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There is another very similar incident recorded in Revelation 19. Personally, I do not believe John made the same mistake twice. John is here referring back to the incident in chapter 19 where he erroneously began to worship the angel. He is reminding us how he reacted when he heard and saw the amazing events of Revelation. He is, in effect, recounting his most embarrassing moment and reminding us that the revelation of God's plan should always lead us to worship Him, not lesser beings, not lesser things. When you read this book, John says to us in effect, open your heart and praise the God of glory who gives us such a stirring, exhilarating future as is described in these pages.

Then John records the angel's next words.
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22:10-11 Then he told me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near. Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy."
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This is a reminder that each of us, throughout each day of our lives, is moving toward one or another of two distinct destinies. Either we are growing closer to God, walking with Him, obeying Him, learning from Him, experiencing friendship and fellowship with Him or we are retreating from God and from heaven. It is a sobering truth. And it is one of the many truths arising from this vision of the future that has powerful application in our lives today.

We must examine our lives in light of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near. Are you moving closer to God, expecting the coming of Jesus Christ or does the quality of your life reflect a rejection of God's love? No one can answer that question but you.

Next John records another word of reassurance from the lips of Jesus and a word of warning.
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22:12-16 "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

"Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

"I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star."
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Following the reassurance of the truth of His promises, the underscoring of His warning that those who give themselves over to sin will have no part of heaven, Jesus declares His credentials: He is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. He is God, the Creator. And He is the Root and Offspring of David. He is also fully man, the descendant of King David, the Messiah of the Jews, heir to the throne of His father David, ruler of Israel. And He is the bright Morning Star the one who promises to come for His own before the rising of the Sun of Righteousness.

Again and again in this one concluding chapter Jesus says, "Behold, I am coming soon!" Many people read that and say, "How can that be? These words were written centuries ago. Christians in the first century believed He was coming soon, and He never came. Why should Christians in the twentieth century believe He is coming soon?" Some will even say, "The apostles were wrong. The book of Revelation is wrong. After 2,000 years of waiting, it should be obvious that Jesus is not coming back."

But if there is one thing the book of Revelation makes clear it is the fact that John's vision links time and eternity in ways that transcend human understanding. We look at time as a straight line, marked off in years like inches on a ruler. We see John's era of the first century A.D. as being at one point on the ruler, our own era some 2,000 years later, and the events of Revelation as occurring at some time further along that ruler.

Properly understood, however, the events of Revelation were no further off in John's future than they are in yours and mine. The final destiny of a human being, whether lost or righteous, begins the instant that individual dies. Eternity is never more than a heartbeat away, never farther in the future than one's own death.

It won't be long before both you and I step out of time and into eternity. And when we arrive in eternity, the saints who preceded us in death by a hundred or a thousand or two thousand years won't say to us, "What took you so long?" They'll be just like us, new arrivals in eternity, staring goggle-eyed in amazement at the unguessed-at wonders God has prepared for us.

Jesus is coming soon. He was coming soon in the day of John the apostle. Even if the events of Revelation do not take place for another thousand years or ten thousand (though I hardly think that likely!), this statement would still be true: Jesus is coming soon.



"Come, Lord Jesus"



John's vision closes with an invitation and a final warning.
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22:17-19 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
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The invitation is clear: "Come!" This invitation is issued by the Spirit of God Himself, and it is echoed by the redeemed of God (the bride), and by every individual Christian who hears. It is an invitation to every reader of the book of Revelation to come, take the free gift of the water of life, come to Christ and live eternally.

The warning is equally clear: Don't change a word in this prophecy! The book of Revelation is God's truth. Don't add to it. Don't subtract from it.

Certainly a book so rich in symbolism must be interpreted but it must be interpreted carefully. Don't take away its meaning by emphasizing the symbolic at the expense of the literal. Do not destroy its intent by literalizing everything in it and ignoring the meaning of the symbols.

Most important of all: Believe it. Ignore, reject, or distort God's truth and you risk missing out on God's plan; you risk having to endure the terrors described in the book; you risk losing out on your portion of the tree of life and the beautiful Holy City.

Believe it because Jesus is coming soon!
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22:20 He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon."

