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?

What does Revelation 11:7-14 mean to us now?

 

The two witnesses model to us what is important in our Christian life—and that is faithfulness. We must exhibit a willingness to withstand and endure persecution and to face our fears while looking to our Lord. If not, we will look to our fears and turn our face from our Lord; that will only bring us haplessness and distress. And, the payback is God is faithful; He gets us through and vindicates us. The witnesses are examples of courage and faithfulness, and that no matter what circumstances we face, Christ is here and our trust is to be in Him. They are protected for a time, and then they are slain; we can see this as a great loss, and that Satan wins, but his victory is a temporary illusion; eventually, it becomes a total defeat. In God’s eyes, this is a victory, for their job was a success. They and we are made for eternity, not for this world (Acts 12:1-10).  

Questions to Ponder: 

  1. What should a Christian do when experiencing extreme exasperation? How does it make a difference to you that God is still in control in times of insurmountable chaos and suffering?
  1. Do you believe that if you do not know the Old Testament you will not know much or get much from the New Testament, especially Revelation? What happens to our theology when we leave the interpretation up to readers who may not know the Bible as well as they think?
  1. Why would people seek what is terrifying, repulsive, and evil to lead the world? Why would Christians seek such an event or person to lead the Church astray? How would they rationalize it?
  1. Why must our allegiance be a pure loyalty to Christ and His Kingdom, and come first in our lives?
  1. What happens when we are in Christ, yet we seek other things to replace Him that we think are greater such as our race, nationality, or political agendas? How do you balance political pursuits with Christ-like character?
  1. How have you shown faithfulness of character by standing in Christ with an authentic, consistent testimony?
  1. How can you see that God is still in control even over the beast, and in times of insurmountable chaos and suffering? What would this mean to your faith?

© 2006 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org

The Four Main Views of Revelation 11:7-14

 

The Preterist view: They see this passage as the introduction of the beast, the enemy of God and man, and how he ascends (Psalm 87:4; 89:10; Is. 51:9; Dan. 7:3-8, 16-25). They place the emphasis on the testimony of the two witnesses (who represent the Old Testament Prophets), which was finished before they were martyred. Their opposition was from the discords of the Roman war against Jerusalem, and the eventual downfall of Jerusalem from God because of civil and religious rebellion that the two witnesses spoke against. The rejoicing of the pagans is reminiscent of how they treated Christ; now, it is the anarchist’s celebration for civil dissension (Matt. 27:27-31, 39-44; Luke 22:63-65; 23:8-12, 35-39). Some in this camp see the two witnesses’ resurrection as a look back to Christ and His resurrection; others see it as an event that already took place and is lost to history or an allegory of the battle of good versus evil. The earthquake is seen as the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 A.D. 

The Futurist view: There are varying views in this camp as to whether the beast in this passage is the same as in chapters 13 and 17. But, it is agreed that the beast is the enemy of the Church and/or false teachers and leaders of the Church. The point is that the beast is powerless to withstand Christ and His people. The wicked people seem to capitalize on their fiendish victory over the two witnesses, but are quickly turned to shame. The resurrection of the two witnesses is about the awe and horror seen by its viewers on T.V. Then, God causes a great earthquake that destroys Jerusalem. The glory of the Lord is seen as fear—not authentic repentance—but it may bring about real converts. 

The Idealist view: They see the beast as representative of antichristian endeavors throughout the world and time, who seek to silence the godly. The completion of the testimony means God allows suffering but also sustains us through it (Matt. 16:18). The great city is representative of rebellion against God and that the triumph of the wicked will be brief. The resurrection of the two witnesses is seen as the honor they are given in heaven and the consternation of the evil people who did evil to them. Resurrection is also seen as the triumphant church as they see in 1 Thess. 4:16-18. 

The Historicist view: They see the completion of the testimony not applicable to a specific age, but about the truth of the Gospel that prevails. The denial of burial is seen as papal decrees and the Lateran Councils (1179-1215) that would not let faithful people who opposed the mismanagement of the Church to be buried. This is how Wycliffe’s and Huss ‘bodies were desecrated. The beast and the great city are seen as Rome and its evil rule. Stood on their feet refers to the Reformation. The resurrection is seen as the triumph of the Reformation. The earthquake is seen as the political upheavals that happened after the Reformation.

