The God Who Judges, the God Who Holds Us! P2

Read Jesus’s Words in Matthew 11: 20-30

What is the “Day of Judgment” about? Basically this means, no one has an excuse.

When we look to Scripture and the judgments God has done, we can see the pattern of what He will still do. Even in the wickedest of cities, the righteous people testified on behalf of God. God showed mercy upon mercy, until there was no hope for their repentance (Book of Jeremiah; Matt. 12:41; 23:13; Luke 12:47-48; Rom. 1:20-2:16).

What do we need to learn and take away from this?

Judgment as we looked at before means God will overthrow every resistance of evil (1 Cor. 6:2-3; Matt. 25:31-46). It will bring the deeds of darkness to the Light (Isa. 29:15; 45:16-17). It is a part of the liberation of Christians who trust and obey God (Luke 18:1-8; 2 Thess. 1:5-10; Rev. 6:10). This also means a new world administrated by Christ that will replace the present one (2 Peter 3:13; Rev 21:1).

We all are responsible to God, according to the election and Grace that we receive or reject (Matt 3:11-12; 24:29, 35; Luke 12:17 ff.; John 5:22; Rom. 2:12-16).

What are we to focus on in our teaching about Judgment?

We cannot justify ourselves or say we are right in wisdom and learning (1 Cor. 1:26).

Wisdom is never something a wise person would claim or boast. When they do, then you know they are not really wise (Job. 12:24; Prov. 3:5-6; 12:15; 16:2; 21:2; 26:12).

To fear God is to reverence Him and acknowledge that He is Lord over our lives. It is not fear as in being afraid; rather it is ultimate respect and awe (Job 28:28; Psalm 11:10; Prov. 1:7; 9:10). We can be in His rest with awe!

God sees the humble as the real wise ones, whereas the world looks to pride and arrogance, which God hates (1 Sam. 2:39).

God does not owe anyone an explanation or a revelation!

God’s judgment is the Christians hope and comfort!

Yet, God is patient–as in long-suffering–in exercising judgment so that people may have the time and the chance to come to faith and repentance (Luke 13:6-9; Rom. 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9).

Take a look at this key word, “Hidden these things from the wise.” This refers to God’s sovereignty and control. He alone chooses who will be clued into His truth, and who is not worthy to know or not ready. God is the One who chooses and dispenses wisdom and life. He is the only One who is capable and sufficient in knowledge, wisdom, justice, and mercy to do so. God reveals Himself in the heart and His Word. We cannot come to know Him or understand God from any other secular means; no learning, science, or power can grasp whom God is or what He is up to.

All things means that all things in the universe have been committed to Jesus. Being fully God, He is Sovereign (John 12:44-46). When you know Jesus, you know God; God’s Spirit allows us to know Jesus. Thus, Jesus has the power of predestination.

Yet, what is our Lord up to? He tells us to….Come unto me, which is is a promise of wisdom and the offering of God’s strength, and perhaps the most endearing words uttered by our Lord! It is so simple for the humble to see and accept, yet so hard for a mind preoccupied with the pride of self. Without humbling ourselves to acknowledge Him, we cannot receive the Savior. Rather, we get a need unmet and a soul empty.

This is a picture of Jesus, offering Himself to us. He has the authority to invite and He is the author of our salvation. Jesus’ load is heavy and requires our fullest for His Highest; yet, it is easy when our eyes and faith are on Him (1 John 1:7)!

God will Judge justly in His perfect timing, and He is patient–as in long-suffering–in exercising judgment, so that people may have the time and the chance to come to faith and repentance. How can this thought give you comfort if a loved one has passed away, and you are not sure if they knew the Lord?

How has Grace protected you?

The God Who Judges, the God Who Holds Us! P1

You may know that God is a God who gives us grace, comfort, and rest, but, did you know He is also a God of judgment?
Read Jesus’s Words in Matthew 11: 20-30

All too often we forget His holiness, righteousness, and right to judge. We forget we are responsible for our actions. We just go on with our meager lives without any forethought of the consequences or opportunities.

