Category Archives: REVELATION 22

The apostle John continues to recount what he saw as he is granted to see the heavenly city, and he then anticipates Christ’s coming.

REVELATION 22

Survey of the chapter
The first five verses of the chapter are part of the section which starts in chapter 21:9, and which gives information about the 1000-year reign of Christ, (as is indicated by the fact that it is one of the angels that had the plagues of the end of the tribulation period that talks with John, 21:9, so this alerts us to the fact that he is being brought back from considering the eternal state), and describes the city of Jerusalem of that time, and the conditions that will prevail. The same thing had happened in chapter 1, where John was brought back from future things to present things, for he was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, but was caused to hear a voice behind him, bringing him back o the present. The same thing happens also in the conclusion of the book from 22:6 to the end, where John is brought back from millenial scenes to his present situation of waiting for Christ to come for the church. So verses 1-5 of chapter 22 are a continuation of the theme of chapter 21, namely the millenial earth and its glory.

Chapter 22:6 to the end of the book consists of a conclusion which revolves around the coming of the Lord Jesus for His church-saints and the response of those saints to it. It consists largely of the words of Christ Himself, with some input from the angel and from John. The passage may be thought of as centring around the mentions of the coming of Christ, which is presented to us in principle, without going into the detail of His coming, which has been fully treated in the rest of the New Testament. These references to Christ’s coming are found in verses 7, 12, and 20, and John responds in verse 20 with the words “Even so, come, Lord Jesus”.

Structure of the chapter

(a) Verses 1-6 Continuation of description of Holy City
(b) Verses 6-10 Christ is coming quickly- opportunities to be faithful are limited
(c) Verses 11-15 Christ is coming to reward- lives should be examined
(d) Verses 16-22 Christ is coming- believing hearts will respond to that prospec

 

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE BOOK OF THE REVELATION CHAPTER 22, VERSES 1 TO 5:

22:1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

22:2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

22:3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him:

22:4 And they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.

22:5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

(a) Verses 1-6   Continuation of description of Holy City

22:1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life- the “he” refers to the angel who has been with John since chapter 21:9, and described there as “one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues”. Since he shewed John first of all the bride, the Lamb’s wife, it may be he is the seventh angel, for his vial brought Babylon into remembrance before God, and that city is described as a harlot, in great contrast to the purity of the Lamb’s bride.

The prophets described the river that will flow out from the temple in Jerusalem during the millenium. For example, Joel foretold that “a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim”, Joel 3:18, Shittim being near the Dead Sea.

Zechariah prophesied that “it shall come to pass in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and winter it shall be”, Zechariah 14:8.

Ezekiel writes, “Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side…Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river. Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt. And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine”, Ezekiel 47:1-12. (The fact that place-names are given in this passage shows that it is to be taken literally).

No doubt it was to this passage that the Lord referred when He said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water”, John 7:37,38. He was using a literal future event to illustrate what would happen once the Spirit had come at Pentecost. This did not turn Ezekiel’s prophecy into an allegory, with no literal meaning, but simply derived a spiritual lesson from it. It is interesting to notice that the issuing forth of water from the temple becomes in the Lord’s illustration rivers of living flowing out from the innermost being of the believer. But we learn that the believer’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 6:19, so the figure is very apt.

So John saw a pure river of life, and Zechariah spoke of living waters, which flowed into the Dead Sea and healed the waters. It is well known that the Dead Sea is so called because the waters are saturated with minerals, making plant and fish life impossible. This will change in the kingdom, and fishermen shall prosper. The impurities of the sea will be dealt with by the purity of the river. The water is called the water of life because it represents the Spirit of God who gives spiritual life. Zechariah called the waters “living waters”. It also heals the deadness of the sea.

However, the river that John sees must be different, for the following reasons:

1. It proceeds out of the throne of God and the Lamb, and that throne is in the heavenly Jerusalem John is being shown, as we learn from verse 3. It is true that the river of Ezekiel 47 issued forth from under the threshold of the temple, and the temple was called by God “the place of My throne”, 43:5-7, but it was a temple on earth he was describing, whereas John sees a city descending from heaven, and most probably suspended over the earthly Jerusalem.

2. The trees that line the earthly river are said to be “all trees for meat”, suggesting that there are a variety of sorts of tree, perhaps twelve. The prophet writes, “it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months”, suggesting that each variety of tree shall have its appropriate month to bear fruit, so that there is a succession. The trees in John’s vision, however, are all trees of life, and yet bear twelve manner of fruits, one each month.

