In the final episode of this series, we finish with the last verses of Revelation 22. They are full of beauty and hope for those who have overcome. The ones who have served as a faithful witness for the Kingdom of God enter eternity as full participants in that Kingdom. They will see God’s face and dwell in his throne room! The words of Revelation are true and will happen soon. Keep watch, discern with courage, and live faithfully.
So the curse is gone and is replaced by God’s throne on earth. And who’s on that throne? Jesus is on the throne. Who else is on the throne? Look at the last part of verse 5. And they shall reign forever and ever. The overcomers. Those who get the reward of the inheritance will also be on the throne. What a place!
We’ll look at God’s face
Verse 4. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.
Take a quick look at Exodus 33:20. But He said—God speaking—“You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” And so this is when he hid himself in the rock because Moses said, I want to see you, and Moses got to see his back or his shadow or something.
You can’t see my face, Moses, because you would die if you saw my face.
So now it’s different. We will be able to see his face. How can that be?
Well, I’ll suggest it’s because of 1 Corinthians 15. If we look at 1 Corinthians 15:42, it says, So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption—that’s us.
Have you noticed that your body is corrupting? Some of you are pretty young. You maybe haven’t really experienced it so much. Maybe you know you can’t run as fast as you could in high school or something like that. It’s coming. Your day is coming. Your chest falls into your drawers, for example.
The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. Now this is an exciting thing. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. Now that’s an interesting thing, spiritual and body we think of as opposites. We think you’re either spiritual—you have a spirit and a body, and they’re two different things, and when the spirit leaves the body, the body dies and decays.
But, this is a spiritual body where it’s not one animating the other anymore, it doesn’t seem; but it’s one in the same which would explain, perhaps, why Jesus could walk through material things.
And this goes back to what we talked about last time: the electromagnetic wave.
You know, in this room is all this information on the internet. It’s in here with us. We just need an instrument to access it. In this room are thousands of conversations going on in the cell that serves this area. We just need an instrument to access it.
And, who knows, maybe we can just jump on that wave. Jump on that wave and go someplace that—maybe go see the battle of Waterloo and watch it happen. Then just flip over to the other side of the earth real quick. That’s kind of what I expect it to be.
You know the Star Trek stuff that they had in the Enterprise are daily things now.
They used to have a guy that would sit there with a button, and when Captain Kirk is walking past the door, it opens automatically, there was a guy pushing a button to make that open up.
I don’t know if they have them on Youtube, but there are bloopers where the guy forgot to push the button, and he walks into the door and smashes his head.
Well, now if you go to H-E-B, the door opens, just like Star Trek.
And if someone has one of those flip phones, you say, “ha ha ha, look at that old phone you have!” Because now his flip phone is now archaic.
But one thing about Star Trek that still hasn’t happened, you can’t beam up. Two things. What’s the other one? Dilithium. We have warp speed. We don’t have light speed.
I think, probably, what’s going to happen is we’re going to have light speed, and we’re going to be able to beam around, except we won’t need Scotty.
So they’ll see his face because they’re going to be different kinds of creatures. We’ll be able to, essentially, walk on the sun.
We see a little glimpse of this from Daniel, which is going to be our next study, by the way. King Nebuchadnezzar threw the guys in the furnace, and all the guys that threw them in the furnace are dying, and the guys in the furnace are in there having a marshmallow roast and singing Kumbaya. And Nebuchadnezzar’s like, “Hey, this is weird! Let’s ask those guys to come back out. I think I made a mistake.”
This is something we’ve seen glimpses of, that fire—our God is a consuming fire, our God is light—right now we have to have a substantial separation from that because if we saw his face, we’d just burn up. But now we’re going to be able to walk on the surface of the sun. At least some of us will. If the hypothesis is right that that’s also the lake of fire, the people who don’t have that capability, you can see, are not going to be very happy.
His name will be on our foreheads
There’ll be no more curse. We’ll be able to see his face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.
If you’re from the millennial generation, you will want to use this as evidence that there’ll be tattoo parlors in the new earth. I don’t think that’s what that’s saying. I think what that’s talking about is our priestly function. Here’s where I get that from:
Let’s look at Exodus 28:36.
In Exodus 28:36, there’s a description of what the priest is supposed to have, the priestly garment, the priestly garb. And it says, “You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it like the engraving of a signet: HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And you shall put it on a blue cord, that it may be on the turban; it shall be on the front of the turban. So it shall be on Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts—
And so Aaron has on his forehead, “Holiness to the Lord,” as a symbol of his function.
If we look at Revelation 1:5 we see, To Him who loved us and washed us from our own sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.
Look at Revelation 5:9. And they sang a new song, saying—speaking to Jesus now.
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”
That’s a song.
