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.

 

 

Revelation 22:9

Friday, 10 September 2021

Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” Revelation 22:9

With John’s falling down before the feet of this messenger in order to worship (whether God, or – erringly – the angel), there is a response. John says, “Then he said to me…”

A note of correction is necessary for John’s actions. There is to be no misunderstanding of what the idea of proper worship is. With this, the messenger says, “See that you do not do that.

As in verse 19:10, the Greek is much more abrupt – Ὅρα μή (Hora mē, or “See not!”). The suddenness of the words is intended to arrest the attention of John and have him think clearly concerning his actions. With this, the angel next states, “For I am your fellow servant.”

The words of this angel (the Greek simply meaning “messenger”) lean to the idea that he is quite possibly human. It may be that he is a spiritual being, but either way, he clearly identifies himself as being on the same level as John in regard to his servanthood before the Lord. To further express this, he says, “and of your brethren the prophets.”

A spiritual connection between John (an apostle) and the prophets is conveyed here. Each office has a particular purpose, which is to convey the word of God. And like the prophets, apostles were no more entitled to receive worship than they were. The angel is conveying a prophetic message to John, John is receiving it and will convey it to the church, but the Source of the revelation is God. Each is simply a messenger in his own right, and thus a servant of the Source of the message. From there, the angel then says, “and of those who keep the words of this book.”

There are different responsibilities in the government of God, but all are subordinates to Him. Some bring the message from God, some receive it and proclaim it to the people verbally or in a recorded fashion, and some are to hear the word and then keep (meaning observe) that which is proclaimed to them. The angel notes that all subordinate levels are actually fellow servants. Servants are not masters. As such, there is One, and only One, who is to receive the honor of worship. And so, he clearly proclaims to John, “Worship God.”

The angel exactingly repeats his words from Revelation 19:10 again. Only God is to be worshiped. Therefore, one must have an understanding of who God is. This is one of the main purposes of Scripture, the revealing of God in a manner so that man can understand Him in an intimate way. The God revealed in the Bible – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – is the God who is to be worshiped. He and no other.

Life application: Whatever was on John’s mind when he fell at the angel’s feet to worship, it sent the wrong signal. Somebody may fall at the feet of the pope while worshiping God, thus indicating that he believes the pope is a valid intermediary. This would be an error. One does not need such an intermediary. Jesus Christ is the one and only Mediator between God and man. Thus, the expression of falling before a pope actually deprives Jesus of His rightful due.

John may have fallen to worship God, but by doing so at the feet of the angel, he has made the same mistake. He may have thought, “I am worshiping God, and my worship will be transmitted through this angel to Him.” It is inappropriate.

The prophets and apostles are noted as having especially high stations among men because they conveyed the words of God to the people of God. However, no person holding such an office, or any other high office granted by God, is worthy of worship, or even of being an intermediary in worship. This is noted in Acts 10:25, 26 – “As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, ‘Stand up; I myself am also a man.’”

Along with the apostles and prophets who relayed God’s word to humanity are those who keep the words of God through obedience to them. All of God’s saints who hear the word, receive it, and keep it are considered co-heirs with Christ and are even now seated with Him in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:4-7). However, this is only a conferred honor and was granted by God for His glory.

The angel speaking with John places himself in a category like the apostles, prophets, and saints. Psalm 8:5 says that man was made “a little lower than the angels.” This implies that although angels have a higher station than man at this time, they are also created beings. Their job is not to receive glory, praise, and worship, but to ensure those are directed to God alone. And so, whether this angel is a man or a heavenly messenger, he is not to be worshiped.

Let us never set up an idol in our hearts through improper worship, and may we be proper examples to others of how to conduct ourselves before our God. God has given us the proper revelation in His word to teach us how this is to be accomplished. He has revealed Himself through the sending of His Messiah. Let us worship Him, then, through JESUS.

Help us, O God, to act rightly in our worship of You. Help us to never bow to another part of the creation and thus take from You what You alone rightfully deserve. You are glorious in all ways and surely You are worthy of all praise! Thank You for allowing us to come before You in worship and adoration. Amen.

 

 

Revelation 22:8

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. Revelation 22:8

John had just heard the words of Christ (whether audibly spoken by the Lord or repeated by the angel who had presented the revelations to him), and it so greatly affected him that he was overwhelmed. As such, he conveys to us what then occurred, saying, “Now I, John, saw and heard these things.”

