XI. The Source of Life and Conclusion (Revelation 22:1-21)

22:1-2 Since there is no sea on the new earth, water will be supplied by the river of the water of life . . . flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb—a single throne shared by God the Father and God the Son (22:1). The new earth also will contain the tree of life (22:2), which first appeared in the garden of Eden (Gen 2:9) and from which humans were barred from eating after Adam and Eve sinned (Gen 3:22-24).

22:15 The wicked, those who never received Jesus as their Savior, will remain under the curse and be separated from the blessings described in this chapter. Among them will be those whose base, sensual living made them like dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

22:16 Revelation was written specifically for believers. That’s why Jesus declares, I . . . have sent my angel to attest these things to you for the churches. It’s about the future, but it’s for the present-day church. The bright morning star is another way of referring to the sun. In the daytime, it is the one star sufficiently luminous and powerful to light the entire earth. Spiritually speaking, Jesus is “the bright morning star” because he is the most powerful source of spiritual illumination and is the sole source of eternal life.

22:17 John ends the book with an evangelistic invitation. The Holy Spirit, the church, and anyone who hears the message all beckon sinners to come to Christ. Anyone who is spiritually thirsty may have his or her thirst quenched by Jesus. And best of all, this spiritual satisfaction is free. The water of life is a gift. All that is required to possess eternal life in the paradise that has been described is to receive the free gift of salvation by placing your faith in Jesus Christ alone and his substitutionary death. Embrace the agenda of his eternal kingdom. No earthly agenda compares.

22:18-19 Don’t mess with the Word. That’s John’s admonition in these verses, and it applies specifically to the book of Revelation. It has two components. First, do not add to the prophecy of this book. The penalty for doing so will be the plagues that are written in it (22:18). Second, do not take away from the words of the book. Those who do so will have their heavenly rewards taken away, namely, their share of the tree of life and the holy city (21:19).

22:20 Much of Revelation is difficult to understand because of its symbolism, but the book concludes by underscoring with notable simplicity two central themes. First, Jesus is coming soon. You can understand this even if 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 worship. 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 you to thank God for your salvation, for your eternal future, and for God’s grace. If reading Revelation makes you a better worshiper, it has achieved its goal.

22:21 The wrath to come on all who do not acknowledge Jesus as Savior contrasts with the grace of the Lord Jesus available to everyone during the church era. It is with a prayer for that saving grace to be broadly bestowed that John closes the book.

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