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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And I took . . .—The Evangelist takes the roll, as he was bidden, out of the angel’s hand, eats it up, and finds it, as he was told, “in his mouth as honey, sweet.” In this his experience resembles that of Ezekiel, who found the roll in his mouth as honey for sweetness (Ezekiel 3:3). So the Psalmist could rejoice in God’s words and God’s law as sweet, sweeter than honey and the honeycomb (Psalm 119:103; Psalm 19:10). He who is ready to endure bitterness in his fidelity to God must not only be interpenetrated by divine teaching; he must have also realised its sweetness, or else, however pleasant his words may sound, they will lack the sweetness which is as needful to the words of the teacher as to the songs of the poet. But the after effect of the sweet-tasting roll is bitterness. Ezekiel makes no mention of this bitterness; yet we know how much his fidelity to the words he loved so well must have cost him when he was bidden to arm himself with a flinty determination (Ezekiel 3:9-14; Ezekiel 2:6-7), and the patient courage of one whose lot was among thorns and briars and scorpions. It must always be so. The love of Christ may constrain men, but the very ardour of their affections must bring them through tribulation, and may make them as outcasts, defamed, persecuted, slain. The flaming zeal to emancipate mankind from thraldoms, follies, and ruinous sins may stir the soul with a holy joy; but there come moments when men are almost tempted to turn back, and to think that they have undertaken a hopeless task, when they find how slow is their progress, and what new and unexpected difficulties arise. Such was the bitterness which Moses felt: “Why is it that Thou hast sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast Thou delivered thy people at all.” The most enthusiastic souls who love their fellow-men, and who feel how sweet and high is their calling, perhaps feel most of this bitterness. Their very love makes all failure very bitter to bear; yet is it through this martyrdom of failure that the noblest victories are won.
was bitter—Greek, "was embittered."And I took the little book, and ate it up; according to the command, Revelation 10:9.
And it was in my mouth sweet as honey; as it was the revelation of God’s will.
And as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter; but when he came to think upon it, it was either so mysterious that he could not comprehend it, or the matter of it was so sad that it gave him great trouble.
and it was in my mouth sweet as honey; so is the Gospel in the mouth of a faithful minister of it, who has a spiritual knowledge, and a savoury experience of it; and so it is in the mouth of an understanding hearer, who finds it, and eats it, to the joy and rejoicing of his heart; and so this little book of prophecy being looked into, read, and considered by John, the first taste and knowledge he had of the things contained in it were exceeding grateful and delightful; the view it gave him of the glorious state of the church, and kingdom of Christ on earth, filled with unspeakable pleasure:
and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter; so the ministration of the Gospel occasions bitterness, grief, and sorrow, to the preachers and professors of it, through the persecutions that attend it, the obstinacy and hardness of men's hearts against it, and its being the savour of death unto death to many that hear it; and so the little book of prophecy, upon a perusal of it, giving to John a view of the witnesses prophesying: in sackcloth, and of their bodies being killed, and lying exposed in the street of the great city, and of the church's flying into the wilderness, and continuing there for a time and times, and half a time, and of the barbarities and cruelties exercised on the saints by the whore of Rome, whom he saw made drunk with their blood, made his belly bitter, or filled him with sorrow, grief, and pain.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 10. - 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 (see above). The angel, foreseeing the nature of the contents, alludes to the bitterness first; the writer narrates his experiences in the historical order.
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