3. The trees in Ezekiel are for the healing of the nations, as are the trees in John’s vision. However, the trees of life are in the holy city, and nothing that defiles shall enter there, Revelation 21:27. This prevents unsaved persons from eating of the trees of life. This is the same mercy of God who barred the way to the original tree of life “lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever…” Genesis 3:22. The trees of Ezekiel’s vision, however, are freely available to ” the nations”, including the unsaved children of believers.

4. There is no mention of John’s river flowing out anywhere, for it seems to water only the heavenly city. Ezekiel’s river, on the other hand, divides, and one branch flows into the Mediterranean, and the other into the Dead Sea.

For these reasons it seems clear that the rivers are different, and the locations also, one being in the city that descends from heaven, Revelation 21:10, and the other in the earthly Jerusalem.

Clear as crystal- not only is the water pure in itself, and purifying to other things, it is not capable of being polluted. Many rivers on earth are full of impurities, having pollutants flowing into them, but this river is different. A crystal cannot have impurities put into it, and has become a metaphor for that which is free of pollution, as in the expression “clear as crystal”. The Holy Spirit, being a Divine person, cannot be made unholy.
Proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb- Ezekiel tells us “waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east”. Now when Solomon built his temple he positioned his throne in a porch at the front of the house at the east end, 1 Kings 7:7. So the temple became the centre of administration, and the judgements issuing from his throne had due regard to the holiness of God as represented by the temple. So it shall be when a “greater than Solomon” reigns from Jerusalem. He shall sit on the throne of His glory, Matthew 25:31, and rule in righteousness and holiness. Ezekiel was taken into the inner court of the future temple, and he saw the glory of the God of Israel come from the way of the east, Ezekiel 43:2, and His glory filled the house, verse 5, and Ezekiel heard Him speaking from inside the house, and referring to the place of His throne, verse 7.

When Solomon began his reign we read that “Solomon the son of David sat on the throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him”, 1 Chronicles 29:23. So the throne of David became the throne of the Lord when Solomon sat upon it, a faint preview of the day when Christ the Lord shall sit upon the throne of David. At the moment He is seated on His Father’s throne in heaven, for “when He had by Himself purged our sins”, He “sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high”, Hebrews 1:3. But as He Himself said, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne”. So currently He has a heavenly throne, but in the future He will sit on His own earthly one. And it is to this that the writer to the Hebrews refers when he quotes from Psalm 45:6,7. God is going to bring His Son into the world again, and at that time He will say to Him, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom”, Hebrews 1:8. So the throne of David, which became the throne of the Lord when Solomon sat upon it, will indeed be “the throne of God and of the Lamb”. He will sit upon the throne of glory because He hung upon the cross of shame. He will exchange the altar for a throne.

Matthew, the kingly gospel begins with the words “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham”, Matthew 1:1. This is the order of Matthew’s gospel, giving details first as to His right to the throne, and then telling how His own people rejected Him and gave Him a cross. The chronological order, however, which Matthew adopts in the genealogy, (in contrast to Luke, who works backwards), is Abraham and then David, which is also the moral order. The literal son of Abraham was Isaac, the son who was put on the altar; the literal son of David was Solomon, the son who sat on the throne. Thus we learn that the foundation of the kingdom is Calvary, just as the temple, the centre of government, was built on Moriah, the place of sacrifice, 1 Chronicles 22:1; 2 Chronicles 3:1.

Having noted all this about Christ’s earthly throne, we note that the throne mentioned here is in the heavenly city, so represents the throne of heaven as it superintends the affairs of earth, as opposed to the throne in Jerusalem which Christ will occupy as King of Israel, that from it He may rule the earth.

The waters are said to “proceed” from the throne. The word is interesting because it is usually used in the New Testament of words coming out of the mouth. For instance:

“every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God”, Matthew 4:4.

“and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth”, Luke 4:22.

“even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father”, John 15:26.

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth”, Ephesians 4:29.

“And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices”, Revelation 4:5.

“fire proceedeth out of their mouth”, Revelation 11:5.

“Which sword proceeded out of His mouth”, Revelation 19:21. From this we may see that the waters, issuing forth from the place of the throne as they do, represent the edicts that will be pronounced by the one who sits on that throne.