This is the lot of all of us. All of us have been assigned this. Every believer has been assigned this. Every believer is Esau, who has been given the reward of the inheritance. The question is will we throw it away or not, like Esau did. It’s assigned to every person that this reward is ours.
But in order to possess the possession—just like Israel was assigned the reward of the inheritance of Israel. But to possess the possession they had to walk in obedience. And after ten times of refusing to believe God, God finally said, you don’t get it. The next generation will get it.
That’s the story of Revelation. That’s the story of most of this New Testament. Will you be faithful and possess this possession?
And it’s not just something we possess in the next life.
Does God want us to be a servant-king now? Yes. Absolutely. We are Aragorn. He wants us to behave in a kingly way and serve others, even before our inauguration.
I don’t know if you’re Lord of the Rings fans. I just love it. I think it’s a great picture of what we’re supposed to be doing.
Aragorn is a symbol I keep in my mind. He was the rightful king of Gondor. But he was just a ranger out in the world in the hinterlands because his time had not yet come. And he did not go and possess that which it was not yet his time. He lived as a king by serving, and his favorite thing to do was protect the shire where the hobbits lived.
When he would go into town, the hobbits would look at him like this dark, shady character. They were a little afraid of him, thought he was a little weird.
What he’s actually doing is killing trolls and protecting them from dragons and stuff. They lived their life because Aragorn was keeping them safe. But he got no thanks from them. They were just kind of afraid of him; thought he was strange.
Well, if we are in this world but not of it, we’re actually what preserves the place. And what we get mostly is, “You’re kind of weird.” They kind of look at you squinty eyed. “Why don’t you go away?”
But that’s our main function. Our priestly function is to intervene on behalf of all these other people, and because we tell the truth, and because we’re willing to serve, the whole place doesn’t fall apart.
We are supposed to be, by faith, walking in this manner now. And, if we do, we’re actually possessing the possession.
This amazing reward of actually physically—we will now get to do it with Jesus and with one another in a tangible way where every day is a joy to work and serve God and serve one another because the curse on work’s gone. It’s just going to be—can’t wait—well, you don’t get up and go to work anymore, do you? There’s no night. You just get to do it all the time. It doesn’t stop! That’s what we have to look forward to, if we’re faithful. That’s the reward.
There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun—Maybe there is a sun. We’re not told. But if there is a sun, maybe you don’t even notice it in the sky because it’s so bright outside already.
—for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever. Aioniosaionios. To the age of the ages. I think this actually means forever and ever.
These words are true
Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” Now, all the Bible is faithful and true. It goes without saying that these words are faithful and true. But when God says, “You can count on these words,” there’s an emphasis here. These words may be a little harder to believe than some other words, but you can take this to the bank that this is really going to happen.
These things will shortly take place
—And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place. Who’s Revelation written to? His servants. That’s who Revelation is written to. It’s to show his servants. The messages in this book are to us.
He is showing us the things that are going to shortly take place. Why? So we know when to short the stock market? No, no. That’s not the point. The point is so that we will be faithful, not fear death, be the kind of witness that God asks us to be. Martyreo. So that we can possess the possession or the inheritance.
He says in verse 7, “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
The whole point of this book is we get this extra amazing blessing if we keep the words of this book.
In speech, they tell you, tell them what you’re going to tell them, and then tell them, and then tell them what you told them. Look at Revelation 1:1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place—Ever heard that before? Same thing as right here in the last chapter.
We can go down to verse 3. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.
Here he says, “Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” He left out read and hear. Why would you think he left out read and hear? Because if you made it this far, you read and heard, right? What’s left, once you’ve read and heard? Do! Because this is a do book. This isn’t a look ahead and fear book.
One of the main things in this book is don’t fear! In fact, if we go back to “and they shall reign forever and ever” and the whole notion that God is on his throne.
Angels will be our servants
Then he says in verse 8, Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.
Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.
And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.
“He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.”
“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
John is bowled over by this being, and he falls down and worships. And the angel says, “Hey, don’t do that.” I’m a fellow servant. A syndoulos. And then it says, “and of your brethren the prophets” which really confused me because, how can an angel be of a prophet? Because angels don’t walk around among us.
So I asked Dr. Anderson, who’s a Greek expert, about this. And here’s what he told me: He said, “The translators busted that one. The of shouldn’t be there. This is a genitive case, is what he called it. And there are 30 different ways to handle a genitive case. In this instance what he’s really saying, it should be translated something like, “I am your fellow servant, and I serve for God and you and your brethren the prophets and those who keep the words of this book.” So I’m a servant, and I’m at your disposal.
Which makes perfect sense because if we look at 1 Corinthians 6:3, Paul says, Do you not know that we shall judge angels?
This is something that’s even more mind boggling than this place which is so spectacular. You’ve got these angels running around, that, were we to see them today, we would just fall down on our face and want to worship these guys because they are so majestic. And they’re going to be our errand boys. They’re going to be like our staff. Which tells you a little bit about what’s in store if we will be a faithful witness and not fear death.
