The first and the last chapters of Revelation have something in common which is the emphasis on the importance of this book. It tells people not to take this book lightly. Those who read it and follow it will be blessed but woe to those who do not believe and do not follow it. Of all the 66 books from the Old and the New Testament, this book is the most unique one since it continually speaks of its authority. It not only says it clearly that those are the words of Jesus Himself, but also tells people that those words are trustworthy and true and we should study it, believe it and follow it.
People have their reservations regarding accepting prophecies. On one hand, it speaks of the things to come; on the other hand, the content of this book is too mysterious, it is not easy to understand. I am sure many people would just put this book aside; they don’t want to read it and if they hear about its message, they would not believe it. The Lord wanted John to preach the message of Revelation, not to seal the book but to tell about it to everyone in the whole world.
BECAUSE THE PROPHECY HAS BEEN OPENED UP
10 Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near.
Once God told Daniel to seal up certain prophecies. Daniel 12:4: “But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.” Daniel saw many prophecies, some of the prophecies happened 200 to 300 years later, others will happen during the end times. God told him to seal certain prophecies, so which ones were the ones he was told to seal?
The prophecies that the Lord wanted Daniel to seal were prophecies concerning the end times. Those prophecies were related to the 7 years of great tribulation. Until when did God want him to seal the prophecies? It was “until the time of the end”. How come it was to be sealed during earlier times and opened during the end times? Because during the end times many will go here and there to increase knowledge. During the end times transportation will be greatly developed, people could go to the other side of the world in one day. Every day, hundred of millions of people fly all over the world; their knowledge has increased. Information is so developed that if something happens somewhere in the world, everyone will know about it right away. This means that many things which the Bible talks about regarding the signs of the end times can be seen if careful attention is paid. People will understand the signs when the end times come.
If you tell people from the past that in the future there would be many plane crashes, that man-made satellites will collide, that outer space trash would drop from the sky, that many people will have cancer and that there would be lots of people getting sick and dying from radiation and pollution, they would not understand what you are talking about. You would have said it in vain, that is why the prophecy had to be sealed. During the end times, people would have gained knowledge and experience, people would have seen many of the signs that were written in the Bible, then they could relate to them. The unbelievers will continue in their unbelief, but those who belong to God will be able to understand it. Those who have faith can prepare themselves to welcome the Lord on His second coming.
During John’s time, he was told not to seal up the words of the prophecy because the time was near. To seal means to not speak out. No to seal it up, of course means to spare no effort to proclaim it publicly to let everyone know that it is not a secret.
During the times of Daniel it was supposed to be sealed and during the times of John it had to be opened. Why? The key is timing. When the time was at hand, when the end times arrive, that is the time to open it . God told his servants to handle the prophecy according to the timing. The closer to the end, the more we should proclaim it.
IRREVERSIBLE DAYS ARE COMING
11 不義叫他仍舊不義，污穢的叫他仍舊污穢，為義的叫他仍舊為義，聖潔的叫他仍舊聖潔。12 看哪，我必快來，賞罰在我，要照各人所行的報應他。
11 Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.” 12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.
The day of the Lord is payback time, the day of judgment. The day of judgment has already been set, when HE comes, everything will be finalized, there will be no more opportunity for change. All the people of this world are sinners and they will be judged accordingly. But while the final judgment day is not here yet, we can still change our status from the criminal line to the witness stand.
Right now it is still the time for acceptance; you can still change. On that day, the one who does wrong will continue to do wrong, the vile person will continue to be vile, the one who does right will continue to do right and the holy person will continue to be holy, you will not be able to change anymore. It is like someone taking an exam, when the time is up you will have to put down your pen and the test will be collected, the answers cannot be changed anymore, the outcome has been set. If people want to change and repent, it must be during the time of acceptance. When the time of the retribution comes, the time of reward and punishment, the result will already be determined, it cannot be changed anymore.
