The Mystery of the Little Scroll

Revelation 10

September 16, 2008 | Ray Pritchard

1.  Unusual Chapter

2.  Another interlude

3   Longest vision in the Book.  Chaps 10-12

4.  Location is crucial:

Between 6th and 7th trumpets

Near End of Tribulation

 I.  The Angel From Heaven     vv. 1-7


        A.  His Description                1-2

       Who is this angel?

1.  Not one of the seven trumpet angels
2.  Some say Christ
3.  Perhaps Michael the Archangel

      Dramatic Description

1.  He comes from heaven
2.  He was glorious in appearance
3.  Supreme Authority
Cloud—Vehicle of divine visits
Rainbow—Mercy Amid Judgment
Face GLows—Glory of God!
Feet of Fire—Judgment

     The Little Scroll in his hand

1.   In contrast to the Scroll that the Lamb took from the Father’s hand in Revelation 5.  That scroll contains the title deed to the earth and the detailed description of end time events.  This small scroll apparently contains details regarding certain specific events of the final days.  It is a “special message” from God.

       His Position: astride land and sea

1.  Picture of conquest
2.  God’s purpose to reclaim the earth!

An awesome sight.  This mighty angel comes down from heaven at a crucial moment in the unfolding of judgment to deliver a special message from God!

        B.  His Shout                    3-4

A.  The Power of His Voice:  Like a Lion
B.  The Voice of the Seven Thunders!
A.  Evidently an intelligible message
B.  Forbidden to Write—Only time in Revelation.

Thunder usually a haringer of a coming storm!!!!!  When you hear thunder in the distance, it’s time to call the children inside.

Why?  Because some things either are too horrible or because some things can not be understood. Perhaps we should think of Daniel 12:9, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed up until the time of the end.”  Many things that seem mysterious to us as we read Bible prophecy will make perfect sent in the last days.  That, I think, is one sign of the end of the age.  So much of the Book of Revelation now makes sense to us.  Even so, there is much we do not understand.

In any case, the “voice of the seven thuders” reminds us that all of history is under God’s direct control  He reveals only what he wants us to know.  The rest is hidden from our view.

       C.  His Announcement             5-7

1.  The Solemn Oath
A.  By the raised hand
B.  By by the words used

Two attributes of God stand behind this oath:

1.     His eternity
2.     His sovereignty

God created all three realms of the universe:  the heavens, the earth and the sea.  He also created everything in all three realms.  It is impossible to imagine a stronger statement of God’s right to rule the universe.  The universe belongs to him by creation and by redemption!  Satan has usurped it long enough!

Here, then, is a fundamental reason why all people should worship God.  He lives forever and He made all things in every place.  He was here before us, he will be here after all, he made us, and he made everything else besides.  This verse reminds us of John 1:3, “Through him all things were made, and without him nothing was made that has been made.”

Against the chaos of world in revolt against its Maker, these words remind us that all Creation points back to the Creator.  We may at times feel that our world has spun completely out of control, and at times it does seem that way, but in the midst of the confusion of these days, let us remind ourselves that our God lives forever and ever, that he made all things, that he made us, indivdually and personally, and that we are here by His sovereign design.  Nothing can touch us without His permission.  Nothing can harm us in any way that does not first pass through the hands of His love.  How this can be we cannot say.  But we as Christians affirm this truth, that our God is good and doeth all things well.

I have told you before about the practice of the Nigerian Methodist Church, as reported by Eddie Fox, the great Methodist evangelist.  He said that whenever the church gathers, the speaker will say, “Hallelujah” and everyone responds, “Amen.”  When the speaker says, “God is good,” with one voice they reply, “All the time.”

    2.  The Angel’s Message

        A.  No more delay

Here is the answer to everyone who has ever said, “How long, O Lord, will you wait?”  The angel announces that God’s greatest judgment is about to be poured out upon the earth.

“Though the wheels of God grind slowly, they grind exceeding small.”  “The arm of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.

     B.  Mystery of God to be accomplished

What is this mystery of God?

1.  Connected with the seventh trumpet

Which means it is happens at the very end of the tribulation, just at the moment when Christ returns.

2.  Annnouced to the prophets

Meaning the mystery is not something strange or exotic.  It is something the OT prophets announced and looked forward to.

    3.  Return of Christ to the Earth

A.  Defeat all His enemies
B.  Set up His kingdom
C.  Reign from Jerusalem

Here then is very good news.  At the end of the tribulation, Jesus Christ returns to the earth.  Not as a Lamb to be crucified, but as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.  Not as “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild” but as a mighty warrior from heaven, defeating all His foes.

