Revelation Episode 22

Beth's Notes

Our God is a “with-us” God, Amen? He lovingly desires to be in our midst – just as we desire to be with all those we love. He longs to have fellowship with us and we desire loving fellowship with Him as well. John tells us in John 1:14 (NIV):
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 

And again in John 14:1-3 (NIV) Jesus states: 
1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

Further, in John 14:18-20 our Lord tells us:
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” 

Lastly, Jesus states in the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV):
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
God desired to walk with us in the Garden in the cool of the day from the very beginning. Yet, our sins broke that communion with Him. Through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ, God has now taken that full circle for all who would put their faith in His Son. Believer’s in sweet Jesus, once again have access to the Throne of God because we are now arrayed in the robe of Christ’s righteousness. Simply Amazing. In Him we have become the righteousness of God as Paul states in 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV):
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

The cross epitomized the incredible love of God and of Christ Jesus. The sinless Savior took upon Himself all the sins of the world so that His righteousness could be given to all those who would place their trust in Him. This gift of righteousness is only obtainable by faith in Jesus and His works on our behalf.  

And as Paul writes us in the wonderfully encouraging Words of Romans 8:1-4 (NIV):
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. 

Hallelujah! And Praise Jesus! And not only that, Paul alludes to our great expectations of all that heaven will encompass for us in Romans 8:18-25 (NIV):
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 

And, Scripture says, like nature, we are groaning for our own liberation from decay, Amen? And approaching 70 I feel that daily!  We long for our new home – our heavenly one. Remember that earth is not our home rather our sojourn – heaven is. A place where Paul writes of in 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 (NIV):
9 However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” -- 10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 

And Paul can be trusted as he had experienced but a small glimmer of heaven in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 (NIV):
2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know--God knows. 3 And I know that this man--whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows-- 4 was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. 

The Apostle Paul greatly anticipated what everyone in Christ will one day experience, the presence of Christ in heaven. What he had heard he was forbidden to communicate, perhaps because it applied to him alone. The experience, however, no doubt contributed to Paul’s conviction that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all”.

 The heroes of Hebrews 11 knew this full well and lived accordingly and God was well pleased. Without seeing the fruit of their faith on earth, they continued to believe. As Abraham did when he believed God and God credited it to him as righteousness. Remember, we are told in Hebrews 11:1-2 (NIV):
1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. 

Remember as well, “Hope that is seen is no hope at all” as we just read from Romans 8:24 (NIV). 

We also discover in Hebrews 11:13-16:
13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. 

And what a city that will be! Jesus has told us He is going to prepare a place for us so that we may be with Him – enjoying all the glory of Paradise together. Remember what Jesus stated in John 14:1-4 (NIV):
1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” 

We are to never lose the vision of our heavenly home, a far better country that awaits us which we just read about in Hebrews. “A city with foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God.” Hebrews 11:10B (NIV).
Therefore, as Paul stated in 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV), “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”   

Now we are going to read Chapter Twenty-Two and then discuss:
Prayer: Father open our eyes that we might see clearly exactly what you would have us to learn. Take away all that is about me and fill me to the fullness of You Lord Jesus because if you do not teach us nothing worthwhile will be taught. We ask this for Your glory alone.

1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month.  And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. 6 The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.” 7 “Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.” 8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. 9 But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!” 10 Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near. 11 Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy.” 12 “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. 14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. 16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” 17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!”  Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.  

Prayer: Lord if you do not teach us nothing will be taught. Holy Spirit, make the Word come alive to us – make it come alive. Both for your glory and our good. 

