Revelation Episode 10

Beth's Notes

Hebrews 4:12-13 states:
12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Paul tells his beloved Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

Paul seeks to emphasize to Timothy the crucial role of God’s Scripture revelation in his present ministry and in ours as well. Thus Paul reminded Timothy that all Scripture – not just some - is God-breathed (“inspired”), that is, God’s words were given through men superintended by the Holy Spirit so that their writings are without error. No flaws. Perfection. True Truth. This fact was virtually taken for granted by the Jews. Yet our world questions it constantly – as Satan would have it – “did God really say?”...  Next, Paul asserted the “usefulness” of God’s Word.  For each aspect of Timothy’s ministry, whatever it might be—teaching (instructing believers in God’s truths), rebuking those in sin, correcting those in error, and training in righteousness – even as you would a small child - guiding new believers in God’s ways — for all of these and more the written Word of God is profitable. With it, the Believer in Jesus through God’s Word - by way of the Holy Spirit - is made complete, capable, proficient and equipped to meet all demands. Paul had placed heavy burdens of ministry on his young disciple, but he did not do so irresponsibly. He was confident of Timothy’s commitment to and dependence upon the Scriptures. And he was even more confident of God’s ability to supply all of Timothy’s needs through the Word and the power of the Holy Spirit. 

1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. 2 He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand.  He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3 and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. 4 And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.” 5 Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. 6 And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay! 7 But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.” 8 Then 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.” 9 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.” 10 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. 11 Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.” 

PRAYER – Lord open our eyes that we might clearly see the wonderful Truths in your Law and help us apply it to our lives that we may be a changed people bringing much glory to you and good to us.

Chapter Ten deals parenthetically - as it did in Chapter Seven when it dealt with the 144,000 and the many martyrs - without chronologically advancing the narrative of the events of the Great Tribulation. Here in Chapter Ten verse One through Chapter Eleven verse 14, we are given additional information as a background to the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments. These facts contribute to the total prophetic scene. Robert Thomas writes:
“This section…consoles believers by reiterating God’s role as the sovereign over earthly affairs, who will not only judge the wicked, but also will exalt the suffering faithful in due time.”  

Make no mistake about it, God is on His Throne and He is in complete control – whether we are able to understand that or not does not change the fact that He is. This section is to the trumpet judgments what Chapter Seven was to the seal judgments – a description of conditions that existed during that particular period of time covered by the preceding judgments.

The Word “another” used here by John as a description of the mighty angel is the Greek word that means “another of the same kind” indicating that this angel is similar to other angels who have been previously introduced. We would do well to remember that human beings in and of ourselves are no match for the angelic world – whether angels or demons.  We often have a flawed conception of our own power and abilities, Amen?  Normally in Scripture when humans come face to face with angelic beings the reaction is one of tremendous fear. I am reminded of the vision Daniel had in Daniel 10:4-17 – more than likely speaking of the angel Gabriel:  
4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, 5 I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. 6 His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude. 7 I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; the men with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. 8 So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. 9 Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground. 10 A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11 He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling. 12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.” 15 While he was saying this to me, I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless. 16 Then one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing before me, “I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and I am helpless. 17 How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.”  

It seems evident that the angel mentioned in Revelation 10:1 is not Christ as John does not worship this angel as he worshiped Christ in Revelation 1:17-18:
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” 

The evidence seems to support the idea that the angel of Revelation 10:1 is a holy angel to whom has been given great power and authority. Also, this angel is described as “coming down from heaven”. There is no evidence of Christ physically coming to earth midway during the tribulation. We would also do well to remember that angels are created beings of unusually high order. They play a prominent role in the Book of Revelation and are mentioned more that sixty-six times throughout the Book and always in a position of service. They are used to fulfill the administration of God in human affairs.   

There are many instances in Revelation (as well as throughout Scripture particularly in the Old Testament) where angels are made the ministers of God for both the punishment of the ungodly and the protection of the righteous as well as the deliverers of Divine messages as we just read about in Daniel. Also, in Revelation 18:1 we discover another angel, pronouncing doom on Babylon, having great power and so much glory and splendor that the earth was illuminated by his splendor. In Chapter Twelve of Revelation, Michael the archangel is mentioned specifically by name as contending against Satan and the evil angels and expelling them from heaven. The angel appearing to John in Revelation 10:1 seems to be an angel entrusted with great authority as well.  

