The Little Scroll – 19

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? As a youth pastor, I’ve seen some pretty weird things get eaten. And I gag almost every time…not just when I eat it, but watching them! Have you ever eaten too much of a good thing? Do you know the feeling in your stomach at Easter, Halloween, or Christmas when you eat tons of candy early in the morning and it makes you feel just blah?

Tonight, as we continue in our series through Revelation, we are taking a little pause before the final trumpet is blown and the final judgment comes down. This chapter is kind of an interlude before that final, seventh trumpet is blown. We get another magnificent picture of the grandeur of the occupants of heaven, and we see something interesting get eaten, but of course which has greater purpose and meaning. So, let’s dig in.

Revelation 10

God is bigger than you think. (1-3)

Some people have thought that this angel was actually Jesus. But it refers to him as “another mighty angel,” showing it is like an angel previously mentioned, not Jesus. But this angel is a representative of Jesus.

“Angels are mentioned more than 60 times in Revelation, mighty or strong angels three times (5:2; 10:1; 18:21). The angel, coming down from heaven, is described as “mighty,” perhaps because he is both majestic (10:1) and mammoth (10:2, 5, 8). Demons ascend out of the abyss in chapter 9, but this angel, as God’s servant, descends from above. He comes to earth with great authority as God’s ambassador.”[1] “This is not Christ but His heavenly representative.”[2]

We need to get a good picture in our minds of this angel. Think through the New Testament. What happens most times someone encounters an angel? They freak out! Usually the first thing the angel has to say is, “Don’t be afraid.” Angels are more magnificent and unlike anything we know. But this angel even greater…a “mighty” angel.

How does it describe him? He’s coming down from heaven. He is wrapped in a cloud. There’s a rainbow over his head. His face is like the sun. His legs are like pillars of fire. He sets one foot on the sea and the other on the land. His voice is like a roaring lion. Loud thunder follows the sound of his voice.

“If this is how impressive one who reflects God’s glory is, how much more impressive must the Lord himself be?”[3]

I am convinced that we need a far bigger view of God in our lives. We need a bigger view of God when we’re fighting temptation. We need a bigger view of God when we have anxiety or are depressed. We need a bigger view of God when we pursue the things of the world thinking it will satisfy us. We need a bigger view of God so that we will live by faith and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7). God isn’t just bigger than we think, but…

God’s plans are greater than you think. This whole section is full of Old Testament wording and imagery. Remember last week we saw that many of the judgments coming down paralleled plagues that God performed on Egypt as the led the people to freedom in Exodus. The same imagery purposefully continues here. Think back to where we ended last week in chapter 9 where the wicked saw God’s judgment come down yet still didn’t repent.

“The wicked who survive the trumpet judgments are like Pharaoh in that they refuse to repent (9:20-21). Meanwhile God’s people are being delivered through these judgments on the world. Just as Israel was led out of Egypt through the wilderness to the promised land by the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, so now in Revelation an angel who is wrapped in a cloud and has legs like pillars of fire is going to lead God’s people. Just as Israel was led to Mount Sinai, where God revealed himself to Israel and gave them his word, so this angel in chapter 10 is going to give God’s word to John.”[4] That “his legs were like fiery pillars,” is a picture of stability and uncompromising holiness and it brings with it the meaning from Exodus of guidance, protection, and deliverance.[5]

“John is telling us that this angel is going to lead the people of God to the new and better promised land, the new heavens and the new earth.”[6]

“Those themes of God saving through judgment and giving the redeemed a new heavens and new earth are recalled by this rainbow over the angel’s head. What God did for Noah and the children of Israel by saving them through the judging of their enemies, then bringing them into a new land, he is going to do again when he saves us through the judgment of this world and brings us into the new heavens and new earth.”[7]

God’s plans are far reaching, from the garden to the cross, to your life right here and now, and on into eternity. Trust God and keep following Him. When your life feels like it’s falling apart, it is really falling into place. Not only are God’s plans far reaching, but they are certain.

(4-7) God’s plans are certain.

