“The Little Book” – Revelation 10:8-11
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This passage is the continuation and completion of the "mighty angel's" (Vs. 1) declaration (Vs. 2-3) and directive (Vs. 5-7) to the Apostle John (Vs. 8-11) as commanded by God (Vs. 4, 8).
Again, there is much symbolism used from the Old Testament, particularly from the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel.
As we examine this passage in light of the prophet's writing, we will find the truth, after all:
"THY WORD IS TRUTH."
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."
"...the voice which I heard from heaven...again..."
* The Apostle recognizes the voice; the voice of his Lord. Here and throughout the revelation.
...saying, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last," and, "What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea."
"...the little book..."
* Bibliaridion (Gk.) for "little book," not Biblion (Gk.) as in "scroll" (Vs. 5:1-7).
"...the angel who stands on the sea and the earth..."
* An arch-angel ("mighty angel," Vs. 10:1) possibly Michael (Dan. 12:1-3) or Gabriel (Lk. 1:11-19) both given God's authority to deliver His mighty messages.
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."
"So I went to the angel and said to him..."
* John is now apparently, in the Spirit, back on earth during the tribulation period, commanded by God.
* Can you imagine approaching a "mighty angel" and telling him to give you anything?
Being in the presence of the angels is always a fearful experience for men (Dan. 10:8-19, Lk. 1:11-12, 28-30, 2:9).
But John had no fear, only confidence in the command of the Lord!
"...and he said to me, 'Take and eat it...'"
The direction the angel gave to John should remind us that we also must "devour" the Word of God, to make it part of our inner man.
It was not enough for John, or us, to simply see the book or even know of its purpose or contents.
This "little book," the Holy Bible, the Word of God, is our bread and meat Christian! It must be received into our body.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world....Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.
(Jn. 6:51, 53)
The "Word" must always become "bread" or "flesh," before we can assimilate Christ.
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Woe to the preacher/teacher who merely speaks God's Word without eating the blood and body of Christ, and making it his life!
"...it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth."
* God's Word is always bittersweet.
At first, sweet as it leads us to Christ and salvation.
Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.
But as we grow in Christ, we come to understand the bitter; sin without repentance and forgiveness leads to judgment!
God does not force us to "eat" the Word. We have free will.
We must take it from His hand, and when we "eat" it, the Word will change our lives and we become aware of His truth.
There will be sorrow and joy, bitterness and sweetness.
God's Word contains sweet promise and assurance, but also bitter warnings and the promise of prophetic judgment.
"The Christian bears witness of both life and death (2 Cor. 2:14-17). The faithful minister will declare all of God's council (Acts. 20:27). He will not dilute the Word of God simply to please his listeners (2 Tim. 4:1-5).”
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.
"...it was sweet as honey in my mouth."
* The prophet Ezekiel knew this truth also:
As well as King David:
How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
"But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter."
* It is sometimes the hard truth that causes our bitterness, and knowing the pain that God's righteous judgment will cause the unrepentant:
* The Apostle understood this truth also, "when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter."
For he knew the promises of God, he had sat at the feet of Jesus and heard the prophecy first hand (Matt. 24, 25, Mk. 13:1-4).
And he said to me, "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings."
"You must prophesy again about..."
* "About" in this passage is better translated is "against."
* God's prophetic Word and warning is not yet completed, and John is commissioned to give warning of the coming judgment.
"...many peoples, nations, tongues and kings."
* "Nations" in the Bible refers to the Gentile nations.
* Ezekiel was to deliver God's message of judgment only to the Jewish nation in his time (Eze. 3:1), the Apostle John will deliver it to the Gentiles during the tribulation.
* God has the Jewish nation planned for with the "sealed" 144,000 "children of Israel," (Vs. 7:4) and His “two witnesses” in Jerusalem (Rev. 11:1-12).
The Apostle John knew that all people needed to hear and believe the Word of God and Messiah. For only here is found salvation and redemption from God's coming judgment, this is true "sweetness."
But John understood that not all would come to belief and repentance. And inevitably, many will suffer God's righteous judgment, the ultimate "bitterness."
If we, as Christians, can read this passage about the coming judgment of the lost without bitterness and pain, we need to spend much more time on our knees seeking the heart of Christ.
Many of us have a natural desire to study prophecy, to see what the future holds.
But then when we find out about the coming pain promised in God's prophecy, our desire turns to bitterness.
Many don't want to hear the truth of Revelation because it scares them or causes them to examine themselves in the light of it.
It has been rightly said:
"There is nothing in the Word of God that ministers more to a holy life than the thoughtful study of prophecy."
J. Vernon Magee
"And everyone who has this hope in Him (Christ) purifies himself, just as He is pure."
(1 Jn. 3:3)
As we take Holy Communion this morning, let us examine and "purify" ourselves before "Him."
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