22:2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life- even though the tree of life is in the singular, nonetheless the fact that it was either side of the river suggests that whereas at the beginning there was but one tree of life in the garden of Eden, here there are many. And whereas after sin entered the tree of life was guarded, lest man should eat of it and live for ever in a state of sin, Genesis 3:22, here the trees are freely available to those who either live in the city, or those believers of the Old Testament era who enter into it. The street of it would mean the central square of the heavenly city, paved with pure gold, 21:21.
Which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month- the mention of months goes to confirm that the passage of time is still being measured by the moon, and therefore the passage does not refer to the eternal state.
And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations- the leaves of this tree of life can be safely eaten by those who either live in the city or who enter into it, but the unbelievers on the earth will be barred from it. In the mercy of God the trees along the earthly river are for their healing. Revelation 21:24 speaks of “the nations of them which are saved”. Perhaps it will be part of the service of the saints to pluck off these leaves and convey them to those who live on the earth.

22:3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him:

And there shall be no more curse- when sin came in, the curse soon followed; the same day in fact. God said to Adam, “Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return”, Genesis 3:17-19. Note how the penalty suits the crime, for man fell because he disobeyed a simple and straightforward command to not eat of a particular tree. He had free access to all the others in their profusion and variety, including the tree of life, but he choose to transgress. Instead of being able to reach up with hardly any effort and pick the fruit of trees God had planted for him, Adam has to toil and sweat until his dying day, with no prospect even of retirement.

The apostle Paul gives us the principle behind all this as he explains why believers suffer physically, “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body”, Romans 8:19-23.

So when sin came in God subjected creation to the bondage of corruption. Every atom in the universe is sustained by circular motion. When mechanics tell us the brakes on our car are binding, then it means that their circular motion is being restricted. So with the universe; all is running less than efficiently now, with far-reaching consequences. Nothing is functioning as our Creator designed it to do, and even though our bodies have remarkable abilities, at last they wear out and we suffer in varying degrees, and then die. Believers are not exempt from this process, since they still have the body they were born with, and it forms their last remaining link with Adam. But a great change is coming, first for believers at the Rapture, and then for the material world when Christ comes to reign. Then creation shall be delivered from its bondage, and the liberty into which the sons of God will already have been brought, it shall share. There is the assurance here that no curse shall ever spoil conditions in the city. Note the absolute statement, “no more curse”. This is weakened if we adopt the marginal rendering, “no longer curse”, for that suggests that a curse was operating at the time, and from that point on was halted. The truth is that the curse will be lifted when Christ comes to reign. Only the serpent will remain cursed during that period, for, although deprived of its venom, it will still go on its belly, and eat dust with its food, as a reminder of man’s folly in listening to the tempter, Isaiah 65:25. So even that curse will be turned into a blessing, though not for the creature concerned, nor for the evil one who used it.
But the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it- notice that the promise that there will never again be a curse, and the throne of God, are connected. The curse came in because the rule of God, as expressed by His command to Adam to not eat of the tree, was disobeyed. In the millenial day God’s authority will be maintained strictly, for it will be a time when righteousness reigns, hence the mention of the Throne of God. But the one who sits on the throne is appropriately called the Lamb, for by His sacrifice He gave God the right to reconcile all things to Himself. As the apostle wrote, “and, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things to Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” Colossians 1:19,20. Such is the value of the work of Christ that creation shall never again suffer a curse.
And His servants shall serve Him- there is the use here of two ideas of service. On the one hand, the word for servant is “doulos”, a bondservant, one who is subject to the will of another, and on the other, the word for serve is derived from the verb “latreuo”, which is translated as worship in Philippians 3:3. There is a combination therefore in the service rendered, it is both an expression of subjection, and an expression of worship. This will be true then, but it is also true now, for any service rendered to God ought to be in a worshipful and dignified way. There is no room in the service of God for casualness, flippancy, or light-heartedness; these are features of the modern world, and should have no place in our minds or our activities. The mention of the throne of God, and then the removal of the curse brought in by Adam’s transgression, and then the idea of service, reminds us that once Adam had lost a sense of God’s authority, and disobeyed His command, he not only brought the curse upon himself and the race that would come from him, but he ceased to serve God. He had begun to serve Satan, giving more weight to his word than to God’s. The consequence of this was that man was found “serving diverse lusts and pleasures”, Titus 3:3. True worship and service can only come as a result of a solemn appreciation of the authority of God, and subjection to that authority. Those spoken of here, because they are in resurrection bodies, will have left behind the sin-principle that provoked them to act in their own interests, and they will have bodies which will be able to serve and worship God without hindrance.