HE IS THE BEGINNING AND THE END
13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Christ is the God of the beginning and of the end. He created the beginning of human history and will also set the time when this old heaven and old earth will end. He started the plan of salvation and He will definitely finish His plan.
The people in the past may have had decades of lifetime to make a decision, but during the end times, there might not be time to procrastinate. In the past people believed that the universe would last forever, now we know that it had a beginning and it will have an end. That is why we should tell sinners about the message of the end times as soon as possible, so that the people would be ready for the second coming of the Lord.
While some people believe in the end of the world, in their hearts they think that maybe there is still a long time to go. Although Jesus said: “I am coming soon”, it’s been 2000 years and He still hasn’t returned. Will we have to wait another 2000 years? However, the Lord has told us about the signs that will happen before His return. By looking at those signs, we will be able to know more or less the time of His coming. It’s like watching the weather forecast; although sometimes the forecast may not be accurate, we still have scientists studying the weather. If they issue a storm warning, shouldn’t we listen to them and be prepared?
BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO ABIDE BY IT
14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.
The Lord’s salvation is given to us freely. He died on the cross for us, He took the penalty for our sins. We are saved and called to be children of God by His blood that washed our garments clean, all these things are free to us. However, the washed garments represent a holy life and actions. In other words, the way we live after being saved must also be holy and clean. If the person is not clean, if he or she still sins and acts wickedly, it may be that the person did not receive the salvation that was given to him or her freely.
Here Christ emphasizes once again that the words of this book are spoken directly to us by Him. Mankind must believe and act upon it in order to receive the blessings of the kingdom of heaven and to enter into the new Jerusalem to have the right to the tree of life.
15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
The word “dogs” mentioned here is not easy to understand. Some people use this phrase to conclude that dogs cannot go into the kingdom of heaven. Will there be any animals and livestock in the new heaven and the new earth? Are dogs the only animals that will not be allowed in heaven? We can be sure that the “dogs” mentioned here are not referring to dog animals.
申命記23:18 說明狗是指｢男妓｣。｢娼妓所得的錢，或孌童【原文是狗】所得的價，你不可帶入殿裡還願。｣中國人稱妓女作雞，大概因為妓與雞音近。猶太人稱男妓作狗，包括作同性戀淫業的人。Deuteronomy 23:18 explains that a “male prostitute” is referred to as a dog. “You must not bring the earnings of a female prostitute or of a male prostitute [Hebrew of a dog] into the house of the Lord your God to pay any vow, because the Lord your God detests them both. Chinese people call the female prostitutes, “chickens”; probably because the word prostitute and the word chicken have a similar sound. Jews call the male prostitutes “dogs”, which includes those who practice homosexuality.
All those who sin and do wicked things, the heretics, those who do not follow God’s words, those who do not have the life of the Lord, those who are not led by the Holy Spirit, none of them will enter the kingdom of heaven . They might have been baptized, they might be members of the church, but they will not be able to enter. Because believing in Jesus is about life, is not like getting a visa. Actually obtaining salvation is easier than obtaining a visa, you just have to be willing to “come”.
17 聖靈和新婦都說[ 來] ，聽見的人也該說[ 來] ，口渴的人也當[ 來] ，願意的都可以白白取生命的水喝。17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
THE LORD PERSONALLY CONFIRMS HIS WORD
16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
For John, the fact that the Lord Jesus himself spoke to him, was a very important proof. He was the disciple whom Jesus loved. John had been with Jesus for more than 3 years. After Jesus resurrected from the dead and went up to heaven, John thought that he would have to wait until he passed away before he could see the Lord again. Who would have known that after all the disciples had died, John would see Jesus once
again during his later years. On chapter 1, when he started seeing visions , he saw Jesus whom he had not seen for so many years. After John saw all the visions, the Lord appeared to him one more time and He even spoke to him.
