Revelation 22:14

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. Revelation 22:14

Manuscripts vary in this verse. Both of them are in the present tense. Some say, “those doing His commandments,” and some say, “those washing their robes.” Doing, or keeping, the commandments is referred to in verses 12:17 and 14:12. The washing of robes is noted in verse 7:14.

Though the translations are greatly different in wording, they are similar in thought. Doing the commandments of Christ refers to doing those things that are necessary for salvation, meaning accepting the gospel. First and foremost, it is to trust Him alone for salvation.

Washing one’s robes carries the same general meaning. One is stained with sin, but in receiving Christ, he is purified. The symbolism is that of standing in a right relationship with God, purified from all sin, and therefore justified because of what Christ has done. The idea is also conveyed in Revelation 3:5 –

“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”

Either way, the idea is that of receiving the imputed righteousness of Christ. It is in this that the words state, “Blessed are those who do [doing] His commandments [or: are washing their robes].” This is the seventh and final time that such a blessing is stated in Revelation. All seven, listed together now, say –

——————————————-

“Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.” (Rev 1:3)

“Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,” says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.’” (Rev 14:13)

“Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” (Rev 16:15)

“Then he said to me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true sayings of God.’” (Rev 19:9)

“Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” (Rev 20:6)

“Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” (Rev 21:7)

Blessed are those who do His commandments [or: wash their robes], that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. (Rev 22:14)

——————————————-

Of these who do as is now stated, it says, “that they may have the right to the tree of life.” John 3:16 simply states –

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

If this is true, and if it is the “tree of life” that allows man to live forever (as is seen in Genesis 3:22), then the tree of life is a picture of life in Christ. This is why the gospel is called a stumbling block. It is so simple that people trip right over it. As humans, we attempt to rely on ourselves when things get dire. And the most dire state we can be in is that of death leading to hell. It is against our nature to say, “I will trust another to save me.” But that is what the gospel is. It is a message that we are in sin, we cannot save ourselves, but Jesus can. We are to put aside our own works and simply believe. When we do this, we receive the right to the tree of life, “and may enter through the gates into the city.”

Access to New Jerusalem signifies access to the presence of God. It is the state that Adam had before the fall. It is a place where man can intimately fellowship with Him, and where we will be able to worship and serve Him in the most intimate way. This is promised again to any who will simply do as the word instructs. And that is to have faith in what God accomplished in the giving of His Son for us.

Life application: Wonderful restoration! This is a major theme of the Bible. Man fell. Because of his disobedience, certain rights and privileges were lost. Jesus came to restore those to His people. However, there is more than just a one-for-one restoration. Man has the knowledge of good and evil which he lacked when he was created. Further, man has an understanding of the depth of God’s love because of the biblical story.

Without the fall, we never would have understood the extent to which God was willing to go for His creatures. What a wonderful, glorious story we have in God’s entrance into humanity through the Person of Jesus. Today we see the restoration of two concepts that were lost in the fall. The first is, as was noted in Revelation 22:2, the tree of life. The second, which was looked at in detail in Revelation 21, was access to New Jerusalem through the gates of the city.

Here is the Genesis 3 account referred to above –

“Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.” Genesis 3:22-24

Man gained the knowledge of good and evil, and lost access to Eden and to eternal life. Now, at the end of the Bible, man retains the knowledge he gained and receives the right to both eternal life and access to the city of God. It is “restoration plus.” As you may note in Genesis, an angel was placed at the east of the Garden of Eden which guarded the way to the tree of life.

It is noted in Revelation 21:12 that in the New Jerusalem there will be angels at each of the 12 gates. This signifies that access is still guarded, but that it is possible to enter. How and to whom is this possible? It is to those who receive Jesus, thus accepting God’s offer of peace and reconciliation. In the end, Jesus explains what is necessary to do what God expects and thus to have garments of white –

“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.’” John 6:29

When faith is placed in Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins and reconciliation to God, a person moves from unrighteousness to righteousness; from being sin-stained to being sinless; from being at enmity with God to being adopted into God’s family. It is by faith alone that this occurs. And thus, we see the marvel of God’s plan for the people of the world. It is a plan of reconciliation and restoration accomplished solely by the grace of God. What a wonderful story of God’s love. Thank God for JESUS!

O Lord God! How could You look upon us, Your fallen creatures, and see anything worth restoring? But You have, and what You did came at the highest price of all – the cross of Jesus. As David asked so long ago – “Is this your usual way of dealing with man, O Sovereign Lord?” Apparently so, but it is beyond comprehension. Wondrous are Your ways, O God. Amen.