Verse One of Chapter Twenty-Two begins the description of the coming great joy and triumph for all of God’s people in their eternal kingdom – we will be home at last – safe and sound. Many see similarities of this with the Garden of Eden – the Paradise lost due to the choice of sin and now we are discovering Paradise regained because of the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. As we discovered in Chapter 21 there is no sea in the New Earth. Yet, here John describes a river of the water of life as clear as crystal flowing from the Throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. Out of His throne will flow pure water, symbolic of the holiness and purity of God and the city. This terminology of the “river of the water of life” speaks of an abundant and full life – the vital principle which rouses, enlivens and animates living beings. Metaphorically, the water is a life giving doctrine. It stands as an emblem of the highest enjoyment. This should whet our appetites, Amen?  Remember our Lord Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well?  He states in John 4:13-14 (NIV):
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 
Living water quenches all earthly “thirsts”.  We no longer remain needy.  Jesus satisfies fully and completely. Just as Adam and Eve experienced before the fall, before Satan tempted them with his wily questions. 
In Verse Two of Chapter Twenty-Two we discover the tree of life which appeared first in the Garden of Eden and of which humans were barred from eating after Adam and Eve sinned. If they had eaten of this tree of life, physical death would apparently have been impossible and sin would have continued to increase eternally keeping us from God’s presence.  The tree in the New Jerusalem appears to have similar quality and intent. 
The picture is that of the river flowing down the middle of the great street from the Throne. The tree is possibly large enough to span the river so that the river is in the midst of the street and the tree is on both sides of the river.  It would appear that the river is not a broad body of water but rather a clear stream sufficiently narrow for this arrangement.  The tree is said to bear fruit that can be eaten and it would also provide leaves “for the healing of the nations”.  Since no sin remains in the New Heavens and the New Earth healing will no longer be necessary.  The Greek word, however, used for healing is “therapeian” from which we get the word “therapeutic”.  Rather than meaning “healing”, it should be understood as “health-giving”, as the word in its root meaning has the idea of serving or ministering.  In other words the leaves of the tree promote the enjoyment of life in the New Jerusalem and are not for correcting ills that do not exist. The emphasis is on the water which produces health and strength wherever it goes. This is also confirmed by the fact that there is no more curse in Verse Three. The word “nations” used here is best understood as “peoples”. The intimation of this passage is that believers in the eternal state can enjoy that which the tree provides.      
In Verse Three of Chapter Twenty-Two we discover that nothing accursed will be in God’s presence. There is no curse at all and no possibility or need of such divine punishment. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the New Jerusalem and His servants will give of themselves to serve Him. This is not out of compulsion. This is a picture of pure blessedness and not one of arduous toil or slavish fear. There will be no greater privilege believers can have in the eternal state than being servants of the Lord. This implies that believers will be happily serving and working in the new creation, overseeing the planet in varying degrees corresponding to their heavenly rewards. There will be no eternal idleness or uselessness in heaven. Remember, this is a picture of pure blessedness in service rather than one of arduous toil. Remember as well, work was created before the fall. It was only after the fall that Adam had to deal with the “thorns and thistles” and “sweat of his brow”.  
In Verses Four through Five of Chapter Twenty-Two we discover the immediate access to the glory of God characterizing the believer’s life.  They will see His face and His Name will be on their foreheads indicating we belong to Him. The word “name” here means title and reputation. It also indicates the character described by the name, or identification with the person bearing the name. Also, the fact that they shall see His face demonstrates beyond question that these are glorified saints. 1 John 3:2-3 (NIV) states:
2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. 
Once again the fact is repeated that there will no longer be any night or need for light because the radiant light of God’s glory will provide all illumination necessary.  
The saints are also said to have the immense and blessed privilege of reigning eternally. This eternal character is another indication that this is indeed the eternal state and not the Millennium. Christ continues for all eternity to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords, even though the scene of His Mediatorial and Millennial rule over the earth has changed from the earth to the New Heaven and the New Earth. There is no contradiction in calling these saints “servants” as well as those “reigning with Christ”.  
In Verses Six through Seven of Chapter Twenty-Two the angel reminds the Apostle John that his words are trustworthy and true – worthy of all confidence.  God had sent him to show His servants what must soon take place. The word “soon” is an interesting word is it not? Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:8-9 (NIV):  
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends:  With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 
