NO MORE MYSTERY – I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!” Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near.” (Revelation 22:8-10)
The Greek word means a revealed secret, something that was formerly hidden, but now is made clear by God’s revelation (Romans 16:25; Colossians 1:26–27).[i] Daniel was told that some of his prophecies should be “sealed until the time of the end” (Daniel 12:9) and remain a mystery (formerly hidden). John, on the other hand, was told not to seal up the words of these prophecies (now being made clear).[ii] Yet many still find the book of Revelation to be anything but clear.
The Book of Revelation was not intended to be an imponderable mystery for which no key is available. It is the Word of God, not the vague imaginations of a confused or senile and aged Apostle John. Since it was intended to describe future events, we can likely expect to see the prophecies with a great deal more clarity as events begin to unfold. The Word of God was not given to remain an obscure puzzle. It was given to be understood by those instructed by the Spirit and for whom the time is right.[iii]
The fulfilment of Daniel’s prophecy was distant, while that of John’s prophecy is “near” or imminent. The New Testament is the age of grace and ushers in the time of the end and the fulfilment of all things.[iv] It is a time for mysteries to be unsealed, such as grace being extended to the Gentiles. The age of grace will someday come to an end and the Tribulation, the age of wrath, will begin.
As we have seen before, there were clearly parts of John’s revelation (and Christ’s Olivet discourse) that were meant to be understood in that generation, the things that were intended for their time. But perhaps it was meant to be more fully understood by future generations, for the things that are intended for their time (the fullness of time).[v] Revelation is clearly intended to reveal facts and events relating to and leading up to the second coming of Christ. Perhaps it is that generation that will need to understand the mystery more fully. If so, there will be no excuse for not anticipating it before it happens (“see I have already told you”), and recognizing it when it begins to happen. Thus, the viewpoint of some scholars that the Book of Revelation is an impenetrable puzzle is expressly contradicted by this and other passages.[vi] “He who has an ear, let him hear ….”
Up Next – No more change.
[i] Carpenter, E. E., & Comfort, P. W. (2000). In Holman treasury of key Bible words: 200 Greek and 200 Hebrew words defined and explained (p. 337). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[ii] Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 988). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[iii] Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 988). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[iv] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 604). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[v] Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Re 22:10). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
[vi] Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 988). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.