Nazarene Apocalypse ©2000
[“Those Inside and Those Outside the City”]
Key Word: City
Theme Verse: 1
RV22:1 And the angel showed me a River of Life.1056 [Zechariah 14:8] It was crystal clear
|1056||River of Life: Zechariah 14:8 has this, ‘And in that Day living water shall come forth out of Jerusalem.’ This establishes the prophetic contexts of both Zechariah and the Apocalypse here. In Zechariah it is clearly in the land of Israel.|
|1057||It flowed from the Throne of The God: Ezekiel 47:12 has this, ‘For these waters come forth of the Sanctuary.’ These healing waters find their source in God Almighty and the Lamb. In Ezekiel it is from the land of Israel.|
|1058||Down the middle of her Broadway: As though on the ground floor.|
|1059||For the curing of the nations: Or, healing. This whole section is a paraphrase of the LXX at Ezekiel 47:12, ‘And every fruit tree shall grow by the river even on the bank of it, on this side and on that side. They shall bring forth the first-fruit of their early crop for these their waters come forth of the Sanctuary and their fruit shall be for meat and their foliage for health.’ These “nations” are those “saved” (Revelation 21:24, Lamsa, KJV) who survived Armageddon and whom the Devil can no longer mislead.|
RV22:3 Also there will be no more curse.1060 [Zechariah 14:11] The Throne of The God and the throne of the Lamb will be within the City.1061 His slaves will render Him sacred service.1062
|1060||No more curse: Or, accursed thing [BAR]. The Greek here is KAI PAN KATATHEMA OUK ESTAI ETI and is a strong paraphrase of Zechariah 14:11, KAI ANATHEMA OUK ESTAI ETI, the whole phrase reading: ‘They shall dwell in the City (of Jerusalem) and there shall be no more any curse and Jerusalem shall dwell securely.’ This quote from Zechariah 14:11 shows the lifting of any curse related to the New Jerusalem and its inhabitants. The “curse” has to do with “booty” which is taken from a captured city. The Holy City has been under attack since Revelation 11:2. Some of these “nations” which attack the Holy City will survive and be required to come and annually attend a Festival of Booths. (Zechariah 14:2, 16)|
|1061||The Throne of The God and the throne of the Lamb will be within the City: The seat of government of God and the Lamb is within the City. (Revelation 3:21)|
|1062||His slaves will render Him sacred service: The glorified Saints. (Revelation 1:1; 6:11; 7:4) They serve day and night just as the Large Crowd of Revelation 7:14, 15.|
|1063||They will see His face: Or, face to face [BAR]. Compare 1 John 3:2, 3; John 14:1-3. John saw the person of God Almighty in chapter 4 but here all the Saints must see God as He really is, the ultimate hope and privilege.|
|1064||His Name will be on their foreheads: Likely God’s Name but possibly the Lamb’s. (Revelation 3:12; 14:1) This would include the 144,000 though they are not mentioned here.|
|1065||No need of sunlight or a lamp’s light: As in Revelation 21:23. Compare Psalm 17:15; 36:9.|
|1066||They will reign throughout all future periods of time: That promise beginning with Revelation 1:6 and Revelation 5:10. The reign of the Saints extends beyond the 1,000 Years and is compared to God’s own length of life.|
#505. There is much here borrowed from the two prophetic sources: Zechariah and Ezekiel. For example, verses 1-5 all have a basis in these ancient prophets. Listen to these prophetic contexts borrowed from Zechariah and Ezekiel. Zechariah 14:8-9: ‘And it must occur in that day [that] living waters will go forth from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. In summer and in winter it will occur. And Jehovah must become king over all the earth. In that day Jehovah will prove to be one, and his name one.’ Ezekiel 47:12: ‘And alongside the torrent there will come up, along its bank on this side and on that side, all sorts of trees for food. Their leafage will not wither, nor will their fruitage be consumed. In their months they will bear new fruit, because the water for them-it is coming forth from the very sanctuary. And their fruitage must prove to be for food and their leafage for healing.’ Zechariah 14:11: ‘And people will certainly inhabit her; and there will occur no more any banning to destruction, and Jerusalem must be inhabited in security.’ (NWT) A review of these prophetic contexts in Zechariah and Ezekiel will no doubt reveal further details for consideration.
#506. No doubt, the Holy City, within its upper tiers, is a place of sublime worship though no temple is seen. God Almighty and His Son the Lamb are the real Temple or place of worship. It is at this Temple the glorified Church, the slaves of God, render worship day and night. (Revelation 7:14-17) These priestly ones (Revelation 20.4) will also rule as kings, and therefore judges, throughout the Thousand Years. Surely, such a remarkable City will become the cornerstone of worship during the Thousand Years. Judging from Zechariah chapter 14, throngs will make yearly pilgrimages to honor and worship God in this location. Likely, at this location, the magnificent Temple described by Ezekiel (40-48) will feature in this worship center of the earth.
#507. For the Thousand Years there is one place of worship and one global government. It will contrast with that one world government embodied in the Dragon’s wild Sea Beast before Armageddon. Even in contrast with governments today, surely the rule of the Messiah will be a vast improvement for mankind in general. This does not mean there will be those who will refuse to conform to righteousness and will at some point during the Thousand Years be judged as sinners and have “evil called down upon them” in the form of the Second Death. Is it reasonable that people living then can rest assured that the reigning Messiah, along with his priestly and royal associates, will not tolerate for long wrong-doers who attempt to destroy the peace of his reign? Surely, God, the Lamb, and the Saints owe it to the peaceable and righteous to protect them from harm.
