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  • Writer's pictureSteve McAtee

Week - 37 The Epilogue of the Book of Revelation 
Revelation 22:6-21

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

Authored by Jerry Marshall Having taken the reader through the amazing sweep of future history all the way to the eternal state all that is left for John to record is this divine postscript. At this point, all of God's redemptive purposes have been completed. The wrath of God has been fully expressed during the time of the Great Tribulation. The Second Coming of Christ has been revealed and the enemies of our Lord have been made a footstool for His feet. The Millennial reign of Christ has come and gone. "All rebels both angels and humans, will have been sentenced to their final, eternal punishment in the lake of fire."

The present heaven and earth will have passed away and God's new heaven and earth will have come. In the eternal state, there is no sickness, sorrow, pain or death. God's Holy City, the New Jerusalem descends from heaven to this new earth and all the redeemed will dwell with God in this city forever. And now at the conclusion of this letter John, in a sort of rapid-fire manner brings this book to a conclusion by giving a series of important points that demonstrate the incredible significance, relevance and value of the last book of the bible.

1. The Truthfulness of This Book (22:6)

The very same angel that John identified earlier as one of the seven angels, who had the seven last plagues, who gave John a tour of the golden city, now declares to John that the words of this book are trustworthy and true. That is to say, that the content of this book can be relied upon and is worthy of our unreserved trust. What is revealed in the content of this book is true. The words of this book are a direct reflection of the author of this book (cf. Revelation 3:14; 19:11).

The word true is a translation of the Greek word, “Alethinos” which speaks of that which always corresponds to and is constantly in touch with reality. The words of this book are not mystical words with hidden meanings that only a few enlightened ones can understand. Nor are the words of this book the product of an active imagination on the part of the aging apostle under the oppression of being exiled to the Island of Patmos. The words of this book are not allegorical, giving the reader the opportunity to assign a meaning to them; which in the end is nothing more than the product of their own concoction.

(6b) The One, who is the source of the spirits of the prophets, is the same God who moved the spirits of His spokesmen to declare what is revealed to us in both the Old and New Testaments. This is also the same God who sent His angel to show to His bondservants the things that must soon take place. And the same precision and exactness of the details given in prophecies already fulfilled, forms the pattern for the prophecies yet to be fulfilled, that are revealed in this book.

“God’s prophetic record is perfect. He predicted Israel would go into captivity, and the nation did (Leviticus 26: 33-39). He predicted the destruction of Babylon (Isaiah 13: 1-14:27; Jeremiah 50-51) and the city of Tyre (Isaiah 23: 1ff), and those cities were destroyed. He predicted that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), to a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), and be killed by sinners for sinners (Isaiah 53:7-10) and he was. Thus when God predicts future events, such as the rapture of the church, the rise of the Antichrist, the seal, trumpet and bowl judgments, the Battle of Armageddon, the return of Jesus Christ, and His thousand-year earthly kingdom, those events will just as certainly come to pass.” Dr. Warren Wiersbe (See Isaiah 46:9-11)

2. The Theme of This Book (22:7)

A. The Promise of His Second-Coming

This is not the angel speaking. It is the Lord Himself and He declares what is the repeated theme and central event of this revelation and that is the imminence of His Second Coming (1:7; 3: 11; 22: 12, 20). In accordance with the word of the Lord, His coming is soon, which is a translation of the Greek word takhos, meaning quickly, momentarily or with great speed.

From other passages in the Bible, we know that no one knows the day or the hour

of His coming (Matthew 24:36). Yet, we who are believers are to live with a continuous attitude of anticipation of His coming for His church, and then His coming for His Throne (Titus 2: 11-13; Philippians 3:20).

B. The Pronouncement of His Special Blessing

This is now the sixth of the beatitudes given in this book (cf. 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6). This book of the Bible, so neglected by those who call themselves a friend of the Bible, contains the most promise of blessings than any other book of the Bible.

Please note that the promised blessing is not simply for hearing audibly the words of this book (the blessedness of hearing and heeding this book is stated in 1:3). This promised blessing is for those who heed the words of the prophecy in this book.

The words of the book of Revelation are called "the words of prophecy." Prophecy by definition refers to a discourse emanating from divine inspiration and declaring the purposes of God, whether by reproving and admonishing the wicked, or comforting the afflicted or revealing things hidden; esp. by foretelling future events.

