Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Sweet to the Taste (08/23/12)
TITLE: Pleasant Mouth, Bitter Stomach
By Doug Laird
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Upon taking the book from the hand of the angel, John was instructed to eat it. John was told that it would be pleasant in his mouth, but that it would cause his stomach to become bitter.
Upon doing so, John found it to taste like honey, but after eating it, his stomach was bitter, as the angel foretold.
John was then informed that he was to prophecy again concerning what the future (end times) had in store for many peoples and nations.
In more ancient times, the prophet Jeremiah spoke symbolically of having eaten the Words of God and found that they became his joy and delight of his heart (Jeremiah 15: 16).
Just as the natural body ingests and digests natural food, converting it into natural energy, the soul takes in the spiritual nutrition of the Word of God, converting it into spiritual energy.
The difference between the experience spoken of by Jeremiah, and the experience spoken of by John, is that once the food (spiritual information) was digested (absorbed into the soul), the information that John received carried with it an ominous foretelling of end time events that Scripture describes as being the worst period of human history. In fact, if it were not cut short by the manifestation of the Second Advent, no human life would survive (Matthew 24:22)!
John realized that it was he whom God chose to record the end time events so that advancing disciples could be accurately informed. As we will see, such knowledge can be tastily received, but can also induce a sickened stomach.
Due to illness, I retired from a law enforcement career that spanned three decades, but I can still vividly recall the shocked look on the faces of families to whom I had the duty of notifying of the worse possible news imaginable.
I can only imagine how John reacted to learning that he was to document the horrific events of the end times.
Unlike the fictional ghost of Christmas future in Dickens’ famous novel, Revelation’s ominous scenarios of end time events are not things that might happen, but will happen at the appointed times.
Shocking news can cause sour and upset stomachs.
Like the Gospel Message, it can be the source of great joy by those who choose to believe it, but the rejection of it will be the basis on which many will find themselves in Hades and inevitably in the lake of fire for all of eternity (Rev. 20: 13, 15).
Fearing the eternal destiny of loved ones who appear to have no overt interest in God or the things of God can be a gut wrenching period event when such persons die.
Advancing disciples know that during the Church Age in which we live, every soul at the moment of physical death, either ascends to Heaven or descends to Hades and begins to experience life after death.
Life after death is not a matter of if, but a matter of where and how any given soul is going to experience it.
The good news that tastes like honey is that the Book of Revelation also provides a preview of some of the future events that await the departed souls of believers.
The bad news is that the Book of Revelation (Rev. 20: 12, 15) clearly confirms that all the souls of unbelievers that were suffering in the flames of Hades as of the time they departed this Earth, will be brought forth at the appointed time, only to be cast into the lake of fire where they will suffer for all of eternity.
Knowing that one will be taken away from this Earth in the Rapture that takes place prior to the manifestation of the more severe end time events, and knowing that God has a place for oneself in Heaven for all of eternity is certainly as pleasant as the taste of honey here on Earth.
Knowing the eternal destiny of all the souls that choose to leave this world just as spiritually dead as they entered it, can sicken the stomach of any believer who has the heart of an evangelist.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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