Revelation 22

This chapter begins where chapter 21 left off. Never-the-less, it, too, will move back retrospectively to remind us of some important things we should never forget, even at this present time. One thing the student of Revelation needs, is flexibility of mind! [1]

Verse 1: And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

The pronoun “he” is still “one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues” who “carried [John] away in the spirit to a great and high mountain” so he could watch “the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God” (Revelation 21:9, 10). John and the angel are probably still together on the top of the “great and high mountain” where the angel carried him, the angel pointing out the various wonders of the city. His tour continues to the fifth verse of this chapter.

Although the exact position of “the throne of God and of the Lamb” is not specified, we can imagine, according to the dimensions given in the last chapter, it is located on the top elevation of the city, at least 344 miles up into space! [2] Coursing down the side of the mountain is this marvelous, sparkling “river” “proceeding” directly “out of the throne of God” as its source. All this must have been taking place, even while the city was “coming down from God out of heaven” (Revelation 21:1).  If the city were cubical, it would be a waterfall rather than a river!

Note it was not only “the throne of God” the Father, but also “of the Lamb” who says, previously, He is “set down with [His] Father in his throne” (Revelation 3:21).

Verse 2: In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

At this point, the city must have reached the earth for it seems less probable that the “tree of life” would be growing up alongside the gushing river on the steep sides of the immense city. It seems more likely that the “river of water” would be emptying into the “sea of glass” (Revelation 4:6; 15:2) that surrounds the bottom of the city, either inside or outside the walls, with the “tree of life” growing on both sides of the river as it makes its peaceful way into the sea.

But, of course, this picture is probably flawed because trying to picture in our minds the scene this verse is describing only reminds us “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). It is beyond anything we can imagine. Never-the-less, John may have seen the city, even during its descent stage, in a “Garden of Eden” setting. We are told, even though the “Garden of Eden remained upon the earth long after man had become an outcast . . . When the tide of iniquity overspread the world, and the wickedness of men determined their destruction by a flood of waters, the hand that had planted Eden withdrew it from the earth. But in the final restitution, when there shall be ‘a new heaven and a new earth’ (Revelation 21:1), it is to be restored more gloriously adorned than at the beginning.” [3] What could “more gloriously” adorn Eden than the holy city?

Furthermore, since the “tree of life” was originally “in the midst of the garden” (Genesis 2:9), it may still be in the same place where God first planted it, or He may have moved it to another location to make room for the city which might now be “in the midst of the garden.”

The tree, “which bare twelve manner of fruits” and yielding them “every month,” is extraordinary. The trees we are familiar with bare only one manner of fruits yielding them only once a year.  “[T]he leaves of the tree were for . . . healing of the nations” ―the “great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues . . .” (Revelation 7:9) who were resurrected in the “first resurrection” (Revelation 20:5, 6), in addition to those who were translated without seeing death and came “out of great tribulation” (Revelation 7:14).

Death, which became known after man was forbidden to “take . . . of the tree of life . . . and live for ever” (Genesis 3:22), became an expected thing, with “the living [knowing] that they shall die” (Ecclesiastes 9:5). Now, with access to the tree once again being made freely available to all, “death” will never again be seen, because the “fruit” of the tree is “the antidote of death.” [4]

When God stationed “at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:24), it was an act of mercy to protect man from becoming an immortal sinner, a punishment far worse than death. If they were immortal, they would create their own “eternal torment,” their very own, never-ending hell.

Verse 3: And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

John was at a loss of how to describe the awesome wonders of the new earth and its glorious city. So, struggling for words, he just says: “there shall be no more curse.” Those privileged to live there “shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat” (Revelation 7:16). Neither will they experience “death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain . . .” (Revelation 21:4). “In the Bible the inheritance of the saved is called a country. (Hebrews 11:14-16.) There the great Shepherd leads His flock to fountains of living waters. The tree of life yields its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree are for the service of the nations. There are ever-flowing streams, clear as crystal, and beside them waving trees cast their shadows upon the paths prepare for the ransomed of the Lord. There the wide-spreading plains swell into hills of beauty, and the mountains of God rear their lofty summits. On those peaceful plains, beside those living streams, God’s people, so long pilgrims and wanderers, shall find a home.” [5]

