“The Days of Restoration” Book Release is Set for Spring 2019!

days-of-restoration-front-cover

“The Days of Restoration” is on track to be published in the Spring of 2019! A digital copy of the book will be available on this website for free (both pdf and Kindle e-reader free-flowing format), and the paperback will be available for purchase on Amazon for those who wish to have a nice printed copy. I’ll provide more updates as the time gets closer. For now, you are always welcome to read the unedited portions of the book which I place frequently on this site. You can find those resources here.

Revelation 22:16-21 – Adding to and Taking Away

(16)  “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

    Jesus signs his own signature to the book of Revelation, confirming the authority and accuracy of the letter.

    “I am the root and the descendant of David.” Jesus can fulfill the prophecies of this book because he is the fulfillment of prophecy! What had been prophesied before about his coming in the flesh, such as descending from David (Isaiah 11:1), was already fulfilled; so the original recipients could have confidence that his promise to come soon in the Spirit, judging and avenging the blood of the prophets and their faithful words (16:6; 19:2), was sure to be fulfilled according to the manner in which it was promised.

    “The bright morning star.” A new day has dawned in Christ! A glorious day! There is one occasion when the term “morning star” or “lucifer” (Isaiah 14:12) was applied to the greatest and highest earthly king who fell by his pride. The term “lucifer” or “morning star” was used by Isaiah to speak of the Babylonian king, as is evident from the context (Isaiah 13:1; 14:4). The idea that “lucifer” was the name used for Satan, as some believe, is quickly found to be erroneous when reading Isaiah’s oracle against the king of Babylon. Here the picture is used of Christ, a glorious star which ascended high above all, and will not fall; because, unlike earthly kings who ascend only to quickly fall, the Lord ascended after he was raised from the dead, never to see corruption.

 

(17)  The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

    The great invitation: “Come“! God has always invited man in this manner. The book of Isaiah begins with the Lord’s invitation, saying,

“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18).

And then again, toward the close of the Isaiah, God extends the invitation, saying,

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” (Isaiah 55:1).

In the New Testament, Jesus’ invitation to Andrew was “Come and you will see” (John 1:39); likewise Philip said to Nathanael, “Come and see” (John 1:46). The Samaritan woman went into town and said, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did” (John 4:29). Last but not least, Jesus invited all, saying, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). How significant in the pattern of God’s word is this little word “come”? It is a simple and effective invitation to hear the salvation that speaks for itself. Here in Revelation, we hear the Spirit, through the word’s of the gospel, say “Come”; and we hear the bride, the church of Christ, say “Come.” Salvation is the purpose of the word’s of Christ from the Spirit; and salvation is the purpose of the church. Now the Spirit will hold up his end, so it is up to the church to follow through with its responsibility to simply say “Come” to the lost and thirsty of the world.

    “Take the water of life without price.” This connects back to 22:1, the scene of the “river of the water of life, bright as crystal,” which was flowing from the throne of God in the new Jerusalem. It represents the life-giving source that is Christ. And as valuable and priceless as eternal life is, it can be purchased from the Lord “without price.” We are left without excuse. Anyone, rich or poor, great or small, can come and take hold of eternal life, buying it without the cost of money, but by their faith (Mark 16:16), repentance (Acts 3:19), confession (Romans 10:9), baptism (Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21), and faithfulness (Revelation 2:10). The use of the words “without price” is certainly a reference to the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 55:1) which I quoted toward the beginning of this comment.

 

(18)  I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, (19)  and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

    The nature of God and his word does not change, nor are we ever at liberty to altar it, whether by word or action. What God has said is truth (John 17:17) and it is absolute (Hebrews 13:8-9). Considering this admonition, we must be so careful to be ascribe to the text the weight of honor that is due; we must be consistent in interpretation; careful with the context; and harmonious with every word of God.

    The command to not add to God’s word or take away from it has been a constant admonition in the scriptures (Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32; Proverbs 30:5-6; Galatians 1:6-10). While inclusive, rejection of this command is rarely seen by literally tearing out pages of the Bible and throwing them in the fire – like the blatantly wicked Jehoiakim had done (Jeremiah 36:22-25) – but the rejection is most often seen in one’s life. Jesus had condemned the Jews in the first century for “making void the word of God” by their religion which consisted of adding to and taking away from the scriptures. So, in application today, the word of God is made void, and of no effect if we pick what we want from it and leave what we care not for.

    “God will add to him the plagues described in this book.” This is a figurative warning in keeping with the book’s message. The meaning is simply that our fate will be the same as those who were judged and condemned by the Lord in this book.