Exegetical look into Revelation 11:11-14

 

  • Three and a half days refers to the bodies that were decaying and/or the time of their prophesying; it denotes a short time (see last study). Some see this as the last half of the great tribulation, may be possible, however this is not shown in the text or context either.
  • People, tribe, language refers to the people, their political power, and their allegiance to either God or to evil. A warning is given that allegiance must be pure loyalty to Christ and His Kingdom, and must come first in our lives. When we are in Christ, we are part of His greater Kingdom—more than just our race or nationality (Psalm 33:10; Phil 3:20; Rev. 5:9; 8:13; 13:3-14; 17:2-8).
  • Sending each other gifts refers to pagan celebrations; it probably does not refer to The Feast of Purim, the Jews’ celebration of their deliverance from the Persians (Esth. 9:19-22).
  • Those who live/dwell on the earth indicates that there are two types of people—those who belong to God and those who oppose Him. Thus, all of humanity either belongs to God or are rebellious, rejecting His Truth and hostile to Him, choosing to remain in their sin (Rev. 6:10).
  • Breath of life from God entered them. This refers to a spectacular validation of authentic faith. The context emphasizes that these are the good churches that stay faithful, and what can happen for us when we, too, stay faithful. However, there are many theories. If these are literal people—which is possible—they are physically resurrected as Christ was. If they represent the Church, it means vindication and victory (Gen. 2:7; Ezek. 37:5, 10; John 20:22; Rev. 6:9-10; 20:1-6).
  • Went up to heaven in a cloud is referring to how Elijah ascended (2 Kings 2:11; Acts 1:9-11), not necessarily about the “rapture” (1 Thess. 4:15-17).
  • Seven thousand people were killed is sometimes referring to a tenth of the population, or a remnant (1 Kings 19:18).
  • Earthquake. This theme is associated with end times and divine visitations (Ex. 19:18; Is. 2:19; Hag. 2:6; Zech. 14:4-5; Ezek. 38:19-20; Amos 8:8; Rev. 6:12).
  • Gave glory to the God of heaven. This probably not an act of genuine repentance, but they were terrified to realize that Christ is the real Lord rather than the evil people or political shenanigans they had put their trust in.
  • Second woe. This refers to look out, terror is coming, or a stern warning of more trouble to come (Amos. 5:18-6:1; Rev. 6:10; 8:13; 10:1-11:14; Rev. 9:12).

Exegetical look into Revelation 11:7-10

 

  • The beast in the Original Greek refers to a “bestial” man, one who is brutal, savage, and ferocious. In context, this in its context infers that the sea is a dwelling place for monsters, suggesting terrifying, repulsive, and evil things that seek to lead the world and the Church astray. This passage also depicts how God is still in control even over the beast, and in times of insurmountable chaos and suffering (Job 7:12; 41:1; Psalm 74:13; 89:9-10; Is. 27:1). Here, “the beast” makes his first appearance; this may not be the same person all of the time such as the antichrist, rather a metaphor or a theme of intent rather than a specific personality (The reason why we do not always take these images literally is for the reason that this is “apocalyptic literature” written in symbolism, poetry and imageries conveying ideas and representations. Whereas most of Scripture is narrative and epistles (letters) that we do take as literal). At this place, the beast it denotes someone of power and influence who is doing the persecution, and more on the beast when we get to chapter 13 (Psalm 87:4; 89:10; Is. 51:9; Dan. 7:3-8, 16-25). Some say this indicates that the antichrist will take over the Temple and John is seeking to prevent or at least slow it down; however, this is not shown in the text or context (2 Thess. 2:3-4).
  • Abyss means “very deep” (the Greek Septuagint translation of the Old Testament word for bottomless). Jewish tradition saw this as a literal, subterranean place, used for the imprisonment of evil demons and Satan, which was actually on the earth (for more detail see Rev. 9:1-11 study). John is using this image to show the beasts “demonic character” (Gen. 1:2; 7:11; Prov. 8:28; Luke 8:31; Rev. 9:1; 20:1).
  • Their bodies. The denial of burial was considered one of the most grievous insults and a great cruelty and sin in ancient cultures (Deut. 21:22-23; Isa. 5:25; Acts 14:19).
  • Great city likely refers to Jerusalem, but the context suggests it is symbolic of any city that is in rebellion and opposition to God. Thus, many commentators have suggested it refers to Rome or Babylon. It is more than a specific, worldly Jerusalem, but any city or people group that fights against God deteriorates into apostasy—such as Sodom—and thus becomes primed for judgment (Is 1:10; Gal. 4:25-26; Rev. 11:1; 16:19; 17:18; 18:10, 16, 18-19, 21).
  • Figuratively refers to the contrast between Jewish and Roman authorities, both of whom are performing evil. Revelation often gives clues to those who are not 1st century Jew’s who may not understand the metaphors of this type of literature  that is based on Old Testament imagery and 1st century life and  customs. We can understand just as well when we seek to understand the Old Testament and get a better handle on the original language and culture.
  • Sodom refers to a city that had little to no morality and/or compromised greatly, such as first century Jerusalem that betrayed its covenant with God (Is. 1:9-10, 21; Jer. 23:14).
  • Egypt represents accentuated oppression and slavery; as Egypt oppressed Israel, so Jerusalem oppresses the righteous Jews and Christians (Rev. 2:9; 3:9).
  • Where also their Lord was crucified is perhaps an Early Church metaphor to contrast pagan with righteous. It could be a metaphor for Rome that had the authority to crucify, but also had authority to stop it.