Revelation 10

This devotional is written by Matt Coombs.

Revelation 10

The angel and the little scroll
Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. 2 He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3 and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. 4 And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down.’

5 Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. 6 And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, ‘There will be no more delay! 7 But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.’

8 Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: ‘Go, take the scroll that lies 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 asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, ‘Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but “in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.” 10 I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. 11 Then I was told, ‘You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.’


Shortly before the final trumpet is blown an angel gives John the little scroll saying: ‘Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but “in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.” (9).

This strange pronouncement brings to mind the story of the prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel is told to eat the scroll that contains words of lament and mourning and woe (Ezek. 2:10) and yet tastes like honey in his mouth (Ezek 3:3). Ezekiel has a message which will be ‘sour’ to others, in that it is a message of woe, but it is ‘sweet’ to him, in that it brings him comfort that God is in control with a plan to restore his faithful people.

The message is both sweet and sour for John and his hearers. For him, it is consolation that God will fulfil his purposes (sweet), but it will also bring the suffering of opposition and it demands patient endurance (sour). For his hearers, there is the offer of redemption by the lamb (sweet), but also the knowledge of suffering experienced by the church, and the judgement on the unrepentant (sour).

Isn’t this so often our experience when reading Revelation, and possibly all of scripture? It challenges and comforts. Nevertheless, those who treasure the word of God, and allow its truth and commands to flow through their lives find the fullness of life.

David writes in the Psalms, “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalms 119:103). And the commands of the Lord, “are more desirable than gold, yes, than much pure gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb” (Psalms 19:10).

Let us also ‘eat the scroll’; reading, meditating, chewing, taking the words deep within us, both those that challenge and those that comfort so we are ready to speak the sweet words of life.

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