“Then the voice which I heard from heaven spoke to me again and said, “Go, take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the earth.” So I went to the angel and said to him, “Give me the little book.” And he said to me, “Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.” Then I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter. And he said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings“
“Then the voice which I heard from heaven spoke to me again and said, “Go, take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the earth.”
Three times in Scripture, people are told to eat a book (Jeremiah 15:13-17; Ezekiel 2:8-10 and here). Usually, eating a book is not very nourishing! Books normally do not contain vitamins! Eating here is analogous to believing. God wants us to know, but even more so, He wants us to believe what He says.
So I went to the angel and said to him, “Give me the little book.” And he said to me, “Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.”
The angel wanted John to assimilate the “little book” into his life (Jeremiah 15:16). God wanted him to digest the message of the book so that it would change him personally. When we eat a hot dog, it eventually becomes part of our body (whether we like it or not!). We bear it on our bodies. When John ate the little book, it soon became a part of him. God gave John some pertinent information about the Tribulation, but he needed more than information about prophecy. He needed personal transformation by the truth of it.
The eating of this book by John is a picture of understanding the Bible and then then applying it to experience by faith.
Then I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter.
To know that God is sovereign in the way He executes prophetic events is sweet to the soul. To see the effect of God’s judgment is bitter to the soul.
“The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:9-14).
And he said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings
After John assimilates the prophecy, God gives him a new mission. John’s prophecy will be a judgment against the whole world.
If we apply God’s Word to our experience, it will effectively change our lives.
It is important to assimilate the Word of God into our experience. The Bible is the plumb line against which we measure our lives.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Eating this book is indicates a principle: the importance of God’s Word. Scripture deals with our souls. There is a pain in that. Change causes pain. God has plans to change us. We cherish certain sins and become comfortable with them. Now God asks us to deal with them. There is anguish in this. We wince when we ascertain we are part of the problem.
First, God judges us. Then, having dealt with us, He uses us to carry the truth to others. Only after God touches us can we carry the message to someone else. Knowing the truth truly and experientially always leads to action. We cannot use the Bible to minister to others effectively unless the Bible first deals with us.
I really enjoy God’s wisdom in your teaching, and have to wonder where you stand when it comes to reform theology. If you don’t mind answering in this forum. It’s a little off the subject, however, reading these passages causes me to ponder a recurring question, “Did Christ die for everyone or just the elect?”
Dave, I am Calvinistic in theology but not a 5 pointer. I believe that Christ died for everyone, not just the elect. Begin reading at 1 John 2:2 and read through the next few blogs: http://versebyversecommentary.com/2001/02/27/1-john-22-2/