RAMONA LOWE
THE BOOK OF REVELATION ARTIST
   The Book of Revelation with commentary by Dr. Henry M. Morris and paintings by Ramona Lowe
The paintings are a work in progress and the finished pieces are highlighted in red on Page 2


Page 172


Coming Soon

     In any case, all human relationships which have been spiritually fruitful in this life will surely be even more blessed in that life.  Husbands and wives, parents and children, relatives and in-laws, friends and colleagues – all will love more and understand better than they could ever have imagined here.  The Lord God will give light to all in every area of life, not only physical illumination, but also personal guidance and insight sufficient to meet every need and sanctify every relationship.

     And though we are His servants, that very privilege suffices also to make us kings.  Each of us will have his or her assigned “dominion” to subdue, develop, and utilize for the good of all the redeemed and the glory of the Lamb, and over that dominion we shall reign forever.

Revelation 22:6.     And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. 

     The one who speaks at this point is apparently the same one of the angels with the seven last plagues who had been showing John the wonders of the holy city (Revelation 21:9, 15; 22:1).  The scene had been so magnificent and the promises so amazing that he felt it needful to interject again the assurance that all this was actually real and true.  John was not merely dreaming, nor were these all simply allegories of unknown meaning.  They are true.  These events would surely come to pass, exactly as John had seen and heard them.  We can be sure that He whose very name is “Faithful and True” (Revelation 19:11) will speak words that “are true and faithful” (Revelation 21:5) and will see that His angel likewise conveys sayings that are faithful and true.

     Some translations render “the Lord God of the holy prophets” and some have the phrase “the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets,” because of certain manuscript evidence.  The King James Version, however, and the textual evidence supporting it, seems more appropriate and is probably correct.  The Old Testament prophets are frequently elsewhere called “holy prophets” (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21; 2 Peter 3:2; Revelation 18:20) whereas there is only one other reference (and this reference is irrelevant to this passage) to “the spirits of the prophets” (1 Corinthians 14:32).  Furthermore, the divine name, “the Lord God” has just been used in the preceding verse, and it would be beautifully appropriate to note that, as “the Lord God giveth them light,” so the same One is “the Lord God of the holy prophets.”  The One who called and blessed the ancient prophets, and wrote through them the great prophetic messages of the Old Testament is the same Lord God who, through His angel is conveying this grand climactic prophecy of the New Testament.

     The final declaration of this verse: “to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done,” is exactly the same in the Greek as in Revelation 1:1 “to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass.”  In both cases, the adverb “shortly” is two words in the Greek, en tachos (in haste).  The emphasis, perhaps, is that the entire sequence of events outlined in Revelation, once begun, will be completed in a short period of time (say, 1,007 years, the tribulation plus the millennium).  More likely, however, it is a reference to the brevity of human time in contrast with eternity.  The events prophesied in Revelation began to be fulfilled immediately, in the lives of the seven churches to whom the book was initially addressed.  The Church Age which they foreshadowed, followed by the tribulation and the millennium, may seem like a long span of time to us but, when we look back on them from eternity, will indeed seem to have “shortly been done.”

Revelation 22:7.     Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

     The last portion of the Book of Revelation reiterates in some degree the promises of its introduction.  In the opening verse (Revelation 1:1) the Lord Jesus Christ is seen as sending His revelation concerning things to come by way of His angel to His servant John.  This statement has, in effect, just been repeated (v. 6).  The fulfillment had been indicated in Revelation 1:3 to be “at hand.”  Here, the Lord Jesus, as it were, speaks to emphasize the angel’s urgent message, promising to “come quickly.”  The word “quickly” is the adverbial form of the Greek noun used in the preceding verse, translated “shortly” but actually meaning “in haste.”

     Then the wonderful promise of Revelation 1:3 is repeated.  “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.”  There is blessing merely in the reading and hearing of the book, and this is the sixth of the seven “beatitudes” of Revelation.  Now that its reading and hearing are almost complete, the emphasis shifts especially toward the vital importance of keeping its sayings.  The Lord had commanded John to write all he would see (Revelation 1:11) and now his “book” was almost complete.

     The reader or hearer is thus urged to keep (that is, to “guard” or “hold fast”) the prophecy (that is, the “predictions,” or “foretellings”) of John’s book.  Of all the divinely inspired writings of the Holy Scriptures, few if any are more in need of such guarding. Countless readers and interpreters of this book have allegorized, spiritualized, rejected, or ridiculed it.  But to him who reads it, believes it, and holds fast its “sayings,” that is, the actual “words” (Greek logos) of this final book from God, divine blessing is promised by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

Revelation 22:8.     And I John saw these things, and heard them.  And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.

     John now adds his own testimony for the benefit of his readers.  Those first readers, in the seven churches of Asia, knew him personally and loved and honored him.  He assures them again (note Revelation 1:9; 21:2) that he had actually seen and heard the tremendous events he was reporting.

