What does Revelation 10: 8-11 mean to us now?

 

This passage is also about how God’s Word must first transform and “affect” us before it can be used to have an “effect” on others. The Gospel must be experienced and be impacting before it can be used to make an impact upon others. As we feed on His Word, we grow from His precepts, and who we are and what we can be are significantly enhanced from His work in us; thus, our efforts to bring Him glory will in turn flourish. His Truth is the impact for whatever condition or situation we face. We must allow Christ to transform us as we digest His principles and apply them to our faith and lives so we can be used by our Lord to influence and affect others. Truth is bitter to those who do not like it and to those of us who need to be moved and challenged to make room for it in our mindsets and worldviews. Are His Word and precepts a part of you? If not, why not? For us to thrive as His children and His messengers, His Word must be a part of us—deeply and passionately! This means that to be an effectual Christian, we must walk in Christ and remain trusting and faithful with our confidence and submission to Him. If not, we are of no use to God or to others, and we become the noise of 1 Cor. 13:1, not the love of verses three and onward. 

This is convicting and will move us beyond what we think we can do and where we can go; this bitterness can either be a barrier we refuse to trespass or an obstacle we take as a challenge to go deeper and further with what Christ has for us. Look at it this way; we are called to Fruit and Love, and to operate in His call and principles with joy. When we impact others with His Gospel, it will cause some resentment in others—perhaps even persecution. When we speak out against the sins of others, they will hate us. But, we must set the example and tell His Truth in love to others even when they do not want to hear it. Our experiences and actions will give us both sweetness and bitterness from others. If we only see the bitterness, we will gain little and the sweetness will not last. If we refuse, the journey we undertake may become bitter by our own actions, whereas we could have had the sweetness of trusting and obeying Him (Psalm 119:103; Jer. 15:16; Ezek. 3:1-11; 1 Thess. 2:13). 

Questions to Ponder: 

  1. How has God’s Word been both sour and sweet to you? How has the Christian life been sour and sweet to you?
  1. How have you seen God’s Word convicting and moving people beyond where they thought they could do and go? What about you?
  1. What needs to happen in your life and Christian walk for God’s ways to go deeper within you, changing you from the inside out? How would your learning and obedience be a prime source of joy?
  1. What can you do to take sin seriously and allow God’s conviction to remove what is in the way of your growth? How can you do this? Who can help keep you accountable?
  1. The Gospel must be experienced and impacting before we can be used to make it impact upon others. So, what are you going to do to allow God’s Word to first transform and affect you before you have an effect on others?

© 2006 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

 

The Four Main Views of Revelation 10: 8-11

 

The Preterist view: They see this passage as a reference to Ezekiel and his prophecy of the downfall of Israel and the destruction of Jerusalem (Ezek. 3:1-14). However, Jerusalem was destroyed shortly after his prediction in 586 BC by the Babylonians, so others in this camp say it is a template to the Roman invasion or that John is making a similar prophecy to Ezekiel’s. Sweet and sour is seen to mean that some things that come to us will be sweet—things such as that we are glad when God intervenes and His hand gives us hope—and other times, things will be sour, as in those who refuse Him and stay in their sins and experience suffering. The Little Book is seen as more prophecy and from this some say it is the second half of Revelation, while others see it as extra information of and dimension into the coming events already told to us. Many peoples, nations, is seen as the New Covenant of Christ being offered to all people. 

The Futurist view: They see “eat this book” as John’s allowing God’s Word to transform and affect him before he prophesies to others. God’s Word is sweet as is His promise; however, it will be bitter when God’s judgments commence. God will deal with the sins of humanity. Be warned; there will be a time when the delay is over and the judgments commence, so be warned and be prepared! This view on this passage is very insightful! 

The Idealist view: They see this passage as an introduction to the prophecy John utters in chapters 11 and 12.  The “sweet” is the sweetness of the Gospel’s proclamation and meaning while the “bitterness” is the persecution that arises from judgment. Others in this camp place the focus on John’s grasping and digesting the Word himself before he can be used to proclaim it. We experience its sweetness and its bitterness. The gospel must be qualified in us first before is can be impacting on others. This view also places the emphasis on our effectual Christian walk in Christ remaining trusting and faithful with our obedience. For a preacher, it does no good to proclaim a sermon when he is not impacted by the words he says or does not walk in what he asks of others. The woes of bitterness are from the reactions of others who hear our convicting words and instead of accepting them, they hate and persecute the faithful. The message is to go to all of humanity. 

