Exegetical look into Revelation 22:7-13

19 04 2011

 

  • Soon/swift/shortly (Greek Tachos) means “quickness and speed.” These events will come about as Jesus said—suddenly and unexpectedly (Matt 24:32; 2 Pet. 3:8-18). This refers to God’s divine providence and the final phase—not a timeline. The time of waiting is over, for Christ is here. Many Christians took this to mean that it would happen soon. We need to understand God’s perspective, not our desires. This word is critical to which approach and view of Revelation one takes. If we take this word as it is in English and do not pay attention to the Greek, the genres, or the context, we will jump to the conclusion of immediate fulfillment, reading into it our theories of what will happen—when Jesus clearly tells us not to do that (Matt. 26:45; Acts 2:16-17; 1 John 2:18; Rev. 2:16; 3:11; 22:6-12, 20).
  • Blessed is he who keeps the words. This is the sixth beatitude; there are seven beatitudes in Revelation, among about 50 in the Bible (Rev. 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14). See Rev. 1:1-8 study for more.
  • The prophecy refers to the testimony of God proclaimed through heavenly means—through angels as told to John, and through men such as Jeremiah and John (who was also a prophet of God as well as an Apostle.) The prophecy is about the Word of God, His testimony, precepts, and truthful prediction, and how He uses us for His means (Jer. 42:5; Rev. 3:14; 22:18). 
  • Worship. In Rev. 19:10, John fell at his (the angel) feet to worship him. John is perhaps overwhelmed by the glory and all that is seen and said, stimulating him to instinctively worship the angel; thus, the angel rebukes his error. This was a common problem that Paul addresses; angels were given higher positions and relevance by some Christians (stated in Ephesians and Colossians) than what God has assigned them to be; some people even worshiped them. John is embarrassed, yet uses his mistake as a warning for us not to miss the point of his words and this Book, that we are to know and serve Christ by faith. Worship is for Christ and Christ alone, and this is the essential component of our communion and community in Christ (Col. 2:18-19, Rev. 1:17; see study 19:1-10).
  • Do not seal up. This is a contrast to Daniel where the scroll was sealed because it was about the future that was not yet fulfilled or fully understood before Christ had come.  But, Christ broke the seals and opened the scroll, thus it is fulfilled and understood. His plan that has been made known is that salvation is by grace through faith in Him. This also means to spread the word about the Word, for it is now for all succeeding generations (Isa. 29:11; Jer. 23:20; 30:24; Dan. 12:4-9; Rev. 1:3, 11; 5:1-9).
  • The time is near. The time is near for God, who lives outside of space and time, but not necessarily near for us. This is similar to the last days meaning “last period,” referring in context to the sudden nature of the Christian era. Again, a lot of Christians get this wrong; it is not necessarily a time reference (2 Pet. 3:3).
  • Who does wrong continue to do wrong. This is about the refusal to repent and the consequences that result. If we do not repent, there are dire costs for which we have only ourselves to blame. If we do not submit to God and redirect our ways to His Way, we end up becoming more and more hardened, thus our own arrogance becomes the motivation to continue to hate God and His Way. Christ has done His all—and beyond—to save us (Ezek. 3:27; Jer. 44:25; Dan. 12:10; Amos 4:4; 2 Cor. 2:15-16). 
  • Let him who does right continue to do right. This means the righteous will stand with God, while those who are wicked will refuse to stand with Him. God calls us to continue our faith formation and He will empower and provide for us. (Dan. 12:10).
  • My reward is with me means that what we go through in life, suffering in our daily grind, is well worth it when we are faithful and loyal in Him. The more we have faith and are obedient, the greater the reward; Christ will reward us truly and abundantly. This also means it is not enough to just know His precepts, but we are to know Him (Gen. 15:1; Psalm 18:20; 19:11; 62:12; Isa. 49:4; Matt. 19:17; 28:20; Luke 6:46; John 8:31; 10:7-9, 14:6; 1 John 2:3-4; Rev. 20:12 [4 Ezra])!
  • According to what he has done. This refers to the judgment that is based on what we have done or not done; it is our responsibility. God will not just judge your actions; He will also judge your motivations! Yet, God gives us ample provision and time to turn from our evil and wayward ways to His True Word, His best Way. This does not refer to salvation, as salvation is a gift—NOT a reward  (Jer. 23:22-23; Matt. 16:27; Rom 2:6; 5:15-17; 6:23; James 2:20-26; Rev. 2:23; 14:13; 18:6; 20:12-13; 22:12).