22:4 And they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.

And they shall see His face- they will have immediate access to God. One of the things that impressed the Queen of Sheba was “the attendance of his ministers”, 1 Kings 10:5. How much more impressive will be the hosts of the redeemed as they serve God in His presence. That they see His face will show that the prayer of the Lord Jesus will be answered, for He expressed His will that “they also whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me: for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world”, John 17:24. Not only do believers have a deep longing to be with the one who has redeemed them, but He has a deep longing that they be there. And the assurance that they will be is found in His words, prefaced as they are by the word “for”, “for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world”. Could there be a stronger plea that the fact that the Father’s love for the Son is eternal? Can He refuse a request from such an one? This is the sure basis for the believer’s hope to be in the presence of God for all eternity.
And His name shall be in their foreheads- earlier in this book of Revelation we are presented with the grim sight of those who have the mark of the beast on their foreheads, 13:16. It is made very clear by an angel in 14:9 that to accept that mark is to be destined to “drink the wine of the wrath of God”, verse 10. On the other hand, to have not received that mark in the forehead is to rise at the resurrection of the just, Revelation 20:4-6. In the promise to the overcomer in Philadelphia, the Lord said, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down from heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name”, Revelation 3:12. Solomon erected two pillars at the entrance to the temple, either side of his throne of judgement in the porch. They did not bear the building up, but they did what all pillars do, namely, bear testimony. The right hand one was inscribed “Jachin”, which means “He will establish”, and the left hand one “Boaz”, which means “In Him is strength”. Clearly, Solomon was bearing testimony to his belief that if his kingdom was to prosper, then God must establish it, and also his belief that strength to govern lay in God’s hands too.

Sadly, when the Babylonians came to take Jerusalem, they broke up these pillars and carried them into Babylon, together with the people and the king, 2 Kings 25:1-17. So the fate of the kingdom was bound up in the fate of the pillars, and the kingdom was no longer established, and God was no longer its strength, and the broken pillars testified to this.

Here the promise to the overcomer, (the one who holds the word of Christ’s patience, demonstrating he is a true believer), is that he will be a pillar in the temple of Christ’s God. The Lord Jesus knew the strengthening and establishing of His God as He lived down here as a dependent man, bearing true testimony to the truth of God. Instead of a place of prominence in an earthly temple, the true believer is promised a place in the temple in the heavenly city. He bore witness to heavenly truth when he was on earth, so now the overcomer is rewarded accordingly. Unlike the men of Judah, who were taken into captivity, and dispossessed of their land, the promise to the overcomer is that he will not go out of the privileged position granted to him in heaven.

Just as the pillars in Solomon’s temple had names that told what God was like, that He was the strengthener and the establisher of the testimony to Him who the temple represented, so the overcomer is promised that the aspect of God’s character to which he most bore testimony, will be that which is inscribed on him as a pillar in the heavenly temple. There will be a constant testimony borne to the particular way in which God strengthened and established him.

The overcomer had distanced himself from the attitude of those who dwell upon the earth, and who had no interest in heaven. His reward is to be associated publicly with the city which is of God, and which is heavenly in origin. Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah oversaw the rebuilding of the old Jerusalem, but that was an earthly place. The overcomer had only been interested in what was new, and of God. Those who were of the synagogue of Satan would be very interested in old Jerusalem, but these overcomers had got beyond what was of man.

The name of Christ’s God put upon the believer tells of ownership and security. The name of the city of Christ’s God tells us of the rights of citizenship acknowledged. Christ’s new name on the forehead has two possible meanings. Either “His name” is the new name Christ has been given, or the new name the believer is given by Christ, possibly a name that can be shared with Him. Either way, it is a sign of personal recognition on Christ’s part, and personal allegiance on the part of the believer. For all the promises given to the overcomers in particular churches were given to overcomers wherever they were, then and now.

