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We have arrived finally at the end of our journey through the book of Revelation.  This wraps up our study of the entire canon of scripture as well – as the threads of prophecy initiated in the Old Testament and then traced through the NT Gospels and Epistles regarding God’s kingdom agenda for His people and for all of creation find their point of culmination and termination in the establishment of Christ’s kingdom on earth, not just in the millennium but for all of eternity.  These 12 final expressions in these closing verses take a variety of different forms: invitations, exhortations, words of assurance or proclamation or affirmation, corrections, warnings, etc.  But the focus is the same: JESUS IS COMING SOON!

John MacArthur: As we come to chapter 22 and verses 6 to 12, we come to the epilogue, the wrap-up on the apocalypse. All of the glorious and gracious purposes of God, ordained from before the foundation of the world, have now been attained. The rebellion of angels and mankind is all over. The rebels are all in the everlasting punishment of the lake of fire.

The King of kings is now sitting on the eternal throne as the Sovereign with His Father over the new heaven and the new earth. Absolute and unchanging holiness characterizes all within a universal and eternal kingdom of God. The redeemed, the chosen, the glorified saints bought by the slain Lamb are now in their resurrection bodies, dwelling in the glory of the new heaven and the new earth, and particularly living in the New Jerusalem, the heavenly city.

Holy life and praise fills the universe, the universe having been recreated as the abode of God, and His glory fills it with blazing light, starting from inside the diamond holy city and splattering its beauty throughout the whole new heaven and new earth. Light, beauty, holiness, joy, the presence of God and the Lamb, worship and praise, service, likeness to Christ are all the realities of this eternal state. . .

The character of these verses which I just read to you is rapid fire, breathless, almost feel – you almost feel like John is sort of panting as he races his quill across the parchment to get this down rapidly. They are single statements, brief and independent, one after another. And they move from theme, to theme, to theme, to theme. Yet each deals with a needed response – a response that every Christian should have to the coming of Jesus Christ, which is the theme of this book. .

The key word in this text is, “He is coming quickly.”

You will notice it there in verse 7, “Behold, I am coming quickly.” You will notice it in verse 12, “Behold, I am coming quickly.” And down in verse 20, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” And the term is tachu from which we get tachometer which measures speed. “I’m coming speedily; I’m coming hastily,” or, “I’m coming quickly,” or, “I’m coming shortly,” or, “I’m coming soon.” Six times in the book of Revelation that is stated. Six times. Twice it is a warning. In chapter 2, verses 5 and 16, He is coming quickly with judgment on His mind. Four times it is a promise. A promise of blessing – the three that I read you here in chapter 22, and one in chapter 3, verse 11. In all four of those, He is coming to bless. In the first two, chapter 2, verses 5 and 16, He’s coming to judge.

Also we read, in chapter 3, verse 3, that His coming is like a thief. That is repeated in chapter 16, verse 15. It means He will come unexpectedly. He’s coming soon, and He’s coming when not expected. That is, of course, the ploy that a thief has to count on is that he is not expected, that he can get in and get out and do what he wants to do immediately and hastily, without anybody able to make preparation or put up a defense.

Now, what this is telling us is that the coming of the Lord is soon. It’s coming shortly. It’s coming hastily; you need to be ready.

You say, “Well, wait a minute. When this was written around 96 A.D., they might have thought that, but we’re here a long time, almost 2,000 years after that, and He’s not here yet.”

Well, that’s from the human viewpoint, isn’t it? From the vantage point of God, we remind ourselves that a day with the Lord is as – what? – a thousand years, and a thousand years is as a day. And for God’s – from God’s perspective, it’s only been two days. In the light of eternity, it is very, very brief.

Buist Fanning: Its subsections [of 22:6-21] are hard to delineate because it takes the form of a lively dialogue between various speakers (the angel, John, Jesus, the Spirit, the bride, and even the readers or hearers of the book).

Albert Mohler: This epilogue reaffirms everything presented in the vision, restates its truthfulness, and calls for a response of continued faith in Christ as believers await his return.

Daniel Akin: Last words are important words.  Indeed, last words are intended to be lasting words, words that make an impression, words that will stay with the listener or the reader.  In Revelation 22:6-21 we come to the last words in the book of Revelation, the last words of the Bible.  God’s written Word comes to an end, and so what we find here is of utmost importance to God.  It also should be of utmost importance to us.  Two themes are dominant: the reliability and authenticity of the book and the imminence of the end.

As the Apocalypse comes to an end, God sends forth His final invitation. . .  Here we will discover words of affirmation, encouragement, command, and warning.  As our Lord repeatedly challenged the seven churches in chapters 2-3, anyone who has an ear should listen!


