9So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take and eat it; it will be bitter in your stomach, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.”
10Then I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It was as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I ate it, my stomach became bitter. 11And I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings.” (HCSB)
Take the scroll … and eat it (v. 9)
John once again hears a voice from heaven, instructing him to approach the mighty angel, take the scroll from his hand and eat it. The scroll, he is told, “will be bitter in your stomach, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth” (v. 9).
To understand this command, it may be helpful to note that Ezekiel receives a similar charge from the Lord (Eze. 2:9 – 3:4). Having eaten the opened scroll, the prophet finds it “sweet as honey in my mouth.” He then is commanded to speak God’s word to the house of Israel. In a similar fashion, Jeremiah, in a prayer for vengeance against his persecutors, declares, “Your words were found, and I ate them. Your words became a delight to me and the joy of my heart, for I am called by Your name, Lord God of Hosts” (Jer. 15:16).