 

  • Alpha and the Omega means God is the Lord of History. He is eternal, all powerful, and rules over all places and time. He is LORD of all that is past, present, and that which is to come. His will and purpose will be achieved in His timing and nothing we can do will either bring it faster or thwart it; we must surrender to Him (Isa. 41:4; 44:6; John 19:20; Rom. 8:18-25; Gal. 2:20-21; Col. 1:17; Rev. 1:8; 22:12-16). See Rev. 21:1-8 study for more.




What are the Contexts of Revelation 22:7-20?

19 04 2011

 

This passage brings to a close the Book of Revelation and the Bible with a dynamic exhortation to all people to repent. We are left with a promise of hope and a call to develop our faith so we are ready for His return. There are so many misguided and even heretical positions being taken about this Book, this passage, and about the word “prophecy.” What most people just do not get is this very important fact: this is not about end time speculations. Rather, Revelation, as clearly testified by John and Jesus Christ Himself in this passage, is all about our development as Christians who are of faith and who are loyal and obedient to Him. John’s visions are about getting the Church lined up to God, His Way, and His precepts (Revelation, chapters 1-3). 

Why does Christ call us to holiness and not to vain speculations?  Why do so few Christians do this properly, as He has called? 





Revelation 22:7-20

19 04 2011

Introduction 

Jesus is Coming! 

Jesus is coming back! There is no doubt. He is God, and as the Word, He keeps His word and He shall return. John testifies, under the greatest oath that can be, that all he has said is true, and he reminds his people (and us) to make sure we do not any wrong, rather we must do what Christ has told us to do. John even reminds us of his frailties, and how he started to worship the angel who gave him these visions, as a reminder that we are to be faithful and loyal to Christ. Then, Jesus Himself testifies to the validity of this Book, its precepts and impact for us, and that He is the Source. Christ is coming and He calls us to holiness—not to vain speculations. He will reward the faithful, chastise all those who have done wrong, and condemn those who are evil! He wants us to be among the faithful. Christ wants us to love Him—not what is wicked that will only destroy us. He wants us to be content in Him—not miserable and disillusioned by the ways of the world. 

A last warning is given never to manipulate God’s Word for skewed, personal agendas, never to read in what is not there, or take away from His Word what is there. God’s Word is truth and if we seek to violate that, even by good intentions (this is how cults and heretical theologies start), we become the liars and manipulators about whom He is warning! 

How do you respond to the fact that Jesus is coming back?  What does it mean to you that Jesus keeps His word and He shall return?





Thoughts and Applications for Revelation 22:1-6

12 02 2011

 

Do you long for intimacy with Christ as Lord and love of your life? In this passage, He shows us He restores and seeks us to be renewed and to be in Him. Christ gave us grace from His love to make Him our home of faith and motivation in life. Then, He prepares an eternal home for us too. The question is, as Christians, do we give back our worship, praise, gratitude, and devotion to Him? Are we at home with Him as our main inspiration, impulse, and comfort in this life, not just in the life to come (John 14:23)? We can be assured He cares and loves us beyond description; but, do we love Him back? God has a purpose for this world and for our lives and it is all about communion in and with Him. We must find a way to increase our awareness and love for Christ in our daily lives so our lives mean something more than just “what I want” and “what I can get.” It must be Christ-focused, for this is what Heaven is all about too! 

