The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Revelation 22:6-11

Do Not Seal Up

The Book of Revelation was written for the encouragement of the faithful against the trials and persecutions Satan and the world will invariably throw their way (NICNT, 390).  And for that reason alone it must be heard.  But it must be confessed that Revelation was among the last of the New Testament books to be received as canonical.  It was regarded with some suspicion in the Eastern churches, a fact witnessed today in that though the liturgy of the Orthodox Church is saturated with Scripture throughout the year, Revelation does not appear in it.  It received scant attention in the early and medieval periods and the Reformers, including the voluminous John Calvin, did not comment much upon it, except when it served their purpose to equate the “Roman Church” and the pope with the antichrist.  Revelation’s popularity has grown in the last few centuries (the Modern era) and most of that associated with more popular brands that see the prophecies within it fulfilled in every current geopolitical struggle.  In short, the Book has been either ignored or taken to fanatical heights.

To those who spurn it as incomprehensible, the angel tells John, “These words are faithful and true” and then commands him, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book.”  Revelation is not to be treated on a par with the apocrypha; it is prophecy as all Scripture is and must be read for the edification of the Church.  It speaks to the realities of living in a world where one is a stranger and alien and the hardships which must accompany such a reality.  But for all its foretelling of trials to come, it also speaks to the ultimate triumph of those sealed (born again) of God.  It provides abundant warnings to the faithful to remain faithful even in the threat of fire and water knowing that the glory of victory and acclamation before the Father in the world to come is worth it all.  On the other hand, it explains the world to the believer.  Revelation pulls no punches in describing the utter helplessness, wickedness, deceitfulness, and hard-heartedness of man bereft of the grace of God—and most are without such grace.  And why is this?  Because they spurn God’s grace.  They prefer their sin to salvation and hate those who prefer salvation to sin.  And if they prefer it so, let them have it so (22:11).  The war is interminable UNTIL God terminates it—and one day, He will.

And that will come when our Lord returns.  That was the refrain in the prologue (1:7) and here again in the epilogue (22:7).  So, Preacher, preach Revelation, but preach it rightly, for the edification of the Church that she may walk in the valley of the shadow of death without fear of evil.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

Leave a Reply