First Baptist Church Charleston
Revelation 22: 6-21
March 6, 2022

Revelation 22: 6-21

March 6, 2022

The Time Is Near

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.

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

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.

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.” 10 And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. 11 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.”

Jesus Testifies to the Churches

12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My 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.”

14 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. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.

16 “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.”

17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

A Warning

18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

I Am Coming Quickly

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”

Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Uncertainty, confusion, despair, little hope for the future and a feeling of pessimistic futility pervades the thinking of our world in 2022. People feel this way because they do not believe that it will be the Lord Jesus Christ who shall bring human history to a meaningful close. They have refused to accept the one trustworthy source of information about Him, which is the Bible, God’s Holy Word to mankind. And they are unaware of the one book of the Bible that particularly describes His plan for bringing history to a triumphant conclusion, which is the Book of Revelation.

Every generation has rightly said that Jesus may come back soon. Every generation has rightly said that the end is near. Surely our generation of all generations should believe this. We have nuclear weapons by which we can destroy one another. North Korea is belligerently threatening to use such weapons. As more nations get such weapons, the possibility increases that a world-wide war will start with the launching of such weapons by some rogue nation or crazy dictator. Iran, for example, is threatening to blow Israel off the map. The tensions between Islamic nations and the West run high. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is in part, a reaction to geographic pressure from NATO against Russia. China sits by watching to see who will join whose side. There is no evidence that human beings have become wiser or more peaceful or more loving as history has progressed. Surely, the time is ripe for Jesus to come again.

We as Bible-believing Christians must display an optimistic philosophy of history because we have in our possession “the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

For 31 Sundays, God has led me to share verse by verse and chapter by chapter.

            We have studied the warnings to churches that represent “the church age.”

            We have noted that there will be an increase of lawlessness and sin as time ends.  We have traced
                       God’s wrath being poured out against sin and unrepentant sinners  during the seven years of                                     great  tribulation.

            We have noticed that there is no mention of the presence of the true Church of

                        Believers at the beginning of the great tribulation.

            We have noted the rise of the false church, false prophet and the antichrist.

            We have seen the glorious second coming of Christ to earth to put down sin and Satan and to establish                           His righteous kingdom for 1000 years. 8

            We have seen the Great White Throne judgment where ungodly people shall be  sentenced to                                                 separation from God forever.

            We have seen the indescribable glory of our eternal home as it comes down to a

                        new earth and new solar system.

Jesus says to John that the words of this prophecy are faithful and true. They are accurate and dependable. You can trust them. They are reliable. They will most certainly come to pass just exactly as they predict. The words come from God Himself. The same Lord God who inspired the prophets of old by His Holy Spirit, has sent his angel to show John and us the things which must shortly be done.

Again, we say, as we did when we began this book, that 2000 years hardly seems to be “shortly.” But the word could mean several different things. The idea may be that when they occur, they shall occur suddenly. But beyond that, there seems to be the idea that these things could begin at any time. Even in John’s day, world events could have taken shape quickly to bring the Lord’s return for His church, followed by the Great Tribulation. They were impending. They were imminent. But God held back His hand of wrath so that more people would accept His salvation. If John realized that he could live to see them, how much more should we be ready for them?

It is clear that Christ Himself is speaking a warning in verses 7, 12 and 20.

“Behold, I come quickly. Blessed is he that keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

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

 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”

            Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! 

The next event on God’s prophetic timetable is the coming of our Lord Jesus to the air to rapture His own, to catch them away from this earth and take them to heavenly glory. It can happen at any time. The message to every age is exactly the same. “Behold, I come quickly.”

We need to be ready.

            We need to be living in daily fellowship with Him.

            We need to be filling our hearts and minds with His Word.

            We need to be obeying that Word, and sharing it with others.

            We need particularly to be living in the light of the prophecies in this book.  Our knowledge of what will                             happen shortly ought to drive us to our Lord for strength and guidance.                                

What we “know” ought to make a difference in how we live. And God promises rich blessing for those who let it. “Blessed is he that keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” Some people don’t like to read Revelation. But you know, it is one of the few books of the Bible that promise a blessing by studying it.

John is overwhelmed by the magnificence of these revelations given to him by God, and he responds in a very natural way. He falls down before the feet of the angel who showed him these things in an act of humble adoration.

            The revelation of the Lord Jesus in all His majesty and glory recorded in this book ought to inspire                                   worship in our hearts as well.

But worship is not to be directed to any angel. It is to be directed to God alone, and so the angel gently rebukes John for worshipping the wrong person. He insists that he is John’s fellow servant, just like the prophets and others who have the responsibility of carrying out the sayings of this book.

Worship God.

            The study of this book ought to inspire us to worship God.

            He alone is to be the object of our adoration.

            I trust that your heart has been drawn to the Lord and to the Lamb as we have  opened this book                                          together.

            May the revelation we have seen of Him, capture our full allegiance and inspire heartfelt and enduring                            adoration.

But while John is still meditating on the glory of the Lord in worship, the angel gives him instructions. Revelation 22:10 says:

            “Seal not the words of the prophecy of this book; for the time is at hand”

Seal not.

            This is to be an open book.

            Let everybody read it. God wants us to study it. First,

            He promises a blessing for studying it, not to seal it but to keep it open.

            This is the distinct contrast to the command given to the prophet Daniel at the conclusion of his prophetic revelation. “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end” (Daniel 12:4). “And he said, “Go thy way, Daniel; for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of                   the end” (Daniel 12:9).

The end times were far off when Daniel wrote. The book had to be sealed to indicate that ages and other prophetic events would intervene between the time of the prophecy and the time of its fulfillment. There were things that had to happen that hadn’t happened yet, including the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

But the message of the angel to John is, “the time is at hand.”

            The word he used translated “at hand” is engus, meaning “near.”

            It is the word Paul used in Philippians 4:5 when he said, “The Lord is at hand.” James used the verb form                of the same word in James 5:8 when he said, “…the coming of the Lord draws near.”

            “Near” does not necessarily mean “soon,” for almost 2000 years have intervened.  It does imply                                “proximate,” this is, “forthcoming,” “next in order to follow.”

             In other words, the time for the events of this book to begin is next in order in God’s prophetic program. At any given moment, the Lord could come back for His  church, and the awful events of the Great Tribulation could commence.

            The time is at hand.

With that in mind, the angel makes a very unusual statement to John. “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still” (Revelation 22:11). At first thought this seems like a rather cold and heartless statement, that God really doesn’t care about men’s spiritual condition. Let them go on as they please; let them ignore the momentous events of this book that are even now impending.

But that is not its meaning at all. The idea seems to be rather that when one ignores the message of this book, there is no hope for him.

            God has told us what he is going to do with this sinful world.

            He warns us that He is about to begin.

            If we will heed His warning and prepare our hearts, then we shall enjoy eternal righteousness and holiness in His presence. If we ignore His warning, and go on in   our sinful ways, then we shall suffer that sin and its penalty forever.

And just to be sure we understand the seriousness of the matter, the Lord Jesus repeats at the end of this section exactly what He said at the end of the first section. “And, behold, I come quickly. And My reward is with Me to give to every man according to his work” (Revelation 22:12).

 

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