The Final Message
THE FINAL MESSAGE
Revelation 22: 10-21
This morning we are going to finish the book of Revelation…and what is interesting is the book of Revelation ends much the same way it began.
- At the beginning of the book John tells us the context of this book…he tells us when the things written in this book are to take place.
- And here in this last chapter he does it again.
- It is as though he is trying to stress the context that this book is to be interpreted in by saying it at the beginning and at the end…and yet, most people completely ignore what John says.
Let’s go through this and let me show you what I mean. Look at verse 10:
10 And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.
- What does this say to you? If you lived in 79 A.D. which is about the time this book was written…and you read this…”that the time is near”…would you understand it to be talking about something that is going to take place in the year 2000…or 2050…or at the end of time?
- If you are told that “the time is near” you would be thinking that the things written in this book were about to take place.
- And yet, here we are nearly 2000 years after this was written and some people want you to believe that what was written in this book still hasn’t taken place!
John says here: “…for the time is near.”
- The word “near” is also translated “at hand”…”is nigh.”
- Now, if some thing is “at hand”…that means it is close.
- The book of Revelation was written to tell these Christians that God is about to bring forth the things He speaks of in this book.
Notice, once again, he says that this book is a “prophecy.”
- Biblical prophecy…by its very nature…dealt with the problems or situation at the time it was spoken.
- Prophecy always sounded a warning of a coming judgment or destruction.
- And prophecy always called the people to repentance.
- Again, the fact that this is a prophecy indicates that the events of this book are to take place soon after it was written.
And notice, John is told by the angel, “Do not seal up the prophecy of this book.”
- Back over in the book of Daniel, Daniel is told just the opposite.
Dan 8:26 “The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.”
Daniel is told to “seal up the vision” because what he has seen is to take place in the “distant future.”
- But John is told not to “seal up” what he has seen…why?
- Because what he has seen is to “shortly take place.”
In verse 6 of chapter 22 John is told that the things written in this book are to “shortly take place.”
- In verse 7 Jesus says that He is “coming quickly.”
- In verse 10 here, John is told that “the time for these things is near…do not seal it up.”
- In verse 12 the Lord once again says, “I am coming quickly.”
- And then in verse 20 He says it again.
- Do you think the Lord is trying to tell us when these things are going to take place? Is He not giving us the context in which the things of this book are to be interpreted?
- To ignore these statements…is to be blatantly unfair with this book.
- This book was written somewhere around 79 A.D….it was written in reference to the issues of the day…it was written to warn of a coming judgment…and it was written to call God’s people to repentance and to encourage the faithful to remain faithful.
- Everything spoken of in this book has already taken place.
- This book was never a prophecy about Nazi Germany…the Cold War…the war between Israel and Egypt…the Vietnam War…the Gulf War…the War in Iraq…or Isis.
- We must keep the book in its context…to do other wise will cause people to believe many things that are simply not true.
Back to verse 10. John is told that the time for the things in this book to take place “is near.”
Now verse 11: “Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and let the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and let the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.”
On its own this is a difficult verse to understand…but combined with the next verse it becomes more evident as to what it means.
- Look what he says in verse 12: “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.
Keep doing what you are doing if you choose too.
- Let the wrong keep doing wrong…and the filthy keep being filthy.
- And the righteous and holy keep being righteous and holy.
- Keep doing what you choose to do.
- But remember this: Every man is going to reap according to what he has sown.
- The man who does wrong…he will reap what wrong doing deserves.
- The man who does what is righteous and holy…he will reap what the righteous and holy deserves.
- The Lord is coming and He will render to every man the just reward he deserves.
Rev 22:13 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
- He is the beginning and the end…therefore he is in the position to know the certainty of the fulfillment of the just reward that each man will receive.
And look at the rewards mentioned in the next two verses: 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.
Notice he speaks of those who “wash their robes.”
- What does he mean when he speaks of those who “wash their robes”?
- Well, we are told back in chapter 7:13 and 14. Look at the verse:
13 And one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and from where have they come?” 14 And I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
This is who they are…they are the ones whose sins were washed clean by the blood of Christ and who have remained faithful to Christ in spite of the persecution.
- Those people are “blessed” and have the “right to the tree of life” and are citizens of the holy city…or church; Rev. 21.
But those who have not washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb…and who did not remain faithful to Christ…or who served the beast?
“Outside are the dogs…
- Now, he is not talking about house pets…or the kind of dog we might keep in our yard.
- Look up dogs in a Bible Concordance some time and you will find that dogs in scripture ran in packs, and were scurvy, mangy animals that were totally unpleasant.
- John associates these kinds of dogs with people.
He says: “Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.”
- When this judgment comes on Rome…and Christ says it is “coming shortly”, everyone is going to receive their just reward.
- There will be no mistakes…there will be no exceptions…
- Jesus is the “Alpha and the Omega…the beginning and the end”…He is in position to see that these things are justly fulfilled.
In fact, look at the next verse:
16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star.”
- If there was any doubt that Jesus had risen and was alive…
- If there was any doubt that what John was seeing here was from the Lord…
- This verse is intended to remove that doubt.
- When Jesus says “I am the root and offspring of David, the bright and morning star”, He is saying that He is the redeemer promised in the Old Testament Scriptures.
- He is the fulfillment of OT prophecy.
And notice, Jesus says that He “sent His angel to testify to you these things for the churches.”
- Judgment is coming…and those churches that have remained faithful…they can be assured of “life.”
- But those who are “lacking”…well, they need to get things in order.
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”
- Who is the bride? Well, back in chapter 21: 9 and following he tells us.
- It is the “new Jerusalem” or the “glorious church.”
17 And 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.
- All the blessings of the river of the waters of life are available to all who will come.
And now, the conclusion and one final warning: Vs. 18:
18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 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.
- Don’t ignore what the book says…don’t deny it…and don’t add to it to excuse yourself.
- If you tamper with the prophecy to make it say what it doesn’t…or to make it not say what it does…you will be punished by God.
And I want you to notice in verse 19 that we are told that “if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy…that God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city.”
- This warning is apparently specifically aimed at some of these Christians…not to tamper with this book.
- Once again, here is a passage that says that the “child of God” can be lost.
Rev 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
- John liked the news of the book so much that he adds his “amen”…his approval to it.
- And then notice, John recognizes Jesus as who He really is and that is LORD.
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
That concludes the book of Revelation. It is an encouraging book in that it tells us that the God we serve is sovereign and not some human king or emperor.
- It is encouraging in that it tells us that the Lamb, even though slain, still lives…and because He does…we too have life available to us.
- It is encouraging in that it tells us that our faith in the Lamb is not in vain…that no matter what persecutions we endure we will be victorious.
- And it is encouraging in that it tells us that we will be vindicated.
But there are also some serious warnings in this book for all of us.
- Each man will receive his just rewards…you serve the beast…and destruction is yours…you serve the Lamb…and it will be life.
- There is a warning in the book to repent. Just like judgment came on Rome…a great final judgment is coming…and how tragic it will be if you are found lacking.
- And there is a warning in the book about the danger of forsaking the Lamb and losing your faith.
And then there are some tremendous insights in the book.
- One insight is that God can and does uses many different resources to bring about his judgments.
- He can use natural disasters, man’s own sin, armies, and plagues.
- But no matter what may come…He takes care of those who are His.
There is so much more to be learned from this book…but as we close let me remind you the things of this book were to take place shortly after it was written.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023