This incredible passage is more about hope—hope that we need more than anything else including eschatology, the study of end times. Our hope of Heaven is our fuel, our motivation—like gas is to a car; it will get us through life, the great times and the tough times, our adversities, so our soul will travel well.  It is about our motivation to grow in faith, to be loyal to our Lord so we look to Him and not our troubles and trials. Heaven is our hope of hope, and so much more; it is a reality, a wonder, and a place we will be forever and ever. Our biggest problem has been solved, that of our sin causing us to die with no hope or salvation. Christ paid that debt. As a Christian, we have been saved; if you are not saved, you can be and then you can become a new creation in Him, set for eternity (1 Cor. 6:9-11; 2 Cor. 5:17)! 

Christ brings us Heaven! He brings peace and a future to us who do not deserve it. Because of Him, we have hope and a future and most of all, we have Him both now and forevermore! What is better than that?! There is nothing that can be a greater motivator and comfort than knowing for certain who Christ is, what He has done, and what place He has for you and me! Now, let us live our lives as if that is true—because it is true. And, keep in mind these powerful passages as well as John 14 in mind, as love and obedience are connected in Him! 

Questions to ponder: 

  1. Why do you think John gives us this preview of Heaven? What does it mean to you to have “hope beyond hope?”
  1. How do you feel knowing that you have access to God and His life-giving blessings and renewal now, and not just in Heaven?
  1. How does Hope help you be encouraged so you can encourage others? What and when are you going to do this more? How is Hope a vital fuel and stimulate necessary for all that we do successfully in life and for Him? What are some other valuable faith stimulants and how can you use them? What can you and your church do to implement these hopes?
  1. What can your church do to help its people see and feel Hope and the wonder of Christ? How will this help prosper and grow your church even in times of stress, suffering, and confusion?

© 2007 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org





The Two Prevailing Views of Revelation 22:1-6

12 02 2011

 

(Chapters twenty-one and twenty-two deal with the literal versus the non-literal interpretation of Scripture). 

The Literalist View: Sees this passage as the continual, exact description of our inheritance and hope—Heaven. This passage also sets up the second coming of our Lord.  Some in this camp debate whether the Temple will be rebuilt and if this, along with the previous and coming passages, describes this new temple built on the mount, as the armies of the Muslim world seek to destroy it while God protects it. Some of this theory’s main points are that God will use this altar of the Holy of Holies as His main communion with humanity in a millennial kingdom or in a Heavenly kingdom. Some in the non-literalist camp hold to this view too. 

The Non-Literalist View: They see this passage as clearly symbolic drawing mainly from the Old Testament in Ezekiel 47 and the New Testament in John 7 as meaning God keeps His promises and will provide for us in abundance now and forevermore. This is about how God dwells among us through His Church and that our purpose is to worship Him. Others see this as our future abode of Heaven and eternity. Some see this as about the advancement of the Gospel and the building of the Church for His glory. The Church becomes the refuge of Ezekiel (Ezek. 17:22-23; 47). 

The point in these views

Most in the literal camp are the futurists and dispensationalists who do not always do a good job at looking to context or word meanings or genres, which are essential for accurate Bible interpretation. In contrast, many in the non-literalist camp miss the point of the passage all together. Remember, these are man’s theories read into the text, and not necessarily taken from the text. What do we need to know? God does not always give us explanations to live by; He gives us His promise and His empowerment! God is most concerned with what these images represent—the “living water” from John 7:37-39. He is our substance, hope, and life that we are to live for now and that we will have forevermore.