“I, Jesus” is a very particular way to call Himself. It is like an artist who after finishing his work of art, signs it himself to confirm that the paint was indeed his masterpiece. He said that He is the Root and Offspring of David. That is indeed a very unusual way to introduce oneself. Since ancient times, only one person could make that statement, to be the Root and the Offspring of David.
古時的大衛發現並建立了舊的耶路撒冷。基督卻建立了新的耶路撒冷。大衛建立了一個長時間的王朝。但基督將要建立一個永遠的王朝。祂將要永遠作王，沒有窮盡。David founded and built the old Jerusalem in ancient times. However, Christ, established the new Jerusalem. David established a long dynasty; but Christ will establish an eternal kingdom. He will reign forever and ever, a kingdom without end.
He is also the bright Morning Star. Morning star brings a brand new day, a new hope. Christ will soon come back again and He will bring a new sight to behold, an eternal hope. The Israelites honored David, they use the Star of David as their national emblem. The Star of David is also called the Shield of David; but the Star of David is not a real star or a morning star, it cannot bring new hope. However, Jesus Christ is indeed the bright Morning Star, He will be the new leader, bringing new hope to mankind, a leader in whom we can always rely on.
THESE PROPHECIES CANNOT BE CHANGED
18 我向一切聽見這書上豫言的作見證，若有人在這豫言上加添甚麽，神必將寫在這書上的災禍加在他身上。19 這書上的豫言，若有人刪去甚麽，神必從這書上所寫的生命樹和聖城，刪去他的分。
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.
Revelation is a book that is very authoritative, by no means can it be underestimated. The most important book in the entire New Testament is this one because many words that appear here are spoken directly by the glorified Christ Himself. In some instances there are words that were not spoken by Him but by an angel whom He sent. “My angel ” , the messenger who was closest to Him.
The letters that Paul wrote, we regard them as Holy Scripture, but there are some sections where he says: “I have no command from the Lord”, it was only his opinion, it was not the command of the Lord. But here, these are the words of the Lord, one hundred percent; His words are more important than those of all the prophets and apostles.
So actually, who are these people who add or take away from the words of this prophecy? What is the purpose of adding or taking away from the words of this prophecy? What is the result of adding or taking away the words from the book of Revelation? Why does the Lord put so much importance on this? What is the big impact of adding or taking way a few words?
The phrases: “I am coming soon,” or “come Lord”, appear a few times in this chapter. Everyone is waiting anxiously. Only those who do not want people to wait for the coming of the Lord will add or take away from the content of this book. The purpose of changing the content of this book is to prevent people from waiting for the return of the Lord.
這問題很嚴重。無論是誰，他所傳講的若是一個沒有末日的福音，是沒有考試就得到學位，叫人不用作準備的，他一定是魔鬼的爪牙。This problem is very serious. No matter who it is, they are preaching a Gospel that does not include the end of the world, is like getting a degree without having a test, telling people not to be prepared; that person must definitely be an accomplice of Satan.
The sin of changing the Word of the Lord was specially serious during the second and third century because during those times people had to copy the Scriptures and if words in the Bible were changed, it would have affected us greatly, the later generations. It is widely believed by Muslims today that our Bible had been maliciously altered and it is no longer what the Lord handed down to us. They use this method to keep Muslims from believing in Christ. But we know that the Bible is based on reliable sources. There are more than a thousand manuscripts that proof that there is no difference between our Bible and the one written during John’s times. Blessed are those who live by this book.
From the last verse , ” The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen,” we know it was a letter that was read in the assembly of the churches. During the first century, the epistles of the apostles were read in different churches so everyone could listen to it. In those days, they didn’t have the New Testament yet, and the Old Testament was copied on sheepskin; many of the people did not have a Bible that they could read on their own. They would depend on the apostles or elders of the church to read them Bible truths. During those early times there was no printing press, they could only hear the word of God as it was read to them; they didn’t each have a Bible. Nowadays, it is a blessing to have a Bible that we could read on our own. We should value it and proclaim it’s message so every human being will know to be ready.