A.  (:6a) God’s Revelation is Reliable and True

And he said to me, ‘These words are faithful and true’;

John MacArthur: That is a heavenly confirmation, a heavenly attestation to what John has heard and seen throughout the entire apocalypse. . .

The exactness, detail, and precision with which earlier prophecies already fulfilled came to pass forms the pattern for those yet to be fulfilled. God’s prophetic record is perfect. He predicted Israel would go into captivity, and the nation did (Lev. 26:33-39+). He predicted the destruction of Babylon (Isa. 13:1 – 14:27Jer. 50-51) and Tyre (Isa. 23:1 ff.), and those cities were destroyed. He predicted that Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2+), to a virgin (Isa. 7:14+), and be killed by sinners (Isa. 53:7-10+) and He was. Thus, when God predicts future events, such as the rapture of the church, the rise of Antichrist, the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments, the Battle of Armageddon, the return of Jesus Christ, and His thousand-year earthly kingdom, those events will just as certainly come to pass [Isa. 46:9-11].

Buist Fanning: The next clause (v.6c-d) begins with “and” (kai), but it provides the basis for the reliability asserted in vs. 6b: these words can be trusted because God who inspires his prophets has revealed them.  The description of the Lord as “the God of the spirits of the prophets” anchors this revelation in the inspiration of the prophets by God’s Spirit across the generations (see 10:6-7).  The words that follow in v. 6c-d provide explicit verbal links back to the opening verses of the book (1:1-3).

Charles Swindoll: All of this is meant to communicate three important exhortations that are particularly compelling for a confused culture.

  1. First, we are to believe what is faithful and true. . .
  2. Second, we are to anticipate what has been predicted. . .
  3. Third, we are to heed what has been revealed. Hearing isn’t the same as heeding. Heeding implies responding to admonitions and obeying commands.

B.  (:6b-7a) God’s Revelation Provides Insight into End Time Events

  1. (:6b)  Communication Regarding End Time Events

and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets,

sent His angel to show to His bond-servants

the things which must shortly take place.

John MacArthur: Now, God hasn’t given us the exact timetable, but we are called to live in expectation. And the eternal God who revealed His Word to the spirits or the minds of the prophets has also revealed these truths to John through the angels for us. The things they say in here are real. The visions he sees are real, and they will happen just the way Revelation says they will happen.

Richard Phillips: By referring to the “spirits” of the prophets in the plural, John speaks of the inward faculties of the various men who wrote the Bible books. The Bible was written by men in a wide variety of situations, and their spirits were fully engaged in writing their histories, poems, and prophecies. Yet God was ruling over this entire process: the Lord is “the God of the spirits of the prophets.” Ben Witherington states that “God is the source of the prophet’s inspiration because God is the ruler over human spirits.”

The angel’s statement accords with the classic definition of the inspiration of Scripture, which states that the Bible’s human authors wrote under God’s control. Peter asserts that the Bible writers conveyed not their own thoughts, but God’s message through the Holy Spirit: “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). It is because God inspired the Bible writers that we can echo David’s confidence, expressed in Psalm 119:105: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

In the case of the book of Revelation, John’s guide adds that God “has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place” (Rev. 22:6). In the Old Testament, angels often delivered God’s Word, especially when it involved prophetic visions. John thus stands in the line of the prophets. Douglas Kelly writes: “What Revelation predicts is not brilliant human guesswork. It is not the product of human philosophy, or even religion. It is rather, a matter of God revealing to us what is true” through angelic messengers.  John offers a final attestation to the truth of Revelation by noting that it was recorded by an eyewitness of the visions who was also an authorized apostle of Jesus Christ. Revelation 22:8 states: “I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things.

G.K. Beale: The chain of the book’s revelatory communication is from God to Jesus to an angel to John and finally to Christians (so 1:1; cf. 22:8), which implies that John held a specific prophetic office, which is confirmed by the Dan. 2:28-29, 45 allusion here and in 1:1, 19 and 4:1.

  1. (:7a) Chief End Time Event = Soon Return of Christ = Thesis Statement

And behold, I am coming quickly.

J. Hampton Keathley, III: “I am coming” in the Greek is a present tense verb. It is what we call a futuristic or prophetic present. This is used of an event which is so certain that it is regarded as already in the process of coming to pass.

