Revelation 10:8-11 John is instructed by a voice from heaven to “Go, take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the earth.” John takes the book and the angel says, “Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.” John takes the book (with the mystery of God in it) eats it and it is as the angel said, honey in the mouth, bitter in the stomach. And then the angel tells John, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.”A few points and scriptures that may shed light on this.Ezekiel 2 and 3 Ezekiel sees a marvelous vision of heaven in Chapter 1, then the Spirit enters into him in Chapter 2, and he is sent to the children of Israel to a rebellious nation. God tells him to speak, whether they hear or not, for they will know that a prophet is among them. Ezekiel is instructed not to be afraid of their words, just to speak God’s words to them. Then he is given a scroll of a book, with writing on the inside and on the outside, and there were lamentations and mourning and woe written on it. Then in Chapter 3:1 he is instructed, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go and speak to the house of Israel.” So he eats the scroll which is like honey in sweetness, (sound familiar?), He is sent to the house of Israel, which won’t listen because they are hard-hearted. Then in verse 10, Ezekiel is to receive the words into his heart, and in verse 14, Ezekiel is lifted up by the Spirit and went in bitterness, in the heat of his spirit, but with the hand of the Lord strong on him. Ezekiel is a watchman for the house of Israel and God gives him this strong word, in verses 18-19 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.”
Numbers 5 :16 to end of chapter details what a man who thinks his wife is unfaithful should do to test her faithfulness to him. She is brought to a priest, who takes holy water in an earthen vessel, takes some dust from the floor of the tabernacle and puts it into the water. The priest and woman stand before the Lord with her head uncovered. and an offering is put in her hands. The priest takes the bitter water (water and ashes) that brings a curse, puts the woman under an oath, and tell her that if no man has lain with you, she will be free from the curse of the bitter water. If she has strayed, then the Lord will make her thigh rot and belly swell. Then the priest writes the curses in a book, scrapes them off into the bitter water and makes the woman drink. (I have to insert a comment – wonder what happens when the man strays).
Remember that many times in the Old Testament the nation Israel is compared to a bride, an unfaithful bride as in Hosea, so in a sense, besides testing marital fidelity, Numbers is also a test of the nation Israel. Have they strayed from the one true God, if so, then they will suffer under the curses of the judgment. If not, they will come through he judgment and be in the Glory of God.
Also when the woman (again also a picture of Israel) is brought to Jesus accused of adultery, he writes in the dust with his finger. Wonder what He wrote. But once Jesus was in the picture the woman was redeemed. In Revelation, redemption will only occur to those who accept Jesus and put him in the picture.
John is told to prophesy about many people, tongues, nations and kings.
I am sure that the Word of God is sweet to John, and he relishes every blessed word that God spoke, but I am also certain that this apostle of Love, one whose last sermon to the people was about loving each other and God’s love, that it must have been very bitter to have to prophesy all those things that would happen to unbelievers in the last days. Oh how John must have prayed that God would get his wish and all would be saved (speculation on my part), but it must have been bitter to have to speak of the judgments that God is pouring out on a Christ-rejecting, sinful world. And yet, it must also have encouraged him to see how hard God tried to speak to the people and reach them even in the end days. And God’s next attempt is one that will cause people to either listen, or to reject. The two witnesses.
Please have a great weekend. This weekend is the Boy Scout show (sigh – noisy, loud, and fun), and also the Lion’s Club business expo – where my kids delight in going from booth to booth and getting free stuff. Basically they supply themselves with pencils, pens, and little hand-outs. It is almost like Christmas for them. A good way to spend what seems to be a rainy day, but we can use the rain right now.
Have a blessed night.