(Revised Text) "And he said to me, These words are faithful and true and the Lord the God of the spirits of the prophets sent his angel to show to his servants what things must come to pass shortly. And behold, I come quickly: blessed he that keepeth the words of the prophecy of this book. And I, John was hearing and seeing these things. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. And he saith to me, See, no; I am fellow-servant of thee and of thy brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book: worship God. And he saith to me, Seal not up the words of the prophecy of this book; the time is near. Let the unjust one do injustice more and more, and the filthy (or, polluted) one defile (or, do pollution) more and more, and the righteous one do righteousness more and more, and the holy one sanctify more and more. Behold, I come quickly, and my reward with me, to give to each as his work is, I the Alpha and the Omega. First and Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed they that wash their robes that they may (in that they shall have the power over the tree of life, and enter by the gates into the city. Excluded (or, outside) are the dogs, and the sorcerers, and the fornicators, and the murderers, and the idolaters, and every one loving or making a lie (or, what is false)."
We come now to the last section of this wonderful Book-the Epilogue-the closing remarks. The Grand Panorama of an ending and renewing world has reached the point where everything enters upon the eternal state, and we are now to take leave of the wonderful exhibit. We have seen the Church in its universality and varied historic continuity from the days of the Apostle down to the time when Christ shall come for his people, and how he will end its career by taking one here and another there, and leaving the rest, because of their unreadiness to taste the sorrows of the great Tribulation. With the judgment thus begun at the house of God, we have seen it roll along through the breaking of seals, the sounding of trumpets, and the pouring out of bowls of wrath, in ever-varying scenes of miracle and wonder, toward saints and sinners, the living and the dead. We have seen the antichrist coming up from his abyss, captivating the world, running his course of unexampled blasphemy, and sinking forever in his deserved perdition.
We have seen the final doings of Satan, in heaven and earth, his arrest and imprisonment, his short loosing, and his final consignment, with all his, to the lake of fire. We have seen the thrones of the shepherdizers of the nations, the breaking down of all rebellion, and the coming forth into the living world of the eternal principles of righteousness. We have seen the shaking of the old heavens and earth, and the same passed through the throes of the long-expected Regeneration. We have seen the crowned princes of the first resurrection wedded to the All-Ruling Lamb, and led into the golden city of their hopes. We have seen the New Jerusalem come down out of heaven from God; Sin, Death, Hades, and the curse swept into Gehenna; the tabernacle of God taking its place among men; redemption complete; Paradise regained; and the nations of the earth in Edenic peace and glory setting out under their immortal kings for an eternity of uninterrupted blessedness. And it only remains now to give a few closing particulars with reference to these momentous Revelations, that men may attend to them with that reverence and faith which of right belongs to them. May God help us to hear, learn, and inwardly digest them to our abiding consolation!
I. The first thing we are called on to note is, their absolute truth and certainty. There is nothing in which the difference of the Scriptures from all other teachings is more manifest than in the positiveness and authority with which they deliver themselves on all subjects, even where reason can tell us nothing, and where the presentations are so marvelous as to stagger belief. When the Saviour was on earth, he spoke with such clearness and simplicity, and with such knowing majesty and commanding mastery of all wisdom that people who heard him were amazed, forgot all other authorities, and hasted away in awe, saying, "Never man spoke like this man." And so it is in all the word of inspiration. Even where angels would scarce dare to tread, it enters with perfect freedom, as upon its own home domain, and declares itself with all that assured certainty which belongs only to Omniscience. Even with regard to all the astounding and seemingly impossible wonders of this Book, the absolute truth of every jot and tittle is guaranteed with the abounding fullness of the completest knowledge of everything involved. In case of some of the most wonderful of these presentations, the word to John was, "Write, because these words are faithful and true." And so here, with regard to all the contents of the Book, it was said to the Seer, "These words (are) faithful and true."
Thrice is it repeated, that these presentations are faithful and true (Revelation 19:9; 21:5; 22:6); and twice is it affirmed that these showings are all from God. In the opening of the Book it is said, that he "sent his angel to his servant John" for the purpose of making these revelations, and here at the conclusion, we have it repeated, that "the Lord the God of the spirits of the prophets sent his angel to show to his servants what things MUST come to pass." Nay more, Christ himself adds special personal testimony to the fact: "I, JESUS, sent my angel to testify to you these things." Thus, the very God of all inspiration, and of all inspired men, reiterates and affirms the highest authority for all that is herein written.
Either, then, this Book is nothing but a base and blasphemous forgery, unworthy of the slightest respect of people, and specially unworthy of a place in the Sacred Canon; or it is one of the most directly inspired and authoritative writings ever given. But a forgery it cannot be. All the churches named in its first chapters, from the earliest periods succeeding the time of its writing, with one accord, accepted and honored it as from their beloved apostolic Father. Papias, Bishop of Hieropolis, a disciple of John, a colleague of the Seven Angels of these churches, and who gave much attention to the collection of all the memorable sayings and works of the Apostles, accepted and honored this Book as the genuine production of this venerable Apostle. Nor is there another Book in the New Testament whose genuineness and inspiration were more clearly and strongly attested on its first appearance, and for the three half-centuries next following.
Augustine and the Latin Council unquestionably had good and sufficient reason for classing it with the most sacred apostolic records, and the Church in general for regarding it as a Book of prophecy "from Christ's own divine, omniscient, and eternal Spirit". And if it really is the Lord Jesus who speaks to us in this Book, there is nothing in all the Canon of Scripture which he more pointedly attests, more solemnly guards, or more urgently presses upon the study and devout regard of all who would be his disciples. People may account us crazy for giving so much attention to it, and laugh at our credulity for daring to believe that it means what it says; but better be accounted possessed, as Christ himself was considerred, and be pronounced beside ourselves and mad, after the manner of Paul, than to take our lot with Pharisees, and Festuses, and Agrippas, and Galios. If we err in this, we err with the goodly fellowship of the saints, with the noble army of the martyrs, in the society of many great and good and wise in many ages and nations. And if it should finally turn out that we have been beguiling ourselves with dreams, they still give us the most consistent philosophy of providence, and the most comforting solutions of life's mysteries while our pretensionless submission to what seems most surely to be our Creator's word and will may serve us best when we come to answer at his judgment-seat. We believe that it is God who tells us, "these words are faithful and true,'" therefore we so take them, and build our faith upon them, and testify them to all the world.
II. A second particular to be noted in this Epilogue is the repetition of the benediction upon those who treasure what is written in this Book. In the opening verses the inspired writer said: "Blessed he who readeth, and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and observe the things which are written in it." But here the Saviour himself, even he whose nearing Apocalypse these records were