Today's Bible Reading: Revelation 10
Selected Biblical Text
5Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. 6And 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! 7But 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."
8Then 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."
9So 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.'" 10I 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. 11Then I was told, "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings." (Rev. 10:5-11 NIV)
Reflecting and Thinking
Six trumpets have sounded God's judgment in Chapters 8-9. We are ready the seventh trumpet, but between the sixth and seventh trumpets, we again have an interlude. (Remember the "6 + interlude + 1" pattern.) The trumpets were introduced by the opening of the seventh seal which came after the first six seals and an interlude described in Chapter 7. In the interlude of Chapter 10, an open scroll is introduced and seven thunders sound. The message of the seven thunders is sealed and not revealed.
Immediately after these events comes a declaration that the delay is over, that the sounding of the seventh trumpet is near and that God's mystery will be brought to completion. John is also told that he is to take the open scroll and eat it, after which he is told he will have to share another prophecy. It seems that John's is being called to share the prophecy that was written on the open scroll.
Looking ahead for a moment, Chapter 11 and the sounding of the seventh trumpet (11:15-18) would be a fitting conclusion to the book were it not for the fact that in this interlude between the sixth trumpet and the seventh trumpet, John receives the second scroll with instructions that he must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings. It is likely that the contents of the second scroll are revealed in Chapters 12-18. The outline and presentation of the contents of the second scroll will very closely parallel the patterns we have observed in the first scroll.
The interlude is preparatory for the seventh trumpet which will bring to a conclusion the seventh seal of the first scroll (see 10:7). The interlude continues in Chapter 11 where we will understand more about the significance of this interlude.
The mystery of God (10:7) was announced by the prophets. That mystery is about to be accomplished. In the Bible, mystery often refers to something previously unknown but now revealed. That is the meaning here. God is in control and working toward his purpose, a purpose he was making known to the recipients of the book of Revelation. How do you feel about the truth that God is at work and in control? Do you think the first-century readers were able to accept that truth? Why or why not? Why is it significant that the second scroll is already open? What does it mean that John eats the scroll, experiencing both sour and sweet? What applications can you make to our lives today?
Dear God, we await the ultimate accomplishment of your will in this world. We struggle and hurt, and we seek understanding. We eagerly await your return and our deliverance from this world. In the meantime, we want to be faithful witnesses for you. Strengthen us, we pray in Jesus' name, Amen.