22:5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

And there shall be no night there- the Lord said, “the night cometh, when no man can work”, John 9:4, by which He meant that His time for working miracles was limited, for He was soon to die. Every time night falls we are reminded of the passage of time, and that our opportunities to be something for God on the earth are limited. Once the heavenly city is reached however, no such warning will be necessary. Night also has its use, in that it allows us to recover our strength for the next day. In resurrection, however, there is no tiredness, and therefore no need for a night of rest. Furthermore, despite the length of eternity, (if we can speak of the length of an infinite thing), there is no time to waste. That there is no night will indicate that the passage of time has become meaningless.
And they need no candle, neither light of the sun- whether indoors or out, they will have light. There will be no restriction on their service of the Lord because of darkness without or gloom within.
For the Lord God giveth them light- the reason for the three foregoing things is that the new Jerusalem will be illuminated by the glory of God. We read, “And he…shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem…having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal”, Revelation 21:10,11. The believer currently rejoices in hope of the glory of God, Romans 5:1, but then will rejoice in the full experience of it. Aaron, when he ventured into the presence of God needed to shield himself from the glory by a cloud of incense. God’s worshipping servants will not need to do this, for they will have been fitted completely for the light of His presence.
And they shall reign for ever and ever- at the beginning of the book we learnt that the blood of Christ has made believers kings and priests, 1:6. For all eternity God’s people will display the kingly dignity that has been granted to them, and all to His glory.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE BOOK OF THE REVELATION CHAPTER 22, VERSES 6 TO 10:

22:6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to shew unto His servants the things which must shortly be done.

22:7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

22:8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.

22:9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.

22:10 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.

(b)  Verses 6-10   Christ is coming quickly- opportunities to be faithful are limited

22:6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show unto His servants the things which must shortly be done.

And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true- reliability and accuracy mark the Book of Revelation, and its sayings may be safely relied on.
And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel- the Lord God who sent the holy prophets in Old Testament times is the same God who has sent His angel to His servants of this era. The writings of the New Testament are therefore of equal authority to those of the Old Testament. This is a fitting assertion as the canon of Scripture closes. The angel who signified these things is introduced at the very beginning of the book, in chapter 1:1, and now the revelation is nearly finished.
To show unto His servants the things which must shortly be done- this reminds God’s servants that the time of testimony here is limited, and therefore we should make the most of the opportunities the Lord gives us. As the apostle Paul wrote, “redeeming the time, because the days are evil”, Ephesians 5:16, or, in other words, taking the hours of the day to the marketplace to sell to the highest bidder, seeking to use them for the highest good in view of the evils prevalent in the world.

22:7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

Behold, I come quickly- these words of Christ Himself reinforce those of the angel in verse 6. His coming will not be a moment later than the prescribed time. Once He has received word from His Father, He will quickly come, and will not delay. The writer to the Hebrews quoted the words of Habbakuk the prophet, “For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry”. A person may be on a station platform late at night, waiting for his train to arrive. At last it comes, exactly on time. It may have been the late train in the sense it came late in the day, but it was not late in that it came after the timetable said it would arrive. So with the coming of Christ; He is coming late in the age, and we may think He has been delayed, but it is not so, for He will come at exactly the right time. If we do what the men of faith listed in Hebrews 11 did, we shall bring future events into our souls by faith, and so the interval when Christ is absent will be short, and He will come quickly for us.
Blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book- in view of the Lord’s near return, the path of blessing is clear; it is to keep, (by practising), the sayings found scattered throughout this prophetic book. Not only is the book prophetic in the sense of foretelling the future, but also in the other sense of forth-telling the mind of God by revealing His character.

22:8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things.

And I John saw these things, and heard them- verses 8 and 9 contain a strange parenthesis. John had seen in vision many dramatic and awesome events unfolding before his eyes. He had also heard many important words spoken. This led him to do what he should not.
And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things- the angel commissioned to show John the things written in this book is described as “His angel”, so is the personal representative of the Godhead. Overwhelmed by the enormity and drama of the things revealed to him, and no doubt overawed by the greatness of the heavenly being who had been sent to him, John fell at the feet of the angel to worship him. No doubt he only meant to simply defer to the greater authority of this messenger who had been sent to show him future things, but it was a grave mistake.

22:9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.

Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not- his error was met by an instant and stern rebuke from the angel, who was zealous for the honour of God. If apostles start to worship angels then Christianity is at risk, for its foundation is the uniqueness and distinctiveness of God.
For I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book- the angel gives a three-fold reason why he should not be worshipped. First, he only claimed to be a servant, like John. Second, he was only a servant like the Old Testament prophets, who foretold many of the things that the angel had revealed to John. No one would have dreamed of worshipping John, or the prophets, so why should they worship an angel who was only a servant like them? Third, the angel was a fellow-servant with every believer who keeps the sayings found in the book. He is no different in that respect than they- would John feel free to worship a fellow-believer? Clearly not.

