Sun, Jun 25, 2000

Devour the Book: Revelation 10:1-11

Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.

DEVOUR THE BOOK!

REVELATION 10:1-11

Thomas Paine, an immigrant to America in 1787, had leaped from obscurity to fame after writing some brilliant pamphlets on freedom. But then he made a fatal mistake. He began to write his "masterpiece" called The Age of Reason which scoffed at Christianity.

"This will destroy the Bible," he predicted. "Within 100 years, Bibles will be found only in museums or in must corners of second-hand bookstores." His book was published in London in 1794. But it brought him so much misery and loneliness that he once said: "I would give worlds, if I had them, had The Age of Reason never been written."

Paine became a bedridden invalid until his death, friendless and alone, in 1809. The Bible remains a best-seller!

Many people have come and they have gone who have echoed the same words as Mr. Paine. They speak so boldly of the demise of God’s Word, and yet God’s Word continues on and they have returned to the dust of the earth. And God’s Word will continue to stand, even in the darkest days, as a light to point people to the true and living God, even during the tribulation period. It is as Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by nomeans pass away." Matthew 24:35.

As we move into Revelation chapter 10 this morning, we see another break in the judgments of God. We see a parenthesis in which more details of the tribulation period are being filled in. We have seen the cataclysmic events that occurred during the seal and the trumpet judgments, bringing unspeakable destruction and devastation upon the earth dwellers. But there are other things happening during the tribulation period and John is going to expound on them over the next couple of chapters. So lets dig into Revelation chapter 10 this morning, beginning in verse 1.

REVELATION 10

VERSE 1

Now some feel that this verse is speaking of Jesus Christ while others see it as an angel, a created being. The Greek word that is used here is ANGELOUS, which means messenger. And you can make a case for this being Jesus or an angel, but I think the text does point more to this being a "mighty angel" and not Jesus Christ, and I will explain why.

For those who feel this description is that of Christ point to the fact that as you read through this description of this being, it has to be Christ. He is described as coming in the clouds, the throne of God has a rainbow encircling it and this being has a rainbow encircling him. His face is shining like the sun and his feet are like pillars of fire. And those are all very strong points making this "mighty angel" Jesus.

But lets look at this a little closer. John tells us that "another mighty angel" comes down from heaven. The word "another" is the Greek word ALLOS, which means "another of the same kind."

A good example of this word is found in John 14:16 where Jesus says, "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever." Jesus is going to send a helper to assist us and guide us in all things. And He uses the Greek word ALLOS which means another like Himself, and exact representation! And of course He is speaking of the Holy Spirit, who is fully God just as Jesus is!

If the Greek word HETEROS was used, that would express "a qualitative difference and denotes another of a different sort." For example, in Romans 7:23 Paul says "But I see anotherlaw in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." Paul uses the Greek word HETEROS, which is speaking of a Law different from that of the Spirit of life. This Law lead to condemnation and death. It made him aware of his sinfulness but did nothing to cleanse him from it. Thus, it was not a law of life but of death which is in direct opposition to the grace of God extended to us through Jesus Christ, which gives us life!

So the word "another" in the Greek is very important and we may miss what the writer is trying to express if we don’t look at which Greek word they are using; ALLOS which is another of the same kind, or HETEROS which is another of a different kind.

Thus, we see John linking this verse with something he has already spoken of. In Revelation 5:2 we read "Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?" The word "strong" in Revelation 5:2 and the word "mighty" in Revelation 10:1 are the same Greek words.

In Revelation chapter 5 we saw that this angel is not Jesus Christ, for we see Christ as the Lamb that has been slain and He takes the scroll out of the Father’s hand. So that would make the angel in chapter 10 not Christ, but an angel, for it is "another of the same kind." You might say they were both cut form the same cloth, they are both mighty angels.

Also, we never see Jesus spoken of as an angel in the New Testament, including the book of Revelation. We also must note that the next time Jesus appears on the earth He comes to set-up His kingdom. In Revelation 1:7 we read that "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and everyeye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mournbecause of Him. Even so, Amen." Jesus does not come back to the earth to just a select few, but all will see Him. And keep in mind that in the rapture of the church Jesus does not come back to the earth, but He meets us in the air!

Now some still like to look at the description here in chapter 10 and say that this can only be a description of Christ. But could this be saying that the more time you spend with Jesus the more you begin to look like Him? That you reflect His characteristics? We saw in the Old Testament that as Moses spent time with the Lord his face glowed, Exodus 34:34. And as John said"Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."I John 3:2. Even in this earthly life, the more time you spend with God, the more you will reflect His character, His nature. And the less time you spend with Him the less you will reflect His character, the less you will reflect His nature!

I tend to think of it like this. The more time you spend in the sun, the more you will reflect what the sun has done in your life - we call it SUNBURN! Now you can put sun-block on to block out the effects of the sun upon your body, and it does work!