In the new earth, the ban to the “tree of life” can be safely lifted. Every man will have the privilege of putting forth his hand and partaking of its fruit. Even its “leaves” will contain “healing” properties. “All their woes will then be gone. Sickness, sorrow and death they will never again feel, for the leaves of the tree of life have healed them.” When those “who have been subject to sorrow, toil and afflictions, who have groaned beneath the curse, are gathered up around that tree of life to eat of its immortal fruit, that our first parents forfeited . . .. There will be no danger of their ever losing right to the tree of life again, for he that tempted our first parents to sin, will be destroyed by the second death.” [6]

Adam and Eve, God’s first “servants” chose to be employed by the serpent. Although regretting their choice, there was little they could do to stem the downward spiral of their descendants into perdition. Satan mockingly sneered that God would lose the battle for humanity. Even though a few have chosen to be God’s “servants,” Satan determined he would soon eradicate even those few, leaving none to serve God.

But, says the Lord, even though He will have to “cut off” two parts of humanity, He promises to “bring the third part through the fire” (Zechariah 13:8, 9), the “great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” who will come “out of great tribulation” (Revelation 7:9, 14) that Satan implies none “will be able to stand” (Revelation 6:17) or survive.

Verse 4: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.

Of all the wondrous things the angel showed John, to actually see God’s “face” is the greatest wonder of them all! Job anticipated that moment, saying: “though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God . . ..” (Job 19:26). David, addressing the Lord, exclaimed: “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness” (Psalms 17:15). John exclaimed: “now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

Isaiah, describing the intense happiness of the last day saints who witness Christ’s actual coming, declares they will exclaim: “Lo, this is our God; we have waited or him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation” (Isaiah 25:9).

But, unless “his name,” representing Christ’s character, “shall be in their foreheads,” they, like “the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, [will hide] themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And [say] to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:” (Revelation 6:15, 16).

Verse 5: And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

Here John reiterates, from the previous chapter (see Revelation 21: 23, 25), the absence of literal darkness pervading the city. Such a situation seems exhausting, and we would crave a quiet dark place to find retirement. Incredibly, in spite of being “no night there” “None will need or desire repose. . . We shall ever feel the freshness of the morning, and shall ever be far from its close.” [7] In other words, we won’t ever get tired! In our present state at least a third of our lives are spent in bed, oblivious to all that is going on, an incredible waste of time. But sleep, because of our physical limitations, is an absolute physical necessity. Without adequate rest, our bodies simply shut down. Not so in heaven, nor in the new earth. Sleep will be obsolete! Not a minute of infinite time, reigning “for ever and ever,” wasted in unconsciousness. Neither will it be a constant rush of feverish activity. Rather, we will have time to reflect, meditate and relax while conversing with each other and with God for “it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 66:23).

Verse 6: And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.

This is still the plague-bearing angel assuring John, whose long life was a series of adversities, and thinking these things were too good to be true, needed to be told they were “faithful and true.” In other words, they were real. They were not just the words of the angel, they came from “the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God . . ..” (Revelation 3:14).  

The next phrase, specifying “the Lord God of the holy prophets” is rendered more clearly in another version: “The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets” (NIV). This “may be regarded as a reference to the prophets’ own spirits under the control of the Holy Spirit when they were in vision. The Holy Spirit illumined John’s spirit as He had the spirits of the OT prophets. The entire Revelation is a testimony to the control of John’s spirit in vision by the Holy Spirit.” [8]

In that context, John, referring to “the Lord God” having “sent his angel,” suggest this “angel, referred to as “he” at the beginning of this verse, was working in harmony with the Holy Spirit and “he” should not be regarded as the Holy Spirit Himself.

Although John received his vision two thousand years ago, and the “things” shown him in chapters 20 to 21 will not materialize until after seals five through seven [9] have been fulfilled―plus another 1,000 years after that. Yet, he insists, they “must shortly be done.” That harmonizes with Jesus’ statement: “the time is at hand” (Revelation 1:3)

Once again, we are reminded that “time,” from the perspective of heaven, is far different from ours. However, as we already noted, time (whether it be 70 or a thousand years) ceases to exist for each person when he falls into the grave. The next moment of awareness will bring him/her face-to-face with his God, either before the millennium, or after. Whichever it turns out to be, it will be soon, not only from the perspective of heaven, but from the perspective of the person himself when consciousness is restored at the resurrection. From that point onward, “time” will become infinite, the entire sinful period of earth’s history dwindling into nothingness from the perspective of a trillion years in the future. [10]

Verse 7: Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

The words of verse 6 came from “one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues” (Revelation 21:9), showing John “the things which must shortly be done.” Here, as if to confirm what the angel just said, Jesus Himself declares “Behold, I come quickly,” [11] reiterating what He said at be beginning of the vision: “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (Revelation 1:3).