The Greek is more precise, using an article with a present participle – “Now I John am the one who is seeing these things and hearing.” He is conveying that everything has been an ongoing display before his eyes that he personally beheld. It is similar to his words that testify to his life, witnessing the work of Christ –

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:1-3

John is once again testifying to the truth of his personal experience in beholding what God had set before him to witness to. In this position of trust appointed to him, he next says, “And when I heard and saw.” The verbs are now aorist. With the vision having been seen, and with the senses overwhelmed at what he has just heard, John says, “I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.”

Again, John returns to a present participle. It more rightly states, “I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who is showing me these things.” He doesn’t know if the vision is complete or not. He has seen and heard to the point where he was overwhelmed, but he is also still in the presence of the angel who is there showing him the visions of the future.

What occurs in this sentence is what has already happened once before –

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.” 10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:9, 10

Did John make the same error twice? Or is this a new error to avoid confusion? In Revelation 19:10, it says, “And I fell at his feet to worship him.” Now, it says, “I fell down to worship [God? Or the angel?] before the feet of the angel.”

In other words, it very well may be that John is falling to worship the Lord who gave the words, but the angel wants no confusion at all to be introduced into the narrative. As such, he ensures there is none by redirecting John’s worship “to God and before God,” rather than “to God and before a messenger.” Either way, John’s actions are spoken against in order to ensure that God alone is given the glory.

Life application: John has, just since the beginning of this chapter, seen the river of water of life which proceeds from the throne of God; the tree of life bearing fruit for each month of the year; leaves of the tree indicating healing of the nations; that there will be no more curse; that the throne of God and the Lamb will be right in the midst of the people and that the people will serve Him; that the people will see His face and they will have His name on their foreheads; there will be no night in the New Jerusalem and no need of a lamp or the sun because of the radiance of God; and that the people will reign forever and ever.

After seeing these astonishing things which had been lost since the very beginning of man’s history, as is recorded in the redemptive narrative, John was told that what had been described was “faithful and true;” that it was sent from the Lord God; and that these things must shortly take place. Finally, he was told that those who “keep the words of the prophecy of this book” would be blessed.

All of these things must have completely overwhelmed the beloved apostle of the Lord and in stunned awe of the beauty of what his eyes had beheld, he fell down to worship.

What will our response be when we gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and the wonders that He has prepared for us? Let us remember now that from Him alone stems all good things and that He therefore alone is worthy of our prayers, petitions, and praise. We must never make the mistake of offering any of these things to anything in creation.

We are not to pray to a person such as Mary or the saints, we are not to petition anyone, such as an angel, and we are not to offer praise to anyone or anything – such as the constellations. Instead, these are to be reserved for the Lord alone. It is easy to get sidetracked, but the Bible asks us to fix our thoughts, hearts, affections, and gaze upon the Lord. To Him alone be all glory, wisdom, power, and might. And so, to Him alone belongs our worship, attention, and devotion. Yes, let us magnify the Lord our God. Let us magnify JESUS.

Heavenly Father, thank You for showing us what to do directly in Your word. We don’t need to guess if we should pray to a dead person or if we should praise a sunrise. We don’t need to wonder about asking for a blessing from a wishing well. Instead, we know to offer these to You alone and in the name of Your beloved Son, Jesus. Amen.

 

 

Revelation 22:7

Monday, 6 September 2021

 

PLEASE NOTE THAT WE WILL NOT BE POSTING A REVELATION COMMENTARY FOR A COUPLE DAYS. WE WILL RESUME, PROBABLY WEDNESDAY MORNING.

“Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” Revelation 22:7

The angel was speaking to John in the previous verse. Now, without any announcement, the words of Jesus are brought forth, saying, “Behold, I am coming quickly!” It goes unstated whether Jesus actually has spoken these words for John to hear, or if the angel speaks them to John with the understanding that they are the words of the Lord.

Either way, the adverb form of the noun just used in the previous verse is now used here. There, it spoke of the things that must ‘in quickness’ take place. These words of Jesus now exclaim that He will come quickly. It 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, words are next substantially repeated from earlier in Revelation, saying, “Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

This is the sixth time that such a blessing is stated in Revelation. In Revelation 1:3, Jesus said, “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.” As such, with the coming of the ending of the book, the admonition is stated once again.