    “God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city.” This warning is to the one who has a “share in the tree of life and in the holy city”, i.e. true Christians. Yes, one who come to Christ and receives forgiveness can turn from the truth and make the word of God void; such will have their share and inheritance taken away from them.

 

(20)  He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

    The Lord Jesus says now for the third and final time in this closing section “I am coming soon.” (see comments on 22:7, 12).

    “Come, Lord Jesus!” It seems that this is the response of John to Jesus’ promise. In the tribulation of those days, before the fall of the old covenant house, it was the plea of the faithful slain that the Lord would come and judge the wicked house and avenge their blood (6:10). And any faithful child of God living in those days would plea “Come, Lord Jesus!” to end those days and shorten that time of tribulation (Matthew 24:21-22). So we see John, saying, “Come, Lord Jesus!” in anticipation for the victory of Christ over the enemies of truth and godliness, and therefore, the victory of the saints.

(21)  The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

    John asks that the kindness and goodness of the Lord be upon the brethren who were to endure the tribulation of those days, that God would wipe away the tears from their afflictions, so that they may see times of refreshing again. Amen.

Revelation 22:8-15 – Do Not Seal It Up

(8)  I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, (9)  but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”

    This is the second time that this happens in the book. It is doubtful that the first time was just a mistake, but that John was only making a point by his actions (see comments on 19:10); and the fact that this happens again, further confirms that John, being “in the Spirit” (1:10), is illustrating a common temptation for the Jews and Gentiles – the worship of angels (Colossians 2:18), in order to teach the error of such activity. This book was sent by angels to John (1:1; 22:6), but the angel is not to be worship, God is. The angel is only “a fellow servant” and a messenger of the word, and Christ is the Word. We must not worship the messenger, but the originator (Hebrews 1:6-8).

 

(10)  And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.

    The entire closing section is fixed on just how soon the events of the book were to be fulfilled. John is told not to “seal up the words of the prophecy of this book,” the reason is because “the time is near.” These prophecies were for the immediate future.

    “Do not seal up the words.” It is fascinating to me that an angel had told the prophet Daniel the exact opposite of what was said to John:

“The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true, but seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now.” (Daniel 8:26).

To summarize, the angel told Daniel to seal up the vision, but told John not to. The reason he gave Daniel was that the vision referred to many days from now; in contrast, he told John that the time is near. From the angel’s instructions, it is obvious that the fulfillment of Daniel’s vision was much further into the future than John’s vision. Daniel received this prophecy in 550 BC, and it spoke of events that would take place during the coming years under the Persian Empire and the Macedonian Empire. The vision concludes with the works of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (around 150 BC). That makes the last thing to be fulfilled in the prophecy of Daniel chapter eight to be about 400 years into the future. Daniel was told to seal it up, i.e. preserve it, for it is not necessary for Daniel’s generation; it “refers to many days from now.” John was told to leave the book wide open for the words were for that current generation; the “time is near” and “must soon take place.” Now, how could anyone walk away from this book and believe that it is about the fall of Rome (476 C.E.), the final judgment, and heaven (2,000 years removed from the letter and still yet to be fulfilled)? That is such an impossible interpretation of this book! This “late-date” viewpoint is terribly inconsistent, as is evident from the contrasts below:

  • From the days of Daniel to Antiochus: About 400 years = Seal it up for it refers to many days from now. True!
  • From the days of Revelation to the fall of Rome: About 400 years = Don’t seal it up for the time is near? False!

Or we could continue to follow the “late-date” view and make this contrast:

  • From the days of Daniel to Antiochus: About 400 years = Seal it up for it refers to many days from now. Again, so true!
  • From the days of Revelation to the final judgment and heaven: 2,000 plus years and still counting = Don’t seat it up for the time is near? False!

Now, point number one is logical, for no one could possibly believe that 400 years is near or at hand; but point number two is contradictory, inconsistent, and illogical; and yet this is what we are told to accept in many circles today! However, if we remain consistent in our interpretation of the book and honor the stated time parameters, then the contrast between Daniel and John will be readily seen:

  1. From the days of Daniel to Antiochus: About 400 years = Seal it up for it refers to many days from now. True!
  2. From the days of Revelation to the fall of the old covenant house: Less than 2 years = Don’t seal it up for the time is near. True!
  3. From the days of Revelation to only one Jerusalem left standing, i.e. the new Jerusalem, the bride of the Lamb: Less than 2 years = Don’t seat it up for the time is near. True!

