Christian philosopher Peter Kreeft wrote: “The world’s oldest profession is advertising. It was invented by the Devil in Eden: ‘See this apple? Eat it and you’ll be like God.’”
God is so concerned about what we put into our hearts and minds He directed Paul to write: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).
How do you renew your mind and therefore transform your life? By changing your diet—your spiritual diet. And Revelation 10 shows us how to do just that.
In this passage, we see a strong angel descend from heaven to earth. In the angel’s hand a “little book which was open” (Revelation 10:2). The voice of the angel is deep, resonant, and loud—commanding attention, and “the seven peals of thunder uttered their voices” in response (Revelation 10:3).
John suddenly turns his attention away from the strong angel with the little book and focuses on the peals of thunder. He says, “I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them’” (Revelation 10:4).
Apparently, the rumble of the thunder sounded in John’s ear as articulated speech.
For whatever reason, the Lord didn’t want the message of the thunders recorded, which indicates that not all the judgments that will take place during the great tribulation are recorded in Scripture.
Since the revelation contained in the book is about and from Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:1), He has the authority to determine what is and what’s not included in His revelation. God sometimes reveals something to someone that can’t be communicated or that a particular generation can’t understand. God is not obligated to reveal all of His plans to us.
Daniel received a similar command twice. At the end of his book, Daniel was told to “conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time” (Daniel 12:4). He was even told, “Go on about your business” because God had “concealed and sealed up” truths that wouldn’t be revealed “until the end of time” (Daniel 12:9).
In the Bible, a mystery is not an enigma to be unraveled or a puzzle to be solved, but truth about God and His purposes previously hidden that is now revealed.
Right now, it is a mystery to us why evil runs rampant in our lives and in the world. It is a mystery why God allows children to die, prayers to go unanswered, inexplicable catastrophes to happen to Christians who are trying to live righteously while unbelievers seem to go unpunished. But one day when Christ returns we will see how God has caused all things to work together for good. And when that happens, we can truly say, “the mystery of God is finished” (Revelation 10:7).
The beginning and the end of history are under God’s sovereignty.
The same voice that ordered John not to record the judgment in the seven peals of thunder—either God the Father or God the Son—now instructed John to take the little book from the strong angel (Revelation 10:8). John is told twice to take the little book. It’s not handed to him, even after he asks the strong angel to give it to him. John must take it.
The point is that God’s revelation is never forced on anyone. He doesn’t cram truth down our throat. God offers His Word freely, and we can take it or leave it. But if we want it, we must take it.
Whether John literally ate the little book or not is unimportant. What was written in the little book is the important thing. The revelation contained in the little book was initially sweet because it was the very words of God.
However, as John meditated on the revelation and came to comprehend its meaning, the awful judgments to come became distasteful—they soured John’s stomach (Revelation 10:10). Or to put it another way, it is sweet to be God’s messenger, but often times the message is bitter. For John, it was sweet to taste the secrets of God, but sour to have to reveal further judgments, even if victory was the final and assured reward.
Every child of God must internalize the Word of God in order to enjoy the blessing of God. How do we go about “eating” the Word of God?
- Listen to the Word of God (Romans 10:17)
I refuse to listen to the news first thing in the morning. I’m either listening to a podcast while running in the morning or a sermon on KCBI in the car.
- Read the Word of God (Psalm 119:18)
Even more effective than hearing is actually seeing God’s Word. Hopefully you have a Bible reading plan of some kind, but more important than what plan you have is just having SOME plan.
- Study the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15)
Assimilating God’s word in your life means not just reading but actually studying God’s Word.
- Memorize the Word of God (Psalm 119:11)
If you wait until you are in a challenging situation to start searching the Bible for some assistance, you’ve waited too long. Jesus memorized the Scripture so He could remind Himself of the exact truth He needed at the moment.
- Meditate on the Word of God (Joshua 1:8)
To meditate on God’s Word does not mean to put yourself in some transcendental, hypnotic, spiritual state. We chew on it—so to speak—and think how it applies to life.
“Eating the Word of God” means to assimilate its truth to the extent that it actually changes your life. And doing that may cause a little discomfort initially—there’s a bitterness to it—but ultimately the blessings God brings into your life are sweet and satisfying.