(5) And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
The voice speaking to John in this verse is distinguished as “he who was seated on the throne.” This is different from the voice that was speaking in the previous two verses, which was “a loud voice from the throne” (see also 19:5). The first voice was from the throne, but it is doubtful that it was either the Father, the Lamb, or the Spirit, for God doesn’t speak of himself in the third-person perspective. It may have been someone near the throne, or one of the four living creatures that make the four corners of the living throne of God; maybe it is simply a figure of the authority behind the words spoken. However, this second voice is straight from the one “seated on the throne,” and the first-person perspective is used in this verse and continues through verse eight. The details of these verses tell us exactly who is speaking; it is the Lamb, our Savior and our God.
“Behold, I am making all things new.” This statement from the Lord is in confirmation to the visual scene that John saw of the “new heaven and a new earth” and “the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” (21:1); he also saw a “new Jerusalem” (21:2). This also confirms what the previous voice has said about “the former things have passed away” (21:4). The new covenant made all things new, it became a whole new world (Hebrews 9:26); the dead (spiritually) came to life again! The new covenant restored all things (Matthew 17:11; Acts 3:21), bringing man back into close fellowship with God amid the symbolic tree of life.
“Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” No greater stamp of authority could be given. These words, coming from the one sitting on the throne, are faithful and absolute!
(6) And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.
It is done! It is accomplished! The plan of God, the scheme of redemption, was meant to bring us to this very thing that is seen in this vision; fellowship with God! Such fellowship was not possible under the old covenant which separated God behind the veil of the temple, but the actions of Christ tore down the veil and indeed the entire old world, to bring about the new creation in Christ,
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, (20) by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, (21) and since we have a great priest over the house of God, (22) let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:19-22).
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” This is an important statement from the Lord, for it is not just found here, but also at the very beginning (1:8) and the very end (22:13). This statement certainly speaks of the faithfulness of the Lord; and his absolute ability to finish or fulfill that which he has spoken. The brethren are reminded of this divine characteristic of Christ, and encouraged that, although they are dealing with various trials for the time being, they can know that Christ will end the matter.
“To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.” This is a beautiful invitation from the Savior for anyone thirsty to come to the water of life. This speaks of the fulfillment of the invitation originally given through Isaiah.
“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).
These words are reminiscent of Jesus in the flesh, when he “stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.'” Many will also recall the words of Jesus to the Samaritan woman,
“but 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).
Now, this great invitation only works if this vision has been about the new Jerusalem and not heaven. Heaven is final, there can be no invitation after this earth is over, but the new Jerusalem is the new covenant people which all nations flow into for salvation (Isaiah 2:2, 60:11-12; Jeremiah 3:17; Revelation 21:24-26). This water is offered by Christ through the church to the thirsty world. It is available now, not in a time to come.
(7) The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
Who is the one who conquers? Remember the context of the book; the conquerors are the members of the church who remain faithful through the trials of the first century tribulations (12:11). To conquer was the admonition which Jesus gave to every single one of the seven churches (2:7, 11, 17, 25-26; 3:5, 12, 21). The words of Christ in 21:7 are to God’s children who would surely face all these things that “must soon take place;” if they would only endure till the end of those days through the fall of the old covenant house, they would have a “heritage” in the consummation of the new covenant house.
“And I will be his God and he will be my son.” We are reminded of the critical accomplishment of Christ in the new covenant, that God is able to dwell with man once again (see comments on 21:3). Fellowship with God, this is the meaning of life.
(8) But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
This is fused to the context of the book and specifically the words of the previous verse. Those who are not the conquerors of verse seven are the losers of verse eight. This verse is used by the Lord to remind the brethren of the kind of actions which will cause them to be defeated. If they would let cowardice take control, and make themselves faithless quitters, then they will be defeated. If they turned and banded together with the rebel house of Israel, to do the detestable and murderous things that they did, then they will not stand with the victors. If they gave in to the Roman pressures and acted as they did in idolatrous ways with sexual immorality, sorcery, and lying myths, then they would not have a heritage in God’s living city. Their lot will be with those that were seen in 20:15, thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur; the symbolic picture of devastating defeat. The description of the lake of fire is “the second death” seen in the previous chapter. The terminology is meant only to convey the idea of total defeat (see comments on 20:6, 14).