“Soon” in our eyes perhaps is not the same in God’s eyes, Amen?  Remember He is longsuffering and does not desire for any to perish but all to come to repentance. It is we who turn our backs on Him and His gracious promises. Isaiah 30:15 (NIV) states:
15 This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:  “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. 
And the Prophet Ezekiel also tells us in Ezekiel 33:10-11 (NIV):
10 “Son of man, say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what you are saying: ‘Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?’’ 11 Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?’” 
Our Lord Jesus Himself lamented greatly, weeping and praying over the lostness of Jerusalem yet they staunchly refused to repent and turn to Him in Matthew 23:37-39 (NIV) Jesus states:
37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” 
The noun phrase “what must soon take place” in Verse Six, literally translated is “what is necessary to do quickly”. The thought seems to be that when the action does occur, it will be sudden. He is coming “soon” according to Jesus’ very words in Verse Seven. This is a further indication that Christ’s return is also imminent, meaning that it could come at any moment. This verse serves as a warning to all believers that they should maintain an alertness or readiness of rapture. We are to be a prepared people.
A special blessing is pronounced for those who heed the words of this book particularly in the light of our readiness. In Revelation 1:3 (NIV) we are also told:
3 Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. 
I find it extraordinarily interesting as well as ironic that this last Book of the Bible is more neglected, misunderstood and misinterpreted than any other Book yet carries special blessings to those who even read it and more for those who take it to heart, properly regarding its future promises and divine revelation.  The main reason for this is that this Book above all others rightly exalts and magnifies the Lord Jesus Christ.  
While we are on the subject of Scripture, I can’t help myself not to put in a plug or a comment or two regarding God’s Word as a whole.  He has told us that the Word of God is not simply to be idle words for us, they are to be our life.  Indeed, Scripture is full of admonitions to study and know God’s Word so that we may correctly divide it and handle it.  The Shema – one of the most, if not the most, important passages in Scripture for the Jewish people states in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV):
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  7 Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. 
God knows we are so prone to forget and wander from the Truth. Our negligence in this can reap eternal consequences. Ignorance is not bliss in this case as we are all held accountable to the Truth of God’s Word.  God’s Word is powerful and effective, living and active, sharper than any double edged sword, penetrating to divining soul and spirit, joints and marrow and judges the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts.  We are never, never to neglect it.  
“Apathy for God’s Word leads to atrophy of a soul,” writes Voskamp
Donna Evans also writes: “For us to grow in maturity, it’s not enough to just read God’s Word. We need to obey it and put it into practice. Much as an athlete builds physical muscles through repetition and conditioning, we build spiritual muscles by learning, obeying, and living God’s Word.  Sound Bible study transforms our lives by training our minds and hearts.  Bible literacy protects us from error and increases our love for God himself. By giving us His Word and His Spirit, God has given us everything we need for spiritual maturity. Failure to grow is always our choice, never God’s. What are we doing today to help us grow and mature as Christians?”  
Greg Laurie also adds: “God’s standards are absolute. They don’t change.  Even if the culture changes, God’s Word does not change.”  
The Fellowship Of The Unashamed – An Anonymous Poem on following hard after Jesus and it states:
“I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power.  The die has been cast.  I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of His. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still. My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I’m finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals  I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, applause, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, am uplifted by prayer and labor by power. My pace is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven. My road is narrow. My way rough. My companions few. My guide is reliable and my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, pander at the pool of popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I’ve stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preached up for the cause of Christ  I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give ’til I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He’ll have no problem recognizing me. My banner will be clear.”  
In Verses Eight and Nine of Chapter Twenty-Two we discover the Apostle John once again being overwhelmed by the revelation he had received from the angel. His response is a natural one, falling at the feet of the angel in worship. But the angel rebukes him and informs him as he had done previously that he himself was a fellow servant with John telling him to worship God alone. Worship of God is the appropriate response to the Words of Revelation (and all of Scripture for that matter!).
In Verses Ten through Eleven of Chapter Twenty-Two we discover the angel giving John the urgent command not to seal up the prophecy because the time was at hand. As the prophecy of Revelation was unfolded it was God’s intention for it to be revealed as the consummation of the ages was near. The end is now impending because of the imminent return of Jesus at the rapture. Unlike in Daniel’s time when Scripture was sealed as Daniel 12:9-10 (NIV) states:
9 He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. 10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.”
The words in Revelation need to be revealed and read which will lead people to one of two responses. Some will not heed the admonitions and continue on a path of rebellion against God. As John writes those who do wrong will continue to do wrong and those who are vile will continue to be vile. The filthy will still be filthy. Others, however, will take to heart the warnings and pursue God’s direction of righteousness. If God’s prophecies are rejected, there is no other message that will work on the hardened heart. If the warnings of Revelation are not sufficient there is no more that God has to say. The evil will continue in their evil way and be judged by the Lord when He comes. The exhortation for the righteous is to continue on in their righteousness and holiness – continue doing what they were doing. This is an either/or proposition with no neutral ground possible. No neutralities exist in faith. There is also a sense as well that present choices fix character. And birds of a feather tend to flock together. Also, Scripture tells us bad company corrupts good character. On the positive note, it was said of Peter and John in Acts 4:13 (NIV):
13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 
Peter and John’s words and actions demonstrated they had been with the Savior.  A time is coming when change will be impossible and present choices will become permanent character. Spurgeon writes:
“Enter into the service of the Lord of Love, and you shall enjoy a life of blessedness.  If you are Christ’s, let me advise you to do four things. You belong to Jesus – obey Him; let His Word be your law; let His wish be your will.  You belong to the Beloved, then love Him; let your heart embrace Him; let your whole soul be filled with Him. You belong to the Son of God, then trust Him; rest nowhere else but on Him. You belong to the King of kings, then be decided for Him. Thus without needing to be branded on the forehead, all will know to whom you belong.”          
In Verse Twelve of Chapter Twenty-Two Jesus tells us He is coming soon with His reward to give to everyone according to their works. Remember, believers in Jesus are not judged regarding salvation rather works. The Apostle Paul writes of the believers judgment of works in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 (NIV):
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. 
The greater a person’s faithfulness in this earthly life, the greater his or her access will be to special blessings in the eternal state. Remember, we will never outgive God.  Whatever meager sacrifices we may make for His kingdom He so abundantly blesses – often both on earth and most assuredly in heaven – that it seems as no sacrifice at all.   
As stated, the final judgments of both the wicked and the righteous will be a judgments of works. God, the righteous judge, will deal with every person’s work in the proper time and order.  This is the joyous expectation of those who have been faithful and great fear for those who have been unfaithful.
In Verses Thirteen through Sixteen of Chapter Twenty-Two Christ states He is the Alpha and the Omega - the first and the last letters of the Greek Alphabet – meaning He is the beginning and the end.  When One who exists from all eternity states “I am coming soon,” it means from the divine point of view, end time events are impending. Christ is before all Creation and He will continue to exist after the present creation is destroyed.  He is the Eternal Christ the beginning and source of all things as well as the goal and consummation of all things. He is the eternal God. 
“Those who wash their robes” is best translated in the KJV as those “That do His commandments” is a reference to those who qualify for entrance to the kingdom.  By contrast, unbelievers are characterized as being “outside” – excluded - those disqualified for entrance – and are described in the most unflattering terms. This is the third description of unsaved people. The main emphasis is on the deceitfulness and lying of those who are unsaved. The reference to “dogs” does not refer to the animal but those of low character, those whose base, sensual living made them like dogs as Paul also stated in Philippians 3:2 (NIV):
2 Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh.
The issue is not that these unsaved at some time or the other committed sins of this character rather that these are the settled characteristics of their lives from which they were never delivered. Especially shunning the grace of God that would have made their deliverance possible.
Revelation was written specifically for believers. Written about the future but for the present day church. That is why Jesus declares, “I, Jesus have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches.”  He had sent His angel to testify to the Truth of this Book. Now it is as if He is giving His credentials by giving His additional titles when He states He is “the Root and Offspring of David”, this referring to His lineage of King David.  In Matthew 1:1 (NIV) we see:
1 A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Isaiah 11:1-5 (NIV) also tells us:
1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him--the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD--3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. 
And the title “bright Morning Star.” Numbers 24:17-19 (NIV) tells us:
17 “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth. 18 Edom will be conquered; Seir, his enemy, will be conquered, but Israel will grow strong. 19 A ruler will come out of Jacob and destroy the survivors of the city.” 
And Revelation 2:28 (NIV) also tells us:
28 I will also give him the morning star. 
Christ as the Morning Star heralds the coming day in His role of the One who comes for the church in the rapture.