Yes, our God is a God of Grace. How wonderful and comforting to be able to allow Him to be our haven of rest, our comfort. Yet we cannot allow ourselves to neglect His full magnitude and character. All too often, we, as sinful humanity, place ourselves in the judgment seat, passing our Will and agenda to others. Perhaps we are correct in our assumptions, but, conceivably, we cannot see the hearts of others, or the facts.
We must be able to leave the judgment to Christ; He is perfect and all knowing, and we are not. We need to be willing and able to wait and rest in Him, His plan, and in His ways, not ours. Even in times when we suffer stress and confusion, even when we fail, He is there, holding us, loving us, and giving us His rest and grace beyond what we can fathom. When we surrender our yoke–that is, our Will and plans–over to His perfect rest, how splendid a Christian walk we will have; what an impact we can be!

• Look at this key word: “Rebuke the cities.” This is called a “judgment oracle.” It was common of OT prophets to condemn evil cities whose people had rejected God (Amos 3:2; Jonah. 4:11). Rebuke/ denounce are very strong words conveying justified indignation.
• In Jesus’ time, Tyre, and Sidon were considered the most wicked and pagan cities that had ever existed. Few to none of their inhabitants repented or acknowledged God (1 Kings 16:11; 17:9-24).
• The more knowledge you have, the more responsibility you have to use and practice it. That is why Moses was not let into the Promise Land; he disobeyed God. He knew better than anyone who ever lived not to do that! Fortunately, today we have Grace!

Even though Moses disobeyed God in a relatively minor matter in our perspective, God was still gracious, and showed him all that would come. What God sees as important, we sometimes skip. Remember, Moses knew better. And, when we sin, we know better too! Thus, the offence of striking the rock was bad enough for him to be excluded from entering the Promised Land. Moses had been face to face with God, and knew his duty and call. His anger broke the trust he had with God, resulting in grave consequences. Fortunately for us, we have Grace to further protect us (Ex.17: 6; Num. 20:8-11)!

How does knowing that God is a God of judgment, as well as a God of holiness and righteousness affect your faith and obedience?

What happens to a Christian’s growth and faith when all he acknowledges is God’s grace, and not the rest of His attributes?

How to tell if someone is a False Teacher or Prophet?

 

The usual, the teaching is not drawn from Scripture; rather read into to fit their wayward theory. Pride is always a good indicator, a true servant of the Lord points to Christ and not themselves. And of course what they predict does not come true. Then after the false prophecy, they are silent for a while, hoping you forget and then wow you with a new date or teaching… They feed on those who do not read the Bible and do not think. In addition, 1 Peter gives us the main template of the false teacher and prophet, by showing us what a real one is like:  

Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched (the Scriptures) intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. 1 Peter 1:10-12

They searched the Scriptures, not forced presumptions into the Text. They taught what God told them too, not what they wanted to. They shared and lived out the Grace of our Lord, they preached the Gospel, and they pointed to Christ not making a name for themselves… 

“It was revealed” is about the mysteries to which God gave the O.T. prophets a glimpse—of things to come that were to benefit and encourage future generations, like us today. For us, a real prophecy or a Gospel teaching is the Message of the Gospel, the true Truths directly from God’s Word the Bible being infused by the Holy Spirit and then lived out in our lives; it is that Jesus Christ, being fully God, lived in behalf of us, took our place for God’s wrath, suffered in our place, and redeemed us. It is a call to us to be the messengers of the Gospel along with the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:25-27, 45-47). 

God wants us growing in Him, not speculating on nonsense and wasting Kingdom time and ‘debating’ others away from the faith. He wants us to be contagious with his Truth and grace. He wants to see if our faith and commitment is real and brings us into situations where we can learn and grow in faith and so receive our reward. God’s purpose is to refine us, form us, mold us, improve us, restore us, grow us, and strengthen us. This we need to pray and contemplate our attitude, mindset, and deeds so we can make sure we are pointing to Christ and not ourselves. We are to seek our repentance and so we will “wake up,” see our error, and seek Him (Gen. 11:1-f; Deut. 8:2; 13:3; Judg. 2:22; Job. 23:10; Rom. 5:3; James 1: 2-4, 12-16; 1 Pet. 4:17; 5:1-4, 8).

 

What does Revelation 15:1-8 mean to us now?