Those words, spoken almost 2,000 years ago, tempt us to believe “My Lord delayeth his coming” (Matthew 24:48 and Luke 12:45), not realizing the next moment of time could find us in the grave. We must realize nobody is guaranteed the future, whether it be the next year, month, day, hour or even the next minute! As soon as we lose consciousness, “time” takes wings at warp speed. [12] Nobody, irrespective of what they think now, will believe the Lord delayed His coming.

“God gave to men the sure word of prophecy; angels and even Christ Himself came to make known to Daniel and John the things that must shortly come to pass. Those important matters that concern our salvation were not left involved in mystery. They were not revealed in such a way as to perplex and mislead the honest seeker after truth.” [13]

Verse 8: And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.

This verse contains two sentences. The first sentence, affirming that John actually “saw . . . and heard” these “things,” applies to the entire vision from chapters 1 to 22. He simply wrote down what he “saw” and “heard,” not what he concluded after plumbing the depths of Old Testament writings that were available to him. [14] Note that “the angel” showed him those “things.” He did not conjure them up out of his own learning or imagination.

If the angel was quoting Jesus in verse 7, we could forgive John for mistaking him to actually be Jesus. On the other hand, if it really was Jesus who spoke the words between verses 6 and 8, it would still be easy to see how John could have been confused.

Verse 9: Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.

“The angel from heaven came to John in majesty, his countenance beaming with the excellent glory of God. He revealed to John scenes of deep and thrilling interest in the history of the church of God and brought before him the perilous conflicts which Christ’s followers were to endure. John saw them passing through fiery trials, made white and tried, and, finally, victorious overcomers, gloriously saved in the kingdom of God. The countenance of the angel grew radiant with joy and was exceeding glorious, as he showed John the final triumph of the church of God. As the apostle beheld the final deliverance of the church, he was carried away with the glory of the scene and with deep reverence and awe fell at the feet of the angel to worship him. The heavenly messenger instantly raised him up and gently reproved him . . .” [15] saying “worship God,” not an angel like me who is only your “fellowservant . . .”

This is an implied warning for us because the time is coming when the whole world will be deceived on that point saying “’The angels from heaven have spoken to us (referring to those whom Satan personated that had died, and they claimed had gone to heaven). You will hear the testimony of the heavenly messengers.’ They sneered, they mocked, they derided and abused the sorrowing ones.” [16] They will have actually seen and heard “angels from heaven,” but they are the fallen angels, sent by Satan.

Verse 10: And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.

“Many have entertained the idea that the book of Revelation is a sealed book, and they will not devote time and study to its mysteries. They say that they are to keep looking to the glories of salvation, and that the mysteries revealed to John on the Isle of Patmos are worthy of less consideration than these.

“But God does not so regard this book. He declares: ‘I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly.’” [17]

In fact: “The solemn messages that have been given in their order in the Revelation are to occupy the first place in the minds of God’s people. Nothing else is to be allowed to engross our attention.” [18]

“We have been given a message exceeding in importance any other message ever entrusted to mortals. This message Christ came in person to the Isle of Patmos to present to John. He told him to write down what he saw and heard during his vision, that the churches might know what was to come upon the earth.” [19] The study of this book received Christ’s unqualified endorsement when He declared: “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (Revelation 1:3).

“Why, then, this widespread ignorance concerning an important part of Holy Writ? Why this general reluctance to investigate its teachings? It is the result of a studied effort of the prince of darkness to conceal from men that which reveals his deceptions. For this reason, Christ the Revelator, foreseeing the warfare that would be waged against the study of the Revelation, pronounced a blessing upon all who should read, hear, and observe the words of the prophecy.” [20]

Consequently, “those who will not read; the blessing is not for them.”  And those “who refuse to hear anything concerning the prophecies; the blessing is not for this class. . . . many refuse to heed the warning and instructions contained in the Revelation. None of these can claim the blessing promised. All who ridicule the subjects of the prophecy and mock at the symbols here solemnly given, all who refuse to reform their lives and prepare for the coming of the Son of man will be unblessed.” [21]

Although I am reluctant to say anybody who refuses to study Daniel and Revelation will be lost, the words of the prophet seem to indicate that to be the case. [22]

Verse 11: He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

The Commentary correctly submits: “These words are especially applicable to the time when each person’s future is irrevocably settled. Such a decree comes at the close of the investigative judgment.” [23]

Close study reveals these words are also applicable to the time when Jesus was depicted as “the angel [that] took the censer” and “filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth” (Revelation 8:5). They also apply to the time when the “two witnesses” “shall have finished their testimony” (Revelation 11:3, 7) just before one “like unto the Son of man” took His place on the great “white cloud” (Revelation 14:14).

