Friday, September 4, 2009

Revelation 10:7-11

Verse 7 "But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets."

When the seventh angel sounds, and he is not going to sound quite yet in the commentary that John is writing, as there are some other things to be addressed first, the mystery of God will be finished. What is this mystery? It is the plan of salvation. This plan began in Genesis, which is why we started our study there. It was not just Christ's dying on the cross, which was only one part of the plan of salvation, but the entire program from the fall of man, through the flood, to Abraham, the nation of Israel, Christ's coming, dying, and resurrection, and now, the mystery of redeeming all of creation by taking back the mortgage to the planet through these agreed upon conditions that have now been met. The only thing left to finish this up is the punishment upon the wicked and giving the planet a thorough cleansing to bring it back to its former self. The mystery, the entire program, has now reached its final moment of completion. The planet is redeemed. Now it has to be purged. Many Christians accept the Lord and live a righteous life and think that is the end of it, but that is not the end of it. The end of the program, the end of the mystery of God is that Christ is returning. So many Christians just ignore that part of the plan of salvation. They never study the end times.

Note the mention of the prophets in the verse and how they were all given information about this, the end of the mystery of God. It is about this which the Old Testament prophets were prophesying. Naturally there were some short term applications, but ultimately it is about the end and the Day of the Lord which they speak. I have heard that prophecies about the end times and return of Christ take up two thirds of the Bible. The entire Bible, not just the New Testament. I think that is enough to warrant being interested in it, yet many Christians are completely apathetic about it or worse, spurn the Old Testament. I had a pastor, a man whom I respected as one of the most sincere men of God I have ever met, tell me that he had never studied the book of Revelation. I cannot remember if he said whether or not he had even read it. He said that it did not interest him. I could hardly believe my ears. There is a crown for those who look forward to Christ's coming. There is a special blessing for those who read and heed the book of Revelation, yet he had no interest. And he is not alone. To really understand salvation it is necessary to understand the entire plan from start to finish. That means learning everything from the book of Genesis on, and especially reading and studying Revelation. However, those who believe that studying the book of Revelation is all that is necessary do not understand the whole concept of the plan. Without the information that has been learned throughout the rest of the Bible, it is impossible to properly interpret Revelation. That is why so many misinterpret it. They think that they can just go to the book of Revelation alone with no background. It cannot be done. God had this book written last for a reason.

Now we are at the finish line of the mystery of God. There is no more time left in the plan. There is nothing left to do but clean up the mess. The plan is complete. The only thing left after cleaning house is the reign of Christ.

Verse 8-11 "And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings."

John hears a voice from heaven, which can only be God,(as Christ is holding the book) tell him to take the book. He does as commanded. It is interesting that he does not request the book, he demands the book. When we are told by God to do something, we should do it without question. Asking for the book would have shown that he was willing to be told "no". He was not about to allow that to happen, so he demanded the book. We should be as determined to carry out God's commands as John was.

He is told to eat the book. This is a highly unusual request, but not the first time God has issued this command. Ezekiel was given a similar command. "And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein; and he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe. Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel, So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness. And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them." Ez. 2:9-3:4. The roll of Ezekiel had the word of God, the prophecies of God on it within and without. This little book that John is to eat is likewise the prophecies of God. Jeremiah likewise speaks of eating God's Word, although I think in his case it is metaphorical. "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts." Jer. 15:16.

For Ezekiel the words of God were as sweet as honey. In the Psalms we find that God's word is said to be sweeter than honey. "How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" Ps. 119:103. To John they also taste as sweet as honey. God's Words are life to us. They are our salvation, so they are sweet for us to eat or take in. However, they are also a bitter pill. They condemn us of our sins, they tell us of God's wrath. While Ezekiel did not say that it made his belly bitter, what he had to prophesy was not pleasant. Warning people of God's wrath is never pleasant. Either in doing it, or in knowing that it will come to pass. John immediately feels the bitterness of what he must now prophesy. However, those words are sealed up for the time being, as John has some other things about which he has to write first.

It says that John has to prophesy before many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings. The Greek word "epi", if my dictionary is to be believed, says that this word implies a superimposition of time, place, or order in relation to distribution. That definition sounds confusing. What it is simply saying is that God is pausing in the narrative of the trumpets and wants John to wait on writing down what is in the little book, as He has other things that need to be prophesied about first concerning people, nations, etc. These things that he will prophesy, according to the word "before" or "epi", would need to be superimposed over what he has already written in regards to time, place, and the order of events that have already happened. It is necessary to understand how these things that John is going to cover in between the sixth and seventh trumpet will be distributed along the timeline.

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