The concerns that make up our mini-narratives can sometimes distract us from the great drama in which we have been cast. When a mighty angel appears with a scroll in John’s revelation, the apostle’s part in God’s great redemptive drama suddenly becomes very clear. He swaps his role of scribe for that of actor, speaking God’s very words:
“And I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll, and he said to me, ‘Take and eat it up, and it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.’ And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it up, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth, and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. And they said to me, ‘It is necessary for you to prophesy again about many peoples and nations and languages and kings’ ” (Rev 10:9–11).
John’s new task parallels the prophet Ezekiel’s call to speak God’s words. The prophet eats a scroll to internal…