Robert Mounce: The coming of Christ is to be “soon.”  It is best to take the utterance at face value and accept the difficulty of a foreshortened perspective on the time of the end rather than to reinterpret it in the sense that Jesus “comes” in the crises of life and especially at the death of every person. Revelation has enough riddles without our adding more. Matt 24:42–44 counsels every generation to be on the alert for the return of the Son of man. An infallible timetable would do away with that attitude of urgent expectation that has been the hallmark of the church down through the centuries.

C.  (:7b) God’s Revelation Brings Special Blessing to Those Who Obey

Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.

John MacArthur: What does it mean to heed? Well, it’s from tēreō. It basically means to keep, to hold fast, or to guard. That’s its meaning, to hold onto, to hold captive, to make one’s own, to possess. That same term is used in chapter 14, verse 12, where it talks about the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God, who hold onto. . .

I not only have to obey what the book of Revelation says, but I have to protect from the people who want to destroy it. It calls for guarding this great book from its detractors who would deny it, guarding it from its critics who would ignore it, guarding it from its false interpreters who would obscure it.

Buist Fanning: The use of “obey” (or “keep”) is a reminder of the hortatory content of this entire book.  Its intent is not simply to convey information about the future but to communicate moral demands to be obeyed in the present.  But the one who lives out what the book calls for will enjoy the transcendent happiness that God’s favor brings.


A.  (:8) Improper Worship

  1. (:8a)  Testimony of John

And I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things.

  1. (:8b)  Natural Reaction of John

And when I heard and saw,

I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things.

John MacArthur: It says when he was the one who heard and saw these things – all of it. He meant no idolatry. He just lost himself. For a moment he was so overwhelmed he couldn’t discern between the messenger and the one who sent him. “And the angel” – who realizes that God alone is to be worshiped and feels so self-conscious at John’s posture, verse 9 – “said, ‘Don’t do that. Stop. I’m a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book.’” I’m just another creature. “I’m” – I love this – “I’m a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets.” Isn’t that wonderful that the angels felt like they were brothers with the prophets. . .

Just as a footnote, The Roman Catholic Church advocates the worship of Mary, the worship of angels, the worship of saints. They call it “veneration,” but it is indistinguishable from worship. It is a violation of what the Bible teaches. Worship God. All that John felt should be directed to God alone.

B.  (:9) Proper Worship

  1. Prohibition = Don’t Worship Angels

And he said to me, ‘Do not do that;’

Richard Phillips: In responding to John’s action, the angel instructs us in the vitally important matter of worship. Angels are worship specialists, so we should listen carefully when they teach us about this topic. Here, the angel responds in outraged horror: “You must not do that!” (Rev. 22:9). The English language does not fully reflect the strength of revulsion expressed in the original Greek, which says, “See that not!” “Don’t do this, John!” the angel responds.

We should not think that this interplay between John and the angel is disconnected from the exhortation to keep the message of Revelation. John is being shown, and we with him, that the first and single most important element in keeping God’s Word is to give to God alone the glory that he is due. The angel reacts out of a consuming passion for the exclusive glory of God, and this same passion must be seen in the hearts of all those who keep the words of God’s Book.

The attitude of this angel is also seen in God’s servants in the Bible. A notable example is that of the apostle Paul in Acts 17 when he worked his way through the streets of Athens. Acts 17:16 says that “his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.” Paul was so grievously startled by idolatry that he suffered an inward convulsion. He suffered in his spirit something analogous to a heart attack. The reason for his paroxysm was the grievous thought that God’s glory was being given to others who were not God. Paul was not overwhelmed because he did not know how to contextualize his ministry or because he lacked the sophistication of his pagan neighbors. Paul was stricken because through the Word of God he had obtained an overwhelming passion for the glory of God and a revulsion for the casting down of God’s honor.

  1. Partnership in Submission and Worship

I am a fellow servant of yours

and of your brethren the prophets

and of those who heed the words of this book;

Kendell Easley: The angel refuses worship with a stern “Do not do it.” His comments that follow emphasize plainly the difference between creature and Creator. We must never be allowed to forget the infinite gulf between God and that which he made, no matter how splendid. The people of God are his servants (literally, “slaves”), a term John uses, along with saints as a preferred designation for Christians. (Servants emphasizes their deeds; saints their character.) Now, however, for the only time in Revelation an angel is called a servant of God. Both the holy angels and redeemed humanity exist to serve their Creator.

Because of this angel’s special privilege in revealing God’s word, he identifies with those human beings to whom God entrusted his message: you and your brothers the prophets. This is the only time in Scripture that brother and prophet are connected so closely. It could also be translated your brother-prophets. While the prophets were specially entrusted with God’s revelation, they were, on the other hand, simply brothers within the family of God. This is emphasized even further with the angel’s inclusion of all who keep the words of this book. Think of the vast heavenly company of holy angels and the multitude of Christ’s earthly disciples together as “fellow servants” of the Lord God.