 

 

Revelation 22:13

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” Revelation 22:13

As a note, various manuscripts transpose the second and third clauses –

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. (BSB)

These follow after Revelation 1:8 and Revelation 1:11 –

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” Revelation 1:11

As noted, when evaluating those verses, they are speaking of Jesus Christ. That is clearly confirmed here where all three clauses are found in one verse. A detailed description is given of them in those commentaries, and a briefer one will be found in the life application section below.

In short, however, by bringing all three of these titles into one verse, it is a way of clearly and unambiguously communicating to us that Jesus Christ is the full explanation of the unseen God (Alpha and Omega). As such, He is the Word of God. He is also Yehovah Elohim of the Old Testament Scriptures (the First and the Last) as is clearly stated in Isaiah 46 (and elsewhere). And He is also the Initiator and the Concluder of all things (the Beginning and the End). As such, nothing occurs apart from Him.

The reason for repeating this at the end of the book of Revelation is the same as stating them at the beginning of it. It is a note that Jesus Christ is in control of the entire redemptive narrative. Indeed, He is in control of everything from the moment of creation and as long as creation exists. He fashioned the word; He will bring the world to a state of perfection once again. He formed man; He will bring man to a good end in His presence. Everything will be as it should be, and for those who simply trust Him, there will be a good end. The eternal state will be one of blessing, abundance, and joy in His presence.

Revelation 22 corresponds to the 22nd letter of the Hebrew aleph-bet, tav. In Christ’s proclamation, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” He is saying the same thing as, “I am the Aleph and the Tav.” Omega and Tav are the final letters of the aleph-bet. In picture, tav is the sign, mark, signal. It is represented by crossed sticks and is revealed in the cross on which the Lamb died.

Life application: In verse 8, John erringly fell at the feet of the angel in worship. To understand why this probably occurred, a review was made of the verses which preceded it. In this verse, Jesus makes absolute claims about Himself. Likewise, to understand why He has done so, we should review what has transpired since verse 8.

But to understand the “why” we need to grasp the “what.” What are these claims He is making? First, He is the “Alpha and the Omega.” This is a repetition of His claim in Revelation 1:8, 1:11, and 21:6. Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last. There must be a beginning to an alphabet in order for there to be an alphabet. Every alphabet has an end as well.

In other words, there is a logical sequence to how we grasp concepts. Without such, there is chaos. Jesus is the One who establishes the order of all things, and He is the One who completes the order as well. Within Him then is the perfection of all order, and there is in Him all knowledge that can be derived from all things, just as an alphabet is the basis for a language by which things are described, cataloged, analyzed, etc. Thus, Jesus is the Word, the explanation of all things – why they exist, how they exist, and what their purpose is.

His second claim is that He is the Beginning and the End. This is a repetition of His claim from Revelation 1:8 and 21:6, and it is a build upon the thought of Isaiah 46:9, 10 –

“Remember the former things of old,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
And I will do all My pleasure.”

If there is a temporal existence, then there must have been a beginning to that existence because an infinite regress is impossible. For one to state, for example, that the universe always existed is illogical. If there were no beginning, then there could be no present. An infinite regress of time is possible mathematically, but not actually.

The “line of books” argument explains this. Consider each book as an interval of time. If you have an infinite series of black books and between each black book there is a red book, you have one infinite series of books. If you take out all the red books and put them in a pile, you haven’t decreased the number in the line by even one, and yet you have an infinitely large pile of red books which would fill all the space in the universe. Time really had a beginning, and you could not reach “now” if it didn’t. But here we are, right now.

Because there must have been a beginning, there must have been a “Beginner.” The universe could not create itself because it would have had to exist before it existed; a logical contradiction. Thus, there must be a Beginner who is outside of time; this is God – the eternal one. Paul reveals this to us in 2 Timothy 1:8, 9. This is something that was postulated by scholars and philosophers for eons, but it wasn’t proven until Einstein penned the General Theory of Relativity in the early 20th century –

“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.” 2 Timothy 1:8, 9

Jesus claims to be the one who began all things, including time. He is also the End. He is the One who will bring everything to its consummation. He has made a promise to those who call on Him that they will live eternally. An eternal existence implies that each moment of eternity is new and unexplored. Therefore, each moment is an end in itself. He is that End because He is the fulfillment of every desire of the soul that longs for eternity. Therefore, as each new moment occurs, it is a new beginning. It is an endless stream of existence where we will explore the infinite glory of who He is.

His third claim is that He is the First and the Last. This concept is given three times by God in Isaiah, such as in Isaiah 44:6 –

“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel,
And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
‘I am the First and I am the Last;
Besides Me there is no God.’”

