“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11)
“And 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, 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: 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” (Revelation 10:5–7).
We have identified this mighty angel with the Lord Jesus. He stands over the world, with His right foot on the sea and the other on the earth. He has the little book open in His hand. In this passage, He lifts up His hand to heaven in order to swear, in order to take an oath. This should resolve forever the question of whether it is lawful for believers to swear.
He swore in the name of the one who lives forever, the one who created heaven and everything in it, along with the earth and everything in it, and along with the sea and everything in it. That was the basis of His oath. What was the content of the oath?
He swore that there would be no more delay. The souls under the altar had been told to be patient for just a little while longer. They would have to be patient no more—the time has come. When the seventh angel sounds his trumpet, everything would be complete.
But what does that mean? There are two things expressed about this fulfillment. It is described as the “mystery of God,” and it was a mystery that had been declared beforehand to His servants the prophets. This gives us the content of the mystery plainly. Where the Scripture uses this phrase elsewhere, it is talking about the fashioning of one new kind of man—Christian—out of the old categories of Jew and Gentile.
“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,” (Rom. 16:25).
“That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ” (Col. 2:2).
“How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel” (Eph. 3:3–6).
The mystery, given to the prophets down through the ages, but now unpacked and made manifest through the gospel, is that Gentiles are going to be made fellow heirs together with Jews.The answer is that as long as the Temple in Jerusalem stood, there would be standing pressure for the Gentiles to become Jews as part of becoming Christian.This is all very well, but what does all that have to do with the seventh angel blowing his trumpet? The answer is that as long as the Temple in Jerusalem stood, there would be standing pressure for the Gentiles to become Jews as part of becoming Christian. This was the great controversy of the first generation in the church, and that controversy would continue as long as the Temple continued. The dominant identity of the church was going to be Jewish as long as the Temple remained.
When the seventh angel sounded, Jerusalem was done.