THE EPILOGUE is the final parenthesis of this book. It looks backward in the chronology of what John saw while looking towards the Rapture and Parousia for its readers. The Book of Revelation begins with Christ’s promise that He will come soon and it ends with Him giving the same promise three times. The book ends as it began with the voices of the angel, Jesus, the Spirit, the Bride and finally John.
WHAT MUST SOON TAKE PLACE (22:6). The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.” This involves the entire Revelation of Jesus Christ.
BEHOLD, I AM COMING SOON (22:7a, 12, 20). Three times in this section, Jesus announces that He is coming soon (tacu, denoting swiftness or rapidness). The Rapture will occur “in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52). Christ’s announcement may have reference to His coming to work out “what must soon take place” (Revelation 1:1), or He may be referring to His final coming, which is not far away according to God’s time.
THE PROMISE FOR OBEDIENCE (22:7b). As the prophecy began with the promise of blessing for those who read it and heed it (1:3), it now closes with a similar blessing. This is the sixth beatitude of Revelation.
WORSHIP GOD (22:8-9). John fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing him these things. But the angel said to him, “Do not do it! I am a fellow-servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!”
THE LAST COMMAND (20:10-11). The angel told John, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near. Daniel’s prophecy is sealed until the time of the end (Daniel 8:26; 12:4-10).
The angel’s second command: “Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy” is similar to the words in Daniel 12:10:
Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.
The vile and wicked will continue in their lost condition, but the wise are made righteous and are exhorted to continue to understand prophecy and be holy. Understanding prophecy is a primary motivation for holy living.
THE LAST DECLARATIONS OF THE DEITY OF CHRIST (22:12-16). Jesus identifies Himself with three sets of titles in this passage that declare His deity:
He is the Eternal One: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 1:4, 8, 17; 2:8; 21:6).
He is the King of kings: “I am the Root and the Offspring of David.” Jesus is both the source and culmination of the Davidic line (Acts 2:25-36; 17:28; Matthew 1:1; 22:41-45; Isaiah 11:1; Revelation 5:5).
He is Lord of lords: “[I am] the Bright Morning Star (Numbers 24:17; Malachi 4:1-3; Luke 1:78; 2 Peter 1:19; Revelation 2:28). The morning star is the brightest star announcing the arrival of day. When Christ comes, He will shatter man’s night!
THE LAST BEATITUDE (22:14-15). Again, the saved and the lost are contrasted. Blessed are those who have access to the Holy City and the Tree of Life. Those outside the city are described in filthy robes of unrighteousness; they have not washed their robes in the blood of Christ. If they had, their sins would be washed away and they would have received imputed righteousness. God’s righteousness comes from Him through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe (Romans 3:23-26; 2 Corinthians 5:21). This seventh and last beatitude is evangelistic and appropriately followed by the Bible’s last invitation.
THE LAST INVITATION (22:17): During this present age, the Holy Spirit through the Bride, the Church, invites whoever hears the Gospel to come and drink freely of God’s gift of salvation in Christ Jesus. Everyone who rejects Christ is called “dogs,” a term applied by the Jews to Gentiles and ceremonially impure people.
THE LAST WARNING (22:18-19). Here is a solemn warning against tampering with the prophecies of this book.
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book (Revelation 22:18-19).
It is not error in judgment or interpretation that is condemned but the deliberate falsification or misinterpretation. There can be no additions or subtractions to this book. Why? Many will read these prophecies in the last days and come to Christ as they see the predictions fulfilled. Even the smallest change destroys the credibility of God’s Word; and therefore, keeps people out of the Kingdom of God.
THE LAST PROMISE AND PRAYER (22:20-21). The last words of Jesus recorded in Scripture is a promise: “Yes, I am coming soon.”
At end of the Eucharist liturgy, the Early Church prayed the last prayer of the Bible in expectation of Christ’s imminent return: “Amen, Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.”
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good (Titus 2:11-14).
Since the first century, the Church has been praying for the fulfillment of all of the prophecies of Revelation in the prayer He taught His disciples:
Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
[For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.
Amen.] (Matthew 6:9-13, KJV).