THE TIME IS AT HAND
Rev 22:10-12 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
To begin the comments on the lesson text, lets recall the opening verses of this Revelation letter: The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw (Rev. 1:1-2). All things witnessed and recorded by John, from the beginning of this apocalyptic book to the current lesson text, are included in the sayings of the prophecy of this book. Here the messenger of God, His chosen angel, tells John to seal them not, that is, do not hide them, conceal them, or store them away. The teachings, and the symbolic prophecies of this book, are to be revealed to the world. As difficult as this recorded message is to understand, and as much as it has been debated, its message is to be taught, read, and thoroughly understood by all people of the world, that revere God, and truly desire His promise of eternal life to all that believe and obey His commandments, which are contained in His word, the Holy Bible.
And why are we to gain knowledge of His word, believe it, and obey it? It is because the prophecy of this book tells us that the time is at hand - the time in which these revelations were made known was the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecies which it contained. This passage does not indicate that the time is at hand when these prophecies shall be completed, but rather when they will begin to be fulfilled. The prophecies of this book begin to foretell the devastating persecution of the church of Christ; the trials and tribulations that would come, and, for centuries, would result in great harm, death, and destruction to Jesus' faithful followers, who make up the body of Christ. For those persecuted Christians, the complete Revelation was to be made known, assuring them that, in the end, the church would be avenged, vindicated, and would experience a triumphant victory over its Satan-inspireed persecutors. The symbolic prophecies of this book were not to be sealed up and stored away, rather they were to be opened, and made known to all ages, both those that were near at hand, as well as those in distant ages. These revelations of things to come are recorded, and made known, in order to assure the church of Christ of all ages that, although they will face much persecution and tribulation, they, by the providence of God, are assured victory over the evil influences of Satan. This, friends of God and Christ Jesus, is the true purpose of the Revelation letter, which was recorded by the apostle John. These were the things God revealed to His Son, Jesus Christ, Who revealed them to God's angelic messenger, who revealed them to the apostle John, who recorded them for you and me, and for mankind of all ages (See Rev. 1:1-2).
Verse 11 reads, He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. In a few well prepared words, it teaches all mankind a message that is well described by B. W. Johnson, in his New Testament Explanatory Notes: "This is not a command, but a warning. He that is fixed in injustice and unrighteousness, let him go on. The future judgments revealed in the preceding visions show that he shall reap the seed that he has sown. But the holy and true, let them be encouraged to press on; they have their reward."
Through the angel of God, Jesus Christ speaks these words of warning, behold, I come quickly. This does not refer to Judgment Day, the end of time, or the second coming of Christ Jesus. Rather, it means that the fate of each man and woman of the world, of all ages, will be sealed quickly. The final and eternal sentence of each individual, whether they are unjust or filthy, righteous or holy, their fate will be irrevocably determined on the day that he or she passes from this world in death. Their reward will be given to them by Christ Jesus on Resurrection Day, when all shall appear before the Lord. On that day reward or punish will be given to every man according as his work shall be. For this we know, that we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad (2 Cor. 5:10), (Also see Matt. 16:27 and Rom. 2:6).