“The [Holy] Spirit and the bride (the church, the true Christians) say, Come! And let him who is listening say, Come! And let everyone come who is thirsty; and whoever [earnestly] desires to do it, let him come, take, appropriate, and drink the water of Life without cost.” Revelation 22:17 ->me: Let’s put 3 more verses together with this verse! “No one is able to come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me attracts and draws him and gives him the desire to come to Me, and [then] I will raise him up [from the dead] at the last day.” John 6:44 “So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself).” Romans 10:17 “He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me] as the Scripture has said, From his innermost being shall flow [continuously] springs and rivers of living water.” John 7:38. Today, when I read this one verse these other supporting passages came rushing back to me. Many people struggle with the concept of predestination; I love how all of these verses together make the whole of coming to a knowledge of God so well understood. A combination of the drawing of the Holy Spirit AND the telling of the Gospel by the Saints together bring the unsaved into the Kingdom. When one listens (has their ears open) to the message of Jesus, will through their actions and persistence say ‘Come!’ to their own hearts. And finally, those who are painfully conscious of their need of those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, and strengthened can find the Living Water in Christ Jesus Who lives in them; when they believe in Him. Wow! – these other 3 verses are totally wrapped up in this one verse from Revelation.
“[But] without [not able to enter the gates] are the dogs [evil people] and those who practice sorceries (magic arts) and impurity [the lewd, adulterers] and the murderers and idolaters and everyone who loves and deals in falsehood (untruth, error, deception, cheating).” Revelation 22:15 ->me: This verse comes directly after the one talking about who has authority to enter the gates and approach the Tree of Life -> “Blessed (happy and to be envied) are those who cleanse their garments”. This series of verses has perplexed me because evil has been destroyed. Who are these people who have made it past the judgement and stand outside the city unable to get in? Is this vision before the judgement? Revelation 20:15 says “And if anyone’s [name] was not found recorded in the Book of Life, he was hurled into the lake of fire.” Tony Evans believes that these people are ones that have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior but have then resorted sinful living without confession or repentance of their actions –> they cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. If any of you have done significant study on this and have thoughts, I would love to hear them. It is possible that this is just part of the definition of who can enter the City and it is appropriate to define the ones who will not be allowed into the City without necessarily being explicit about the fact that those have been hurled into the lake of fire. This puts even more importance on my constant and deliberate focus on confession and REPENTANCE. I capitalize repentance because confession is nothing without a 180 degree turn on the state of the heart toward my sin.
“Behold, I am coming soon, and I shall bring My wages and rewards with Me, to repay and render to each one just what his own actions and his own work merit. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last (the Before all and the End of all). Blessed (happy and to be envied) are those who cleanse their garments, that they may have the authority and right to [approach] the tree of life and to enter through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:12-14 ->me: I referenced verse 14 on the 8th of September this last year and it is still so applicable to my life. There in 2:7 Jesus talks about those who are victorious will gain access to the tree of life. So, one who is victorious is one who has taken the action to continually cleanse himself in the Blood of the Lamb so that on that fateful day with the Lord returns, he will be found clean and pure -> ready and with authority, have access to the Tree of Life and enter the gates of the City. ‘Cleanse their garments’ is in the present tense -> meaning continually. I so easily defile myself day by day as I live with the pressures of this world, so it is necessary that I kneel before the risen Christ without fail to confess and repent of my sin. Jesus will return with such swiftness that there will be no opportunity for last minute repentance. When I live this way, there is a discernable peace and comfort that I am ‘right’ with my God…it is this feeling that consistently draws me back to my knees to seek that shelter He is all to willing and eager to provide.
“And I, John, am he who heard and witnessed these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell prostrate before the feet of the messenger (angel) who showed them to me, to worship him. But he said to me, Refrain! [You must not do that!] I am [only] a fellow servant along with yourself and with your brethren the prophets and with those who are mindful of and practice [the truths contained in] the messages of this book. Worship God!” Revelation 22:8-9 ->me: If you remember in 19:10 John had done this before so why would he do it again when he was so rebuked the angel from the last time? John may be making it clear that he sees the attractiveness of worshipping heavenly beings but that it is forbidden. We should not miss the importance of these words for an understanding of the proper dignity of the prophets. They rank with angels as servants of God, but even the greatest of God’s servants is not to be worshipped. Worship is reserved for God alone. What comes to my mind is all the people to follow men versus the Lord their God. Good Christians who put more stake in the words of a preacher than in their own reading of God’s word. John Piper is awesome. Oswald Chambers is awesome. Billy/Franklin Graham are awesome -> but they should never replace my study of God’s word for myself. I should never replace my personal time in the bible for a sermon on a Podcast or devotional.
“And there shall be no more night; they have no need for lamplight or sunlight, for the Lord God will illuminate them and be their light, and they shall reign [as kings] forever and ever (through the eternities of the eternities). And behold, I am coming speedily. Blessed (happy and to be envied) is he who observes and lays to heart and keeps the truths of the prophecy (the predictions, consolations, and warnings) contained in this [little] book.” Revelation 22:5 & 7 ->me: Verse 5 once again talks about the fact that any light separate from the glory of God will be unneeded. The Amplified and NASB versions have this “for the Lord God will illuminate them” as an interpretation. I love this! We will reflect Him and His glory! Then verse 7 goes on to be words directly from Jesus talking about coming speedily. Obviously a lot of ‘time’ has passed between the time of John’s vision and now. ‘Speedily’ speaks more to the surprise of His coming than the timing; this is why He says “Blessed is he who observes and lays to heart and keeps the truths of the prophesy”, meaning that it could be at any moment so live every day as if it were the day that Jesus returns. Looking forward into this year I see only continued growth in the Lord, more adjustment in being the best I can be for my family, and more impact in my sphere of influence for His Kingdom. This could be the year of His return! I should live like that is true -> what would I change about my life if I knew for sure that He was coming back sometime in the next 365 days?