Sweet & Sour

SWEET IN THE MOUTH, SOUR IN THE STOMACHThen the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: “Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.” I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.” (Revelation 10:8-11)

Sweet Yet Sour – By eating the scroll, John is enabled to speak the very words of God (see Ezekiel 3:4, Ezekiel 2:9–3:3, Jeremiah 15:16). In Ezekiel, the prophet is also told to consume the words of God (the scroll) to make them known (compare also Jeremiah 1:9).(1) Honey, which is sweet to the mouth, sometimes turns into bile in the stomach. The thought that God would be glorified (Revelation 11:3–6, 11–18) was sweet to John, yet he felt bitter grief at the prophecy of the coming persecutions (Revelation 11:7–10). See also John 16:1, 2. These revelations of God’s purposes, though a mere fragment, are bitter-sweet as they disclose judgment (wrath) as well as mercy (grace). John could savor the sweet blessings in knowing that God would fulfill His promises. At the same time, he felt bitter grief as he realized the sufferings that would take place during the next three and one-half years of tribulation.(2)

Prophesy Again – John is told to speak out “about many peoples, nations, languages and kings”. In the following chapters of Revelation there will be individuals, forces, and institutions that emerge to struggle in deadly conflict with each other and with God Himself, as history finally draws to an end.(3) The nations of the world will be referred to often in the next section of Revelation, for Satan will be stirring them up and getting them ready for the campaign of Armageddon (Revelation16:12–14).(4) The word nations usually refers to the Gentile nations. John will have much to say about the nations of the world as he presents the rest of this prophecy.(5)

In the Scriptural sense of the word, a prophet is one who speaks for another, as Aaron is called the prophet or spokesman of Moses (Exodus. 4:15, 16). Thus, the prophets of God were His spokesmen, into whose mouth He put the words which they were to utter to the people. To prophesy, in Scripture, is to speak under Divine inspiration. It is not merely predicting (fore tell) future events, but also proclaiming (tell forth) the messages of God to men. This can take a variety of forms, including doctrine, exhortation, consolation, or prediction.(6) The digesting of the scroll prepared John for his continued ministry as a prophet. All Christians can learn a lesson from this. How tragic it is when we try to serve the Lord and speak for Him, without first taking time to prepare by learning from His Word. How important it is for the saint to take time daily to read the Word and “digest” it.(7)

Up Next – Measurements.

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References

  1. Barry, J. D., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible (Re 10:9). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
  2. Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (p. 826). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  3. Richards, L., & Richards, L. O. (1987). The teacher’s commentary (p. 1080). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  4. Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (p. 826). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  5. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 598). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  6. Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Moore, E., Craven, E. R., & Woods, J. H. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Revelation (p. 221). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
  7. Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (p. 826). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

 

 

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