“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” (Revelation 10:10).
In a specific sense the experience that came to John here in vision may be seen as typical of that of the advent believers in the years 1840–1844. When these believers first heard the message of the imminent second coming, it was to them “sweet as honey.” But when Christ did not come as they expected, their experience was indeed bitter.
To identify the book that John ate, we need to look back at Daniel who was instructed by the angels to “shut up the words, and seal his book, even to the time of the end” (ch. 12:4). This instruction applies particularly to the part of Daniel’s prophecies that deals with the last days (ch. 12:4), and to the time element of the 2300 days (ch. 8:14) as it relates to the preaching of the first, second, and third angels’ messages (Rev. 14:6–12).
Inasmuch as the message of the present angel of Revelation deals with time, and with events at the time of the end, when the book of Daniel was to be unsealed (Dan. 12:4), it seems reasonable to conclude that the little book open in the hand of the angel was the book of Daniel. With the presentation to John of the little book open, the sealed portions of Daniel’s prophecy are revealed. The time element, pointing out the end of the 2300-day prophecy, is made clear. Consequently, Revelation 10:9, 10 focuses upon the time when the proclamation of vs. 6, 7 was made, that is, during the years 1840 to 1844.
Though mistaken in expecting Christ to return in 1844, the Millerites nevertheless were led of God. Their computation of the time element in the prophecy of Dan. 8:14 was correct, but they were mistaken as to the nature of the event to take place at the end of the 2300 days. In 1844 Jesus actually started cleansing the Heavenly Sanctuary (Hebrews 8:1-5) but the Millerites mistakenly thought He was going to come again to cleanse the earthly sanctuary which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.
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In His service,