  1. Passion = “worship God.

Robert Mounce: The angel’s exhortation, “Worship God!” puts in the most succinct form possible the theme of the entire book.

Grant Osborne: There is only one imperative in light of all this: τῷ θεῷ προσκύνησον (tō theō proskynēson, worship God). This is the basic message of the whole book. There is only one worthy of worship—not the emperor or the Antichrist or the angels but God alone. Eternity will be typified by the unadulterated and direct worship of God. As the Westminster Confession has said, human beings were created to “praise God and enjoy him forever.”


A.  (:10) Call to Urgently Proclaim God’s Truth

  1. Unseal the Revelation

And he said to me, ‘Do not seal up the words of the prophecy

of this book,’

Daniel Akin: We dare not silence the Word of God by disobedience, indifference, laziness, or neglect. We must preach it and teach it continually and faithfully. A time is coming when the opportunity to respond to the gospel and the Word of God will be no more.

Buist Fanning: God desires what John has written to be widely known in his own day and in subsequent generations up to the actual fulfillment of the prophecies it contains.

G.K. Beale: What Daniel prophesied [Daniel 12:4] can now be understood (the unsealing), because the prophecies have begun to be fulfilled, and the latter days have begun. Therefore, the language of unsealing what is written indicates also the revelation of greater insight into the prophecies, a greater insight kept from OT saints (so likewise Eph. 3:4-5, where insight is now given “which in other generations was not made known … as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit”; cf. also 1 Pet. 1:12). In particular, Christ’s death, resurrection, and reign over history and the saints’ tribulation are the inaugurated fulfillment of OT prophecies. Similarly, Christ unsealed the book in ch. 5. Even if these two books are not identical, generally they both contain to a significant degree revelatory material pertaining to OT prophecies, some of which have been fulfilled and some of which await fulfillment.

Tony Garland: Since it is not a sealed book, it is then obvious that it is meant to be understood and not shrouded in undecipherable mystery and allusion:

What a rebuke to the negligence, the neglect, the sneering, ignorant arrogance, shown by most of Christendom toward The Revelation! Our Lord Jesus may declare it an open, unsealed, understandable book; men say it is filled with “unintelligible language” and “mystic symbols.” Christ says: “Blessed is he that readeth”; men say: “Let it alone, you cannot understand it.” [William Newell]

Dare we suppose that the merciful Jesus would hang his benedictions so high as to be beyond the reach of those to whom they are so graciously proposed? Would he mock us by suspending his offered blessings on terms beyond our power? Yet this is the charge men bring against their Redeemer when they think to plead the incomprehensibility of this Book for their neglect and practical rejection of it. The very propounding of these blessings and rewards is God’s own seal to the possibility of understanding this Book equally with any other part of Scripture. Would he, the God of truth. lie to us? Would he, the God of mercy, mock us? Would he who gave his life for us, and ever lives and ministers in heaven and earth for our enlightenment and salvation, give us a Book to tell us of the outcome of all his gracious operations, command us to note its words, to believe and treasure its contents, and promise us a special blessedness in so doing, if what he has thus put into our hands is not at all within the limits of our comprehension and successful mastery? . . . Therefore these very benedictions pronounce against the common notion that this Book is too difficult for ordinary Christians, and rebuke all who despise and avoid it.  [J.A.Seiss]

  1. Understand the Times

for the time is near.

J. Hampton Keathley, III: To seal up a book means to conceal, hide its message. “Seal up” is the Greek sfragizwwhich means “to put a seal on something,” either to “mark it, identify it, certify it, or to close it, keep it secret.” This book, unlike Daniel 12:4, was never to be sealed and was meant to be understood and applied from the day John received it. Why? Because the time is near, imminent, and people need the truth of this book to understand what God is doing and to prepare for what is coming, i.e., to live with a view to these coming events through the perspective of eternity; the contents of this book were needed immediately by the churches and those living in the church age. In view of the imminent return of Christ, critical choices always need to be made.

B.  (:11) Conduct Confirms Eternal Destiny

  1. Persisting in Sin and Perversion

Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong;

and let the one who is filthy, still be filthy;

Robert Mounce: From the perspective of the Seer the end is so close that there is no longer time to alter the character and habits of people. Those who do wrong will continue to do wrong, and those who are morally unclean will continue in their vile condition.  The major thrust of the verse is that since the end time is now at hand people are certain to reap the consequences of the kinds of lives they have led. The time arrives when change is impossible because character has already been determined by a lifetime of habitual action. The arrival of the end forecloses any possibility of alteration.