Exegetical look into Revelation 22:4-6

12 02 2011

 

  • See his face. God’s self-disclosure and our extreme blessing of eternity will enable us to see our Lord and be in His presence face to face. Currently, God cannot be seen, but in some phenomenal way, He will allow us to. In ancient cultures, to see a king’s face meant blessing and honor; to be removed from the king and not be able to look onto his face meant punishment and banishment (Ex. 33:20; Esther 7:8; 2 Sam. 14:24; John 1:14-18; 1 Cor. 13:12).
  • His name will be… This refers to the seal of God’s ownership, as names meant not only possessions, but also who possessed you and that person’s character. This also means that Christ is LORD Supreme; He is our “all in all.” (1 Cor. 15:27, 28; Rev. 3:12; 14:1; 21:2, 10)  
  • On their foreheads means that God marks and protects the faithful who accept Christ as Lord and Savior, and who He claims as His. In ancient times, the forehead and hands were the only parts of the body that were visible to others. This, too, is symbolic; God will not “rubber stamp” people or give us some kind of a visible mark, tattoo, “branding,” or a “cross sign” (because the Hebrew letter Taw, looks like an X or cross sign), nor is this some kind of replacement for circumcision. God sees us as important and worth protecting (Ex. 13:9-16; 28:38; Deut. 6:8; 11:18; Is. 44:5; 66:19; Ezek. 9:4-6; Gal. 6:17; Rev. 7:3)!
  • No more night. The original curse of sin is “no longer;” it is removed along with all subsequent curses. This is an image of sin and how God works it out, that even though we do not deserve it, we need it; we need His grace and redemption. This may imply that God resets His creation back to its previous “un-fallen” state where sin has not affected it (Gen. 3:14-19).
  • God will give them light. In Jewish literature (Wisdom of Solomon), this also meant righteousness (Ex. 34:29-35; Dan. 12:3; 2 Cor. 3:13; Rev. 21:23).
  • They will reign. All of God’s people are holy to Him, and in the future, each of us will reign with Him. This means we will partake in His authority and rule as His representatives and holders of His promise.(Psalm 2:8-9; Dan. 7:18, 27; Matt. 25:21-23; Luke 19:17; 1 Cor. 15:41; Col. 1; Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 2:26-27; 20:4).
  • Trustworthy/faithful and true refers to a Jewish oath/testimony that gave credence to the veracity, importance, and reliability of the promise or statement spoken. This is also a characteristic of God, who is faithful and true (as in, He is personal and reliable); thus, so is His Word. He is the One who is completely trustworthy and faithful. In context, these are the final sayings of the Angel, and then he signs off (Psalm 2:7; 89:27; Prov. 14:5, 25; Isa. 8:2; Jer. 42:5;Acts 13:33; Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:20-23; Col. 1:15-18; 1 Tim. 6:13; Rev. 1:3-5; 2:10-13; 3:14;19:11;22:18).
  • God of the spirits of the prophets/flesh is a name and title of God meaning “Lord of the Spirits,” the magnanimity of God as Lord over all, even those of humanity’s most influential (Num. 16:22).
  • Things that must soon take place. A declaration of closure restating what was first said. The point here and throughout Revelation is not just for the future events, but also how we conduct ourselves in them. Whatever unfolds is irrelevant if we do not have the strength of faith to endure and learn from it (Heb. 1:1-2; Rev. 1:3, 7; 22:10).  (See Revelation 1:1 study).




Exegetical look into Revelation 22:1-3

12 02 2011

 

