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), 2 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, 3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 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.