It’s important to note that God did not give the church this divine revelation simply to satisfy our curiosity about the future. He did not reveal this truth to us so that we could become proficient in making chronological charts of the events He has graciously disclosed in this book. His intent is not simply informational. It’s motivational! In light of the soon coming Son of God, the believer is to live a godly life! (See 2 Peter 3:11-13)

3. The Response to the Revelation of this Book (22:8-9)

A. Misdirected Worship (22:8-9a)

“Heard” and “saw” reflects the two avenues by which John had received this prophetic revelation. Hearing and seeing is the non-negotiable requirements of a good witness. “These things” is probably in reference to the vision of the New Jerusalem that John had the privilege of beholding. But, it can also encompass all of the revelation that John had received, which is now contained in this book. John, so overwhelmed by these many magnificent sights and sounds, falls to his knees to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing him these wonderful visions.

John's response was right, which is to worship. Worship is the redeemed responding to God's revelation of Himself, His purposes and His will. But, his worship was misdirected. So the angel brings to John a swift rebuke and tells him in the imperative "Do not do it!" John certainly knew that angels were never to be the object of our worship. As a matter of fact, he had been rebuked earlier in this book for attempting to do so (19:1 0). But before we are too hard on John, just ask yourself, how you would have responded to the incredible sight of the New Heaven, New Earth and the New Jerusalem, with its streets of gold lit up by the glory of God. John simply collapsed in wonder and worship.

The angel quickly reminds John that he is not the creator who is to be worshipped he is a creature, who is a fellow servant with John, the prophets, and all who heed the words of this book. Statements like this should end forever any idea of worshipping angels. The writer of Hebrews summed up the ultimate task of angels (Hebrews 1:14; cf. Colossians 2:18-19).

B. The Promotion of Worship (22:9b)

John, like all of us, is commanded to worship God! He alone is the proper object of worship. The word for worship in this text is the familiar NT word proskuneo which describes kneeling or prostrating oneself in the act of adoration and worship.

The only one worthy of such an expression of adoration is God and God alone. The Bible forbids the worship of anything or anyone else including angels, saints, the Virgin Mary, or any other created being. Jesus instructed the Samaritan woman at the well that the location of worship and the form of worship are not the primary focus of our worship. The condition of the heart and the revelation of God's truth are most important in worship (John 4:23-24; Matthew 15:7-9).

4. The Command Regarding this Book (22:10-11)

(10) Continuing his conversation with John, the angel issues another command to him. "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book." The content of this book (what has been revealed by Christ to His bondservants in the book of Revelation), is not to be hidden. It is to be proclaimed, preached, and taught, heard, heeded and under-stood because "the time is near." The reference to "time" here is no doubt speaking of all those events associated with the culmination of redemptive history. (The rapture of the church, the final expressions of God's judgment on this earth, the rise of the antichrist and the most important event, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and all that follows).

The word "seal" is a translation of the Greek word sphragizo {sfrag-id'-zo} which in this context is referring to something being concealed, hidden or kept from view. What are not to be sealed up, are the words of the prophecy of this book.

The implication of this is that there are no hidden, secret meanings to these words, which is apart from the normal sense of the text. If that is the case, then this command is nonsense. People may not have a driving appetite for the words of this prophecy - but for the servant of God, that is not to be a factor – it’s the command of God and not the desires of man that must control what the teacher of God's Word does. Any Pastor or teacher of the Bible who fails to proclaim its truth is sinfully unfaithful to his calling. He would fail to proclaim the whole counsel of God's Word (Acts 20:27).

(11) The next statement made by the angel seems as though it is out of context. There are a couple of ways that we might understand the words spoken by the angel. If the context is king, and that is an important truth in bible interpretation, then verse 11 surly has a connection to what was said in verse 10. Then the verse would mean that no matter the spiritual condition of people manifested by their lifestyles, John, and all that would preach the word are to remain steadfast in declaration of the words of the prophecy of this book.

In other words, the responsibility of John and all others that would preach the Word is not to the seal up the words of this prophecy no matter the impact upon people.

The exhortation which follows has puzzled some. Those who do wrong and are vile are encouraged to continue to do so, and those who do right and are holy are encouraged to continue to do so (Rev. 22:11).

The point here is not to condone what is evil, but to point out that if people do not heed this prophecy, they will continue in their wickedness. On the other hand, those who do heed the prophecy will continue to do what is right. Relatively speaking, the time of the Lord’s return is near and no major changes in mankind’s conduct can be expected.

