Revelation 22

Revelation 22  •  15 min. read  •  grade level: 6
THE opening of this last chapter of the Revelation continues the description of things connected with the holy city above during Messiah's glorious reign. "And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 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." (Verses 1, 2.) First, John sees a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb in the midst of the city, (see ver. 3), which ministers refreshment, life, and blessing. On either side of the river, and in the midst of the street, grows the tree of life. At the outset when man disobeyed and fell, God in mercy guarded the way to the tree of life. In this coming happy scene the tree of life yields monthly all manner of fruit for the joy and satisfaction of the heavenly inhabitants of the city; and the leaves thereof have the property of healing the nations of the earth. Life, fruit, and health are the blessed outcome of the flowing crystal river.
“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 they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.
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 forever and ever." (Verses 3-5.) "And there shall be no more curse." How deeply blessed! Already Christ, God's Son, has borne the curse on Calvary. In this coming day the curse shall be removed from the earth. Thorns and briars shall cease; the desert shall blossom as the rose; and the earth shall yield her increase. (Psa. 67:6.) The throne of God and of the Lamb shall be established. in the heavenly city, and justice and judgment administered throughout the kingdom. His servants in that glorious sphere shall be privileged not only to serve Him, but also to behold His face. And they shall bear His name on their foreheads, being thus openly recognized as associated with Him. Having confessed His name on earth before men, He will openly confess them. His name shall be stamped upon their brows.
“And there shall be no night there." Neither candle (nor lamp), artificial light, nor light of the sun, natural light, will be needed in that glorious sphere, where darkness never penetrates. The Lord God, who is the very source of light, will give light to the heavenly inhabitants of the holy city. And having been associated with Christ through grace, they shall reign forever and ever, or to the age of ages.
“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. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the saying of the prophecy of this book." (Verses 6, 7.) The angel assures John of the faithful and true character of these sayings (or words) that we have been dwelling upon. In the opening of this book, as we saw, God gave the revelation to Jesus Christ, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass. And He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John, who bare record. (Chapter 1:1, 2.) Here the confirmatory language is slightly different. The Lord God of the holy prophets, by whom He spake of old, sent His angel to show unto His servants things which must shortly be done. Nearly nineteen centuries have elapsed since this word went forth. We are on the eve of its fulfillment. All the promises of God, exceeding rich and precious, are Yea and Amen in the risen Christ. (2 Cor. 1:19, 20.) He will surely fulfill them. They must shortly be done. "Behold, I come quickly." Here we get the blessed promise of His speedy advent, repeated in verses 12 and 20. Christ is coming quickly, He will establish His rights, He will change the present order of things, and He will establish His kingdom in power, glory and blessing. Blessing is pronounced on the one who keeps the sayings of the prophecy of this book. It is confirmatory of the blessing of chapter 1:3, and shows the importance of reading, hearing and keeping the things written therein. This is impossible, if, as many do, we only study the commencement and the close of this marvelous prophecy. The "sayings" are found in all parts of the book. God expects us to listen to every one of them, and to "keep" them. Let us take heed that we do not miss the blessings attendant thereupon.
“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. 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." (Ver. 8, 9.) John tells us expressly that he both saw and heard these things. And they produced such an effect upon him that he fell down at the feet of the angel who showed them to him. But angels are not the objects of worship, and he forbade him, telling him that he was likewise a servant, fellow-servant of John's, and of his brethren the prophets of old, by whom the Lord God had spoken in former days, as also of those who in the day of grace keep the sayings of this book. He was not to worship the angel-messenger, but Him whose servant he was. "Worship God.”
“And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. 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. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." (Verses 10-12.) Daniel, at the end of his prophecy, was told to shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end. (Chapter 12:4.) But the sayings of the prophecy of this book were not to be sealed, the bulk of its contents being connected with the time of the end, for the time is at hand or near., The coming of the Lord in power would complete' and change all. In view of this climax, mention, is made of four classes, the unjust, the filthy, the righteous and the holy. Speaking broadly, all men will be found under one of these categories. It is a deeply solemn scripture, in view of the Lord's return. His eyes run to and fro in the earth, beholding the evil and the good. (Prov. 15:3.) Some practice unrighteousness, others wallow in moral filth and corruption. Some practice righteousness in their walk and ways, yet are not set apart to God; others are sanctified to Him and walk in paths of holiness for His name's sake. Every man shall give an account of himself to God. The day of grace and forbearance is on the very eve of closing in judgment. Hence the character of the language employed here. The state of unrighteousness and filth was so pronounced, that repentance seems hopeless. On the other hand, there were some characterized by righteousness and holiness. To each one is said, "let him be so still." Each one will be made manifest, and each one will be rewarded according as his own work shall be. "Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me." Christ will mete out to the ungodly richly merited judgment. He will reward His own, who, fruit of His grace to them and of the power and operation of His Spirit, walk in righteousness and holiness to the glory of His name. The scrutiny and the reward are alike individual. Not one is exempted. Everyone will be fully manifested in his true character at that day.
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." (Ver. 13.) In chapter i. 8 the Lord saith, "I am the Alpha and the Omega," or the A and the Z. The words "the beginning and the end," added in that verse in our English translation, are not in the original text. In chapter 1:17 He saith, "I am the first and the last." To these words, here repeated, are added "the beginning and the end." He is all three. None comes before Him, none after Him. He is before and after all things. He is the beginning of God's way, and He is the end. All things circle around and center in this glorious Person.
