Revelation Chapters 20 through 22, Part 6
by Karl Kemp
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We will finish this verse-by-verse study of Revelation chapters 20-22 here in Part 6, starting with Rev. 22:5.
(5) And there shall no longer be any night [cf. Rev. 21:25]; and they shall not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall illumine them [See 21:23.]; and they [true Israel; the bond-servants] shall reign forever and ever. [[For one thing, true Israel will apparently be reigning over the nations, not that there are any negative connotations with being reigned over by God and His bond-servants. The angels that reign with God in some ways during this present age aren't a threat to us, they're a substantial blessing. What a destiny for true Israel! Amen!]] (6) [This verse starts the epilogue of the book of Revelation. For one thing, this epilogue serves to further confirm the genuineness and supreme importance of the prophecy of the book of Revelation, as did the first chapter of the book.] And he said to me [The speaker is still the angel mentioned in 21:9.], 'These words are faithful and true' [Cf. Rev. 19:9; 21:5. "These words" apparently refer to all the words of the book of Revelation. I assume that all the words of this verse (Rev. 22:6) were spoken by the same angel; I would, therefore, move the closing quotation marks to the end of this verse, with the NIV. The original manuscript would not have had quotation marks.]; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must shortly take place. [[Normally the words "[the Lord,] the God of the spirits of the prophets" would refer to God the Father, but here they seem to be used of God the Son, which has the effect of strongly emphasizing His deity. See the discussion under Rev. 21:6 on the emphasis on the deity of Christ in the book of Revelation, and especially in the last two chapters of the book, and see under Rev. 22:9 in this paper. The word "God" is typically used of God the Father in the New Testament as the name Yahweh is typically used for Him in the Old Testament, but "God" is used for God the Son several times in the New Testament (e.g., John 1:1, 18; Heb. 1:8) and Yahweh is used for Him several times in the Old Testament (e.g., Zech. 2:11; 3:2), but not in a way that confuses the Person of God the Son with the Person of God the Father.
The Bible clearly establishes the deity of God the Son. (See my papers titled "More on the Trinity"; "Who Do We Worship?"; "Who Do We Pray To?"; and "The Name Yahweh and God the Father and God the Son." (They are all included on this Christian article site.) It is significant that Rev. 1:1 and 22:16 both speak of Christ's sending His angel, which sending is mentioned here in Rev. 22:6. Furthermore, Christ Jesus is very much in the spotlight in the verses that follow (to the end of the epilogue), and His deity is emphasized in these verses, even as it was in 21:22, 23; 22:1-5; and other verses. F. F. Bruce ("New Layman's Bible Commentary" [Zondervan, 1979]), commenting on 22:6 says, "Here Jesus Himself seems to be identified with 'the God of the spirits'...."
In this verse (Rev. 22:6) the angel who showed John the things recorded in Rev. 21:9-22:5 apparently hands the microphone (so to speak) to the angel called "His [Christ's] angel." In some of the following verses (including verse 7), His angel then either speaks for Christ or hands the microphone (so to speak) to Christ Jesus, which seems quite appropriate (since he is Christ's angel). Unlike in the first chapter of the book of Revelation, John apparently doesn't see Christ as this revelation comes to an end. As Rev. 1:1 (and see 22:16) shows, Christ's angel was sent to Christ's bond-servant John to give him (and through him to give to all His bond-servants) the entire revelation contained in the book of Revelation. One major advantage in seeing Christ's angel come prominently on the scene at 22:6, while the angel mentioned in 21:9 fades into the background, is that it makes 22:8, 9 easier to understand (see under those verses).
