If anyone fails to keep the words of the book, he will be excluded from citizenship in the city of New Jerusalem – Revelation 22:6-21.
The Book of Revelation concludes with an epilogue that recalls the earlier promises to “overcoming saints,” reiterates warnings against faithlessness, summons believers to render homage to God alone, and calls for Jesus to “come quickly.” Testimony and assurances from uncontestable sources attest to the trustworthiness of the “words of the book,” which are “prophecy” and the “testimony of Jesus.”
The arrival of Jesus at the end of the age will result in life for the obedient, but also will mean a terrible fate for the rebellious. All men who “keep the words” of the book will find themselves “blessed.”
- (Revelation 22:6-7) – “And he said to me: These words are faithful and true; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets has sent his angel to point out to his servants the things which must come to pass with speed. And behold, I come speedily! Happy is he that keeps the words of the prophecy of this scroll.”
The “he” that is speaking to John is one of the seven angels that had the “seven bowls of wrath,” and the same one who previously revealed New Jerusalem. The reader is assured of the veracity of all that is recorded in the book because the words are part of the “testimony of Jesus.” That is, the words are uncontestable because they are from him – (Revelation 1:2-5,3:7,3:14,19:9-11,21:5).
“The spirits of the prophets.” The “spirits” of the prophets may refer to the individual anointings for prophetic ministry that each prophet received. Effectively, the clause is parallel to the earlier one – “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” – (Revelation 19:10).
“The things which must come to pass with speed.” The clause is derived from Daniel’s explanation of the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar. It appears several times in Revelation, beginning with its first verse. However, what for Daniel was to occur in a remote future (“latter days”), becomes “soon” for the recipients of Revelation – (Daniel 2:28, Revelation 1:1, 4:1-2).
“Blessed is he that keeps the words of this book.” This is the sixth of seven beatitudes in the book that promise “blessings” to anyone who keeps its words. Here, it reiterates the promise of the first beatitude, which demonstrates that, in its entirety, Revelation is addressed to the “seven churches of Asia” – (Revelation 1:3).
- (Revelation 22:8-9) – “And I, John, am he that was hearing and seeing these things; and when I had heard and seen, I fell down to render homage at the feet of the angel who had been pointing out to me these things. And he says to me: See you do it not! I am a fellow-servant of you and of your brethren the prophets, and of them who keep the words of this scroll: render homage to God!”
Apparently, John was overwhelmed by what he saw and was about to render homage to the angel. The key danger detailed in the book is the desire to give allegiance to the “beast,” which amounts to rendering homage to the “Dragon.” The only sure way to avoid this terrible infraction is to render homage to God alone – (Revelation 19:10).
- (Revelation 22:10-11) – “And he says to me: Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, for the season is near. He that is doing unjustly, let him do unjustly still, and he that is filthy, let him be made filthy still, and he that is righteous, let him do righteousness still, and he that is holy, let him be hallowed still.”
“Do not seal up the words of the prophecy.” A clear echo of the vision received by Danielwhen he was commanded to “seal the scroll shut.” But what was NOT “near” for Daniel is close at hand for the “churches of Asia,” for the “season is at hand.” What was previously hidden is now unveiled by Jesus.
“He that is doing unjustly, let him do unjustly still.” The “season” has arrived, therefore, how one lives is more relevant than ever. If the coming of Jesus is at hand, so is the “Great White Throne of Judgment.” How one acts now determines whether one’s name will be found “written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
- (Revelation 22:12-15) – “Behold! I come speedily and my reward is with me, to render to each one as his work is. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are they who are washing their robes, that their right may be to the tree of life and by the gates, they may enter the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the unchaste and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone loving and doing falsehood.”
Here, key themes and warnings from the book are repeated, including the promise of life for the faithful. At this point, the Risen Jesus is the one speaking (“I, Jesus, sent my angel”). He is the “First and the Last, the Beginning and the End,” and therefore, he speaks with the same voice and authority as his Father – (Revelation 1:8, 1:11, 21:6).
“Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers.” A warning with a double reference. First, men who commit such sins are not members of the church, and therefore, are excluded from the “book of life.” Second, they will find themselves “outside” the walls of “New Jerusalem,” and instead, will find themselves in the “Lake of Fire.”
- (Revelation 22:16-21) – “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to bear witness to you of these things for the assemblies. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the bright and the Morning Star. And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come! And he that hears, let him say, Come! And he that is athirst, let him come, and he that will let him take of the water of life, freely. I bear witness to everyone that hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone shall lay aught upon them, God will lay upon him the plagues which are written in this scroll. And if anyone shall take away from the words of this prophetic scroll, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the things written in this scroll. He that bears witness of these things, says, Yea! I come speedily. Amen! come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with the saints.”
“I am the Root and the Offspring of David.” Previously, Jesus was called the “Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David,” the one who “overcame” and, thereby, acquired the right to open the “sealed scroll,” none other than the “slain Lamb.” Jesus is the Messiah BECAUSE he is the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
The “bright and the morning star” alludes to the messianic prophecy from the Book of Numbers – “There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel. But the passage follows the Greek text from the Septuagint version, which reads, “the rising star.” Previously, Jesus promised to give the “morning star” to the “overcomers” in the Thyatira – (Numbers 24:17, Revelation 2:28).
“If anyone shall take away from the words of this prophetic scroll.” The warning is specific to the Book of Revelation, and it must be taken seriously. If anyone fails to keep the words of the book, he will be excluded from partaking of the “tree of life,” from citizenship in the city of “New Jerusalem,” and his name will be expunged from the “book of life.”
“Amen: come, Lord Jesus.” Thus, the book ends with a prayer. When answered by the return of Jesus, it will mean a great blessing to some, but a horrible curse to others; life to the faithful, but the “second death” to the faithless.