In verse 4 we see this interesting interaction where there’s something said that isn’t to be written down. We are not to know all things. We are not to know all the behind-the-scenes reasons God has for whatever he does. We are not even to be able to fully understand all that’s happening right in front of our face. But God does have plans and purposes, and they are coming to fulfillment. And that should bring us comfort.

After this we see the angel swear by “him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it…” And here is what he swears…“that there would be no more delay.”

Jim Hamilton says, “This is our hope: God who created this world will bring to pass in it everything that he has planned to accomplish.”[8]

God’s mystery will be fulfilled. And that which is certain to happen, and which will come with no more delay is the mystery of God being fulfilled…the same mystery he announced to his servants the prophets. “God’s plan for all creation, announced to everyone from Moses to Malachi, Matthew to John in Revelation is in view here.”[9]

The Apostle Paul made known this mystery in Ephesians 1:9-10: making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”

Hamilton says, “God has revealed to us what he will do. He will judge, and through that judgment he will save. This is the true story of the world. Your life finds its meaning and significance in the context of this story.”[10]

And what he has revealed, we must take in and celebrate and trust and follow. Here’s the part that sounds a little strange, but it has tons of meaning.

(8-11) We must receive God’s Word.

“The “little scroll” of verse 2 reappears and takes center stage. It is mentioned three times in verses 8-10. God’s Word comes with authority. It’s promises and prophecies are certain to be fulfilled. However, it is of little or no value to us personally if we do not take it, read it, feed on it, and then proclaim it. It is a bittersweet book to be sure. It is a book that will change us. It is a book that leaves no one the same. Life and death are in its words.”[11]

Though in verse 4 John wasn’t to write some things down, much is written down for us. Although we don’t have complete revelation, we do have revelation. Just because we don’t know everything doesn’t mean we don’t know anything. It is incredible that God has revealed himself and his ways to us for thousands of years, and he even reveals some of the mysteries that have yet to be. But all of it is meaningless if we don’t take it in. If we don’t take and eat. If we don’t feast on God’s Word, for pleasure and for nutrients. God’s Word is so rich. All of it reveals Christ, from Old to New. All of it is useful for us, and it all fits together perfectly. We can see some of how the whole Bible fits together in the last part of this chapter.

If you read Ezekiel 2:9-3:4, you will find parallels to Revelation, with exact wording, including eating a scroll (Ezekiel 3:1-4). Ezekiel was a prophet of God, and he was not only to take in God’s word, but he was to share it and spread it to the people.

The idea behind the eating of the scroll is that the prophet John is taking in the message, ingesting and digesting it, delighting in it, then delivering it to the people of God. We can see the same thing with the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 15:16: “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts.” Is that the response of your heart regarding God’s Word?

Because John obeyed, took the Word and ingested it, and delivered it to the people, you are able to take it in today. What will you do with it?

This chapter is a calm before the storm. The certain end of history is about to unfold in gory and glorious fashion. Here’s what you can be certain of and how you should live amidst it all, based on what we have read tonight.

Be confident that God will come through.

Feast on His Word. Delight in it and obey it. Delight in the fact that you can know God. And you can know what is right and true and leads what leads to life. You can know how to be saved from the judgment that you and I deserve. It is by grace through faith in Jesus (Eph 2:8). But it’s only effective if we take it in and live it out.

[1] Daniel L. Akin, Exalting Jesus in Revelation, Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary (Nashville: B&H, 2016), 190.

[2] Akin, Exating Jesus in Revelation, 190.

[3] James M. Hamilton, Jr., Revelation, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), 225.

[4] James M. Hamilton, Jr., Revelation, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), 223.

[5] Grant R. Osborne, Revelation, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002), 394.

[6] Hamilton, Jr, Revelation, 223.

[7] Hamilton, Jr, Revelation, 223-224.

[8] Hamilton, Jr, Revelation, 228.

[9] Hamilton, Jr, Revelation, 227.

[10] Hamilton, Jr, Revelation, 228.

[11] Akin, Exalting Jesus in Revelation, 194.


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