Grant Osborne: The rebellious and apostate members of the church as well as the pagans are warned that they will soon cross their Rubicon and face an angry God.

Richard Phillips: In what sense can we understand Jesus to be commanding evil? The answer is that Jesus is commanding that ungodliness be seen for what it is and that godliness be seen for what it is. One of the emphases of Revelation is that Christ will confront and judge evil throughout this age and especially at its end. Here, he commands that evildoing be seen as evil and moral corruption be displayed as the filth that it is. Is this not happening in Western society today, despite the propaganda that promotes sexual perversity, celebrates greed, and masks a culture of death? Despite the clever denials and deceptions, wickedness is nonetheless revealed by its effects. In this way, the Sovereign Christ exposes the evil of both sinful deeds and sinful character. The opposite will be true for godliness throughout this age and at the end: however misrepresented and despised biblical obedience may be in our time, Christ will ensure that its luster will nonetheless shine. Righteous deeds will be seen as being right, and Christ’s holy people will be revealed as holy.

  1. Persisting in Righteousness and Holiness

and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness;

and let the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.

Daniel Akin: How we respond to the truth of God’s Word in this life will confirm our character and determine our destiny for all eternity.  Negatively, the unrighteous will still do evil, and the filthy will forever be filthy.  On a positive note, the righteous will still do right, and the holy will still be holy.  One’s character will be set, forever fixed in a final condition and disposition.  Those in hell will have no heart and passion for God.  Those in heaven will delight in their emulation of their Lord.  These truths must be told.  We dare not be silent.  Souls are at stake.  Eternal destinies hang in the balance.

Charles Swindoll: The final words of the angel seem strange. He seems to be encouraging the wicked to continue being wicked instead of repenting. . .  However, in light of the many exhortations to repent throughout the book of Revelation, this cannot be the intended meaning. Rather, the language may be itself a kind of warning, perhaps paraphrased this way: “You wrongdoers, go ahead and keep doing wrong. Just see what happens. And all unclean sinners, keep rolling in the mud. Just ignore God’s offer of cleansing. You’ve seen what’s in store for you. As for you righteous and holy saints, keep practicing righteousness, keep being holy —and you’ll get your reward in due time.”


A.  Thesis Statement

Behold, I am coming quickly,

B.  Prospect of Reward

and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.

Grant Osborne: Since Christ is returning soon, we had better be ready at all times, lest he find us unprepared like the ten virgins (Matt. 25:1–13) or the servant who wasted his talent (Matt. 25:14–30). This is stressed in the rest of the verse, for Christ says that when he comes, ὁ μισθός μου μετ’ ἐμοῦ (ho misthos mou met’ emou, my reward is with me). This echoes Isa. 40:10, “See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power . . . his reward is with him.” In Isa. 40 the theme is that God would deliver his people from the destruction and exile that would overtake the nation, and his reward will be the return from exile. In Revelation the “reward” is eschatological and relates to the eternal recompense that will be given believers for their faithful walk with Christ, as in 11:18, where the twenty-four elders spoke of “the time for the dead to be judged, and to give a reward to your slaves the prophets.” God and the Lamb will vindicate and reward their people for all that they have sacrificed (see 6:9–11; 21:4) and for all they have done for him. Beale (1999: 1136–37) adds Isa. 62:11 LXX, “Behold, the savior has come to you, bearing his reward.” This is closer to the text here, for there the reward is “salvation.” Here it is not only salvation but recompense for “work” accomplished.


I am the Alpha and the Omega,

the first and the last,

the beginning and the end.

John MacArthur: That’s just three different ways to say basically the same thing, that the Lord Jesus Christ is the beginning – that is to say the source of all things. He is the end – that is the goal of all things, the consummation of all things. He is the eternal, transcendent, infinite God. That kind of designation identifies completeness, timelessness, and sovereign authority. He is not just another man. He is not an angel. He is not a created being. He is not some superhuman genius. He is not a distinguished martyr. He is God eternal and almighty. The beginning and the end, the first and the last.

William Barclay: There is more than one idea here.

(a)  There is the idea of completeness. The Greeks used from alpha to omega and the Hebrews from aleph to tau to indicate completeness. For instance, Abraham kept the whole law from aleph to tau. Here is the symbol that Jesus Christ has everything within himself and needs nothing from any other source.

(b)  There is the idea of eternity. He includes in himself all time, for he is the first and the last.