Now that’s more like it! So then, according to the angel in Daniel, something 400 years in the future was not near and should be sealed up and preserved for future generations to whom it concerns. But according to the angel in Revelation the time is near, at hand, soon to take place, and therefore, the message was not to be sealed up, for it concerned the people of that current generation.

 

(11)  Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”

    This is one of my favorite indicators in the book of the time of fulfillment. The visions of the book – the judgment of the harlot city (old Jerusalem) and her burning, the avenging of the blood of all the prophets whom God had sent to her, and the restoration of all things to the true people of God (new Jerusalem) – are so near to being accomplished that the angel tells John, “let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.” What does this mean but that there’s no time left for the evildoer of those days to repent and be saved from that perverse generation; and the righteous are told to continue to do right through those difficult days. The immediacy of the book’s fulfillment is described in the most intense and dramatic fashion. The very idea that the filthy should still be filthy for the time is too near for them to change is powerful evidence that this book is not about the fall of the western empire or the final judgment, but about what “must soon take place” (1:1; 22:6) in about the next two years. However, all of that said, we must acknowledge that this is a figurative statement, only conveying the idea of immediacy; this does not literally mean that one could not repent of their sins between the years 68-70 C.E., but it is a powerful message nonetheless of their proximity to seeing the fulfillment of the book’s prophecies.

 

(12)  “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.

    This is the second of three times that “I am coming soon” is repeated in this epilogue, and it pair very well with the information given in the last two verses. Again, this is not referring to the final and universal judgment of Christ, or of any other judgments he commits upon various nations while he rules over them with a rod of iron; this relates only to the context of his coming in judgment against the old covenant house of Israel. With such an interpretation, we remain consistent with the context and respect what the Lord is communicating to be “soon“.

    “Bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.” The word “recompense” is used of both punishment and reward; it is dealing with paying someone for the deeds that they have done. In the judgment of those days, the Lord will consider all, even of his own flock,

“For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17).

For those who refused the gospel, their recompense will be dealt in the “days of vengeance” (Luke 21:22); but for those who were faithful to the Lord, they will be repaid with “times of refreshing” (Acts 3:20) in the days of restoration (Acts 3:21). The earlier chapters of Revelation dealt with the vengeance of God upon his unfaithful spouse, the house of Israel, whom he calls the great harlot; the images of these final chapters of Revelation deal with the days of the first century, when all things that man had lost due to sin was restored in the new Jerusalem in Christ.

 

(13)  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

    This verse is similar to 1:8. He is absolute. He is everlasting. He is unfailing. By his power, he will accomplish what he has spoken. There is no stopping him. There’s not a thing that wicked men can do; there is nothing that Satan can do; the Lord will end every matter and be glorified!

 

(14)  Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.

    A blessing is bestowed upon the faithful exactly seven times in the book (1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7; 22:14), is it a coincidence that it occurs seven times in a book that has used this number often to convey the thought of perfection? I don’t think there are coincidences in the book, everything happens for a reason and everything is carefully written for a purpose. Christ has completely and perfectly blessed those who are faithful to him and conquer difficult days. This seventh and final blessing in the book is for the right given to the pure and holy to be in the presence of God, dwelling in his midst in the new covenant relationship.

 

(15)  Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

    No blessing is pronounced upon the ungodly, for they have no “right to the tree of life“. They are outside the city of God, the church, and therefore, outside of the blessing. They have no relationship with God because they love falsehood instead of goodness and truth.

Revelation 22:6-7 – “I Am Coming Soon”

(6)  And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”

    The speaker in this verse is the angel who had one of the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues against the old covenant house of Israel, who has been with John since the beginning of this context 21:9. This verse begins the concluding points of the book and brings us back full circle to the message of 1:1.

    “These words are trustworthy and true.” The words of this book are absolute truth. Speaking of things that were still to come in their days, man cannot speak of the future with any degree of truth (James 4:13-15); but “the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets” could certainly speak of things to come as absolute truth. The point that he is the God of the prophets confirms the faithfulness of the words of this prophecy, for God has proven that his word is true by his prophets who had consistently found fulfillment in the words which they spoke.

    “To show his servants what must soon take place.” As we have discussed throughout this commentary, this statement must be the very foundation of our understanding of the book. Many have not so respected the requirements of this statement and have made the whole book into a future setting yet to be fulfilled. That is blasphemy. And more commonly, many have interpreted this book to be partly about the first century, partly about the fall of Rome (476 AD), and partly about the future final judgment and heaven. This also is blasphemy; which I was caught up in for some time. We must honor the weight of God’s word. If God said that these words are trustworthy, true, and “must soon take place,” then we must accept that. If he had said it once – like he did in 1:1 – then our interpretation of the whole book must be within the parameters of the following years of the generation which the book was written to. God didn’t need to say it twice, but since he did, then we totally without excuse if we seek a futurist interpretation of any portion of this book, big or small.