In that these things "must shortly take place," there is an urgency (which permeates the book of Revelation and many prophetic passages of the New Testament) for all Christians to always be faithful and fully ready for the return of the Lord. See the next verse.]] (7) 'And behold, I [Jesus Christ is the Speaker here (cf. Rev. 22:12, 20).] am coming quickly [cf. Rev. 1:3; 3:11; 22:10-12, 20]. Blessed is he who heeds [keeps] the words of the prophecy of this book.' [See Rev. 1:3. To heed the words of the prophecy of this book includes hearing/reading, understanding, believing, and doing the things required by the words of this book, including repenting (as required) and staying faithful to God in His truth, righteousness, and holiness (by His sufficient grace).] (8) And I, John [cf. Rev. 1:1, 4, 9], am the one who heard and saw these things. [These words from the apostle John refer to the entire revelation of the book of Revelation, which has now been completed except for the rest of the epilogue, and they add to the confirmation of the genuineness and accuracy of this super-important revelation.] And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. (9) And he said to me, 'Do not do that; I am a fellow servant [or, fellow bond-servant] of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book; worship God.' [[These words are a little bit surprising, especially with the similar incident recorded in Rev. 19:10. (We'll look at Rev. 19:10 in the following paragraphs, and 19:10 is discussed in my paper on Rev. 14:6-19:21.) However, in 19:10 the angel at whose feet John fell down to worship, before he was instructed not to do so, was one of the angels with the seven bowls (cf. 17:1), whereas here the angel apparently was Christ's angel, who is mentioned in Rev. 1:1; 22:6, 16. As I mentioned, Christ's angel apparently comes into the spotlight at 22:6. This angel (who is so closely related to the Lord Jesus Christ) was undoubtedly even more spectacular and glorious than the angel of 19:10 (all of this glory comes from God, and He must receive all the glory). It's clear that John was awestruck and overwhelmed by this entire experience.
With the emphasis on the deity of Christ in the book of Revelation, and especially in the last two chapters of the book, and with verses like Rev. 22:6 and 19:10, I assume that He is included in the word "God" here in 22:9, but (assuming this is the correct interpretation here and in Rev. 19:10; cf. 22:6) that makes the use of the word "God" quite unusual in these verses. Even though the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ is totally established in the New Testament, the word "God" is typically used for God the Father. Also, when the word "God" is used of the Lord Jesus, typically He is clearly distinguished from God the Father, as in John 1:1-3. We'll discuss Rev. 19:10 in the next two paragraphs.
I'll quote Rev. 19:10, "And I fell at his feet to worship him [him who was the angel mentioned in Rev. 17:1, who was one of the seven angels who poured out the seven bowls of the wrath of God]. And he said to me, 'Do not do that; I am a fellow servant [or, fellow bond-servant] of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus [in other words, they testify (from their hearts, and with their lives) to the fact that Jesus Christ is their Savior and their Lord, and that all that the Bible says about Him is true]; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy,' " For one thing, it is required of bond-servants (whether angels or men) that they be faithful to their Master, which includes directing the attention to Him and making sure He receives all the glory.
Regarding the translation of Rev. 19:10, it would probably be better to translate "the prophecy," referring to the book of Revelation. (The definite article [the] is included in the Greek before the word prophecy. Also note "the prophecy" in Rev. 1:3; 22:7, 10, and 18. Revelation 22:7, 10, and 18 have "the words of the prophecy of this book." Revelation 22:19 has, "the words of the book of this prophecy.") The message of the book of Revelation centers in Jesus Christ (as does the message of much of the prophecy of the entire Bible). The last sentence of 19:10 tends to put some emphasis on worshiping Jesus, God the Son. Apparently He is included in what the word "God" means in 19:10, as in 22:9. For more details on the interpretation of Rev. 19:10 see on this verse in my paper on Rev. 14:6-19:21, which is available on this Christian article site.
