That’s the secret to a powerful Christian life: a life fueled by God’s word living richly in our inmost being.
Today we come to chapter 10, which coupled with chapter 11 we see a second “interlude”. What do I mean by “interlude” when it comes to Revelation? Well, an interlude refers to those sections of Revelation where it pauses from describing the sequential judgments of God on the earth. In reality, the judgments are carrying on, but, the book of Revelation will pause from describing them and take you somewhere else on the earth or in heaven to show you a more local scene.
Illustration: The nightly news does a segment on a national issue (immigration) and then goes to a special report on a single person who is representative of that issue (an illegal immigrant’s personal story).
The interlude fills out the picture some more for us to see from another angle what’s going on. The first interlude we found in chapter 7, between the 6th and 7th seal judgments. The second interlude we come to is chapter 10 and 11. In this interlude we are going to be introduced to a Mighty Angel and a little scroll (chapter 10), and, in chapter 11 we are going to meet the Two Witnesses of God.
#1: The Entrance of the Mighty Angel (v1-2)
Our first point is this: “The Entrance of the Mighty Angel”. We are presented with one magnificent angelic being. Revelation is chocked full of angels. We’ve seen angels riding different colored horses, angels ministering before the heavenly altar, angels coming down from heaven to the earth like “Wormwood” and the other angel that comes down to open the Abyss. With stunning visual a new angel, a “mighty angel” appears. Look at how he is described.
First he comes down from heaven. He’s not coming up from the Abyss or out of the Euphrates. This angel is a heavenly, holy angel of God, dispatched to the earth.
Second, he is wearing a cloud for clothing. Don’t let this seem humorous to you because it is actually conveys radiant and divine glory. Not that the angel is divine, but, we see clouds in Scripture when the glory of God is the topic. (Examples). This angel projects a powerful visual to John as an angel who not only comes from the very immediate glorious presence of the Living God on the throne, but, who also comes in a glorious display as a worthy ambassador of the Eternally Glorious One.
Third, his face shone like the sun. It reminds us of how Jesus’ face shone in chapter 1. Or, how Jesus Himself was radiant with Divine light at His Transfiguration. Again, the holy, eternal light of God accompanies this beautiful and powerful angel.
Fourth His legs were like fiery pillars. Amazing. I’ll suggest an interpretation here. Fire is symbolic of God’s holy judgment. Think of the fire on the altar of sacrifice. Think of the fire of Hell. THink of Jesus’ fiery eyes earlier in Revelation when He judged the conduct of His 7 churches. Here this angel’s legs are “fiery pillars”. With those legs of fire he is going to stand on the land and the sea, perhaps symbolizing the holy judgments God is reigning down on the land and sea (the first 3 trumpet judgments were aimed at the land and sea, chapter 8:7-11).
Fifth, he had a little scroll in his hand. We’ll come back to this.
With such an introduction to this magnificent angel John’s attention was secured.
#2: The Untold Message (v3-4)
Point number 2 is “The Untold Message”. Read verses 3-4. This is one of those frustrating cliffhangers where you’re led to the precipice of something you know is amazing but you don’t know what it is and then you’re just abandoned with your curiosity.
We have no idea who the 7 thunders are or what they said or why they were allowed to speak but then their message was not heard. You’re going to love this point because it is the shortest point in any sermon you may ever hear from me. Next point.
#3: The Exclamation of the Mighty Angel (v5-7)
Our third point is “The Exclamation of the Mighty Angel”, found in verses 5-7.
Notice how he postures himself to make an oath. Standing in untouchable authority, right hand raised, probably looking heavenward, he makes his God-given announcement: the certainty that the mystery of God is soon to be fulfilled.
This mighty angel reminds us of John the Baptist who also preceded a glorious event, the arrival of Jesus Christ. His purpose, as we see in the Gospels, was to announce that Jesus was coming soon. So this angel, stands as another faithful voice among a long procession of prophets who all have declared God’s purposes for the future to their generation: the Patriarchs, Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Jeremiah, the minor prophets, the Apostles, even now angels! God is converging all of His creation upon mankind with one voice calling mankind to repent! Even the natural world, the heavens and nature around, all declare the glory of God!
Application: Should we then remain silent? Here we are, in our time, in our place, by God’s sovereign choosing. Here we are surrounded by the world we live in. Will we remain silent when the whole world needs the one thing we have? We must enlist our voices in that procession of prophets, not that we ourselves are prophets, but, we have their word, and thus we must tell it to the world! Tell people the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Several questions arise. First of all, what is a mystery? In the Bible a “mystery” is a very simple concept: it simply refers to something that in the past was not known about that has now been told about. For instance, turn to Revelation 1:20. Then turn to 17:7. It is like this throughout the Bible: some great person or event or plan that no one in the past had any clue about and now God pulls the cover back and shows us what He had in mind the whole time.
