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7-7-2019 Yummy Judgment Revelation 10

Revelation Series  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:09
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Introduction:
We are about at the middle of Revelation. A lot has happened already. What exactly has happened up to now?
Chapter 1 introduces John’s circumstance and the true Author of this book: Jesus
Jesus then relates special messages given to John to give to the churches in Asia Minor
Then chapter 4 comes along with a stark transition - Suddenly caught up into heaven, John sees a vision of God Almighty on his throne. All of Christ’s followers and the heavenly angels are worshiping God (4:1–11). John watches as God gives a scroll with seven seals to the worthy Lamb, Jesus Christ (5:1–14). The Lamb begins to open the seals one by one. As each seal is opened, a new vision appears.
As the first four seals are opened, riders appear on horses of various colors; war, famine, disease, and death are in their paths (6:1–8). As the fifth seal is opened, John sees those in heaven who have been martyred for their faith in Christ (6:9–11).
A set of contrasting images appears at the opening of the sixth seal. On one side, there is a huge earthquake, stars fall from the sky, and the sky rolls up like a scroll (6:12–17). On the other side, multitudes are before the great throne, worshiping and praising God and the Lamb (7:1–17).
Next, the seventh seal is opened (8:1–5), unveiling a series of God’s judgments announced by seven angels with seven trumpets. The first four angels bring hail, fire, a burning mountain, and a falling star, and the sun and the moon are darkened (8:6–13). The fifth trumpet announces the coming of locusts with the power to sting (9:1–12). The sixth trumpet heralds the coming of an army of warriors on horses (9:13–21).
Now we are caught up to chapter 10
Transition:
Between the sixth and the seventh seal judgments is the first interlude that consisted of the 144,000 from the tribes in the first half of ch.7, and the great multitude of every nation in the second half of ch.7 in heaven. Similarly, now in our timeline, between the sixth and the seventh trumpet judgments we find the second interlude consisting of the mighty angel and the little scroll in 10:1–11, when John is recommissioned to prophesy, and the vision of the two witnesses in 11:1–13, which we’ll hit on next week, when the role and destiny of the witnessing church is described. (Interestingly, there is no interlude between the sixth and the seventh bowl judgments as we would come to expect.)
Scripture Reading:
Revelation 10:1–11 ESV
1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. 2 He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, 3 and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. 4 And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.” 5 And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven 6 and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, 7 but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets. 8 Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is 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 told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, “Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” 10 And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. 11 And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”
As with the other interlude, this passage clarifies the role of God’s people and offers perspective and encouragement to help them to endure faithfully. The theme of prophecy unites both parts in this interlude, including John’s role as prophet and the church’s role as witness.
Grant Osborne writes on how the entire first half of Revelation is framed by the motif of prophetic witness. The first vision or first part in this interlude deals with John’s prophetic role using the imagery of the “little scroll.”
Transition:
This little scroll has some enormous aspects to it, the first one being:

I. The Big Secret (vv.1-4)

Not a whole lot of secrets are kept in the Bible, but John now sets the stage for one of the biggest:
Revelation 10:1 ESV
Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire.
Who is this angel? Three “MIGHTY angels” appear in Revelation (first in ch.5, here in ch. 10:1; and the third in ch 18:21), and the first two are both associated with the scroll of God’s redemptive plan. Although the first two mighty angels are closely related, they are not identical since the second angel is described in language used earlier for Christ himself (cf. with 10:1). The identification of this angel with Christ, however, seems doubtful since Christ never appears anywhere else in Revelation as an angel, and it would seem out of place for Christ to take an oath (as in v.6). Nevertheless, this angel obviously plays an extremely significant role in the fulfillment of God’s plan.
Revelation 10:2 ESV
He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land,
Is the “scroll” with the 7 seals of chapter 5 is the same as the “little scroll” here in ch. 10? There are variations between the two scrolls (e.g., scroll vs. little scroll, sealed vs. open in hand, heavenly scene in ch.5 vs. earthly scene now)—so different scrolls, right? BUT the similarities could suggest that a single scroll is in view: both are held by a mighty angel, and both concern God’s redemptive plan.
One commentator suggests that perhaps the designation “little scroll” says more about the large size of the mighty angel than the small size of the book. In chapter 5, the scroll was sealed with seven seals, which were then opened by the Lamb in ch. 6. Now in chapter 10, the scroll lies open in the angel’s hand. The scroll reveals how God plans to defeat evil, rescue his people, and transform his creation, and what all this means for John and the rest of God’s people here on earth.
Revelation 10:3 ESV
and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded.
Thunder is often associated with judgment in Revelation (e.g., 4:5; 6:1; 8:5; 11:19; 16:18), and here “the seven thunders” could likely be yet another series of divine judgments.
Revelation 10:3–4 ESV
3 and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. 4 And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.”
Revelation 10:4 ESV
And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.”
Thunder is often associated with judgment in Revelation (e.g., 4:5; 6:1; 8:5; 11:19; 16:18), and here “the seven thunders” are likely yet another series of divine judgments. John hears and understands the message of the seven thunders, but a heavenly voice tells him to seal what they say (i.e., keep it secret) and not write it down (cf. a similar command to Daniel in ; , , and the contrasting commands to John in ; ). We can only speculate about why John was told to seal up the thunderous message. The most convincing explanation seems related to the sealing of the angel’s message in verse 6: “There will be no more delay!” As a result, another series of partial judgments along the lines of the seals and trumpets is unnecessary (note the failure to repent in 9:20–21).5 In addition, the thunders are sealed but the scroll lies open, indicating that there will be no further intervention. The fulfillment of God’s purposes is at hand.
John hears and understands the message of the seven thunders, but a heavenly voice tells him to keep it secret—don’t write it down. We can only guess why John was told to seal up this thunderous message. Maybe the terror is too great. Maybe the secret is a divine surprise to Believers. Maybe it’s related to the angel’s message in verse 6: where the angel says: “There will be no more delay!” If so, another series of thunder judgments along with the seals and trumpets are then unnecessary (especially with the failure of the earth dwellers to repent in the end of the last chapter in vv. 20–21). In addition, the thunders are sealed but the scroll lies open, indicating that there will be no further intervention. The fulfillment of God’s purposes is at hand.
Rev
Illustration:
Transition:
So that’s the big secret —7 thunders, but there’s more grand things John writes:

