Summary: We see in John’s actions indications for what God desires His church to know and do:  feast on His Word;  understand the two-fold effect of God’s Word (bitter-sweet);  take the responsibility to pray & study & preach His Word.
Last week, as we began studying chapter 10, we came to the second set of back-to-back parenthetical visions in the book of Revelation. We were reminded that the main focus of the Tribulation period is the judgment of God, and that the main purpose of parenthetical visions is for God to be able to give us insight into other events which run concurrent with that judgment.
As we examined verses 1-7, we saw a "mighty angel" and examined his message, and we were reminded of some of the recurring themes, both in Revelation, and all of God’s Word: that we need to worship Christ; that judgment IS coming; and that we should not abuse the grace God demonstrates in any divine delay He orchestrates.
The main question we raised from all of that was: Are you ready? If you are not saved, you are not ready for God’s judgment. If you are saved, but not serving God, you also are not ready for the judgment you will have to face. No wonder that these are recurring themes; God knows we need constant reminders of these things!
As we finish chapter 10 this week, we move forward from these thoughts; we are almost propelled forward by them. We see John asking for the "little book" from the angel, who then instructs John to eat the book. (See verses 9-10). In verse 11, John is told that God has more work for him to do -- preaching the Gospel & testifying to "the things which shall be hereafter."
We find several instances in this book where John seems to stand literally in our place. It is as if Christ’s intention was to speak directly to us, but since we are not there, He speaks to John, who becomes simply a vessel bearing a message for us. I believe when John first encounters the glorified Christ, the grace and kindness Christ shows John mirrors the grace and kindness which awaits those of us who believe. And when "the church" is raptured, at the beginning of chapter 4, who literally goes up? John.
In the same way, I believe John is standing in our stead here. I believe the actions of John indicates actions for the church -- for both the Church which will exist during the tribulation period, and for God’s church today (for us!).
And what does John do? He feasts on God’s Word; he finds it sweet and bitter; he is then instructed to prophesy. What will the church of the tribulation period do? They will need to feast on God’s Word; they will find it sweet (in the way It nourishes them), and bitter (with the realizations of the message of judgment on the wicked around them, and on what they have to go through); and they will be called on to prophesy again.
What about God’s church today? What message are we to take away from these verses? I believe the message for us is very much the same as for the church of the tribulation period, so let’s look a little more closely at it this morning.
FIRST, I believe God is telling us that we need to feast on His Word.
Last week, I made the argument that I do not believe the "mighty angel" of chap. 10 is Christ. I don’t mean to be dogmatic or re-hash the arguments, but I do see another reason which supports that claim, which is important for this point.