Second question: What is the mystery of God? Well, to answer that question we have to answer a third question: When will will the mystery of God happen? The answer to “when” is given right there in the text: right before the 7th Trumpet is sounded. Now, if that is when the mystery will be accomplished, we can skip ahead to see that section of Revelation that describes the 7th Trumpet and there we might discover specifically what this mystery of God is. Turn to chapter 11:15-18 and we have this mystery unveiled for us.
#4: John Eats a Bittersweet Scroll (v8-11)
Lastly, we see that John is required to eat a unique meal. Notice verses 8-11.
Bizzare, huh? Remember that John is not in this dimension we are in right now. John is somewhere else, in a whole other realm. It’s different there. Let me offer some thoughts on this little scroll.
First, this scroll is not the 7 sealed scroll we saw in chapter 5. That scroll was for Jesus only, and it contained the judgments for earth during the Tribulation.
Second, the scroll would be bittersweet. Notice verse 9-10. What does this mean? Why would it taste good in his mouth but then make him sick to his stomach? Commentators seem to agree sweet means John wanted God’s judgment to happen, but, bitter means the terrifying realization of the doom associated with that. Ryrie, in his footnotes explains it clearly and concisely (read footnotes).
Application: our awareness of God’s coming judgment ought to motivate us to give as many people as possible the life-saving message of the Gospel. I think inherent to this bittersweet thing going on here is that God was making John sick to his stomach over the coming judgment and that sickness would push him on to preach to all he could reach.
So, as strange as it sounds that he would eat a scroll, it’s really not. We’ve seen this before. Turn to Ezekiel 2:8-3:3.
It seems that God, when He chooses a man to be His prophet, will make him eat a scroll basically to initiate him into the elite class of men called prophet. What could possibly be the meaning of this? Its simple, really: God is putting in the man what He wants to come out of the man. His Word. God is depositing His word in that man by causing that man to digest it through eating it! The prophet must speak from what he believes deep down in his guts – he can’t pretend as a prophet. He must have the word of God internalized, digested, and giving strength and life to him inwardly if he is going to stand up to speak for God.
This again, while strange, it should not be too strange to us. Eating the Word of God is a common theme. Jesus, The Word of God in flesh, said, metaphorically I hasten to add, that we are to eat His flesh and drink His blood. Peter said to crave pure spiritual milk (God’s Word) so that we can grow by it. Then there are passages that speak of the “meat” of God’s word, like in 1 Corinthians 3 and Hebrews 5. And we are told to come and taste the Lord, see that He is good.
Application: It all goes to the idea of internalizing God’s message. God’s word goes in before it comes out. Christians, we must ensure we swallow God’s word and let it be digested deep inside of us.
Illustration: Reese used to chew on food and keep it in her cheek for a long time. Dinner would be over and an hour later id see a little bulge in het cheek. I think her record was 2 1/2 hrs. She can’t be nourished and grow that way. She didn’t do everything with the food she needed to in order to grow. The body never gets nutrition unless you accept the food by swallowing it.
Neither does your soul get nourishment unless you swallow the words of God. How do you do that? By believing and obeying. Let your word dwell richly in my heart, Colossians says, search my heart O God, the Psalmist says. That’s the secret to a powerful christian life: a life fueled by God’s word living richly in our inmost being.
If there is no reality within you, but you do the outward things of Christianity, you are deceiving yourself. Be sure your visible Christian life is the result of your true inward Christian life. Otherwise it is just a facade masking the non-reality underneath.
A couple weeks ago I was standing in line at the Secretary of State office renewing my license. The line seemed to move so slow that Evan would be old enough to drive and standing in line with me before I was called. I thought, “The Rapture would be nice about now.” Anyway, during my zombie stare I saw on their TV on the wall a news report flash about how some German special police saved a mother duck and her 10 ducklings. Apparently they had gotten so far from the water that they were completely, hopelessly lost, without anyway on their own of getting back to where they belong. Then someone had mercy on them. SOmeone cared, found them and brought them to safety.
What a heartwarming story isn’t it? What a picture of our Savior! There we were, a long way from where we should be. Lost. Hopelessly lost. No way on our own to make it back. Wandering around in darkness, blind to God, blind in our sin. But here comes the Special Police, the Savior Jesus, mercifully seeking out the lost to bring them home. Have you come home? Have you come to Jesus?