“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.”
The Bible is the most popular book of all time. It has been translated into almost three thousand languages, and has been distributed on every continent. In America, almost every household contains a Bible, and in many cases, they own more than one. Some Christians seem to be collectors of Bibles. Their bookshelves contain multiple translations of the Bible, and with the advent of smart devices, we can have a cornucopia of translations at our fingertips. All that being said, there seems to be a common problem around the world; people do not read the Bible. John’s encounter with this angelic being gives some beautiful insights into what we should do with our Bibles, and what our Bibles will do to us.
The angel gives John the book and instructs him to eat it. This serves as an illustration of the need for us to consume the Word of God. The message contained in Scripture has the power to produce faith that leads to salvation, to comfort us in difficultly, to direct us during times of confusion, to empower us for service, to convict us when we are going astray, to give insight into the ways of God, to challenge us to higher living, and to equip us to assist others who are hurting. However, this book, with all of its benefits, will have no effect on your life if it sits on the bookshelf. To benefit from the Bible, we must consume it. Taking time each day to read your Bible, memorize its promises, and put into practice it’s commands, will transform your life.
Notice also, John’s reaction to consuming the Word; it was sweet in his mouth like honey. Because the Word of God is living, it is timely; you will find His promises show up at all the right times. A sense of peace, comfort, and inner strengthening, comes with each promise. How blessedly sweet are the promises of God to the mouth of the child of God.
However, notice there is a deeper impact upon John than just a sweet taste. The Word becomes bitter in his stomach. When we have eaten something that has given us a bitter stomach, the body reacts by needing to “get it out.” The Word of God is like that. We read it and are deeply impacted by it. As its truths touch us, we become compelled to share them with others. It is difficult to read a promise, know a loved one who is struggling, and not want to pass it on. When we read of the promises of heaven for those who trust Christ, and the sorrows awaiting those who reject them, we cannot help but share the promises of eternal life.
Today, right now, read the Word. Let it minister it’s sweetness to you, but don’t stop there, let it become bitter in your belly, and share its promises with others.
Questions for Revelation 10
As we’ve been reading through the book of Revelation we have been watching the future unfold. From chapter 6-9 we’ve been looking at events in the time of the Great Tribulation. In these chapters we have seen seven seals opened (each with an attendant judgment) and six of seven trumpets sounding. Before the seventh trumpet sounds in chapter 11, we have a brief interlude here in chapter 10.
1. Another angel is introduced in verse 1. What things in verse 1 are we told about this angel?
2. In verse 2, what is in the hand of the angel? Where are his feet? Is there anywhere on earth that does not categorize as one of these two places? What does this say about where the message of this book is to go?
3. In verses 3-4 after the angel cries out, seven thunderous voices sound. What does the voice from heaven say to John concerning the things which these thunderous voices proclaimed? In light of this, do you think it is wise to speculate on what they might have said? Read Deuteronomy 29:29.
4. In verses 5-6 who does the angel swear by? Read John 1:1-3 and Colossians 1:15-17.
5. In biblical terms a mystery is something hidden by God which will ultimately be revealed. In verse 7 it tells us that when the seventh angel sounds the “mystery” of God would be finished. Aside from all of the various insights that God is giving us into the future (some of them clear, some of them unclear) what in this book is God ultimately revealing to the world? Remember to keep the first words of Revelation chapter 1 your focus in the midst of so many amazing, terrifying, and sometimes perplexing visions.
6. There has been a lot of speculation about who this angel is, but as we go through the chapter, we realize that the focus is not the angel himself, but the book that is in his hand. What is John told to do with the book in the angel’s hand? Read Luke 4:4, Psalm 119:103, and Jeremiah 20:9. Do you think that the book represents the Word of God?
7. John describes the book as sweet to his mouth, but bitter to his belly. The Christian life is made up of both joy and suffering. What have been some of the sweet things for you in being a Christian? What things have been bitter?
8. Even if the book does not represent the Word of God in its entirety, it is certainly a message from God. What is John told to do with this message? Look at 1 Corinthians 11:23 and 15:3. What did Paul do with what the Lord gave to him? What should we do with the message of His love and grace that the Lord has given to us?