Note how self-effacing this angel is, for even though he is God’s special envoy, he has no pride in his heart. He had resisted the temptation that some had fallen into when they allied themselves with Lucifer in his desire for worship, and he is resolute still in his refusal to detract from the worship of God.
Worship God- having rebuked John he now commands and directs him. He must worship only God. Of course the apostle could worship God as his Father, whereas the angel could not, so the command is couched in general terms, simply emphasising the great gulf between God and all created beings, and not highlighting the distinctive privilege that believers have of worshipping God as their Father.

This incident has an important lesson for us. At the time John was writing, a powerful set of ideas was gaining influence, known as gnosticism. This philosophy made a great deal of angels, maintaining that it was not possible for mere man to have direct contact with God, so he must have angelic intermediaries to bridge the gap. The epistle to the Colossians was written to counteract this teaching, and the apostle especially mentions the practice of the worshipping of angels in 2:18. It was important therefore at the close of the scriptures to remind believers that all such teaching is false, and that it is God alone who may be worshipped. And it is made clear in this unforgettable way, with the apostle who had long defended the honour of God and His Son bowing down to an angel and being rebuked by him!

22:10 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.

And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book- Daniel had been told to seal the book containing his revelations, for the vision was for many days into the future, Daniel 8:26; 12:4. John, however, is to leave his writing unsealed, for it had immediate relevance, and God’s servants in that day, and this, needed to know what was written. We have no excuse if we are not intelligent as to God’s plan for the future, for the book is freely accessible.
For the time is at hand- this statement has not been proved false. The angel is speaking for God, and with Him a thousand years is as one day, 2 Peter 3:8, so, as Peter said, “the Lord is not slack concerning His promise”. It is, with God, as if His Son ascended back to heaven but two days ago. So the coming of Christ, in the time of John, was only some two days away. We should begin to reckon like God, and think of the coming of Christ as being at any moment. Not only is the coming of Christ at hand, but all the events of the book, so at any time men’s destinies may be sealed by being ushered into eternity.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE BOOK OF THE REVELATION CHAPTER 22, VERSES 11 TO 15:

22:11 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.

22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

22:14 Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

(c)  Verses 11-15 Christ is coming to reward- lives should be examined

22:11 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.

He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still- once men have gone into eternity, their condition before God is fixed. It is a solemn thing to have one’s destiny announced as being unalterable. For the unsaved, this is a great calamity, whereas for the believer it is a great blessing. The two charges against unbelieving men here are that they are unrighteous by nature and filthy by practice. In, Romans 3:10-12 the apostle describes sinners as being unrighteous, or unjust, but he is alluding to Psalm 14:3, where the psalmist says sinners are filthy. Their unrighteous acts have polluted them, and having rejected God’s answer in Christ and His work, which deals with both the nature and the defilement of men, they have no hope. They shall be unjust and filthy in the Lake of Fire, with no hope of remedy.
And he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still- believers are not only reckoned righteous by God on the basis of faith, but the outworking of that righteous standing is that they are holy in practice. Romans 6:19 reads, “as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness”. Having reached this position through faith, nothing can alter it, and the believer shall be righteous and holy in heaven for all eternity.

22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

And, behold, I come quickly- complementary to this word from the angel, (hence the “and”), we have this definite word from Christ Himself. Every generation is to expect the Lord Jesus to arrive at any moment. At the end of John’s gospel the Lord indicated that whether a person was alive when He returned was entirely within His authority. “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou Me”, John 21:22.
And My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be- the quick-coming of Christ, a matter of joy and relief for the believer, is coupled here with a reminder that it marks the start of an assessment which the Lord will need to make before rewards are granted. Notice the “is” and the “shall be”. The reward is with Him when He comes because He has observed all we have been and done. It only remains for us to give account to Him, so that His view and our view may be made to coincide. It is only our view of what has been done which will need to alter.

Each one will receive reward in precise relation to his work when the scrutiny takes place, for it is “as his work shall be” when scrutinised closely at the judgement seat of Christ. Perhaps there is implied here the thought that if, in view of Christ’s coming, we examine our works in the light of Scripture and find them wanting, there is always time to correct and adjust. God promised Israel that He would “restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten”, Joel 2:25, and in His own way to redeem lost time. We should not allow stubbornness and pride to rob us of this blessing. It is never too late to change our ways if Scripture reveals them to be faulty.