It’s pretty common that people will say, “Well, I don’t really care what happens to me when I’m in heaven. I’ll be glad to be a street sweeper. I just want to get in.” That’s not the message of Revelation.
Getting in is very simple. We saw this in previous weeks. It’s as simple as saying, “I’m thirsty. Will you give me a drink?”
To him who says I thirst, I will give the water of life freely. Becoming a believer is such an easy thing. Just enough faith to look at the snake on the pole and say, “I don’t want to die of snakebite.” Enough faith to say, “I’m thirsty. Would you give me a drink of water?” That’s all it takes.
We should not say, “Oh, I just want to get in.” It’s a simple thing.
This book is saying, “Be an overcomer. It’s worth the price.” And these amazing beings here, we’re going to be elevated above these amazing beings if we overcome. And it’s just mind boggling.
We choose our actions; God chooses the consequences
And then he says, “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still—” Is God telling us now, “Ok never mind all that stuff. Be filthy.”? Or maybe this is like when we say, “Wow. That’s filthy.” Maybe that’s biblical. Or maybe it’s a joke that didn’t work.
But, no, no. I think what he’s saying here is, look, you choose how you’re going to behave. In this life, you’re going to choose. You do what you’re going to do. It’s up to you. You want to be just, be just. You want to be unjust, be unjust. You want to be filthy, you want to be clean, it’s up to you. I’m leaving this up to you. Nobody’s going to compel you to do anything. So, if you want a drink of water, I’ll give you the Spirit. I’ll give you new life. But it’s up to you.
There are three things we control: who we trust, the perspective that we adopt, the actions that we take. God’s left that up to us. He’s not going to compel us to do anything.
But then he’s going to decide what the consequences are. We do get to choose our actions. We do not get to choose our consequences.
Have you been around little kids? Which ones do they want mostly to be able to choose, their actions or their consequences? Well, they choose their actions, but they prefer to be in control of the consequences, right? I want to be a dirty kid that’s rotten and sasses you, and I want a reward for it. I want candy. I want whatever I want. That’s the way we are as people. It doesn’t work that way.
And behold, I’m coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to what he’s done. You do what you’re going to do. I’m going to reward what you do.
Blessed is he who hears, understands and does. Because then you get an amazing reward. Unthinkable. But if you don’t, it’s not going to work out so good for you. You’re going to show up at the fire, and you’re going to watch other people come out with gold, silver, precious stones, and you’re going to come up with two round bales in your hands. And you’re going to say, “Hey, can I put my round bales (of hay) in that furnace?”
Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
The beginning and the end
We’ll end with this. We’ll end with the beginning and the end. Revelation 1:11. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last—” It’s right there up front. I’m the Alpha and the Omega. I’m the start. I’m the end.
Revelation 1:17, And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.
Don’t be afraid
Look at Revelation 2:8. And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: And then he talks about the tribulation that’s going to come upon them. And he says, Do not fear—
I would say that this is just another way to say God’s on his throne.
But it’s not just an assertion that God’s on his throne. It’s not just an assertion that God reigns. It’s telling you why God’s on his throne.
Why’s God on his throne? Because he made the throne. He was there before all this happened. And he’ll be there at the end. God’s authority comes from his power. And God made it all. He’s been there from the beginning, before the beginning. Before there was a beginning there was God. So we don’t need to fear.
And what is there when you read this book? A lot that you can do.
You can be afraid because the world’s going to fall apart. And you can look around and say, “Boy, there’s a lot in the world that could go wrong.”
You know we now have the ability to have a nuclear bomb the size of a suitcase. You take a nuclear bomb into a city that has the servers for banks and stuff. All our banking—there are so many different ways that our economy can just be shut down, that people can be devastated. And just a few people can do it now.
There’s a lot to fear. But the point of this is, nothing’s going to happen unless I authorize it. And when I authorize it, I’m asking you to do one thing: Be a faithful witness and don’t fear death.
Don’t fear any kind of death. Don’t fear exile. Don’t fear rejection. Don’t fear loss. Just hang in there. And if you do, I’m going to give you these amazing rewards.
Why? I’m on the throne. I’m the beginning and the end. And I like you. And I want you to succeed. And I’m giving you this amazing gift that you get to choose. And if you’ll choose wisely, I’m going to reward you in a way that you can’t even conceive. And that’s what I want you to get out of this book.
Thank you for listening to our series, Becoming a Faithful Witness: A Study of Revelation. Everything we face in life is a call to courage. Those who take up the cause of character and serve The Kingdom of God faithfully are victors in the end. Join us as we continue to pursue the truth of God’s Word in our next series: A Study of The Book of Daniel.