Revelation 22:1-21 Part 7

REVELATION 22:1-21 Part 7


1)      And it showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, going forth from the throne of God and the Lamb

2)      in midst of its streets, and the river flowing hence; and from there a tree of life producing twelve fruits each month, the tree rendering its fruit and its leaves into the healing of the nations;

3)      and there will no longer be any curse.  The throne of God and the Lamb will be in her, and His servants will serve Him;

4)      and they will see His countenance, His name on their foreheads;

5)      and there will be no night there, so they will have no need of a lamp or sunlight, for Kurios God will shine forth upon them; and they will reign into the ages of the ages.

6)      Then it said to me ‘these faithful and true words Kurios God of the spirits of the prophets sent His messenger to show His servants what is necessary to come to pass in quickness.

7)      Lo, I come quickly.  Blessed the one keeping the words of the prophecies of this scroll’.

8)      I, John, the one hearing and seeing these things, when I heard and saw I fell down to bow before the feet of the messenger that is showing me these things;

9)      and it said to me, ‘see not.  I am a fellow servant of you and your brothers the prophets and of those keeping the words of this scroll.  Bow to God’.

10)  And it said to me, ‘you may not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, for the time is near;

11)  the unrighteous be he yet unrighteous, the filthy be he yet defiled; the righteous be he yet work righteousness, the holy be he yet hallowed.

12)  Lo, I come quickly, My wages with Me, to recompence each as is his work.

13)  I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.

14)  Blessed those who wash their garments; for the tree of life will be their privilege, and they may enter the city by the gates.

15)  Without…. the dogs and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and all who love and practice falsehood.

16)  I, Jesus, sent My messenger to testify these things to you in the Churches.  I AM David’s root and offspring; the bright morning star.

17)  The Spirit and the bride say ‘come’; and he who hears say ‘come’.  He who thirsts let him come; he who longs, let him take to himself the water of life freely.

18)  I, I testify to all who hear the words of the prophecy of this scroll: if anyone impose upon them, God will impose upon him the plagues written in this scroll;

19)  and if anyone take away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and the holy city as written in this scroll.

20)  He Who testifies thus, says: ‘Yea, I come quickly’.  Amen, come Kurie Jesus!

21)  (The grace of Kuriou Jesus with all of the holy ones.)


The One given all authority in the heaven and the earth is Kurios – sovereign God… Kurie Jesus!  He is said to be the Word of God, His Right Hand, His Strong Right Arm Who was made flesh and sent to seek and to save His elect “holy ones” from the tribes of Jacob.

As John is shown here in the text at the end of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the ones who He came to seek and to save are “servants” of God and the Lamb… having been kept by God for Himself, having been sought out and found by Jesus and His disciples, and having been provided righteousness as a gift through the “Suffering Servant”.

As Jesus – the Suffering Servant of God – endured incomprehensible suffering for the sins of His people, so His servants – the elect daughter of Zion – had endured, and would endure – intense suffering while in the bowels of the harlot.  And that suffering continued all during their “exodus” into the nations; for they were pursued and persecuted and killed by the hypocrite priests, elders and pharisees.

As Jesus had suffered for them, so they would suffer in Him and with Him.  And that suffering would continue under the heavy hand of the fourth beast.  But God would be “with them”.  God would tabernacle with them!  And they would persevere; for they would be servants of God and the Lamb in the New and holy Jerusalem atop the kingdom mountain of Jesus Christ.

That’s what John sees here – about to be!  And the beast would be shattered and scattered by the iron rod of King Jesus, Who had been given all the nations as His inheritance, and who had been named “Kurios Kuriwn” – (translated) Lord of Lords.

And He has more servants – many, many others from among the peoples, tribes and tongues of the earth.  They would be the “children” of the firstborns of the tribes of Jacob.  They are all written in the Lamb’s book of life from the beginning!

