Keep the Words of this Book
“Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book (Revelation 22:7b).”
“Let’s study Revelation.” When I hear those words from the mouths of fellow believers I am both excited and fearful at the same time. I am excited because Revelation is a powerful and gripping text which helps us to see our present and future from a perspective unseen by the unaided eye. It provides me an understanding of what I am experiencing in the present, and sure and certain realities that I can cling to in an uncertain future. I am also fearful when I hear someone suggest we study Revelation, for it is often turned to out of curiosity. Yet here Jesus Himself assures us that this text is tremendously practical and not merely a point of curiosity.
Here we are given one of the seven beatitudes in this book. In it we are called “blessed” if we keep the words of the prophecy of this book. The Greek word translated here as “keeps” is used often in Revelation (see 1:3; 2:26; 3:3,8; 12:17; 14:12; 16:15; 22:9) to speak of faithful perseverance of the saints. Those who are called blessed are not those who have cobbled together a detailed end times theology, but rather those who live in faithful obedience to these words even as they face a difficult and confusing world.
The sign that we are keeping these words is found not in that we can confidently argue our perspective on the millennium, but rather that we stay pure in the face of inviting compromise. Far too often things such as economic security and material comforts cry out to us to compromise with the values system of this world. Yet if we read and keep the words of this book, we will know that such thinking is short-sighted indeed, for the great city of Babylon that is filled with all that the world adores will be thrown down (see Revelation 18). Instead like our forbearer Abraham, we will look forward to a city with foundations whose architect and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10). We will be able to look to that greater and eternal city and not to a city that will soon fall because we have kept the words of this book.