Revelation 10:10
So I took the small scroll from 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 turned bitter.
God's WordD. Thomas, D. D.Revelation 10:8-11
God's WordD. Thomas Revelation 10:8-11
On Eating BooksD. Davies.Revelation 10:8-11
Rules for Christian EffortG. Marrat.Revelation 10:8-11
The Little BookR. Green Revelation 10:8-11
The Making of a MinisterA. Whyte, D. D.Revelation 10:8-11
The Proper Use of Divine TruthD. Thomas, D. D.Revelation 10:8-11
The Word of God to be PonderedBp. Talbot.Revelation 10:8-11

The consolation of an assured end having been given, the holy seer, and in him the Church in all ages, becomes prepared to receive tidings that shall prove "bitter" and painful. The final victory is assured. The word is "sweet as honey" in the mouth of him who receives it, which reception is represented by the figure of "eating the little book." It is sweet, for it is impossible to be an agent of God for any work without a certain pleasurableness. But the sweetness is temporary. So is it a pleasant thing to receive a message from the Lord, but it may be a very painful thing to communicate it to men. The reception of "the little book," whatever that book may mean, is a preparation to prophesying "again concerning many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings." The words which follow are mingled words of sadness and comfort - comfort for the Church in her obedience; sadness for the ungodly, rebellious, and opposing nations. In the symbol before us there seems to shine out from the midst of many teachings one respecting the prophetic office itself. For a moment attention is directed to the seer himself and his own states. Thus have we set forth the prophetic office - the honourableness of its calling; the painfulness of its duties. Nothing is said as to the twofold character of the message - "the little book" - but only the twofold effect upon the seer. Our thoughts, then, are upon him.

I. THE HOLY OFFICE OF PROPHET IS THE MOST HONOURABLE AND EXALTED AMONGST MEN. To speak for God, as his agent; to declare his message; to receive the Word from his lips, by his inspiration; to be entrusted with his Word to men - be it a word of condemnation, of warning, of promise, of mercy, or hope - is a most sacred, hallowed burden. To speak to men in God's Name is higher than to speak for kings. The "ambassador for Christ" stands at the head of diplomatic agents. How holy, how awful, how responsible, his office! The calling to such office cannot but have its sweetness to the faithful servant.

II. OF ALL OFFICES THIS, WHEN RIGHTLY COMPREHENDED, IS THE MOST PAINFUL. To deal with words of judgment and threatening; to speak of sin; to warn of punishment; to have close alliance with righteousness amongst men who reject it; to he burdened with spiritual care; to stand in antagonism to prevalent sentiment, and strive to raise men to altitudes of goodness; - cannot but be a burden too heavy to be borne were the prophet unaided. He is in error who views the calling to the prophetic office too lightly; he is also in error who thinks triflingly of the painfulness of its responsibilities. - R. G.

I saw another mighty angel... clothed with a cloud.
The Book of Revelation is written for the comfort of the Church in presence of her oppressing foes. This word of consolation is of great preciousness and help to the suffering Church; for —

I. IT IS GIVEN BY THE LORD HIMSELF. The strong angel "coming down out of heaven, arrayed with a cloud," can be none other than the Lord Himself. The surrounding symbols are His, and His alone. "The rainbow was upon His head"; "His face was as the sun, and His feet as pillars of fire." It is the reflection of the Divine glory in Christ. When He cries the seven thunders utter their voices, and His great voice was "as a lion roareth." From the word of such a one the Church may always gather the utmost comfort.

II. IT GIVES THE PROSPECT AND PLEDGE OF RELEASE. The suffering Church writhes in its anguish; but a definite limit is put to the days of sorrow. "In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound." This is not indefinite and uncertain: "There shall be time no longer" — there shall be no more delay. Relief is certain and speedy. This is assured by oath, even by the voice of the Angel who "sware by Him that liveth for ever and ever, who created the heaven, and the things that are therein, and the earth, and the things that are therein, and the sea, and the things that are therein." This oath is for truest confirmation.

III. The word of consolation and promise IS GIVEN IN THE MOST SOLEMN AND ASSURING MANNER. This is seen in the whole vision — the person, attitude, message, oath, and surrounding testimonies.