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
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Doesn't your heart reverberate with that same poignant prayer? Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! The world is waiting, aching, crying for your return! The church is watching and expecting you! Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!
He is coming soon.

In closing, John leaves us with one last thought. It is a word of benediction. With that benediction, the book of Revelation closes. It is fitting that I close this book with the same words.
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22:21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen.
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Note to the Reader



The publisher invites you to share your response to the message of this book by writing Discovery House Publishers, Box 3566, Grand Rapids, MI 49501, USA. For information about other Discovery House books, music, or videos, contact us at the same address or call 1-800-653-8333. Find us on the Internet at http://www.dhp.org or send e-mail to [email protected].

(from God's Final Word, Copyright ゥ 1991 Ray Stedman.)






Revelation 21:9-27



People may think we dream when we thus propose to read God's Word as it is written; but he has anticipated all their rationalizing and scepticism. The Sitter upon the throne saith, "WRITE, BECAUSE THESE WORDS ARE FAITHFUL AND TRUE." There can be no mistake about it. God knew how to say what he meant, and he knew the meaning of what he did say. And to what he has said, he affixes his own infallible seal, that the words are "faithful and true." Here, then, let us rest until their fulfillment comes.

Revelation 21:9-27

(Revised Text.) "And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, and he talked with me, saying, Hither, I will show thee the Bride, the Wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in the spirit on to a mountain great and high, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of the heaven from God, having the glory of God; her brightness like a stone most precious, as a jasper stone, crystal-clear; having a wall great and high, having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel; from the east three gates, and from the north three gates, and from the south three gates, and from the west three gates. And the wall of the city having twelve foundation-stones, and on them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that spoke with me had a measure, a golden reed, that he might measure the city, and her gates, and her walls. And the city lieth four-square, and her length is as great as her breadth. And he measured the city with the reed to the extent of twelve thousand stadia. The length, and the breadth, and the height of it are equal. And he measured her wall (height) of a hundred forty-four cubits, measure of a man, which is of an angel. And the construction of her wall jasper, and the city pure gold, like to clear glass. The foundation-stones of the wall of the city adorned with every precious stone. The first foundation-stone, jasper, the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius, the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrisoprasus; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. And the twelve gates twelve pearls, each one of the gates separately was out of one pearl. And the street of the city pure gold as transparent glass. And a temple I saw not in it, for the Lord God the All-Ruler and the Lamb is its temple. And the city hath not need of the sun, nor of the moon, that they should illumine it, for the glory of God lighted it, and the Lamb the lamp of it, and the nations shall walk by means of the light of it. And the kings of the earth bring their glory to (or, into) it. And its gates shall not be shut by day, for night shall not be there. And they shall bring the glory and the reverence of the nations to (or, into) it. And there shall not enter into it anything common (or unclean), nor he that doeth abomination and falsehood, but only they that are written in the book (or scroll) of the Life of the Lamb."

One of the most remarkable paradoxes of the Church of our times is its abhorrence of materiality in connection with the Kingdom of Christ and the eternal future, while practically up to its ears in materialism and earthiness. Were one of the old Christians of the apostolic age to revisit the world to take a look at our modern Christianity, I think he would be greatly puzzled to understand how, under the guise of spirituality, the whole Church is permeated and loaded down with carnal philosophies, hopes, and aims. Remembering the sublime simplicity of the ancient times, when the Church was set, like a golden circlet, on the head of the King of Glory-in contact everywhere with divinity, he would be amazed to see how that circlet has been divorced from its original setting, stained with the flesh, and pushed into the morasses and bogs of this world, while earthly glories-crowns, mitres, tiaras, wealth, and secular consequence-are looked to and worshipped everywhere as the insignia of what in sad mockery is called a" spiritual "kingdom (Would he not wonder to find Christians locating their most orthodox rejoicing in monarchs, in popes, patriarchs, bishops, sect leaders, numbers, luxurious arts, boastful speeches, worldly orators, secular education, march of intellect, and a fancied progress toward a "spiritual" millennium of mere secularism, to merge at last into an empty and impossible heaven! And venturing to inquire of some of our popular preachers, whether this is thought to be the proper waiting for the Lord from heaven-the way to pray "Thy kingdom come"-the method by which to realize the blessed

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