22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

I am Alpha and Omega- we are helped in our attempts to serve God well when we remember that if we put Christ first in everything, (recognising Him to be the Alpha, the first letter of the Greek alphabet), all will be well, for He will stand as Omega at the end as one who has been glorified.
The beginning and the end- as the Alpha and Omega, He should be the beginning and ending of all that we say for God. As the beginning and the end He should be the instigator and finaliser of all we do for God.
The first and the last- He should be the incentive and the goal of all we are for God. If He is these things, the reward will be certain.

22:14 Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life- we have here, not the means whereby heaven is gained, but, in context, the way the rewards will be enjoyed. The Bible begins with man barred from the tree of life because he had disobeyed God’s commandments. This was an act of God’s judgement, but also of mercy, since it would be an unbearable thing to have access to the tree of life as a sinner, and so be preserved in that state for ever. Here the access to the tree of life is a privilege granted to those who, because they love God, keep His commandments, John 14:15. But they do not keep His commandments so that right to the tree of life may be their reward. The blessing that comes to those who show they are believers by keeping God’s commandments, is that they are granted the right to the tree of life.
And may enter in through the gates into the city- instead of being barred from the tree, they have ready access, and instead of being driven out from God’s presence, as Adam was, they have an entrance into where God is, for He is the glory of the heavenly city.

22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

For without are dogs- we have here a warning to the unrighteous and the filthy, those who are like that because they are disobedient to the commands of God, particularly to His command that they repent. Let these be assured that they will be outside of privilege and blessing, for nothing contrary to the nature of God can be in His presence. Notice those who are singled out for mention. The dog of Bible times was a dirty, fly-ridden scavenger of the streets, and a fit metaphor for man in his sin. Could we even imagine such creatures roaming the golden streets?
And sorcerers- the Greek word for sorcerer gives us “pharmacy”, which is not a criticism of those who dispense useful medicines, but rather a reference to the use of drugs to influence and manipulate people for devilish purposes.
And whoremongers- those who commit fornication, of whatever sort. The word is not limited to those who make a living from immoral earnings, but all who engage in immorality.
And murderers- murderers are self-evidently barred from heaven, unless they genuinely repent, for “no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him”, 1 John 3:15.
And idolaters- clearly, those who prefer false gods to the True God of Heaven shall not be found in God’s presence.
And whosoever loveth and maketh a lie- those who love and make (or practice), a lie, are clearly deceived by the devil himself, who is a liar, and the father of it, John 8:44. He began his evil career on the basis of a lie, namely, that it was possible for a creature to become like the Most High. He continued that career by deceiving the woman into thinking that God’s word was not true, and his word was.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE BOOK OF THE REVELATION CHAPTER 22, VERSES 16 TO 21:

22:16 I Jesus have sent Mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

22:21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

(d)  Verses 16-22   Christ is coming- believing hearts will respond to that prospect

22:16 I Jesus have sent Mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches- this reminds us that far from being a book only for the seven churches mentioned in chapter 1, the whole book is for the whole of the people of God. While it is not healthy to only study prophecy, (just as it is not healthy to only eat one sort of food), nevertheless all believers need to have a grasp of the main principles of God’s plans for the future. If we confuse the different ways God deals with the earth, we shall not be able to serve God intelligently in our own times.
I am the root and the offspring of David- this title reminds us of the way the Lord Jesus ended His public ministry. He asked a simple question, based on the words of Psalm 110:1, where David, (speaking by the Spirit of God), says, “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool”. If the Messiah is the Son of David, (and the Rabbis agreed He was), then how is He also the Lord of David? This they could not answer. Nor can any answer who deny that the Lord Jesus, Son of David, is also David’s Lord, because He is God.
And the bright and morning star- a root is found in the earth, (“a root out of a dry ground”, Isaiah 53:2), and yet Christ was the One through whom David received his kingship, as well as being the One who was rightfully heir to his throne as Son of David. A star is fixed in the heavens, however, so by this title He is shown to be the hope of His heavenly people. There is nothing of earth that can dim His brightness, unlike ordinary stars which can be obscured by pollution in the atmosphere, and He is coming for His heavenly people whilst it is still night in this world, (just as the morning star is seen before the dawn), before coming as the sun of righteousness to Israel, Malachi 4:2.