Another understanding of this verse is that people's response to the proclamation of the words of this prophecy will fix their eternal destinies. Their response to the truth of

this book is evidence of their ultimate destiny. "The time arrives when change is impossible because character has already been determined by a lifetime of habitual action." The sudden arrival of the end of all time forecloses any possibility of conversion.

5. The Promise of this Book (22:12-15)

(12) Now the one speaking is Jesus and not the angel. The Lord repeats the promise that he stated in verse 7. Behold, I am coming soon! The coming of the Lord is imminent. Remember this statement was made 2000 years ago, which means that God is not restricted to our timetable and that His coming is approaching with each passing day. The imminent return of the Lord is mentioned no less than six times in the book of Revelation. Twice it is mentioned as a warning (2:5, 16). Four times it is mentioned as a promise (3:11; 22:7, 12, 20). Twice he mentions that He will come as a thief (3:3; 16: 15), first as a threat, then as a promise.

When he comes, He will bring His reward. The word reward is a translation of the Greek word misthos that refers to the fruit naturally resulting from the endeavors of one's life. In this passage, the emphasis seems to be on the rewarding of God's faithful servants. The rewards they will receive are in accordance with the quality of the work they have done in their service to the Lord and His kingdom purposes.

Salvation is always apart from works, but those who have been saved have been saved for good works. These rewards will be distributed at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5: 10) and will be based, not on the quantity but rather on the quality of what was done in the name of the Lord (1 Corinthians 3:13-15).

(13) Jesus is the source of all things and the culmination of all things. That truth is captured in how He is described in this verse.

(14) This is the last of the seven beatitudes stated in this book (1: -3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6 22:7). Those who wash their robes are the ones who are considered blessed; the focus of divine favor. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. This seems to be just another way of stating that these have washed away their sinful impurity with the blood of Jesus Christ shed for the forgiveness of sins. They are those who have been forgiven of their sins as a result of their faith in the shed blood of Christ.

It is only these, who have the right to the tree of life and open access into the golden city. Heaven then, is exclusively for those who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. They are the same ones whose names are found written in the Book of Life from the foundations of the world. In contrast, those who are defiled by their sins, who live a lifestyle of unrepentant sinfulness, will be forever excluded from the Golden City.

The term “dogs,” at first might seem to be out of place with the rest of the list given here of those who do not have access to the Golden City. But dogs were not thought of in the first century as they are today. They were not domesticated household pets. They were despised scavengers that milled about city garbage dumps always traveling in packs and frequently dangerous. Thus to refer to a person as a "Dog," was to imply that they were morally defiled sinners. This derogatory title is used in other places in the Scriptures to speak of male prostitutes (Deuteronomy 23: 1 7) as well as those who distort the gospel by requiring Gentiles to be circumcised as a means for salvation (Philippians 3 :2).

The point of all of this is to remind us once again that there are only two eternal destinations-heaven or hell. In the end, there will be only two types of people, those who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and those who are still morally defiled in their sins; the truly saved and the hopelessly lost.

6. The Person of this Book (22:16)

In this passage, the central person of this book and for that matter, the whole Bible identifies himself. I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you (John) this testimony for the churches. So this divine revelation was given to John in order that he might convey it the

churches which include the churches in ancient Asia Minor and all true churches throughout history.

Once again, the intent for giving this Revelation was to communicate to the churches so that they could understand it and be encouraged by it. So this book is not for the spiritual elite or those considered to be more mature or the trained theologians and pastors. This entire book is for all of the church!

Jesus also identifies himself as "Root and the offspring of David, the bright and Morning Star. All of these titles point to the fact that Jesus is the long anticipated Messiah. The fact that Jesus identifies Himself as the Root of David means that He is the source of David's line. He is David's ancestor. But He also describes Himself, as the offspring of David - that is descendant of King David. How can that be? How can you be the source of David's line and a descendant in that line? Only if you are God/Man! In His deity, Jesus is David's root. In his humanity, Jesus is David's offspring.

The morning star is that which announces the dawning of a new day. When Christ comes again, he will be the dawning of a new age. In the fourth oracle of Balaam the prophet, he stated that "A star will come out of Jacob" (Numbers 24: 17). This initially pertains to King David, but ultimately to the descendant of David who is the Messiah.

7. The Invitation of this Book (22:17)

A. Directed to Christ (17a)

The invitation to come is directed to Christ from the one whose ministry is to point others to Christ and that is the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. And the bride of Christ, which is His church, gives the same response to the words of Christ. The bride exclaims, come! This has always been the blessed hope of the church. The bride of Christ is weary of its battle with the flesh, the world and the Devil and his demons.