We read John describing this angel in very graphic terms pointing to the angel’s great power and authority. First, he sees the angel coming down from heaven “robed in a cloud” or “wrapped in a cloud” depicting mystery or that which is perhaps somewhat veiled with a rainbow over his head.  The cloud could suggest the mystery of the prophecies of the past as we presently often see as but a poor reflection as in a mirror. Discernment of these Truths can often be difficult, Amen?  Just like in Jesus’ day, many missed the fulfillment of the prophecies that pointed clearly to Him often because of their own preconceived bias’s or lack of understanding. Yet, God gives us enough light to come to Him in saving knowledge and the power to walk in the Spirit. The rainbow here suggests God’s faithfulness in keeping all of His promises. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:20:
20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 

One fine day all will be seen clearly – pristinely clear. We have this hope as an anchor for our weary souls in regard to the unveiling and fulfillment of all the great and precious promises of Scripture. A promise here of both mystery and unveiling. The rainbow could also depict the hope that everything God has given us through His awesome Word will one day be accomplished - all in God’s perfect timing.  We can take that to the proverbial bank. Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:9:
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 

I am also reminded of Jesus’ Words in Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:17-20:
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” 

Next John continues to describe this angel in graphic terms comparing his face to the brilliance of the sun and describing his legs as pillars of fire. The angels’ face being like the sun is reminiscent of Moses. After communing with God on Mount Sinai, his face was radiantly glowing, so much so that it frightened the Israelites and they were afraid to come near him. He had to veil his face to speak to them. Exodus 34:29-35 tells us:  
29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD. 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. 32 Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the LORD had given him on Mount Sinai. 33 When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. 34 But whenever he entered the LORD’s presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, 35 they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the LORD. 

As believers in sweet Jesus, we are to shine His light as well, pointing others to the Savior (and not to us!).  We are to be the light of the world.  Whenever we bask in God’s presence through the reading of His Word or the meditation on it or in prayer, we inevitably will shine His light brightly – through the power of the Holy Spirit - to others in our spheres of influence. This draws people to Jesus as a moth to a light. It is other-worldly in its nature. And those who claim to live in Him must walk as Jesus did, Amen? Therefore, we are to be a changed people because He changes our hearts and He does it primarily through the vehicles of being in His Word and communing with Him in prayer. It is He who enables us to shine His light brightly in every circumstance He places us – to all those around us – again, pointing them to Him, and not to us.  We are merely beggars telling other beggars where to get Bread. Jesus tells us in the Sermon of the Mount in Matthew 5:14-16:
14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

John continues with his description of the mighty angel – the powerful and glorious created being of an unusually high order. If the created is this powerful and glorious what must the Creator be like? John states his legs were like pillars of fire. And that he planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land as an indication of his authority and he roared like the lion as reminiscent of our Lord Jesus. 

This dramatic introduction John describes here, is certainly one to inspire great awe. Next he states when this angel shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. John was forbidden to record what the seven thunders said.  While Revelation is primarily designed to reveal and not to conceal God’s purpose and future events, some revelations are kept hidden as illustrated by God’s prohibiting John to write what “the voices” of the seven thunders had spoken. God has given us enough knowledge – enough light to come to Him in saving faith as well as the ability to walk according to His ways through the empowering of the Holy Spirit. What He does not tells us, we do not need to know. He has a reason for all that He does. Our God is not capricious or whimsical. He is not like man. 

One indication that the angel in this vision is not the Lord Jesus Christ is the fact that he swears by God implying God is greater than the angel. It is a very solemn oath demonstrating that God has the absolute authority to carry out His divine will upon the earth. Absolutely. As the Sovereign Ruler, God can declare that there will be no more delay in the execution of His divine plan. It demonstrates the omnipotence of God as Creator in dealing with the world in judgment when the time is ripe – when the time had fully come.  

The announcement that the “mystery of God” was about to be fulfilled is in keeping with the nature of what John sees in the little scroll and what he hears from the seven thunders. This mystery has been previously announced to God’s prophets. The reference, therefore, is not to hidden truth or manna but to the fulfillment of many Old Testament passages which refer to the glorious return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  And the establishment of His kingdom of righteousness and peace on earth during His Millennial reign. Although the contents are not here revealed, it seems clear that the purpose of this passage in Revelation 10:1-7 signals the final outpouring of God’s judgment, the end of the age and the destruction of Christ’s enemies.  
In Verse Seven we are told that in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet the mystery of God will be accomplished – just as He had announced to His servants the Prophets. In the New Testament, a mystery is not an enigma to be solved rather Truth about God previously hidden that is now revealed. Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:9-10:
9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. 

