It’s Thursday, July 14, 2022, just another Thursday. I met with the men’s group, where we are reading a Bob Goff book titled “Undistracted: Capture Your Purpose, Rediscover Your Joy.” This is not about the book, I am merely telling you what we are reading lately, and I will say, it has been a humorous, enlightening journey, and I would recommend Bob’s books.
Another part of my morning, though exhausted because my men’s group meets at 05:30 on Thursdays, was to watch a few seconds of a young Christian lady I found on YouTube a couple of years ago. This morning she jokingly said, I think the Holy Spirit just spoke to me through a fortune cookie. It said, “You are going to have a change of scenery.”
I will tell you what I think about this. AMEN, Come quickly Lord!
With that, let’s continue with Revelation 22.
“And behold, I am coming quickly.
Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.”
Revelation 22:7 NASB
What did we just cover when we looked at Revelation 22:6?
And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”;
This statement should prompt you to ask, what do I know of God that validates that God is faithful and true?
One of the first things my mind grabs on to is Noah. Having no clue what rain was, Noah believed that a flood was coming and, therefore, started a 120 year construction project in which he builds an ark. Here is a bit of information from https://arkencounter.com/.
Ark Encounter features a full-size Noah’s Ark, built according to the dimensions given in the Bible. Spanning 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high, The picture is from: https://www.wideopencountry.com/noahs-ark-in-kentucky/
Secondly, Moses as his entire life seems to have been signs that prove God’s faithfulness and the truth of His word, as Moses repeatedly brought the declarations of plagues upon Egypt.
Did they come to pass?
And then there is the life of Jesus. Jesus is God in the flesh, and so Jesus’ actions and declarations are an anchor, so to speak, for our foundations of trust in God. Jesus told them, and by extension us, what He was going to do, and He did it.
We sang a worship song a few years ago, which said, “I remind myself of all that He’s done.” I mentioned this to a Christian friend, who promptly attacked me and said, why do you have to do that? Well, to be honest, I forget, and I also have a constant barrage of trials that keep my head occupied. How about you?
The second admonition from Revelation 22:6 is this, “and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place.”
These things must soon take place.
I have always struggled with the length of time between the message and the actual events. To add to my angst I have been accosted on several occasions by “Christian” brothers who said just the opposite of God’s word, as they told me that Jesus won’t be coming back for at least 40 more years, so relax.
I need you to know that I will never relax. I look for Him daily.
So again, Revelation 22:7 tells us.
“And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.”
The Greek word for coming (erchomai) occurs 643 times, all of them in the New Testament. An interesting aspect of this Greek word is that it can mean come, came, went, entered, go, and a few others; all of them are associated with movement.
Consider the word quickly. The Greek word is tachu and means shortly, that is, without delay, soon, or (by surprise) suddenly, or (by implication of ease) readily: – lightly, quickly.
Having looked at Revelation 22:6, which defines God’s word as faithful and true, I am made aware of how much we need to understand why we believe that God is faithful and true.
To Moses He said,
“The LORD said to Moses, “Is the LORD’S power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.” Numbers 11:23.
God demonstrated that He was immensely capable of doing anything, and then He sent Moses to Pharaoh with the demand to “let My people go.” Pharaoh did not comply which resulted in the plagues most are familiar with.
God was speaking to all of Israel, a people who doubted everything, when He said.
“The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;
(Deuteronomy 7:7-9 NASB)
God set His love on these people, and us, simply because He loved us, and He will continue to keep the oath that now applies to His church because of that commitment.
And Moses is one example of God’s faithfulness to one person when in fact there were multitudes who can witness to the truthfulness and faithfulness of God.
Because of these people and my own comprehension, I can say, look, He is coming quickly.
Now, what of this statement, “Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.”
The Greek word for blessed also means fortunate and happy.
Considering how the majority of the church has now turned their backs on God’s word and those who hold to the prophetic, it is difficult, at best, to comprehend how holding to the words of Revelation is supposed to make you happy.
Here is a portion of Webster’s dictionary definition.
“Being in the enjoyment of agreeable sensations from the possession of good;”
God is good and, therefore, has nothing to do with the possessions you hold. This of course means that for most having possessions means the satisfaction of our lusts, and God is NOT the least bit interested in your lusts. Do you know why? Because everything in this world is working as an enemy of God and His ways, and you are feeding into that evil scheme of the Devil in more ways than you can count.
So, good then has to be internal satisfaction knowing that we are hearing from God.
“enjoying pleasure from the gratification of appetites or desires.”
The definition continues to explain “The pleasurable sensations derived from the gratification of sensual appetites render a person temporarily happy;” Well, that sort of sounds like my explanation above. Earthly gratification makes you temporarily happy. Why do you think the divorce rate is so high, even in the church?
“but he only can be esteemed really and permanently happy, who enjoys peace of mind in the favor of God.”
Now, you have to ask yourself, how do I obtain this permanently happy place? Considering that our lives are guaranteed trials and tribulations just for following Jesus, it seems like an impossible assertion. That is why we have to stay in the Word of God and stay focused. Look, the reality of life is that we are and will be, dodging “fiery darts” our entire lives, so get used to it. You can have a peacefulness if you know and understand that peace only comes through a deep and serious relationship with Jesus Christ. This is NOT a cultist relationship I am talking about; this is a serious, purposeful effort.
For me and my mental health, when I was working, I had to leave the building at lunchtime, go to a local fast-food restaurant and sit, read, and write. I wrote down every question and challenge that popped into my mind, and I did this for seven years. It felt like a university education, and I find the Holy Spirit bringing so many things back to my remembrance as I write these Bible studies.
To be to any degree happy, we must be free from pain both of body and of mind;
Get a grip; you are never going to be entirely free of pain, whether it’s in your body or your mind. Satan, or at least one of his cohorts, taunts me daily about things. None of that changes the fact that the Holy Spirit has filled my life with joy in the midst of those things. Instead of concerning yourself with happiness, focus on the fact that He will fill your life with joy.
to be very happy, we must be in the enjoyment of lively sensations of pleasure, either of body or mind.
Really, you are going to throw yourself into worldly lusts to relieve yourself of the cares of this world? Downing a pint of alcohol does not make anything go away. It only makes things worse, especially if you crash your vehicle and kill some innocent victim on the sidewalk.
Here is what the Word has to say about what the World has to offer.
“You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4 NASB)
“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:15-17 NASB)
So the worldly dictionary definition of happiness can in no way fulfill the blessedness of the one who is heeding the words of the prophecy of this book – the Revelation. The prophetic word opened with this admonition –
“Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it, for the time is near.” (Revelation 1:3 NASB)
And ends in a similar manner. Do you get the impression that Jesus is serious about this?
The Life Application New Testament Commentary tells us that “this promise that God blesses the reader and listeners sets John’s writing apart from other Jewish apocalyptic literature and points out that these words were inspired by God.”
The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament conveys the truth that “Most people in antiquity could not read, and there would not at any rate be enough copies of the book (which would have to be copied by hand) for everyone to have his or her own. Thus the blessing is for the one who reads aloud to the congregation (just as there was one reader in a synagogue) and those who hear (just as the rest of the congregation listened to Scripture readings).”
We seem to forget that life in the early church was sustained without Bibles, as we know them, and, even if there were it would have been the Old Testament alone.