We Must Prophesy Again
We continue with the same vision as yesterday with the mighty angel so large that he straddles land and sea. In his hand, he holds a “little scroll.” While holding it, he swears by the Eternal God that when the seventh trumpet sounds there would be no more delay but the mystery of God would be fulfilled. It sounds like that trumpet is about to sound—but not just yet.
A voice from heaven (I assume God’s) tells John to go and take the scroll from the angel’s hand. That’s scarier than Moses being told by God to take the serpent by the tale (Exodus 4:1-4)! I can only believe that the divine voice was the ONLY reason John obeyed—it would be the only reason I would. But obedience is reason enough, and so John approached the angel and “told him to give me the little scroll.” (I would have been a bit more deferential, but then I’m not the Apostle.)
The angel readily complies with John’s request, knowing from whence it came, and tells him, “Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” John took the scroll, ate it, and found the angel’s words true—not that there was ever any doubt.
So what lessons do we learn here: 1) The preacher and teacher of God’s word must eat and “digest” it. He must ruminate upon the word and make it his own. He must not hurry through it but study so to handle it correctly (2 Timothy 2:15). 2) That the gospel of Jesus Christ is sweet to the taste. Nothing tastes better. To meditate on God’s love for sinners, to consider the cross of Jesus Christ and the blood he shed for us, to realize that his resurrection is ours, to look forward to the day that we gather around the throne in glory as we have seen in this Book—all of this is heavenly manna to the preacher which he wants to express to others. 3) But unfortunately, the preaching of the gospel (not the gospel itself) is bitter to the stomach when the preacher sees men turn aside, when he sees those whom he thought were believers and with whom he had prayed fall away, when he sees a lost and dying world sink deeper into the culture of death which paganism ever creates and suffers. It cannot but break a man’s heart.
But 4) We “must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.” We cannot grow weary in the task; souls are at stake. As long as that last trumpet has yet to sound, we are called to faithful witness to a dying world that some may believe before the trumpet blows.