IV. IT IS THE TRUEST, THE UTMOST ENCOURAGEMENT TO HOPE. Upon this vision the Church should ever reflect in the time of suffering and fear. It is possible patiently to endure and hold out when a definite and assured prospect and pledge of relief is given. The words, "declared to His servants the prophets," shall have their fulfilment; "the mystery" shall be "finished."

(R. Green.)

1. The gospel and Church of Christ has mighty enemies, such as princes and the great men of the earth. Yet here is her comfort, that she has a mighty Angel, even that great Angel of the Covenant, Christ Jesus, the Almighty God, for her, to deliver her and confound her enemies, in the height of their pride.

2. By this mighty Angel's coming down from heaven we see whence and whereby shall be the ruin of antichrist, to wit, not from the earth or the arm of flesh, but from heaven and the heavenly power of the Word of God.

3. He comes clothed with a cloud, to show the manner of His manifestation to His Church in His Word and sacraments, and that her knowledge of Him on earth is but obscure and only in part.

4. By the rainbow on His head we see that He comes to His Church with peace, and the assurance of the covenant thereof; and so shall He come in like manner to every humbled soul.

5. His face is said to be as the sun, whereby we see that as antichrist comes with darkness and the smoke of error, so on the contrary Christ comes ever with the light and brightness of truth.

6. His feet as pillars of fire, to tread down and consume His enemies, serve as a just and dreadful terror to His foes, but as a sweet and singular comfort to His elect ones, who are here trod upon and cruelly used.

(William Guild, D. D.)

And he had in his hands a little book open
"He had in his hand a little book open."

I. THE AMBASSADOR WHO BEINGS IT. Much may be learnt concerning any message that is sent by an earthly monarch from the character and rank and insignia which belong to the messenger. He who brings God's message to mankind is one of no mean order, and the tokens of his authority are of the most impressive kind.

1. He comes from heaven. The Bible is not a merely human production.

2. It is mighty in its power. It was "a strong angel" that St. John saw, suggesting to him and to us the strength of that message which he was commissioned to bring. What trophies of its power has not the Bible won?

3. Its truths fill the soul with awe. The angel was "clothed with a cloud" — symbol this of the majesty and mystery that surround and invest the foundation-teachings of the Word of God.

4. But they are crowned with blessed promise and grace. "The rainbow was upon his head." Though there be so much that we cannot penetrate or comprehend, nevertheless the predominant characteristic is that of "grace."

5. They irradiate and illumine all our earthly life. "His face was it were the sun." "Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is to behold the sun" (Ecclesiastes 11:7).

6. And they shall never be driven forth or removed. "His feet as pillars of fire," and ver. 2. "He planted his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot upon the earth." His invincible power is signified by "the pillars of fire"; and his having set his feet upon the earth and sea tells of "the immovable steadfastness of the heavenly Conqueror against all the resistance of His enemies." All Church history proves this. In many ages and places it has been death to keep a copy of the sacred writings. Wherever they were found, they were ruthlessly destroyed, and often they also with whom they were found. But every copy of the Bible that we possess to-day proves how partial and ineffective all such endeavours were. Glory be to God that they were so!

II. THE DESCRIPTION GIVEN OF IS. "A little book open."

1. A book. The Bible is not the revelation itself, but the record of it. But without the record the revelation would not have availed us. Great scorn has been poured on the idea of "a book revelation,,' and an immense deal of poor wit has been expended upon the idea that God should have used such mean materials as books are made of as the vehicle of His revelation of Himself. But the Bible is not the revelation, only its record; and it is reason for eternal gratitude that His revelation has been so given that it can be thus recorded. In what other way could the knowledge of God have been so well preserved or spread abroad?

2. Its seeming insignificance. It is "a little book." In these days of gold and guns, when wealth and armies are thought to be the great means of accomplishing everything, the spiritual force that lies hidden in "a little book" counts but for little. But what hath not God wrought by it? And we may be grateful that it is little, and not a ponderous library which it would need a lifetime even to know part of, but one small volume which can be read and re-read and carried everywhere as we will. No doubt the littleness of the book here spoken of is intended to be in contrast with that vast volume told of in chap. Revelation 5., which was written within and without, so complete, so full, was it.

3. It is to be an open book. St. John saw it "open" in the hand of the angel. There have been and there are those who would have the Word of God closed, if not entirely, yet to large extent. God hath caused the vision to be written and made "plain," so that the unlearned may learn, and the most simple comprehend.