All will be subjected to “the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth” (Revelation 3:10) when the “fifth seal” (Revelation 6:9-11; 20:4), the “image of the beast” “test,” [24] is opened, signaling that the judgment of the living, the final stage of the investigative judgment, has begun.

Then, in order for the “unjust” to be “unjust still,” the “filthy” to be “filthy still,” and the “righteous” to “be righteous still,” the “holy to be holy still,” time, in a post probationary setting, must linger on to demonstrate to the universe the finality of the individual decisions that brought about these judgments. That is exactly what the trumpet scenario is all about. It is a “test” of the living because it transpires after the close of probation and before the resurrection.

During that time, the unrighteous, among other things, will deify Satan, either as Wormwood or Abaddon, which is the same temptation that came to Christ in the wilderness when Satan proposed “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9).

The righteous, on the other hand, “keep the commandments of God” (Revelation 12:17; 14:12) and will, like Jesus, say: “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Matthew 4:10). They will reject Wormwood and Abaddon in spite of all that his satanic majesty can do to embarrass and discourage them. [25] Furthermore, they will “have the testimony of Jesus Christ,” the “testimony” given John to the “seven churches” while he was on the “isle that is called Patmos” (Revelation 1:2, 4, 9) and given “especially for the last church.” [26] The book of Revelation, among other things, reveals who Wormwood and Abaddon are, for they are an important part of Satan’s strategy, during that crucial period of earth’s history, [27] to frustrate the entire plan of salvation. If the “righteous” would fail to remain “righteous still” during that time, all would be lost. Satan knows that and is laying his plans deep in an attempt to make them fail!

Our power of choice will never be removed, for Christ died to set us free and has no interest in forced obedience. One thing only will prevent a repeat crisis or another war in heaven: “our Redeemer will ever bear the marks of his crucifixion.” [28] That alone will be sufficient to prevent another war. In that manner, God “. . .will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time” (Nahum 1:9) ―not because it cannot, but because the righteous and holy will not even entertain such a thought!

Perhaps God will cast the “book” (Chapter 5), which “contained . . . the influence of every nation, tongue, and people from the beginning of earth’s history to its close,” [29] into the “lake of fire.” Its record will no longer be needed.

Verse 12: And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

Once again, the promise of verse 7 is reiterated, then again in verse 20, reminding us we should always consider Christ’s coming from heaven’s perspective of time. His coming, in reality and from the Biblical understanding of the state of the dead, will always be soon. As we noted before, time ceases at the very moment of death.

Verse 13: I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

While there is some doubt about who was speaking in verse 7, whether Christ or the plague-bearing angel, that Christ is speaking here and in verse 12, seems indisputable. The angel who refused John’s worship (Verse 9) would not claim to be “the first and the last,” because the angel is a created being, while Christ, the great “I am” (see Exodus 3:14 and John 8:58), is self-existent.

Such juxtaposition of speakers is seen often in the book of Daniel where Jesus and the angel Gabriel are frequently heard speaking one after the other. [30] While Gabriel is not mentioned by name in the book of Revelation, it is not unreasonable to assume he is the “strong angel” (Revelation 5:2). But there is no doubt about the One who claims to be the “Alpha and Omega.” It is “Jesus Christ” who made that claim at the beginning of the vision, right after John announced that He would come “with clouds; and every eye shall see him . . .” After that he heard the same “great voice” “behind him . . . Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches . . .” (Revelation 1:1, 7, 10, 11). Then after saying “It is done” he repeats the same claim: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 21:6), which, basically, concludes the vision.

Verse 14: Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

This is the seventh and last time the word “blessed,” or “happy,” [31] is used in Revelation. Blessed pertains to those who keep “the sayings . . . of this book” (Verse 7), to those raised in “the first resurrection” (Revelation 20:6), to those “called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9), to those who watch, and keep their “garments” clean (Revelation 16:15), to those who “die in the Lord from” that point forward (Revelation 14:13), and to those that read and understand “the words of this prophecy, and keep those things . . .” (Revelation 1:3). Two of the seven blessings (see Verse 7 and Revelation 1:3) come particularly to the saints who read, study and understand the book of Revelation, emphasizing the great importance God has attached to its study. [32]

Note the personal pronoun “his,” suggests that the speaker is again, as in verses 6, 9, and 10, the angel who “carried” John away in the spirit to a great and high mountain . . .” (Revelation 21:10). This angel had been watching the trend of human developments and knew, without question, that doing God’s “commandments” [33] brings true joy, peace and happiness. They are not the angel’s commandments, they are “the commandments of God” (see Revelation 12:17, 14:12), the One who just spoke and made the claim of verse 13.