22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come- in immediate response to this mention of Christ as the morning star, John expresses the longing of the church, the bride of Christ, that He should come. This longing is instilled in their hearts by the Spirit of God, who, so to speak, joins in the call. We have an Old Testament illustration in Rebekah and the unnamed servant making their way together across the desert, and Isaac coming to meet them, Genesis 24:58-67. The link made between the Spirit and the church in connection with the Lord’s coming for the church goes to confirm that the Holy Spirit is the one who is “taken out of the way” when the church is raptured to heaven, 2 Thessalonians 2:7.
And let him that heareth say, Come- John now exhorts those who, as believers, hear of the promise of Christ’s coming, to join in this expression of desire for Christ to come. In this way they will be in harmony with the desire of the Spirit of God, who is eager for Christ to come. The church considered as a whole desires Him to come, but individuals in the church might not be so enthousiastic as they might be for Him to come quickly.
And let him that is athirst come- before a person has any desire for Christ to come, he must have drunk of the water of life, which is the Spirit of God. As the Saviour said in the temple courts, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink”. And John explained that the drink was the Holy Spirit, John 7:37-39. The Spirit of God comes to indwell a believer at the moment of conversion, and one of His ministries is to cultivate a desire for the Lord to come quickly. Without the Spirit of God springing up within, a person can have no spiritual desires at all, and will not want Christ to come.
And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely- here is the last invitation to sinners in the Bible. It tells of God’s great desire that they know life as he knows it. It is free to all, there is no restriction, and all may come. Notice the appeal to the will, for man is responsible for personally reacting to God’s invitation. Sadly, it is his will that keeps him from doing so, which is why the Spirit of God must work beforehand. Nonetheless, the act of willingly taking the water is reckoned to be the sinner’s act; he is not forced.

22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

This is a most solemn warning, expressing in the most severe terms God’s displeasure with any who tamper with this closing book. The reason is not difficult to see. It is a revelation of His Son, and He is jealous of His honour. Besides this, it is a serious thing to seek to diminish the severity of God’s judgement of the earth, described in the book. In 1:3 there is a blessing promised to those who keep the book, whereas here a curse is pronounced on those who seek to destroy it. We noticed in connection with chapter 9 that God was giving foretastes to men what the Lake of Fire will be like. So the warning about the plagues of this book is not reserved only for those who live in those times, for those plagues are but samples of eternal torment. Such is the danger they face who tamper with the Word of God.

This interference with the word can take place in two ways. Either by adding, or by taking away. If words are added, they are man’s words, for there are no inspired persons now. John was most probably the last of the inspired writers of the New Testament. To add to this book is to deny that the Spirit has guided the writers into all truth, and since this was promised by the Lord Jesus Himself, John 16:12,13, and effected by the Spirit, to add to them is profane.

If words are taken away, then man’s judgement must be operating, deciding what is suitable and what is not. This is arrogance to the extreme, and it is no wonder that a curse is pronounced by God on those who do this. Of course, this adding and taking away does not have to be the physical exclusion of the words, or the inclusion of others. Preachers also, by what they say, may take and add also, and by so doing modify the truth of God.

Another issue is raised by this warning. If it is to have any meaning, we must be able to know what the word of God is. If we do not, we shall not know whether we are adding to it or taking away from it. This means that there must be a document that can be called “the Word of God”. It cannot be that God waited until the Revised Version was produced before He gave His people His word. And since all the versions of the scripture since the Revised Version are simply more of the same, then they all come into the same category. The truth is that the text of the Authorised Version is the only credible text, having a pedigree stretching back to the originals. Any attempt, therefore, to tamper with this, is liable to meet with God’s disapproval.

22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen- the “testimony of Jesus Christ” which is mentioned in chapter 1:2 is now at an end. He has said all He needs to for His people’s guidance during His absence. He will not be absent much longer, however, for He promises to come quickly.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus- there is an immediate response from John. May it be! Come as Thou hast said, namely, quickly! In chapter 1 John had looked on to Christ’s coming to earth, which coming will be to the amazement of the men of earth, whether Jew or Gentile. Now he gladly anticipates His coming for the church. It is well with us if we join with him in his longing.

For John, things have gone full-circle, for at the end of his gospel, when he was a comparitevely young man, there was the question as to whether he would be old when the Lord comes, John 21:21-23. Now the question as to whether he would live to grow old has been answered, but the Lord still has not come. But John is not dismayed, but still with enthusiasm awaits the Lord’s coming, and we might well imitate his attitude.

22:21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

John has written much about judgement, and also about glory. His closing benediction, however, is one of grace. Those who know the grace of God can consider the momentous events soon to take place on the earth with calm repose, knowing the one who is “our deliverer from the wrath to come”, 1 Thessalonians 1:10. Knowing, too, that the Great White Throne judgement holds no terror for them either, “for if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life”, Romans 5:9.