Believers in Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit are able to grasp something of the divine purpose of the ages and to see its relevance in the present time. The more we dig and study the more light He reveals.  Always. This is why I am so chronically telling everyone we are each responsible to study God’s Word and be prepared. We owe it to ourselves and to our families to know God’s Truth and to share God’s Truth. This can be accomplished because God has made known to us the mystery of His will through His Word and the enlightenment of it by the Holy Spirit Who indwells every true Believer in Christ Jesus. “The mystery of God” is Truth about God and His eternal plan that was hidden until it was revealed in this final book of Scripture. 

Again, “mystery” is a previously hidden undivulged truth unveiled by God’s revelation. This mystery (unveiled truth) is God’s good pleasure to purpose in Christ Who came to fulfill all righteousness and to bring all things in heaven and on earth under His headship in the consummation of time. The words are to be put into effect when the times have fully come and have reached their fulfillment. This dispensation or method in which God carries out His purposes refers to the Millennial Kingdom when “the times” in God’s plans will be fulfilled and all things both spiritual and material will be under Christ and His rule on earth – praise Jesus! This fulfillment is related to the full manifestation of the divine power, majesty, and holiness of God that will be evident in the glorious return of Jesus, the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom, and the creation of the eternal state that will follow. In the Millennium everything will be restored and brought together under Christ, the one Head. This does not suggest that everyone will be saved – not all are saved during the Millennial - but sin’s disorder will be removed and universal peace will be established. The ignorance of God and the disregard of His majesty that characterize this present age, as well as in the great tribulation, will exist no longer when Christ returns and manifests Himself in glory to the entire earth. In that day everyone – from the least to the greatest, will know the Lord – that is know the important facts about Him. The Prophet Jeremiah tells us in Jeremiah 31:34:
34 “No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” 

The Prophet Isaiah speaks of this in Isaiah 2:2-4:
2 In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. 3 Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.  Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. 

And again in Isaiah 11:1-10:
1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him-- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD--3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.  He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears;  but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.  He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. 6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. 7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8 The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. 9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. 10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. 

The prediction that this mystery will be “fulfilled” in verse Seven is related to the full manifestation of the divine power, majesty, and holiness of God that will be evident in the glorious return of Christ Jesus, the establishment of His Millennial Kingdom and the creation of the eternal state that will most assuredly follow thereafter.

The mystery of God is unfolded for us throughout the Old Testament through the writings of the Prophets in the many passages that speak of the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth. This is why it so behooves us to study and know God’s Word for ourselves and to be diligent in this endeavor so that we will not be caught unawares and be easily deluded.  Our hearts are easy to mislead us.  Paul writes to his son in the faith Timothy words that we are to take to heart as well in 2 Timothy 2:15: 
15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 

Certainly we cannot fully know or fully comprehend all of God’s ways but what we can know, we should seek to know, Amen? Ann Voskamp writes:
“You don’t truly know God unless you surrender, believe, and truly obey the Word of God.” Ann Voskamp 

Psalms 119 is the longest Psalm in the Bible and it is full of admonitions to know God’s Truth.  While there is a plethora of verses to choose from, I have “cherry picked” a few as follows:
Psalms 119:1-4: 
1 Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. 2 Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. 3 They do nothing wrong; they walk in his ways. 4 You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. 

Psalms 119:9-11:
9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. 10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. 

Psalms 119:13-16:
13 With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. 14 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. 15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. 16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. 

Psalms 119:23-24:
23 Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees. 24 Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors. 

Psalms 119:27-30:
27 Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders. 28 My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. 29 Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through your law. 30 I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws. 

Psalms 119:33-38:
33 Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. 34 Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. 35 Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. 36 Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. 37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. 38 Fulfill your promise to your servant, so that you may be feared.
Psalms 119:89-92:
89 Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. 90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures. 91 Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you. 92 If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. 

Psalms 119:97-104:
97 Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. 98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. 99 I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. 100 I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. 101 I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word. 102 I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. 103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. 

Psalms 119:129-135:
129 Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them. 130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. 131 I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands. 132 Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name. 133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. 134 Redeem me from the oppression of men, that I may obey your precepts. 135 Make your face shine upon your servant and teach me your decrees. 

Psalms 119:165-168:
165 Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. 166 I wait for your salvation, O LORD, and I follow your commands. 167 I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly. 168 I obey your precepts and your statutes, for all my ways are known to you. 