The “flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life,” way back at the beginning of time when God “drove out the man” from the garden of Eden, is now put back in its scabbard, enabling all to take “of the tree of life and eat, and live for ever” (Genesis 3:22, 24).

It would have been cruel of God had He permitted “right to the tree” after man sinned. Man could not have handled an eternal life of sin. He would have been like the “men” who were “tormented [only] five months” to the point that they longed for “death, and shall not find it’ and [desired] to die, and death [fled] from them” (Revelation 9:4-6). In other words, man would have created his own hell because “sin” is a torment in and of itself. Death, unknown to the universe until that time, was God’s way of preventing a far worse scenario than what we see even today.

Verse 15: For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

These “dogs” are metaphoric for the “filthy” and “unjust” spoken of in verse 11. They are like animals who seek out that which is detestable and disgusting, even when pure and desirable things are available. Some years before, Jesus said: “This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). The “dogs” are “without” the city because that is where they chose to be, not because God arbitrarily excluded them.[34]

Therefore, all people, according to their preference, will receive like condemnation as “sorcerers, whoremongers, murderers, idolaters, and whosever loveth and maketh a lie,” if that is what they love to be and to do, instead of loving God’s “commandments.” His “commandments” are the great “schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24), and, finally, be given eternal life when we can handle it.

Verse 16: I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

We see here, Jesus Himself authenticating, not only the words of the “angel, but the “revelations recorded in the Apocalypse” [35] from chapters 1 to 22. Then, as if to reassure John He was really Jesus, He declares He is “the root and the offspring of David,” meaning, He not only created David, but became his Son! John, of course, immediately remembered Him as “the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David” (Revelation 5:5) who appeared while he was weeping “much, because no man was found worthy to open the book” (Revelation 5:4) of “the history of  all ruling powers in the nations” and “the influence of every nation, tongue, and people from the beginning of earth’s history to its close.” [36] Then when Jesus “took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne,” John ceased weeping because, now there was hope for the world. He probably joined with the angels “saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Revelation 5:7, 12).

Jesus then identifies Himself as “the morning star,” not to be confused with Satan, the “star” fallen “from heaven,” whose metaphoric names are “Wormwood” and “Abaddon” or “Apollyon” (see Revelation 8:10, 11; 9:1, 11), representing two, post probationary Satanic counterfeits designed to engulf and confuse the whole world.

Although those counterfeits will appear sometime after the close of probation, Jesus says “he that overcometh” Satan’s delusions even at this present time “and keepeth my works unto the end . . . I will give him the morning star” of hope for the future instead of bitter disappointment and utter destruction (Revelation 2:26, 28).

Whether we know it or not, it is a sobering fact that we are even now choosing between  those two “stars.” Consider this: “We must inevitably be under the control of the one or the other of the two great powers that are contending for the supremacy of the world. It is not necessary for us deliberately to choose the service of the kingdom of darkness in order to come under its dominion. . . Unless we become vitally connected with God, we can never resist the unhallowed effects of self-love, self-indulgence, and temptation to sin. We may leave off many bad habits, for the time we may part company with Satan; but without a vital connection with God, through the surrender of ourselves to Him moment by moment, we shall be overcome. Without a personal acquaintance with Christ, and a continual communion, we are at the mercy of the enemy, and shall do his bidding in the end.” [37] If alive during the end of time, without that “vital connection,” we will become sure victims of “Wormwood” or “Abaddon” also identified as “Apollyon.”