  • River of the water of life means that what is needed for life, even life itself, comes from God. It perhaps refers to the Garden of Eden, and the rivers that flowed there. This also refers to the river that flowed under Jerusalem; each of these themes means Paradise and “God with us.” Water means life, both in the ancient world and now; water is everything to life, and the growing and prospering of crops. Without it, everything dies. The Greeks saw water and river together to mean “virtue” and John uses this imagery to represent the Spirit and renewal in his Gospel. This also means Jesus is the answer to our thirst in life and for salvation! God is our abundant supply of all we need now and forevermore (Gen. 2:10-14; Psalm 46:4; Ezek. 47:1-12; Joel 3:18; Zech. 14:8; John 4:10-14; 7:37-39).
  • Each side of the river… down the middle. This image is indicative of Eden found in Ezekiel 47:1-12 meaning “God nurturers us and extends His abundance and promises to us.” (Psalm 36:8; 46:4; Ezek. 34:27; 36:30 47:1-12; Joel 3:18; Amos 9:13; Zech. 13:1)
  • Tree of life refers to the garden of Paradise and Heaven. In context, it means the guarantee of an everlasting life, and that this life is to be abundant, vivid, pure, and true. The central focus of Heaven is our effectual, eternal relationship in and with Christ. The images from Genesis and Ezekiel mean having access to God’s blessings and Fruit. The tree of life was in the Garden of Eden from which humanity was locked out after the Fall. And, this refers to trees that are always fruit bearing, not just in their season, just as God’s Blessings are continual and forevermore. The promise here is the restoration of Paradise, and that this tree will grow again (Gen. 2:9; 3:22-24; Ezek. 47:7-12; 2 Cor. 12:2-4; Rev. 2:1-7, 14, 19)!
  • Healing of the nations. This is not about political boundaries or even people groups; it is about people in general. For the Jew, “nations” meant Gentiles or everyone. Through Christ, there is no division or caste. We have direct, intimate access to Him. This also means that Jesus is Sovereign and greater than any nation, government, power, or authority. And, in context, it means no sickness or divisions or conflict or prejudices—thus, countries are not needed (Ezek. 47:12; Rev. 1:6; 2:26-27; 20:4, 6)!
  • No longer will there be any curse. This means restoration and refers to “Paradise” and “pleasure garden.” This points to our restored, sinless state and/or the millennial kingdom, that God will reverse the Fall and remove the curse of sin from the universe (Gen. 2:8; 3:16-19; Ezek. 28:13; Zech. 14:11; Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:4; Rev. 2:7). 
  • His servants. This suggests that there is no special elite class in the Kingdom of God. We all are His servants; we are all special and anointed to serve (Matt. 5:8; Rev. 1:1).




Revelation 22:1-6: What are the Contexts?

12 02 2011

 

This passage brings to a close John’s visions with a testimony to their importance, veracity, reality, and truthfulness. This passage also sets up the promise for Christ’s return. This is also about our assurance in Christ—that we will receive our rewards, comfort, and bliss in Him, but that we can also have it now—just as a taste—in our trials, setbacks, and failures and still be triumphant in Him as long as we have faith and allow it to mature and keep growing. Heaven is not just a carrot on a stick to those in persecution to show them what awaits them. Heaven gives hope and a sign to stay on His path; it is a reality, it is a wonder, it is a comfort and a means by which to stay focused on Christ rather than on our circumstances. Best of all, it is real and one day we will be there for all time! 

This passage is also describing Paradise in the similar imagery Isaiah uses to show the splendor and wonder of a rebuilt Temple and a restored Jerusalem, but now it is about Heaven (Is. 51:3). This is a renewal of the imagery and reality of the Garden of Eden that somehow in some shape will be restored. The original Garden of Eden was a setting in nature; now, it is being described in the previous passage as a city, a contrast showing how God loves and works through humanity, bringing us to Him. The main point is not of the ecstasy of Paradise; it is about our intimacy with God who is with us, Immanuel, “God among us,” “God with us.” The garden imagery is that of God empowering and keeping us; this is the real, effectual Paradise of which we have just a taste now, but will come to fruition in eternity. This is also about our blessings for being with and in Him as God is the One who loves us and restores our communion with Him. God restores His creation back to its utopian, unfailing state before sin entered into it. 

