V88I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things.. What John has heard and seen, made a strong impression on him. When he says “I, John”, it clarifies that he has personally experienced everything that he “heard and saw”. It was not just absorbing all kinds of interesting facts, so that he now had an idea about the future. No, he was totally involved with his whole being.
That is very important for you too. Now you have come to the end of this book, you may wonder yourself what impact this book has had on you, just as I must wonder what impact it has had on me. Have you made progress in just factual knowledge or has it deeply moved you inwardly? Do you only find it important that you now know how history will come to pass or has it caused you to desire for the coming of the Lord?
John is so deeply impressed that he ends up in worship. But he ascribes this worship to someone who is not entitled to it. That is also a risk you run. You run the risk to admire God’s instrument instead of Him Who is represented to you through that instrument. The Holy Spirit does not want to focus your attention on an angel, or on John, or on whomever, but on the Lord Jesus.
V99But he *said to me, “Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God.”. John is called to order by the angel. He had already made this mistake earlier (Rev 19:1010Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he *said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”). Then also he was called to order by the angel. The fact that he has made this mistake for the second time, shows that it is indeed very difficult to give honor to the Lord Jesus alone and not a creature to whom we sometimes may possibly look up to. However, how much appreciation we may have for persons who have helped us to learn to know God’s truth better, there is absolutely one Person Who is worthy of our praise. Everyone has a subordinate place towards the Lord Jesus and an equal position towards one another, considering the differences which the Lord has applied.
The angel calls himself “a fellow servant” of John, however much he has served John with the explanation of the future events. The angel also speaks about “the prophets” as “brethren” of John. John and all the prophets of God have spoken about future events. They could only do that because God had shown them what He was planning to do. He made those plans known in His Word to all of His own, particularly in this Bible book.
The angel also calls all the ones, who keep the words of this Bible book, his fellow servants. You have also come across this word ‘servant’ at the beginning of this book. The book can only be understood by believers who, as a response to what God reveals in His Word, devote their lives to Him. That is the true worshiping of God.
V1010And he *said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.. When Daniel came to the end of his book, he learnt that he had to seal the book until the time of the end (Dan 12:44But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.”). The reason was that in the time of Daniel the end was yet far away. He lived in another period of time of God’s history of salvation. The sealing of his book meant that the prophecies which are written in it, were made inviolable and kept safe until the fulfillment. The opening of the seal was only allowed to be taken place by the person that was authorized to do that (cf. Rev 5:55and one of the elders *said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.”).
However, for us the time is near (cf. Mt 25:66But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet [him].’). Everything has been fulfilled since the death of Christ and we have come to the ‘last hour’ (1Jn 2:1818Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.). The end of the ages have come upon us (1Cor 10:1111Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.). Therefore John is told that he was not to seal the prophecy of this book. God has revealed everything. The time of the coming of His Son is near to make everything to be fulfilled. It is important to God that by this revelation, which is not sealed – by which we know that His Son can come any moment – you will be eagerly looking forward to Him Who is going to fulfill everything.
V1111Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.”. When all events of this book have come this near, it will result in a separation among men. There are only two reactions possible:
1. There are those who reject the Word of God and do not consider what is soon to happen.
2. There are those who submit themselves to the Word of God and look forward to its fulfillment.
The more the time gets nearer, the more the real character of every man is exposed:
1. The first category of men “does wrong” more and more and therefore one makes himself more and more “filthy”, dirty. You see that in the world and even more and especially in the so-called Christian world. People become more and more unjust and present themselves more and more unashamed with their dirtiness.
2. The second category of people devotes itself more and more to God. They live righteously and “still practice righteousness”, which causes them to become more and more “holy” opposite to the dirtiness of the people around them. Their holiness becomes more and more visible, because of the contrast with the growing filthiness of the world. The contrast to the world will grow bigger and bigger.
In the light of the coming of the Lord everything is being decided regarding our lives on earth. In that very light it is seen what we are living for.
V1212“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward [is] with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.. You may think that it is not simple to live righteous and holy in such a filthy world where the filthiness jumps all over you from all sides. Therefore the words of the Lord are a great encouragement. You hear Christ saying that He is coming quickly. That is already encouraging. But then you hear also that He relates a reward to His near coming. Christ will surely appreciate every sign of righteousness in your life and He will give you an appropriate reward for that.
If you have made your choice for Him on earth, you have perhaps missed out on many appreciations from men. But the Lord will compensate that abundantly at His coming. The unbelievers have already received their reward on earth (cf. Mt 6:2,5,162“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.5“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.16“Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites [do], for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.). Therefore they will not find any reward when the Lord comes. On the contrary, they will receive a retribution for their wicked deeds.
V1313I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”. For the third and last time you hear that the Lord Jesus is “the Alpha”, the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and the “Omega”, the last letter of the Greek alphabet (Rev 1:88“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”; 21:66Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.). He is the Word of God, the full revelation of God. Everything that God has to say, He has said in Christ. Christ will fulfill everything to the letter, as God has said it (cf. Jos 21:4545Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.; Mt 5:17-1817“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.18For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.).
He Who is beyond the history of creation has entered into history. He is “the first and the last” of history (Rev 1:1717When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,; 2:88“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this:; Isa 44:66“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:
‘I am the first and I am the last,
And there is no God besides Me.
; 48:1212“Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called;
I am He, I am the first, I am also the last.
). He stands at “the beginning” of everything as the First and He stands at “the end” of everything as the Last. He will still be there when everything that was, is over. He is both the origin and the purpose of creation (Col 1:15-1715He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.16For by Him all things were created, [both] in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.17He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.). He Who Himself has no beginning nor end, the eternal God, covers all things. There is nothing outside of Him that in a way can escape from Him. Everything owes its beginning to Him and everything will be fulfilled in relation with Him and be brought to fullness. You see how great He is !
V1414Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.. For the seventh and last time the word “blessed” is spoken. It regards those “who wash their robes”. It is remarkable that we read “wash” which indicates an ongoing process of washing. That is different from what you have read elsewhere in this book, where it says “washed” (Rev 7:1414I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.). In the latter case it concerns the conversion. That is a one-off happening. When you came to conversion, all of your sins were washed away by the blood of the Lamb. But in this verse it is about your responsibility.
You also come across this difference between ‘wash’ and ‘washed’ in John 13. There the Lord speaks about being ‘bathed’, which is being totally washed, and about having one’s ‘feet to be washed’ (Jn 13:1010Jesus *said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all [of you].”). The act of being totally washed is a one-off happening at the conversion. The act of letting the feet to be washed ought to happen continually, because living in the world defiles the believer.
Having one’s feet to be washed, or as it is said here, to wash their robes, is a responsibility of the believer. The robes speak of the outward behavior. You prove that you are washed by the way you walk. Your clothing, meaning your conduct, will then show no spot. As soon as it gets stained by committing sins, there will also be a confession of these sins, which makes the robe to be pure again. In this way you are not to be blamed for anything concerning your practical way of living, which makes you to have the right to the tree of life. It means that you participate in the enjoyment of it.
You are allowed to live in the city of God, in His presence. You partake of the blessings of the tree and the city on the ground of the blood of Christ. That is grace. But everyone who partakes of that grace, will surely want to live accordingly. In that way you show that you have the right to it. It is a right which, concerning you, is based on grace, but it is a grace which is granted by God on the ground of the right that He has through the blood of Christ.
Now read Revelation 22:8-14 again.
Reflection: What can possibly be the reward that the Lord Jesus will have with Him when He comes?