In Verse Seventeen of Chapter Twenty-Two John ends the Book with an evangelistic invitation. The Holy Spirit and Christ’s Bride, the Church, and whomever hears the message all beckon sinners to “come”. They issue a wonderful invitation to eternal life. Not to dissimilar to Isaiah’s in Isaiah 55:1-3 (NIV):
1 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. 3 Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. 
Come all you who are thirsty come to the well that will never run dry.  Anyone who is spiritually thirsty may have his or her thirst quenched by Jesus.  For all willing to accept the invitation, there is a proffer of the water of life.  And the best of all, this spiritual satisfaction is totally free.  The water of life is a gift. All that is required to possess eternal life is faith in Jesus Christ alone and His substitutionary death on our behalf.  Embrace God’s agenda of His eternal Kingdom.  No earthly agenda compares. As the Apostle Paul states in 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 (NIV):
1 As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2 For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. 
In Verses Eighteen through Twenty of Chapter Twenty-Two the urgency of the final command is supported by the solemn testimony of Jesus Christ Himself.  Though frequently in Scripture there are warnings against tampering with God’s Word, this is among the most solemn.  We find in Deuteronomy 4:2 (NIV) the following:
2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you. 
And again in Deuteronomy 12:32 (NIV):
 32 See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it. 
We are not to “mess” with God’s Word. No one should dare add to Scripture in any way. The penalty for doing so will be the plagues that are written in it. This Word is God’s own message to humanity.  Likewise, no one should dare take away from the words of this Revelation. Those who do so will have their heavenly rewards taken away, namely their share of the tree of life and the Holy City. What a solemn warning this is to critics who have tampered with this book and other portions of Scripture in arrogant self-confidence as if they are equipped intellectually and spiritually to determine what is true and what is not true in Scripture – above God. Though not stated in detail, the point of these two verses is that a child of God who reveres Him will recognize at once that this is the Word of God.
Much of Revelation is difficult to understand (as we have discovered!) because of its plethora of symbolism, but the Book concludes by underscoring with notable simplicity two central themes.  First, Jesus is coming soon. You can understand this even if the details of the rapture, the tribulation, the second coming of Jesus, the Millennium, and the eternal state remain unclear.
Second, the glorious future in store for followers of Jesus should inspire our worship, Amen? John’s response to all that was revealed to him was an exclamation of worshipful affirmation: “Amen!  Come, Lord Jesus!”  There is enough Truth stated plainly in Revelation for us to thank God for our salvation, for our eternal future and for God’s great grace and mercy.  If reading and studying Revelation makes us a better worshipper of the Lord Jesus, giving us a greater appreciation for all He has saved us from and for, it has achieved its goal.  For John the important event is the Lord’s coming for him at the rapture of the church and for this his heart longs, not only because he is on the bleak island of Patmos in suffering and exile, but because of the glorious future he has just seen and heard.  It is amazing and convicting how we can so long for things of this earth – jobs, homes, marriages, children, education, and all things this beautiful world offers – yet one glimpse of heaven  makes all these things pale in comparison. John’s heart must have burned within him in anticipation and ours should as well!  
John closes this remarkable Book with the very familiar phrase in Revelation 22:21 (NIV):
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen. 
John desired - of course under the Holy Spirit’s influence - to close Revelation with a benediction of God’s amazing Grace. This is only the second time the word “grace” appears in this Book. The first is found in Revelation 1:4-5 (NIV) stating:
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. 

We could say that the Book of Revelation is “bookended” by God’s great grace which encompasses the entire Book.  Reminiscent of the hymn lyrics “Grace, Greater Than All Our Sins” which state: 
Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured, There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.
Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold, Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,  Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.
Dark is the stain that we cannot hide;  What can we do to wash it away?
Look!  There is flowing a crimson tide,  Brighter than snow you may be today.
Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that will pardon and cleanse within; Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin!

Probably no other book of Scripture more sharply contrasts the blessed lot of the saints with the fearful future of those who are lost.  No other book of the Bible is more explicit in its description of judgment on the one hand and the saints’ eternal bliss on the other.  What a tragedy that so many people pass by this book and fail to fathom and embrace its wonderful truths, thereby impoverishing their knowledge and hope in Christ Jesus.  God’s people who understand and appreciate these wonderful promises can join with John in his prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus.”  And as Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV): 
20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 

These are Beth’s personal notes, due to this fact sources are not often stated.

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