III. The voices for and against it. We read that the angel cried with a loud voice, and that the seven thunders uttered their voices. Now —

1. The angelic voice suggests —(1) The startling effect of the Word of God upon mankind. The angel's voice was "as when a lion roareth." So did the Word of God affect men. See when at the Reformation it was first freely given to Europe. How it roused men's minds, awoke them from their lethargy, nation after nation heard the sound and broke away from the superstition and sins in which they had so long lived t And it is so still.(2) The assured persuasion it gives concerning the mystery of this present life. The solemn oath of the angel (vers. 5-7) did but represent what the Word of God accomplishes. As He gave, so it gives, solemn assurance that what now is — so much of it so mournful, so full of mystery — is not ever to be, but shall have an end. Life is a mystery now, even in these comparatively calm days of ours; but what must it have appeared to the persecuted, outraged Church of St. John's day?

2. The thunder voice (ver. 4). The question comes — Whence this voice of the seven thunders? It has, we think, been too hastily assumed that St. John is referring to the sevenfold voice of the thunder mentioned in Psalm 29. And, doubtless, in this book thunders are referred to as coming forth from the throne of God (cf. Revelation 4:5). But the true interpretation is given, we think, in the strikingly parallel passages in Daniel 8:26 and Daniel 12:4-9, where that which the prophet is commanded to "seal up" is not what God shall do, but what His people's enemies shall do against Him and them. And so here, we believe, the thunders tell of the wrathful response, the angry mutterings of God's enemies against His truth. And, thus regarded, they tell of the opposition the Word arouses in the world of the wicked. It has ever been so. Hence the Divine forces on the side of the Church and against her foes are what this book mainly reveals. It tells us, "The Lord is on our side; we will not fear what man can do unto us."

IV. The directions concerning it. As it was with the "little book" so it must be with the Word of God.

1. It must be received as from God (ver. 8).

2. It must be taken into the soul. This is the meaning of the strange command, "Take it, and eat it up."

3. When so taken, it will produce both sorrow and joy. The first taste will be pleasant. "In thy mouth sweet as honey." And it is so. Is it not a joy that we have a revelation from God at all; that we are assured God is "our Father which art in heaven"; that our salvation is "without money and without price," for that Christ died for us? Yes; "sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb" are these precious truths. But the after-taste will cause distress and pain. Witness the Saviour's tears over lost souls, and the like tears shed still by those who know "the fellowship of His sufferings." That men should resist and reject such a Saviour; that we should so long have done so, and do not yet wholly receive Him — yes, this after-taste hath pain.

4. When eaten, it qualifies for witness-bearing for God (ver. 11). This is the real qualification, this deep experimental knowledge of the power of God's Word. All else is a naught compared with this. Only such God ordains to be His prophets. Thus doth this "little book," though it meant not the Bible, tell of the Bible.

(S. Conway, B. A.)

Angel, Angel's, Ate, Belly, Bitter, Book, Eat, Eaten, Honey, Messenger, Mouth, Roll, Scroll, Sour, Stomach, Sweet, Tasted
1. A mighty strong angel appears with a book open in his hand.
6. He swears by him who lives forever, that there shall be no more time.
9. John is commanded to take and eat the book.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Revelation 10:1-11

     4113   angels, agents of judgment

Revelation 10:8-10

     5515   scroll

Revelation 10:9-10

     4438   eating
     5167   mouth

The Living One
"I am He that liveth, and was dead" (i. 18). (...) (ho zon), THE LIVING ONE. Like the previous title, it is used as a special designation of the One whose unveiling is about to be shewn to John. Its use is peculiar to Daniel and Revelation. The two books thus linked together by it are linked as to their character and subject matter in a very special manner. It is used twice in Daniel:- Dan. iv. 34 (31 [19] ) and xii. 7; and six time in Revelation:- Rev. i. 18; iv. 9,10; v. 14; x. 6; and xv. 7. [20]
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

The First vision "On Earth"
E^1, chap. vi. 1-- 8. The Six Seals, and the sealing of the 144,000 From the whole of the first Vision "in Heaven" (H^1, vi. 1-vii. 8) for the putting forth of power "on Earth" in the completion of the redemption of the purchased inheritance. The price has been paid in the shedding of the precious blood of the Lamb; and now, the necessary power is to be exercised so as to secure all its wondrous results, in wresting the inheritance from the hand of the enemy by ejecting the present usurper, and
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

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