Revelation 22:6–7 “And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.”
“These sayings” – I think this is referring to everything that has been shown and told to John during this “revelation.” It is ALL sure and trustworthy; it was meant to reveal not conceal. God Almighty, who inspired the holy prophets, sent his angel/messenger to show, to make clear to His servants (all believers from that time forward) the events that would “shortly” come to pass. The Greek for “shortly” implies that events would happen very quickly once they had begun. Again, I can’t help but think of the verses that explain God’s perspective on time.
Psalms 90:4 “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.”
2 Peter 3:8 “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
I am reminded again of the unchanging character of God. He always prepares His people and tells them what to expect in light of coming judgment.
The speaker obviously changes. Who has this revelation been about? Who is the one whose coming we await? The speaker has to be Jesus. When He returns, it will be quickly (shortly, suddenly, without delay).
“Keepeth” – guard, maintain, hold fast, preserve, watch
This message is precious. It is worth preserving and guarding with an attitude of watchfulness as to the return of Jesus, future to the time of its revelation to John. Though the context of this verse is referring specifically to the revelation being given to John, it would also seem to be an appropriate beatitude regarding the whole Word of God. God never changes, nor does His word; His word is truth.
Malachi 3:6 “For I am the LORD, I change not….”
Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”
Psalms 119:160 “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.”
Proverbs 30:5–6 “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”
Deuteronomy 4:1–2 “Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”
“blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book” - The declaration of this blessing is a powerful rebuke to those that declare the study of prophecy to be unimportant and a waste of time. Sadly, there are many recognized leaders in the church today who hold that view. Whatever their motive, it is self-serving and/or in disobedience to the will of God for His people.
Revelation 22:8–10 “And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.”
Once again, John testifies again to the fact that all that he has written he saw and heard with his own eyes and ears. Although he has been warned before, John again falls down to worship at the feet of his angelic guide. The angel rebukes John and tells him to worship God. The angel identifies himself as a “fellowservant,” one who serves the same master. He also identifies himself as “of thy brethren.” This indicates a connection from the womb, which I think is saying that he is one of Jewish birth. Not only that, but he is one of the prophets.
This can get really confusing. John has had “angels” and “elders” speak with him during the process of this revelation. I have always considered the angels to be those of the “higher creation” in the heavens that are God’s special ministering servants on behalf of man. Actually, the term is inclusive of any individual doing God’s bidding as requested at any given time—His messengers. It would seem that there is a likelihood that some of God’s prophets will get to participate in the events about which they prophesied since this angel was originally identified as one that had poured out one of the seven vials of judgment.
John is told that this book is not to be sealed or kept secret. The information contained in this prophecy is important for the churches to know. Why? Because the time is at hand—near.
Here we are looking at these prophecies almost 2000 years after the fact. That doesn’t seem very “near” in our eyes; but in relation to eternity, the passage of time has been minimal. As we listen to God’s message, we need to keep our faith focused on His truth and not our expectations. What to God is “a very little while” can often seem like forever from the human point of view.
Psalm 37:10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
Haggai 2:6-7 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come:
Hebrews 10:37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
In God’s economy of time, “yet a little while” and the wicked will not be found on earth; that won’t happen until eternity begins. In just “a little while” from the time of Haggai’s prophecy, “the desire of all nations,” which I believe is a reference to Jesus, the Messiah, would come; that would be over 500 years later. “Yet a little while” and Jesus will come again according to the writer of Hebrews; it’s already been 2000 years.
Notice that the directive given here is completely opposite to the instruction given to Daniel regarding his record of prophecy. Daniel was told that the words given him were sealed until the time of the end, whereas John is told that the information that had been given to him was important for the churches to know “now.”
Daniel 12:9-10 “And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.”
(to be continued…)