The Greek verb is a present participle. It more correctly reads, “Blessed is he who ‘is keeping’ the words of the prophecy of this book.” Because of this, it calls for constant watch and observation. It is similar to what was already stated by Peter –

“Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’” 2 Peter 3:1-4

Scoffers fail to “keep.” Rather, they go about life ignoring the fact that God has a plan, and that what He says will come to pass, even if it appears otherwise. What seems like a delay to us is not so to Him. Everything is set according to what He has predetermined. The words of this verse ask those in the church to be attentive, and in such an attentive state, they will be blessed.

Life application: This is the fourth time it is noted that Jesus will come quickly. When He first comes for His church, it will be in the twinkling of an eye, and she will be gone. At the end of the tribulation period, Christ will again appear, and He will work His judgment swiftly and with finality. All people should remember to live their lives as if each moment is the last. Either Christ will come for us by the rapture or by His return, or He will come for us in death – which could be at any moment as well.

For believers, Paul notes this in Romans 13:11 – “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.”

For those who are not yet committed to Christ, Paul writes this in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” We are to be committed to the Lord, and we are to then be about the Lord’s business until He comes (see Acts 1:7). Anything else will only lead to sadness and regret.

The second point to be considered is the change that is expected in those who read or hear the words of Revelation. The words cited above from Revelation 1:3 implored those who read and hear to “keep those things which are written in it.” In other words, the earlier words anticipated that those who were starting the adventure of reading this book would continue to do so and to allow the words to sink in and have a positive effect on them. The words of Revelation 22:7, however, are stated in acknowledgment that the book has been read, and now the one who has read it will keep on keeping what was read.

This is similar to what James states in his epistle –

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:22-25

James equates a person who hears or reads the word, and who then disregards what it says, to someone who gets up in the morning, looks at the shabby face in the mirror – unshaven, stuff in his eyes, hair all messy, etc. – and who then walks away not caring about his appearance.

The Bible is like a mirror to us. You should know your appearance will offend others, but instead of shaving your whiskers, combing your hair, and washing your face, you go out as you are, and no one wants to be near you. Then you wonder why you’re such a lonely guy. When we read the Bible, we need to absorb it and apply it to our lives. Just as James implores us, so the Lord now does in Revelation.

A third point to consider is that this book is a book of prophecy. Some books in the Bible are noted for wisdom, some for instruction, some for historical value, and some for praise and worship. Other books are books of prophecy. It would make no sense for this particular book of prophecy to be fulfilled in the way preterists claim, stating that its contents were realized and completed in AD70. Rather, the entire context of the majority of prophecies point to a date that is future to the church even now.

Don’t be misled into believing that the church is ushering in the kingdom and that Jesus will return when we have brought peace on earth. The world is increasing in wickedness and the church is heading toward more loss and persecution, not less. It is the Lord Jesus who will return to defeat the enemies of God and usher in the kingdom. Until then, the Spirit is seeking out a bride for Jesus. Stand fast as the end-time events approach and don’t lose heart if we as the church continue to suffer. Jesus is coming quickly. Even so, come Lord JESUS!

Heavenly Father, give us right thinking and clarity as we await the return of Christ. Help us to be ready at all times to share the good news and to lead those around us away from wickedness and towards righteousness. Give us a heart for the lost because the time is short. Let us not be slack in our duties. Amen.

 

 

Revelation 22:6

Sunday, 5 September 2021

Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place. Revelation 22:6

With the vision of New Jerusalem complete, John returns to the words of the angel who has accompanied him, saying, “Then he said to me, ‘These words are faithful and true.’” This is certainly referring to the entire received message that comprises the book of Revelation.

This seems apparent because it then follows the same pattern of the opening of Revelation where John was told to write, and what was written was directed to the churches as encouragement, admonition, and warning.

Likewise, John’s words from verse 22:6 until the end of the chapter comprise two separate parts. The first comprises verses 6-17, and which gives encouragement, admonition, and warning to the church – and by extension to any who will hear the words of Revelation. The second comprises verses 18-21, and they refer to the words of the book itself.