The claim is also stated in Revelation 1:11, 1:17, 2:8, and 2:19. In the Isaiah verse, God ties being the only God in with being the First and the Last. In other words, there is – and there can be – only one Creator. If there were more than one “God,” then each god would lack something the other god possessed. They then could not be God at all because the very nature of God is that He lacks nothing and is perfectly complete within Himself.

It is God, the One true God, that is the First and He is also the Last. Because He created time, He is outside of time. When we look back to the creation, He is there as the First, and when we look forward to the eternal state, He is there as the Last. He is “All in all.”

With this (albeit limited) understanding of Jesus’ claim, we can see why the claim is made based on the preceding verses. The first reason is the fact that John made the mistake of offering worship to (or simply before) a created being. In order to show why this was wrong, Jesus proclaims His nature. In this understanding, there is no excuse to ever offer worship to anything but God. And this is what the angel proclaimed in verse 9 – “Worship God.”

After this, John was told to not seal the words of the prophecy of the book. Why? It is because God has spoken, and they will come to pass. The people God has created must be ready. John was then given the explanation for this – “the time is at hand.” After this, he was told that each person will remain in the state they were in for eternity, and therefore it is the wise one who will ensure that he is ready for that eternal state. And finally, leading us to today’s verse is Jesus’ statement that He is coming quickly, that His reward is with Him, and that rewards will be meted out according to one’s work.

Because of all of these things, Jesus proclaims His nature and being. The logical progression of Revelation is astonishing and shows the wisdom of God and the care He has taken in proclaiming His beautiful word. We all stand at the threshold of eternity, and we all must be ready for the moment of Christ’s coming – either through our death, through rapture, or through His second advent. God has offered; now we must accept. Be ready and call out today for JESUS!

Oh God, how beautifully glorious You are. May we never stop pursuing the knowledge of You and of Your glory. Praises, honor, and majesty belong to You! Amen.

 

 

Revelation 22:12

Monday, 13 September 2021

“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. Revelation 22:12

With the admonition and warning of the previous verse stated, Jesus again says, “And behold, I am coming quickly.” It is a repeat of the words of verse 22:7. As noted then, this does not necessarily signify “soon,” but rather when He comes, it will be suddenly. It is a note for those who hear to be prepared. With that understood, He next says, “and My reward is with me.”

This is noted as a prerogative of the Lord (YHVH) in the book of Isaiah when speaking of exactly this thought that is again being described now in Revelation, and yet it is Jesus who makes the statement –

“Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand,
And His arm shall rule for Him;
Behold, His reward is with Him,
And His work before Him.” Isaiah 40:10

“Indeed the Lord has proclaimed
To the end of the world:
“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Surely your salvation is coming;
Behold, His reward is with Him,
And His work before Him.” Isaiah 62:11

This then is an absolute confirmation that the Lord of the Old Testament is revealed in Jesus of the New. The two are One and the same. The reward is that which He alone possesses for those just described in the previous verse. Depending on which category they fall into, there will be life or death. There will be the granting of heaven or the casting of the soul into hell. There will be honor and glory, or there will be shame, corruption, and contempt.

With Christ and His reward with him, He next says, “to give to every one according to his work.” The word “give” is insufficient. It signifies to give back or to return. Therefore, it should be translated as “render” or “repay.” Further, this is a quote from Job –

“For He repays man according to his work,
And makes man to find a reward according to his way.” Job 34:11

Again, these words, spoken by Elihu, refer to the Lord (YHVH). But Jesus claims them as a right He possesses. The reward of life is based on a “work,” but that work is simply a work of faith –

“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.’” John 6:29

What God expects is that we believe in Christ. That is our work. Any “work” beyond that which is worthy of reward still must be a “work” of faith. Without faith in the Lord, in whatever we do, there can be no reward for it. But when a deed is done in faith, it is pleasing to God. Everything that man does must be done with Christ Jesus in mind. And when it is done in this way, it is worthy of God’s approval and His reward. It is Jesus who grants them to man on behalf of God.

Life application: Jesus has now stated for the fifth time that He is coming quickly. As seen, this is speaking not as much as a “when” but a “how.” When Christ returns, it will be suddenly and without warning. From the inception of the church age, there has been no time when He could not have come, and therefore His return is always imminent. As such, the church and the believers in the church are to live in constant expectation of His coming.

And in His coming, He will be the Dispenser of rewards. In whatever way our lives have been conducted, that is how we will be recompensed. But everything returned to us will be based on what we have already done. That is the purpose of repaying.  We shall be rewarded according to the measure of our faith, and how it is directed to God through Christ.

