Monday, May 9, 2011

The Revelation of the Little Scroll

Part 16 of a series through the book of Revelation

Text: 10:1-11

A GOD OF LOVE AND JUSTICE

An ice cream sundae is sweet in the mouth, but sometimes bitter in the stomach (especially if you’re lactose intolerant). This was John’s experience with the “little scroll.”

Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven.... He had a little scroll open in his hand (vv. 1-2).

And 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 (v. 10).

The “little scroll” might be the same scroll that was introduced in chapter 5—the scroll “sealed with seven seals.” The seven seals have been broken by the Lamb, and now the scroll lies open in the hand of the mighty angel. Perhaps it is described as “little” because of the immense size of the angel. This scroll reveals God’s plan for the future.

God’s plan for the future is bittersweet.

Why? First, it is sweet because many will be saved. We are saved by God’s grace. Salvation is undeserved. The symbol of Christianity is the cross, not a set of scales. We are saved through faith in Christ, not by our own works. Second, it is bitter because many will be condemned. We are condemned for our sin. Condemnation is deserved. John 3:16 is both bitter and sweet: whoever believes will not perish, but whoever does not believe will perish.

THE BITTERSWEET TRUTH

...there would be no more delay (v. 6).

And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings” (v. 11).

How should we respond to the bittersweet truth of Revelation? First, we should celebrate the message of salvation. Second, we should share the message of salvation. Jesus’ last words to His followers: “You will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). The gospel “will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). The reason for the apparent delay in the second coming of Christ is the patience of God. “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). We should also pray--for opportunities to share the gospel, for the right words to say when those opportunities do come, and for the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of the unsaved. God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).