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Commentary On Revelation by E.W. Bullinger


In Smyrna, we have a reference to a definite time of trial.. In the wilderness it was forty years. Here it is ten days. If any wish to make this stand for ten years it must be on their own responsibility. We only press the point that a corresponding time of trial is referred to; and that it is a definite and limited time.

We are aware of the |interpretation| proposed as to there having been ten persecutions of |Christians| between A.D.57 and 284. But unfortunately for this theory, there is nothing said here as to any number of separate persecutions: but only as to the duration of one! It is evident that no system of interpretation which is based on such imaginations will be of any service to us in our understanding of this book.

The year-day system, as a principle of prophetic interpretation, is a human invention; and as unnecessary as it is mischievous.

When God says a |day| He means a day, and when He says a year He means a year. Even in those very passages where He makes one day to stand for a year, the words are used in each case in their literal sense and natural meaning.

When the spies were gone 40 days, and Israel was made to wander 40 years (|a year for a day|), |day| means day and |year| means year (Num. xiv.34). Because God thus orders it here, we have no authority to do this on our own responsibility in every other place.

When Ezekiel was told to lie on his left side 390 days, it does not mean that he was thus to lie for 390 years! And when Jehovah says, |I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity according to the number of the days, 390 days| (Ezek. iv.4,5), it is clear that |days| means days, and |years| means years.

And when Ezekiel does the same with respect to Judah, 40 days, Jehovah says, |I have appointed thee each day for a year| (Ezek. iv.6, and see margin). We have the same plain and literal statement of facts.

When human interpreters take upon themselves to |appoint| the same in other cases, whether 1260 days or |ten days,| or any other number, they incur a very grave responsibility. They do not adopt this |system| in other prophecies, and dare not. For when, in Gen. vii.4, God says, |For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights,| it is said to have been so fulfilled. (vers.10, 12).

When, in Gen. xl.12, 13, it is said |the three branches are three days,| the fulfillment is given in verse 20: - |And it came to pass on the third day,| etc. (not year).

When God prophesied of the flesh that He would give Israel to eat, the days meant days (Num. xi.19, 20).

So here, in Rev. ii.9, the expression |ten days| means ten days: and many Jews in many cities already know what it is to suffer an anti-Semite tribulation for days together. Why not here and under these circumstances?

Haman had one day given to him to |destroy the Jews|! Why not another |Jews' enemy| be allowed ten days?

And what is this or any such period to do with the Church of God, which has nothing whatever to do with |times and seasons| (1 Thess. v.1)?

It is quite probable that the time referred to here may that of Matt. xxiv.9, 10, and Isa. lxvi.5.

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