The Historicist view: They see this passage as the time period of the Reformation. The “little scroll” is the Reformation of the Bible and God’s principles to the Church from the Reformers. The “sweetness” is the message of the gospel in understandable language to those who receive it and the “bitterness” is the reception and opposition the Church gave to it.  Prophesy means to preach; prior to this, the Church only used meaningless rituals in a language unknown to the audience, making Christianity meaningless and unattainable as well as a tool of manipulation. Now, the call is to preach the Word, not as a performance, but as a means of communicating to people His Word, with understanding, for conviction and application.

 

Exegetical look into Revelation 10: 8-11

 

John is drawing from Ezekiel 2:8-3:3 (an apocryphal, apocalyptic book “4 Ezra” (an “Apocryphal” not recognized or inspired as Scripture, “Apocalyptical” referring to end of days literature, that gives us insights to this type of genre and metaphors and their usage to a 1st century Jewish understanding) where Ezekiel sees a hand extending to him and God telling him to “listen to what I say to you,” and also from what Jeremiah experienced emotionally (Jer. 15:16; Rev. 5:1). It was a warning that sin is sweet but then becomes bitter as it ferments and works its way in us, corrupting and destroying, and it upsets us as God’s judgments precede over our will, poor choices, and willful disobedience. At first sin seems good and we get away with it; then, at some point, the party is over and we have a disease and are dying. Then, there is the eternal damnation thing looming over us, and as we utterly refuse His offer of salvation, His love and grace go unnoticed and unmet.  God extends a dire warning to us to stay away from sin and seek Him. Conversely, this passage is also a call to heed God’s Word, to cling to His precepts which are sweet, and take them seriously, which can be bitter as we must allow His conviction to remove what is in His way of our growth and betterment, and point to His Worth and Glory. If not, there will be judgment from our own misdeeds accumulating and implementing their way back to us from their own harm as well as opening us up to God’s judgment (Num. 5:23-31; Prov. 5:3-4; 24:13-14; Rom. 1:18-32; Rev. 7:13-14). 

  • Take it and eat it. This refers to “grasping” as in taking food for our pleasure and nourishment. However, before we can be nourished, we have to obtain it, then eat and digest it. This applies to God’s Word as we have to get it, read it, understand it, and apply it (Psalm 119:103). 
  • Your stomach sour/bitter indicates that the contents of this scroll will also contain suffering and a message of judgment that the people will not like because when we will receive “bad news,” it will “sour” us (as in sadden us), from all of these events coming in chapter 11. This also refers to the taking in of His Word; as we do, His Word will come across our will and ideas and we will be challenged and convicted.
  • Sweet as honey refers to God’s goodness, grace, and mercy, and that through His Word, both written and Spirit-led, we have “good news” from God’s promises and our communion with Him through which we receive His instructions and the knowledge of His nature inducing His grace, mercy, and goodness (Psalm 19:10; 119:103; Ezek. 2:3).
  • Prophesy again refers to telling the people again, as Jeremiah, who kept prophesying even when his people ignored and rejected him. It refers to the sounding of the seventh trumpet in chapter 11. It also is a warning to John that his obedience may have a cost, and that he, too, will “sour” or suffer for the cause of Christ as he offers “sweetness,” or God’s forgiveness. The people he tells may reject the message as well as the messenger. People do not want or like to be convicted of their sins. They would rather choose between two sins that will destroy them rather than choose the right and good path that will bless them. They may even refuse to acknowledge another and better way. The application, as John demonstrated, is our call to heed God’s precepts and make them known to others, even though we may suffer for our obedience. However, whatever we endure, our reward will be far, far greater…sweet (Rev. 9:20). 
  • Many peoples refers to our allegiance to Christ. Christians are in Christ, and are a part of a greater Kingdom than one of race or nationality. This also refers to the “Abrahamic Promise” (Gen 12; 18:18; 22:18; Is. 60:1-5; Rev. 7:9-17; 11:9) which indicates that God’s purpose and plan is inclusive to all; there are no peoples that are not a part of His will and plan. His purpose will be accomplished and nothing can stop Him. His message is universal as it not only applies to Christians, but to all people of all time (Rev. 5:9; 7:9; 11:2).

