v.6-7 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.”
We are given formidable notice with three testimonies that John’s eyewitness account of this Revelation is both credible and accurate. Which (by the way) was the legal requirement for a testimony to be admissible in court (check—Deu.17:6; John 5:31-32).
- John’s angelic escort. “These words are faithful and true.” This is validation that John recorded the vision exactly as it was presented.
- John himself. “And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.” This is affirmation that his experience was real and genuine and not something he made up.
- Jesus Christ. “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” This certainly would not have said had John’s record contained an error or omission. But I think it also suggests that there are no hidden messages in the words; the truth is in the words.
v.8-10 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.” And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.”
John’s emotions are once more fueled, and as before he must be corrected for wrongly attempting to worship the angel. We must always bear in mind that angels are servants of God who minister to us (check—Heb.1:13-14).
“And he said to me, ‘Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand’. “ Because “the set occasion” or “proper time” for the vision to be read and understood by the Church is at hand and God’s desire is for us to have knowledge of this prophecy, John is commanded not “to keep it secret” (compare to—Dan.12:9). If we earnestly seek to understand, dear ones, He will reveal this vision to us.
v.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.”
The Revelation (not unlike all Scripture) will not affect all that read it in the same way. Those made righteous and holy by the blood of Jesus, and therefore consecrated to God as pure, are drawn to it and encounter a blessing; those resisting the things of God, and whose soul remains unclean before God, are hardened and repelled by it.
“Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand” (Dan 12:10)
v.12-13 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
The phrase “I am coming quickly”, stated no less than three times in this chapter (vs.7, 12, 20), doesn’t speak in terms of days as if “tomorrow I’m coming” but rather implies that the events foretold will occur in rapid succession once they begin.
Jesus never intended for the Church to set a date for His return but for us to expect Him at any moment—and therein ordering our lives in the light of that blessed hope. We must be ready because we aren’t given a date but instead only made aware that He can return at any moment, suddenly, and with no other warning than what He has already given.
“And My reward is with Me.” The word for “reward” means to “pay for service—good or bad” (more literally, as a “wage”). The idea conveyed here is that Jesus will compensate the saints (Rev.11:18) as well as the unrighteous (2Pet.2:12-13). A believer shall be given the gift of life and rewarded for good works, whereas the unbeliever shall be given the wages of death (Rom.6:23). There is no partiality with God. He “will render to each one according to his deeds” (see—Rom.2:5-16).
Okay, but let’s not confuse “works” to mean that we work for salvation. Jesus said “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent” (John 6:29). Born-again believers will gain or lose rewards at the judgment seat of Christ (2Cor.5:10) based on the quality of the works, not the quantity (1Cor.3:13-15). Our judgment is only to “test” the motivation and desire for us doing the works, and not a judgment of our ability to maintain them.