 

(7)  “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

    It is evident that the “I” is in reference to Jesus and not the angel that is talking with John, for we see this again in verse 12, connected with it is this identity: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (verse 13).

    “I am coming soon.” This statement is a chorus repeated three times in this epilogue (22:7, 12, 20). So soon would he come that those who “pierced him” would still be living on earth to see it (1:7). This is in harmony with what “must soon take place” (1:1; 22:6), and “the time is near” (1:3; 22:10). This statement is restricted to the context of the judgment which Christ was bringing upon the old covenant house of Israel in those day. This is not a new thought; this is what the whole book has been about, the restoration of all things by a new covenant under Christ. This is NOT in any way speaking of the final coming of Christ to judge to world. There are some – called full-preterists, realized eschatologists, or AD 70 Theorists – who view Revelation and the New Testament to be speaking of Christ’s final coming in the year 70 C.E., but this is a mistake. Just because Jesus said “I am coming soon” does not mean that it will be the final time that he would come. God has come in judgment since the beginning of the world; we saw it in Eden and in the days of Noah, then we saw him come in judgment against Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon; but most prominently, we saw him come in judgment against the house of Israel in the days of both the Assyrian and Babylonian empires. Now we hear him – within the context of the days of vengeance against the house of Israel in the first century – that he is “coming soon“; this should naturally lead us to conclude that this is not his final coming in judgment, but a putting down of a rebellious nation. For as long as Christ reigns over the earth he will rule the nations with a “rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Psalm 2:9). Having “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18), Christ is at liberty to judge any people at any time. To take the words “I am coming soon” out of the first century context is folly; for how is it possible that God would communicate something to mankind as “coming soon” when it is meant for thousands of years into the future? For more on this point, see 22:10.

    “Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy.” This circles back to 1:3 and blessings within that verse. This book was meant to be kept, i.e. applied. They could put the knowledge of this book to use in their lives as they strive to overcome the difficulties of those days (2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21).

Revelation 22:1-5 – The Water and Tree of Life

(1)  Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb

    At the close of chapter twenty-one, the discussion had turned from Ezekiel’s prophecy of the new Jerusalem to the prophecy in Isaiah 60; but with the start of chapter twenty-two we are back to the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy.

“Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. (2)  Then he brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and behold, the water was trickling out on the south side. (3)  Going on eastward with a measuring line in his hand, the man measured a thousand cubits, and then led me through the water, and it was ankle-deep. (4)  Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was knee-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was waist-deep. (5)  Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through.” (Ezekiel 47:1-5).

Ezekiel’s discussion of the river is much more detailed, but I believe Revelation expects its readers to recognize the referrals it gives to other places of scripture, and to read the original prophecies which are being fulfilled in those days (10:7). Ezekiel’s vision was of a stream of water trickling out from under the threshold of the temple. John saw a much more intimate view of the water’s source, seeing it inside the Most Holy Place of the temple, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Ezekiel describes the water as a trickling stream coming from its source but 1,500 feet down stream the water was ankle-deep; going the same distance again and again, and the water was knee-deep, then waist-deep, and finally it was an impassable great river. The angel explained to Ezekiel that “wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live” (47:9). This was the water of life! John is seeing a similar depiction of the same spiritual truth; from the only life-giving source, from God and the Lamb, he sees the “river of the water of life, bright as crystal”, this is a lovely picture of the spiritual, eternal life which comes only from God. Jesus gave this testimony, saying,

“whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14).

 

(2)  through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

    This verse continues to follow the fulfillment of Ezekiel 47, just as we saw in the previous verse. Ezekiel’s view of the trees beside the river is nearly word-for-word to what John sees;

“As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other.” (47:7).

“And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.” (47:12). 

The main distinction between Ezekiel’s vision and John’s is that John identifies the trees as “the tree of life.” While Ezekiel does not say that, it is understood by the detail he gives that the leaves are for healing. Similarly, Ezekiel does not call the river the “river of life,” but it is implied when he describes it as giving life to everything that touches it. Ezekiel and John both describe the trees as many, and they bear unfailing fruit every month. John speaks of the tree of life as if it were many trees, and yet only one; the source of life and healing.

It is significant to consider that the tree of life has been unavailable to man since Genesis chapter three! Here, at the last chapter of God’s message, we see the tree of life growing beside men, like it did in the beginning. The abundant life which the Lamb has given to all who come freely to water of life (22:17) is in view with this fruitful tree of life. It is the figure of God dwelling with men (21:3), just like the days in the garden of paradise.

“Twelve kinds of fruit.” It is evident by the use of “twelve,” being the signified number of God’s people, that these are the fruits seen in the people of God. This fruit is the good produce from God’s works, the fruit of the Spirit; and this fruit is the produce of his children as well.

“Yielding its fruit each month.” The fruit from the tree of life does not follow springtime and harvest, but continues to bear fruit every season, every month. There is not a time when its fruit is not in season, and there is not a season that the people of God can cease their production of the fruits of God, for faith without works is dead (James 2:14, 17, 24, 26).

“For the healing of the nations.” For those who interpret these final chapters as the future abode in heaven, there is much kicking against the goads, which I’ve addressed throughout the previous chapter. Here again, we are reminded that these things were accomplished in the first century (1:1; 22:6) by the fact that the peoples of the nations still existed and would have opportunity to come and be healed (22:17) from their sin. The fact that the tree is “for the healing” demands an ongoing necessity of forgiveness to sinners who come to the source of life in repentance. In heaven there is not need for healing. In heaven there can be no invitation to come to this river of life which the tree of life grows beside (22:17), for those opportunities would have passed along with this earth.

 

(3)  No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.

    Those who have established a scriptural relationship with Christ are no longer under the curse of sin. The curse of sin brought death, i.e. no relationship to God; it also brought a land of painful toil with difficult harvest, a difficult conception in the womb and painful toil in delivery, and enmity between the seed of woman and the seed of Satan (Genesis 3). But Christ came to destroy the one who had power of death, Satan (Hebrews 2:14); and we have seen the devil defeated throughout the book of Revelation (see comments on 20:8). Through Christ the promises which God gave to Abraham in response to the curses of sin were spiritually realized; instead of a barren and unfruitful land, Christ provides a land of rest from the toil of sin (Hebrews 3-4), a land flowing with spiritual blessing; instead of a difficult conception in the womb, Christ lifts the curse and spiritual offspring are born throughout every nation (Isaiah 54:1-3; Galatians 4:21-31).

    “But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.” We can be confident that anything accursed is removed in the people of God because the throne of God and of the Lamb is therein. We know that the Lord must remain separate from the accursed and from sin, so the fact that God dwells among and within his people, means that “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1).

 

(4)  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.

    Seeing God face-to-face is a beautiful image of the close relationship that the new covenant people have with their God (Hebrews 10:19). Moses was described as the one “whom the LORD knew face to face” (Deuteronomy 34:10), although we know that Moses never literally saw the face of God (Exodus 33:23). Here we see a similar concept, it is certainly a figure of the spiritual realities of the church’s communion with God. The faithful have always been described under this figure; here are a few more examples of this,

“For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.” (Psalm 11:7). 

“As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.” (Psalm 17:15).

This is a necessary figure in the overall picture of the new covenant church, for the emphasis has been on the relationship of God with his people. This city has come down from heaven to be with man (21:2); God dwells among men, walking with them (21:3); he stands in front of them, wiping away their tears (21:4); he is their God and they are his sons (21:7); they are the Bride, the wife of the Lamb (21:9) – there is no closer relationship than that; God is their temple and they are his (21:22); the tree of life demonstrates the abundant life that they have with God (22:2). So we see then that these chapters are about the communion between God and man, made possible by the blood of the Lamb of God. The picture that “they will see his face” is further declaration that God is among them.

“His name will be on their foreheads.” This speaks to the fulfillment of what was promised to the church in Philadelphia (3:12); and it was seen in the vision of the faithful during the conflict of the beast (14:1). It is very identifiable, and it is a mark of ownership;

“God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are his,’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.'” (2 Timothy 2:19).

 

(5)  And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

    This is a reemphasis of three points; first, that there is no night (21:25); second, that God is the light for the city (21:23); and third, that they shall reign with God (20:4). There is no more night, for there is no darkness to be found in the people of God; they are pure and holy, having been forgiven by God. They shine and reflect the glory of God’s goodness and the fruit of the Spirit in their lives.

“They will reign forever and ever.” To Laodicea, Christ said, “the one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” (3:21). When one is made a child of God, then they his sons, and if they are sons, then they are heirs (Galatians 4:7). If one is an heir to the Almighty God, then they reign! The reign does not necessitate a reign from heaven, for that isn’t the context; but as 5:10 explained, the true people of God reign on the earth today! A royal priesthood in the kingdom of God (1 Peter 2:9)!