Verse 17: And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

“This commission to bid others to come embraces the entire church, and applies to every one who has accepted Christ as his personal Saviour. Of those who received Christ it is written, ‘As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name . . . and of his fulness have we all received, and grace for grace.’” [38]

“Water is necessary to life, and Christ uses it as an emblem of salvation. Let God withhold water from our earth, even for a little time, and what a state of wretchedness would result. A wild cry of indescribable woe would come from the suffering inhabitants. How much more terrible would be the result, if the light of truth, which is essential to the health and life of the soul, were withheld! Many in this world of mortality are perishing for the water of life. The loss of the natural life is not so lamentable; but the loss of that life which is eternal, which measures with the life of God, is terrible to contemplate; this is an eternal loss. Then why is there so great indifference? Why are those who have a knowledge of Jesus Christ resting at ease?” [39] “Christians are to seek their light from the Word of God, and then in faith go forth to give that light to those who sit in darkness.” [40]

Verse 18: For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

As the Commentary verifies, “The speaker is Jesus. His testimony must be accepted.” [41] His testimony is directed to “every man” who hears “the words of the prophecy of [the] book” of Revelation. Although adding “to any book of the Sacred Canon” [42] would be entirely unacceptable, Jesus is particularly protective of the Revelation because it reveals Satan’s last day strategy to deceive “if it were possible” even “the very elect” when “false Christs,” particularly “Wormwood,” and “false prophets” including “Abaddon,” will “shew great signs and wonders” (Matthew 24:24).

The “plagues” God will “add” to the adders, not only include the “seven last plagues,” but the preceding six trumpet delusions. During that time, it will appear that Satan has won the great controversy between good and evil. The book of Revelation offers the most direct protection against those last day Satanic delusions of any of the other books of the Bible, including that of Daniel. We cannot afford to neglect its study.

Verse 19: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

“A complete and staggering loss is here presented that nothing in this life can even remotely compensate for.” [43] So, adding or removing, or in any way trifling with the “Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass” (Revelation 1:1) comes under Jesus’ most severe condemnation possible. Once again, Jesus emphatically declares that this message exceeds “in importance any other message ever entrusted to mortals. [44]

These threats apply to all “that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (Revelation 1:3) and we cannot afford to misunderstand or distort them.  “Many will make the words of the Revelation a spiritualistic mystery, robbing them of their solemn import. God declares that His judgments shall fall with increased dreadfulness upon any one who shall try to change the solemn words written in this book―the Revelation of Jesus Christ.” [45] “This revelation was given for the guidance and comfort of the church throughout the Christian dispensation. Yet religious teachers have declared that it is a sealed book and its secrets cannot be explained. Therefore many have turned from the prophetic record refusing to devote time and study to its mysteries.” [46] “They say that they are to keep looking to the glories of salvation, and that the mysteries revealed to John on the Isle of Patmos are worthy of less consideration than these. But God does not so regard this book.” [47]

“We are not to think, as did the Jews, that our own ideas and opinions are infallible; nor with the papists, that certain individuals are the sole guardians of truth and knowledge, that men have no right to search the Scriptures for themselves, but must accept the explanations given by the fathers of the church. We should not study the Bible for the purpose of sustaining our preconceived opinions, but with the single object of learning what God has said.” [48]

Of course, many honest errors have been made which Jesus does not condemn. But we are condemned if we refuse the light that reveals the error. That includes me, the author of this study.

“Our lesson for the present time is, How may we most clearly comprehend and present the gospel that Christ came in person to present to John on the isle of Patmos―the gospel that is termed ‘the Revelation of Jesus Christ’? We are to present to our people a clear explanation of Revelation. We are to give them the Word of God just as it is, with as few of our own explanations as possible. No one mind can do this work alone. Although we have in trust the grandest and most important truth ever presented to the world, we are only babes, as far as understanding truth in all its bearings is concerned. Christ is the great Teacher, and that which He revealed to John we are to tax our minds to understand and clearly to define. We are facing the most important issues that men have ever been called upon to meet. The theme of greatest importance is the third angel’s message, embracing the messages of the first and second angels. All should understand the truths contained in these messages and demonstrate them in daily life, for this is essential to salvation. We shall have to study earnestly, prayerfully, in order to understand these grand truths; and our power to learn and comprehend will be taxed to the utmost.” [49]

Verse 20: He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

For the third and last time in this chapter Jesus reiterates: “I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the saying of the prophecy of this book” (Verse 7); “Behold I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Verse 12). Now, He just says: “Surely I come quickly. Amen.” This must have been music to John’s ears!

Then, John adds, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” That was his fervent heart felt prayer, expressing his deep longing ever since he stood watching Jesus as “he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of [his] sight” (Acts 1:9), more than sixty years before. Although the Revelation was a vision of the future, to John it was real. It should be just as real to us!

Rightly understood, it should be evident, at this point, that the message of the book of Revelation conveys extremely important waymarks designed especially for the final generation, giving us certain signs of Christ’s soon coming that will foster an ever-increasing sense of confidence and assurance.