He – Kurie Jesus – is Almighty, sovereign God of heaven and earth, Ruler and Judge of the nations, Whose decision is completely free, completely just, unquestionable and indisputable.  No man, no nation, no false religion, no movement will stay His Hand.  He has poured out His blood for the salvation of the world, raised to the highest, given all authority in the heavens and the earth, crowned King of Kings, and is “sovereign God” of His creation.

And His Parousia was to be anticipated shortly!

His will be a righteous rule.  Through all the years of His reign, every last one of His people of all nations would be given righteousness as a free gift and made newborns in His new humanity.  And it is unconditional.  They would each die to death and be raised up “newborns” in Him… freely given His righteousness!  It is the first resurrection, John says… a resurrection from death in Adam unto life in Christ.

And at the end of all the years of His righteous reign, all of His Own will have been kept by Him, even in death, and will be raised up (as He was raised up out of death); and none of them will ever again suffer death and the grave.  (And did I mention? it’s unconditional!)

And all the rest would be judged according to their works and irrevocably disposed.  It is His sovereign disposition of all things, for He IS Kurios!  Death and hades would also be judged.  And the whole earth will reflect the glory of God the Father.

His Name is Kurios… the name that says to His firstborns who receive this letter, that He is Almighty God of heaven and earth Whose Word is faithful and true.  He is Pantokrator – the Almighty Ruler and Judge of all the earth.  He is “Master” of all.  And His name reveals that!

Then, as verse six says, the Words of this scroll are the same Words of the prophets of old.  The Word has been consistent from the beginning.  And now the time was near!

Each of the prophets of old spoke the Word of God.  And as verse six says, it was Kurios God Who spoke the words through the prophets.  And now John writes the Revelation of Kurie Jesus – the Word of God made flesh; and it is the same Word.  Almighty God spoke those words; and Almighty God speaks the words of this scroll; therefore it is faithful and true.  It’s the same Word, spoken by the same (and only) God; and now the Word spoken is imminent!

As Kurie Jesus says, “lo, I come quickly” (verse seven).

“Blessed the one keeping the words of the prophecies of this scroll….”  They are the same words spoken through the prophets of old, and they can’t fail to be fulfilled due to the nature and character of their Author.  Therefore anyone who keeps the words of the prophecies of this scroll is “blessed”.

The scroll was to be sent to the congregations of the firstfruits of the resurrection, revealing all that they were to know about imminent events which would be the fullness of all things written… irrevocably predestined to take place “in quickness” there at the end of the age.  For they are spoken by Kurie Jesus – the One Who sovereignly disposes His Kingdom in the way that is well-pleasing to Him!

Speaking “in place of” and “on behalf of” Kurie Jesus, this messenger repeats the overall theme of the prophecy: “Lo, I come quickly”.  It was spoken and written in five previous locations.  And here in the final words of the scroll, we hear the words seven times!

And there is an implicit warning here at the end, which echoes the same one at the beginning (chapter one verse three): “blessed the one keeping the words of the prophecies of this scroll”.

The implicit warning – at the beginning, and here at the end – is to anyone in the Churches of Jesus Christ who does NOT keep the testimony of Kurie Jesus; for only the ones keeping His testimony are the blessed ones.

He is KURIE; therefore He will rule and judge at His good pleasure and discretion.  And all will be ordained and disposed according to His good pleasure - for the glory of The Father.  And His servants will know that the words of this prophecy are faithful and true; for His name is KURIE Jesus.  He is Kurios Kuriwn.


While we’re here, and since we just had an election, let me remind you of the prophet Daniel’s humble acknowledgment of the sovereignty of God Who not only has created all things, but Who also sustains them, and disposes them, in all their parts.

This comes just after Daniel has been told that not only is he to interpret Nebuchadnazzer’s dream, but – having only been told that there was a dream, he has to tell what the dream was!

Here is what is written in chapter two:


19)  …Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven,

20)  and said, Blessed be the name of God into the ages of the ages: for wisdom and might are His.