The church longs to be where its citizenship is and that is in heaven. It longs to be in the new heaven and earth walking through the gates of the Golden City where there is no more sickness, sorrow, pain or death. And so the cry of the true church has been throughout the centuries, Come Lord Jesus!

B. Directed to Sinners (17b)

The Holy Spirit and the Bride direct their prayer to Christ and exclaim - Come! But now the second part of this verse is directed to those who are thirsty and to whoever wishes to quench that thirst by drinking from the water of life which speaks of eternal life. Thirst, along with hunger are used metaphorically in the scriptures to speak of a strong sense of spiritual need for that which only God can provide and satisfy.

8. The Warning about this Book (22:18-19)

A. To Those Who Add to It (18)

The Lord has communicated all that He wants to be communicated to the church about what is yet to come. As a matter of fact, this final book of the Bible is also the concluding product of NT prophecy.

It marks the close of the NT cannon since the prophetic gift was the divinely chosen means for communicating the inspired books of the cannon. So if any false prophet, fraud, or charlatan attempts to add alleged new revelations to this book, he or she will face divine vengeance by suffering the same kind of plagues that are written about in this book. But, this prohibition about altering divine revelation is found in other places in the Bible as well (Deuteronomy 4:2; 13:32; Proverbs 30:5-6).

B. To Those Who Subtract from It (22:19)

God's judgment will be equally severe on those who take away from this prophetic word. That is to say, that a person deliberately removes portions of this book that they dislike or deemed not to be a part of God's inspired word (i.e. Jeffersonian Bible or the Jesus Seminar). No true believer who has a love for God's Word would ever deliberately tamper with God's Word by altering it in this manner.

This passage could be understood in two ways. First, some say that it means that a saved person can lose their salvation and all of the eternal blessings that come with it if

they ignore this very serious warning. "The implication of the words is that people who at one point had a part in the tree of life and were on their way to the Holy City may falter along the way, and because of their extreme folly in subtracting from the words of Revelation, may find themselves in the lake of fire (Smith)"

Dr. Thomas makes the point that you cannot take away something that was not first possessed by someone. Others say that the consistent theme of the Scriptures is that those who are truly saved can never lose their salvation and all the eternal blessings that come with it such as, entrance into the Holy City and access to the Tree of Life. This is based upon the truth that Salvation is God's work from beginning to end.

Therefore, if a person willfully tampered with this book by attempting to subtract from it, such an act indicates that in spite of any profession they may make, they are not a part of the company of the redeemed.

"Anyone with access to the Tree of Life and the Holy City will treat "The book of this prophecy" with utmost respect." Ladd

By such a warning as this, there is the strong inference that this book is equal to all other writings that have come to us by divine inspiration. And therefore, must be afforded the same sort of reverential respect that would prompt the believer to read it, understand it, and to apply it to their lives; but never to change it by subtracting from it or adding to it. This is the Word of God! Therefore, it is does not afford even the true believer any editorial privileges.

9. The Conclusion of this Book (22:20-21)

A. A Final Word from Christ (20a)

The book of Revelation and the Bible close with the last recorded words in Scripture from the Lord and it’s a reminder that He is coming soon! His return is imminent! That is the central event in this book.

B. A Final Word from John (22:21b)

And John's response to this great truth is reflective of all true believers - John says, Amen! So be it or that is true. Come Lord Jesus, Come!

Practical Implications

1. This book is the revelation of Jesus Christ, which has been given to the servants of the Lord regarding what must soon take place. Therefore, it is not to be regarded as being incomprehensible because of John's use of comparisons as a literary device.

Keep in mind, that the primary recipients of this book were the churches in Asia Minor. They were made up of mostly poor people with very little education.

2. The book of Revelation contains the most promises of blessing than any other book of the Bible. Therefore, it must be read, heard, taken to heart and kept in order to receive the blessings (cf. 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14)

3. The book of Revelation is the only reliable and trustworthy account of the future in existence. Therefore, all other writings or claims of future prophecy must be rejected (22:6- i.e. Nostradamus).

4. The book of Revelation discloses what is yet to come. Therefore, it is not to be seal up, ignored or deemed to be irrelevant (1: 1-3; 22: 10).

5. The book of Revelation is the Word of God. Therefore, it must be respected, comprehended and inserted into our lives. It must never be tampered with in any manner (22: 18-19).


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