Revelation 22:10
And he said to me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) And he saith to me . . .—The angel, in contrast to the injunctions given to Daniel (Daniel 12:9-13), bids the prophet “Seal not the words of the prophecy”: the reason is added, “for the time is near.” “Such is ever the difference between the prophecy of the old, and the prophecy of the new dispensation. The one belonged to a preliminary and prefatory state; the other to a completive and final condition. However long the gospel age may have lasted, or may yet continue, it is the last time (1John 2:18): after it there is none other: then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14), (Dean Vaughan).

Revelation 22:10-11. And he saith unto me — After a little pause; Seal not the sayings of this book — Conceal them not, like the things that are sealed up; for the time is at hand — When they shall begin to take place. He that is unjust — Or unrighteous; that is, who lives and dies unjustified, let him be unjust, or unrighteous, still — For after death his state can admit of no change, he that is filthy — Unholy, unsanctified, and dies in that condition; let him, that is, he shall be, filthy, or unholy, still; and he that is righteous — That lives and dies justified, or accounted righteous; let him be, he shall be, righteous still; and he that is holy — That is, renewed in the spirit of his mind, and stamped with the divine image, and perseveres until death in that state; shall be holy still — Shall be found so at the day of judgment, and shall remain so for ever. Dr. Doddridge’s paraphrase on the verse, connecting it with the preceding, is, “The time is just approaching when the last seal shall be put on the characters of men, and when it shall be said, on the one hand, Let him that is unjust be unjust still, &c., for no more opportunities shall ever be granted for reforming what has been amiss, and recovering the unrighteous and polluted soul to rectitude and purity; and on the other hand, it shall be said, Let him that is righteous be righteous still, &c.; nothing shall ever happen to bring the virtues and graces of good men into any future danger, or under any cloud; but their righteousness and their holiness shall for ever shine, yea, shine with an increasing lustre.” 22:6-19 The Lord Jesus spake by the angel, solemnly confirming the contents of this book, particularly of this last vision. He is the Lord God faithful and true. Also by his messengers; the holy angels showed them to holy men of God. They are things that must shortly be done; Christ will come quickly, and put all things out of doubt. And by the integrity of that angel who had been the apostle's interpreter. He refused to accept religious worship from John, and reproved him for offering it. This presents another testimony against idolatrous worship of saints and angels. God calls every one to witness to the declarations here made. This book, thus kept open, will have effect upon men; the filthy and unjust will be more so, but it will confirm, strengthen, and further sanctify those who are upright with God. Never let us think that a dead or disobedient faith will save us, for the First and the Last has declared that those alone are blessed who do his commandments. It is a book that shuts out form heaven all wicked and unrighteous persons, particularly those who love and make lies, therefore cannot itself be a lie. There is no middle place or condition. Jesus, who is the Spirit of prophecy, has given his churches this morning-light of prophecy, to assure them of the light of the perfect day approaching. All is confirmed by an open and general invitation to mankind, to come and partake freely of the promises and of the privileges of the gospel. The Spirit, by the sacred word, and by convictions and influence in the sinner's conscience, says, Come to Christ for salvation; and the bride, or the whole church, on earth and in heaven, says, Come and share our happiness. Lest any should hesitate, it is added, Let whosoever will, or, is willing, come and take of the water of life freely. May every one who hears or reads these words, desire at once to accept the gracious invitation. All are condemned who should dare to corrupt or change the word of God, either by adding to it, or taking from it.And he saith unto me - The angel.

Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book - That is, seal not the book itself, for it may be regarded altogether as a prophetic book. On the sealing of a book, see the notes on Revelation 5:1 . Isaiah (Isaiah 8:16; Isaiah 30:8) and Daniel (Daniel 8:26; Daniel 12:4, Daniel 12:9) were commanded to seal up their prophecies. Their prophecies related to far-distant times, and the idea in their being commanded to seal them was, that they should make the record sure and unchangeable; that they should finish it, and lay it up for future ages; so that, in far-distant times, the events might be compared with the prophecy, and it might be seen that there was an exact correspondence between the prophecy and the fulfillment. Their prophecies would not be immediately demanded for the use of persecuted saints, but would pertain to future ages. On the other hand, the events which John had predicted, though in their ultimate development they were to extend to the end of the world, and even into eternity, were about to begin to be fulfilled, and were to be of immediate use in consoling a persecuted church. John, therefore, was directed not to seal up his predictions; not to lay them away, to be opened, as it were, in distant ages; but to leave them open, so that a persecuted church might have access to them, and might, in times of persecution and trial, have the assurance that the principles of their religion would finally triumph. See the notes on Revelation 10:2.

For the time is at hand - That is, they are soon to commence. It is not implied that they would be soon completed. The idea is, that as the scenes of persecution were soon to open upon the church, it was important that the church should have access to these prophecies of the final triumph of religion, to sustain it in its trials. Compare the notes on Revelation 1:1, Revelation 1:3.

10. Seal not—But in Da 12:4, 9 (compare Da 8:26), the command is, "Seal the book," for the vision shall be "for many days." The fulfilment of Daniel's prophecy was distant, that of John's prophecy is near. The New Testament is the time of the end and fulfilment. The Gentile Church, for which John wrote his Revelation, needs more to be impressed with the shortness of the period, as it is inclined, owing to its Gentile origin, to conform to the world and forget the coming of the Lord. The Revelation points, on the one hand, to Christ's coming as distant, for it shows the succession of the seven seals, trumpets, and vials; on the other hand, it proclaims, "Behold, I come quickly." So Christ marked many events as about to intervene before His coming, and yet He also says "Behold, I come quickly," because our right attitude is that of continual prayerful watching for His coming (Mt 25:6, 13, 19; Mr 13:32-37 [Auberlen]; compare Re 1:3). And he saith unto me; this he is Christ, as appeareth from Revelation 22:12,13.

Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book; let these things be open to be promulgated, and published to the whole church.

For the time is at hand; for it will not be long before they shall begin to be fulfilled. And he saith unto me,.... Not the angel, but Christ, as is manifest from Revelation 22:12. This clause is left out in the Ethiopic version.

Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book; as the orders are, when things are intended not to be published, but concealed, at least as yet, because of the distance of the accomplishment of them, which was not the case here; see Revelation 10:4. Christ would have the things John saw and heard, written, and made public, sent in an open book, unsealed, to the churches, that they might be seen and read of all; that so the afflictions and persecutions of the people of God, both under Rome Pagan, and Rome Papal, might be known, and the saints not be offended at them when they came, but be prepared for them, to endure them patiently; and that they might be apprised of the errors and heresies that were to spring up, and of the appearance and wickedness of the man of sin, and his followers, and beware of them; and that they might have some assurance of the destruction of antichrist, and of the glorious state of the church, both in the spiritual and personal reign of Christ, and so be comforted in the midst of their tribulations, and rejoice in the faith and hope of these things. We may learn from hence, that the Scriptures in general are not to be locked up, and concealed from the common people, but lie open, and are to be read by all; and in particular, that this book is not so dark and obscure as it is thought to be:

for the time is at hand; when the things in this book shall begin to be fulfilled; see Revelation 1:1.

{3} And he saith unto me, {4} Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.

(3) The angel returns to his former speech: in which he teaches to use of this book both towards ourselves, in this and the next verse: and in respect of God for declaration of his truth, there to the fifteenth verse Re 22:11-15.

