which say: "Then shall their watchmen [Prophets] lift up their voice; and with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye" when the Lord shall bring again Zion (3 Ne. 20:32 (32-34); emphasis added). The Ten Tribes will then assist in gathering in the remaining of the house of Israel and aid in the continued building of Zion, both in its literal and spiritual foundations. In time they will return to the land of Israel, the original land of their inheritance (Gen. 35:12; 48:4).
Moreover, they and the Saints will go forth in great power:
When they come, their enemies will become “a prey unto them”(D&C 133:28). “Then shall ye, who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, go forth among them [Gentiles]; and ye shall be in the midst of them who shall be many; and ye shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver”(3 Ne. 20:16). Though this prophecy will be fulfilled through a number of events, one will surely involve the destruction of any who oppose the return of the ten tribes when they come to Zion.

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* Update: After pondering further on this point, I wonder if the better interpretation is that the world will be out of time; that is, that the point has been reached where it will no longer be possible for the wicked to repent and escape the wrath of God.

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