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The Rapture

In the conclusion to John’s vision, Jesus says:

“I am coming soon! My reward is with me and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes (do his commandments) that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. I have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright morning star.”

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Let the one who is thirsty come and let the one who wishes to take the free gift of the water of life.”

I (John) warn everyone who hears the words of this prophecy and this scroll, if anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. If anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life.

Jesus and the angels leading the RaptureHe who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

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What the story means to us today

When the appropriate time comes, the meaning of Revelation will become clear

The closing of Revelation is both a joyous celebration and a warning. As John attests in his vision, Jesus is coming soon, and this prophecy is given to all Christians as a roadmap to his return. But as a warning, we must take care to not force interpretation of Revelation’s words. They must be read, from the source, and kept in mind. When the appropriate time comes, the correct interpretation of the scroll will become clear to all.

Additional thoughts and considerations

Should we avoid interpreting Revelation’s message?

John tells us, “If anyone adds anything to these words, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. If anyone takes words away from this prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life.”

A similar refrain is given in Deuteronomy 4:2 where Moses warns the Israelites, “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it but keep the commands of God that I give you.”

The message is this: John’s words are true and accurate.

We should be wary of those who try to add to John’s message or take away from it. As emphasized throughout our study of Revelation, all interpretations at this point in time are “guesses” about the events to come. The intent of Revelation is not to paint a clear picture of future events, but rather, to provide an encrypted roadmap of the future that will make sense to all Christians when the events described begin to unfold.

Come, Lord Jesus

Revelation’s conclusion says, “The one who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’ Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!”

The phrase “Come, Lord Jesus” was echoed in the early Aramaic phrase “Marana tha” meaning, “Our Lord, come!” It was a resonant battle cry in the early church, often used as the conclusion of prayers, a resounding call for Jesus’ return.

Why has Jesus not returned?

The RaptureJohn prays for Jesus to come soon. The plea, ‘Come, Lord Jesus” reverberates in the verses. Some may wonder why Jesus has not returned. Indeed, the return will be glorious and is something to hope for. However, we must recognize that the delay in Jesus’ return is a testament to his patience for a sinful, unbelieving world.

The bright morning star

Jesus says,

“I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star!”

A final prophecy may be present in these words.

“A bright morning star” evokes a grand, Messianic title. But recall that Matthew 24:27 says,

“For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of God.”

This clearly suggests the coming of Jesus will be noticeable but some propose it suggest Jesus’ return will be from the direction of the East – like a bright morning star.

An open invitation to all

“Come! Let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wants it take the water of life” This clearly is an open invitation to everyone. God’s gift, salvation for sin, has been paid for by Jesus Christ. The invitation to receive salvation is open to all who are willing to accept it in faith.

Revelation, the final word

Revelation concludes with,

“The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all God’s people. Amen.”

This single sentence brings the final word from God to conclusion. God’s grace, delivered to all believers through Jesus, will be with all those who have faith, believe, and following his teachings.

Notes on Biblical translation

The “tree of life”

The verses say, “Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have the right to the tree of life”. Later manuscripts confirmed that the correct interpretation for the reward being offered is “tree of life”, the gift that was taken away from Adam and Eve following their sinful disobedience. In older translations, including the King James Version, this was mistakenly translated as “book of life”. Even though both translations describe righteousness, the error has since been corrected in most modern-day translations.

“Ones who what their robes”

“Blessed are those who wash their robes”. Some translations render this as “Blessed are those who do his commandments”. The message is similar and in the original Greek manuscripts, the expressions sound audibly similar too.

Bible Text

NIV

12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

18 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. 19 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.

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

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

The New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. Print.

The NET Bible

22:12 (Look! I am coming soon,

and my reward is with me to pay each one according to what he has done!

22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega,

the first and the last,

the beginning and the end!)

22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes so they can have access to the tree of life and can enter into the city by the gates. 22:15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the sexually immoral, and the murderers, and the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood!

22:16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star!” 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say: “Come!” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wants it take the water of life free of charge.

22:18 I testify to the one who hears the words of the prophecy contained in this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 22:19 And if anyone takes away from the words of this book of prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book.

22:20 The one who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! 22:21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.

Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press, 2006. Print.

New King James Version

12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”

14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”

17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”

Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.

The Message

13 “Yes, I’m on my way! I’ll be there soon! I’m bringing my payroll with me. I’ll pay all people in full for their life’s work. I’m A to Z, the First and the Final, Beginning and Conclusion.

14–15 “How blessed are those who wash their robes! The Tree of Life is theirs for good, and they’ll walk through the gates to the City. But outside for good are the filthy curs: sorcerers, fornicators, murderers, idolaters—all who love and live lies.

16 “I, Jesus, sent my Angel to testify to these things for the churches. I’m the Root and Branch of David, the Bright Morning Star.”

17 “Come!” say the Spirit and the Bride.

Whoever hears, echo, “Come!”

Is anyone thirsty? Come!

All who will, come and drink,

Drink freely of the Water of Life!

18–19 I give fair warning to all who hear the words of the prophecy of this book: If you add to the words of this prophecy, God will add to your life the disasters written in this book; if you subtract from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will subtract your part from the Tree of Life and the Holy City that are written in this book.

20 He who testifies to all these things says it again: “I’m on my way! I’ll be there soon!”

Yes! Come, Master Jesus!

21 The grace of the Master Jesus be with all of you. Oh, Yes!

Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005. Print.

King James Version

12 And, zbehold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. 17 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 sthe water of life freely. 18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. 20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009. Print.

Sources: NIV, The Message, The NET Bible, King James Version, NET Bible Notes, Faithlife Study Bible, The Apologetics Study Bible, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary, The Bible Reader’s Companion, Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Holman Concise Bible Commentary, The Bible Exposition Commentary, The Teacher’s Bible Commentary, The Teacher’s Commentary, The Bible Guide, Word Studies in the New Testament, Holman Bible Handbook, Calvin Commentaries, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines, The New Manner and Customs of the Bible, Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Bible Dictionary, Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Harper’s Bible Dictionary, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, The Archaeological Encyclopedia, Biblical Archaeology Review, The New Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Analytical Lexicon, Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database
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