II. The Mighty Oath (vv.5-7)

This mighty angel makes a wonderful oath!
his mighty angel makes a wonderful oath!
Revelation 10:5–6 ESV
5 And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven 6 and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay,
5-7
The angel standing on the land and on the sea points to YHWH’s sovereign control over His world (repeated from v.2, here, then again in v.8). This is the only place in Revelation where anyone swears an oath, and this is from , where the prophet Daniel asks a question about the end of time: “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?” (; cf. the martyrs’ question in ). Note as well that the figure in Daniel also swears by him who lives forever (). What is delayed in Daniel now stands ready to be fulfilled: “There will be no more delay!” (cf. with ).
Revelation 10:5–7 ESV
And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.
Revelation 10:5 ESV
And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven
The angel’s stance on the land and the sea points to God’s sovereign control over his world (repeated in 10:2, 5, 8). This is the only place in Revelation where anyone swears an oath, and the background is , where the prophet asks a question about the end of time: “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?” (; cf. the martyrs’ question in ). Note as well that the figure in Daniel also swears by him who lives forever (). What is delayed in Daniel now stands ready to be fulfilled: “There will be no more delay!” (cf. with ).
Rev
Revelation 10:7 ESV
but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.
The “mystery of God?” Is this referring to the secret that John was just told not to write?
We can know that The “mystery of God” contained in the little scroll refers to God’s plan to judge evil, redeem his people, and transform his creation, a plan that will soon come to completion. This will occur when the seventh angel sounds his trumpet—a reference to the events we’ll see later in Revelation chs. 19–21. God announces his plans to his servants the prophets, including both the Old and the New Testament prophets as makes explicit:
Amos 3:7 ESV
“For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.
Illustration:
Everyone knows what happens when you take a large snow globe and shake it. As you watch the flakes, you can see the chaos that is swirling inside. Yet no matter how wildly the snow might rage within this globe, a steady hand is holding it safely in place. There is a reality more real, more substantial. There is a will that lies behind the snowstorm within. Us Believers can live within this world as people who know that YHWH is at work in history. His will is being enacted even in the circumstances that seem confusing and strange. Through his promises and the presence of the Holy Spirit, we have a reassuring hope that Jesus, not chaos, will win.
Transition:
This is the oath - By the Father’s Love and authority, no more delaying! This leaves us with a sweet after-taste:

III. The Strong After-Taste (vv.8-10)

John records for us a peculiar command:
Revelation 10:8–9 ESV
8 Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is 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 told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, “Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.”
8-9
The heavenly voice commands John to get involved in this visionary drama by taking and eating the little scroll. This ain’t the first time we’ve heard of this strange meal. In Ezekiel’s commissioning, he too is commanded to eat a scroll as a symbol of ingesting God’s message, and the scroll tasted as sweet as honey ().
Ezekiel 2:7–3:3 ESV
And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house. “But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Be not rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.” And when I looked, behold, a hand was stretched out to me, and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. And he spread it before me. And it had writing on the front and on the back, and there were written on it words of lamentation and mourning and woe. And he said to me, “Son of man, eat whatever you find here. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me this scroll to eat. And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey.
Revelation 10:8 ESV
Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.”
The scroll tastes like honey to John also, but it gives John a terrible stomachache. The sweetness represents God’s love, and sovereign control over history and the promise to complete his plan very soon. He will conquer evil once and for all, vindicate his people, and bring forth a new heaven and new earth. That’s good news and is about as sweet as it gets. The bitterness after-taste, however, represents the suffering and persecution that God’s people will endure as necessary aspects of finalizing God’s purposes for this world, plus perhaps the bitter judgments as well.
The scroll tastes like honey to John also, but it gives John a terrible stomachache. The sweetness represents God’s love, and sovereign control over history and the promise to complete his plan very soon. He will conquer evil once and for all, vindicate his people, and bring forth a new heaven and new earth. That’s good news and is about as sweet as it gets. The bitterness afterward, however, represents the suffering and persecution that God’s people will endure as necessary aspects of finalizing God’s purposes for this world.
Revelation 10:10 ESV
And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter.
This verse proves again the biblical truth that God’s purposes often involve suffering for His people. If we respond rightly to suffering, we find that it draws us closer to the Lord, refines our character, equips us for more effective service now, and prepares us for eternal life in the new heaven and new earth. The theological irony of a bittersweet scroll illustrates this truth. The sweetness of the fulfillment of God’s purposes for this world is tempered by the bitterness of suffering in the world now. Yet the suffering of the faithful believer is also their triumph. Following the Lion/Lamb means that apparent defeat at the hands of evil forces actually results in victory thanks to The Father. The cross is not the final word; the resurrection is!
This passage revisits the biblical truth that God’s purposes often involve suffering for his people. The Scriptures consistently affirm the redemptive role of suffering in the life of the believer (e.g., ; ; ; ). If we respond rightly to suffering, we find that it draws us closer to the Lord, refines our character, equips us for more effective service now, and prepares us for eternal life in the new heaven and new earth. The theological irony of a bittersweet scroll illustrates this truth. The sweetness of the fulfillment of God’s purposes for this world is tempered by the bitterness of suffering in the interim. Yet the suffering of the faithful witnesses is also their triumph. Following the Lamb means that apparent defeat at the hands of evil forces actually results in victory thanks to God. The cross is not the final word; resurrection is!
Illustration:
Transition:

So What? (v. 11)

The “So What” is verse 11-- a second call to preach!
Revelation 10:11 ESV
And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”
Rev
John’s call again to prophesy is a renewal of his divine job (“a must”) to proclaim God’s message, no matter how difficult it is to speak the truth or how negatively the audience might respond. As John prepares to experience the rest of the vision where the judgment intensifies even more, he needs this reminder of his calling to be a faithful witness — just like the prophets of the O.T. John is to prophesy “about” (epi) or perhaps “against” many people, nations, tongues, and kings. John’s message certainly involves God’s judgment against the nations as chapter 11 will make clear. Yet, the positive aspect of God’s people bearing witness to the nations continues to play a significant role even today— we are YHWH’s messengers to the nations today.

So What?

There will come a time when God will fully accomplish his purposes for this world. Now we experience delay and we wait and we sometimes ask, “How long, Sovereign Lord?” (cf. ). The suffering is real, and things are often not the way they are supposed to be. But a day is coming when there will be “no more delay,” when YHWH will consummate his kingdom (11:15). This passage helps people understand the “already/not yet” situation in which we live.
The “already/not yet” tension is slightly like tension on a rubber band. Many of us grew up shooting these nifty things at our friends. For a rubber band to be shot, it needs two anchor points working in tension. The rubber band can then be “shot” out.
To understand the good news of the kingdom, we must hold two truths in tension. On one hand, Jesus has already brought His kingdom. We have victory over death and sin, and are coheirs with Christ. On the other hand, we are walking in a sin-cursed body where evil seems to prevail around our sin-filled world. Both realities are true. You can feel the stretch of the rubber band as you consider the tension of these two realities.
We hold on and wait and endure difficulties now as we look forward to the blessed hope of Jesus’s second coming (). God will keep his promises!
In the meantime, we must continue to trust in God’s perfect character and his sovereign purposes. It’s not on accident that three times the mighty angel is described as standing on the land and the sea (vv. 2, 5, 8). As Christ’s representative, the angel’s huge size and lionlike voice (10:3) communicate God’s sovereignty over all forces. As people struggle to endure faithfully, they sometimes lose sight of God’s power and control. It’s easy to do in the midst of personal crises. Every believer endures crises of faith. Our journey is a dangerous and difficult one. But reminds us that we wait and endure with the full assurance that God wins in the end and that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” ().
Living and speaking Godly & prophetically in this world is not easy. In some ways John represents Godly leaders gifted to prophesy and all believers charged with the privilege and responsibility of bearing witness. The message we receive from the Lord through his Word often seems bittersweet, and staying true to His message usually proves difficult. We delight in God’s Word, but that does not guarantee an easy life or spare us the pain of opposition and rejection. Even Ezekiel’s scroll was covered with “words of lament and mourning and woe” ().
Ezekiel 2:10 ESV
And he spread it before me. And it had writing on the front and on the back, and there were written on it words of lamentation and mourning and woe.
On the night before the Christ’s crucifixion, Jesus warned his disciples of this very thing: “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also” (). And in his final letter, the apostle Paul reminded Timothy of this hard truth: “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (). In spite of the promised difficulties, God assures us of his constant presence, of spiritual protection, and of future rewards for our sacrifices.
Conclusion:
We can trust God to accomplish his saving plan according to his sovereign timing.
God reveals his purposes through his prophets.
God reveals his purposes through his prophets.
The completion of God’s plan will involve additional suffering for his people.
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