 

This passage is about the contrast and importance of God and His judgment and grace. They go together and both are essential. The wicked and those who are in apostasy are deserving of their judgments; they bring it on themselves freely as they ignore and refuse God’s offer of grace. This passage is about worship—pointing us to the One who is in control so those who are His can take hope and comfort in Him. These plagues of judgment are reminiscent of the ones with which God challenged Pharaoh to let His people go. God offered peace and grace, but Pharaoh kept hardening his heart over and over, just as the recipients of the bowls of wrath do. Just as God delivered Israel from oppression in Egypt, He will deliver His faithful. This becomes all about God’s faithfulness and glory, and how His plan will triumph. So, John’s readers, as well as we today, can take hope in the realization that there is no reason we should not trust in His sovereignty and plan (Ex. 7-12; 40:34-38; 1 Kings 8:10-11; Dan. 7:9-10; John 3:17; Eph. 2; Rev. 4-5). 

This passage also starts John’s fourth cycle of visions, this time focusing on the bowls of God’s wrath to those who are evil doers. If you are not evil and manipulative, but are loyal to Christ, you have no worries here (15:1-16:21). These bowls are nothing esoteric or cryptic; they symbolize God’s wrath. The point is, just as God delivered the Israelites from oppression using the plagues against Egypt, so He will deliver those who belong to Him! The other significance of this is that it sets up the world for the Second Coming of Christ (Is. 51:17-22; Jer. 25:15-29; Lam. 4:21; Ezek. 23:31-34; Hab. 2:16; Rev. 14:10; 16:19)! 

These bowls are very similar to the Seven Trumpets and first Four Bowls, but the first judgments affect one-third (1/3) of the areas; these new ones effect all. Thus they result in more stern judgments after a very clear warning and time for repentance! These judgments can be applied as they were written to the Roman Empire as well as for a time yet to come. Remember, Hebrew logic is not “either-or;” rather, it is “both-and!” Thus, these themes were for John’s readers, for us, and for a crisis-tribulation time that is yet to come. The bottom line is not what theories we read in to the passage that tantalize us; rather, it is what God is seeking from us, namely our faith, worship, and faithfulness versus what he is mad at—evil.  You can get a list of that from Romans chap 1. 

This passage testifies to the fact that a hardened heart refuses to learn, obey, or submit. God accepts us; it is we who have trouble accepting Him! Such a mindset will not recognize pride or sin’s folly, nor will it learn from past mistakes. This mindset refuses the things of goodness and God, rather preferring depravity or its own pride and agendas. It can even trick itself that these things are right and good and those who represent the Truth of God are in the wrong. Yes, God still cares and offers Himself to them until the time is up and judgment is poured out. The contrast for the faithful is this; while the wicked refuse to learn or grow, we can take comfort we can be anchored in Christ and be encouraged and then learn from them—learn of the evils and depravity of sin so we can guard ourselves, and do as much as we can to help others get out of it, as our Lord showed us. 

The other aspect we can glean from this passage is that God protects and cares for us. God is right and never acts with spite or in unfair anger. 

Questions to Ponder: 

  1. What images could console you in times of stress? How would you describe peace and hope to someone in distress?
  1. How and why does a hardened heart refuse to learn or obey or submit? What can you do to prevent such a mindset from encroaching on you? How does not recognizing pride and sin’s folly or learning from our mistakes fuel sin and problems in our lives?
  1. Who is in control of your spiritual life? What needs to take place for you to take more hope and comfort in Christ?
  1. What can you and your church do to praise Christ—who is glorious and worthy—more passionately and faithfully? How would this help you and the people in your church be more victorious against the evils of the world and the stresses of life? 

 © 2007 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org

The Four Main Views of Revelation 15:1-8

 

The Preterist view: They see this passage as the beginnings of Judgment, the Jewish war of 70A.D, and the finality of Jerusalem. Thus, it is all about God’s wrath toward apostate Jewish leadership while He delivers His faithful. God abolishes the Old Covenant and sets up the Covenant of Grace under Christ. The celebration is seen as the rejoicing of the faithful for their vindication and/or escape from Jerusalem, and/or how Jesus delivers His people. Others see this as the joy of martyrdom. The corrupt, wicked city of Jerusalem has had its chance, but now it is beyond recovery. 

