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Daniel and Revelation
Chapter 24
Revelation 10 – The Call to Preach

Revelation 10:1-8  I saw a mighty angel coming down out of the sky, clothed with a cloud. A rainbow was on his head. His face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire.  (2)  He had in his hand a little open book. He set his right foot on the sea, and his left on the land.  (3)  He cried with a loud voice, as a lion roars. When he cried, the seven thunders uttered their voices.  (4)  When the seven thunders sounded, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from the sky saying, "Seal up the things which the seven thunders said, and don't write them."  (5)  The angel who I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to the sky,  (6)  and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there will no longer be delay,  (7)  but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as he declared to his servants, the prophets.  (8)  The voice which I heard from heaven, again speaking with me, said, "Go, take the book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the land."

When we are first introduced to the angel in Revelation 10:2, we learn that he has a little scroll that lay open in his hand.  This scroll no doubt relates to the scroll in Daniel.  In verse 8, we learn more about the scroll.  John is told to take the scroll and eat it.  The scroll is sweet as honey in the mouth, but would turn the stomach bitter (or sour).  This scroll can also be found in Ezekiel's call to preach (Ezekiel 2:9-3:3).  In Ezekiel, it's "sweet as honey in the mouth," just as in Revelation.  But Ezekiel doesn't mention that it's bitter in the stomach.  Ezekiel says that on both sides of the scroll are words of lament and mourning and woe.  Thus we know why it's bitter in the stomach.

Ezekiel 2:9 - 3:3  When I looked, behold, a hand was put forth to me; and, behold, a scroll of a book was therein;  (2:10)  He spread it before me: and it was written within and without; and there were written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe(3:1)  He said to me, Son of man, eat that which you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel(3:2)  So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat the scroll (3:3)  He said to me, Son of man, cause your belly to eat, and fill your bowels with this scroll that I give you. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.

Revelation 10:9-11  I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little [scroll]. He said to me, "Take it, and eat it up. It will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey."  (10)   I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up. It was as sweet as honey in my mouth. When I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter (11)  They told me, "You must prophesy again over many peoples, nations, languages, and kings."

The Mystery of God climaxes with the resurrection.  That’s sweet in the mouth.  But the bitter truth is the theme of Revelation.  According to the seven letters to the seven churches, the Church must overcome sin in order to inherit the kingdom.  That’s a truth that’s hard to swallow, and thus it’s bitter in the stomach.  These are words of “lament, mourning, and woe.”  In Ezekiel’s call to preach, he is told to preach to Israel.  He is not told to preach to “peoples of obscure speech and difficult language, whose words you cannot understand” (Ezekiel 3:6).  He is told to preach to Israel. “But the house of Israel is not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for the whole house of Israel is hardened and obstinate.” (Ezekiel 3:7).  This is the way it is with most Christians today.

When John ate the scroll, he was told, "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”  Ezekiel was told to prophesy to Israel.  To prophesy is to say God’s word.  It’s not necessarily to tell the future.  Today, we know enough about God’s mystery to know that Israel includes Gentiles from many “nations, languages, and kings.”  God is saying that the message given to Ezekiel is the same message that the Church today needs to hear today.  And it may take the wake-up call of the trumpets before the Church will take that message seriously.  Today, some of the Church believes that they will skip over the trumpets.  Others believe the trumpets are symbolic of things in history.  Others believe that the trumpets won’t really happen.  But if the trumpets were to really begin to happen, people who call themselves Christians will either take God’s wake-up call seriously, or they will leave the Church.  And many church leaders will probably try to deny that God is behind the trumpet-plagues, even though they are in the Bible.  The trumpet-plagues are all about the accomplishment of God’s mystery.  The Mystery of God is that all God’s people will make themselves ready for Christ to return.  Then the mystery will climax with the resurrection.

Philip Brown