Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Revelation 22:12-22:17
Pastor Steve Schell
Revelation 22:12, 13
Verse 12: Again John records statements directly from Jesus. To begin with Jesus assures the churches that He will come quickly bringing His reward (lit: wages) with Him in order to “pay back” every person according to their “work.” His words carry us back to His pastoral warnings in chapters two and three. There the churches were told they would soon be punished or blessed depending on their obedience to Christ. And as these revelations close those warnings are being issued once more so they won’t be forgotten. Verse 13: This second statement by Jesus is an unmistakable claim to divinity. His words, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last,” can only mean one thing: that He is the creator who existed before His creation and will exist after the first heaven and earth pass away (Rev 21:1). The same words are assigned to God the Father (Rev 1:8) of whom it is said, “You created all things and because of Your will they existed and were created” (Rev 4:11). Through the prophet Isaiah God said, “I am the first and the last, and there is no God beside Me” (Isa 44:6), and again, “Listen to Me O Jacob, even Israel whom I called; I am He, I am the first, I am also the last. Surely My hand founded the earth, and My right hand spread out the heavens; when I call to them they stand together” (Isa 48:12, 13). For Jesus to say such things is one more proof that He existed with the Father before all things. So the churches must take His warnings seriously because the one who is “coming quickly” is the Son of God.

Revelation 22:14
Verse 14: At this verse we return to the angel who, prior to Jesus’ statements, warned the churches that the time of the Lord’s discipline was near (v 10). If they stubbornly refused to repent they would be caught unprepared (Mt 24:36-25:13). And now in verse 14 he puts an eternal perspective on the questions of why obedience is so urgent. The phrase, “those who wash their robes” means those who “made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev 7:14). This is done, of course, by repenting and placing full faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross, and then remaining in that condition. These will be given access to the “tree of life” and will enter through the gates into the New Jerusalem. This is the prize that makes the sacrifices associated with being an “overcomer” worth it.

Revelation 22:15
Verse 15: Those who have not washed their robes will be prohibited from entering the city. Apparently, if this verse is to be taken literally, they will dwell someplace outside of its walls, which is a concept startlingly inconsistent with the picture of the ungodly being burned forever in the “lake of fire” (Rev 20:15). If the unsaved are already being tortured by being burned in a place full of natural fire, then the word “outside” is being employed by the angel merely as a way to define those groups who are not present in the city. However, if the “lake of fire” is a phrase picturing the brilliant glory of God which will then fill the entire universe, then resurrected unbelievers may actually dwell outside the city. If so, they will be imprisoned in the glory of God for they will hate His presence and will be miserable because they have passed unchanged into eternity. Forever they will remain full of evil attitudes and desires which they chose for themselves during their existence on earth, and possibly still be harassed by demonic spirits. Their torment is real and terrible, but God has done nothing to torture them. By allowing them the freedom to reject Him they have created their own misery because the attitudes formed in this life don’t change at death because they enter eternity separated from the Holy Spirit. Though in life unbelievers come to “hate the light” (Jn 3:20) they will dwell in a universe full of God’s undiminished glory (fire of God). For it is only right and necessary that God will no longer restrain His glory but will at last “Йfill all things” (Eph 4:10; 1:23). If this second interpretation is correct then indeed the ungodly will dwell somewhere outside the walls. This scenario would also help explain why there are angels guarding the gates (Rev 21:12).

Revelation 22:15
Verse 15 (continued): Surely this list of groups outside the city is not meant to be exhaustive. After all, there are many other types of sinful people who will not be permitted to enter. It largely repeats categories mentioned in Revelation 21:8, except for the reference to “dogs.” The term “dog” is drawn from a passage in Deuteronomy 23:18 where it was used as a name for male cult prostitutes. Prostitution by both males and females was a common part of the worship practices of the Canaanite religions which were displaced by Israel when they conquered the land. This section of Deuteronomy lists those who “shall not enter the assembly of the Lord” (Dt 23:1-18), and the final prohibition given is, “you shall not bring the hire of a harlot or the wages of a dog into the house of the Lord your God” (Dt 23:18). It goes on to say, “for both of these are an abomination to the Lord your God.” So by using the word “dog” the angel may be revealing that cult prostitution will have a role in the Antichrist’s religious system. Or more likely, he is applying the term to those who choose to worship the Antichrist. By doing so they commit a spiritual act as abominable to God as the vile worship practices of the ancient Canaanites.

Revelation 22:16
Verse 16: Here Jesus directly testifies to the validity of these prophesies and defines for whom they are initially intended. He says, “I Jesus have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches.” He then identifies Himself as “the root and the descendant of David...” In an earlier passage He was identified as the “root of David” (Rev 5:5) which taken by itself is a reference to Isaiah’s prophesy of a shoot growing from a root of the severed line of David’s dynasty (Isa 11:1, 10; Ro 15:12). The point of that prophesy was to say that though David’s line of kings would end before the Messiah was born, at a later date God would bring forth the Messiah from one of His humble descendants (Lk 1:26-33). But the wording of Jesus’ statement here seems to imply something deeper than this. Surely Jesus is the Messiah, David’s anointed descendant, but by saying, “I am the root and the descendant of David” He’s telling us He is also David’s creator. He is the “root” from which David arose and the Son promised to David (2Sa 7:12-16). This revelation answers the puzzling question Jesus posed concerning the Messiah, when He quoted Psalm 110:1 and asked, “If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?” (Mt 22:41-46). The answer is the Messiah is the Son of God and the son of David. He is both David’s divine Lord and his human descendant.

Revelation 22:16
Verse 16 (continued): The last title the Lord gives Himself is “the bright morning star.” Earlier He promised overcomers in Thyatira He would give them “the morning star” (Rev 2:28). The morning star is the last star shining in the early morning sky after emerging dawn has washed out visibility of all others. At its height this star sits alone in the sky as a brilliant point of light. There are several possible reasons Jesus applied this title to Himself, but I believe He used it because the morning star beautifully pictures His return to earth (2Pe 1:19). Suddenly through the darkened atmosphere of an earth in the turmoil of the final tribulation (Rev 8:12, 13; 16:10, 11), the radiant Son of God will appear in the sky, growing larger as He draws near (Mt 24:29, 30; Ac 1:11; Rev 19:11-14). Though the sun and moon will be darkened He will appear at first like a star shining in the sky bringing with Him the dawn of a new “day.” The angels described His return to the disciples at His ascension, “This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven” (Ac 1:11).

Revelation 22:17
Verse 17: Apparently, John is the speaker in this verse and he extends an invitation to whomever will respond saying, “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’” The call certainly includes the seven churches (Rev 2, 3). When Jesus addressed each church earlier, He used the words “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). But by adding the “bride,” so that the invitation comes from both the Holy Spirit and the church (Rev 19:7, 8; 21:2, 9) we understand that unbelievers of all types are intended. Whether in the church or the world unbelievers are invited to repent and be saved. And they will hear this call from two sources: the Holy Spirit who supernaturally convicts every heart (Jn 16:8-11) and the human members of Jesus’ bride, the church. Both divine and human participants are to be at work in the process of drawing people to God.

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