Concerning the words of the angel now speaking, he confirms what was stated in Revelation 3:14 which says, “These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness.” What God has revealed through Christ are the very words of God. They are faithful and true, and they will come to pass. John next says, “And the Lord God of the holy prophets.”

Here, some manuscripts contain a second article, and they substitute the word “holy” with “spirits” – “The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets.” Either way, this then means that the Lord (YHVH) of the Old Testament who inspired the prophets to put forth their words is the same Lord (Jesus) who has “sent His angel to show His servants” those things of the New Testament, including the faithful and true words of the book of Revelation.

This then is fully in accord with the words of Paul and Peter –

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17

“And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:19-21

Of the things the Lord God has sent His angel to show to His servants, this verse now says that these are “the things which must shortly take place.” Rather than an adverb (shortly), a noun is given, “the things that must come to pass in quickness.” It is the same noun as in Luke 18:8 where there is an obvious long delay in what is spoken of. Thus, the context of the word there is not referring to something coming soon, but coming suddenly when it comes –

“Then the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily [lit: in quickness]. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?’” Luke 18:6-8

As such, there is no reason to assume that the exact same words, ἐν τάχει, or “in quickness,” of Revelation 1:1 and Revelation 22:6 are necessarily referring to something happening shortly after they are received by John. Rather when they occur, they will occur in quickness. Hence, the words here are not necessarily suspect. Rather, they are reliable prophetic words that will be fulfilled in their own time.

Life application: There are several verses in Revelation that lead some scholars to adamantly claim that its contents were fulfilled already, back in AD70, with the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and the exile of the people of Israel. This is one of those verses and it speaks of “the things which must shortly take place.” However, this confused thinking rejects hundreds of prophecies from the Old Testament which had not taken place by that time. These were given to – and are promises for – the nation of Israel, not to the church.

In order to justify why those prophecies never came to pass, they were “spiritualized” by scholars and then applied to the church instead of Israel. This is a doctrine known as “replacement theology.” Just because the book of Revelation is coming to a close with the words “the things which must shortly take place,” it in no way means that it excludes a fulfillment in our future – two thousand years later.

There are several possibilities, both of which answer this claim. The first is that “the things which must shortly take place” began to occur after John received and penned the book. Assuming the word is rightly translated as “shortly” rather than “in quickness,” the church age was clearly described in chapters 2 & 3 and that age was already in its infancy at John’s time. Just because the things began to take place shortly after Revelation was penned doesn’t mean that they all had to occur shortly; no specific time for their completion was given. Only when the church age – which is of indeterminate time – ends, then the events of the tribulation period will begin.

Secondly, the words of Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8 show that God isn’t working on our timetable. Those verses tell us that a day to the Lord is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. However long it takes to fulfill Revelation is a drop in the bucket compared to the things of eternity – which are already in the process of being described by John.

Therefore, it is a category mistake to assign Revelation’s words to a time which was close to John’s day from a human perspective. It is true that the Bible is given by God for man, and it is to be received from our perspective, but the words “How long” fill Scripture, thus indicating that what man thinks should happen quickly from his perspective is not always so.

Also, most scholars reasonably believe Revelation was written after AD70 and therefore that argument holds no water anyway. Words that are “faithful and true” will be accomplished exactly as God states, and there will be no doubt when they are fulfilled. Many of the OT passages concerning Israel and those in Revelation cannot be ascribed to any fulfillment at any time in history and therefore “faithful and true” cannot be assigned to their fulfillment yet.

Lastly, the God of the Old Testament prophets, who spoke about the future of Israel in the millennial kingdom, is also God of the apostles and prophets of the New Testament. The words of these people are joined together so that we can now see the entire panorama of biblical prophecy. Now we, as well as Israel, have a fuller knowledge of what is coming and how it will occur.

Have faith that God has a good plan for His people and that He has the future under His control. The Bible is fully reliable, and God is fully capable. Stand fast on that and hold fast to His promises without wavering. Be encouraged in the Lord always. Yes, be strengthened in JESUS.

Thank you, Lord! How wonderful it is to see past prophecies which have come true. These give us the assurance that all the other prophecies of Your wonderful, faithful, and true word will also come to pass – exactly as You have stated. Great are You, O God, and great is Your name. Hallelujah and Amen.