(by Art Sadlier – Sound The Trumpet)
Verse 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 are faithful and true” This emphasizes the certainty of all that has been written in the book. The word “faithful” implies “trustworthiness.” God has spoken in and through this book and it is absolute truth which we can be certain of. The truth has been uncovered for the world to see, if it will open its eyes. The book is filled with amazing, awesome things that may seem far out. But we are assured that the whole book is the truth and nothing but the truth. The warning is that no one is to trivialize or allegorize this message or reduce the message to meaningless symbols.
John mentions the holy prophets; the book of Revelation quotes more from the Old Testament than from the New Testament. Consequently we are to go to the Old Testament to find the meaning of many of the symbols in the book.
The words of this book have not been written to satisfy the curiosity of the natural man. They are given to the believer who has the indwelling Holy Spirit to reveal its meaning and message. These are words to live by and act upon. God promises a blessing to those who will do so.
We read in verse 7, “Behold, I come quickly,” Quickly does not mean soon, it has the connotation of time and suddenness. He implies, “I will come on time,” God has a time table and it will not be early or delayed and when it happens it will be sudden. There is an appointed day; the same thing was true of the first coming. Galatians 4:4, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.”
The same thing was true when the Holy Spirit came, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1).
God is a God of order and design, He is never late and never early and He is never caught by surprise, He is master of every situation. We are encouraged to understand that our Lord is the master of every situation in our lives.
There is a promise of blessing for those who read and heed the book. “….blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” Obedience to God’s Word is the source of the blessing of God. That statement can never be over stated or over emphasized. This is not a promise to those who preach or defend the message of the book. It is a promise to those who hear and understand and obey the message. It is not a promise to those who give speculations about the meaning of the symbols; it is a blessing for those who obey the message. It is a blessing for those believers who fashion their lives according to the message of the book.
God forbid that I should teach and preach through the entire book and not incorporate its message into my life and go away without a blessing. We are to recognize His glory, appropriate His grace, and yield to His authority.
Verse 8-9, “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.”
We are warned that we are to worship God only. This identifies Christ as a divine being as we read in Hebrews 1:6, “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.”
The more we experience the mercy and grace of God the more we desire to worship Him. The more we learn about God, the more we realize how worthy He is of our worship. The more we are conscious of our sin, the more we praise and adore Christ for atoning for our sin.
Verse 10, “And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.”
Daniel was told to seal the message God gave to him concerning the end times, “And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end” (Daniel 12:9). As John writes he is told that the time is at hand. The entire church age is designated as the last days, but we are aware that we are living in the last days of the last days. In a special sense the message of this book is for us.
Jesus said that we can know that the time of His return “is near, even at the doors.” It is a fact that the message of the book of Revelation has been opened up to our generation in a special way.
We, as members of the church age, are living at the end of Revelation chapter three. As we read the rest of the book we are peering into the near future. The fulfilment of chapters 4 to 19 is near at hand, that makes the book very interesting for us.
Verse 11, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” We see here the tragic condition of those who are lost and in hell. Once a soul arrives in hell his or her spiritual condition is fixed forever with no hope of change. Their fate is to stand before the Great White throne and be judged for their sin and rejection of Christ. They are then to be cast into hell forever beyond any hope. Choices made now that lead to the hardening of the heart against God with be set in stone at death.
You may say; I don’t believe God would send me to hell. The Bible says He will if you are continue to reject His grace and His Son. Do not be a fool and risk your souls eternal destruction in hell, now is the accepted time to repent and be saved from such a fate. Why do you hesitate? Five minutes from now may be forever too late!
I remind you the choices you make now will become permanent after your death. All desires for good will be gone. There will be no Holy Spirit to enlighten you and draw you to Christ. Evil will be your only desire.
I would remind you of the Words of Christ, who said about men and women in that day, “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Make sure of your salvation! Nominal Christianity is counterfeit Christianity. How awful, in that day, to discover that you are a counterfeit Christian.
The opposite side of the coin is found in the words, “….he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” For the believer the possibility of sin will be gone forever, what a wonderful eternal condition that will be! The lost will grow in wickedness but the righteous will continue to grow in righteous understanding and desire.
Verse 12, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” This is a reference to the judgment seat of Christ where eternal rewards will be given to those who have served the Lord in this life and have honoured Him and pleased Him. Jesus said that when He comes to take the church home to be with Him in heaven He will have His rewards with Him.
We read about this event in 2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
This same event is referred to in 1 Corinthians 3:13-15, “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” For the Christian this life is very significant, we are preparing for eternity, we are sending on ahead of us the materials that will shape our eternal future. That makes our daily lives and daily actions tremendously significant. How often we get sidetracked in this life preparing for our momentary life in this world, how foolish!
We need to serve the God who says, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”
Verse 14, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” We have another blessing given here.
Those who in this life obey His commandments, which would include His command to wash our robes in the blood of the Lamb, those will have in eternity the right to the tree of life. These will be found going in and out of the city of heaven.
John makes this clear in 1 John 5:5, “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”
Verse 15, “For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” We see here the great gulf fixed between believers and unbelievers. The cross is the dividing line between two large groups on people, which side o f the cross are you on?
Verse 16, “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” This is the first time the word church or churches appears since chapter 3. It was in chapter 4 that the rapture of the church occurred, and it was in chapter 19 that the church returned to the earth with Christ.
Christ identifies Himself as the promised king that would come through the line of David. We read about that promise in Isaiah 11:1, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.”
The Lord is here identifying with Israel when He says, “I am the root and the offspring of David.” He identifies Himself with the church when calls Himself, “the bright and morning star.”
The morning star appears in the predawn darkness before the sun arises. Thus we see Jesus appearing at the darkest moments of history to catch His church up into His presence.
He will appear later to Israel as the Sun of righteousness at His second coming.
Now we have the final, all inclusive invitation in Verse 17, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
We have here a three-fold invitation. “Let Him that is athirst come,” my friend if you have in your heart and soul a void that you long to have satisfied, Christ can fill that void and satisfy your soul, but you must come in repentance and faith. Then it says, “let him that heareth say, Come,” If you have heard the message of the gospel you are invited to come to Christ for salvation full and free. You hold your eternal destiny in your own hands at this point. Then it says, “whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” The choice is yours! Peter said, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). My friend if you go to hell it will be against the will of God, you will have no one to blame but yourself.
Now we have a solemn warning. This is a warning not to tamper with God’s Word. “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (verse 18-19). This is an awesome warning to those who tamper with the meaning and the message of the book. I fear that it also includes those who lightly revise the scriptures, thinking they can improve upon what God has written. This is a warning and it threatens the loss of any hope of salvation. We need to fear God and not handle His Word lightly.
This seems to have a special connotation to those who live in the end times. Notice it says, “God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.”
I would warn those who today rail against the KJV, and lightly brush it aside, be careful, be careful.
Now we come to the final words of the book. “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”
There are two words of warning as the book closes. “I come quickly, (suddenly)” We need to live in readiness all day, every day. And, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” Notice, the grace of God is offered to man right up until the hour that man is removed from the earth. The exhortation we need to give is, “See that ye refuse not the grace of God.”