Useful Bible Studies > Revelation Commentary > chapter 10

John eats the little scroll

Revelation 10:8-11

The scroll was the ancient form of a book.

It might seem an extraordinary idea to eat a book, but actually it is a frequent word-picture in the Bible. Some examples are Psalm 19:10; Psalm 119:103; Jeremiah 15:16; Amos 8:11.

However, it is only here, and in Ezekiel 2:9 to 3:3, that someone actually eats a book. We cannot say whether this was a physical experience for Ezekiel and for John (see 2 Corinthians 12:2-3). They certainly had this experience in their spirits, and such experiences are real.

For both Ezekiel and John, the experience gave them strength to declare a very serious message from God. It was not easy to declare a message about judgements and great troubles. Before they spoke or wrote that message, they needed first to receive the message from God. Like food, the message from God needed to enter their spirits, minds and bodies. It was the word of God itself that gave them the strength to declare it.

Both Ezekiel and John loved God, and they loved his word. Their experience as they ate the books was pleasant and beautiful. Like Jonathan in 1 Samuel 14:27-30, the sweet food gave them strength.

However, for John, the experience soon became bitter, unpleasant and perhaps painful. We are sure that John would have much preferred to write about Godís kindness, rather than about troubles, punishments and judgements. However, God must act in judgement against the evil forces which rule this world so cruelly. Only a severe act of judgement will end their power. It was Johnís duty to record Godís message about that judgement.

Next part: John measures the temple (Revelation 11:1-2)


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© 2016, Keith Simons.