Take and Eat – Revelation Bible Guide Day 15
March 9, 2018
20The rest of humankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands or give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk. 21And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their fornication or their thefts.
And I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. 2He held a little scroll open in his hand. Setting his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3he gave a great shout, like a lion roaring. And when he shouted, the seven thunders sounded. 4And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.” 5Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and the land
raised his right hand to heaven
6and swore by him who lives forever and ever,
who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it: “There will be no more delay, 7but in the days when the seventh angel is to blow his trumpet, the mystery of God will be fulfilled, as he announced to his servants the prophets.”
8Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” 9So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll; and he said to me, “Take it, and eat; it will be bitter to your stomach, but sweet as honey in your mouth.” 10So I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it; it was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter.
11Then they said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”
Points of Interest
- “another mighty angel … wrapped in a cloud” – While we’re waiting for the seventh trumpet, which is the climax of the seven heals, an enormous messenger of God bursts onto the scene. A digression? Dramatic build-up? Part of the non-linear unfolding of God’s purposes on the earth? Hard to say.
- “face was like the sun” – This angel looks kind of like the opening vision of Jesus from Revelation 1. Maybe that’s part of being God’s messenger, that for your message to be valid, you also need to look and sound like God’s beautiful self.
- “He held a little scroll” – Kind of a funny image, this mighty angel with his mini-scroll in hand. What does it say?
- “do not write it down” – Stay focused, John. Maybe in much of our speech about God, there’s more sound than fury, more distracting buzz than helpful message. Or maybe this moment reminds us that there’s lots to God’s world that we’re not going to understand.
- “raise his right hand to heaven” – The messenger is taking an oath, promising that whatever is being announced that will complete history, it is sure to be true. You can bank on it.
- “when the seventh angel is to blow his trumpet, the mystery of God will be fulfilled” – More dramatic build up. We’ve been hearing revelation about the way things are with God and the way things are on earth. It sounds like the end of this section is going to bring the two together – that the previously unknown ways of God will come to fruition.
- “Take it, and eat” – These words sound like communion. But rather than welcoming the person of Christ into his body, John is welcoming the word of God, all that is sweet and all that is bitter. I like this as an image of listening to what God has to say. Don’t just think about it, take it in, chew on it, digest, eat. Internalize God’s message.
- “many people and nations” – This line again stands for all people on the earth. So far, we’ve heard about all peoples suffering under the evil of history and the violence of empire. John reveals Rome and all dominating human societies to largely be up to no good for most of us. We’ve also heard about great multitudes from all peoples being comforted and fed and satisfied as they worship God together. The underbelly of our reality that we don’t usually see, and the great hope of God that we don’t usually believe – both are core to the message of Revelation.
Each day this week, you’re invited to withdraw from the stress and urgency of daily life and reflect on God’s power and goodness. Have you ever felt that you’ve heard a true word from God? Perhaps while listening to a sermon or reading the Bible or in prayer? Perhaps through the words in a song or the words of a friend? A god who isn’t silent and isn’t a violent bully, but who speaks good news of truth and who listens is a god we can love. Praise God for being communicative and ask God if you like, to deepen your experience of God speaking and listening to you.
A Direction for Prayer
For your six, pray that each will come to hear the voice of God to them, whatever messenger God uses to communicate.
The Bible Guide
This blog post is part of a Lenten journey through the book of Revelation. Every year during the season of Lent, we take a focused look at a portion of Scripture as part of our communal spiritual practice. This year, we are exploring what it means to be Children of God in a Fractured World, with Revelation as our lens. The series starts here.