As noted above, our works must, by necessity, be works of faith in order to be rewarded. Ensure today that what you do is for the glory and honor of Jesus Christ. If it is, you will be rewarded by our great God who overlooks nothing. Let us be ready when we stand before JESUS.

Lord, though we fail You continually, You know our hearts and our love for You. Spur us on to great deeds of faith, and to works that will demonstrate this love. Thank You for every good blessing You have given us. Help us to pass those blessings on to others as well, noting that they came from You. To Your glory, we pray. Amen.

 

Revelation 22:11

Sunday, 12 September 2021

He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.” Revelation 22:11

John was just instructed to not seal up the words of the prophecy of the book. And the reason was given, “for the time is at hand.” Now, and with that understanding, this verse is given. The verbs are in the imperative mood. They speak of the future, as if in a prophecy. It is almost spoken forth in an ironic fashion.

Such words follow after the words of prophets, like Ezekiel and Zechariah, who cite the Lord in this manner, such as –

“Thus says the Lord God. ‘He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.’” Ezekiel 3:27

“Then I said, ‘I will not feed you. Let what is dying die, and what is perishing perish. Let those that are left eat each other’s flesh.’” Zechariah 11:9

Thus, the words refer to a state of certainty that will exist at the time the previous verse spoke of (“the time is at hand”). There is a point where the decided state of all people will be realized. Thus, what is stated does not mean that someone in one of the categories cannot change his state now. It simply refers to the fact that the state exists, and some will find themselves in it. Understanding this, the words begin with, “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still.”

The verb used here signifies doing wickedly. As such, it should read, “He who is unrighteous, let him be unrighteous still.” There is a time when those who are unrighteous will be set in that state forever. For example, when an unrighteous person calls on Christ for forgiveness of sins, he will turn from his unrighteousness. However, another person who is unrighteous may die in that state. Such a person is who is referred to – “let him be unrighteous still.” In other words, it means “he will be unrighteous henceforth.” There is no possible change.

Next, it says, “he who is filthy, let him be filthy still.” The word is rhuparos. It is an adjective found only in James 2:2 and then here. It is derived from the noun rhupos found only in 1 Peter 3:21. That speaks of grease-filth, dirtiness, and squalor which Peter equates to the state of moral filthiness. The adjective thus signifies moral filth. Of this, John Gill states, “all mankind are originally, naturally, and universally filthy, or defiled with sin. Some are cleansed from it by the blood of Christ, others are not; and these will continue polluted, nor will the fire of hell fetch out the filthiness of their hearts and nature.”

The words next turn to the thought of “he who is righteous, let him be righteous still.” This is the state of that which is judicially approved by God. That can only come through the cleansing power of His Christ. Thus, one who stands justified before God in this state will remain in that state forever. The filth of sin has been forgiven, the state of righteousness has been imputed, and the person is forever purified to come before God.

Finally, the words state, “he who is holy, let him be holy still.” The first three categories were in the active voice – “be [unrighteous],” “be filthy,” and “be righteous.” This one is now in the passive voice, and thus it should rightly be rendered, “he who is holy, let him be made holy still.”

Man does not make himself holy, but rather he is imputed the holiness of Christ. For the person who has come to God through Him, his sanctification is made complete. He is made holy. This thought is reflected in such verses as –

“that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:16

&

“And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11

The states of man spoken of in this verse can be changed in a person’s life, but only while he lives. Hebrews makes it clear in the words, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). May those who read consider their state now, while they have a chance to do so. And then, may they respond according to the call of God in Christ.

Life application: Three types of people are mentioned in this verse. Two fall into a negative state, and they are headed toward destruction. The third has taken the right path. As noted, the imperative mood is put for the future; it is not a command but a warning. So, to paraphrase, look at the words in this light – “Let the wrongdoer be made unjust; let the filthy person be made vile; and let the righteous person be made holy.”

Those who are wrongdoers and who fail to see the error of their way will end in the judgment of the unjust. As such, their state will continue for eternity. There will be no change to their character forever and ever.

The first category, those who are unrighteous or unjust, is well explained by Paul’s words in the first chapter of his letter to the Romans –

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.” Romans 1:18-23

Those who fail to come to Christ, will never be cleansed from their state but will continue on in their corruption for all eternity.