These verses (19:10; 22:8, 9) make it clear that Christians must not bow before any angel or other person/being to worship. We are to bow before and worship God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, Period!]] (10) And he said to me, 'Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. [[Contrast Dan. 8:26 ("but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future" NIV); Dan. 12:4 ("But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end" NIV), and Dan. 12:9. The repeated mention of the nearness of the Lord's return in the book of Revelation (e.g., Rev. 22:6, 7) emphasizes the need for all Christians of all generations to make it a top priority to always be faithful and ready for His return (see Matt. 24:36-51, for example; these verses are discussed in my paper on Matthew chapters 24 and 25). For one thing, there's no time for sin; the next two verses emphasize this theme. Furthermore, the New Testament makes it clear that we cannot wait for signs of Christ's coming to get ready for His coming.]] (11) Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and let the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and let the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.' [[These words emphasize, in very strong terms, the nearness of the return of the Lord and the attendant day of judgment. In emphasizing the nearness of the Lord's return, this verse seems to say there isn't time to repent, so don't bother; this helps dramatize the nearness of the end and the need to be ready now; however, it's clear that this overstates the overall message of the book of Revelation, which issues a powerful call to repent (e.g., Rev. 2:5, 16, 21, 22; 3:2, 3, 15-20; and 22:17). All true Christians are required to be righteous and holy. This verse, and the next one, and much of the Bible, make it clear that we are called and enabled to have more than a legal/positional (forgiveness only) righteousness (by God's grace/Spirit through faith). See my book "Holiness and Victory Over Sin: Full Salvation Through the Atoning Death of the Lord Jesus Christ."]] (12) [[Christ begins to speak here, and apparently He speaks through verse 16. The NIV takes it this way, but the NASB doesn't take verses 14, 15 as the words of Christ. I would, therefore, change the quotation marks inserted in these verses by the NASB to reflect this viewpoint.]] 'Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. [[On the judgment of all mankind according to their works, see under Rev. 20:12. The "reward" here includes positive and negative rewards. It would be preferable to translate this Greek noun ("misthos") with a word more suited to include the negative "rewards" idea (some never use the word reward in a negative sense); the word "recompense" would be better. The NRSV has, "to repay according to everyone's work." We must live in the light of the fact that payday is coming (not that we can earn what God has freely given us at a VERY HIGH COST to Himself and His Son). (Cf., e.g., Rom. 6:22, 23; Gal. 6:7-10).]] (13) I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." [[Christ is also called "the first and the last" in Rev. 1:17; 2:8. These words strongly emphasize His deity, and all the more so since God the Father is called "the Alpha and the Omega" in Rev. 1:8 and 21:6. (Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.) On the emphasis on the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ in the book of Revelation, see under 21:6. With Alpha, for one thing, we think of God's initial work of creation; with Omega, we think of His bringing this age to a close, which includes His work of saving and judging and of bringing forth His eternal new creation, which is full of His glory.]] (14) Blessed are those who wash their robes [In other words, they are forgiven and sanctified through the blood of the Lamb of God. See Rev. 7:14; 19:8, 14. Revelation 7:14 is discussed, for one place, on pages 154, 155 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture." These verses are discussed in the papers on Revelation chapter 7 and Rev. 14:6-19:21 on this Christian article site.], that they may have the right to the tree of life [Cf. Rev. 2:7; 22:2, 19. This is a symbolic way of saying that those who wash their robes will be able to partake of eternal life in God's eternal city.], and may enter by the gates into the city. [To enter the gates of the city of new Jerusalem is to come into the presence of God and the fullness of His eternal life.] (15) Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. [[Those who love sin won't repent and submit to God and His gospel of salvation from sin through the Lord Jesus Christ. They are "outside" of the city and separate from God and His eternal life. The point isn't that they will have access to the area just outside the city, but not to the city itself, but rather that they are excluded from the blessings just mentioned in 22:14. The book of Revelation makes it clear where they will be (cf. Rev. 20:15; 21:8), and the lake of fire won't be just outside of new Jerusalem, or be part of God's new heaven and new earth.]] (16) 'I, Jesus, have sent My angel [Rev. 1:1; 22:6] to testify to you [This "you" is plural in the Greek; it refers to all Christians, not just John.] these things for [concerning] the churches. [[Revelation 1:1; 22:6, 8 demonstrate that this angel communicated/showed the prophecy of the book of Revelation to John for all of Christ's bond-servants (Christians). (Revelation 22:3 shows that we're also bond-servants of God the Father.) Here, when it says he was sent "to testify to you these things," it apparently includes the idea that this angel (who, to say the least, was no insignificant angel, not that God considers any of His bond-servants to be insignificant, whether angels or people) testified [for Christ] to the genuineness of this prophecy (cf. Rev. 22:20; 1:2; the same Greek verb for testify is also used in Rev. 22:18). John 3:11, 32, which use the same Greek verb translated testify here in Rev. 22:16, help show the meaning in 22:16. In John 3:11 Jesus says, "Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen...." And John 3:32 has, "What He has seen and heard, of that He bears witness...." I'll quote part of a sentence from John Walvoord ("The Revelation of Jesus Christ" [Moody Bible Institute, 1966], pages 336, 337), "...the Lord Jesus Christ had sent His angel to testify the truth of this book to John and to deliver the book to the churches."]] I am the root and the offspring of David [[Christ is the "offspring of David" in that He was born in the lineage of King David (cf., e.g., 2 Sam. 7:12-16; Isa. 9:6, 7; Matt. 1:1; 9:27; 22:41-46; Luke 1:32, 69; Acts 13:22, 23; and Rom. 1:3. Most commentators understand "root" here in the sense given by the BAGD Greek Lexicon under the Greek noun for root ("riza"): "that which grows from a root...descendant...." See Isa. 11:1, 10; Rev. 5:5.)], the bright morning star.' [[See Rev. 2:28. Under Rev. 2:28, G. R. Beasley-Murray ("Revelation," revised edition [Eerdmans, 1978] says (in part), "The morning star is Venus. Lohmeyer has shown that from Babylonian times Venus was the symbol of sovereignty. In Roman times it was more specifically the symbol of victory and sovereignty, for which reason Roman generals owned their loyalty to Venus by erecting temples in her honour (e.g., Sulla, Pompey, Caesar), and Caesar's legions carried her sign on their standards."
Beasley-Murray goes on to say that "the morning star was the sign of conquest and rule over the nations...." Then under Rev. 22:16 he says (in part), "By declaring that he himself is the morning star, the risen Son of God claims that in his acts of redemption and judgment he fulfills the biblical hope of Messiah's rule and gives actuality to the pagans' notion of the sovereignty they ascribed to the gods. The sole Lord of history is the crucified and risen Christ, in whom the dawn of the new age of righteousness and peace has already broken and whose coming is to bring the world the full glory of the day of God." Beasley-Murray also mentions that Christ fulfills the prophecy of Num. 24:17. Cf. 2 Pet. 1:19.)]] (17) And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come.' [[On the bride, cf. Rev. 19:7-9; 21:2, 9. The Spirit is very much involved with the bride of Christ and concerned for her welfare, even to the point of interceding for Christians (cf., e.g., John 14:26; 16:7-16; and Rom. 8:26, 27). Revelation 22:20 helps confirm that the word "Come" is addressed to Christ Jesus. In agreement with the Spirit and being part of the bride, I say, Come Lord Jesus! I trust my readers agree.]] And let the one who hears say, 'Come.' [I assume this refers to the ones hearing the prophecy of the book of Revelation as it was read in the congregations (or to the ones reading it [cf. 1:3]). They add their personal request for the Lord to come. It is only "he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it" (Rev. 1:3) that are ready for His coming.] And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. [[Here John adds his exhortation for all those who are thirsty and have a desire to join the bride of Christ through submitting (in faith) to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Isa. 55:1; John 7:37-39). These words apply to those who can't really say "Come" because they haven't yet become part of the bride of Christ; they aren't ready to stand before Him.]] (18) I [Apparently the speaker/writer here in 22:18, 19 is also John.] testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book; (19) and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. [Compare Deut. 4:32; 12:32. This is serious business!] (20) He who testifies to these things [[As in Rev. 1:2, this speaks of the testimony given by Jesus Christ Himself to the authenticity and importance of the book of Revelation. I'm rather overwhelmed with the testimonies regarding the book of Revelation contained within this book (by God the Father, Jesus Christ, Christ's angel, the angel of 17:1 and the angel of 21:9 [it is possible that these two verses refer to the same angel], and the apostle John), and with the warnings not to tamper with this revelation in 22:18, 19. I'm even more overwhelmed and very much impressed with the content of this prophecy, the book of Revelation. This is a very special book of the Bible, and it's especially important for the Christians of the generation in which Christ is to return, which apparently is our generation.]] says, 'Yes, I am coming quickly.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. (21) The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all. Amen. [The words of 22:21 would be blasphemous if Jesus Christ weren't deity with God the Father, and the Holy Spirit. He is! Amen!]
May the will of God be fully accomplished through this paper and His people be edified!
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