Rev.10 — Eat This Word!
This sermon was preached at Peace Hill Christian Fellowship on June 28th, 2009. To listen to the audio of this sermon, just click on this link – Rev 10.
This morning we come to the break between the 6th and 7th trumpets. The 7th trumpet will usher in the full fledged battle between the church and her terrifying enemies (the two beasts, the dragon). But before John sees those images, he is shown visions of encouragement. So this morning we want to look at these images and to see how God calls us to be prepared for battle through his word.
Look at How God Has Answered the Law for Us and Believe.
God Has Cried Out for Us to Silence the Law: What can we say about the Oath Angel? it is easy to get caught up in endless discussions of who he is because he is called an Angel, on the one hand, but his description is like that of God or the Glorified Christ… a rainbow above his head – see Rev.4… face like the sun – see description of Jesus in Rev.1… robed in a cloud – legs like fiery pillars – reminiscent of the Exodus pillar of cloud and fire… gives the roar of a lion – lion of Judah. However, remember that Revelation deals in spiritual images. Clearly the Oath Angel (Angel of the Lord?) represents God. In fact, the picture of the first 4 verses are a picture of God making his covenant at Sinai
The Oath Angel is a picture of God, giving the Law that is binding over all the earth. His loud cry is like the cry of the trumpet at Sinai that the people could not stand to hear. The scroll in his hand is the Law (which in Ezek.2:9 becomes a list of woes and judgments against Israel).
But the image is mixed. The loud voice is not a trumpet – but the roar of a lion. It is the loud cry of Christ on the cross as he gives up his spirit – a loud cry that answers the Law and becomes the new and better word spoken on our behalf. In response, to this cry the 7 thunders are silenced – the judgment of the Law against us.
The first thing that we need to see before we enter into spiritual battle is that God has answered the very real and right accusations – our real guilt and offenses that bound us to judgment. The Law shouted out our condemnation – but Christ has shouted out forgiveness to us by taking our condemnation on himself. Unless we rest in this understanding we cannot hope to fight the fight of faith. But if we believe that our condemnation has been removed in Christ, then much of what our enemy could do to us is taken away.
God Has Taken an Oath to Accomplish the Mystery of Christ in Us: “… he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, ‘There will be no more delay! 7But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.’”
What is happening here? In essence, God is swearing – taking a solemn oath, by himself – promising that the mystery will be accomplished. And what is the mystery? It is mentioned repeatedly in the NT – the mystery of godliness – the accomplishment of the Gospel (1 Tim.3:16) – that Christ would come and live among us and become our righteousness. The Mystery is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” – Colossian 1:27.
In other words, God has sworn on himself – for the glory of his name – to accomplish this mysterious work of Christ living in us by his Spirit.
The second thing that we need to know and believe, in the midst of the spiritual battle is that this mystery – Christ living in us – gives us the right to come to God as his best loved children – and empowers us to be new people. This must be believed! Our difficulty in the spiritual battle is not that Christ is not in us to empower us – but that we do not believe and act on that truth. Instead, we expect the opposite -that he is not with us – and we act accordingly in fear and unbelief. But Christ is alive in us to will and to do.
Take! Eat! Feed on This!
When You Come to the Word, Eat! John is told to take the word from the hand of the angel and to eat it. The symbolism of eating – taking God’s word in – meditation – is very active. John is not told to passively listen – nor to read – but to chew it up and swallow it.
So see the imagery here… This truth that sustains us in the spiritual battle – this sustaining food of the Gospel contained in the Scriptures – we are called to actively feed on this. We are called to read the word and to ask – What is this word saying to me? What is God saying to me through this word? How am I to change? What am i to believe about God – about myself – about the world? What am I to do – to love – to hate. And once I see this – how to I take it into myself and make it something that nourishes my soul.
Feed On Grace: This taking and eating and feeding reminds us of communion – John is actually told to take and eat! The communion language is intentional because when we come to the word, we are to take into ourselves the body and blood of Jesus.
The images here suggest that we come to the word to feed on the righteousness that Jesus has accomplished for us – that this is to be bread for our souls. When we read the Psalms and hear the Psalmist say – Lord deliver me because I have been faithful and righteous – God does not intend us to despair and think – “I can’t say that” – or even, the Psalmist must be deceived. Rather, God intends that we should be able to say along with the Psalmist – “Deliver me because Jesus has been faithful and righteous on my behalf. We are to feed on the fact that the righteousness of Jesus is ours.
In the same way, when we come to the word – as when we come to communion – we come to be washed by the blood of Jesus.
In order to be prepared for the spiritual battle, we cannot feed on condemnation and fear, but on grace and on the righteousness that is ours in Christ.
Embrace the Indigestion of the Word: The scroll tastes sweet to John, but turns sour in his stomach – causes pain. The sweetness of the scroll is the sweetness of the word of God – it is good, full of grace and the love of God. But the sourness has to do with the fact that it is at work inside of us. God is too good to leave us as we are – his word does not leave our inside alone – but brings conviction (not despair) and moves us to desire to be more like Jesus.
The spiritual battle is a matter of becoming like Jesus – being made new – renewed to become holy people. God’s word is to be believed – to be received as grace- chewed on – fed on – and to be at work in us. This is all the preparation we need to fight the good fight of faith.