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Revelation 22:6-21

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Introduction

This morning we are bringing the journey through the book of Revelation to an end. The visions are over, and the focus of the book returns to the present – John’s present as he wrote these words, and our present as we read them.
It’s
One of the challenges to the book of Revelation is to apply its truths to our lives. Almost 80% of the book has to do with the future, and everything between chapters 4 and 21, and it’s easy to push these truths off and think that they have little or no meaning for us today. Yes, judgment is coming. Yes, salvation is coming. Yes, Israel will be restored. Yes, there will be a new heaven and a new earth. Someday.
But these final 16 verses in are very much about those who read and hear the words of the book, and how they live in response to the truths given to us in it.
We begin with three affirmations of what has been said.

Three Affirmations ()

The Angel’s Affirmation
The Angel’s Testimony
Revelation 22:6 ESV
And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”
The “he” of verse 6 is the same angel who was speaking in verse 1. He testifies to John, and to us, that the words of the book of Revelation are trustworthy and true. They deserve our respect, our honor, our attention, and our faith. They were not the invention of some creature, whether angelic or human, but came to us from the Lord God Almighty.
John’s
So, we see that the book of Revelation comes full circle. John writes in ,
begins with these words,
Revelation 1:1–2 ESV
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.
The angel’s testimony is that God did exactly what He set out to do. The Revelation is complete.
Jesus’ Affirmation
Following the angel’s testimony that the Revelation of Jesus Christ is complete, Jesus Himself very appropriately speaks:
Revelation 22:7 ESV
“And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
The book of Revelation was necessary for the seven churches of , and is just as necessary for us today. Jesus is coming soon, if not in terms of calendar time, certainly in terms of prophetic time. At the end of this age Christ will come. No other age stands between.
John’s Affirmation
John himself speaks to the authenticity of these words:
Revelation 22:8–9 ESV
I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”
He was an eyewitness of the visions. He heard them. He saw them. They were so real to him, so tangible, that he sinned in response. He fell to his knees to worship the angel; that’s idolatry. His sinful flesh was utterly overwhelmed by what he experienced.
The angel, of course, being a holy angel, rebuked him sharply – do not do that! – made it clear that he was nothing more than a servant, and no greater of a servant than John himself, and that God alone is to be worshiped.
The angel emphasizes what Jesus said in verse 7:
Revelation 22:10–11 ESV
And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
John was not to keep these words to himself; do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Back in John describes seven thunders sounding; as he went to write down what they had communicated, the Lord in heaven spoke:
Revelation 10:3–4 ESV
and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.”
What does “seal up” mean? It means, “don’t write it down.” There aren’t hidden prophecies in Scripture; don’t waste your time, as so many have, trying to figure out secret, hidden meanings.
Well, John is specifically commanded to not seal, that is, to certainly write everything else that he heard, because the time is near. Judgment is coming against the wicked and filthy, and rescue is coming for the righteousness and holy.
What does mean? It means that the judgments described in Revelation are not meant to change all the wicked people of the world to good people. It means that those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ are to keep on trusting Him, regardless of what they experience or suffer.
Jesus speaks again, and emphasizes the judgment and salvation that is coming very soon.
12-1
Revelation 22:12–16 ESV
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
He is coming soon; again, this is not “soon” according to a calendar, but “soon” according to God’s timeframe. There are no intervening ages between the church age, in which we live, and the second coming. When the church is removed, judgment will begin.
So, those who have trusted in Jesus Christ alone, by the grace of God alone, through faith alone, are blessed. They will have the right to the tree of life, and be citizens of the new city, subjects in good standing of the Kingdom of God.
And those who have rejected Christ, who have committed themselves to their sins and the false gods and religions, are called dogs, because they are unclean, and are banished for all time from the life of God and the presence of God.
And Jesus again affirms the truth of these words. He sent His angel to testify, so that the churches would know, so that counterfeit believers in those churches could repent, and so that His name would be glorified above all things. He is the root and decendant of David – the promised King. He is the bright morning star, the glorious one, the light of the world, the light of eternity.
