Verses 12 through 15 are the last words of the Revelation; the remaining verses consists of seals of authentication. Verse 16 comes from Jesus and 17 from the Holy Spirit, followed by the threat/promise of John not to—in the words of the 1950’s and 60’s computer cards—fold, spindle, or mutilate.
Remember as we began chapter 22, an angel was the tour guide, but in verse 12, we clearly have the words of Jesus. “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me.” NIV That is in line with what the angel said in verse 10, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near.” NIV By contrast, Daniel was told to seal his work for the future. With the Revelation of John, we do not need to wait any longer. I am coming.
We need to be careful in reading the rest of verse 12; I will give to each person according to what they have done. NIV Some suppose Jesus means that we will receive our merit badges for all the good and wonderful things we have done in our lives. No. The reward will be given for one thing only; choosing to live with God or choosing to live outside the New Jerusalem with the Twelve open gates that allow a view of life with God but will not allow entry into that life. Those who choose Jesus can come and go as they please.
I was lucky to have two great mentors in my college years, one of whom told me that he had come to believe—he was about 65—that sinners would spend eternity watching what they gave up. I believe verse 12-14 supports that notion.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. ESV This is the final form of the Title found 7 times in Revelation. In the Tyndale New Testament Commentaries on Revelation by Ian Paul, he prints it in this format:
God 1:8 I am the Alpha and the Omega
Jesus 1:17 I am the First and the Last
God 21:6 I am the Alpha and the Omega
The Beginning and the End
Jesus 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega
The First and the Last
The Beginning and the End.
There is no difference between the seven statements.
Verse 14, Happy are those who wash their robes, for they have the right to the tree of life and the freedom of the gates of the city. Phillips Wash their robes can only refer to being baptized in the blood of Jesus. Only his sacrifice has made it possible for you and I to be stripped clean of sin and hung on the line to dry. As the old hymn has it, Jesus’ blood alone can make us white as snow.
The Greek in verse 15 begins with dogs. Several translations change that to a different term to avoid confusion. Jesus was not telling us that dogs would not be allowed into the New Jerusalem. He was using the Middle Eastern concept of dogs as representing wild, untamed, aggressive, and unclean beings. Dogs were common in the culture but were seldom pets. They were considered a necessary evil because they helped control the rodent populations in an age when cats were much more recently domesticated—in Asia and Africa—and somewhat rare in Israel.
The rest of the list is the usual litany. The last one should make all of us nervous, everyone who loves and practices falsehood. CJB We lie so easily and so often that we generally don’t even recognize it in ourselves. When my doctor says, “Your blood sugar is high. What have you been eating lately?” I tend to stress the meat and forget to mention bread, pasta, cake, ice cream, candy. When the boss asks, “Do you know what happened to the copy machine?” The answer is not, “I’m not sure. I was in the room but didn’t get a good look at what happened when it blew.”
We cover, we hide, we transfer blame or at least try to share it. We criticize our least favorite politicians when they refuse to take responsibility for their mistakes, but we do the same.
The last words of Revelation: He, who is witness to all this, says, “Yes, I am coming very quickly!” “Amen, come Lord Jesus!” The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all his people. Phillips
Amen and Amen.
Read my earlier comments on this theme here.
Be righteous and do good.