Applying this in a spiritual sense, we can spend time with the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and the more we do the more we will reflect His nature, what He has done in our lives. His love will flow through us. Now, you can go to church, read the Bible, be involved in ministries, and yet, you can block out what the Son of God wants to do in your life by hardening your hearts and closing your ears to what He is saying to you.

Jesus said in John 5:39-40, to the religious leaders "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life." You see, you can read the Scriptures and never have them affect your life. The Scriptures testify of Jesus and they had blocked Him completely out of their lives! Maybe you know of someone who knows the Bible from Genesis through Revelation and yet they don’t know Jesus, He is not Lord and Savior of their life. And you may wonder how can that be. Just like the sun block can block out the rays of the sun, we too can block out the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we can reject Him revealing Jesus to us. May we, as David, have a prayer like this found in Psalm 17:15, "As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness." Let the Son of God have an impact on your life!

VERSE 2

As this mighty angel steps down from heaven onto the earth, he places one foot on the sea and his other foot on the land. And I believe what John is showing us here is that this message is universal in nature. It is a message that is to be heard by all. This message is not just for a select few, but it concerns all. This message that is for the whole world is expressed in the concluding verse of this chapter, where John is told "And he said to me, ‘You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings." You see, it is to reach the ears of all and in the hearing of this message may it cause the recipient to repent and return to God!

VERSES 3-4

The Book of Revelation is a open book. It is not a sealed book as many like to teach. But here in Revelation chapter 10 John hears 7 thunders speaking, and as he is about to write down what they said, he is told to seal up those words. Don’t write them down. So the book of Revelation is an open book except for what the 7 thunders said. And it would be foolish for us to even try to explain what they said, even though some have tried, for if God truly wanted us to know, He would have told us!

Then what is the point that God is trying to make here? Why would John even tell us that the 7 thunders uttered their voice if we are not to know what they said? Doesn’t that sound very strange?

I think the point that the Lord is making is there are some things we are not going to know, we are not going to understand. In Deuteronomy 29:29 we are told, "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." There are some things we are not going to know, and we should not try to figure them out. We are responsible for the things that God has told us, and we should keep them instead of figuring out what God doesn’t want us to know.

But why would God want to keep us in the dark? It is as David said in Psalm 131:2, "am quiet now before the Lord, just as a child who is weaned from the breast. Yes, my begging has been stilled." (TLB). It is a deep, rich trust, even though I may not understand it. I will trust in the Lord and rest in Him even though I may not understand what He is doing.

In Romans 8:28 Paul said "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Now I’m sure most of us have quoted that passage of Scripture to help others going through difficult times, but have we applied it to our own lives? You see, that is a promise of God even though we may not understand the things we are going through right now. God has a plan, He has a purpose and when we get to heaven I’m sure we will thank Him for doing it that way. You see, if you can reach that place in your life when you can say "Lord, I don’t know why this is happening. Lord, I don’t know how things will turn around. Lord, I do know who is going to see me through this time, and it is you!" If you can live your life like that you will no longer be on that spiritual roller coaster going up and down depending on the circumstances of your life. But your life will be steady as you go through those difficult times because you trust in Him no matter what comes your way!

And so we see here in Revelation, as God is silent to what the 7 thunders uttered, so must we be. God has sealed these words up until that point in time when they will burst on the scene and we will hear what they say as we watch these events take place from heaven!

VERSES 5-7

Some have taken verse 6 to mean that God is going to cause time to cease, but that is not what He is saying. What is spoken of here is that there will be no further delay, that God’s final judgment is coming. Even during the tribulation period sinners will have a chance to repent. But there is coming a day when judgment will be complete!

You see, with the sounding of the seventh trumpet we see "the mystery of God" completed. John uses the Greek word TELEO for the English word "finished," which means to "accomplish, make an end, expire, full up, conclude." What mystery is God talking about and why is it a mystery?

First of all a mystery is a hidden truth. It is a spiritual truth that is understood only by Divine revelation. This point is illustrated for us in Matthew chapter 13 as Jesus gives us the parables of the kingdom. And in verse 10 we see the disciples ask Jesus why He is speaking to them in parables, and His response begins in verse 11, when He says, "...‘Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him." Matthew 13:11-12.

Jesus is saying that the mysteries of God are hidden to those outside of the kingdom, but not to those inside. And for those inside the kingdom, God will continue to reveal Himself to them. When Jesus Christ came the first time He did not set-up a literal kingdom on this earth to rule and reign from. The kingdom of God was internal, God set-up His kingdom in our hearts as He became Lord and Savior of our lives. That was a mystery to the unbelievers, but to those who believe it was "...righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Romans 14:17.

But now the mystery of God will be completed as Jesus Christ now takes the kingdom which was internal and spiritual and makes it external and physical. He will set-up His kingdom here on this earth as the prophets and the servants of God have said! Thus, we read in Revelation 11:15, "...‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" God’s judgment will be complete and His righteousness will fill the land. The mystery of the kingdom of God will be completed, for it will be here on the earth, AMEN!

