The Book of REVELATION
James J. Barker
THE LAST CHAPTER IN GOD'S BOOK
- Revelation 22 takes us full circle, all the way back to the first verse of the book of Revelation (22:6; cf. 1:1).
- My last two messages have been an exposition of chapter 21, and I have preached about the new Jerusalem. The first five verses of chapter 22 pick up where chapter 21 leaves off.
- Wilbur M. Smith summarizes the state of blessedness in the new Jerusalem:
"All the glorious purposes of God, ordained from the
foundation of the world, have now been attained. The rebellion of angels and
mankind is all and finally subdued, as the King of kings assumes his rightful
sovereignty. Absolute and unchangeable holiness characterizes all within the
universal Kingdom of God. The redeemed, made so by the blood of the Lamb, are in
resurrection and eternal glory. Life is everywhere—and death will never intrude
again. The earth and the heavens both are renewed. Light, beauty, holiness, joy,
the presence of God, the worship of God, service to Christ, likeness to
Christ—all are now abiding realities. The vocabulary of man, made for life here,
is incapable of truly and adequately depicting what God has prepared for those
that love him" (Wycliffe Bible
- As chapter 22 begins, John sees "a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb" (22:1).
- This is not the same river issuing from the millennial temple (Ezek. 47:1, 12).
- Nor is this the living waters going forth from Jerusalem (Zech. 14:8). Ezekiel's prophecy and Zechariah's prophecy both describe conditions in the millennial kingdom. The river here in Revelation 22 will be in the new Jerusalem, after the millennium is over.
- John Walvoord says, "These millennial streams anticipate, however, this future river which is in the new Jerusalem, which speaks of the power, purity, and eternal life manifest in the heavenly city. This river corresponds to the present believer’s experience of the outflow of the Spirit and eternal life" (The Revelation of Jesus Christ).
- The throne is the throne of God and of the Lamb, confirming that the Lord Jesus Christ will still be on the throne throughout all eternity (cf. 21:5, 6).
- Revelation 22:2 says that in the midst of the street of it, "and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."
- The reference to healing has puzzled students of Scripture. Revelation 22:3 says, "And there shall be no more curse." And if there will be no more curse and no more sickness and no more death in the new Jerusalem, why would the nations need to be healed?
- The Greek word used here for “healing” is therapeia (the-rä-pāya), from which we get our English words "therapy" and "therapeutic." The word literally means, “health-giving.”
- Walvoord says, "The leaves of the tree promote the enjoyment of life in the new Jerusalem" (The Revelation of Jesus Christ).
- This is my final message in our series, and it is entitled, “The Last Chapter in God's Book.” Tonight we will consider some of the last things we see here in the last chapter in the Bible.
THE LAST BEATITUDES (22:7, 14)
- There are seven beatitudes in the book of Revelation. The last two are found here in chapter 22 (22:7, 14).
- The other beatitudes are 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6.
- "Blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book" (22:7). As I said last week, if sinners do not want to obey God now, they will not be happy in the new Jerusalem. Therefore they will not be allowed entrance (21:27; cf. 22:14, 15; 21:8).
- If sinners do not want to serve God now, they will not want to serve Him in the new Jerusalem, for in the new Jerusalem we will serve God throughout all eternity (22:3b).
- Revelation 21 and 22 describe the blessedness of serving God in the new Jerusalem. We shall serve and we "shall reign for ever and ever" (22:5b).
- Another blessing is mentioned in verse 4 -- we "shall see His face.”
- First John 3:2 says, "for we shall see Him as He is."
- We will have immediate access to the glory of God in the new Jerusalem. That is why there will be no temple therein (21:22).
- Furthermore, God's name shall be in our foreheads, indicating that we belong to Him (22:4; cf. 3:12; 7:3; 14:1).
- Again in verse 5, John repeats the fact that there will be no night in the new Jerusalem (cf. 21:23). We shall not need candles or lamps, nor the light of the sun, for God is the light of the city.
- A.T. Pierson referred to "The Grand Sevenfold Consummation" found here in Revelation 22:3-5. It was revised by J. B. Smith (A Revelation of Jesus Christ):
- "And there shall be no more curse" — perfect restoration.
