This week we focused on Revelation 10. David opened by reflecting on the message we heard last week, a warning about God’s judgement. As the coming of Jesus gets closer, the reality of God’s judgement is something we have to consider, even if we find it difficult to digest.
However, alongside the bitterness of this message, there is also a sweet aspect, as God’s Word draws attention to mercy. Revelation 9 left off with the sounding of the sixth of seven trumpets, which are heralding the coming of Christ. But here in Chapter 10, we have an interlude instead of the seventh trumpet sounding. In this pause, God shows His mercy, allowing more opportunity for repentance so that people are spared from facing His judgement. In fact, it is God’s longing that everyone would repent, and so He is patient with us, giving us the chance to reach repentance before Christ comes again.
We see this concept in 2 Peter:
So, what does John see next in Revelation? He sees a mighty angel, holding a little scroll. Verses 1-3 paint a picture of this angel standing over both sea and land, symbolising God’s position on the throne and His authority over all the earth. Despite what was going on, the chaos and mayhem that was present then and that we still see around us today, God is firmly in control. He is still sovereign and will not lose control when enemies rise. David posed a challenging question for us here – do we believe that?
When the angel opens its mouth, John hears the sound of seven thunders but is told not to capture what they say, which serves as a reminder that we will never know everything. Our vision is limited, and we don’t always have the full picture, but crucially, God does know everything and that should be assurance enough for us.
The angel declares that when the seventh trumpet sounds, God’s plan will be carried out. It could be easy for us to lose sight of what lies ahead, to forget that the world we live in is on borrowed time, and therefore John reminds his readers that there will come a point when
This waiting period won’t go on forever; the end will come. The restoration of all things really is about to occur, and Jesus is coming again.
John is told to take the scroll from the angel, which he does. Strangely, the angel then tells John to eat it! He is instructed to take this Word of God, and ingest, swallow and absorb it. John would only be able to proclaim the Word of God if he had truly taken it in. The angel warns him (and John finds this to be true) that it will be bittersweet – the words will taste sweet in his mouth but be bitter in the stomach. This reflects what had happened to Ezekiel the Old Testament prophet (see Ezekiel 2:9-3:3).
It is a bitter message that John is being given to share, bearing news of judgement, but with that comes the sweetness of mercy. He must proclaim these words, because ultimately they will help to shape, guide and correct those who hear them, as well as offer them the hope of salvation.
Although parts of God’s Word are solemn, serious and bitter, we need to digest it. We need to consume it so we can share it. Are we taking it onboard? Are we living it out? Are we sharing it with others?
• God is in control
• He knows so much more than we do
• There will be no more delay, Jesus really will come
• We must allow the bitter-sweet taste of God’s Word to be a vital part of
our daily diet
• We must share the word