Thoughts and Applications for Revelation 22:7-20

 

This Book ends with several pronouncements to come to Him, a beatitude that says blessed to those who keep my Word. The Bible is bathed in His love for us and ends with a final cry for us to come to Him, heed His voice, and practice His love to others. The question is, are we going to heed His voice? Are we going to come?

Too many Christians get so captivated and fixated on His second coming that they miss the main point. His coming again is not about when or how, but what are we doing to prepare for it. That preparation has to do with our faith formation more than anything else. Christ wants us to be loyal and obedient to His Word in precepts and call. He is calling us, His people in His Church, to Him! 

Questions to ponder: 

  1. Why does God severely warn us to never manipulate God’s Word for skewed personal agendas? Why do so many preachers and commentators seek to do just that? How does one rationalize that it is OK to manipulate God’s Word?
  1. What can your church leadership do to teach and model to its people never to read in to God’s Word what is not there, or take away what is there?
  1. How can you better use God’s Word to develop your faith so you are more ready for His return?
  1. What can your church do about getting its people lined up to God and His Way and precepts and to know and be prepared by faith, spiritual maturity, character, and Fruit?

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

The Two Prevailing Views of Revelation 22:7-20

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

There is nothing significant in the last passage for this debate (other than what has already been said) except that most commentators seem to ignore it. Yes; they ignore the most climatic, hopeful, and wondrous passage in the Bible. So much “ado” is spent on speculations and sensationalisms, that the things that are really important are ignored. In the worse way, I think it is the fear of conviction that causes many commentators to manipulate His Word—especially with Revelation. In this way, they can put the focus on elsewhere, as Satan likes us too, so what God clearly calls us to can be rationalized away or ignored, so they would not be convicted of it. Of course, if you read any of Revelation, you will see what God thinks of this practice. In the best way, it seems that many people like to come up with their own theories, which is OK to a point, but then to sensationalize them and belittle those who do not hold to their vain speculative and even sometimes aberrant views that are not even found in the passages is not OK. Thus, when they get to this passage, conviction hits home; God Himself tells us clearly, do not do it! Oops! 

What does it mean to you to be content in Christ? Why are so many of us miserable, even though we are Christians? How does this compare to not being a Christian and being disillusioned by the ways of the world? What can you do better to be content in Him?

Exegetical look into Revelation 22:14-20

 

  • Blessed are those who wash their robes means that those who are faithful in Christ will receive the approval and good will of God as blessings from Christ, but those who reject Him will be judged. Being blessed also refers to the emotional states of satisfaction, well-being, and contentment that result from being approved by God and by the fulfilling of our duty. It is enjoying God’s special favor and His Grace working in us. It is like being told by our parents that they are proud of us. Being blessed is not about wealth or material things; it is all about faith and being content because of who we are in Christ. Our robes imply that we must seek to be our best for His glory; if not, we are insulting the real God/Christ! We represent Christ, and our faith and obedience are our clothing. How is yours? (Matt. 5:1-12; Rev. 3:4, 18; 6:11; 7:9, 13; 4:4; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9, 14; 20:6; 22:7-14: The seven beatitudes in Revelation, 1:3; 3:4-5; 7:14; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14).
  • Outside. This is not good; once this happens, it is too late to repent! If we seek evil, love what is wrong, and worship what is false, we will be held to account; and if one refuses to accept Christ as Lord, he or she will be judged and condemned. God is exclusive and supreme; nothing comes before Him (Duet. 6:4-9; Matt. 7:6; 1 John 2:23; Rev. 20:15; 21:8, 27).
  • Dogs. This is not Lassie the beloved family pet; this refers to sexual immorality in pagan cults characterized as stray dogs running amok, dirty and disease ridden. In the Old Testament, it means those who were ceremonially impure; in Paul’s time, it meant male prostitutes. (Gen. 3:24; Deut. 23:17-18; Phil. 2:3; Rev. 21:8).
  • Everyone who loves and practices falsehood. This refers to sin and the desire to continue in sin, refusing God’s grace. This also means being an apostate—one who says he or she is a Christian but his or her bad character shows that to be a lie, and that he or she is not of God. This also denotes disloyalty, even idolatry, as it is saying a god or an idea is true when it is not, and/or  adultery with God as with a spouse—besides the obvious omission of truth (Isa. 44:20; Jer. 10:3; 1 John 2:22). The result is His divine judgment and punishment of no entrance into Heaven (Deut. 32:22; Isa. 65:17; 66:15-22; Mal. 4:1; 1 Cor. 3:13; 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; 2 Thess. 1:7-8; 2 Pet. 2:6; 3:7-13).
  • I, Jesus…give you this testimony. Jesus is the Witness to the Church universal, and the angel speaking to John is bearing the very words of Christ to him. Then, John becomes the witness of Christ, not only to his churches, but also to us today through the written Word. (Matt. 22:1-14; 25:1-13; 1 John 4:1-6; Rev. 1: 2; 2:20; 6:9; 22:9).
  • Root and the Offspring of David. This refers to the linage of David as followers after God’s heart, and a promise from the Old Testament that a Savior would come from David’s line—as Jesus did (Isa. 11:1-10; Matt. 22:42; Rom. 1:3; Rev. 5:5).
  • Morning Star. Here, this means the One who will crush the enemies of God. This name of Christ was for Jesus‘ first coming and Messiahship. The name first referred to the planet Venus, and was a depiction in Judaism meaning the advent of dawn or of a new day or age. Jesus is now that advent. This is also about His radiance and glory. It alludes to the kingship of Israel and points us to His Second Coming. Jesus is the true Morning Star; the counterfeit is Lucifer (Isa. 14:12, 13). The pagans believed that people’s lives were ruled by the stars. This testifies that Jesus is the Ruler, not the stars. Jesus is giving Himself to us. Thus, this may also apply to our glorification and radiance for being in Christ (Num. 24:17; Psalm 84:11; Mal. 4:2; 2 Cor. 3:18; 2 Peter 1:12-21; 1 John 3:2; Rev. 2:28; 22:16; 22:16)!
  • The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” refers to Christ calling those who long to be with God, seek His ways, and apply His truth into their lives. It is a work of the Spirit that is also synergized by our faith and obedience in Christ and our activity in His Church, His bride (John 7:37-39).
  • I warn everyone. This is God’s most passionate warning to not add or subtract from what He says. God wants His Word protected, revered, and applied. He wants us not to be corrupt, seeking to distort His Word. This means we do not add in our thoughts to replace His or make up our own. We can add commentary, insights, applications, and encouragement as long as we stay true to His Text, because this is the Word of God and it is Holy. Thus, when we do add our thoughts, we must make sure they are lined up to His and make a distinction, to ourselves and others, between His Word and our words. In context, this is referring to Revelation, but it also applies to the entirety of the Bible(Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Gal. 1:8-9; Heb. 4:12; 2 Peter 3-4)!
  • Hears the words of the prophecy. This is an invitation to join Christ; He will welcome all those who thirst after Him (Isa. 55:1; John 4:13-14; Rev. 22:1).
  • I am coming soon. The return of Christ, as magnificent and climatic an event as it will be, will be of no value personally if one does not get his or her act together! (John 3:36 Rev. 2:16; 3:11).
  • Come, Lord Jesus. This was an Aramaic prayer used by the early church called the “Marana tha” (Maranatha) which is seeking the return of God or a messiah and/or a return of His Ways. It was popular under Roman occupation (1 Cor. 16:22).

Exegetical look into Revelation 22:7-13

 

  • 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?

 

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

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

 

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

 

(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

 

  • 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

 

  • 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).