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.” ~ Revelation 10:8-11
We return today to Revelation 10 where we find ourselves between the blowing of the sixth trumpet and the seventh trumpet. Revelation 10-11 provide an interlude where God gives explanation for the things that have happened and the things that are yet to happen.
In v.8-9 we read, "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."
It is no small thing that the Apostle John is involved in this vision. He actually takes the scroll or book, and he eats it, because it’s going to provide a very graphic way of illustrating a proper response to what is going on. The symbolism of eating the word is a way of indicating that the truth written in the scroll has become personal. This is what happens when we eat food, and this is what should happen when we read the word of God. That which we eat becomes us.
When John eats the book, at first, the prophecy within was sweet. Yet, as the Apostle eats it, it begins to turn sour. There are times when we read the Bible, we feel excited beyond description. Yet, there are times when we read the Bible, and we feel squeamish because through it God is dealing with something in our lives that needs changing. He confronts our fears, attitudes, biases and bigotries that are in us. This is the pain of self-involvement. There are times when the word of God leads into the dark night of our souls. This is due to the fact that we are still fallen even though we have been forgiven.
God loves us just the way we are, but He loves us too much to allow us to remain as we are. He reminds us that His word is as sharp as a double-edged sword. This is so because He is reconstructing us so that we can be more effective in the ministry He has called us to. In order to get us to this point, He has to cut us. Sometimes His cuts are deep. His purpose in cutting to the innermost parts of our hearts is to bring us healing, not to leave us wounded. Sin left untreated in our hearts will be fatal. If we aren’t convicted by Scripture, how will we know where we need to be changed? We must be very careful to listen as we read Scripture.
God changes us not to make us acceptable to Him. This is why the Lord Jesus came and died on the cross, to make us acceptable before God. God changes us to make us more effective in connecting with people. He does this in hopes that we will be able to share the truth with them and that they may come to Him.
In v.11 we read, "Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings."
After the Apostle John ate the scroll, it was sweet in his mouth but turned sour in his stomach. Then he was given a new assignment. The principle illustrated here is: after we have personally entered into the meaning of judgment, God has judged us as well as others, and we have felt the hand of God upon us, then, are we are prepared to speak to someone else about God and what He is doing in this world.
The Apostle John is given here the privilege of ministering again to nations and peoples and languages and kings. This new ministry is described in Revelation 11-14. We are going to find a pronounced change of scene in Revelation at this point. John, as it were, is sent back over the terrible scenes of judgment to highlight, to zoom in, as it were, on certain characters and personalities, and to tell us more detail about them. It will involve, as it says, "peoples and nations and languages and kings." That is going to be the theme of the next chapters of Revelation. It is all yet to come, but it was only as he entered personally into the plan of God that John was prepared to speak with impact to others.