Revelation 10:11 Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”
Various things in Revelation let us know that the specific things described are not literal. In this chapter, the angel planting one foot on the sea and the other on the land (verse 2) makes that clear, because by normal physics that would mean his right foot would have to be some kind of boat or raft. There are also things like shifting scale, since this angel was huge, yet he held in his hand a scroll small enough for John to eat it. (That of course brings to mind Ezekiel likewise being told to eat a scroll he was given, in Ezekiel 3:1-3. There too the scroll is described as “sweet as honey.”) However, the point of all of this is to communicate God’s truths in ways that will make people really think about them, which is what this verse talks about. Jesus used parables for much the same reason. (Matthew 13:10-13) Often we reject things we are told straight out, but if they are expressed in a way that makes us think them over, we can get to the place where we really accept them as truth. The point for John was to be faithful in speaking as he was told, without saying things otherwise. (verse 4) Valid prophecy still takes place today, and there is also false prophecy, as there has been throughout history. The point for the individual believer is to seek and receive the help of the Holy Spirit in sorting it all out and responding as God intends. Peter gave us some words on valid prophecy: “For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21) We need to let the Holy Spirit illuminate our hearts and minds, both as we read the Bible and as we hear and read modern prophets. That said, it’s vital to remember that no genuine prophecy is going to contradict the Bible, but rather agree with it. That’s one reason we can be sure that date-setting prophecies of end times are false, since Jesus explicitly said such things aren’t for us to know. (Acts 1:7)
I have been used in prophecy numbers of times, but never in such wide-ranging terms. I have experienced the flow of the Holy Spirit, even being surprised at the words that came out of my own mouth, but I have also experienced continuing to speak when the Spirit had stopped. That’s horrible! At a point after that experience, one time I was prophesying in the congregation during worship and the words stopped mid-sentence. I closed my mouth, and someone on the other side of the room picked it up without the slightest break, making it very clear that it was indeed the Holy Spirit speaking, using two different individuals. I have also experienced interpreting for someone (English to Japanese) and having people say afterwards that it was like hearing one person speak through two mouths. Sometimes interpreting is hard work, but that was a delight! The point for me on a day-to-day basis is to keep myself available for God’s use however He wants to use me, in words or actions, but not try to launch out on my own. I have neither wisdom nor strength for that, but God can and does use very imperfect human vessels for His glory. (2 Corinthians 4:7)
Father, thank You for this reminder. I do seek to allow You to speak through me at all times, particularly on Sunday mornings, but sometimes I do better at it than at others. Thank You for the message You’ve given me for this morning. I ask that You enable me to transmit what You are saying with Your words, not distorting it in any way but allowing You to work Your will in all our hearts and lives, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!