Verse 21: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Christ’s presence with us is guaranteed as long as we are with Him, paying close attention to all of his Revelations!

“When the testing time shall come, those who have made God’s Word their rule of life will be revealed. In summer there is no noticeable difference between evergreens and other trees; but when the blasts of winter come, the evergreens remain unchanged, while other trees are stripped of their foliage. So the false-hearted professor may not now be distinguished from the real Christian, but the time is just upon us when the difference will be apparent. Let opposition arise, let bigotry and intolerance again bear sway, let persecution be kindled, and the half-hearted and hypocritical will waver and yield the faith; but the true Christian will stand firm as a rock, his faith stronger, his hope brighter, than in days of prosperity.” [50] God’s gift to us through His servant John in the book of Revelation was designed especially to do just that.

Summary of chapter 22: The first five verses of this chapter continue the glorious description of the “new earth” and the city, that begins in the first verse of chapter 21. Interestingly, one of the plague-bearing angels, who also described the “judgment of the great whore” (Chapter 17), was the one who gave John a bird’s eye view of New Jerusalem’s descent from heaven and many other associated details about it, that take place after the third coming that is concluded in chapter 22.  The angel concludes his tour by declaring that “these sayings are faithful and true,” as if to reassure John, as well as the reader, that such wonders are real and not imaginary. Verse 7, containing the words of Christ Himself, is complementary to that of the angel’s (Verses 1-6), reaffirming what He said to the church in Philadelphia (Revelation 3:11) and repeated twice again (Verses 12 & 20 in this chapter), that His coming would be soon. After the angel gently reproved John for attempting to “worship before [his] feet” (Verses 8, 9), he emphatically asserts that “the prophecy of this book” of the Revelation is not to be sealed up and regarded as unintelligible, a mystery that cannot be understood. He then concludes his words with what is probably the most serious event that will occur in the history of all living intelligent beings, that of the close of probation (Verse 11).  Afterwards, Jesus (Verse 12), repeating what he said in verse 7, concludes John’s vision in the book of Revelation with His own words, identifying Himself as the “Alpha and Omega,” just as He did in chapter 1:11, then in 21:6 and here in verse 13.  His testimony first delineates those who can enter the city followed by a delineation of those who cannot enter (Verses 14, 15). Then in verse 16 He affirms that He Himself had sent the angel who had just finished his discourse (Verse 11), after which He extends the invitation twice to whoever will, to “Come.” Lastly, He gives a warning that should be especially heeded by all who hear “the words of the prophecy of this book” of Revelation, not to change, add or subtract anything to it on penalty of suffering the “plagues” referred to therein. In other words, expound it, enlarge it, exegete it, but do not read into it what is not there. Therefore, this book is not to be taken lightly, for it is the most important message that has ever been delivered to mortals! (See note 19)


[1] Probably one of the most confusing sequences is that of the sixth seal scenario (Revelation 6:12 to 7:17) ―beginning with 1) the “great earthquake,” 2) three celestial manifestations, 3) second coming, 4) question: “who shall be able to stand?” 5) four angels holding four winds, 6) 144,000, 7) great multitude, 8) “great tribulation,” 9) saints being led to “living fountains of waters.” Careful analysis places 1) and 2) in current history, 3) future, 4) and 5) current, and 6) through 9) future. The sequence begins in history, jumps into the future, then back to the present, before ending in the future. The only way to remove the confusion is to realize John’s emphasis is: “who shall be able to stand?” Chapter 7 gives the answer plus the reward of the saints.

[2] If the “twelve thousand furlongs,” (Revelation 21:16) estimated to be 1,378 miles, is the length of each side instead of its circumference, it would be four times as high!

[3] Patriarchs and Prophets by E.G. White, page 62. See also Testimonies for the Church by E.G. White, Vol. 8, page 288 where “the heavenly Husbandman transplanted the tree of life to the Paradise above.”

[4] Ibid

[5] Story of Redemption by E.G. White, page 431

[6] Youth Instructor 10-1-52

[7] see The Great Controversy by E.G. White, page 676

[8] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, page 896 (left column under “Of the holy prophets.”)

[9] I am referring to the seven seals of Revelation 5, with the first four representing character and behavior, and the last three (seals 5 through 7) representing last day events which will take place sequentially prior to the second coming which marks the beginning of the thousand years.