Because of this, we see in , John was not to
Prophetic revelation is interesting, when you think about it. For instance, the Lord Jesus fulfilled hundreds of prophecies, but none of them came into being AFTER His earthly ministry was complete.
The angel’s testimony is that God did what he set out to do. He has revealed to us the things that must soon take place.
Continuing in verse 10,
Revelation 22:10 ESV
And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.
The angel commands John not to conceal the book. Revelation was not meant to be secret information, but to be read and heard, taught and learned, for the encouragement and exhortation of God’s people. The time of Christ’s coming is near; it could happen at any time. Every generation of the church needs to know what God has revealed about that time.
Continuing in verse 11,
Revelation 22:11 ESV
Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
The angel gives a statement that sounds harsh at first glance, but really summarizes the point of the book of Revelation. Judgment is coming on the evildoers and filthy of this world; rescue is coming for the righteous and holy of this world. The Scriptures make it plain that sin and evil and filthiness and wickedness all stem from man’s sin nature, but that righteousness and holiness come as a gift of God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ.
he angel gives a statement that sounds harsh at first glance, but really summarizes the point of the book of Revelation. Judgment is coming on the evildoers and filthy of this world; rescue is coming for the righteous and holy of this world. The Scriptures make it plain that sin and evil and filthiness and wickedness all stem from man’s sin nature, but that righteousness and holiness come as a gift of God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ.
I see hear a reminder that no one can change a sinner except for God Himself. The sinner can’t, the church can’t, pastors and ministers and priests can’t; only God can change a sinner. And I see a reminder that no one can overturn or invalidate God’s declaration that, by grace and through faith, a sinner is righteous and holy before Him. We don’t have the power or the responsibility to change sinners into saints – and remember, every Christian is a saint – or to make sure that saints remain saints.
Our task is always very, very simple. We are to proclaim the Gospel to the lost, and the Word of God to the saved, so that the lost hear the Gospel and believe unto salvation, and the saved are fed and nourished on the Word of God so that they grow strong in faith and become more like Jesus. As the apostle Paul wrote the Corinthians,
1 Corinthians 3:5–7 ESV
What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
1cor 3 5
Jesus’ Testimony
Revelation 22:7 ESV
“And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
Next, Jesus Himself speaks. He is coming soon, as the book of Revelation has promised. Those who hear and heed and obey the words of this book are blessed, because they will not be taken by surprise by the events described here, but rather have what it takes to stand firmly in their faith in Christ.
Continuing in verse 12-13
Revelation 22:12–13 ESV
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Revelation 22:12 ESV
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.
Jesus repeats the promise to come soon, and will repay each one for what he has done. The word recompense refers to the judgment of the wicked, and the rewarding of the faithful.
His authority to judge and to save is given in verse 13: He is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. These are exclusively divine titles. refers to God as the Alpha and Omega, and refers to God as the Alpha and Omega and the beginning and the end. Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. He has all the power and authority He needs to carry out the judgments and promises we’ve seen.
Continuing in verses 14-15, we see what “recompense” means:
Revelation 22:14–15 ESV
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
There are those who have washed their robes, already mentioned in :
Revelation 7:13–14 ESV
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Revelation 7:14 ESV
I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
The only way to be clean and righteous before God is by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, given to us by grace, and received by faith. No one is clean because of their works or deeds.
And, there are those who have remained in their sin.
They are dogs, a pejorative term that emphasizes uncleanness and defilement, those whose sins are abominations before God, and who are themselves abominable. They are eternally outside the city of God.
Finally, Jesus also makes reference to the opening words of Revelation.
Revelation 22:16 ESV
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
From God the Father to God the Son to the angels to John to us; that’s the line of authority of Revelation. Jesus carried out this work as the Son of God, and, as the Son of David, establishing a Kingdom without end, fulfilling all of the promises made through Israel, which ultimately come to all those who believe.
John
As the book draws to a close we see four last statements that not only complete the book itself, but actually bring a focus to our lives in Christ.

