Lesson 365:

Revelation 22:12 My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done

A godly minister was nearing the end of his life when his friends encouraged him to relax and enjoy his final days.  Shall I not run with all my might now that I have the finish line in view? (Charles Simeon), he said. Another minister was approaching death, and also worked relentlessly. To those who urged him to rest he said, Would you have the Lord find me idle when he comes? (John Calvin). Believers should greet every day as another opportunity to store up future reward.

Revelation 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End

Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, and correspond to our A to Z. If you made a list of everything your heart desires, it could run a hundred pages or more. But every item on your list would begin with a letter from A to Z. Our greatest reward in heaven will not be what we receive from Christ, but Christ himself. He is our Alpha and Omega.

Revelation 22:16 I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star

These two names for Christ find their source in the Old Testament (Isaiah 11:1 and Numbers 24:17). As the Root and the Offspring of David, Jesus is both his ancestor and descendent. David had many descendants, but only one who was also his ancestor. Jesus existed before and after David. He is the Root and the Offspring—eternal in both directions.

As the bright Morning Star, Jesus signals the passing of the night. When Venus appears in the east, it means the sun will soon appear. The first coming of Christ was like the morning star; his return will be like the sun. The first coming of Christ assures us that the full light of day is almost here.

Revelation 22:17 Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life

This is the last invitation in the Bible for sinners to come to Christ. It echoes the words of Jesus during his earthly ministry. Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink (John 7:37). Water is essential to life, and Jesus gives eternal life. In order to receive eternal life, we must come to Jesus Christ.

A twelve-year-old boy asked his mom to leave his room because he had to talk to God. The next morning he announced that he had become a Christian, and was ready to be baptized. Putting our faith in Jesus Christ is not complicated, but it does require an act of the will. The best time to come to Christ is before it is too late.

Revelation 22:18-19 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll

This is a severe warning not to add or take away from the book of Revelation, and we find similar statements elsewhere. Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it (Deuteronomy 4:2), wrote Moses. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar (Proverbs 30:6), wrote Agur.

Some groups add to the Bible by giving another book, person or tradition equal or greater authority. But whenever this happens, the Bible’s teaching is always corrupted. Others subtract from the Bible by eliminating the parts they do not like, but this is equally harmful. 

Marcion of Sinope was a church leader in the second century who thought the God of the Old Testament was incompatible with the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. So he gutted the Bible by rejecting the entire Old Testament and many parts of the New. 

Most Christians do not agree with Marcion, but we all tend to focus on the parts of the Bible we prefer, and to ignore the parts we do not prefer. But All Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16), wrote Paul. It takes a whole Bible to make a whole Christian—and a whole church. Whenever you come to a verse you do not like, read it twice. God may have something to say to you. 

Revelation 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, Yes, I am coming soon. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus

As John wrote these words, he was sitting in exile on the island of Patmos (Revelation 1:9). When he heard Jesus say, I am coming soon, his heart’s reply was, Amen. Come, Lord Jesus

A good indication that you are ready for the return of Jesus Christ is that you are longing for his return. If you are engaged to be married, but are not looking forward to your wedding day, you are not ready to be married. Jesus doesn’t want to return for a church that isn’t waiting for him, but for a church that is longing for him. The church should be like a bride waiting for her wedding day, or like a child waiting for Christmas. 

Revelation 22:21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen

The Bible rightly concludes with the word Amen. It occurs over fifty times from Genesis to Revelation, and means, It is true! So be it!  If someone tells you that you have won the lottery, it matters whether or not it is true. Whoever believes in Jesus Christ has won the greatest jackpot ever: eternal life with him, in the best of all possible worlds. To that John says, Amen. It is true! So be it! 

Reflection and Review
How did you come to faith in Jesus Christ?
Why do some people add to or take away from the Bible?
Why is Revelation a suitable ending to the Bible?