Rev. 22:17 – Both the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Anyone who hears should say, “Come!” And the one who is thirsty should come. Whoever desires should take the living water as a gift. (HCSB)
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”
This verse is a final call to salvation to all who receive it in faith. The call to eternal life is a call to come to Jesus, for He has come to us throughout human history – revealing Himself in creation and conscience; appearing in the burning bush, the pillar of cloud and fire, the Shekinah glory in the tabernacle and temple; visiting as the Angel of Yahweh, and most importantly as Jesus of Nazareth – the Word becoming flesh and taking up residence among us (John 1:14).
The call to come echoes throughout Scripture as a unified pleading of the Godhead. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit take the initiative to come first to us, and then they bid us to respond in faith to their grace and mercy.
The Father says “come” – come out of the ark for judgment has passed (Gen. 8:16); come up to the mountain to receive the Law (Ex. 24:12); come to the tent of meeting (Num. 12:4); come and reason with the Lord so your sins, though scarlet, may be white as snow (Isa. 1:18).
The Son says “come” – come, all who are weary and burdened, and He will give you rest (Matt. 11:28); come, you who are blessed by the Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Matt. 24:34); come away and rest for a while (Mark 6:31); come and follow (Mark 9:21; Luke 18:22); come – those who are thirsty – and drink (John 3:37); come out of the grave (John 11:43).
And the Spirit says “come” (Rev. 22:17), wooing an unbelieving world to trust in the Savior. After Jesus returns to His Father in heaven, the Spirit comes to us and remains with us as we eagerly await Christ’s return. The Spirit regenerates us (John 3:6-7; Titus 3:5); seals us (Eph. 1:13-14); indwells us (1 Cor. 3:16); baptizes us into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13); sets us free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2); sanctifies us (2 Thess. 2:12; 1 Peter 1:2); counsels us (John 14:26); grants us spiritual gifts for service (1 Cor. 12:1-11); enables us to put to death the things of the flesh (Rom. 8:12-13); and reminds us that we belong to Christ (Rom. 8:9).
But the Creator and Sovereign of the universe does not force Himself upon us or into our hearts. He comes to us and beckons us to come to Christ. Thus, the gentle but urgent plea, “Come!”
Rev. 22:16 – “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to attest these things to you for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright Morning Star.” (HCSB)
I, Jesus, have sent My angel
In verse 16 Jesus plainly identifies Himself by name, as if to place a final stamp of approval on everything that has been revealed. He also restates what was first revealed in Rev. 1:1 – that He has sent His angel to deliver the message. While the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit often are quoted as speaking directly throughout scripture, God often uses angels as the vehicles through which divine truths are communicated to people.
Here, Christ says, “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to attest these things to you for the churches.” The “you” in Greek is plural, confirming that Christ’s revelation is not for John alone. Most likely it includes believers in the seven churches through whom the message of Christ is shared with Christians of all times and places.
Jesus then says, “I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright Morning Star.” Here He affirms both His divine and human natures, brought together through the miracle of the virgin birth and resulting in the sinless life of the God-Man. As God, He is the Root or Originator of King David. He fashions the king in his mother’s womb, makes him a man after God’s own heart, anoints Him for service, and exalts him to the throne. As man, He is descended from David, to whom His lineage may be traced (Matt. 1:1ff).
Rev. 22:14 – “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. (HCSB)
Outside are the dogs
In verses 14-15, Jesus speaks directly to readers with a blessing and a curse: “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.”
This is the seventh and last of the beatitudes in Revelation, the others being found at Rev. 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; and 22:7. The one who reads this book, hears the words of this prophecy, and keeps what is written is blessed (1:3). The one who perseveres in keeping God’s commands and faith in Jesus to the death is blessed (14:13). The one who is alert and remains faithful is blessed (16:15). Those invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb are blessed (19:9). The one who shares in the first resurrection – the resurrection of the just – is blessed (20:6). And the one who keeps the prophetic words of this book is blessed (22:7).
In this final beatitude (22:14), the Lord assures believers – those who demonstrate their faith by keeping His commands – that they are welcome in the New Jerusalem, where they enjoy complete security and boundless provision. The basis of their entry is the shed blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:14), which cleanses from sin and replaces the filthy rags of sinners’ self-righteousness with the white robes of Christ’s righteousness (see Rev. 3:4; 7:14; 19:7-8; Isa. 1:18).
Rev. 22:13 – I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. (HCSB)
I am the Alpha and the Omega
In verse 13, Jesus identifies Himself with three names that confirm His eternality and deity. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End,” He declares. Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Jesus, or the Father, uses these words to describe Himself in other places in Revelation:
- “I am the Alpha and the Omega … the One who is, who was, and who is coming, the Almighty” (1:8 – usually understood to refer to the Father).
- “I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I was dead, but look – I am alive forever and ever” (1:17-18 – Jesus).
- “The First and the Last, the One who was dead and came to life …” (2:8 – Jesus).
- “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End” (21:6 – often understood to refer to the Father).
Throughout the Gospels and Revelation Jesus reminds us that He is both divine and eternal. In addition, this Almighty One was dead and is alive forever; in other words, the eternal Son of God has left the glory of heaven, come to earth, added to His deity sinless humanity through the virgin birth, lived a sinless life, offered up that life on the cross to bear our sins, was buried, rose physically from the dead on the third day, appeared to many people, ascended into heaven, sat down at the right hand of the Father to serve as our Mediator and Intercessor, and is coming back one day in power and great glory to fulfill all things.
Unlike the mighty angel in Rev. 22:9, who urges John not to bow before him, Jesus truly is worthy of worship as the Alpha and Omega.
Rev. 22:12 – “Look! I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me to repay each person according to what he has done. (HCSB)
My reward is with me
Jesus speaks in verse 12: “Look! I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me to repay each person according to what he has done.” The New Testament often repeats the theme of judgment based on works. For example:
- In Matt. 16:27 Jesus declares, “For the Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will reward each according to what he has done.”
- In Matt. 25:31-46 Jesus speaks of the coming judgment of the “sheep” and “goats.” He separates those on His right from those on His left and explains that their works revealed their character. The sheep are welcomed into His kingdom, prepared for them from the foundation of the world, while the goats are banished to the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.
- In Rom. 2:5-8 Paul writes, “But because of your hardness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed. He will repay each one according to his works: eternal life to those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality; but wrath and indignation to those who are self-seeking and disobey the truth but are obeying unrighteousness …” While commentators have offered nearly a dozen interpretations of this difficult passage, the most likely one is that works are the outcome of a person’s faith, or lack thereof. Paul quotes from Ps. 62:12 and Prov. 24:12 when he writes, “He will repay each one according to his works.” The believer, indwelled and empowered by the Holy Spirit, lives a life of conformity to the image of God. The unbeliever, driven by the flesh, produces works worthy of eternal separation from God.
- In 1 Peter 1:17, Peter notes, “And if you address as Father the One who judges impartially based on each one’s work, you are to conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your temporary residence.”
- And in Rev. 20:13, as unbelievers stand before the great white throne, they are judged “according to their works.”