(4) That is, propound this prophecy openly to all and conceal no part of it. The contrary to that which is commanded in Isa 8:16, Da 8:26.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
The book of Daniel, the great classic of apocalyptic literature, is represented (cf. Slav. En. xxxiii. 9–11, xxxv. 3; En. xciii. 10, civ. 12, etc.) as having been providentially kept secret at the time of its composition, since it referred to a future period (Daniel 8:26, Daniel 12:4; Daniel 12:9). This was a literary device, to explain why it had not been divulged before. As John’s apocalypse is for an immediate crisis, it is not to be reserved for days to come. It is not merely valid (7) but intended for the prophet’s contemporaries (unlike Isaiah 30:8, cf. Cheyne’s note), though reserved, like most of its class, as esoteric literature for the “wise” (contrast 4 Esd. 14:38–48). Some interval, however, is presupposed between the vision and its fulfilment, otherwise it would be futile to write the visions down, and to arrange for their circulation throughout the churches. A certain career (Revelation 22:7; Revelation 22:9; Revelation 22:18-19) is anticipated for the Apocalypse. But (Revelation 22:11.) persistence in good and evil is about all the writer expects—a stereotyped feature of the apocalyptic outlook on the obduracy of the wicked and the perseverance of the saints. Apocalyptic never encouraged propaganda, and no radical or widespread change is anticipated during the brief interval before the end. As in Daniel 12:10-11, so here, the crisis simply accentuates and accelerates human character along previous lines. No anxiety is shown, however, as in 4 Esd. 4:50 f., whether the prophet himself is to see the end.10. he saith] Still, probably, the same angel. He speaks still more unmistakeably in Christ’s person, now that St John understands beyond mistake that he is not Christ Himself.

Seal not &c.] Pointedly contrasted with Daniel 12:4; Daniel 12:9. In Daniel’s time, both the coming of Antichrist and the deliverance from him were far off: Daniel was bidden to write what he saw and heard, but not to make it public, for it would be unintelligible till long after his own generation:—at least till the typical persecution of Antiochus, and the typical day of vengeance and deliverance of the Maccabees. But to St John’s readers, all was to be as plain as an unfulfilled prophecy ever can be: except one detail (Revelation 10:4) the whole vision is to be laid before the Church. It may be meant further, that the typical persecution of Nero was already within the Church’s experience, and that its typical revival under Domitian was to fall within the present generation.

for the time is at hand] Song of Solomon 1:3. Besides the fact that partial and typical fulfilments were nearer to St John’s age than to Daniel’s, it is intimated that the same age, the same dispensation under which St John and his readers lived was to last till the time of the end; while the Jewish age in which Daniel lived passed away long before the end. For in mere chronology the difference is slight: from St John’s day to the end is, as we know, more than 1800 years, and from Daniel’s more than 2400: in comparison with the longer period, the shorter can hardly be spoken of as short.Revelation 22:10. Καὶ λέγει μοι, and he says to me) It is the same angel, whose addresses are mentioned in Revelation 22:9-10; and yet the formula, and he says to me, is placed between, because the angel here (Revelation 22:10) follows up afresh the discourse mentioned in Revelation 22:6, after the interruptions made in Revelation 22:7-9. Comp. and he says to me, ch. Revelation 17:15, Revelation 19:9.—μὴ σφραγίσῃς, seal not) They are like persons sealing, whose purpose it appears to be, under specious pretexts, to restrain the fuller handling of this prophecy.Verse 10. And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. The visions being now complete, St. John is commanded to communicate them to the world (cf. Revelation 10:4, where a contrary direction is given). The last sentence is again a repetition of the assertion of the shortness of this our time of preparation (cf. on ver. 7). The revelation deals not with events far distant in the future, but with those immediately present; for this reason the message is to be communicated (cf. Daniel 8:26, where the reason given for "shutting up the vision" is that the visions "belong to many days to come," Revised Version). Seal (σφραγίσῃς)

Rev., seal up. This word occurs eighteen times in Revelation and twice in the Gospel, and only five times elsewhere in the New Testament. It means to confirm or attest (John 3:33); to close up for security (Matthew 27:66; Revelation 20:3); to hide or keep secret (Revelation 10:4; Revelation 22:10); to mark a person or thing (Revelation 7:3; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:30)

Time (καιρὸς)

See on Matthew 12:1.

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