(c)  There is the idea of authority. The Greeks said that Zeus was the beginning, the middle and the end. The Jewish Rabbis took over this idea and applied it to God, with their own interpretation. They said that, since God was the beginning, he received his power from no one; since he was the middle, he shared his power with no one; and since he was the end, he never handed over his power to anyone.


A.  (:14) Blessing on the Insiders

  1. Righteousness Is Essential

Blessed are those who wash their robes,

William Barclay: Those who wash their robes have the right of entry into the city of God; the Authorized Version has Blessed are they that do his commandments. In Greek, the two phrases would be very like each other. Those who have washed their robes is hoi plunontes tas stolas, and those that do his commandments is hoi poiountes tas entolas. In the early Greek manuscripts, all the words are written in capital letters and there is no space left between them. If we set down these two phrases in Roman capital letters, we see how closely they resemble each other.



Those who have washed their robes” is the reading of the best manuscripts; but it is easy to see how a scribe could make a mistake in copying and substitute the more usual phrase.

  1. Right to Eternal Life Tied to Imputed Righteousness

that they may have the right to the tree of life,

  1. Restriction to Entering Heaven Dictated by the Way Ordained by God

and may enter by the gates into the city.

B.  (:15) Cursing on the Outsiders

Craig Keener: But not everyone will be welcome to enter the city; future paradise for the faithful does not imply universalism. Just as the gates were open only for those in the Lamb’s book of life in 21:25–27, so in 22:15 Jesus provides a partial list of those who will be excluded.

  1. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers

Kendell Easley: “dogs” — a symbolic term for various impure persons; used in Scripture for male prostitutes as well as for those who distorted the gospel (Deut. 23:17–18; Phil. 3:2).

  1. and the immoral persons
  2. and the murderers and the idolaters,
  3. and everyone who loves and practices lying.

Kendell Easley: people like this have nothing to do with the truth; they have followed the devil, who is the great deceiver and liar (12:9).


A.  Authority and Reliability of This Revelation

I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches.

Buist Fanning: The “you” seems to refer to the seven specific churches originally addressed, while “the churches” is the larger group of Christians to whom the Spirit also speaks through this book.  So, in v. 16a-b Jesus attests again to the reliability of the book’s contents as a testimony that he revealed through his messengers.

B.  Authenticity of Messianic Credentials

  1. I am the root and the offspring of David,
  2. the bright morning star.”

John MacArthur: The morning star, by the way, is the brightest star, and it announces the arrival of the day. And that is uniquely fitting, for the Lord Jesus Christ, because when He comes, the brightness of that star shatters the darkness of man’s night and heralds the dawn of God’s glorious day, the dawn of kingdom glory. The brightness of that star shatters the darkness of man’s night and heralds the dawn of God’s glorious day. The dawn of kingdom glory. He is the morning star who appears right before the kingdom dawns.

Grant Osborne: Here two more titles are added to 22:13 to anchor further the reality of who he is. Each also occurs earlier in the Apocalypse, so this also has an intertextual purpose, binding the book together. First, Jesus is ἡ ῥίζα καὶ τὸ γένος Δαυίδ (hē rhiza kai to genos Dauid, the Root and Offspring of David). In 5:5 he is “the root of David,” a military metaphor drawn from Isa. 11:1 and 10 (“the root of Jesse . . . will stand as a banner for the peoples”), which for the Jews connoted the Warrior Messiah who would destroy their enemies (see on 5:5). That image continues here, where the Root of David will be the judge of the wicked (vv. 11a, 15) but adds that he is also David’s “Offspring.” Here he is seen as the fulfillment of all the Davidic messianic hope. He is indeed the Davidic Messiah.  The second title (ὁ ἀστὴρ ὁ λαμπρὸς ὁ πρωϊνός, ho astēr ho lampros ho prōinos, the bright Morning Star) is also messianic, alluding to Num. 24:17, “A star will come out of Jacob,” a passage that was seen as messianic in Judaism (see on 2:28). In 2:28 this messianic glory was shared with the faithful followers and also referred to the victory of the Warrior Messiah over his enemies. Thus, both titles refer not only to the messianic nature and glory of Jesus but also his great power over the wicked.


A.  Invitation Issued by the Spirit and the Bride

And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’

Charles Spurgeon: To my mind, the solemnity of this invitation lies partly in the fact that it is placed at the very end of the Bible and placed there because it is the sum and substance – the aim and objective of the whole Bible.  It is like the point of the arrow and all the rest of the Bible is like the shaft and the feathers on either side of it.  We may say of the Scriptures what John said of his Gospel, “These are written” – all these books that are gathered together into one library called the Bible – “These are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.  And that believing you might have life through His name.”  So far as you are concerned, this blessed Book has missed its purpose unless you have been led by it to come to Christ!

