And the voice which I heard from heaven spoke to me again, and said…
And the voice which I heard from heaven, etc. The "little book," or roll, here might be fairly taken to illustrate God's redemptive truth, or the gospel. The following thoughts are suggested.
I. THIS GOSPEL IS BROUGHT TO MAN FROM HEAVEN. "The voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go, and take the little book." Redemptive truth is a special revelation to man sent by God from heaven, Men could never have reached the redemptive idea by the study of nature or by philosophic research; or, were the human mind to traverse through the whole world of natural science and to search into every part, it would never discover this "little book." The way in which alienated humanity can be brought into a loving sympathy with God transcends human discovery. "Ear hath not heard, eye hath not seen." Divine messengers brought this "little book" to man, and Christ embodied it.
II. THIS GOSPEL IS TO BE APPROPRIATED BY MAN. "And he said, Take it, and eat it up." The object of the gospel is not merely to enlighten the mind, to stimulate inquiry, or to excite emotions, but to be appropriated as food, to satisfy the hunger and to invigorate the faculties of the soul. "The Word must become flesh," it must course through every vein, beat in every pulse, and strengthen every fibre of our being. It is the bread of life that came down from heaven, the fruit of the tree of life. The spirit of this "little book" must become the inspiring and the regnant spirit of our being.
III. THIS GOSPEL HAS A TWOFOLD EFFECT OF MAN. "It shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey." It is both sweet and bitter. In its disclosures of infinite love and promises of future blessedness it is indeed "sweet," but in its convictions of sin, reproofs, and denunciations it is indeed "bitter." It produces in the soul sorrow and joys, sighs and songs, and its bitterness will remain as long as one particle of depravity continues in the heart. The experience of a Christly man is a very mixed experience during his life on earth; yonder it is all sweetness.
IV. THIS GOSPEL, APPROPRIATED, QUALIFIES MAN FOR HIS MISSION. "And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings." Prophesying, or indoctrinating men with Divine ideas, is the grand mission of every man; but this mission can only be realized after the teacher himself has appropriated the Divine Word. When he has it in him, not merely as an idea or a theory, but as a living power, then he will be able to "prophesy" with regard to "peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings." - D. T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.