This book is intimidating to some. It seems mysterious and dark to some, exciting to others, and terrifying to others. But it is important we read and heed this book of prophecy. Depending upon our viewpoint we either wait hopefully, apprehensively, fearfully, or apathetically for its fulfillment. But as with all of God’s prophecy, it is meant to warn us, prepare us, call us, teach us and encourage us. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, 2 Timothy 3:16, 1 Corinthians 14:3). The central goal of prophecy is recorded in Amos 3:7-8.
“For the Lord God does nothing
without revealing his secret
to his servants the prophets.
8 The lion has roared;
who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken;
who can but prophesy?”
It is a revelation of the will of God. He wants us to know. He tells us quite clearly what His plans are. This book is not meant to make us cower, it is meant to prepare us for what is coming and embolden us to action. Too many people have not read or heard the words of the Revelation for themselves. They have a fantastic and horror-filled Hollywood vision of what the book includes. Even people who have read it have chosen to ignore the Holy Spirit and assign twisted and strange meanings to Jesus’ Revelation. Believer, you and I have read this book together. We have not skipped one verse, one word, or letter. I have done my best to not interpret or discern anything without God’s Holy Spirit. I have done my best to back everything with scripture. We do not have to be shocked at the state of the world as Jesus’ coming gets closer. We do not have to tremble in fear of the unknown. God has made it known and we have read it.
The final verses of this book invite us to take note of what we read, to put it into action, and to take part in the work of the Saints in these last days. Verses 6-7 read,
“And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”
7 “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
This is what Revelation is about, this is what all the prophecies that came before it are about, and this is what all the scriptures are about; Jesus is coming soon. We are not only to note, hear, or read the words of the prophecy of this book, we are to keep them. The word keep is the Greek word threw (tay-reh'-o) it means to hold fast, protect, and to undergo in a militant manner. Verses 8-9 read,
“I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, 9 but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”
John had been warned a couple of times previously not to worship the angels giving him the messages but the overwhelming emotion of everything he had received must have made him want to fall down and worship the messenger and the message. Isn’t this the case today? How many people do you know who seem to worship the Book of Revelation, all end-time prophecy, or the people who teach on the subjects? It is not the prophet or the prophecy we worship. We are told to worship God. But we can’t go the other direction and ignore the words either. Remember we are to actively keep the words here. People will and do go right on living their lives and ignore prophecy, but that is not our directive.
The angel calls John and his brothers, prophets. Who are John’s brothers? Believers, they are you and me. Under the Old Testament God chose a few men and women, poured out His Spirit on them and assigned them to be prophets. But today we are all prophets. Not everyone has the gift of prophecy, but everyone can prophesy (1 Corinthians 12:27-31). And today more and more people are being gifted with prophecy. Joel 2:28-29 says it this way,
“And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
29 Even on the male and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit.”
So then that makes us responsible for the words of Revelation, the Scriptures, and the words God speaks to us. Verses 10-11 say,
“And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
We are to take prophecy seriously. We have to know God to hear and recognize His voice (John 10:27). We have to discern what is from the Lord and what is false (1 John 4:1). And 1 Thessalonians 5:17-21 tells us,
“pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.”
Jesus reminds us what the prophecies of this book are about in verses 12-16.
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
Certainly there are people who fear this book. There are numerous horror movies, TV shows, documentaries, and even so-called Christian films which all distort, falsify, and exaggerate the prophecy of the end-times, Jesus’ return, and Judgement Day. They drum up fear and emotion and use the book to propagandize for personal goals. But we are not called to fear this book. Jesus is the Bright Morning Star, the Alpha and Omega and our Savior. What do we have to fear if we have Jesus? We do not have to be afraid of the events described in Revelation. We are prepared for them. We must remain aware, warn others, and let others know they are invited to the wedding feast. Verse 17 says,
“The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.”
The Spirit says, “Come.” We the Bride say, “Come.” Those who hear the invitation say, “Come.” Those who seek God say, ‘Come.” What do we come to? We come to eternal life, where who we seek is found. We are thirsty and the living water is waiting for us. It is free, Jesus already paid for it. What an amazing invitation!!! And when we receive that invitation, we are to become an invitation to others. Do your life, your attitude, and your words lovingly say, “Come” or do they send another message?
Once again, we are warned to take the prophecy of Revelation seriously. It is not a fairy tale or a scary story. It is the truth. Adding our interpretation based on anything or anyone other than the Word and the Spirit has deadly consequences for us and those who hear the words we spread. Leaving the parts we do not like out of it has the same results. Verses 18-21 read,
“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.”
The Spirit says, “Come” to you and to others. Bride of Christ, do you say, “Come?” Jesus is coming and soon He will say, “Come up here.” Are you ready?