Friday, September 2, 2011

Revelation 22:6-21, Epilogue; The Coming of Christ (The Study of the Apocalypse)

     6 And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true, and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets1 sent his angel to show his slaves what must come soon2.”
     7 “And behold, I am coming soon3 . Blessed is the one who keeps4 the words of prophecy in this book5.”
     8 And I, John, am the one who hears and sees these things6. And when I heard and saw these things, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. 9 And he says to me, “See that you don’t do this!7 I am your fellow-slave and of your brothers the prophets, and the ones keeping the words of this book. Worship God.” 10 And he say to me, “Don’t seal the words of prophecy of this book, for the appointed time is near8. 11 Let the one who does wrong still do wrong, and let the one who is impure9 still be impure, and let the one who is righteous still perform righteousness, and let the one who is holy still be holy.”10
     12 “Behold, I am coming soon11 , and my wage12 is with me to give to each one as is his work13. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega14, the first and the last, the beginning and the end15.
     14 Blessed are the ones who wash their robes16 so that their authority will be over the tree of life17 and they may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs18, the sorcerers, the male prostitutes, the murderers, the idolaters, and all who love and performs lying.
     16 I, Jesus, sent my angel to witness to you among the churches these things.19 I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star.”20
     17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”21 And let the one who hears say “Come!” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who is willing receive the water of life without cost.
     18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of prophecy in this book; If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues whichhave been written in this book, 19 and if anyone may take away from the words of this book of prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life22 and from the Holy City which has been written in this book.23
     20 The one who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon24.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. 
     21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.25

1 Echoes Numbers 16:22. The spirits of the prophets speak as they are moved on by the Holy Spirit. Mounce** (Pg. 390). Beale* thinks that the phrase echoes Daniel 2 and that John is among “special prophets” that God has commissioned to reveal his word. (Pgs. 1124-1126).

     Revelation 1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his
servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,

     The first verse of Revelation claims the message comes from God through the mighty hand of His Son, Jesus Christ. The revelation is then given to John, delivered by an angel. If the word of God is revealed, it can be no other than the Word that was with God in the beginning, and was God.

2 ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι ἐν τάχει (what must come soon) 

Greek: “what must happen in quickness”. Parallels with 1:1.

3 ταχύ (soon) 

Greek: “quickly”.

4 “Keeps” is figurative language for “obey”.

     Implied is the obedience that can only start with hearing this word, which means understanding and application.

5 τοῦ βιβλίου τούτου (in this book) 

or “of this book”. I’ve translated the genitive as an objective. I do so throughout the passage.

6 Beale* (Pg. 1128) states that “seeing and hearing” is the basis for a “legal witness”. He cites 1 John 1:1-2 to confirm this.

Ἰωάννου α 1·1 Ὃ ἦν ἀπ ̓ ἀρχῆς, ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς _ 2 καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἐφανερώθη, καὶ ἑωράκαμεν καὶ μαρτυροῦμεν καὶ ἀπαγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν τὴν ζωὴν τὴν αἰώνιον ἥτις ἦν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα καὶ ἐφανερώθη ἡμῖν _

     1:1 The one who was from the beginning, who we have heard, who we have seen with our eyes, who we beheld and our hands touched, concerning the Word of life_ 2 and the life was made know, and we have seen it and testify to it and send to you the eternal life which was with the Father and revealed to us _

7 ὅρα μή (See that you don’t do this!) 

Greek: “See not!” Parallels with 19:10.

     John indicates here that while we may have different gifts we are brothers and sisters in the one body of Christ. We are given access to the same Spirit and made alive in the same kingdom of God. There is only one that is to be worshiped. It is the same God and Son that is on the throne.

8 The opposite of Daniel 12:4 where Daniel must seal the words until the end. The end had started with the coming of Jesus. Now the words are not to be sealed for everyone must know.

9 ὁ ῥυπαρὸς (the one who is impure) 

or “the one who is morally filthy”.

