6] Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true,” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.
7] “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
8] Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.
9] Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” 10] And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of this prophecy, for the time is at hand. 11] He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy. let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.”
12] “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give every one according to his work. 13] I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
14] Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
16] “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
17] And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let take of the water of life freely.
18] For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that 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 Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
20] He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
21] The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (NKJV)
Verse 6 is a witness to the authenticity of Revelation. It says a lot about the wickedness of human nature that, over and over, God has to assure us that He can be trusted and that His word is true.
The second clause refers to the Lord God of the holy prophets, reminding us of 2 Peter 1:21, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. That’s why His word is “faithful and true.” It isn’t just the product of man’s wisdom or imagination. “Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
The Lord refers to His coming three times in this chapter, in vs. 7, 12 and 20. In v. 7, it’s in connection with the prophecy of this book. This doesn’t mean that prophecy is something to speculate or argue about or to sensationalize or trivialize. It’s to assure us that the future is in His hands and that He has everything under control. In v. 12, it’s in connection with His purpose to give everyone according to his work. It’s too easy for us to seek a reward in the approval and praise of mere men, but the only praise that will amount to anything is the commendation of the One who is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. The interesting thing is that He says it’s His “Reward.” Unbelievers and skeptics, those who scorned Him at His First Coming and hanged Him on a Cross, and those down through the ages who have rejected Him or corrupted His teachings will discover that He is the Judge, not them!
Both the godly and the ungodly will find this to be true. The godly, those who do His commandments, v. 14, will enter the city. The wicked, described in v. 15, will never enter that city. There will be nothing that corrupts or defiles allowed into that eternal paradise.
V. 15 says these things are to be testified in the churches. Yet how seldom is this true, that churches are given the message in this book. I know there is a lot of discussion, sometimes heated, about what that message is, but if nothing else, it concerns what is the emphasis in these verses: that the Lord Jesus will return to this earth, that there is coming a time of reward or punishment, and that the invitation is freely given to “Come.” I don’t have access to the original language at this time (I’m actually on vacation), but I wouldn’t be surprised if this word isn’t an imperative, that is, a command, for folks to come to the Savior. This is similar to Acts 17:30, which says, God commands all men everywhere to repent.
There’s some discussion as to whether the Gospel is an offer or an invitation. I think it’s actually a proclamation from the Court in Heaven that men are under condemnation because of their sin, but God, the High King of Heaven, has made a way of escape through His Son and those who repent of their sins and trust in Him for salvation will receive a full and complete pardon for those sins.
Verse 11 troubles some people: He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still. Some might think that the verse means that God is ok with unjust and filthy lives. Perish the thought. We think our Lord’s teaching in Matthew 13 is the answer. In this chapter, He is describing the Kingdom of God using various similes and pictures. In vs. 24-30 he uses the analogy of a man sowing wheat in his field. An enemy comes along and sows tares in that same field. BTW, the NIV version saying “weeds” is terribly inadequate and misleading. Our Lord isn’t talking about something like dandelions! No, no, the idea is that tares are almost indistinguishable from true wheat until harvest, hence, the reference to harvest in v. 30.
The meaning is that we can’t infallibly tell the heart condition of anyone. Some looked down on in “church” might actually be godly individuals, while some who have huge ministries but whose praise is from men might find that that is all the reward they will ever get, and the Lord will tell them to depart from Him, Matthew 25:41. This does not mean that there can be no church discipline or that we can’t “judge” brethren whose lives don’t measure up to Scripture. It does mean that we are neither infallible nor omniscient.
There is also a solemn warning against tampering with the contents of this Book. There’s some discussion about whether this warning is only for Revelation or for the whole Bible. I think it’s the latter. This book is God’s Word, and it’s a terrible presumption and a great wickedness for anyone to believe that it can be improved upon. There has been no revelation since John closed his writing and to say otherwise is a wicked sin.
We can have no better close for this post and this series than the one John gave to his own writing:
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.