The Futurist view: They see this passage as anticipation of a new Temple being built to execute God’s new mission to humanity. His mission is climatic judgment. Most in this camp see this not as God’s Temple, but the one in Jerusalem that will be rebuilt. (There is a common misconception in “end times” theory that the temple must be rebuilt before Jesus can come back. This is just not true. The verses used to make this point are taken out of their historical context. The passages refer to the end of the Babylonian captivity and how the Temple was gong to be rebuilt, which had already been fulfilled in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah! Thus, there is confusion between already fulfilled prophecy and not understanding the Old Testament and its connection to unfilled and fulfilled prophecy from historical chronology. The teaching that the sacrificial system must also be reinstated is an assault to the Person and work of Christ. There are no conditions for Christ to come again; He comes when He is ready to come! ) Sea of glass is a picture of heaven and the fire is God’s judgment. There is a big problem for this view as the great victory, when most believe the church was raptured; so, who is victorious? There are many theories; either this refers to the people who come to Christ after the rapture or else it does not refer to the Church but rather to the disembodied spirits of the people killed, which is a contradiction of how God deals with death. Others see this as the song from the Red Sea still being heard or the song of redemption echoing from God’s faithful. This could also be interpreted as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and His ability to redeem, or a last warning before final judgment.           

Passages saying the temple has to be rebuilt that are often taken out of context: Numbers 19:2; Isaiah 14:1-2; Jeremiah 7:2-8; Ezekiel 34; Daniel 3:1-7; 8; 9:24-27; 12:11; Haggai 1:1-11; 2:14, 1 Cor. 6:19; Gal. 4:25 -26; 1 Thess. 4:13-17; 2 Thess. 2:4; 3:7; 1 Peter 2:5; Rev. 11:2-6. The original Temple in Solomon’s time was built in (dates approximate) 950 B.C. and destroyed in 587 B.C. (1 Kings 8:22-61; 2 Kings 24:11-15; 2 Kings 25:7-12). Said passages point to its rebuilding and thus were fulfilled with Ezra’s Temple 515 B.C. (Ezra 5:2). Also, Herod’s Temple, built in 20 B.C. and destroyed in 70 A.D fulfilled Daniel’s “abomination that causes desolation,” and Christ, the Messiah fulfilled “the anointed One” (Matthew, chapters 21-24; Acts 6:12 – 7:60). There is no scriptural evidence for a “tribulation temple” (see Revelation 11 study), although if one is built, (I am surprised it has not been already), it has no bearing on Christ’s timing or His return. 

The Idealist view: They see this passage as the last judgment on humanity and the end of time as we know it. God’s goals and purposes are fulfilled and complete, and humanity’s purpose is at its fruition. Others in this camp see this as individual judgments to one’s own personal life experiences and choices as compared to opportunities, call, and abilities. Fire is seen as God’s righteousness and glass as heaven. The song is that all nations shall worship Christ as Lord. 

The Historicist view: They see this passage as symbolic, meant to give the Church hope and reassurance that God is in control and His purpose will be fulfilled. They also see this passage as God’s assault on the corrupt papacy (Medieval Catholic Popes who persecuted faithful Christian reformers). They see this happening in God’s throne room represented by the Sea of glass, and the fire as His judgment. The great victory indicates the “faithful,” those who remained steadfast during papal persecutions. The seven plagues are seen as the end of secular history and the start of the return of Christ as the events of earthly life come to an end. Others in this camp see this as the French revolution and/or the destruction of Rome.

Exegetical look into Revelation 15:1-8

 

