THE SIXTH TRUMPET IS SOUNDED, PART 4
Rev 10:8-11 And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
So far in this chapter we have read of John's vision continuing with a mighty angel of God coming to earth, and having in his hand a little book open. When its contents were revealed, the seven thunders launched an open, rebellious, condemnation against it. John heard their contemptible outcry and, when he was about to record their words, he was forbidden to do so. The angel of God gives assurance to the world that the duration of this opposition to God's word would be short, and that the seventh angel would, with the sounding of his trumpet, declare a universal victory over those that had forbidden His Holy Word, the Bible, to be owned,or read, by the common people of the world.
In the lesson text we find a voice from heaven telling John, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth (Also See Vs. 2). John obediently did so. When the angel gave him the book, he also told John, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. The book, as we have studied before, is God's word - the New Testament gospel of eternal salvation through His Son, Christ Jesus. John was to take it and eat it up. Ezekiel was told to eat this roll - God's holy word, and teach it to the house of Israel (Ezek. 3:1-4). Jeremiah also experienced a similar command of God (Jer. 15:15-16). Like these Old Testament events, so it was with the apostle John in this writing. Naturally these events are not to be taken literally. Rather John was to accept God's word, ingest them, or record, and commit them to memory. And when the time came to do so, he was to teach, or prophesy, these commandments of God before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
Figuratively, John was told to eat the little book, that is, to read and understand the contents of God's Holy Word. He was told that, upon doing so, they shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. The sweetness, coming from understanding and teaching the revealed word of God, is easily explained. It is sweet because it is God's plan of eternal salvation to those having open and receptive minds; those that willingly believe and obey it. As such, it is one of the sweetest and most precious moments that one can ever experience on earth. In making the scriptural application to this portion of the vision, revealed by the sounding of the trumpet by the sixth angel, it is historically evident that we must turn to the Reformation period. Certainly the Holy Bible, represented by the little open book, being restored to the common people of the world, and specifically to the church of Christ, is readily seen as the fulfillment of this prophecy. Being able to, once again, "taste," or feed on, God's Holy Word, obey His commandments, and live by its tenets, was surely as sweet as honey.
However, to see, or hear, of those converted to Christ, being persecuted by radical unbelievers, would be troubling, and bitter to one teaching New Testament Christianity. Another bitterness a preacher could experience is to have those, after being taught God's truths, to turn away from it, reject it, and jeopardize their souls to eternal damnation. Various bible scholars contend that the bitterness referred to in this vision did, indeed, receive fulfillment in both of these suppositions. Although much of the world today is open to the New Testament gospel being taught, in the days prophesied in John's vision there was tremendous opposition, much of which was dangerously violent to Christians. Bitter suffering would come from, not only pagan societies, but also from civil authorities that were influenced by the Roman Catholic Popes, and their various levels of priests under their leadership. Indeed, the church of Christ was destined, even after the beginning of the Reformation, to suffer dreadful consequences from both civil and religious bodies.