It is all in vain that you have a Bible, or read your Bible, unless you really “take the water of life” of which it speaks.  It is worse than vain, for if it is not a savor of life unto life to you, it shall be a savor of death unto death!  Therefore, it seems to me that this is a very solemn invitation because all the books of the Bible do, in effect, cry to sinners, “Come to Jesus.” (“Oft-Repeated Invitation”)

B.  Invitation Reinforced by Believers

And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’

John MacArthur: The first part is the Spirit and the bride calling for Christ to come. The second part is calling unbelievers to come to Christ. . .

What about the bride? Why does the bride – why does the Church, the bride of Christ the bridegroom say, “Come?” For obvious reasons. We, too, are weary of the battle against sin, as is the Holy Spirit. We, too, long for the exaltation of Jesus Christ. We who are the Church, who belong to Christ, His sheep who love Him, who long for Him to bring us to Himself, we have been waiting and praying and hoping and watching and longing for the coming of the Lord. God’s people have always longed for this. They’ve always longed for the day when the serpent’s head would be bruised, crushed, and he would be destroyed.

God’s people, ever since in the very beginning, when God announced redemption, that there would be someone who would come and bruise the head of the serpent, God’s people have longed for that destruction to come so that righteousness could prevail and sin be destroyed.

Robert Mounce: The threefold use of the present imperative (“come/let him come”) serves to extend the invitation until that very moment when history will pass irrevocably into eternity and any further opportunity for decision will be past.


A.  The Invitation Addresses Man’s Basic Need = Spiritual Thirst

And let the one who is thirsty come;

Grant Osborne: It is part of the mission motif addressing the unsaved and part of the perseverance theme calling Christians to a deeper commitment. This is certainly one of the major purposes of the book, to call back to Christ those members of the church who are straying (such as the churches of Sardis and Laodicea as well as those who have joined the Nicolaitan cult in Ephesus, Pergamum, and Thyatira) and to evangelize those who are lost (a major purpose of the Gospel of John as well).

B.  The Invitation of the Water of Life May Be Freely Received

let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

Richard Phillips: Notice the kind of person to whom Christ offers salvation. He speaks to “the one who is thirsty.” Here is a universal appeal, for the entire human race thirsts from souls that are unfulfilled and dissatisfied with life. Man is created with a universal need to know his Maker and a craving in the soul for the life that only God can give. The heart longs for acceptance by One who is wholly worthy to be loved. The mind cries out for truth. The will desires a truly noble cause, to which we may offer our lives and find transcendent meaning. None of these desires can be satisfied by worldly things so as to fulfill our nature, which is stamped by the image of God. Thus, David wrote, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Ps. 42:2).

The tragedy of life arises when men and women know their thirst but have forgotten the only object of satisfaction. They move from one pursuit in life to another, seeking fulfillment in romance, in career success, in family and child-raising, in politics, in sports, or in the arts. However worthy these pursuits are in themselves, they are not designed by God to quench the thirst of the soul made by him and for him. It is therefore with mercy and love that Jesus Christ presents himself before everyone—even the greatest sinners—as “the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star” (Rev. 22:16). He calls, “Let the one who is thirsty come” (22:17). Here is the general call of the gospel, offered universally to every soul, promising life if only you will come. It is the call given by the church today, proclaiming the gospel in every ear with the genuine offer of forgiveness and life.

Jesus further speaks to “the one who desires” (Rev. 22:17). Here is the special call of the gospel, which only Jesus can give to the souls of those made willing by his power. If we only choose to be saved, we may come to Christ and drink. But the great problem of life is that men and women in sin are not willing and do not choose salvation. In their pride they will not bow before the Son of God. With hardened hearts they cast down the cup of faith by which alone they may drink from the waters of life. Without having heard the gospel, we may not realize the true thirst that we feel. But having heard the gospel, many still perish in moral rebellion against their Sovereign and Redeemer. This is why Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44). It is the special, personal grace of God through the Holy Spirit that makes sinners willing and brings them to the Savior for eternal life.

Finally, there is a condition—you must receive Christ’s salvation as a free gift: “Let the one who desires take the water of life without price” (Rev. 22:17). God has grace for sinners who need to be saved and can do nothing for themselves.


