Revelation Chapter 10:9
Revelation 10:9-10 – So I went to the angel and said to him, “Give me the little book.” And he said to me, “Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.” Then I took the little book out of 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 became bitter.
John goes to the mighty angel in obedience to the voice from Heaven and asks for the little book. The mighty angel tells John to eat the scroll and goes on to tell John that the scroll will taste sweet, but make his stomach bitter. Ezekiel had a similar experience:
John is told to eat the little book, and when he does, it becomes sweet in his mouth (Psalm 119:103; Jer. 15:16), but bitter in his belly. The act of eating represents the understanding and appropriation of prophetic revelation. The message is “sweet” because at last the kingdoms promises are about to be fulfilled. It is bitter because it can only be accomplished through more judgment and tribulation.
This act graphically illustrates taking in God’s Word. John’s physical reactions demonstrate what every believer’s proper response to God’s judgment should be (compare Ezek. 3:1). Sweet anticipation of God’s glory and our victory, and at the same time, the bitterness of seeing God’s wrath poured out on those who reject His Son.
“Make thy belly bitter”: As he truly digests what the seal, trumpet, and vial judgments hold in store for the sinner, John becomes nauseated.
“In thy mouth sweet as honey”: But still God’s final victory and vindication are sweet realities to the believer.
In Ezekiel chapters 2 and 3, we see that physical Israel refused the New Testament and its teaching of Jesus. This sweetness is the beautiful message received, but the bitterness is the disappointment when they refuse the message. This bitterness is the terrible judgment, as well.
Ezekiel 2:3 – And He said to me: “Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day. For they are impudent and stubborn children. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’ As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse – for they are a rebellious house – yet they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks, though they are a rebellious house.”
Ezekiel 2:7-10 – “You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.” Now when I looked, there was a hand stretched out to me; and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. Then He spread it before me; and there was writing on the inside and on the outside, and written on it were lamentations and mourning and woe.
Ezekiel 3:1-4 – Moreover He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that scroll. And He said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you.” So I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness. Then He said to me: “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them.”
Ezekiel 3:5-9 – “For you are not sent to a people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, but to the house of Israel, not to many people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, had I sent you to them, they would have listened to you. But the house of Israel will not listen to you, because they will not listen to Me; for all the house of Israel are impudent and hard-hearted. Behold, I have made your face strong against their faces, and your forehead strong against their foreheads. Like adamant stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not be afraid of them, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house.”
Ezekiel 3:10-14 – Moreover He said to me: “Son of man, receive into your heart all My words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears. And go, get to the captives, to the children of your people, and speak to them and tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ whether they hear, or whether they refuse.” Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a great thunderous voice: “Blessed is the glory of the LORD from His place!” I also heard the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another, and the noise of the wheels beside them, and a great thunderous noise. So the Spirit lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me.
Jeremiah and Daniel also describe a bitter feeling of pain and sickness after receiving God’s prophetic Word:
Jeremiah 15:15-18 – O LORD, You know; remember me and visit me, and take vengeance for me on my persecutors. In Your enduring patience, do not take me away. Know that for Your sake I have suffered rebuke. Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts. I did not sit in the assembly of the mockers, nor did I rejoice; I sat alone because of Your hand, for You have filled me with indignation. Why is my pain perpetual and my wound incurable, which refuses to be healed? Will You surely be to me like an unreliable stream, as waters that fail?
Daniel 8:23-27 – … A king shall arise, having fierce features, who understands sinister schemes. His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; he shall destroy fearfully, and shall prosper and thrive; he shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people. “Through his cunning he shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; and he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without human means. “And the vision of the evenings and mornings which was told is true; therefore seal up the vision, for it refers to many days in the future.” And I, Daniel, fainted and was sick for days; afterward I arose and went about the king’s business. I was astonished by the vision, but no one understood it.
Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel explain that they were bitter, pained, and sick because the prophecies given to them bore judgment on their brethren the Jewish people. It is like the idiom: “It is a bitter pill to swallow,” which means it was hard for the prophets to accept that judgment was coming on their people, in addition to God giving them responsibility to warn their brethren that judgment was coming, even though they would reject the message. Jeremiah explains the bitterness he experienced as a prophet:
Lamentations 3:1, 5, 14-15, 18-24, 37-38 – I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath…. He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and woe…. I have become the ridicule of all my people – their taunting song all the day. He has filled me with bitterness, He has made me drink wormwood…. And I said, “My strength and my hope have perished from the LORD.” Remember my affliction and roaming, the wormwood and the gall. My soul still remembers and sinks within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”…. Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, when the Lord has not commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that woe and well-being proceed?
Recall from Revelation 8:11, “wormwood” is a term associated with the bitter poison that comes out of spiritual and physical harlotry. The main reason God judged Israel in the past is due to their spiritual harlotry. As we will see in Revelation 10:11, the bitter judgment John ate in the little scroll extends beyond Israel to the rest of the world in the future. As discussed in Revelation 9:20 and Revelation 13:14-15, idolatry will take over the world in the Tribulation. Therefore, God will judge the world with curses, like the harlotry that brought a curse on the unfaithful woman:
Numbers 5:19, 23-24, 27 – And the priest shall put her under oath, and say to the woman, “If no man has lain with you, and if you have not gone astray to uncleanness while under your husband’s authority, be free from this bitter water that brings a curse….” ‘Then the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall scrape them off into the bitter water. And he shall make the woman drink the bitter water that brings a curse, and the water that brings the curse shall enter her to become bitter…. When he has made her drink the water, then it shall be, if she has defiled herself and behaved unfaithfully toward her husband, that the water that brings a curse will enter her and become bitter, and her belly will swell, her thigh will rot, and the woman will become a curse among her people.’
While these judgments are bitter in John’s stomach, they taste sweet as honey in his mouth. The following Psalms describe the taste of God’s words, even His words of judgment, as sweeter than honey:
Psalms 119:103 – How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalms 19:9-11 – The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward.
While physical food keeps us alive, God’s Word sustains us spiritually, which is why it tastes so good:
Psalms 34:8 – Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Jeremiah 15:16 – Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.
Deuteronomy 8:3 – So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.
It is interesting that the “bread” God provided for Israel in the wilderness tasted like wafers made with honey:
Exodus 16:31 – And the house of Israel called its name Manna. And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.
But when Israel disobeyed God’s Word, they were left with worms:
Exodus 16:16-20 – “This is the thing which the LORD has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, one omer for each person, according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent.’ ” Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less. So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need. And Moses said, “Let no one leave any of it till morning.” Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them.
Exodus 16:23-28 – Then he said to them, “This is what the LORD has said: ‘Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.’ ” So they laid it up till morning, as Moses commanded; and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it. Then Moses said, “Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to the LORD; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none.” Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none. And the LORD said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws?”
Similarly, those who rebel against God’s sweet and good Word will reap the curses and not the blessings in the Word. Unfortunately, for John, taking the responsibility to prophesy against those who rebel against God’s word is a “bitter pill” to swallow.
image courtesy: Revelation 10-9 – Jim Suttle
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We are now living in the absolute End Times as per biblical prophecy.
Our Lord Jesus Christ – King of Kings. 2nd Coming and return is IMMENENT!.
Please do not waist another a minute.
No matter what religion you serve, there is only one God.
If, you want to be assured that you will not have to endure the perilous times that will befall you.
Irrespective, of what sins you may have committed at any time of your life. If you humble yourself and ask for God’s forgiveness. He will forgive you and wash them all away and welcome you as his beloved son or daughter with open arms.
If you are not a child of Father God or have not asked Jesus Christ to come into your life yet?
I implore you to do this without delay.
Read this prayer of Salvation and ask God to forgive you now and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour and you will be assured of eternal life.