  • Great and marvelous/wonderful is a celebration song of hope fulfilled and victory (Is. 6:1-4).
  • Last plagues refers to “filled up” and completion.
  • God’s wrath refers to the judgment that is coming and that it will be a reality (Joel 2:11; Mal. 3:2). This is something Christians need not fear as Christ covers our sin for us (Zeph. 1:14-18; Nah. 1:6; Mal. 3:2; Rom. 1:18; 3:9-23; 6:23; Rev.19:15). There is hope and assurance when our trust is in Christ and His righteousness. He is our hope, even when the very foundations of the universe are collapsing around and under us. When our hope is in Christ, nothing can shake us (Luke 12:32-34; 1 Cor. 7:29-31; 2 Thess.1:7-9; Heb. 12:25-29; Rev. 6:16).
  • Sea of glass. This is a representation of worship, as the temple had the “Bronze Sea,” referring to the “basin” in the heavenly temple. In context, this also may refer to how Israel was delivered through the parting of the Red Sea, or the “Sea of Reeds” (Rev. 15:5-6, 8; 16:1, 17). Elsewhere, this image of water and worship is found when the Red Sea (Sea of Reeds) was parted by God, as was the Jordan River (which was actually a greater miracle).These images indicate that all that exists is submissive to God’s supremacy, and He has victory over all that opposes Him. In conjunction, water also means that He supplies us with all we need so we can take comport in Him in times of doubt or stress (Ex. 24:10; Deut. 11:11; 1 Kings 7:23-25; 2 Kings 16:17; 2 Chron. 4:2-6,15, 39; Psalm 11:4; Is. 51:9-11; Jer 27:19; Ezek. 1:22; Rev. 4:6-8; 11:19; 14:15, 17; 15:2). 
  • Mixed with fire refers to God as a consuming fire who delivers the faithful (Deut. 4:24).
  • Been victorious who had conquered indicates that the faithful have a role in God’s judgments to those who persecuted them or have done evil. Perhaps, they will be witnesses and/or their prayers have motivated God. This also means we do not fear the devil when we are in Christ (Rev. 6:9-11; 12:11).
  • Number of his name. This was also a common way to express a warning to us about godlessness or those opposing Christ—a warning to make sure we are not opposing Christ in thought, word, or deed, taking oaths, or making promises that counter Christ’s principles (Rev. 13:11-18).
  • Song of Moses indicates a song that pictures redemption and hope. Moses sang to praise God for His deliverance and his people’s triumph as God led them safely and unharmed from oppression and through danger, and then God “took out” their enemies. This was/is used in Jewish worship on Sabbath evenings to celebrate deliverance. It is also a contrast between being oppressed by evil and the oppression we bring on ourselves by seeking idols and things not of God, and how He seeks to deliver us. God accepts us; it is we who have trouble accepting Him (Ex. 15:1-18; Deut. 31:28-32:43; Psalm 86:9-10; Rev. 5:6).
  • Song of the Lamb was an early church hymn pointing to how Christ obtained deliverance because He arose from the dead and triumphed over His enemies (Psalm 22; Phil. 2:9-11).
  • Great and marvelous are your deeds is another song of praise (Ex. 15:11; Psalm 92:5; 111:2 Rev. 1:8).
  • Just and true means how God is right and never acts with spite or in unfair anger. His judgments are pure and deserving; it would be a farce and immoral for Him not to judge. Evil would not be contained or accountable, and rightfulness and holiness would not mean anything without judgment (Is. 55:6-13; Rev. 16:5-7; 19:2-11).
  • King of the ages/world is a name for God, referring to His universal right to be recognized as first, foremost, and the only worshiped being (Psalm 86:9-10; Is. 45:22-23; Jer 10:10; Zech. 14:9; Mal. 1:11; Phil. 2:9-11; 1 Tim. 1:17).
  • Tabernacle of the Testimony/Sanctuary is an image of the Old Testament Tabernacle tent that meant God’s heavenly dwelling. It refers to the inner sanctum of God’s moist holy of holies that contained the Ark with the two tablets of the Testimony Moses brought from Mount Sinai. This represented God’s home on earth as a “copy” of God’s Throne Room, made for His presence in the inner chamber of Jewish Temples and the Tabernacle that was a tent, used before the Temple was built by Solomon. Now, John sees the real heavenly version in a corporal state to condescend to his and our understanding (Ex. 24:9-11; 25; 25:40; 32:15; 38:21; Deut 10:5; 1 Kings 5-7; 22:19; 2 Chron. 2-4; Is. 6; Ezek. 1; 10:1; Dan. 7:9-10; Matt. 13:38; John 8:42-45; Heb. 8:1-6; 9:1-14; Rev. 3:12; 4:1; 7:15; 11:19; 14:15-17; 15:5-16:1, 16:17; 21:22).
  • Shining linen/pure bright linen…. golden sashes refer to the clothing of priests who represent God and His Holiness through their call and priestly occupation. It also refers to how our Lord creates, redeems, and empowers us (Ex. 28:42; Lev. 16:4; Ezek. 18:4).
  • Four living creatures is a figurative image from Ezekiel and Babylonian descriptions, possibly referring to angels who minister to God, who act as protectors, guardians, and servants, giving their adoration. The point is that “God is Great;” God is Holy, He is universally glorious, and He is greater than any earthly power or king. This may also be an assault on the powers and authority of Babylon and Rome. To read into these images more than what is there misses the point of the passage and muddies the waters of Revelation (Gen. 3:24; Ex. 25:17-22; 1 Kings 7:29; 1 Chron. 12:8; 28:18; Psalm 18:10; Is. 6; Ezek. Chaps 1, 10; Rev. 4:6).
  • Seven golden bowls/vials refer to the incense bowls or chalices used in the Jewish Temple. Here, instead of being used to please God, God uses this image to appease His just wrath (Psalm 75:8; Is. 34:10; 51:17; Jer. 25:15; Mark 15:35; Rev. 5:8; 8:3-5; 14:9-10; 16:6,19).
  • Smoke. In the Old Testament, smoke indicated both God’s presence His anger. This is also, in context, an image of God’s power and glory filling the Temple when it was dedicated (Ex. 19:9-18; 20:18; 40:34-35; Num. 12:5; 1 Kings 8:10-11; Ezek. 10:3-4; 44:4; Psalm 18:8-11; 74:1; Is. 6:4; Ezek. 1:4; )
  • From his power means that our Lord is our Help, and He will never forsake us. From the context of the Song of Moses, this is also a warning to “see if your false gods (apostate, corrupt, weak church) can help you.” (Ezek. 18:4; Psalm 37:7, 20, 34; Matt. 10:28-31)
  • No one could enter the temple. Those who are wicked had their chance; now, they are beyond reclamation.