21)  He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings, and establishes kings: He gives the wisdom unto the wise, and the knowledge to them that know understanding;

22)  He reveals the deep and secret things; He knows what the dark is, and the light dwells with him.


Kurie Jesus is the Word of God made flesh, by Whom all things have come to be, and that come to pass.  He is the Right Hand and Strong Right Arm Who has been given all authority.  And the words of this scroll are faithful and true; for He is Almighty, sovereign God Who spoke through the prophets of old, and Who reveals the same unto John at the end of the age.  It IS the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

And the election of last week is NO ACCIDENT!  Kurie Jesus, Almighty, sovereign God of the heavens and the earth RULES!  And He does so for His good pleasure and the glory of the Father!  He is “Master” of the house!

There are “seasons”, for He changes the seasons.  There are kings and rulers, for He establishes them and removes them.  There are NO series of “random events” spinning out of control, for “these words” are faithful and true!

You have not been abandoned… you are not disenfranchised and defenseless and impotent.  You have not been weakened; you are not fragile.  You aren’t disabled and helpless.

Quite the contrary!  You belong to the One Whose Name is Kurios Kuriwn!  You’ve been raised up from death unto life IN HIM, and you are His beloved newborns!  His righteousness is your righteousness – having been given to you unconditionally.  And it was given you to be prophets, priests and kings IN HIM.  You sit with Him as judges of the earth!  He is the Savior of the world.  And, as promised, He will restore this creation to its pristine condition so that it all reflects the glory of God the Father.


When this letter was sent to the Churches, what was about to occur at the Parousia of Jesus Christ would look like the end of the world to them!  The great beast, together with the other nations of the world, would gather against God’s covenantal land and city; and the elements of that paradise land would be dissolved in the fervent heat of the wrath of God.  And all the world would look to be in total chaos and coming apart!  What they knew to be would no longer be!!

But the firstfruits of the resurrection were told that this is what had been prophesied!  They were told to be faithful… to hold the testimony of Jesus and keep His Commandments.  It is prophesied; so anticipate it!!  “Do not be fearful”, He told them.  This is that which has been promised!  The Words are faithful and true; for they were sent to them by Kurios Jesus through His holy prophets; and the Words are the same from the beginning!

And it is all faithful and true now.  And although he doesn’t know it, the ruler who has just been elected belongs to Jesus Christ.  And should he be the cause of this nation (as we know it) to become something else, then it will be “purposeful” – it will NOT be accidental.

And we who belong to our Lord’s kingdom are not to be afraid; for the list of those who are not allowed into the gates of the New and holy Jerusalem includes “the fearful”!

We must not be frightened and anxious when it looks like our comfort zone is being disturbed!  You can’t hold on to this world as it is, when the faithful and true words of this scroll have revealed what it’s going to be!  You can’t cleave to what is… it’s not going to be what it now is!

Our God abides with us now.  We’re going to commune with Him in a few minutes and drink wine with Him.  He gave His body and poured out His blood for the salvation of this world.  And through the years, by His unlimited Sovereign power, Kurie Jesus will complete a profound restoration of this creation!

And the process by which He does so is at His good pleasure; and His omnipotence is unimpeded by vacuous men and pseudo-messianic rulers.  He just uses them to bring glory to Himself and His unconditional justice!

Of course we may enjoy all of His graces of the moment.  And we should be thankful.  But we must not embrace and cherish the state of the world as it is – hoping that we can retain it as it is!  It’s not going to be the way it is!

It isn’t now the way it was two thousand years ago at our Lord’s Parousia.  It isn’t even the same as it was a hundred years ago.  A River of the Water of Life is flowing, unhampered and unobstructed, into all nations and peoples and tribes; and the tree of life is restoring the creation itself.  And we in our short periods of life must not merge ourselves with it and cling to it the way it is, but perceive it the way God has revealed that it’s going to be.  His Word is faithful and true.  Anticipate it!

So, hold the testimony of Jesus; keep His Commandments.  Don’t be afraid.  Kurios Jesus is faithful to His Word.