At present, we may wonder who is really winning the battle.  Is it Satan or it is Jesus?  You might read the newspapers and see criminals going free and wonder, “Who’s winning?”  You might hear of drive-by shootings and children buying crack cocaine and you wonder, “Who’s winning?”  You might read of terrorist bombings in the Middle East and famine breaking out again in Africa and you wonder, “Who’s winning?”  You might hear this week that a husband has left his wife, that a son has disappointed his parents, that someone has been arrested and thrown in jail and you might wonder, “Who’s winning?”  You may hear rumors and nasty gossip about someone you love or even about yourself—things you know aren’t true—and you may wonder, “Who’s winning?”

Good question.  Who is winning today?  It might look like the Bad Guys are winning.  It might look as if God has been pushed off the throne and Satan can do as he will.  It might seem that your prayers go for nothing.

But the game isn’t over yet.  You don’t put it in the “W” column until the final horn sounds.  Satan may already have chalked this up as his greatest victory.  But he’s wrong.

It’s not over yet.

Shhh.  Did you hear it?  The sound of a distant trumpet, the clatter of hoofbeats coming over the horizon.  The sound of a shout like a thousand roaring waterfalls, a tiny burst of light breaks upon the eastern sky.  What is that sound? It’s the army of heaven.  Who is riding that white stallion?  His name is Jesus Christ.  What happened to the bad guys  ey’re screaming and crying and begging for mercy.  But it’s too late.  Too late.  Too late.  Jesus has come back to the earth.

Now it over.  And Jesus has won the battle.  He is the Victor!

II.  John and the Little Scroll       vv. 8-11

        A.   John Takes the Scroll        8-9

1.   The Voice from Heaven: God
2.   Taking the Scroll from the Angel!
John asks for the scroll
Angel tells him to take and eat

Why eat?  Similar to words to Ezekiel.  Refers to prophecy of coming judgment.  It will be sweet to the taste but bitter in its outworking.

3.  Sweet to the mouth, bitter to the stomach

Like one of those Good news, bad news jokes.  The good news is, God’s judgment is coming!  The bad news is, God’s judgment is coming!

        B.   John Eats the Scroll        10

1.  Note the obedience here.
2.  This is literal: John ate the scroll.
3.   It happened just as the angel said it would.  A sweet taste and an upset stomach.

Two lessons:

1.  God’s Word must be taken in to be fully enjoyed.  Not enough to simply hear it or read it and walk away.  The Bible says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.

2.  God’s Word is always good, but its message will not always make us happy.  Sometimes we will hear the convicting word of God.  Sometimes we will be warned to change our ways.  Sometimes God’s Word will bring us up short about the way we have been living.

        C.  John Told to Prophesy        11

1.  You must prophesy again!
2.  International Flavor


1.  God’s Word must first be taken in before we can give it out.
2.  God’s Word is given to us that we might share it with others.
3.  God’s Word reveals his plan for the entire world.
4.  God’s Word contains both precious promises and sharp warnings regarding sin and judgment to come.

What a message for John to receive on the barren isle of Patmos in the Aegean Sea.  Here he was an old man, forgotten by the world, exiled for his faith in Jesus Christ, the last surviving apostle, living some 60 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus.  The Roman Emperor Domition has declared war on this upstart sect of “Christ-Ones” as they like to call themselves.

In that day, the Romans ruled the world and the Christians were a despised minority.  Yet God still has his man—John.  It matters not that he is on a prison island.  In that God-forsaken, wind-swept, barren escarpment, God reaches him with a message of things to come.

No wonder the scroll tasted good.  It contained the Word of God.  David said, “The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous.  They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;  they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb” (Psalm 19:9-10).

Though the Word of God is sweet to believers, its message will be bitter to unbelievers.  So it is that gospel sword cuts both ways, toward life or toward death.  There is a narrow wide and broad way.  The same message that saves one, damns another.  The words of life are also words of death.  They are a sweet savor to some and a stench to others.

To those who love darkness, the blinding light of the gospel uncovers their sin and exposes their wickedness.  No wonder they fight against it.  But those who love the light also love to sing, “Jesus is the sweetest name I know” and “Oh How I love Jesus.”

As we continue our study of Revelation, may our hearts rejoice with the truth that Jesus is the Victor!  And may our hearts be heavy with the knowledge that a terrible day of judgment is about to break upon the earth.

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post?