     Then once again he was suddenly overwhelmed with the grandeur of the scene, and impetuously fell to his knees, prostrating himself before the angel.  He had made this same mistake (Revelation 19:10) before, and had received a rebuke from his angelic guide as a result.  Again, however, as almost a reflexive response which he could not restrain, John felt he must express his grateful submission to God’s will (as noted before, this is the essence of true worship) and the means immediately at hand was simply to bow down before the angel.  No doubt John intended this only as an expression of reverence and submission to God.  The text does not say that he worshiped the angel, but that he worshiped before the feet of the angel.  Nevertheless, even this was inappropriate and must be corrected.

Revelation 22:9.     Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.

     Even though John already well knew that he was not to worship angels (note Colossians 2:18, and compare Revelation 19:10) and surely did not really intend in this case that his prostration before the feet of the angel should be taken as anything but an expression of worship toward God, nevertheless the angel had to rebuke him for it.  Even the appearance of worship toward anything or anyone other than God must be avoided.  The first two of God’s ten commandments stress that neither any creature nor any likeness of any creatures may be worshiped.  Furthermore, no creature (whether man or angel) must allow himself to be worshiped by others.  Herod, for example, was struck dead because he accepted such adulation (Acts 12:21-23) and Nebuchadnezzar was driven mad (Daniel 4:28-37).  The highest of all the angels, Lucifer (identical with Satan) was cast out of heaven, and ultimately into the lake of fire, because he aspired to be worshiped as God (Isaiah 14:12-15).  Knowing all this, John’s angelic messenger could not allow John even to seem to worship him, reminding him, as had the other angel, in Revelation 19:10, that he was a fellowservant and spiritual brother to John, concerned to do exactly what John had just been commanded, namely to keep the sayings of this book.

     Here also is a sharp rebuke to all those who feel they must have aids, in order to worship God, such things as images, a solemn atmosphere, a musical handclapping atmosphere, prayer beads and talismans, a special building or prayer room, or anything else.  If not even a mighty angel of God provides a suitable aid or atmosphere for worship, surely none of these manmade objects can do so.  “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).  Once again we need to be reminded that even the greatest prophet is merely a sinner saved by grace, and even the most eminent angel is merely a ministering spirit (Hebrews 1:14), and true worship is simply honoring and submitting to the revealed will and purposes of God.

Revelation 22:10.     And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.

     Not only are we to keep the sayings of the prophecy of this book, but we are also to unseal them.  They are not to be guarded under lock and key, as it were, where no one would ever learn their message.  Rather, they are to be opened and expounded and proclaimed.  These sayings were directed to the churches, and they are urgently needed by the churches, all the more as the time draws near for their final and complete fulfillment.

     Here for the third time in four verses (see vv. 7, 9) “the sayings” of “this book” are stressed.  The same word (Greek logos) appears twice more at the end of the chapter, there translated “the words” of “this book” (vv. 18 and 19).  God wants the actual words, not just the thoughts, or the interpretations, guarded and believed and preached.

     In one sense, this commandment has itself become a prophecy, for probably as many books have been written and sermons preached from this Book of Revelation as from any other book ever written.  Yet, in another sense, this multitude of expositions has contributed little to the unsealing of the book, for there is surely no other book that has been so variously interpreted and so fancifully spiritualized.

     We are to guard the words of the book.  God is surely capable of speaking plain words, through His angel and through John, to us, and we had better let Him say what He says.  This is a book of revelation, not mystification, of apocalypse, not apocrypha.  As the book of redemption had finally been completely unsealed (Revelation 5:5), so let the Book of Revelation and consummation never become sealed, especially as the day approaches. 

Revelation 22:11.     He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

     This surprising fiat is apparently spoken by the Lord Himself.  Although the angel was the speaker in verse 9, it is clear that Christ is speaking in verses 12-16.  The transition apparently occurs between verses 9 and 10, when the angel had exhorted John to worship God only.  Verse 10 begins with: “And He saith…,” evidently telling us that it is that God-to-be-worshiped who is now speaking.

     Thus the solemn declaration of this verse becomes all the more serious, and vitally important.  It is inserted in context between two assertions of urgency and imminency, “the time is at hand”; and then, “behold, I come quickly” (vv. 10, 12).  That is, in view of the certainty of the coming of the Lord and the uncertainty of the time, all men everywhere should evaluate their lives in light of the coming judgments that have just been revealed, as well as all the blessings that have been promised, and then behave accordingly.

     It is an amazing paradox of human character that the preaching of the gospel of Christ draws and wins some while at the same time it repels and hardens others.  “To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life” (2 Corinthians 2:16).  “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).  Although a great multitude will be saved during the judgments of the great tribulation (Revelation 7:9, 14), there will be even more who determine to resist all the more stubbornly (Revelation 6:15-17; 8:20, 21; 16:9).  Similarly today the preaching or reading of the Book of Revelation will bring great blessing to many but will repel others, eliciting from them only ridicule or anger.  At the time of the end, “many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand” (Daniel 12:10).