 

Revelation 10:8-11

 

Introduction 

Take God’s Word and Eat It 

God calls John to take the small scroll that has been unrolled from the great angel. And what is he to do with it? Eat it! It first tasted great and then it did not, and it made John sick. And then, he was called to take this prophecy to the entire world. John is being used to declare God’s message so it can be heard by others. But, before this message can be given, it must be taken and it must convict and transform. John had to undergo conviction that was both bitter and sweet; it was bitter because of its news of suffering, and sweet for it blessings of communion and restoration with God. God has His creation and messengers, even magnificent angels beyond our ability to understand or perceive, let alone His Majestic nature; yet, it is us Christians whom God desires to use over all else. This is the awesome privilege and responsibility that John demonstrates to us. God has better means to make Himself known, but still desires to use us. What we gain is so sweet. 

This passage is more about receiving God’s Word for life—like food that is necessary and instrumental for us to survive and thrive; it is for sustenance and joy, as His precepts are. Why are they bitter? Because God’s ways must go deep within us, changing us from the inside out. His precepts convict and challenge us to move from our means and ways to His Way. This causes us to transform and be challenged—a process that takes its toll on our will, satisfaction, resolution, and pride. Its ultimate bitterness is the cost of our surrender as He becomes more in us and we become less to ourselves. His Word becomes a greater part of us, affecting all we are and do. Yet, its positive sweetness is that it enhances and improves us beyond our measure and this is far, far greater that what we think we lose. We can quickly forget its sweetness when all we see is what we think we lose rather than the bounty of what we gain (Rom. 12; Heb 4:12). 

In this passage, the call is to be proactive—to take what the Lord has given and do as He has empowered and called. What has He called you to do and with what? How many times do we ignore His call? God does not need us, but He does desire to use us. We are the instruments and means He uses to make His voice heard and known. Yes, the Spirit goes before us, but we are the examples and the truth-tellers of His Word and precepts. We are to know His Word and His percepts first; they must go deep and break us free of our sin so we can bathe in His love. For the Christian leader and pastor, it is essential that our words match our beliefs and our behaviors match our convictions. It does no good to give a sermon or lead a church when we are not impacted by the words we say or do not walk in the direction that we ask of others. 

What does it mean to you to be convicted? What should it mean? What does it take for you to experience conviction? How have you gone through this in the past? How has it been both bitter and sweet?

 

The Four Main Views of Revelation 2: 1-7

Preterist view: Sees this passage as addressing actual historical churches.

Futurist view: Believes as the Preterist and Historicist, too. Many theologians of all these views hold that they are historical and point to all churches, and that there is no hidden meaning in these chapters.

Idealist view: Sees these churches as symbolic with no specific reference in history, place, or time, but rather as a template for church history and the seven ages of the Church. Both Idealists and Historicists see Ephesus as the Apostolic Age to 100 A.D.; Smyrna is the church under persecution 100 to 300 A.D.; Pergamum is the church after Constantine and the Dark Ages of corruption 313 to 500 A.D., false teaching, and carnality. Thyatira is the Middle Ages of the power of the Papacy and corruption, 500 to 1500. Sardis is the Reformation 1500 to 1700 (Reformed denominations attack this position because Sardis is described as actually being dead). Philadelphia is the church with evangelism and missionary movements,1700 to the present. Laodicea represents the liberal churches from 1900 to the End of Days.

Historicist view: Sees this passage as parallels to all churches, which every church that ever was or will be will fall in one of those seven “categories.”

Questions to Ponder:

1. How would you appraise your church from this letter? What is your church doing right as listed here, and what is it doing wrong?

2. This church of Ephesus is being praised for its good and is also threatened with judgment if they do not start to love. Why would Jesus use such strong language with them?

3. Why do you suppose this church had trouble with loving? Do you think people could become victims of the ugly that happens when a key component of doing Church is left out?

4. Why would someone think that are “improving” Christianity by teaching people to compromise their faith so they can join in the culture?

5. What happens when we run our churches to please ourselves or for our comforts and ideas? Do you believe that if we refuse love then we are refusing Christ and we will be judged for it?

6. What is the condition of your church? What can you do to implement the prime purpose of glorifying Christ as a purpose statement or active slogan that is understood and applied?

7. What can you do to carefully and seriously examine your own church so you are all doing your best for His highest? What would it take to make the needed improvements? How would the people in your church handle some examination?

© 1992-2009, R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org

What does Revelation 2: 1-7 mean to me?

