Revelation Chapter 10: 8-11
“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.’”
Some of you have written me to say that you are enjoying this series through the Revelation, and I am thankful for that. My desire is that the Lord’s people will understand and apply the truth of the scripture into their lives through the power and leading of the Holy Spirit.
God wrote the Bible for our benefit; it is meant to be read, understood and lived. Once we get these three pillars right, then we can approach the Bible with a desire to know, rather than be clouded by fear. No one, preachers included, knows everything. We see things, seemingly new things, on each pass through a passage or the Bible as an entity. Simply put, God reveals things that were there all along but we were not able to grasp them or appreciate them previously.
The Old Testament and the New Testament complement each other. Jesus and the New Testament writers quoted from all of the Old Testament books, if my memory from my seminary days is correct. In so doing, God has validated the Old Testament as relevant and profitable to the New Testament church. One should not do away with either testament. Read, read, and when you are done, read some more. You should never be able to get to the end of the Bible and then put it away like a notch on your bucket list.
Let me give you a bit of intrigue to hopefully light a desire to read more:
In Revelation 10 verse 8, we are told that when the seventh sounds his trumpet that the ‘mystery’ of God would be finished. There are many mysteries in the scriptures. Our salvation was a mystery to the Old Testament prophets. Some understood that the death of the Messiah was essential, but most of them could not have known the method of His death. The Romans had not even risen to power by the end of the Old Testament some 400 years before Jesus was born. The Old Testament prophets would not have known what crucifixion was; they probably could not have even imagined it. It was a mystery to them.
Some of them knew that the Messiah would come, but not that he would come twice – first to die for our sins and then to reign as King in Israel. This was another mystery.
A mystery is a doctrine or a teaching that God has planned before He made His creation, but that He reveals at a time in history for men to understand.
In Amos 3:7, we are told that the Lord does nothing before He reveals it to His servants. If you recall Genesis 18:16-32, the Lord revealed to Abram what He was about to do in Sodom and its surrounding cities. He and Abram had a conversation about this judgment that was about to happen. God revealed to Jeremiah the judgment He was about to bring to the Southern Kingdom of Israel via the nation of Babylon. In Matthew, He reveals the birth of Jesus; and He has two faithful servants, Anna and Simeon in Luke 2, to whom He had revealed the arrival of the Messiah.
The mere fact that we have sites like Rapture Ready and a host of godly people teaching through the prophecies in the New Testament church is a warning to us that God is about to do something. He is about to reveal a mystery; and so, before He does that, He tells His servants.
As we read and study in the Revelation we are helping to be prepared for a mystery that is going to be revealed. The mystery is the destruction of the earth –the very opposite of what the secular mind wants to do; they want to preserve the earth, but God is going to destroy it. This is in preparation for the reign of Jesus as King of the earth from Jerusalem. There will be small pockets of opposition that Jesus will have to deal with; but, for the most part, the enemies of Israel will be severely diminished.
You see, the earth is the dominion of the Devil. This is his kingdom; he demonstrated ownership by offering it to Jesus in return for worship (Matthew 4:8-11). God is going to destroy the kingdom of Satan and rebuild it under Jesus. Imagine what limited-minded men have done with technology over the past 100 years. Now consider what our freed minds in our new bodies will be able to conceive in the 1,000 years that Jesus reigns on earth. But that is another mystery for another time.
Eating the Little Book, Revelation 10:8-10
This little book has to do with the judgment and the promises of God. Some commentators think that it is the deed to the earth; I am not sure that I can agree with that. The opening of the seven seals beginning in Revelation 5-6 was a demonstration of ownership and dominance. I am not sure that we need to re-establish that. Thus, I am inclined with those that see this as a picture of God’s judgment that is about to come on the earth.
As we have journeyed from Revelation 1, we have seen a lot of destruction of the earth. But what is about to happen is the destruction of the earth system – the system that allowed evil to prosper and prepared a way for the antichrist. Yes, in the same way that the prophets of God prepared a way for the coming of Jesus, so too, the false prophets of the antichrist had prepared and are currently preparing a way for him to come to power.
