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Basic Bible: The Alpha and Omega

Revelation 22:6-10, 12-13, 16-21

“These sayings are faithful and true” (v. 6). The source of these sayings is “the Lord God of the holy prophets” who sent His angel to show “the things which must shortly be done.” These are the same words with which book of Revelation begins (see Rev. 1:1). All who have read this book have been shown the things which must shortly be done.

“Behold, I come quickly” (v. 7). These are the words of Jesus. They are words of warning. The “things which must shortly be done” were all future at the beginning of the book. Revelation reveals the things that shall come to pass in the church age and the things which shall transpire after the church age. The warning is for them who have the ears to hear. Revelation 2 and 3 reveals the manner in which one must overcome during the church age and that which follows reveals the manner in which one must overcome during the seven-year period of tribulation. Those who overcome shall be blessed.

John, upon hearing God’s message, performed an inappropriate act; he bowed down before the angel who had delivered the message. Space does not permit discussion of his action.

In verse 10, the angel (speaking to John) said, “Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.” All that which John recorded in Revelation is prophecy which has been fulfilled, is in the process of being fulfilled, or shall be fulfilled at a future time (see Rev. 1:19). Nothing has been hidden (sealed). We have been shown the seven-year tribulation which shall follow the church age. We have been shown the marriage supper of the Lamb. We have been shown Satan bound and Christ’s reign of one thousand years. We have seen Satan cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. We have been shown the great white throne judgment. Nothing is hidden.

In verse 16, the Lord speaks directly to us. He tells us that He has sent His angel (His messenger) to testify of “these things in the churches.” The Lord sent His angel, an angel of highest rank. This action is cause for us to listen with heightened awareness. Important messages are entrusted to important messengers. In His message to the seven churches, the Lord both faulted and commended the churches for their works. It is important that we continually review our works. That which is good, we need continue, but that which is not expedient, we need to correct. We are not hearing His message if we fail to correct our ways.

It is eternally important to hear and to act because He is the Promised One (the root and offspring of David) and He is the beginning of a new and glorious day (the bright and morning star). He who said, “I come quickly; and my reward is with me,” is the new and glorious day.

In verse 17, the invitation is issued to come and to take of the water of life freely. The invitation is issued to whosoever who will take of the water. There are two different but related parties which issue this call to come. The first is the Spirit and the bride. The Holy Spirit and the church (the bride) are not separate. The bride is indwelled and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The second party to issue the call to come is they who hear. All who actually hear God speak, act upon His word. Those who do not act, do not hear. The bride has heard, has acted (drank of the water of life), and continues to act (issues the invitation to come). The second party (those who hear) is comprised of those who earn the future right to drink of the water of life by refusing to take the mark of the beast during the seven years of tribulation.

In verse 18, a warning is issued against any and all who would add to or take away from the words of prophecy in this book. While this warning is construed by some to apply only to the book of Revelation, it applies to all scripture because all scripture is of God. Revelation is linked to all scripture which precedes it. In Genesis 3, Eve added to God’s words and the serpent took away from that which God spoke. When one adds to or subtracts from scripture, one modifies God’s word. Those who supplant the word of God with their own understandings face eternal consequences. Those consequences have been revealed in “the things which must shortly be done.” The manner in which one can add to or subtract from God’s word does not necessarily involve changing the written word. Change can also occur when symbolism replaces the literal word. Jesus declares that He shall come quickly and that He shall give to every man according to his works. Christ’s return is literal and the judgments that He shall deliver are literal. No symbolism involved.

The Lord has told us that He shall come quickly because He wants all to be ready. He is not willing that any should perish. He would have all come to repentance. Yet, He knows there shall be some who will not hear (see II Pet. 3:9-10).

He wants us to know that He and the Father are one. He is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the first and the last. It is the Alpha and Omega who shall give to each according to his works. It is the Alpha and Omega who reaches out in grace warning all who shall hear.

The closing words of Revelation belong to John: “Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you all” (v. 20b, 21). The time in which men shall overcome by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ shall be replaced by a time in which men must overcome as Jesus overcame. May all hear.

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