10 Verse 11 can mean several things: 1. It is a warning to the unsaved to rethink their lives; 2. Encouragement to the believers; 3. A reminder that whatever people do in their lives will not stand in the way of Christ’s coming; 4. A reminder that there is little believers can do to stop evil other than to continue to proclaim the Good New; 5. A reminder to believers to continue to walk in faith; Osborne*** (Pgs. 786-787), 6. From John’s point of view, there is no time remaining because Jesus is about to return; Mounce** (Pgs. 392-393). Beale* (Pgs. 1131-1133) says the passage is based upon Daniel 12:10 and interprets the phase based on the passage in Daniel. In Daniel, it is predicted that in the latter days that false members of the OT covenant will not understand that prophecy is being fulfilled and will continue to disobey God, but the Godly will obey God and see that the prophecy is being fulfilled. The change from the Daniel’s “prediction” to the Apocalypse’s “imperatives” show that the prophecies in Daniel were beginning to be fulfilled.

     In the final days before Noah and family entered the ark, even as it began to rain and despite warnings of coming destruction, life was carried on as if there was no end in sight. Those that did not listen were given over to their blindness. So it will be in the final days.

11 ταχύ (soon) 

Greek: “quickly”.

12 ὁ μισθός μου (my wage) 

or “my reward”.

13 τὸ ἔργον (work)

or “deed”. The verse can be seen in two ways: 1. Jesus is bringing his reward with him to reward each believer for his righteous deed. 2. The phrase is meant to be an encouragement and a warning. The wages paid to the one who does work for the kingdom will be eternal life, but the wages paid to the one who works against the kingdom will be eternal death (2nd death). Option 2 is the most probable. Osborne*** agrees (Pg. 788), as does Mounce** (Pg.393), and Beale* (Pgs. 1136-1137). The passage is an echo of Proverbs 24:12.

     It might be possible to apply this to both. Jesus renders judgment on both believer and non-believer, and they receive according to the choice they made. The wages of sin is death. The work of faith, of enduring to the end, will bring the crown of life.

14 These titles were applied to God in 1:8 and 21:6, but here to Jesus himself. This shows us that the Father and Son are unified as one.

15 These titles have already been applied to Jesus in 1:17 and 2:8.

16 The TR/KJV replaces οἱ πλύνοντες τὰς στολὰς αὐτῶν (the ones who wash their robes) with οἱ ποιοῦντες τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ (the ones who do his commandments).

The passage has a close parallel to 7:14. Mounce** draws to our attention that the participle οἱ πλύνοντες (the ones who wash) is in the present tense and carries a continual aspect. (Pg. 394).

17 If one has authority over the tree of life, then one has access to the tree of life. In other words, the passage probably means that believers have unlimited access to the tree of life.

18 This is the only use of “dog” in Revelation. Throughout the NT, “dog” is used to refer to “apostate” christians or Jewish christians who still hold to the Jewish law. (Phil. 3:2-3; 2 Peter 2:20-22). In the OT, “dog” is used of Israelites who violate the OT law. Beale* (Pgs. 1142-1143).

19 “You” here is in the plural. The problem is that we don’t know if Jesus means for “you” to be the same as “the churches” or is “you” is separate from “the churches”. ἐπὶ (over) with the dative can also be translated as “in”, “on the basis of”, or “at”. John is very fluid with his language so it could also be translated as “on” or “over”. Since the entire Apocalypse was written to the seven churches in Asia (See chapters 2-3), then in keeping within the context of the book, we should see “you” and “the churches” as being one in the same.

Osborne*** disagrees and says that “you” probably is a circle of “prophets” who were helping John. (Pg. 792). After much convincing analysis, Beale* agrees with “in” or “among” thus identifying “you” with “the churches”. (Pgs. 1143-1146).

     It may be that we can view this message as applying to to us all. Just as John is used to deliver the word revealed to him, we can see this message delivered at a particular time and people, but containing a universal application, blessing not only the original hearers, but the entire body of Christ.