#508. Will the rule of Messiah in righteousness and peace, despite some evildoers or sinners, and the coming of successive generations, prove far superior to that reign of “the god of this world”? (2 Corinthians 4:4) The rule of Jesus Christ and his glorified Church, using the single law of love, will no doubt assure earth becomes a physical paradise as well as a moral Eden. Will people living then, including those two-thirds of mankind who survive the end of Satan’s world, readily accept this great change? Will the majority want to live under this kind of environment and be willing to submit their personal independence to that direction of the Lord, Jesus Christ? It is only in their best interests to do so, for the gentle Nazarene, and his faithful followers, have only the enduring welfare of mankind at heart. Truly, this is an environment in which “God becomes everything to everyone.” ( 1 Corinthians 15:24-28)
#509. If one believes that mankind’s basic nature is good, and given the proper environment of an upright and positive social order that is also essentially good, then the answer is an overwhelming, Yes. Surely, only a small minority are innately evil and would resist such a delightful and upbuilding form of governmental rule. Mankind has always longed for a benevolent monarchy with just laws which protect the innocent. In this vein Paul argues that law is ordained, not for the law-abiding, but for the lawbreaker. (1 Timothy 1:9) For the law-abiding and upright want a world without crime in which peace and kindness are the normal and dominate features. Then humankind can get on with the business of being humankind.
#510. There are a thousand questions one wishes to ask about the type of social order, economy, government which would obtain among the nations of the earth during the Thousand Year reign of Christ and his Church. The Bible is somewhat silent, not only on such descriptions, but also in any detail of life after the end of the Thousand Years, that is, after the final judgment. There are several texts in Isaiah and other prophets which have been used to describe such a world and no doubt some of these may be apropos. Consider a few of these: (Psalm 72:2-8, 10-19)
‘May he plead the cause of your people with righteousness
And of your afflicted ones with judicial decision.
Let the mountains carry peace to the people,
Also the hills, through righteousness.
Let him judge the afflicted ones of the people,
Let him save the sons of the poor one,
And let him crush the defrauder.
They will fear you as long as there is a sun,
And before the moon for generation after generation.
He will descend like the rain upon the mown grass,
Like copious showers that wet the earth.
In his days the righteous one will sprout,
And the abundance of peace until the moon is no more.
And he will have subjects from sea to sea
And from the River to the ends of the earth.
The kings of Tar'shish and of the islands-
Tribute they will pay.
The kings ... a gift they will present.
And to him all the kings will prostrate themselves;
All the nations, for their part, will serve him.
For he will deliver the poor one crying for help,
Also the afflicted one and whoever has no helper.
He will feel sorry for the lowly one and the poor one,
And the souls of the poor ones he will save.
From oppression and from violence he will redeem their soul,
And their blood will be precious in his eyes.
And let him live, and to him let some of the gold be given.
And in his behalf let prayer be made constantly;
All day long let him be blessed.
There will come to be plenty of grain on the earth;
On the top of the mountains there will be an overflow.
His fruit will be as in Leb'a·non,
And those who are from the city will blossom like the vegetation of the earth.
Let his name prove to be to time indefinite;
Before the sun let his name have increase,
And by means of him let them bless themselves;
Let all nations pronounce him happy.
Blessed be Jehovah God, Israel's God,
Who alone is doing wonderful works.
And blessed be his glorious name to time indefinite,
And let his glory fill the whole earth.’
#511. Isaiah 11:1-9:
‘And there must go forth a twig out of the stump of Jes'se; and out of his roots a sprout will be fruitful. And upon him the spirit of Jehovah must settle down, the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of mightiness, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah; and there will be enjoyment by him in the fear of Jehovah. And he will not judge by any mere appearance to his eyes, nor reprove simply according to the thing heard by his ears. And with righteousness he must judge the lowly ones, and with uprightness he must give reproof in behalf of the meek ones of the earth. And he must strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the spirit of his lips he will put the wicked one to death. And righteousness must prove to be the belt of his hips, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. And the wolf will actually reside for a while with the male lamb, and with the kid the leopard itself will lie down, and the calf and the maned young lion and the well-fed animal all together; and a mere little boy will be leader over them. And the cow and the bear themselves will feed; together their young ones will lie down. And even the lion will eat straw just like the bull. And the sucking child will certainly play upon the hole of the cobra; and upon the light aperture of a poisonous snake will a weaned child actually put his own hand. They will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain; because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.’
#512. Isaiah 26:9-10:
‘With my soul I have desired you in the night; yes, with my spirit within me I keep looking for you; because, when there are judgments from you for the earth, righteousness is what the inhabitants of the productive land will certainly learn. Though the wicked one should be shown favor, he simply will not learn righteousness. In the land of straightforwardness he will act unjustly and will not see the eminence of Jehovah.’
