The message of the Bible is abundantly clear. What God has revealed in the pages of Scripture leaves no room for ignorance concerning His purpose and plan as our Creator. From beginning to end, He repeatedly affirms His sovereignty as Judge and Redeemer of the creation. Therefore, His heavenly missive is a pressing call for repentance from sin and faith in the Lord and Savior of His choosing — Jesus Christ.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ is the final plea from heaven to humanity in this regard. We find in its verses the glorified Christ standing ready to bring God’s wrath to sinners and the glory of His kingdom to the saints. There is no variation from any of God’s stated intentions throughout His holy Word. The message remains the same from the creation to the consummation (cf. Gen. 2:15-17; 3:15; 4:7; Matt. 3:2; 4:17).
But ultimately the Lord’s message is to Christians. When John the apostle is told by Christ to “Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this” (1:19), he is charged with communicating heaven’s agenda for the last days to the Church. This book is the culmination of the Gospel of Jesus Christ progressively revealed in the Bible (Rev. 1:1-3). And it is an encouragement for believers to stand fast as God’s ambassadors to a rebellious world with the Gospel in these last days before Christ’s return.
We have learned in much detail the events surrounding our Lord’s return in power and glory. We know He will put down all rebellion in this world and establish a new creation of righteousness. This is an imminent reality, and we should anticipate it with joy but also with a firm commitment to our present mission.
Revelation 22:6-11 is a final, urgent message to the Church in light of our Lord’s soon return. It conveys the authority of Scripture, an assurance to saints, an admonition for the saints, an application of the prophecy of this book, and a realistic approach to the Church’s mission. We will consider the first two verses in part one of this study.
Heaven’s Urgent Message – Part I
Authority of the Scripture (v. 6)
Remember that John has just completed a guided tour of New Jerusalem as it will appear in the new creation. The vision of this prophetic book has taken him from seeing Christ as Lord of the Church to the eternal state of God’s kingdom. Now the angelic guide concludes by impressing upon the apostle that the entire vision (“these words”) is the “faithful” (i.e. can be relied upon) and “true” (Gr. – alethes; i.e. sincere, fully revealed; not hidden) word of God. That is to say, like all of God’s previously revealed word, we can be certain that it contains His will and purpose.
In fact, the remainder of the verse assigns this book to the canon of Holy Scripture. We are told: “And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.” The same God who revealed His kingdom purpose and plan in the Old Testament has concluded His revelation to mankind in this book. John’s prophecy is equal in authority to that of the “holy prophets” (from Moses to Malachi) who received and recorded God’s revelation pointing to Christ (Lk. 24:25-27; 1 Pet. 1:10-12). Therefore, all other New Testament writings (completed before The Revelation), likewise have this authority (Rom. 16:25-26; 2 Pet. 3:16).
This prophetic book takes us into the future when Christ will return in power and glory to fulfill what remains of Old Testament prophecy about the kingdom. It is given to make known to the Church what “must shortly take place” (cf. vv. 7, 10b, 12, 20). In other words, His return is imminent, and we should, therefore, be diligent in our mission as His ambassadors. The Lord’s “servants” are believers in the churches who have received this book, from those in first century Asia Minor (1:1, 4) until the time of His glorious appearing.
Assurance to the Saints (v. 7)
The authority of this book assures the saints that their Lord will return, and that they should hold fast to the Word of God until He does. This is the meaning of verse seven, in which Christ is speaking to the churches.
First, our Lord tells us to be expecting His imminent return. He says, “Behold, I am coming quickly!” That is to say, we should be daily looking for Him. There is nothing whatsoever on the prophetic calendar that must take place before Christ returns. We have been in the last days ever since He ascended back into heaven and assured us that He would come again in power and great glory (Matt. 28:20; Acts 1:4-11; Heb. 1:1-3).
Secondly, Christ says, “Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book” (cf. v. 9). This book began with a blessing, and it ends the same way. In 1:3 we find: “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.” The one who truly listens to this book being read and explained as God has revealed it will be filled with joy, peace, and hope in the Holy Spirit as they live according to its truth (Rom. 15:13).
The apostle Paul said Christ’s incarnation teaches us that, “…denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13). His point is that God graciously sent His own Son into the world to die in order to redeem us from sin and death. How then can we do anything less than obey Him as we wait for His imminent return (cf. Rom. 6:1-2)?
Our Lord Jesus emphasized all of this to the faithful church of Philadelphia in Asia Minor (a representation of all faithful churches). To them He said, “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown” (3:11). By the authority of God’s Word, we are assured that Christ will return and reward His saints for their obedience. We are to hold fast to the truth so that we can receive our full reward in the new creation (cf. Rev. 22:12). And we live expecting His return even in our lifetime because it could indeed be today. If that is the case, then we will be those raptured out of the world — the event which initiates the seven year Tribulation that paves the way for His Second Coming.
So our Lord Jesus Christ does have an urgent message from heaven for the Church. It is a message to believe, obey, and proclaim God’s Word from Genesis to Revelation until our Lord returns as it has been foretold.
Are you looking for Christ to return at any moment? Have the words of this book challenged you to obey it as the conclusion to God’s revelation? How should you adjust your life to be a better representation of the Gospel?
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