As Adam and Eve started out in the Garden of Eden of perfection and utopia, and then it was ruined by their sin, now it is resurrected beyond measure for all those in Christ to live in and enjoy. The Bible starts off the history of humanity in a garden; after our journeys in sin, our fall, pride, struggle, and the work of Christ redeeming us, we end up back in the garden of Paradise—the garden of being in Him! This symbolism is based on fact and gives us hope and a sense of the reality and presence of God in our lives and His working in our church. This is meant to inspire us for the deployment of our faith so we can be confident in the reliability and steadfastness of our Christian life. He is empowering us. It is more than just a preview of what is to come; this is real. His presence is a genuine, effectual presence, a hope, and abundance for us now! 

How is God keeping your church faithful and watering you now? What fuels the faithful in your church? What can your church do to better “water” its people? 





Revelation 22:1-6

12 02 2011

Introduction 

The Water of Life! 

We have access to God and His life-giving blessings and renewal! Now, the angel shows John more of Heaven—the water and river of life flowing from God Himself, coursing down upon His faithful, watering the Tree of Life. This is the essential life of the universe that also heals the nations and fuels the faithful. God’s creation is no longer under the curse of sin; it has been renewed. Instead of evil and strife, there will be praise and worship of the Lamb. The faithful will see His face and bathe in His presence; our loyalty will be set and pure, and the Lord will shine upon us all! Then, the angel reassures John (and us through the ages) that these Words are from God and they are trustworthy and true. We can have hope beyond hope of His wonder beyond wonders. We have a future in and with Christ as Lord; we have a place in Him for eternity! 

Why does John give us this preview of Heaven? Perhaps it is all about Hope, that vital fuel and stimulate necessary for all that we do successfully in life and for Him. It is also the fuel for us to be encouraged so we can encourage others—to prosper and grow in times of stress, suffering, and confusion. He has prepared a place for us; what is more wonderful than that (John 14:1-6)!? 

Do you fully realize that all things are under His control? How does this affect your hope and staying power? 

How can this passage help you endure for the future? What do you think it meant to a persecuted people? What would it take for you to earnestly feel and see that God is in control? What do you need to do? 

What needs to take place to reassure you that these words in Revelation are from God and they are trustworthy and true? God has prepared a place for us; what is more wonderful than that? How is this fact going to assure and inspire you?





What does Revelation 20:7-15 mean to us now?

3 12 2010

 

This passage is, besides being about death, judgment, and hell, also about the evils of determined pride. Pride is sin; it is the terror and oppressor of good people, the cause of the Fall, the fall of those who then become evil, and the main fuel of Satan himself. Pride is evil! Pride is the chief universal struggle of humanity and what holds us back and condemns us more than anything else.  

Satan is a betrayer who seeks evil and fights against God, righteousness, goodness, and all those who follow Christ. Yes, he is no match to God. Satan has been judged; his sentence is eternal damnation by his choice and deeds, where he will be tormented by his own evil that activates with all those who joined in his evil against God and His people. We can take great comfort that God protects and fights on our behalf. We can trust Him and not worry or fret over the things we can’t control or change. Our place is with Christ—now and forever more.  

Evil people think they can get away with it; they think they can frustrate those who are good—even God Himself. But, they cannot; there is no escape from God, His love, or His wrath. In the end, evil loses big! God will hold evil, injustice, and sufferings, and severely punish all those who produce them!  

Questions to ponder:

  1. Why can we never think we can hide our innermost thoughts and deeds from God? How can this be a comfort for us? How does the fact that God is omniscient—all knowing—help you make better decisions for your life? How is your faith strengthened, knowing that evil will never get away with its actions? 
  1. How would others you know estimate your conduct before God and man? How would your church be assessed by its community? 
  1. What if God judged you according to what you had done? What would He find? How can this passage help you see the character and wonders of God? 
  1.  Why does it do no one any good to fight God? Why do people do so anyway? After all this peace and prosperity, why will people oppose God, seeking evil and lining up to Satan’s side? What are the causes and motivations for people to hunt those who are good and fight against God and His people?   

© 2007 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

 






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