I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book:

A.  (:18) Prohibition against Adding to God’s Word

if anyone adds to them,

God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book;

Richard Phillips: In the time of Jesus, the Pharisees and Sadducees best fit the description of this warning. Raymond Brown writes: “The Pharisees added to the word of God hundreds of detailed prohibitions which were not contained in canonical Scripture. In the same period, the Sadducees subtracted from the word the things they found unacceptable—anything about the supernatural, the doctrine of the resurrection, angels and spirits.”  These two groups find their analogies today in legalists who add man-made works to salvation and liberals who deny plainly taught biblical doctrines. Moreover, adding to or subtracting from Revelation’s message is a hallmark of the cults and their false prophetic leaders.

B.  (:19) Prohibition against Taking Away from God’s Word

and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy,

God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city,

which are written in this book.

John MacArthur: That does not, of course, mean that believers will never make errors in judgment or mistakenly interpret Scripture incorrectly or inadequately.  The Lord’s warning here is address to those who engage in deliberate falsification or misinterpretation of Scripture, those whom Paul denounces as peddlers of the Word of God (2 Cor. 2:17).

Grant Osborne: The reader is warned here that distorting God’s message in these prophecies is tantamount to apostasy, and the person guilty of it will become an apostate unbeliever in God’s eyes.

John Walvoord: No one can dare add to the Word of God except in blatant unbelief and denial that the Word is indeed God’s own message to man. Likewise, no one should dare take away from the words of the book, since to do so is to do despite to the inspired Word of God. What a solemn warning this is to critics who have tampered with this book and other portions of Scripture in arrogant self-confidence that they are equipped intellectually and spiritually to determine what is true and what is not true in the Word of 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.

J. Hampton Keathley, III: So how does one add to the Bible or revelation?

  • One way is by claiming new revelation, that the Bible and the book of Revelation are not enough (as with the Book of Mormon or any other religious writing that claims to be from God).
  • Another way is by claiming advanced knowledge in spiritual matters and that the Bible is not the answer or simply wrong (2 John 9). Liberal humanists are grossly guilty of this. Of course such action not only is adding but subtracting. The point is that this reveals a blatant unbelief in the Bible which denies that the Word of God is the revelation and testimony of God. Such action is a clear evidence of personal unbelief and rejection of Jesus Christ.


He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’


Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.


The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

Daniel Akin: Taken as a whole, the end of Revelation calls us to a clear and simple threefold posture: watch, wait, and witness.  Persecution, trials, and suffering may be a threefold companion, but do not grow weary in well doing.  God sees and He knows.  And He is with you and working through you to advance His kingdom among the nations.  How do we know?  Just look at the last verse in the Bible, Revelation 22:21.  There is our prayer and promise, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints.”  To this we say with the apostle John, “Amen.”  We agree.  We believe.

Richard Phillips: A benediction is both a prayer appeal and a declaration of God’s blessing on his people. As was Paul’s practice, John in his benediction proclaims the grace of Christ for believers. When we speak of salvation “by grace,” we mean that salvation is a free gift from God. Here, “grace” refers to the attitude of the Lord toward his people: Christ is filled with merciful love for all those who call on his name. Revelation has shown Jesus as the Lion and Lamb who is worthy to unseal the scroll of God and establish the divine purpose for heaven and earth. This victorious Lord looks upon his struggling people—then and now—with grace in his heart, acting in compassion for their sufferings and determining by his redeeming work to bring them with him into the new Jerusalem that is to come.

Grace” further refers to the power that God provides to his people in need. In Revelation, Christ has commanded believers to overcome through faith. Will we? The answer is yes! By his grace the people of Christ will persevere in faith so as to stand triumphant on Mount Zion together with the Lamb (Rev. 14:1). Christians are commanded to hold fast to God’s Word and uphold our testimony to Jesus to the end. By the grace of Jesus, we will: the stars of the churches will shine brightly in the darkness of this world until the morning star rises to bring a new day. Christians are required to withstand the allures of the harlot and must refuse to worship the beast. We must reject false teaching from the false prophets of this world. Will the church and will Christians maintain their faith against such potent opposition? The answer, for which John prays and that he declares on Christ’s behalf, is found in his closing benediction: “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen” (22:21). Not merely some of Christ’s people are strengthened, empowered, and secured by this grace, but, John insists, the grace of the Lord Jesus will save all who hear, believe, and call on his name in true faith.

This grace is sufficient to our need because it is the grace of Jesus, who bears to us the love of God the Father. Charles Hodge writes: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is the undeserved love of a divine person clothed with our nature, whose love has all the attributes of sinless human love; the love of one who owns us, who is invested with absolute dominion over us and who is our protector and preserver.”  The grace of this Lord and Savior, Lion and Lamb, who reigns forever from the throne of God, is now and will always be “able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him” (Heb. 7:25).