These Words Are Trustworthy and True

22: 6-9

   DIG: How do we know that the words of this book are trustworthy and true? How do the words, in the twinkling of an eye, sum up the theme of Revelation? What was John’s mistake that we read about in this section?

   REFLECT: What does it mean to you to know that Jesus Christ is a truth teller? What is the blessings associated with this book? What, or who, are you worshiping other than God? Sports? Music? A spouse? Education? You fill in the blank!

    With the vision of the New Jerusalem, John’s prophecy is complete. Now God Himself, and Jesus in particular, authenticate all that John had written. ADONAI, who had inspired all the other books of the Bible, also inspired the book of Revelation. The specific means of revelation to John was a holy angel.

    The angel said to him: These words are trustworthy and true (22:6a). The angel assures John that what he has seen and heard in the whole revelation of the future is true and reliable. He was not merely dreaming.517 Everything he saw and heard was true. We can be sure that He who is called Faithful and True (19:11), will speak words that are trustworthy and true (21:5).

    The Lord, the God of the holy prophets, sent His angel to show His servants the things that must soon take place in the far eschatological future (22:6b). The book of Revelation ends the same way it begins, with a promise of blessing to those read the words of this prophecy, hear it and take to heart what is written (1:3). This is the exact opposite of many Bible teachers. They find Revelation to be an impossible mystery for which there is no answer today. This book is the Word of God and not the bizarre dreams or overactive imagination on John’s part. It is not an allegory from which readers can extract hidden meanings. Everything he said will come to pass. When taken in its literal, ordinary meaning, this is exactly what it does, even though much of Revelation is written in symbolic form. The Word of God is not written to be difficult to understand. It was given to be understood by those taught by the Holy Spirit.518

    The book of Revelation ends the same way it begins, with a promise of blessing to those read the words of this prophecy, hear it and obey what is written (1:3). Believers are called not only to hear the Word, but also to obey it. Jesus said: If you love Me, you will obey with I command . . . If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commands and remain in His love (John 14:15, 15:10). The need to obey the Bible was strongly emphasized in John’s first epistle. He wrote: We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands. The man who says, “I know Him,” but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in Him (First John 2:3-4); This is how we know that we live the children of God: by loving God and carrying out His commands. This is love for God: to obey His commands (First John 5:2-3). Those who live as if Yeshua could come at any moment will obey His Word.

    The word and marks a change in speakers. The speaker is no longer the angel, but the Lord Jesus Christ. He said: And behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed are those who keep the words of the prophecy of this book because they will be ready for Messiah’s Coming (22:7). This is the sixth of seven blessings in the book of Revelation (1:3, 14:13, 16:15, 19:9, 20:6, here and 22:14). The Holy Spirit says the Lord is coming quickly. People get the wrong impression when someone says, “Jesus will come very soon.” The Greek word tachos can be translated quickly or soon. From the divine perspective both are true; however, the context determines which should be used. What we should say is, “When Jesus comes, it will happen very quickly, in the twinkling of an eye.” The context in this verse does not imply shortness, but suddenness. The apostle Paul said it this way: We will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound and the dead in Christ will be raised imperishable (First Corinthians 15:51b-52).

    Jesus does not command believers to read Revelation merely to satisfy their curiosity about the future. He did not inspire it to provide material for end-time seminars. It was not God’s purpose to give us a detailed analysis of the prophetic significance of current cultural, political, military or social events. God inspired Revelation for one purpose: to reveal the glory of His Son and call believers to godly, obedient lives. The purpose of the book is not to provide entertainment, but to provide motivation for godly living.519

    The word and appears once more and marks the change of speaker. The speaker is no longer Yeshua, but John, who names himself for the first time since 1:9. He said: I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things (22:8a). John now adds his own testimony for the benefit of his readers. Those first readers in the seven churches of Asia Minor knew him personally. They loved and honored him. Thus, he assures them again that he had actually seen and heard the great events that he was reporting.520

    Then overcome by what he had heard and seen them, he fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to him (22:8b). He had the right response, but being overwhelmed with the grandeur of the scene he mistakenly directed his reverence to the angel. He knew this was wrong. In fact, he had already been reprimanded for attempting to do so earlier (19:10). But like Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:28), Daniel (Daniel 8:17, 10:9), Peter, James and himself at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:6), John fell face down in awe and worshiped at the feet of the angel.

    Since God alone is to be worshiped, the angel warned him: Do not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this book (22:9a). Angels are servants of God. They helped to put the Torah into effect (Acts 7:53; Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 2:2) and are often seen protecting believers (Exodus 23:20; Second Chronicles 32:21; Psalm 91:11; Daniel 3:28, 6:22; Acts 5:19, 12:7-11). Summarizing the ministry of angels, the writer to the Hebrews asks rhetorically: Are not all angels ministering spirits to serve those who will inherit salvation (Hebrews 1:14)?

    Jolting the confused apostle back to his senses, the angle commanded John to worship God (22:9b)! Only God is worthy of our worship. The Bible forbids us to worship anyone, including angels, saints, the Virgin Mary, or anything else. This is also a sharp rebuke to all those who feel they must have aids in order to worship God. Such things as images, a solemn atmosphere, excitement, prayer beads, ornaments, icons, a special building, a prayer room, nor anything else is needed to worship God. If not even a mighty angel of God provides a suitable atmosphere for worship, surely nothing man made can add to it. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24).

    When God renewed His covenant with Israel, He exhorted them, saying: Do not worship any other god, for ADONAI, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God (34:11-14). We think of jealous as a negative term. So what is God jealous of? Everything! Our time. Our thoughts. Our heart. Or anything else that gets in between Him and you. But actually the meaning here of Him being jealous is that He can tolerate no rivals and is zealous for your worship. He does not want to share His honor and glory with anything or anybody. When I married my wife Beth I vowed that she would always be number two in my life. Where is He in yours?

 

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