Revelation #18 Revelation 10: 1-11End Times Sweet and Sour Scroll


Revelation #18 Sweet and Sour Scroll


The sixth trumpet is sounded and a demonic calvary is loosed upon the earth.  We can get caught up in looking for material explanations of this 200,000,000 horde, so let’s understand it as it is meant to be understood, the horde is a spiritual attack. But it is not a spiritual attack on God’s people, it's against the unrepentant.


2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 (NIV)

For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work, but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.


The one who restrains is the Holy Spirit. The Spirit who is pouring the prevenient grace of God upon humanity slowly is withdrawing the empowerment for people to act human.  


Prevenient grace empowers ethical behavior, even before a person bends their knee to the Lordship of Jesus.  This grace manifests in a general sense of conscience, a common sense of right and wrong, an aversion to blatant evil, and an inclination towards kindness and helpfulness. Prevenient grace encourages respect for the rule of law, empathy, and cooperation that contributes to a stable, peaceful, and prosperous culture. As this grace lessens the evil that people do increases.  Evil unrestrained creates a hell on earth through rampant selfishness, cruelty, and conflict. What we see in the demonic calvary is the spiritual power for people to do what they want, when they want, to whom they want. As prevenient grace is withdrawn the foundations of civil morality weaken and erode. When the foundation is compromised civilization falls.


Chapter 9 ends with the 6th trumpet sounding and despite the disasters that befall humanity there is the stubborn refusal to bend the knee to God.  People refuse to change.

Revelation  9:21 (MSG)

 “They plunged right on in their murderous, occult, promiscuous, and thieving ways.”


Between the 6th Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls there is a pause in the action.  John’s attention focuses on the Church. Let’s see what Chapter 10 reveals.


Rev 10:1-4 (MSG)

I saw another powerful Angel coming down out of Heaven wrapped in a cloud. There was a rainbow over his head, his face was sun-radiant, his legs pillars of fire. He had a small book open in his hand. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left foot on land, then called out thunderously, a lion roar. When he called out, the Seven Thunders called back. When the Seven Thunders spoke, I started to write it all down, but a voice out of Heaven stopped me, saying, "Seal with silence the Seven Thunders; don't write a word."


This powerful angel reflects the presence of God and the Lamb.   Psalm 104:3 describes clouds as the chariots of God.  We’ve seen a rainbow in the Throne room of God, part of God’s glory (Ezekiel 1:28).  The angel’s face “sun brilliant” calls to the remembrance of the transfiguration of Jesus when his face shone as the sun (Matthew 17:2).   The legs as a pillar of fire describe retro rockets as the spacecraft returns to earth.  Ok, maybe not.  More likely the legs being pillars represent the immovable nature of God’s rule and that the pillars are fiery can be understood as a sign of the angel bringing a time of purification to the earth. A foot on the land and a foot on the sea symbolizes all of earthly creation.  God’s sovereignty is as solid on the sea as it is on the land.   A lion roar in the Old Testament was used to describe the voice of God (Joel 3:16, Hosea 11:10, Amos 3:8). A speculative assumption is that this being is an archangel who embodies God’s power and authority.


The message of the powerful angel is that when the last trumpet sounds, God’s plans for humanity will be complete. Time is running out for those who have refused to bend their knee to Jesus.  The angel warns that the time of God’s grace is about to end.


Revelation 10:5-7 (MSG)

Then the Angel I saw astride sea and land lifted his right hand to Heaven and swore by the One Living Forever and Ever, who created Heaven and everything in it, earth and everything in it, sea and everything in it, that time was up—that when the seventh Angel blew his trumpet, which he was about to do, the Mystery of God, all the plans he had revealed to his servants, the prophets, would be completed.


The Mystery of God is God’s plan for redeeming humanity.


Romans 16:25-26 (MSG)

All of our praise rises to the One who is strong enough to make you strong, exactly as preached in Jesus Christ, precisely as revealed in the mystery kept secret for so long but now an open book through the prophetic Scriptures. All the nations of the world can now know the truth and be brought into obedient belief, carrying out the orders of God, who got all this started, down to the very last letter.