Now.  Before we go on to verses eight and nine, let’s go back and address the issue found in verse six where your text says: “Kurios God of the spirits of the prophets”.

The case is being made to John (which is to be sent to the Churches), that the prophecies of old are the same, in continuity, as the prophecies of this scroll, all having been spoken by Kurios God – the only difference being that the time is near that all that is written is to be fulfilled.

But the issue that arises here in the text is with the term “spirits of the prophets”.  That’s how I’ve translated it for you.  But now I have to change my mind.  Let me give you the background and the reasoning.  It’s a little technical, but it’s really important for you to hear. I’ll make it short, though.

There are several Greek texts to which I refer often.  These aren’t translations, now…..they are the New Testament Greek texts.  The first is the 1501 Stephanus text.  This is the text that, over a hundred years later, was translated into English, and is now called the King James translation.  The Stephanus is also called the Textus Receptus (i.e. the received text).  And the English translation is sometimes referred to as the “authorized” translation.

Another Greek text that I use for comparison is called the Westcott-Hort New Testament.  It was produced in 1881.  And thirteen years later came another one called the Scrivener Greek New Testament.

And then there is a new one called the SBL Greek New Testament.  Published by the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) only two years ago, I’ve found that this one isn’t really all that helpful, since it’s basically a critical compilation of the former texts.

And then lastly, there is the Nestle-Aland text with critical apparatus (1968).  This one begins with the Textus Receptus (i.e. the “received” text).  And where there are variations in that text, it lists the documents in which those variations are found, and “rates” them as to their reliability.

You see, in the archaeology of Biblical documents, many parts of New Testament books have been found (a few even dating back to the second and third centuries).  A lot of these are called “miniscules” because they are only small pieces of old manuscripts.  Some are parts of old letters that have Biblical quotes in them, and some are copies by pastors or evangelists that they obviously used for public reading and preaching.  Others are parts of a Gospel or a letter from an apostle.  And later on there were entire New Testament texts translated, for example. into Latin or other languages. 

And Nestle-Aland compiles all of these hundreds of documents  in which there are variations from the Textus Receptus (that’s called the textual apparatus), and then, if a change might be seen as necessary, it recommends whatever changes to the text that seem to be the warranted.  And the one working with the text can decide for himself, with this wealth of information, whether any given variation merits a change in the English translation.

So, what all of this means is that I can read and compare the Greek texts that have been produced during the last five hundred (plus) years; and I can check (in Nestle-Aland) the earlier documents in which variations have been found; and then (hopefully) give you a reliable English translation that’s consistent with God’s language in the former prophetic Word… that is, except when I’m wrong.

There are two translations of that part of verse six, where your printed text reads: “Kurios God of the spirits of the prophets….”  And there’s no mention of the variation in my Nestle-Aland critical apparatus.  The Greek text there just reads exactly what your printed English text says.

Having not found anything in Scripture having to do with “the spirits of the prophets”, I’ve been puzzled about it; but I originally thought a case could be made for it from the seven spirits proceeding forth from the seven eyes of the Lamb of God, which is the “fullness” of the work of Holy Spirit in the salvation of all of the Lord’s people.

However, as I said, there’s nothing that I could find in the prophetic word that supports the translation!  Therefore, there’s no continuity, you see.  Since the Revelation of Jesus Christ is the capstone – or fullness – of all that has been written, there has to be continuity with the prophets of old!  And, if there isn’t, then something has to be wrong with the translation!

And it didn’t take me long to find the problem.

I went back to my Greek text (the one with the critical apparatus) to see if I’d missed something.  And it reads exactly the way I translated it: “Kurios God of the spirits of the prophets….”  And the textual apparatus shows NO variations in the Greek text.  More puzzlement!

How could I be wrong?  And, moreover, what am I going to do with it if this turns out to be the only reading!  And it was looking more and more like that was going to be the case!

So, the only thing left for me to do was to check the four complete Greek texts that I mentioned earlier: the Stephanus (Textus Receptus), the Wescott-Hort Greek New Testament, the Scrivener Greek New Testament, and the SBL.

And here’s what I found:

The 1881 Westcott-Hort, and the new one – the SBL, read this way, translated “Kurios God of the spirits of the prophets….  However, the received text (from which the King James version was translated) and the Scrivener Greek New Testament (1893) read this way, translated

“Kurios God of the holy prophets….”

There it was!

And that’s perfectly consistent with the older Scriptures, as well as the apostolic letters; and it’s obviously the preferred Greek text!  And I missed it!

And the remarkable thing about it is that my text with the critical apparatus, and which is based on the Received Text, has no mention at all of any such variation!


I hope that wasn’t too confusing.  I thought it would be edifying to you.  Anyway, the end result is that you have a wrong translation there in verse six… deepest apologies offered.  It ought to read “Kurios God of the holy prophets.”  The One Who spoke to Moses is the same Who spoke to John.  And His Word is faithful and true.

I’m going to leave it as it is in the seven copies of the translation so far, with this sermon as the corrective.  And the copies hereafter will have the correction.

And I am comfortable now that we haven’t imposed upon these words; nor have we taken away from them.


Now, let’s hear verses eight and nine once more, because this incident contains what is, perhaps, at the very top of the list of things that we are to “hold fast” in the testimony of Jesus.  Listen to it again:


8)      I, John, the one hearing and seeing these things, when I heard and saw I fell down to bow before the feet of the messenger that is showing me these things;

9)      and it said to me, ‘see not.  I am a fellow servant of you and your brothers the prophets and of those keeping the words of this scroll.  Bow to God’.


First, let’s remember that this is the second time that this happened!  It’s identical to the occurrence at the beginning of chapter nineteen.  So John is having some difficulty getting it!

And as he writes to the Churches (i.e. before our Lord’s Parousia, before the new heaven and the new earth, before the tabernacle of God with man), he obviously wants them to know that he did this twice… that he had not yet gotten the fullness of what he was seeing and hearing, and that he didn’t want them to have to struggle with it as he had!

And now that the tabernacle of God is with us, it is not something that should be difficult for us!  It should be clearly understood that this is the reality in which we live… and it’s very important that that’s the case for each of us!

You see, before our Lord’s Parousia, the messengers around and under the “seat” of God in His tabernacle in the heaven had a much more important role.  They were the ones with Him… serving Him; for our God was “remote” from this cursed earth and cursed humanity.

It was the messengers sent out from the very mouth of God, speaking the authoritative Word of God to the holy prophets of God.  And John reacted to this messenger the same way as that of the previous prophets.  He fell at its feet in awe and wonder at what was revealed!

However, John was writing to the Churches about that which was about to be!  And at the Parousia of the Christ, the messengers of God would no longer have this unique role!

In the first place, the prophetic Word of God would be closed.  The Revelation of Jesus Christ is the fullness of all things written. Therefore, there would be no more prophecy.  And therefore there is no more need for the messengers.

And, secondly, messengers would no longer have a unique place in the Presence of God and the Lamb!  At the Parousia of Jesus Christ, there would be a new heaven and a new earth, and a new and holy Jerusalem in which God would no longer be remote, but would tabernacle with us!  And all who are reborn into the humanity of Jesus would be His servants!

We for whom He gave His body and poured out His blood would have the preeminent place before the Seat of God and the Lamb.  We for whom He died would have the direct access to Him… a place held only by His creature/messengers before!

This is what John had to learn, and what the firstborns of the resurrection needed to know.  At our Lord’s Parousia, they would be judges of the nations in Christ; they would be prophets in Christ – speaking the Gospel to the nations; they would be priests in Christ – serving at the seat of Almighty God and the Lamb.

And it is the same for us – brothers and sisters in Christ, children of the Daughter of Zion, and servants of God and the Lamb.

And it’s more than obvious that there is no further mention of God’s creature/messengers of the tabernacle in the heaven.  It is only mankind in Christ serving at the Seat of God as He tabernacles with us.


And now, on the night in which Jesus was delivered up, He presented to His disciples a new sign and seal of the covenant.  No longer would it be the body of an animal, but it would be His body; and no longer would it be the blood of an animal, but it would be His blood, shed for many for the remission of sin.

And there are several things for you to remember here at the end of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

·         First, as we think about the things we’ve learned about “the River of Life” that flows from the great mountain of Christ unto all the nations of the world, it ought to be with great joy that our Lord has “joined together” (gathered) many people from all nations and tribes and tongues in His new humanity to serve God in His tabernacle.

By His grace and mercy people everywhere (Jews and Gentiles, since there is no longer a difference) have received His salvation.  And we’re no longer members of a fallen and cursed humanity from which we’ve been so freely redeemed.  We are a “new” and beloved humanity in Christ Jesus – preeminently preferred over creatures that have not been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb!

·         Secondly, our Lord’s instruction to His apostles was that, as the Gospel of Christ’s salvation was preached to the nations, they were to baptize them (including their children).  Put the “mark of Jesus Christ” on them.  It is the mark of God on our bodies, and the outpouring of His Spirit on the nations.  It is the River of Living Water which, if you drink, you shall never die.  Baptize them. And, then, teach them to obey.  He is King of the nations; they are to receive His mark.  And they are to be taught to obey their King.  By the “mark”; and by their obedience, they are identified as belonging to Him.

·         Thirdly, there is a “unity” in this new humanity.  And Jesus said that all who belong to Him are “in Him”, and He in them, and we in God.  It is a brotherhood in Christ.  We are “His body”.  We are no longer the “body” – the humanity - of Adam.  We no longer belong to the race of Adam….  We are the body of Christ the Savior of humanity and the world!  And all who bear His “mark” have access to His table, where we drink with Him and receive “nourishment” in His body!

Even if you’re a baptized member of His covenant, you’re expected to examine yourselves (and your children).  If you’re out of accord with your brother; or if you’re in rebellion against His Commandments, then you need to get it straight before you come!  And that requires self-examination, confession and repentance.  Otherwise you may be eating and drinking judgment unto yourself.

And this is a joyous event to be celebrated.  There is not only to be self-examination and repentance, and restrained eating and drinking, but there is also to be thankfulness, gladness and comfort in our having been included.

In the sacrament itself, which is the sign and seal of the new covenant, we must be elated that He knew us at His birth; He knew us at His humiliation, death and burial; we were in Him in His resurrection and ascension, and we were in Him at His Parousia.  And, having been written in the book of life from the beginning, we were resurrected from death unto life and given faith as a gift! 

And now we are in Him in the new heaven and the new earth, and we’re residents of the new – and holy – Jerusalem!  Our God is with us!  And we serve Him in His new abode… NOT the former creatures who were not redeemed by the blood of the Lamb!  We have the direct access to Him; We are the preferred ones!

Because of what HE did – not what we did.  We are washed in His blood, and we are nourished in His body.  It is His righteousness given to us freely.  The Father adores the Son and all who belong to Him, you see.  Now, make your election sure!

Hold the testimony of Jesus… all of it. That’s not your testimony … it’s HIS testimony.  And keep His Commandments.  That’s the way you are to assure yourself that you’re included.  If you aren’t holding the testimony of Jesus and keeping His Commandments, how can you have any certainty that you belong to Him?

As a matter of fact, if you aren’t holding the testimony of Jesus and keeping His commandments you can pretty much assure yourself that you don’t belong to Him.  That’s scary… considering the fact that He has a book of life with the names of us who do belong to Him written in it from the beginning!

So, as the apostle said, assure yourself that you are among His elect!  Confession, repentance, improve your baptism, come to the table to drink with Him and feed on Him.  And as you serve Him, you will receive assurance and confidence.  “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!”