Paul also tells us in Romans 15:4-6: 
4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Then Paul stated a significant principle concerning the purpose and ministry of the Scriptures: For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us (literally “for our instruction”). The Scriptures serve to give believers endurance – a “steadfastness in the face of adversities” and encouragement so that they might have hope and keep on having hope no matter what the circumstances.  As Christians learn from the past from what is written in the Old Testament about others who did not seek to please themselves rather Him, they are motivated to endure and be comforted in the present, looking ahead in hope and confidence to the future.  2 Chronicles 16:9 tells us:

9 For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 
Remember we are to live our lives for an audience of one. If His eye is on the sparrow we can know He watches after us.  And nothing takes Him by surprise. Again, regarding the importance of His Word Ann Voskamp writes:

“His Word cannot be falsified, disqualified, modified or nullified. His Word cannot be distorted or inverted or reinvented or demerited or interpreted away. His Word is beauty, it is wooing, and it will all be accomplished absolutely. The debate of the day may change, the crisis may change, the screaming headlines of the genuinely horrifying may change — but, in the entire heaving cosmos, this remains unchangeable, unstoppable, undaunted: The Word of God. His Word is absolute and resolute and it will remain until time concludes. God’s Word is more permanent than any words written in granite — or in headlines or campaign slogans or PR statements or press releases or laws. Mountain rock is fleetingly temporary compared to the forever permanence of the Rock of His Word.  Culture cannot shape it and society cannot silence it and scarred people cannot help but be wooed by it, healed by it, held by it.  And the Lover of the letter, He soothes: ‘The mountains may pass away, but my truth will not pass away, the grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever, and though the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but My steadfast love shall not depart from you.’”   

Lastly, John hears a voice from heaven, apparently the same voice he had heard speaking to him earlier, and he is commanded to eat the little scroll in the angel’s hand.  As he obeys, he experiences first the sweetness of God’s Word and then the bitterness that the voice from heaven predicted.  This incident is similar to the experience of the Prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 15:16-18:
16 When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty. 17 I never sat in the company of revelers, never made merry with them; I sat alone because your hand was on me and you had filled me with indignation. 18 Why is my pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable? Will you be to me like a deceptive brook, like a spring that fails? 

And again in Ezekiel 2:1-10:
1 He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.” 2 As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. 3 He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against me to this very day. 4 The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says.’ 5 And whether they listen or fail to listen--for they are a rebellious house--they will know that a prophet has been among them. 6 And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house. 7 You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. 8 But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”  9 Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, 10 which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.”

Nothing new under the sun, Amen? God’s amazing Prophets were often treated with much contempt. Indeed, the Prophet Isaiah was sawed in two. That’s why the “Who’s Who” Chapter of Hebrews 11 is so amazing.  Particularly the end in Verses 32-40:
32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37 They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword.  They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated-- 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. 39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

And lastly in Ezekiel 3:1-4, 14:
1 And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the house of Israel.”  2 So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat.  3 Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.”  So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth. 
14 The Spirit then lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness and in the anger of my spirit, with the strong hand of the LORD upon me. 
The symbolism used here is supposed to convey meaning to the reader.  By eating the scroll, John partakes of its contents and, in his act of obedience, appropriates the statements, promises, and affirmations contained in the scroll. The scroll itself seems to be a symbol of the Word of God as it is delivered to 
human recipients. John is called to faithfully deliver the Word of God as it is committed to him. Just as the Prophets of the past had done and just as we are to be about. His commission produced a twofold effect mentioned. God’s Word was sweet to John because it is a word of promise, a word of grace, and a revelation of the love of God. Though he had been exiled to Patmos and experiencing the bitterness of persecution, the Word was a precious assurance of his salvation, a basis for his present fellowship with Christ and the grounds for his hope of glory to be fulfilled in the future. To be sure God’s Word is precious to the child of the King.  

The Word of God that is sweet to John’s soul also has its bitter aspects.  John is experiencing some of the bitterness by being exiled to Patmos enduring hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. He was separated from friends and loved ones, afflicted by age and discomfort and tasting somewhat of the suffering of Jesus. More particularly, however, the Word of God is bitter in that it not only contains precious promises of God’s goodness and grace but it also reveals the divine judgments that will be poured out on the earth as God deals in great wrath with an unbelieving and Christ-rejecting world. We would do well to remember that the same God who created heaven also prepared the lake of fire for the devil and his angels.

Though John will never know the bitterness of being lost or the afflictions of eternal punishment, he knows what it is to walk like the Master – despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering.

The invitation to John to eat the scroll is the invitation of God to all who would participate in the blessing of His Word. Though there may be trials and afflictions for the saints of God, like John they have been promised eternal blessing when the Lord comes for His own. Our trials are “light and momentary” compared to the promise of eternal blessings of God’s grace for those who trust in Jesus.  Paul rightly tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 

After eating the scroll, John is told to prophesy about the many peoples, nations, languages, and kings. The remaining chapters of Revelation record the fulfillment of the Apostle’s sacred calling.

These are Beth’s personal notes, due to this fact sources are not often stated.

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