- "But the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it" — perfect administration.
- "And His servants shall serve Him" — perfect subordination.
- "And they shall see His face" — perfect transformation.
- "And His name shall be in their foreheads" — perfect identification.
- "And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light — perfect illumination.
- "And they shall reign for ever and ever" — perfect exultation.
- The phrase “must shortly be done” (22:6) literally means “what it is necessary to do quickly” (Walvoord).
- “Quickly” (22:7) means that when the action comes, it will be sudden. John Walvoord says, "It is to be regarded as impending as if it is meant to be fulfilled at any time...it constitutes a message of warning that those who believe should be alert" (The Revelation of Jesus Christ).
- The blessing of God is pronounced on those who keep the sayings of the prophecies of this book, a special promise repeated from Revelation 1:3.
- In both beatitudes, imminency is emphasized in the expression “for the time is at hand” (1:3; cf. 22:10b).
- John was so overwhelmed by these prophetic revelations that Revelation 22:8 says he "fell down to worship before the feet of the angel" which shewed him these things.
- John’s response was understandable, though unscriptural, and he was rebuked by the angel who told him that he was John’s "fellowservant" and should be regarded the same way John would regard the prophets and others who keep the sayings of the book (cf. 19:10).
- The Bible plainly teaches that we are to worship God only.
- Since there is a special blessing for those who keep the sayings of the prophecies given (22:7), John is commanded not to seal the sayings of the prophecies but rather to proclaim them.
- The word "Revelation" means "to uncover" or "to reveal." God wants us to understand the book of Revelation. God has revealed it to us.
- Unfortunately, many Christians ignore the book of Revelation.
- "For the time is at hand" (22:10b). From John’s day to ours, the end is always impending because the rapture of the church is imminent.
- Then in verse 11, we read, "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still."
- Generally, men die the way they live. Present choices fix character, and the time is coming when change will be impossible. Present choices will become permanent in character.
- Someone said:
Sow a thought and reap an
Sow an act and reap a
Sow a habit and reap a
Sow a character and reap a
- Revelation 22:11 certainly does not mean that men should remain unmoved by the prophecies of this book. But if the incredible prophecies and strong warnings recorded in the book of Revelation are rejected, then "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still" (22:11).
- Someone once asked D.L. Moody if the Bible had anything to say about smoking. He said, “Yes, it does. In Revelation 22:11 the Bible says, and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still.”
- If God's warnings are ignored, the wicked must continue in their wicked way and be judged by the Lord when He comes.
- The same principle applies to the righteous. "And he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still" (22:11b).
- The exhortation for us is to continue on in righteousness and holiness.
THE LAST REFERENCE TO THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST (22:12, 13).
- There are many references to the judgment seat of Christ in the Bible, and this is the last one.
- Romans 14:10 says, "For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ."
- Second Corinthians 5:10 says, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
- Here in verse 12 is the promise that the Lord is coming quickly, and He will be bringing His reward with Him when He comes.
- Believers will be rewarded at that time. We are saved by grace, but will be rewarded on the basis of our works.
- In fact, all final judgments relate to works, whether it is Christians who are being rewarded or unsaved who are being punished (cf. 20:12, 13).
- Unbelievers will be excluded from the new Jerusalem, and are described as “dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” (22:15).
- The reference to dogs refers to men of low character. Philippians 3:2 says, "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision."
- Deuteronomy 23:18 says, "Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God."
- Most Bible teachers say that "dog" in Deuteronomy 23:18 refers to homosexual prostitutes.
- From verse 6, an angel had been talking, but now in verses 12 and 13 it is the Lord Jesus Christ, "the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last."
- He is the Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet (cf. 1:8, 11, 17; 2:8; 21:6).
- In verse sixteen, the Lord Jesus Christ declares that He had sent His angel to testify the truth of this book to John and to deliver the book to the churches.
- Our Lord is “the root and offspring of David” (cf. Isa. 11:1) and “the bright and morning star” (cf. Rev. 2:28).
- The Lord Jesus Christ is the morning star, but the NIV calls Lucifer the "morning star" in Isaiah 14:12. This is another good reason to avoid the NIV!
THE LAST INVITATION (22:17)
- We see the word “come” three times in this verse, and many other times in the Bible.
