Harry Whittaker
Revelation - A Biblical Approach

Chapter 43 - The Conclusion: “Amen: Come, Lord Jesus” (22:6-21)

The angel of the Seventh Vial had been the heavenly medium for revealing to John the seven final Visions (17:1). He now repeated the scope and purpose of all that the Apocalypse was meant to do — “to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly come to pass.” This is by no means the only repetition, which the final section of the prophecy makes. A long series of allusions to chapter 1 and the letters to the churches comes in here:

Revelation 22

Revelation 1, 2, 3
The throne of God.
The throne of God.
Faithful and true.
The faithful witness.

The faithful and true witness.
Sent his angel.
Sent and signified it by his angel.
Behold, I come quickly.
He cometh with clouds.
Blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
Blessed are they ... that keep those things which are written therein.
I John saw these things and heard them.
1:10, 12
I heard behind me a great voice ... and I turned to see the voice that spake with me.
I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel.
And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead.
The time is at hand
Things which must shortly come to pass.

The time is at hand.
My reward is with me, to give to every man.

To him that overcometh will I give ... (7 times in ch. 2, 3).
... according as his work shall be.
etc. I know thy works.
I am Alpha and Omega.
I am Alpha and Omega.
That they may have right to the life.
Will I give to eat of the tree of tree of life.
To testify these things in the unto the seven churches.
Write it in a book, and send it churches.
I am the bright and morning star.
And I will give him the morning star.
God shall take away his part out of the book of life.
Blot his name out of the book of life.
He that testifieth these things.
The faithful witness.
The grace of our Lord Jesus
Grace to you, and peace, Christ. from ...

There is also here a repetition of the apostle’s attempt to offer worship to the revealing angel, with the same reproach as on the earlier occasion (19:10) — “you and I, John, along with all the prophets and all the faithful, are servants together of the same Lord; offer your worship to God.” It is a warning against the adulation of those who bring help in the understanding of Revelation, whether angels or men.


An important detail in the double repetition from chapter 1 is the blessing on him “that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book” (22:7); “blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life” (22:14). The change in pronouns is significant here. Is the first of these blessings intended for John himself as the recipient of Revelation? It is followed immediately by the words: “And I John saw these things, and heard them”. And the second blessing reads somewhat strangely, inasmuch as there is in Revelation little emphasis on “keeping commandments” but rather on “patience,” “faith,” and “overcoming” The reading given by many manuscripts here is: “Blessed are they that wash their robes”. Since this has its obvious counterpart in chapter 1 — “washed us from our sins in his own blood” (1:5) — it may safely be presumed to be the correct reading. The two passages are beautifully complementary. Robes washed in the blood of the Lamb, that is, made white at baptism through the merits of his sacrifice, need a further cleansing of a different kind in the “pure river of water of life proceeding from the throne of the Lamb” (22:1) before a man may enter in through the gates into the city.


In sharp contrast to these who are granted “the right to the tree of life” the catalogue of evil workers, who are “without”, is repeated (21:8; 22:15). This time it includes, first on the list, “dogs,” along with “whoremongers.” There is allusion here to a blunt interdiction in Deuteronomy 23:18: “Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog (that is, a sodomite) into the house of the Lord thy God.” In the days of John there was a sordid background to words such as these, for all pagan temples had associations of just this sort. It was an accepted way of life from which the Christian must sever himself altogether. And in the Twentieth Century, devoted increasingly to a religion of sex, the lesson needs to be learned afresh. It is not unlikely, also, that the idea behind this Deuteronomy commandment was taken over in the early church for a different application: “Beware of dogs,” wrote Paul, “beware of evil workers, beware of the concision”. This word “concision” carries with it (both in Greek and in the English translation) a deliberate play on the word “circumcision “ But it means also”those who cut in pieces”. The reference is to schismatics who were already introducing fragmentation into the church with their separatist movements. It is not inappropriate that in the list of those who are excluded from the holy city should be those who would exclude their brethren from the fellowship of the faithful.


Again, also in this list of the infamous comes “whosoever loveth and maketh a lie”. The serpent is now to be excluded from Paradise forever. “Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar,” warns the Book of Proverbs (30:6). It is this kind of lie which Revelation now specially denounces: “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” (22:18). The same warning comes no less than three times in the Book of Deuteronomy (4:2; 12:32; 24:19-21). Pentecostals and others who make glib claims to Holy Spirit guidance are among those who need pointed reminder concerning these Scriptures. But perhaps it is not necessary to look so far afield for examples. What about those who have been known to add to Revelation 20 the assumption that at the end of the Millenium Christ and his immortal saints will withdraw their presence and their power to leave the way clear for a massive Gog-Magog rebellion? Such “exposition by invention” is met with from time to time.

There is also a curse on the man who “takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy” (22:19). The most obvious sin of this kind is the denial of the inspiration of the Apocalypse (for it is this particular book of the Scripture to which reference is made, primarily), but what stands true regarding Revelation is surely valid also concerning the rest of the Oracles of God.

Is it possible, however, that even for those who have a complete conviction of the divine origin of the Apocalypse there may exist the very real danger, which these words express? Religious authorities in the time of Jesus refused to see in the Book of Jonah anything more than a story about Jonah, and they paid for their refusal with an ignorance, which became incurable. This, because they took away from the prophecy. Then how comparable may be the attitude of the interpreter of Revelation who limits the meaning of this complex prophecy to just what he himself can discern in it, steadily rejecting the idea that the greatest of all Biblical prophecies may be designed for more than one fulfilment?


Solemn though these warnings may be, they hardly compare in weight with the frequently repeated reminder in this conclusion that the Lord’s personal return as Judge of all is very near: “Behold, I come quickly; blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book”. There is a tone of urgency about these words, and an apparent insistence on the imminence of fulfilment. But nearly two thousand years have elapsed, and still disciples quote the words to each other with varying degrees of confidence: “Behold, I come quickly.”


Here is a problem, which has been almost studiously ignored by commentators of all shades of conviction, perhaps because it presents more difficulty than almost any other in the New Testament. The Appendix following this Chapter attempts a solution. There it will be suggested, with copious Bible evidence in support that the ripening of God’s purpose depends on the fervent prayers of Gentile saints and on the repentance of an unbelieving Israel. Today with all their power, the Spirit and the bride should be pleading with Christ: “Come”. And those who know the water of life, and yet hesitate to drink, should recognize their own wonderful opportunity and the responsibility which rests on them also to “hasten the coming of the Day of God” by their own “holy way of life and godliness” (2 Peter 3:11, 12).

John and the angel, representing the Spirit and the bride, offered their fervent prayers (22:17). Let readers of Revelation also continue to add theirs, and this with all urgency. The only possible response to “Surely, I come quickly” is an “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus”, the words being not merely the expression of a pious or maybe selfish wish, but the intense plea of those who desire more than anything else to see God vindicated in His own world which at present is determined to get along without Him.
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