John is told to eat the little book, and he does. At first it is sweet like honey in his mouth; he ate and swallowed it, and then it became bitter in his stomach. The scripture is a tale of two kinds of people:
One group of people has come to the humbling realization that they need a Savior; they have cried out to the Lord for help, to be remembered like the thief on the cross, and God has promised them eternal security through His Son, Jesus. The other people have rejected the God of the Bible and His Son; they have despised the grace and mercy of the living God; they have refused the loving kindness of the God of Heaven; and their end is an eternity in Hell, tormented for ever and ever. One message is sweet to the taste, the other souring to the belly.
I have a dear friend who is reading through the Bible for the first time, and what has astonished Him is the wrath of God. He comments to me often that God’s judgments seem to be very, very harsh on the people around the Jewish people, but even on the Jews His judgments are harsh. Yes! This is why it is imperative to read the Bible; we can get a more complete picture of God: God is gracious and merciful to those that love Him and those He loves, but He is just as fervently opposed to those that despise His loving kindness.
When you and I who love the Lord read of His wonderful promises to us, we taste them like honey in our mouths. These promises sustain us in tough times, they strengthen us in times of weakness, and they carry us when we are weary. But, the promises of God’s wrath are just as sure a promise as the blessings that we, His children, are promised: When we consider the people we know who, though they have seen and heard the gospel, refuse the grace of God. When we see the masses come past us at a mall or hear of a catastrophe like a hurricane or a plane crash and think that those people will not have any chance to change their minds. You can only hope that, like the thief on the cross, they repented and now live in Heaven.
But here, as John eats the book, he can think of the people from the end of chapter 9 who refused to repent; they hated the grace of God and seemingly do even more evil. They are about to experience the judgment of God, and the thought of it sickens John to his stomach. The reality of it curdles his inner parts. We should not rejoice when men fall into the hands of God and suffer His wrath; we should be even more humbled. But for the grace of God, it could be us.
Prophesy, preach, tell; Revelation 10:11
What are you going to do about the people that are currently rejecting God?
While the framework for the Revelation may be forming around us, the Rapture has not happened and there are still many who need to repent. There are still many who need to hear the Gospel. What will you do? The answer is to tell somebody. There is still time to preach and prophesy about salvation. There is still time to tell your loved ones and tell your family, friends and co-workers.
Begin by praying for the Holy Spirit to prepare you; ask that He prepare the people that you are with at home, at work and beyond; and the doors will open. Conversations will come up, people will ask questions, a death, a wedding, a birth, whatever; there will be a door. Pray before entering an open door. God may simply want you to plant a seed. Often, we try to plant the seed, do the watering, and get a harvest right away. Often, when you are the ‘harvester,’ others have planted the seed. There is no score card about souls. ONLY JESUS SAVES. We are simply facilitators. We plant seeds, God sends rains, and we see the harvest.
Be consistent and faithful at sharing about Jesus. Season every conversation with Jesus. Thank Him constantly for just about everything, and offer to pray when people are hurting; then actually do it. I often have an open Bible on my desk, or I have Gospel tracts, or I may put up a Nativity scene on my desk with a few candy canes; and people will notice it and ask about it.
Folks, we need to treat the Gospel as a necessity, not an option. Memorize scriptures like Romans 3:10, 3:23, 5:8, 6:23, 10: 9-10; John 3:16-17, John 14:6; and I can go on and on, but you get the idea. Be prepared to tell, to prophesy and to preach the Gospel. The word ‘prophesy’ simply means to ‘tell forth.’ Don’t be afraid of the words. We need to be telling the Gospel.
Remember the sweetness of the promises of God to those who love Him, but with just as much clarity recall the promises of God’s wrath on those that hate Him. One is honey to the mouth and the other is bitterness to the stomach; both are needed to drive us to preach the Gospel, to not just stand by and let people go to Hell and do nothing.
The greatest mystery ever revealed to man is that God would send Himself, in the form of His Son, all man and all God, to pay for our sins. That same Son is coming again to judge the whole world and the lost. Let us make His job easier by telling others about His great offer of salvation.
Ezekiel 33:7-9 “So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.”