God’s plan will be made clear to everyone.  The invitation to enter into a right relationship with God will be offered one last time. Then God’s judgment will come.  Judgment will purge everything that disrupts fellowship with God, including pain, oppression, suffering, and death (Ladd, p. 146).


Revelation 10:8-10 (MSG)

The voice out of Heaven spoke to me again: "Go, take the book held open in the hand of the Angel astride sea and earth."I went up to the Angel and said, "Give me the little book." He said, "Take it, then eat it. It will taste sweet like honey, but turn sour in your stomach." I took the little book from the Angel's hand and it was sweet honey in my mouth, but when I swallowed, my stomach curdled.


The little book or scroll that is open in the hand of the Angel sends us to the book of Ezekiel in search of understanding. In Ezekiel chapter 2, God sends His prophet to a stubborn and rebellious people.  God reveals that living among such a people is like stepping on thorns or finding scorpions in your bed, they are going to say all manner of evil against you. God then gives His prophet a book or a scroll with lamentations, mourning, and doom written on both sides. In Ezekiel chapter 3, the prophet eats the book.  In other words, the message becomes a part of who he is, the message resides within.  He’s not going to speak the message with a teleprompter, the message will come from the heart.


After ingesting the prophetic message John gets a stomach ache, it is sweet on the lips but bitter in the stomach.  Between the 6th and 7th events, we see what is happening in the Church.  That the message is sweet, means that the salvation of God is about to be realized for believers.  That the message is bitter means until that time persecution, suffering, and martyrdom will continue (Ladd, p.147).


Often only the sweet message is preached.  The good news of the gospel, of forgiveness of sin, reconciliation with God, empowerment to live life to the full, and of life eternal, that’s sweet to the ears. Seldom do we hear the message of judgment that comes when one rejects the good news.  Both the sweet and the bitter, grace and judgment, are part of the gospel.  Both privilege and responsibility, reward, and work, are part of the gospel.  This “accept Jesus, be saved,” and then go on living the way you have been gospel, is a demonic lie.  If there is no change in your life there is no Christ in your life.


The little book opened is sweet because it reveals that the consummation of the kingdom is near, the next thing.  But the message is also bitter because of the trauma coming to the world, and especially the violence that is coming to believers at the hands of the world.


Revelation 10: 11 (MSG)

Then I was told, "You must go back and prophesy again over many peoples and nations and languages and kings."


John having internalized the gospel must now go and preach it.  This command is also our mission, to go and preach the good news with its grace and with its judgment. That’s the task of a believer, the mission of an ambassador of God, go and make disciples, baptize, teaching, that is what Jesus told his followers to do.


It’s the rough times, the intense times, the catastrophic times that individuals are more willing to listen to the testimony of those who have bent their knees to the Lordship of Christ. When things are going well, no one changes anything. If you know of someone going through a life storm, listen to them. Let them tell you about the difficulty they are dealing with. Listening is a very powerful form of evangelism.  Listen, and then ask if you can pray for them if they say yes, do it right there on the spot. Offer up a simple prayer of intercession that God would intervene favorably in their situation.


Hopefully, you have noticed that so far, these so-called judgments of God, the traumas are not so much God punishing humanity, rather the calamities that befall are a result of God withdrawing grace and letting people do what they want. Humanity is reaping what it has sown (Galatians 6:7-9). These are self-inflicted wounds as humans act out of egoism.


Chapter 11 continues with John’s vision concerning the church and concludes with the sounding of the 7th trumpet and that’s where we will pick up next time.


The open book in the hand of the angel contains the destiny of the church.  Christ's followers live in anticipation of the 7th event which will bring God’s plan to fruition.  Full and complete redemption is drawing near. We have learned that until that time disciples of Jesus will continue to be persecuted.  The protection Jesus promised is the empowerment not only to endure but also not to fall victim to the cultural corruption of the God rejectors.


Forewarned is forearmed.  Use today to prepare for tomorrow.  Draw closer to God.  Form a firm foundation of fellowship. Those who bend the knee to Jesus need one another.  The believer’s task in these end times is to evangelize.  You have the privilege of giving God’s invitation for redemption to the people in your world who are headed to a Christless eternity. Don’t surrender your testimony to fear of rejection or worse. Staying faithful secures your place among the redeemed.



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