“Blessed are they that do his commandments [or wash their robes], that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." (Verses 14, 15.) The right to partake of the tree of life and of ingress to the city is given to those who: wash their robes; they are pronounced blessed. Putting it on the ground of doing the Lord's commandments (deeply important as is that also in its place), as the translators have erroneously done, is a denial of the whole fundamental truth of the gospel. God's blessing can only be received on the ground of faith, not of works. (Eph. 2:8, 9.) Christ came and died, and His precious blood was shed. By faith in Him and in His blood we are justified. Everyone must be washed to enter His presence. Whoever may be in view in this precious verse, he must wash his clothes (no doubt a figure) to have right to the tree of life (approach to which was barred on earth since the fall) and to enter the gates of the city. Blessed is everyone who does!
Six classes of sinners are enumerated as without; a list in some respects similar to chapter 21:8. They can never have access there. There are dogs, sorcerers, whoremongers, murderers, idolaters and liars. Dogs are unclean persons (Matt. 7:6; Phil. 3:2); sorcerers, those who dabble in witchcraft, spiritualism, necromancy (Jer. 27:9); whoremongers, those who contravene wickedly God's order among men in creation (Heb. 13:4); murderers, those who are guilty of shedding their neighbor's blood unlawfully (1 Peter 4:15; 1 John 3:15); idolaters, those who worship false gods instead of the true (1 Cor. 6:9); and whosoever loveth a lie or maketh a lie, and no lie is of the truth. (1 John 2:21.)
“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. 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." (Verses 16, 17.) "I Jesus." It is a beautiful expression, which bespeaks volumes to the believing heart! The same blessed One to whom the Revelation was given (chap. 1:1), who sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, here sends His angel to testify these precious and solemn things "to you in the assemblies." The testimony is "borne" to every individual in every assembly everywhere, and throughout the period of the church's sojourn on earth.
The One who, addressing us, calls Himself "I Jesus," adds, "I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright and morning star." He is the root, David's Lord. And He is the offspring of David. Born into this world, He is of David's lineage, his Son. And not only so, He is both the bright and morning star, the bright shining harbinger of the coming day, and the One who is coming to establish His kingdom, and to reign as Son of David, arising as the Sun of righteousness with healing in His wings. (Mal. 4:2.) But first we behold Him by faith and in the Spirit's power as the heavenly hope of His people, the One who is the bright and morning star. The Lord Himself shall descend, and call us on high, and will thereafter display us with Himself in glory. The Spirit, a divine Person here, says to Him above, Come. Led by the Spirit, and in conjunction with Him, the "bride, the church, re-echoes, Come. The Spirit desires the consummation of the promises and purposes of God, which are to be fulfilled at Christ's return. Likewise the bride, who also with heartfelt responsive affection to the love of the heavenly Bridegroom, longs for the consummation of their mutual joy, and the entrance of the rejected One with power and glory upon His rights.
“And let him that heareth say, Come." Every individual who hears the Spirit's voice in the midst of the din of this world, and into whose heart the above blessed presentation of Christ sinks down, is privileged to join in the cry, saying, "Come." Then follows, in view of His speedy, return, another precious invitation, ere it shall be too late. "Let him that is athirst come." The thirsty soul, the one who is awakened by the Spirit of God, whoever and wherever he may be, (for surely no one is excluded), is invited to come. We would ask you, dear reader, have you-come? You may be moral, religious, well acquainted with the Book of the Revelation, and the Bible in general, and yet perhaps you have never thirsted, and consequently you have never come to that which satisfies. It is not too late; "Come." Come now. "And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." "Whosoever will." It is a world-wide word, which includes all, and excludes none. But how about your will. Christ had to complain, saying, "Ye will not come." Whosoever will is invited to take of the water of life freely. But whosoever will not, will remain with unquenched thirst, both in this world, and forever. The water of life is free. It is offered as freely as it flows. The difficulty is on man's side. His will comes in the way. If you, dear reader, have not yet done so, will you take it now? Nothing else can satisfy. And you shall never go where one begs for only a drop of water to cool his parched tongue. (Luke 16:24.) Alas, for him it was too late!
"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: 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." (Verses 18, 19.) We have spoken of the testimony of Jesus to those in the assemblies, and we have also dwelt upon the final double promise, of blessing. Before closing the book the same gracious One adds a solemn warning to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book. Both the one who adds to these words, and the one who takes from them, is threatened with judgment. The former shall have part in the awful plague, we have dwelt upon in the course of the exposition of this book. As for the latter„ his part shall be taken away from the tree of life (so it should read, not the book of life), and out of the holy city, which are written in this book. (See New Trans.)
“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, cone, Lord Jesus." (Ver. 20.) Once more, ere the Revelation closes, our Lord, who testifies these things, repeats the promise of His quick return, emphasizing it with the word Surely, or Yea. Three times, as said, He promises to come quickly, at the close of this marvelous prophecy. First, in view thereof, He pronounces blessing on the one who keeps the sayings therein; secondly, He will reward every one according to his works and, lastly, He adds, "Yea, I come quickly," the One whose revelation it is. This last precious promise wondrous and world-wide in its effects, elicits the response, "Amen; dome, Lord Jesus." The whole hook testifies to the truth of the words of the prophet, “Overturn, overturn, overturn... until he come whose right it is," (Ezek. 21:27.) His return (and we are on the eve of ilia-will be fraught with momentous results for all. Blessing, marvelous blessing for everyone who believes on His name and, who' follows His steps, awaiting His return "to accomplish His promises. Judgment, inexorable judgment for everyone who believeth not, but follows his own will and way, living in sin without Him. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” Thus ends this wondrous book. It disclose the utter failure if that which professes His name during the hour of His absence, and the judgments that will usher in the day of His manifestation and glory. "The grace" of this blessed and glorious One, our Lord Jesus chest, sap the prophet, "be with you all," that is, with all the saints; with all who know His love, and Who, responding thereto in sincerity and in incorruption, manifest by a faithful life and testimony that they are lies. His grace be with you all. Amen.
E. H. C.