In a similar way, prophecy gives us a picture of the future that scientists, poets, philosophers, and politicians can never really understand. Man can hope and dream, but only God knows our future. The book of Revelation is unlike any other book in the Bible. It gives us a glimpse into the future of the world and our future life. With the completion of our last study in Revelation, the painting of our future has been completed. God, our masterful artist, has laid down His brush. A grim and yet wonderful picture of our future has been painted. The painting is one without sin and includes the group of people who will live with Him forever. The prophecy is certain.
It Is All True
Next, the Holy Spirit reminds us that all that we have read is true,
And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place. And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.” Revelation 22:6-7 (NASB)
God is not like us. He does not lie (Numbers 23:19). He has no reason to lie. Fulfilled prophecies in both the Old and New Testaments prove that God tells the truth. He is faithful and true in all that He says. This is all about God. He has planned the future and given us His plan in this book.
We discover in this passage that once again Jesus promises to come quickly. He promised to come quickly in Revelation 2:16; 3:11; 11:14, and He will repeat that fact once again in Revelation 22:12, 20. In our study of Revelation 8, we discovered that the Greek word for “quickly” has the idea of “suddenness” and not “immediately.” He is telling them to not focus on how soon He comes; but that when He comes, He will come fast. There will be no warning to get ready.
We also saw in the gospel of Luke that Jesus did not promise to come while they were alive. He warned them and all of us that when He comes, He will come suddenly. He wants us to always be faithful. The Apostle John is still alive, yet he also warns us to be ready.
The Holy Spirit encourages us to read and heed the words of Revelation! There is a blessing in doing both. In the first chapter of Revelation, God encouraged us to read the book of Revelation by telling us that we would be blessed. Revelation is all about God, His glory (Revelation 4-5), and His plan to end sin and evil (Revelation 5-20). It is about His keeping His word (Revelation 1:3, 19:10) and about His love for us (Revelation 20-22). It is about our unbelievably holy God loving us!
How does the Apostle John respond?
I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. But he said to me, “Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God.” Revelation 22:8-9
John had already been told in Revelation 19:10 not to worship this angel. But apparently, once again, the apostle forgot who was talking to him. In his excitement and amazement, he seems to forget that even this incredible being was just another servant of God. So when John started to worship him, the angel stopped him and encouraged John to worship God.
Today there are many who are extremely interested in angels. Some people even worship angels. They are collectors of angelic figurines and pictures. There are books about visits from angels, and people want to meet with them. Therefore, this passage is a serious warning to the saints – those who really believe in Jesus – and to others not to worship angels. This angel told John, “Stop!”
Do Not Seal The Book
Has the apostle been writing all of this down so far? We do not know, but our next verse is a clear message to John that he should write it all down. The apostle is to capture these faithful and true words so that every saint since the time of the apostle could know what he had seen and experienced.
And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.” Revelation 22:10 (NASB)
Yet, there is a portion that he is not to write. Earlier in Revelation 10:4, the apostle had been told not to reveal what the seven peals of thunder had said. There are some things we will not know in this life. God is not willing to reveal everything to us. It is for our best. He loves us!
The prophet Daniel was also told to not record everything that he saw in his visions and dreams.
But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase. Daniel 12:4 (NASB)
God has not allowed the prophets to record everything. In the last of our studies of the book of Daniel, nine signs of the end of the age were given. The increase in knowledge is one sign of the end times. That is happening today, and knowledge is increasing at a dramatic rate.
Then we discovered later in Daniel 12:9 that the prophet had asked God for some additional information about the future, and God said that some things were hidden until the end time (Daniel 12:9). Did God reveal to the Apostle John what was hidden from Daniel? That appears to be what happened. We do not know, but we should not be disappointed if we do not know everything about the future. Daniel was not able to know everything either.
All of Revelation is true, but everything has not been recorded. All of Revelation is faithful and true and we can trust it. Yet, God has hidden some secrets from us. We will discover them in eternity!
Call To Repentance
Then the angel makes an amazing statement.
Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy. Revelation 22:11 (NASB)
What does he mean? The Greek text is helpful here. The Greek tense for the phrase “do wrong” has the idea that the person is still doing wrong. The angel is saying that even after he/she has been told the truth, if the person still wants to do wrong, then let him/her still do wrong. If after the person has heard it all and has responded by completely rejecting the truth, then there is no other help for him/her.
God does not want those who are practicing righteousness to stop. This is a serious warning. Jesus is coming, and some day in the future He will reward all men and women according to their actions – the reflection of their heart attitude toward God.
When Jesus comes, He will reward everyone according to their decision about Jesus Christ.
Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Revelation 22:12-13 (NASB)
The old statement “What you do speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you say” means that who you really are can be seen in how you live your life. That is what God is saying here. Our actions reveal our hearts. A person who really believes that Jesus is God, that He died for our sins, returned from the dead, and lives in heaven, will be a changed person. He/she will want to live God’s way and will do more than speak nice words. He/she will have a changed life and will love others. He/she will increasingly live a life that is more holy day-by-day.
The message of the next verse is that those who believe in Jesus Christ will wear white in heaven.
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Revelation. 22:14 (NASB)
Those who believe after they hear the news about Jesus Christ are the ones who will wear white, clean robes. This was a specific promise to all the saints and not just to the saints at the church in Sardis (Revelation 3:5).
But those who do not believe are described in the next verse.
Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. Revelation 22:15 (NASB)
They are outside the city gates because they love their sin. The reference to dogs is about evil men (Philippians 3:2). They are not in the Lake of Fire.
Not only is knowledge increasing, but the wickedness of sin is increasing too. Immorality is now considered by many to be a matter of one’s opinion. There are no moral absolutes with many people, because they have rejected God. When there is no moral grid, everything is okay. Taken to its logical end, even murder should be okay. So we are now aborting babies.
The message is clear. Some will enter heaven and others will not. Each person has a choice. This is serious stuff! What do you believe about Jesus Christ? It will determine where you spend the rest of your life.
The good news about Jesus is that He is God. He died for our sins. He returned to life, ascended back to heaven, is alive, and will return some day.
What are the saints – Christians – waiting for now? We are waiting for Jesus to come
I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star. 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 wishes take the water of life without cost. Revelation 22:16-17 (NASB)
I find it wonderful that the overcomers (saints) are promised the morning star (Revelation 2:28). That means the One I am waiting for – Jesus – is promised to us.
Do you thirst for God? Do you wish there was something more to the Christian life? Last year a woman asked that question, “Is there more to the Christian life than this?” She was discouraged and disappointed with her life. John 7:37-38 tells us that there is more to the Christian life than Bible reading, prayer, and service. Service can make us feel full and feel useful. But if we stop, we may discover that our life is empty. John 7:37-38 says that there should be rivers of living water gushing out from our insides. We should be filled with joy and rejoicing. We should be thrilled with life because Jesus loves us and cares for us. Do you long to know more about God? Does your heart rejoice when you discover new truths about Him?
Do you long for your Friend to come? Do you long for the One who loves you greatly to come? Others want Him to come, including those who are thirsty for more of Him, and those who are eager to leave this life.
The end of the book is almost here. But before closing, the Holy Spirit gives a warning.
I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. Revelation 22:18-19 (NASB)
Here we are warned not to add or take away anything from what was written in this book. These are God’s words and not ours. The warning also includes more than simply removing one or more words. In 2 Timothy 2 we find this warning,
But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some. 2 Timothy 2:16-18 (NASB)
Did you notice that these two men made errors in their teaching about future prophecy? We are warned not to be sensational and not to make up “truth.” The passage is referring to false teachers and those who would purposefully distort what is taught in Revelation.
This great book ends with one more serious statement.
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. Revelation 22:20 (NASB)
The Lord Jesus speaks to us directly. He is coming! He promised to come and He will come! He is coming! Do you long for Him to come? He loves you! He is coming for His saints – His overcomers! I want him to come soon! I trust that you do.
I worked in a machine shop for four-and-a-half years alongside a fellow named George. His job was to sweep and clean out the shavings underneath the huge lathes and machines we were running. George was born again, and he loved the teaching of Scripture on prophecy. I remember hearing him sing hymns as he worked. Many of them had to do with the coming of Christ, such as “In the Sweet By” and “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder.”
Late one Friday afternoon about ten minutes to quitting time when we were all weary, I looked at George and said, “George, are you ready?” He said, “Uh-huh.” But he was all dirty. He was just obviously not ready. In fact, he looked like he was ready to keep on working. I said, “Aren’t you ready to go home?” He said, “Yeah, I’m ready.” I said, “Look at you! Man, you’re not ready. You’ve gotta go clean up’ “No,’ he said, “let me show you something.” So he unzipped his coveralls and underneath were the neatest, cleanest clothes you can imagine. He had them all ready. All he did when the whistle blew was just unzip and step out of that coverall, walk up, and punch his clock and he was gone. He said, “You see, I stay ready to keep from gettin’ ready — just like I’m ready for Jesus!”
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen. Revelation 22:21 (NASB)
Jesus is coming!