#513. Isaiah 32:1-2,16-18, 23,24:
‘Look! A king will reign for righteousness itself; and as respects princes, they will rule as princes for justice itself. And each one must prove to be like a hiding place from the wind and a place of concealment from the rainstorm, like streams of water in a waterless country, like the shadow of a heavy crag in an exhausted land. ... ‘And in the wilderness justice will certainly reside, and in the orchard righteousness itself will dwell. And the work of the true righteousness must become peace; and the service of the true righteousness, quietness and security to time indefinite. And my people must dwell in a peaceful abiding place and in residences of full confidence and in undisturbed resting-places. ... At that time even spoil in abundance will have to be divided up; the lame ones themselves will actually take a big plunder. And no resident will say: "I am sick." The people that are dwelling in [the land] will be those pardoned for their error.’
#514. Isaiah 65:17-25:
‘For here I am creating new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be called to mind, neither will they come up into the heart. But exult, you people, and be joyful forever in what I am creating. For here I am creating Jerusalem a cause for joyfulness and her people a cause for exultation. And I will be joyful in Jerusalem and exult in my people; and no more will there be heard in her the sound of weeping or the sound of a plaintive cry. No more will there come to be a suckling a few days old from that place, neither an old man that does not fulfill his days; for one will die as a mere boy, although a hundred years of age; and as for the sinner, although a hundred years of age he will have evil called down upon him. And they will certainly build houses and have occupancy; and they will certainly plant vineyards and eat their fruitage. They will not build and someone else have occupancy; they will not plant and someone else do the eating. For like the days of a tree will the days of my people be; and the work of their own hands my chosen ones will use to the full. They will not toil for nothing, nor will they bring to birth for disturbance; because they are the offspring made up of the blessed ones of Jehovah, and their descendants with them. And it will actually occur that before they call out I myself shall answer; while they are yet speaking, I myself shall hear. The wolf and the lamb themselves will feed as one, and the lion will eat straw just like the bull; and as for the serpent, his food will be dust. They will do no harm nor cause any ruin in all my holy mountain," Jehovah has said.’
#515. Isaiah 66:22-24:
‘For just as the new heavens and the new earth that I am making are standing before me," is the utterance of Jehovah, "so the offspring of you people and the name of you people will keep standing. And it will certainly occur that from new moon to new moon and from sabbath to sabbath all flesh will come in to bow down before me," Jehovah has said. "And they will actually go forth and look upon the carcasses of the men that were transgressing against me; for the very worms upon them will not die and their fire itself will not be extinguished, and they must become something repulsive to all flesh.’ (NWT)
#516. These ought to be enough to indicate what Messiah’s reign would be like among those successive generations throughout the Thousand Years. Just as there is no description of life in heaven, beyond those essentials, so also these descriptions of life on earth under the Messiah’s reign are enough to sweep the human imagination away in rapturous visions of such a New World. What the Bible presents to this point is enough to occupy the mind for the foreseeable future.
#517. This should put us in the best frame of mind to consider the concluding words of the Apocalyptic Angel to the Beloved John, as well as to that Church who has existed throughout the Ages.
#518. As the Apocalypse draws to a conclusion there are several exhortations which the Saints must observe carefully if they want to avoid those plagues mentioned or loose their share within the Holy City.
RV22:6 And then the angel said to me:1067 “These words are faithful and true.1068 The Supreme Being, The God, who inspired the Prophets,1069 sent His angel to show His slaves1070 the things which were binding to occur suddenly.1071 [Daniel 2:28]
|1067||The angel said to me: Compare Revelation 1:1 and note the angel is speaking, but he speaks with different voices in later verses. It is sometimes a matter of interpretation for whom he speaks at some moments.|
|1068||These words are faithful and true: Why would this be stated again? (Revelation 21:5) Surely it is at once mind-boggling and at the same time those of “little faith” may need double reassurance.|
|1069||Who inspired the Prophets: Or, spirit of. Compare Revelation 19:10 with 1 Peter 1:10-12.|
|1070||Sent His angel to show His slaves: We return to Revelation 1:1.|
|1071||The things which were binding to occur suddenly: Or, quickly, soon. The Greek is TACHEI and though generally translated “quick” as to speed, a form of the word TACHEOS, is also rendered “suddenly” at 1 Timothy 5:22 (KJV). It may have more the sense of Luke 21:34 and 1 Thessalonians 5:3. The whole phrase echoes Daniel 2:28.|
|1072||I am arriving suddenly: This phrase occurs 5 times at Revelation 2:16; 3:11; 22:7, 12, 20. If the context is in the Day of the Master then it may mean something slightly more than three and a half years. This may establish that the whole visionary scene of New Jerusalem’s descent is very much associated with the coming of Christ and therefore we have flashed back to Revelation 11:12, 15.|
|1073||Happy those who observe the words: Or, bless, divinely favored. The Sixth Apocalyptic Beatitude: Revelation 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14. This happiness and divine blessing results from reading this Little Bible and then observing or keeping those injunctions and warnings within it. (Revelation 1:3)|
#519. The Apocalyptic Angel, speaking for the Lamb, assures the Beloved John, here at the conclusion to the Apocalypse, that what he has recorded with his ink stained fingers is reliable, trustworthy, and accurate. The source of this inspiration has been the same Lord God Almighty who formerly spoke by means of the ancient prophets. (Hebrews 1:1) That same God now speaks to us by means of His Son in the revelation “God gave him” (Revelation 1:1) in the form of this Small (apocalyptic) Bible.
#520. Speaking for the Lamb Jesus Christ, the Apocalyptic Angel states the high degree of alertness with the emphasis on the quickness or suddenness of the Lord’s future coming. All generation of Nazarene Saints, for nearly two millennia, have been ignorant of the foretold Parousia. (Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32-35; Acts 1:6, 7) The Master of the Household of Faith will make his sudden appearance like a thief, unexpected at some unpredicted moment, whether “late in the day, at midnight, at cock-crowing, or dawn.” (Mark 13:35) Though Christians cannot know in advance this critical hour of the Lord’s Coming, they can remain alert by heartfelt expectation.
#521. This “expectation” is something all the Prophets encouraged. Compare a few of these:
Daniel 12:12: ‘Happy is the one who is keeping in expectation and who arrives at the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days!’
Habakkuk 2.2-3: ‘And Jehovah proceeded to answer me and to say: "Write down [the] vision, and set [it] out plainly upon tablets, in order that the one reading aloud from it may do so fluently. For the vision is yet for the appointed time, and it keeps panting on to the end, and it will not tell a lie. Even if it should delay, keep in expectation of it; for it will without fail come true. It will not be late.’
Zephaniah 3.8: ‘Therefore keep yourselves in expectation of me,' is the utterance of Jehovah, 'till the day of my rising up to the booty, for my judicial decision is to gather nations, for me to collect together kingdoms, in order to pour out upon them my denunciation, all my burning anger; for by the fire of my zeal all the earth will be devoured.’
Romans 8:19: ‘For the eager expectation of the creation is waiting for the revealing of the sons of God.’
Hebrews 11:1: ‘Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for.’
James 5:7-8: ‘Exercise patience, therefore, brothers, until the presence of the Lord. Look! The farmer keeps waiting for the precious fruit of the earth, exercising patience over it until he gets the early rain and the late rain. you too exercise patience; make your hearts firm, because the presence of the Lord has drawn close.’ (NWT)
One’s “expectation” is largely a matter of the heart and not to be judged by others, yet it can manifest itself in attitudes toward life and others, remembering today may be the very last page in that “book” God is recording about your passage through this world.
#522. The Sixth Apocalyptic Beatitude occurs here and we are told there is happiness and divine approval in our reading this Small (apocalyptic) Bible. So, we ought to begin right there, reading. And that often until we have a good grasp of it. After all, it is a “small” book and can be read in a couple sittings. How many times ought one to read it? How many times will it take to begin to get a good over all view of the Apocalypse? Then continue to read it until you begin to feel this “happiness.” How long will take to completely master the Apocalypse? Many who have studied it for thirty, forty, fifty years or more, do not yet feel they have completely mastered it. There are always those future projects which beckon. The Apocalypse may become enjoyable reading throughout a life time.
#523. There is another matter which goes beyond mere reading. It is “observing” those things within the Apocalypse. What are these? Read the Lamb’s Seven Christine Epistles in chapters two and three. These are filled with counsel to the Presbyterian Angels as well as exhortations to the congregational members. There is much in there to “observe.” For example, just meditate on a few of these.
#524. FIRST LOVE. Revelation 2:2-5: 'I know your deeds, and your labor and endurance, and that you cannot bear bad men, and that you put those to the test who say they are apostles, but they are not, and you found them liars. You are also showing endurance, and you have borne up for my name's sake and have not grown weary. Nevertheless, I hold this against you, that you have left the love you had at first. Therefore remember from what you have fallen, and repent and do the former deeds. If you do not, I am coming to you, and I will remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.’
#525. ENDURANCE. Revelation 2:10: ‘Do not be afraid of the things you are about to suffer. Look! The Devil will keep on throwing some of you into prison that you may be fully put to the test, and that you may have tribulation ten days. Prove yourself faithful even to death, and I will give you the crown of life.’
#526. SECTARIANISM. Revelation 2:14-16: 'Nevertheless, I have a few things against you, that you have there those holding fast the teaching of Ba'laam, who went teaching Ba'lak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication. So you, also, have those holding fast the teaching of the sect of Nic·o·la'us likewise. Therefore repent. If you do not, I am coming to you quickly, and I will war with them with the long sword of my mouth.’
#527. IMMORALITY. Revelation 2:20-23: 'Nevertheless, I do hold this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jez'e·bel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and misleads my slaves to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent, but she is not willing to repent of her fornication. Look! I am about to throw her into a sickbed, and those committing adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. And her children I will kill with deadly plague, so that all the congregations will know that I am he who searches the kidneys and hearts, and I will give to you individually according to your deeds.’
#528. DEEDS. Revelation 3:2-3: ‘Become watchful, and strengthen the things remaining that were ready to die, for I have not found your deeds fully performed before my God. Therefore, continue mindful of how you have received and how you heard, and go on keeping it, and repent. Certainly unless you wake up, I shall come as a thief, and you will not know at all at what hour I shall come upon you.’
#529. HOLD FAST! Revelation 3:10-11: ‘Because you kept the word about my endurance, I will also keep you from the hour of test, which is to come upon the whole inhabited earth, to put a test upon those dwelling on the earth. I am coming quickly. Keep on holding fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.’
#530. MATERIALISM. Revelation 3:15-21: 'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or else hot. So, because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of my mouth. Because you say: "I am rich and have acquired riches and do not need anything at all," but you do not know you are miserable and pitiable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire that you may become rich, and white outer garments that you may become dressed and that the shame of your nakedness may not become manifested, and eye-salve to rub in your eyes that you may see. All those for whom I have affection I reprove and discipline. Therefore be zealous and repent. Look! I am standing at the door and knocking. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into his house and take the evening meal with him and he with me. To the one that conquers I will grant to sit down with me on my throne, even as I conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.’ (NWT)
#531. These words of advice to those Presbyterian Angels and to the congregations at large are enough to meditate on with the view of “observing” everything written in the Small (apocalyptic) Bible. But, there is another strong point of counsel directed twice to John in the Apocalypse.
RV22:8 I, John, was the one hearing and seeing these things.1074 When I heard and saw, I fell to worship before the feet of the angel1075 who showed me all these things.
|1074||The one hearing and seeing these things: There has been much hearing and seeing, and the difference noted.|
|1075||I fell to worship before the feet of the angel: John is clearly overcome. He prostrates himself much in the way of Abraham before his celestial visitors. [Genesis 14-18] But, this apocalyptic Angel realizes a difference between Abraham and John, the latter a Saint and future King, one who will judge angels. [1 Corinthians 6:2] Compare Revelation 19:10 showing this is the second occurrence of this mistake on John’s part.|
|1076||Your brothers the Prophets: John’s “brothers” (Revelation 1:9) are the Saints, Christian prophets. (Acts 2:18; Revelation 11:10, 18; 16:6; 18:20, 24)|
|1077||Give worship only to The God: The Lamb is not included here, neither the Holy Spirit.|
#532. There always seems that danger lurking in human nature to give undo honor to persons and things. John himself is to write later in his first epistle: ‘Little children, guard yourselves from idols.’ (1 John 5:21) John may have remembered what Abraham did as recorded in Genesis 17:3 and Genesis 18:2. After all, the visiting angel does represent God Almighty, and most directly. But, this prostration before a creature was hazardous to John’s pure worship. The Beloved Apostle did the same thing earlier. (Revelation 19:10) We can forgive the ancient man, so overcome by all this drain of nervous energy which must attend the marvels he beheld. Like Daniel, he must have approached exhaustion and sickness. (Daniel 7:15, 28) If we pause for a moment and just consider a man nearly one hundred years of age, in prison, working with pen, ink and scroll, spiritually transported to heaven, to a wilderness, and to a high and lofty mountain, visions before his eyes as in “virtual reality,” completely overcome in his worshipful emotions, we share his lack of balance at the moment. The Apocalyptic Angel has been speaking in three voices, his own, that of the Lamb, and God Almighty.
#533. We take that strong warning given to John, worship only God, as good advice today. The Nazarene disciples must always guard to give his devotions to only God, not the Lamb, not angels, not Saints, and certainly not any emblematic idols used in representations. Not money. Not higher learning. Not social standing. Not entertainment idols. Not military idols. Not any religious hierarchy. Only God.
RV22:10 Then the angel told me: “You should not seal the word of the prophecy1078 of this Little Bible. For the appointed time is approaching.1079
|1078||You should not seal the word of the prophecy: Unlike Daniel 12:10. Compare Revelation 10:4. The Book of Daniel remained “sealed” until the “time of the end” of Jerusalem and with the Nazarene himself quoting it at Matthew 24:15 and the Apocalypse itself completely opening Daniel. Unlike Daniel, the Apocalypse is fully opened because the Lamb has opened it for all the Saints to study and draw hope from.|
|1079||The appointed time is approaching: From the prophetic perspective of the Angel in the context of the Master’s Day. Compare Luke 21:8.|
#534. How wonderful to know the Apocalypse is not a “sealed” book limited in understanding to some elitist “channel” or “prophet” who claims to have a direct pipeline to God. This marvelous Small (apocalyptic) Bible is there for all to read. It is now available in millions upon millions of copies in a thousand languages. It can often be obtained free, or merely found among many unused articles in a household. Certainly, here, you are provided with your free copy and now you may feel free to become thoroughly familiar with the Bible’s final book.
#535. None need feel that this book is closed to them. Or, that they must approach it through the manipulations of others. Particularly some tyrant of authority who insists if you do not except his view you are lost.
#536. If one walks about daily life understanding, “the appointed time is near,” then one will reflect at the very least upon this book from time to time. Always striving to “observe those things written in the Small (apocalyptic) Bible.” Read it also contemplating your reward for doing so.
RV22:11 Let the unrighteous continue in unrighteousness.1080 Let the filthy remain filthy. But, let the righteous remain righteous.1081 Let the holy remain holy.”1082
|1080||Let the unrighteous continue in unrighteousness: Whatever anyone may do God’s purpose will be realized. There is a difference between the unrighteous and the filthy. There is a difference between someone righteous and someone holy. The later seems contrasted to the former. If one is “set” in these ways, they may not change despite the Apocalypse. God’s judgment will surely know the difference.|
|1081||Let the righteous remain righteous: Righteousness means observance of God’s commandments. That is, a law-abiding person. Clearly such a person would not be classified with that conduct mentioned in verse 15.|
|1082||Let the holy remain holy: Or, spiritual pure. Holiness must accompany righteousness. Compare notes on 2 Corinthians 7:1 and 1 Peter 1:15, 16. Holiness involves mental, spiritual and physical cleanness.|
|1083||My reward is with me to give back to each one according to his works: This is a paraphrase of Psalm 62.12. Compare also Matthew 16:27 and 2 Corinthians 5:10. It is Jesus who is speaking about the parousia-Judgment on the Saints.|
#537. Again the quickness or suddenness of the Lord’s coming is stressed. The Lamb’s reward is under his authority and he intends to award or reward any Nazarene Saint according to his works. This echoes Paul’ own words to all Christians: ‘For we must all be made manifest before the judgment seat of the Christ, that each one may get his award for the things done through the body, according to the things he has practiced, whether it is good or vile.’ (2 Corinthians 5:10 NWT; compare Daniel 12:2; John 5:29; 1 John 2:28; 4:17)
#538. This reward is described in the concluding words of each of those Christine Epistles recorded in chapters two and three. Compare them:
#539. THE HEAVENLY PARADISE: ‘To him that conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.' (Revelation 2:7)
#540. UNHARMED BY SECOND DEATH: ‘He that conquers will by no means be harmed by the second death.' (Revelation 2:11)
#541. VOTE OF CONFIDENCE: ‘To him that conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white pebble, and upon the pebble a new name written which no one knows except the one receiving it.' (Revelation 2:17)
#542. NATIONAL AUTHORITY: ‘And to him that conquers and observes my deeds down to the end I will give authority over the nations, and he shall shepherd the people with an iron rod so that they will be broken to pieces like clay vessels, the same as I have received from my Father, and I will give him the morning star.’ (Revelation 2:26-28)
#543. ACKNOWLEDGED BEFORE GOD: ‘He that conquers will thus be arrayed in white outer garments; and I will by no means blot out his name from the book of life, but I will make acknowledgment of his name before my Father and before his angels.’ (Revelation 3:5)
#544. PERMANENT RESIDENCE: ‘The one that conquers-I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will by no means go out [from it] anymore, and I will write upon him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem which descends out of heaven from my God, and that new name of mine.’ (Revelation 3:12)
#545. ENTHRONED: ‘To the one that conquers I will grant to sit down with me on my throne, even as I conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.’ (Revelation 3:21)
#546. These rewards, along with those glorious descriptions of the Holy City, ought to relieve the heart of every Christian struggling in the daily course of Nazarene discipleship.
#547. The Greek word ergon translated “works” or “deeds” as it applies to the Saint occurs over a dozen times. There is much in these to study and understand what “works” the Lamb has in mind. Often one quickly jumps to the conclusion that they are some religious works after some form with precise ceremonial applications or ministerial structures. On the other hand, a review of this word ergon will demonstrate that often these “words” or “deeds’ are related to faith and charity to others. Certainly this is the meaning of the word in the letter of the Lord’s brother, James. (James 2:14-20) Those “religions” which exercise powerful control over millions usually have a long list of requirements for their followers, much as did the Pharisees in Jesus’ own day. James writes that if one thinks they are worshipping in the perfect “form” but slanders, refrains from caring for the needy, and becomes spotted by the world, this “form of worship” is totally worthless. (James 1:26, 27)
#548. In all his teachings the Nazarene never laid down some structured “form” which may described as a “religion.” He simply described that “spirit and truth” were required of “true worshippers.” (John 4:22-24) Who can deny, after reading all the teachings of Jesus, that the thrust of his doctrine was love of neighbor manifest in human kindness and charity to others, including enemies. A twenty minute reading of the Mountain Teachings will illustrate those “works” the Lord has in mind.
RV22:13 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,1084 the First One and the Last One,1085 [Isaiah 44:6] the Beginning and the End.
|1084||The Alpha and the Omega: The Angel speaking with John now speaks for God Almighty. (Revelation 1:8)|
|1085||The First One and the Last One: Compare the HO PROTOS KAI HO ESCHATOS of Isaiah 41:4 and Isaiah 44:6, the possible source.|
|1086||Those washing their robes: The only other case of this is the Large Crowd at Revelation 7:14, 15 showing they are inhabitants of the City.|
|1087||Wood of Life: Compare Revelation 2:7 with Genesis 3:22.|
|1088||They might enter the City by its Gates: This may be expanded to include those of the “nations” who qualify during the 1,000 Years.|
|1089||Outside [the City] are the dogs, the spiritistic druggers: See earlier notes on this subject. While the holy and the cleansed may enter the City there are those contemporary ones “outside” who may not. This may include those “sinners” of Isaiah 65:20 during the 1,000 Years.|
RV22:16 “I, Jesus, sent my angel to bear witness to all of you1090 these things for all the congregations.1091 I am the Root and Offspring of David,1092 the Bright Star of the Morning.”1093
|1090||To all of you: This is the Greek plural and includes others besides John himself. Jesus’ words include the congregations of chapters 2, 3 as well as the Saints throughout history.|
|1091||For all the congregations: The whole prophetic message is for all the congregations of Christ.|
|1092||The Root and Offspring of David: Compare Revelation 2:28 and Revelation 5:5 with Genesis 49:9; Isaiah 11:1, 10; Romans 15:12.|
|1093||The Bright Star of the Morning: Compare this with Numbers 24:17 and 2 Peter 1:18.|
RV22:17 Then the Pneuma1094 and the Bride1095 say: “Come!” And let the one who hears say: “Come!” Let the one who thirsts come. Let the one who wants1096 drink of the Water of Life as a free gift.1097 [Isaiah 55:1]
|1094||Pneuma: Or, spirit, inspired message, inspiration. This may be the Holy Spirit but also the prophetic spirit of the prophesy.|
|1095||Bride: The Lamb’s Wife, New Jerusalem, indicating the prophetic context. This would have to be after the marriage and descension of the City.|
|1096||The one who wants: These must be those during the 1,000 Years.|
|1097||Drink of the Water of Life as a free gift: Compare Isaiah 55:1 and the context’s application to ‘an everlasting covenant the sure mercies of David… nations which have known thee not shall call upon thee.’|
RV22:18 “I bear witness to everyone hearing1098 the prophetic words of this Little Bible: if anyone add to these words of this Little Bible The God will add to him the plagues written1099 within this Little Bible.
|1098||Everyone hearing: Only these are responsible.|
|1099||The God will add to him the plagues written: These may be primarily those seven plagues of chapter 16 and thus it is inferred such a person will not escape Babylon (Revelation 11:12; 18:4) and thus have to endure these plagues.|
|1100||Anyone who removes [words] from this Little Bible: The Apocalypse is serious business and those making commentary must be sure they neither add nor subtract so as to rewrite it in another form.|
#549. There are warnings here not to add to the Apocalypse, nor to remove anything from it. This was a serious warning first to John who was actually recording the original copy of the Small (apocalyptic) Bible. It was also a serious challenge to any First Century Christian scribal copyists who had to reproduce the first seven copies to be sent to the Seven Presbyterian Angels of the Ecclesias. These must be painstakingly reproduced one letter at a time, and following the fastidious example of a thousand years of Jewish copyists, this had to be meticulous. (Ezra 7:6, 11, 12, 21; 8:4; Psalm 45:1) Additionally, those copyists which were to follow throughout the ages, right up to the first printing in set type, which was Guttenberg’s Bible, had to exercise this same care. As the result, and we can thank them for this, the Apocalypse has come down to us with great accuracy.
#550. However, there are other ways to add or subtract from the Apocalypse and this has been the case in commentary writings for a thousand years. We are here not criticizing honest commentary on the Bible’s last book for surely it is great challenge to the serious Bible student. The work of all has been built on the thoughts of those who went before, resulting in a thousand years of commentary. One example of adding to the Apocalypse is the doctrine that a resurrection takes place during the Thousand Years. This is simply not supported by the immediate context in chapter 20, nor the rest of the book. Also, the view that the Large Crowd of chapter seven are a secondary earthly class who do not achieve to heaven’s gates but survive Armageddon to live on earth forever. Such a view is simply not supported by either the Apocalypse, nor the rest of the body of Holy Scripture. These are a few examples of adding or subtracting from the Apocalypse. It is a dangerous thing for a Christian to do. Thus, this warning to Christian teachers in James 3:1, 2 to soberly consider their expertise and familiarity with, not only the Apocalypse, but the entire Bible: ‘Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, knowing that we shall receive heavier judgment. For we all stumble many times.’ (NWT)
#551. The volumes of works created by Christian scholars and thinkers during the last 200 years is monumental. Some are the laborious efforts of Bible students who have worked several decades on a single product. Some of these had spent a life of forty, fifty, sixty or more years to such studies before even embarking on their tasks. Others, unfortunately some -- after only ten or less years of Bible reading -- enthroned themselves as serious Bible students and began prodigious outputs of materials in many media. One can read these, keeping in mind Solomon’s caution (Ecclesiastes 12:11,12), and note what we call the Magic Wand and Fairy Dust. All that is needed is a certain self-assured arrogance to make a sweeping gesture and pronounce a certain view the only acceptable one. And, if you are want to take exception with these hierarchical tyrannical authorities, woe be to you, for they will call down God’s fiery wrath from heaven upon you.
#552. One such self-proclaimed Bible scholar of the early Twentieth Century, was baptized less than ten years, and though barely out of his teenage years, began embarking on a yearly output of volume commentaries, including two volumes on the Apocalypse. A reading of some of these will manifest the Magic Wand and Fairy Dust immediately. Such a person ought to have waited for several decades of serious Bible reading and study before suggesting he was God’s prophet to the world. Now, entering the 3rd Millennium, six million persons in 250 lands, accept these teachings without contests or close examination. (Acts 17:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:21) Hundreds of millions of dollars have been contributed to further these questionable explanations.
#553. This does not mean what has been presented here in Nazarene Apocalypse is in any way written in stone. There is much freedom of movement which does not destroy the essence of the Apocalypse. Much of what is here has been gleaned from the work of others through out nearly 50 years of intense studies. On the other hand, some of the information is fairly unique. There should be a reasonable degree of Christian liberty in the tolerance of the ideas of others. For, we are, after all, devoting ourselves to “one Lord.” (Ephesians 4:3, 4) There is no reason to become enemies for holding variant views of the Apocalypse.
#554. “Harlot Religion” always forces believers into a mold, or form, which begins to limit free thinking, and curtails thorough meditative research, because of creeds written in stone, and doctrinal concepts within which their is little movement. This does not mean the Christian Saint should not develop concrete ideas about what is believed. But, it does allow room for the thoughts of others without threatening excommunication for heresy or apostasy. Godly men who have spent decades in prayerful study of Revelation should reach a unified consensus. They will there for speak the same thing and have the same mind and same opinion" of ”he Apocalypse. [1 Corinthians 1:10] But, now to the final, hope-instilling promise.
RV22:20b Amen! Come, Master Jesus!1101
|1101||Come, Master Jesus: Compare 1 Corinthians 16:22.|
|1102||Saints: Throughout the Church Age to the present, awaiting the Parousia of our Lord.|
#555. If there is one single longing a Christian has it is the Return of his Lord, just as he promised: ‘Your mind must not be troubled, and as you have faith in God, have faith in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house. If it were not so, I would have told you. For I am going away to make ready a place for you. I shall return and take you home with Me so that you may be where I am.’ (John 14:1-3 NCMM) This sure promise recorded in the Gospel of John agrees with those earlier assurances of the Nazarene when he speaks as a Master who returns to his House for an accounting.
#556. Consider these: ‘Keep awake, then; for you do not know on what day your Lord cometh. But know this, if the head of the house had known what time of night the burglar was coming he would have stayed awake and would not let his home be plundered. Therefore, continue to be ready for it is just when you are least expecting him that the Son of Man will come. ... Happy is that servant who is doing his work when his Master drops in on him.’ (Matthew 24:42-44, 46 Mod Ver)
#557. ‘No one knows anything about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, not even the Son, but only the Father. Keep looking, keep alert since you do not know the appointed time. It is as a man taking a journey, when he leaves him home and puts his servants in charge, each with his own work to do, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Keep awake, then, for you do not know when the Master of the House is coming: late afternoon, midnight, cockcrowing, or daybreak. Beware lest He should arrive unexpectedly and find you asleep. I say to everyone: Keep awake!’ (Mark 13:32-37 Mod Ver)
#558. ‘Happy will that slave be when his master comes back and finds in the faithful discharge of these duties. I promise you, (the Master) will promote him to look after his whole estate. But if that slave says to himself, my Master is a long time coming . . . that servant’s Master will come back on some day he expects nothing and then (the Master) will severely punish him.’ (Luke 12:43-44, 46 Mod Ver) Certainly, the Lord Jesus promised he would come back and the faithful have waited for this for nearly 2,000 years.
#559. His earliest disciples wrote about their ongoing expectations for his Return. Peter speaks his conviction: ‘That the LORD may send forth the appointed Messiah who must remain in Heaven until the times of universal restoration foretold by the Prophets.’ (Ac 3:20, 21 GDSP, TCNT) Assuredly, Peter writes: ‘It was not with fictitious stories we made known to you the Coming in power of our Lord Jesus Christ, but it was by our own eyewitness testimony of the spectacle of his sovereignty. For on the Holy Mountain we heard the Voice of God the Father bestow such honor and glory upon (His Son). ... As a consequence of this we have gained fresh confirmation of the prophetic word, and it shines like a Lamp in a murky place, until Day beams forth and a Lightbearer rises to illuminate your minds.’ (2 Peter 1:16-19 GDSP, TCNT, MOF, NEB)
#560. Of all the Nazarene’s disciples, it is the Jewish rabbi on the Damascus road who expressed his conviction in the Return of his Lord in so many ways. 1 Corinthians 1:7: ‘As you eagerly look for our Lord Jesus Christ to appear again.’ (BECK) Philippians 3:20: ‘For we are citizens of Heaven from where we eagerly await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will change our lowly human schematic, transformed into his own glorious body.’ 1 Thessalonians 1:10: ‘To wait for God’s Son from heaven.’ Hebrews 9:28: ‘And just so, also, the Christ – having sacrificed himself once to bear the sins of may – will become visible a second time [apart from sin] to those earnestly awaiting for him unto salvation..’ (NCMM)
#561. The closing petition of the Beloved John, ‘Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!’ echoes a similar appeal from Paul at 1 Corinthians 16:22, ‘O, our Lord, come!’ from which comes the famous Maranatha! How else could John feel after this nuclear burst of visionary experiences? How else could Paul feel after his endurance of so much in the primitive missionary field? (2 Corinthians chapters 6, 11) O, how they both longed for their Lord to return. And just so, have millions of Christian Saints throughout the Church Age, or Age of Faith? Likely many millions more will repeat that phrase of Paul’s, ‘Maranatha,’ or that appeal of John, ‘So let it be! Come, Lord Jesus!’ Certainly during the foretold Great Oppression, and that holocaust without compare, multitudes, indeed, a Large Crowd, will cry out the Martyr’s call: “Come, Lord Jesus!”
#562. The Apocalypse ends with that final salutation: ‘The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with the Saints.’ What a grand concluding thought! John addresses all the Saints through the last two millennia. His words echo forward into that future period of Great Oppression before the Return of Christ. And so, reluctantly, we come to the end of the Bible’s last Book, Apocalypse.
Nazarene Commentary 2000©
Mark Heber Miller
©2000 All Rights Reserved