20 Allusions to Isaiah 11:1 and Numbers 24:17.

21 It is the Spirit and the bride (believers) who say come because the bride is filled with the Spirit! Paul says in Romans 8:26-28 that the Spirit intercedes for believers in “groaning” for our weaknesses. The passage in Romans 8:26-28 deals with the preceding passages (18-25) where the church in Rome was “groaning” for the coming of the Lord (the adoption of our bodies). Therefore, in that passage, the churches’ “weakness” was in asking for the Lord to come. Why? We are all human.

     When no words are found for the despair in our hearts, when we open our mouths in pain and anguish, only to hear no sound, we can take comfort that we are yet heard. The Spirit knows our spirit, our needs and troubles. He knows better than we do what is taking place and our perfect end. Jesus has sealed us with the great Comforter to strengthen and guide us into His rest.

22 The TR/KJV replaces ἀπὸ τοῦ ξύλου τῆς ζωῆς (from the tree of life) with ἀπὸ βίβλου τῆς ζωῆς (from the book of life). This reading in the TR appears in no other Greek manuscript. Bruce Metzger explains: “The error arose when Erasmus, in order to provide copy for the last six verses of Revelation (which were lacking in the only Greek manuscript of Revelation available to him), translated the verse from the Latin Vulgate into Greek. The corruption of “tree” into “book” had occurred earlier in the transmission of the Latin text when a scribe accidentally miscopied the correct word ligno (“tree”) as libro (“book”). A Textual Commentary of the Greek New Testament (Pg. 690).

23 Echoes Deuteronomy 4:2. In other words, Jesus was warning against false teachers which we see in Chapters 2 and 3. Those false teachers were trying to get certain churches to compromise and become idolaters in order for everyday life to be easier. Idolatry is detested by God throughout the entire Apocalypse. Osborne*** says that the passage also has to do with false teachers who would change the book of Revelation in order to restructure the Christian faith. (Pgs. 795-796). Beale* agrees with my analysis. (Pgs. 1150-1154).

24 ταχύ (soon) 

Greek: “quickly”.

25 The TR/KJV replaces the entire line with Ἡ χάρις τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ μετὰ πάντων ὑμῶν. ἀμήν. (The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you. Amen.) With that said, there are actually seven different endings among all of the manuscripts.

NT = New Testament 
OT = Old Testament 
ESV = English Standard Version 
NASB = New American Standard Bible
NIV = New International Version
KJV = King James Version 
TR = Textus Receptus (A late Byzantine Greek text of the NT. A 
predecessor of the TR was used in the translation of the KJV) 
LXX = Septuagint (Greek translation of the OT)
The Greek New Testament with Greek-English Dictionary B. Aland (Editor), K. Aland (Editor), J. Karavidopoulos (Editor), B. M. Metzger (Editor), C. M. Martini (Editor)
(BDAG) A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd Edition Walter Bauer (Author), Frederick William Danker (Editor)
A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament Bruce M. Metzger
(Kittel) Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (VOLUMES 1-10) Gerhard Kittel (Editor), Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Translator)
*The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Mich.).) G. K. Beale
**The Book of Revelation (The New International Commentary on the New Testament) Robert H. Mounce
***Revelation (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) Grant R. Osborne
+Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics Daniel B. Wallace
++An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek C. F. D. Moule
+++Biblical Greek (Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblici) Maximilian Zerwick
A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament Max Zerwick (Author), Mary Grosvenor (Author)

1 comment:

  1. 2 ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι ἐν τάχει (what must come soon)

    Greek: “what must happen in quickness”. Parallels with 1:1.

    3 ταχύ (soon)

    Thus my belief that 1:1 speaks of something that will happen over a brief span of time, not necessarily in a few days or years. If in fact this is refering to events of that time, then "soon" means many years, which doesn't seem to make sense to me.