- “And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark” (Genesis 7:1).
- “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18).
- “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isa. 55:1).
- “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).
- “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” (John 7:37).
- There are many these invitations in the Bible, and the last one is found here in Revelation 22:17.
- This invitation is also an urgent command, for soon the day will arrive when it will be too late to come. Now is the day of grace.
- Notice that it is the Holy Spirit who says, “Come” (22:17). This is the work of the Holy Spirit, convincing sinners that they need to come to Christ; they need to be born again.
- Note also that the bride says, “Come.” The bride is the church (cf. Rev. 19:7-9).
- It is the job of the church to invite people to come to Christ. The Holy Spirit has no tongue – He must use ours. The Holy Spirit has no mouth – He must use ours. The Holy Spirit has no arms and legs – He must use ours.
- Some preachers do not believe in invitations, but I believe invitations are Biblical. Revelation 22:17 says, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.”
- Jesus said in Luke 14:23, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”
- Are you doing that?
- Our message is for “whosoever will” (Rev. 22:17). Some of our Calvinist friends say the doctrine of free will is not found in the Bible, but I see it right here in Rev. 22:17. “And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
“Whosoever heareth,” shout, shout the sound!
the blessèd tidings all the world around;
Spread the joyful news wherever man
“Whosoever will may come.”
-- P.P. Bliss
- The word “whosoever” is found 183 times in the Bible. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13).
- The word “whosoever” is found ten times in the Gospel of John (cf. 3:15, 16; 4:13, 14; 11:25, 26; 12:46).
- Here in Revelation 22:17 we see our last “whosoever.” It is the last invitation (cf. Rev. 20:15).
THE LAST WARNING (REV. 22:18, 19).
- It is a serious sin to add to the Bible and it is just as wrong to subtract from the Bible. Psalm 138:2 says, “For thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name."
- Deuteronomy 4:2 says, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you."
- Deuteronomy 12:32 says, "What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it."
- Proverbs 30:5, 6 says, "Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar."
- Galatians 1:8, 9 says, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
- It is a mark of cults and false religions to tamper with the Word of God. Pentecostals and charismatics believe that God continues to give them new revelations.
- Once people add to the Bible, than anything goes and they are open to all types of deception.
- Most of the new Bible translations are inaccurate. They “take away from the Bible” (NIV, NASB, the “Message,” etc.).
- The NIV is a very popular translation but it is very inaccurate. It has taken out many words, phrases, and even entire verses (e.g., Acts 8:37). This is “taking away” from God’s Word.
- The cults and false religions add and take away from God’s Word. The Mormons have their “Book of Mormon.” The Muslims have the Koran. The SDA place Ellen G. White's books on the same level as the Bible.
- It is a serious sin to tamper with God’s Word. This is the last warning in the Bible, and it is a solemn warning (22:18, 19).
THE LAST PROMISE (22:20a).
- “Surely I come quickly” – this is the third promise in Revelation 22 concerning the second coming of Christ (cf. 22:7, 12).
- Dr. Lee Roberson said, “You will never find worldly Christians praying this last prayer, ‘Even so, come, Lord Jesus.’”
- He said, “The lazy, indifferent, do-nothing Christian is not anxious to look into the face of the Lord, for he realizes that his life and service will be judged. If we are compromising with the world, we will not be anxious to face Him.”
- Are you looking forward to the Lord’s return?
- The second coming of Christ is one of the greatest doctrines in the Bible. The second coming is mentioned 318 times in the New Testament – that means that about one out of every 25 verses refers to the second coming of Christ.
- Humanly speaking, the world is in bad shape. I’m glad I’m saved. And I am glad Jesus has promised us that He is coming back!” (cf. John 14:1-4).
THE LAST PRAYER (22:20b, 21)
- “Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (22:20b).
- We are in a great conflict between God and the devil; Christ and antichrist; those who love the true God of the Bible and those who worship a false god. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (22:20b).
- The second coming will be in two phases:
- The rapture (I Thess. 4:13-18)
- The revelation (Rev. 1:7; 19:11-16).
- The Lord is coming. Are you ready?
The last words in the last chapter in God's Book are words of grace (22:21).
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