The second category speaks of those who are vile or filthy. Paul’s letter continues on describing their vulgarity –

“Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.” Romans 1:24-27

The logical progression is from unrighteousness to vulgarity and filth. It goes from an unconcerned mental state accompanied by corresponding actions to a belligerent mental state accompanied by such actions. The book of Proverbs shows us a classic example of such a person who has so suppressed the knowledge of God and of righteousness that her life has become vile and even antagonistic towards morality –

“This is the way of an adulterous woman:
She eats and wipes her mouth,
And says, ‘I have done no wickedness.’” Proverbs 30:20

The third category refers to those who are righteous; they will be made holy. However, these people are not righteous in and of themselves. They had to come to Christ from an unrighteous state. When they came to Christ, they did so by understanding their own unrighteousness and thus their need for a Savior. If they were unrighteous, then they needed Christ. When they came to Him, He bestowed His righteousness upon them.

Therefore, it was an imputed righteousness, not an inherent one. Those who have come to Him will be made holy. They are the ones suitable for entrance into the city which God has prepared for them. They are covered by Christ, and they will be glorified to be like Him. Let us thank God for His provision found in our Lord JESUS.

Oh God, we are thanking You today for Your righteousness which will lead to our glorification. We know that what we deserved was hell, but You have granted us heaven instead. Thank You for Jesus our Lord. Hallelujah and Amen.

 

 

Revelation 22:10

Saturday, 11 September 2021

And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. Revelation 22:10

The previous verse contained the admonition for John to not worship at the feet of the angel. In his words, he said, “For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” Having said that, this verse now begins with, “And he said to me.”

Due to the flow of the dialog, one might think this is still the angel, but it is not. This is now “God” speaking. The angel just said, “Worship God.” He is the nearest antecedent –

  • Worship God.
  • And He [God] said to me.

This is surely the case because of what it says in verses 12 and 13, and then again in verse 16. Having said that, the idea being conveyed is that Jesus is God –

  • Worship God. (22:9)
  • And He [God] said to me. (22:10)
  • “And behold, I am coming quickly, andMy reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” (22:12, 13)
  • “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” (22:16)

With that understood, the words conveyed to John are, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book.” This is the opposite of what was said in Revelation 10:4 –

“Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them.”

There is no contradiction in this at all. If the words of the seven thunders are sealed up, it does not mean that what John is being told to not seal is somehow at odds with that. Rather, the note concerning the sealing up of the seven thunders is a part of the contents of the book which is not to be sealed. John is being told that what has been conveyed to him, including the fact that something that he heard was not to be revealed. Rather, he is to make everything openly known that he has been told to reveal.

With this stated, the reason for this is given in the words, “for the time is at hand.” Here, the word kairos is used. Rather than speaking of the time as it passes by (the Greek word chronos), this word speaks of a particular moment or a suitable time. The time for the contents of the book to occur is ready to unfold.

As the book is written to the seven churches, this is not an indication that all of the events of the book are to be completed soon, but that the time for the words to begin to be fulfilled is.

For example, the church at Smyrna was told, “the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

Such an event as is recorded there is “at hand.” So, why was John given this book of Revelation, detailing events even thousands of years later, and even off into eternity? The answer is to show this church, and all the other churches, that God has a plan and that it ends with the restoration of all things. The tribulation that these people will face, and of which some will even have to die from because of their faith, is not the end of the story. Instead, it is only a step on the way to the glory that has now been revealed to John.

The book is a book of hope, set forth for the people of God, and to give them confidence in the power of God in Christ to restore all things that were lost at the very beginning of man’s time on earth.

Life application: Something new entered into the events of the church age in 1948. That is the year Israel was reestablished in their land. What was hidden from the eyes of the church for so long is that there is still a plan and a purpose for them. We can see this clearly now, and it makes the immanency of Christ’s return even more palpable.

Scholars of prophecy and eschatology look with wonder at the events of the world today. With each new occurrence, the words of Old Testament prophecy, which seemed so confused that they had to be spiritualized to make any sense of them. In 1948, Israel returned as a nation. In 1967 Jerusalem was again taken by Israel. The land has and continues to be divided since then, such as Israel’s departure from Gaza.

Each of these events helps bring the way the Old Testament portrays many prophetic events into a focus never imagined before. Now seems to be the time in human history where the “words of the prophecy of this book” are really coming into complete clarity, meaning that the church age may be coming to a close soon. Wouldn’t it be great to be the generation that sees the coming of the Lord for us! Even so, come Lord JESUS.

Lord, it is exhilarating to wake up and turn on the news and see prophecy being fulfilled before our eyes. What is written in the Bible, recorded so very long ago, is more up to date than the daily news. What an immensely wise and wonderful God You are! We look to You and Your glorious return with anticipation. Amen.