A Final Invitation

The Last Invitation

Revelation 22:17 ESV
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
The last words the Bible speaks to sinners is not of judgment, but of hope.
The Holy Spirit and the Church are both commissioned to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as are every individual Christian, the one who hears. The invitation to believe is unmistakeable. Thirst speaks of spiritual need. Anyone who longs for forgiveness and eternal life can have it if they will turn away from their sins and put, and keep, their faith in Jesus Christ.
We as the Bride of Christ are to keep the command and invitation to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as a constant. God is still saving sinners, praise His holy name! For all the judgments and terrors described in this book, it's encouraging and comforting that the last words the Bible speaks to unbelievers are not a threat of judgment, but the offer of hope.
The last words to the lost ().
Some view the invitation of the Spirit, the Bride, and the one who hears, to "come," as a cry to Jesus to fulfill His promise. He has already promised to come again in , and repeats His promise in . It could certainly be this.

The Last Rebuke

A Final Warning

But verse 17 also contains an urgent, heartfelt invitation to the lost: And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Most of the book of Revelation takes place in the prophetic future. But now we are back in the present, not just John's present, but our present. We as the Bride of Christ are to keep the command and invitation to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as a constant. God is still saving sinners, praise His holy name! For all the judgments and terrors described in this book, it's encouraging and comforting that the last words the Bible speaks to unbelievers are not a threat of judgment, but the offer of hope.
Revelation 22:18–19 ESV
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
rev 22 18
The original hearers of this book were those in the seven churches mentioned by name in . Most of those churches had counterfeit members; in fact, the churches at Sardis and Laodicea seem to be almost entirely counterfeit believers. Revelation contains strong words of judgment against the world, and clear lines of division between the people of God and the wicked.
Those who are religious, but unsaved, are often eager to ignore or redefine the holiness of God and the judgment to come.
Faithfulness to Jesus Christ means faithfulness to His Word. We don’t always understand the Scriptures, and we certainly don’t always like what it has to say, but as Christians we realize that the Word of God is authoritative and unchanging. We must accept it as it is, without changing it to suit our own desires or in a compromise with the world.
John warns all that to change the Word of God is to fall into judgment, a warning that so many in out time ignore to the perils of their own souls.
This warning is not made to the obvious wicked of the world, but to those in the church who masquerade as Christians, like those of the churches of Sardis and Laodicea. They are not Christians, they merely 'identify as Christians,' to borrow a phrase from our own time. Many, many counterfeit Christians have heard the words of Revelation over the years. They are warned here of the danger of altering this prophecy to suit their own sinful desires. Add to the book, and God will add the plagues of the book to your life. Take away from the book, and God will take away your hope of life.

The Last Promise

“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
“everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

The Last Prayer

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
The last warning to counterfeit Christians ()
This warning is not made to the obvious wicked of the world, but to those in the church who masquerade as Christians, like those of the churches of Sardis and Laodicea. They are not Christians, they merely 'identify as Christians,' to borrow a phrase from our own time. Many, many counterfeit Christians have heard the words of Revelation over the years. They are warned here of the danger of altering this prophecy to suit their own sinful desires. Add to the book, and God will add the plagues of the book to your life. Take away from the book, and God will take away your hope of life.
What should they do instead? We've already seen in verse 17; they should humble themselves, and come to the Lord Jesus, acknowledge that their religious life doesn’t satisfy their thirst for life, nor the wrath of God, and believe personally in the Lord Jesus Christ.
does not satisfy the wrath of God, and that they are abandoning their almost-Christian life, and seeking Christ as He truly is.

A Final Promise

Revelation 22:20 ESV
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
What a tremendous promise this is!
Our world is in a terrible condition; wickedness prevails. Our culture is a culture of sin and death. Unborn children have been legally murdered in the United States since 1973. Some states have legal suicide; what is taking place in England over little Charlie Gard – whose parents want to save him, and whose government wants to kill him – is going to happen in America before too long.
But Jesus is coming, and soon. Sin and death dominate, but Jesus is coming, and sin and death can’t prevent Him from coming. There is injustice in the world, but injustice will not prevent Jesus from returning. There is suffering in the world, but suffering will not slow Him down one second.
Lord, we need you! "Yes, I am coming soon!"
Lord, there is injustice in the world! "Yes, I am coming soon!"
Jesus is coming back, and soon. His eyes are on His church, He prays for us without ceasing, He will not fail to keep His children secure for all eternity.
Lord, there is suffering because of sin and death! "Yes, I am coming soon!"
When I think about the difficulties of life, the suffering I’ve seen in the lives of those I love, of my own struggle and problems and weaknesses, I am ultimately comforted only by one truth: Jesus is coming again, and all of those things will end.
Lord, Your people struggle to remain faithful! "Yes, I am coming soon!"

A Final Prayer

also contains the final prayer of the Bible, Amen - come, Lord Jesus!
It’s common in our time for certain theological views to diminish or even demean the Second Coming of Christ. They criticize those are looking daily for the Lord’s return as wanting “pie in the sky in the dear by and by,” and for being so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good. They want heaven on earth, and are determined to find it one way or another, some through social action, and others through the pursuit of miracles and power.
As for me, and I hope you as well, I’ll take the apostle John’s view as biblically and spiritually sound.
Not a prayer for HI
John was looking for the Lord’s return; he longed for it; he lived for it.
Amen, come, Lord Jesus, John writes and prays. He longed to see Jesus again; I long to see Him for the first time. That, my friends, is our best life. It is what we were created for: unbroken, peaceful, joy-filled relationship with our God.
So take these four final statements to heart. There remains a promise of salvation for the lost, and they are invited to come to drink the water of life without price. There remains a deadly caution against those who make a pretense of religion, but would alter the Word of God to suit themselves. There remains a promise from the lips of Jesus Himself; He is coming again. And there remains a prayer: Amen, come, Lord Jesus!
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