VERSES 8-10

John is told to take this "little book" that is in the hand of this mighty angel. And this little book represents the Scriptures even though some want to equate this little book with the scroll which is found in Revelation chapter 5. But I personally feel this is the Word of God that John is told to take and eat. The prophet Jeremiah said "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." Jeremiah 15:16.

Now many laugh when they read of John eating the Scriptures, chewing on the paper and swallowing it down. The word "eat" is the Greek word KATAPHAGE which means to "devour it" or to "eat it down." Haven’t you ever said to someone or heard someone say that they have devoured that book? In other words, John is being told to take the Word of God into his innermost being, and so must we!

And as we take the Word of God into our hearts and minds, applying it to our lives, it is sweet. There are many blessings and promises of God that we can treasure and hold on to. For John, and for us, it is like honey in our mouth. As the Psalmist said in Psalm 19:7-11, "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; 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."

You see, in keeping God’s Word there is great reward. There are blessings. God’s Word is sweet, it is refreshing, it is nourishing to our spiritual lives. But, if you refuse to keep God’s Word, then there is judgment that will come. You see, as you begin to digest the things of God you also see the consequences of disobedience. There is the message of judgment that is coming upon those who have rejected Jesus Christ. It is bitter when you realize what is going to happen to the lost. Judgment is coming and thus your heart should burn for the unsaved. It should be a wake-up call to the reality of what we should do - share the Gospel! Point people to Jesus!

It is as Ezekiel said "Moreover He said to me, ‘Son of man, eat what you find; eat thisscroll, 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 it, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness. And He said to me: ‘Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them.’...Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul." Ezekiel 3:1-4, 17-19.

Ezekiel, like John, is told to eat God’s Word, and how sweet God’s Word is to those who believe, but judgment is coming upon those who refuse. Our responsibility is to tell others of Christ. Then it is up to them to either reject or accept the Gospel message. But judgment is coming on those who refuse to accept. You see, God’s Word contains sweet promises and assurances, but it also contains bitter warnings and prophecies of judgment!

Also note that John is told to take the Scriptures and eat them. God is never going to thrust His Word into our mouths and force us to receive it. Remember trying to feed your children things they didn’t like? What happened? They would choke, spit, and make all kinds of faces and finally what was in their mouth was now all over you, unless you could duck fast! You can’t force someone to eat something they don’t want to eat!

God hands us His Word and we must take it into our lives, we must eat it. Peter tells us

"as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeedyou have tasted that the Lord is gracious." I Peter 2:2-3. We are to have a longing, a desire for God’s Word, and it will help us to grow into a deeper relationship with the Lord. As Psalm 42 says, "As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God..." Psalm 42:1-2a. May we have that kind of hunger and thirst for God. In fact, how can you not have a hunger and thirst for His Word after you have tasted His grace! The Lord is good!

VERSE 11

Notice what John is suppose to be doing with the information that God has given to him, he is to share it with others. He is to warn the people of the coming judgment for disobedience, and the blessed hope for obedience. And even today John’s words are read by many people, as John continues to warn the "...‘many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings."

Thus, we as Christians are to share the whole counsel of God. That is not only speaking of God’s love, but also of His judgment that is to come. God is merciful but He is also a righteous judge!

As a pastor it is great to hear that the brethren are doing well, walking with the Lord. And it breaks my heart to see brethren not walking with the Lord. They may say they are doing well, but there is no joy, and as you hear the things they are doing, you just want to shake them and wake them up to what they are doing, but of course you can’t! All you can do is point them back to Jesus and pray for them. It is as the Lord said to Joshua as he was preparing to led over 3 million people into the promise land. We read "This Book of the Law shall not depart fromyour mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to doaccording to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and thenyou will have good success." Joshua 1:8.

You see, the more you devour God’s Word the more it will cut away the hardness in your heart and God will fill you with compassion for others and spur you on to finish the race you are in. You will be blessed!

Turn to II Corinthians chapter 2, and lets begin reading in verse 14, as Paul said "Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things?" II Corinthians 2:14-16.

We are to share our faith, live what we believe, and some will accept it and others will reject it. But the fragrance you leave behind will represent what you have come in contact with. Imagine if you came in contact with a skunk, what are you going to smell like? Like the skunk, I don’t care how much cologne you try to put on to cover it up, it won’t work! If you fill yourself with Jesus, then His fragrance will come flowing from your life. If you fill your life with the things of this world, then that is what will flow from your life, and it will stink, to put it bluntly! And you can try, but you won’t be able to cover up that smell, it will permeate your life!

God’s Word is living and powerful and able to transform lives if we let it. Speak the truth in love and see the transforming power of God as people not only hear the Word of God, but obey it. As Jesus told us "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen." Matthew 28:19-20. May we hear and obey!

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