(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.