[10] Look at it this way: what will seven thousand years look like after living for seven trillion years? Obviously, it will seem like a “flash in the pan.” Seventy or a thousand years will seem like a microsecond.

[11] The Commentary suggests “the Angel is quoting Jesus.” (Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, page 896 left column under “7. Quickly.”)

[12] “Warp speed” is faster than light which travels 186,000 miles a second or even the speed of thought. Although it is a fictitious term taken from science fiction, it certainly has application to the perception of “time” and might even be too slow!

[13] The Great Controversy by E.G. White, page 521 (underline supplied)

[14] Some have concluded, based on the remarkable harmony existing between Revelation and the Old Testament, particularly Daniel, that John wrote from that perspective. Not so. He received his impressions directly from what he “saw” and “heard.” Obviously, his informant was the same Spirit that inspired all the other writers of the Bible.

[15] Early Writings by E.G. White, pages 230, 231

[16] Manuscript Releases by E.G. White, Vol. 21, page 326 (the parenthesis is part of the text; it was not inserted)

[17] Review and Herald 3-31-97

[18] Testimonies for the Church by E.G. White, Vol. 8, page 302

[19] Medical Ministry by E.G. White, page 37

[20] The Great Controversy by E.G. White, page 342

[21] Ibid, page 341

[22] Only God is omniscient, and I am not a prophet, just a humble Bible student striving to share what the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation mean to me. I recognize with so many figures and symbols employed, differences in viewpoint are bound to arise. Nevertheless, that must not be allowed to discourage us. But, in pursuing this study, at least for Seventh-day Adventists, it seems foolish not to recognize the authority of the Spirit of Prophecy to help us in confirming our conclusions.

[23] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, page 896 (right column under “11. Unjust.”)

[24] see 1888 Materials by E.G. White, page 700; Manuscript Releases by E.G. White, Vol. 15, page 15; Selected Messages by E.G. White, Vol. 2, page 80; Latter Day Events by E.G. White, page 227; Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, page 976.

[25] But, not in their own strength. Even though Christ will have ceased His intercessory ministry, His sustaining grace, represented by “much incense” placed “upon the golden altar” (Revelation 8:3), will sustain His people during the trying hour.

[26] Spirit of Prophecy by E.G. White, Vol. 4, pages 211, 212; Great Controversy by E.G. White, pages 341, 342;

[27] It is clear that knowledge alone will not save us, regardless of circumstances. However, God did not reveal the things in Daniel and Revelation, which contain abundant knowledge about the last days, to be ignored. If we deliberately ignore such important knowledge, will we be equipped to withstand the trials we must pass through?

[28] The Great Controversy by E.G. White, page 674

[29] see Manuscript Releases by E.G. White, Vol. 20, page 197

[30] For example check out Daniel 8:13 where Daniel “heard one saint speaking” then “another saint said unto that certain saint . . .”

[31] “blessed” from “makarios” (Strong’s #3107) meaning: “happy, happier”

[32] While the other five are important, they are stated only once.

[33] According to the Commentary, the phrase “That do his commandments” could be translated “that washed their robes,” suggesting a relationship to “Rev. 7:14, where a company of saints is described as having ‘washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the lamb’” (Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, page 897 left column 4th paragraph). This “company,” is obviously the “great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues . . .” (Revelation 7:9)

[34] Remember, the gates of the holy city remained open even after Satan was “loosed out of his prison” and went about “to deceive the nations” which were raised in the second resurrection. Only when “Gog and Magog” actually besieged the city, were the gates closed. (see Revelation 20:7-9 and Early Writings by E.G. White, page 531)

[35] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, page 897 (right column under “16. I Jesus.”)

[36] Manuscript Releases by E.G. White, Vol. 20, page 197

[37] Desire of Ages by E.G. White, page 324 (ellipse and italics supplied)

[38] The Home Missionary by E.G. White, 8-1-96

[39] Review and Herald 1-8-89

[40] Review and Herald 7-30-08

[41] Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, page 898 (left column under “18. I testify.”)

[42] Ibid (bottom left column to top of right)

[43] Ibid (right column under “Take away his part.”)

[44] Medical Ministry by E.G. White, page 37

[45] The Paulson Collection, pages 82, 83; Review and Herald, 8-2-06

[46] Acts of the Apostles page 583

[47] Review and Herald 8-31-97

[48] Testimonies to Ministers by E.G. White, page 105

[49] see Manuscript Releases by E.G. White, Vol. 12, pages 212, 213

[50] Review and Herald 9-10-14

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *