The Last Message of the Bible
Introduction - The Book of Revelation has been ridiculed by skeptics of all ages. Just as the Book of Jonah in the Old Testament is dismissed, Revelation has also been dismissed from the realm of facts into the area of fantasy. Spiritual man can only understand spiritual things. In Revelation 22:6, the angel who was introducing John to the final mysteries said, “These words are faithful and true.” One must admit to the profundity of the revelation, yet by faith we can trust, comprehend, and appreciate something of its grandeur.
Rev. 22:7 says, “Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” This statement is very important to the book. In fact, it is repeated seven times. The word “quickly” does not necessarily mean “soon.” The idea here has not so much to do with when this event will take place. Instead, God is saying, there is an appointed day on which He will come, and He will come regardless of anything else. Nothing will stop Him. Note Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, after this the judgment.” Also note Acts 17:31, “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”
All of God’s programs are executed on schedule: His first advent – “When the fullness of time was come,” (Gal. 4:4). The Holy Spirit’s coming - “When the day of Pentecost was fully come.” This took place 50 days after the Feast of First Fruits. Jesus was rescued up 40 days after the Resurrection; ten days later, the Spirit came to Pentecost. These events show us that there are events that God has appointed and He will execute them promptly or on schedule. He came on time at His first advent – He will come at the appointed time of His Second Coming.
Worship the Lord your God - In Rev. 22:8-9 John saw and heard these tremendous revelations and he was awestruck. His first reaction was to worship the angel who showed him these things. The angel would not accept his worship and admonishes him to “Worship God.” This is a divine principle that will never be altered. “You shall worship the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and Him only shall you serve.”
Worship is offering praise to God for who He is – for the greatness of His work – the greatness of His person. Worship is the overflow of a heart that has been nursing on Christ. To worship, we need time and quietness. Worship of God is necessary, because it brings “glory and honor to God.” The only worship that God receives is from redeemed lips. Examples of worship in Scripture are: The wise men (Matt. 2:1-11), the woman with the alabaster box of ointment (Matt. 26:1-3), and the worship by the cleansed leper (Luke 17:12-19).
The Condition of the Lost - The description seen in the first half of Revelation 22 adds to the awesomeness of the Great White Throne judgment (Eternal punishment – eternal state – separation from God – the second death). We must also keep in mind the condition of the saved – Oh, the blessedness of the eternal state for the believer. We will not remain static in our spiritual lives. There will be a constant growing in understanding and appreciation. [Stress the importance of making the right choice here on earth. Discuss examples of the rich farmer, the rich man, Lazarus, and the thief on the cross]. “Choose you this day whom you will serve.” (Joshua 24:15)
Rev. 22:14 describes the blessedness of the saved (in the city), while Rev. 22:15 describes those who are in the lake of fire (outside the city). [Contrast Matt. 25, “Those who were ready went in with Him and the doors were shut.”] Rev. 22:17 is a great all-inclusive invitation. It says, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
The Spirit and the Church give the invitation - “Come.” This invitation to come to Jesus Christ is given to him that hears. John 5:24 says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” It is also given to him that is thirsty. See Isaiah 55:1 and John 7:37. It is given to whosoever will (John 3:16).
The Return of Christ - Rev. 22:12 says, “Behold I come quickly – and my reward is with Me.” The coming referred to here speaks of His immanent return. 1 Thess. 4:16-17 says, “For the Lord Himself shall descend […].” Then occurs the Judgment Seat of Christ, before which every Christian will appear. Some will suffer loss (see 1 Cor. 3:13-15), while others will be rewarded (see 2 Cor. 5:10). We should live our lives in view of the Judgment Seat. We should live as if Christ died yesterday and is coming tomorrow.
The Trumpets - Trumpets played a very important role in the life of Israel: They were sounded to gather the people. They were sounded when the camp of Israel was to proceed. They were used in time of war, as much as the bugle is used today. See, for example, the story of Gideon and the fall of Jericho. The trumpets of Revelation 8 are angel’s trumpets [explain the “trump of God” in 1 Thess. 4 and 1 Cor. 15:51-52]. The trumpet of God will call us into His presence. The angel’s trumpet will announce seven different judgments that will deluge the earth.
The Altar - The same altar brought salvation, blessing, and judgment. This is also true of the Lord Jesus. For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish. To the one we are a savor of life unto life, to the other of death unto death, 2 Cor. 2:15-16. We must always remember, “God is a consuming fire.” At this time God’s wrath is hurled against a wicked world. On the cross His wrath was hurled against Jesus Christ, because He was the Sin-bearer.