Revelation was written to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor, which is now modern Turkey (Rev. 1:4, 11). The principle purpose for the writing is to encourage and chastise them for how they were running their churches (Rev. 2:1-3:22). John was fully convinced that Christ would triumph over the forces of Satan and his work in the world. He then exhorted them to be faithful and discerning between what is false and what is truth, and warned them not to worship the Emperor or to comply with evil, apathy, or compromise. He restated the importance of discipleship and Christian formation so they (we) could be authentic Christians of excellence and distinction, bringing no disrepute to Christ or His Church.

God’s purpose for John in Revelation is not that he be condescending or judgmental. Rather, it is so he could offer hope and encouragement to the Church. At the same time, it points out the issues and problems so we can address them and move from our ways to His Ways. If we just sit and point fingers at problems, ignore them, rationalize they are OK, or worry we might offend people and do nothing about fixing them, we do the Church, God, and ourselves a disservice. We are called to know what we are doing and His precepts so we can be better for His glory. Let’s take a hard look at our church and see where we are with what He has called us to, and have the courage and fortitude to fix what we are not doing right so we can seek being our best for His glory.

Jesus ends this letter with the importance of listening and heeding His precepts. We are to allow the flow of the Spirit, and to be Sprit-led, not self-led, especially with how we lead the Church. A church can only be successful as long as love is penetrating and being modeled from its leadership and members. When love is lost, so is the church (1 Cor. 13)!


Exegetical look into Revelation 2: 4-7

Key word analysis:

· I hold this against you…first love. They had forgotten the most important aspect of a church! This may also mean they had bad attitudes, too, that they were once enthusiastic but now are apathetic. They stopped the love that they had for Christ and for one another.

· Forsaken is a very harsh term meaning abandon, as in abandoning a child. There, love was left out. Sound doctrine without love and care is like salt poured in dirt; it is useless (Jer. 2:2; 1 John 4; Rev. 2:19).

· Repent. Jesus is calling them back to His love. He asks them to remember who they are and Who He is, to hold on to Him and to dwell in Him. When we slip, it is gradual and we do not notice; sometimes, we do not care or see this as a problem. Thus, to call us back, Jesus sometimes must threaten judgment unless we start running our churches as they and we have been called to do. This is serious business! If an unloving church repents, it can be saved and rebooted to serve and glorify Christ. If not, it will close and be a rotten memory to the community and to Christ!

· Remove your lampstand. Judgment will be at hand soon, unless they repent! Jesus threatens them with judgment if they do not start to love again! This is also a parody of words since the city of Ephesus had to be removed and then moved.

· Nicolaitans was a heretical group that venerated Jezebel and Balaam with their horrible demeanor, false teachers, and manipulators. They also were experimenting with Gnosticism, believing that their Christian liberty gave them the freedom to practice sin, idolatry, immorality, and engage fully the pagan culture while remaining Christians (Acts 6:5). What angered Jesus further is that they taught they were “improving” Christianity by teaching people to compromise their faith so they could join in the culture and avoid persecution. “Nicolaitan” means conquer the people. Apparently, this church also micromanaged and lorded over its people just as a cult does today, which is also very bad and ugly (Matt. 21:20-27; 23:1-12; Acts 6:5).

· The Spirit means hear the Word of God. It refers to the vision of the prophecy and perhaps the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, too (Amos 3:1; 4:1; 5:1; Rev. 1:10; 14:13).

· Him who overcomes/one who conquers means to win an athletic event or military campaign. It refers to persevering in the face of adversity and being better for it. This does not mean we earn our salvation nor have any effect regarding it; rather, it means to be faithful. Our growth in Him demonstrates our faith; it is our growth in Christ that keeps us here on this earth. No matter what is facing us and no matter what we have experienced, what we go through in life is meant to form our character and maturity. What we learn is what we carry into eternity. When we fail and do not overcome, it is disappointing in our Lord’s sight. Being faithful is the key that opens to us the door to living in the New Jerusalem (John 13:34; 16:33; Phil. 1; 1 John 4:20; 5:4-5; Rev. 2:11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 21:1-22:5).

· Tree of life means access to God’s blessings. The tree of life was in the Garden of Eden from which humanity was locked out after the Fall. The promise here is the restoration of Paradise, and that this tree will grow again (Gen. 2:9; 3:22-24; Ezek. 47:12; 2 Cor. 12:2-4; Rev. 2: 14, 19; chaps 21 -22)!

· Paradise means, “pleasure garden.” This points to our restored, sinless state and/or the millennial kingdom (Gen. 2:8; Ezek. 28:13; Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:4).