Revelation 15:1-8

 

Introduction 

The Seven Plagues

John now gets a heavenly perspective of God’s wrath being prepared to be poured out on a wicked world. As seven angels with seven plagues get ready for God to say “go,” they are the last ones unleashed because this concludes God’s wrath. Now, in the midst of the underpinnings for extreme judgment, John is consoled with images depicting peace and hope, a sea of glass, and the people who have been victorious against both the evils of the world and the manipulations of the beast. These victors of faith praise God for His holiness; they have seen His plan revealed and that His plan has prevailed. God is truly beyond marvelous; His previsions and power—His best and true ways—were received. Then, they continue to praise Him who is glorious and worthy; they see their struggles as worth it beyond measure. 

            The saints celebrate their victory and vindication! As God’s heavenly Temple is opened and revealed, from it come the seven angels dressed in glory and splendor, along with the four living creatures who gave the angels the seven bowls filled with God’s wrath. The Temple is filled with God’s presence, power, and glory, and thus, no one could enter it until the bowls have been poured out and His judgment completed. 

This passage is about the contrast and importance of God and His judgment and grace. They go together and both are essential. The wicked and those who are in apostasy are deserving of their judgments; they bring it on themselves freely as they ignore and refuse God’s offer of grace. This passage is about worship—pointing us to the One who is in control so those who are His can take hope and comfort in Him. These plagues of judgment are reminiscent of the ones with which God challenged Pharaoh to let His people go. God offered peace and grace, but Pharaoh kept hardening his heart over and over, just as the recipients of the bowls of wrath do. Just as God delivered Israel from oppression in Egypt, He will deliver His faithful. This becomes all about God’s faithfulness and glory, and how His plan will triumph. So, John’s readers, as well as we today, can take hope in the realization that there is no reason we should not trust in His sovereignty and plan (Ex. 7-12; 40:34-38; 1 Kings 8:10-11; Dan. 7:9-10; John 3:17; Eph. 2; Rev. 4-5). 

This passage also starts John’s fourth cycle of visions, this time focusing on the bowls of God’s wrath to those who are evil doers. If you are not evil and manipulative, but are loyal to Christ, you have no worries here (15:1-16:21). These bowls are nothing esoteric or cryptic; they symbolize God’s wrath. The point is, just as God delivered the Israelites from oppression using the plagues against Egypt, so He will deliver those who belong to Him! The other significance of this is that it sets up the world for the Second Coming of Christ (Is. 51:17-22; Jer. 25:15-29; Lam. 4:21; Ezek. 23:31-34; Hab. 2:16; Rev. 14:10; 16:19)! 

  1. How would you symbolize God’s wrath? How do you like to celebrate victory? How do you like to get vindication?

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).