A Day with No More Delay
A favorite Advent hymn of many is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” The text of this hymn was first written in Latin over 1,000 years ago. My favorite renditions of the song are slow and contemplative, allowing room for the longing and waiting of the people of God to resonate with me. Israelites cried out to God for centuries for the Messiah to come and deliver them.
While we are on the other side of Christ’s first Advent, we can relate to those ancient Israelites because we still long for the return of our resurrected and victorious Messiah. We feel this tension of longing for Christ’s return most deeply in seasons of suffering. We are certain that final victory is ours in Jesus, which supplies us with hope. However, we are not escapists; as Christians, we acknowledge that our lives are filled with pain and trials. Often from our places of pain, we cry out, “How long, O Lord?” (Revelation 6:10). We yearn for Jesus to make everything right.
In our passage for today, we see that one day, there will be “no more delay” (Revelation 10:6) in God’s action. This truth is given to John in the form of a little scroll. He is told to eat the scroll, which is at first sweet, but then bitter in his stomach (Revelation 10:10).
The truth that Christ will one day return in justice is indeed sweet news for the believer, but it is also a bitter truth that Christians will continue to endure pain, persecution, and sorrow until that day. We must remember that Christ’s Kingdom has been inaugurated, but not yet consummated. As believers, we live our lives in the tension of Christ’s final victory and our present suffering. We can persevere with great hope, however, because we know that just as the Resurrection—not the cross—was the final word for Jesus, our glorification—not our suffering—is our destiny. Even so, come Lord Jesus! We long for the day when there is no more delay!
Revelation 10 (ESV):
Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. 2 He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land,3 and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. 4 And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.”5 And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven 6 and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, 7 but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.
8 Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” 9 So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, “Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” 10 And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. 11 And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.”