     Thus an awesome principle is enunciated here.  The greater the awareness of the full implications of the gospel, including its ultimate consummation, the more clearcut will be its divisive impacts.  Nevertheless, it must still be proclaimed.  The Lord is saying, in effect: “Whatever you do, guard and proclaim the words of this prophecy: some of the wicked, when they hear, will be all the more confirmed in their wickedness.  So be it!  There are also those godly men and women who will be greatly blessed and more firmly fixed in their godly disposition.”

     The adverb “still” could even be understood in the sense of “more.”  “Let him that is unjust, that is, ‘unrighteous,’ become more unrighteous.”  In contrast, “let the righteous man become still more righteous.”  Such indeed will often be the result of the study of this marvelous book of the unveiled future, a book which generates fright on the one hand, delight on the other.

     The “filthy” ones of whom the Lord speaks are not merely those who are unwashed.  Rather, they are the morally filthy, the depraved.  The “holy” are those who are sanctified in both heart and life, consecrated to the will of God by the Holy Spirit.

     This fixation and development of character will apparently continue throughout eternity.  In the lake of fire, wicked and depraved men will continue in their wickedness and depravity forever, with the worm of corruption never dying and their tormented spirits never resting.  Such a terrible environment is itself a “world of iniquity…set on fire of hell” (James 3:6)

     But in wonderful contrast, all who have been granted true righteousness and holiness, through faith in Christ, have the blessed prospect of eternal growth in that “righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24) in which they were created.

Revelation 22:12.     And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

     No less than six times does the Lord promise in this book that He will “come quickly.”  Twice it is a warning (Revelation 2:5, 16), four times a promise (Revelation 3:11; 22:7, 12, 20).  Twice He indicates He will “come as a thief” (Revelation 3:3; 16:15), again first as a threat, then as a promise.  Twice He says that John is being shown “things which must shortly come to pass” (Revelation 1:1; 22:6)

     Thus there is a real sense of urgency throughout the book, along with an air of expectancy, looking for the imminent return of Christ.  Setting of an exact date is not warranted; rather, the believer should always be expecting Him at any moment, ordering his life in the light of that blessed hope.  The entire sequence of events narrated in the Book of Revelation, at least from the fourth chapter on, will begin suddenly and then proceed quickly to their grand consummation.

     Further, when the Lord does come, He will bring with Him rewards to present to His faithful servants, rewards to be apportioned in accordance with their works.  This, of course, is the promise of many Scriptures; salvation is apart from works, but rewards are according to works.  The wicked shall be judged (“condemned”) according to their works (Revelation 20:13), but the righteous rewarded in accordance with their works.  Such rewards will be granted at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10) and will be based, not on the quantity, but the “sort” or “quality” of the works (1 Corinthians 3:13-15).  And all this will be accomplished when Christ returns and sets up His throne above the earth (Revelation 4:2).

Revelation 22:13.     I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

     For the fourth time (Revelation 1:8, 11; 21:6; 22:13) the Lord Jesus calls Himself by the remarkable name “Alpha and Omega.”  Twice near the beginning of the book, twice near the ending of the book, the Lord reminds us that He is the beginning and the ending.  From everlasting to everlasting, He is God (Psalm 90:2).  He was the Creator, and He is  the Consummator.  He was “before all things” (Colossians 1:17) and He is the “heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2), the First and the Last.  Three times He calls Himself “the beginning and the ending” (Revelation 1:8; 21:6; 22:13) and four times “the first and the last” (Revelation 1:11, 17; 2:8; 22:13).

     The Apostle John, in fact, in his five New Testament books refers to “the beginning,” in connection with Christ, referring to the creation, no less than twelve times, first of all in John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word.”  The Lord Jesus is both Creator and Revelator.  The very fact of creation by the Lord leads to the fact of revelation by the Lord, since He would not create without a purpose, nor would He leave that purpose unrevealed to those whom He had created in His own image.  The living Word is revealed by the written Word, through human writings in human language, divinely inspired.  In Genesis He is the Alpha; in Revelation, He is the Omega, with sixty-four other wonderful “letters” in the books between, all conveying to man the glorious plan and purpose of his Creator.  It is foundational to know Him as Maker; it is salvational to know Him as Redeemer, Friend and Lord; it is motivational to know Him as coming King. 

Revelation 22:14.     Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

     This is the seventh and last of the great “beatitudes” of the Book of Revelation (see also Revelation 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7).  The Lord once again emphasizes the twofold division of all mankind.  These are the saved and the lost, those who can and cannot enter the holy city.  The righteous will be eternally righteous and the unjust forever unjust (v.11).  The Holy Scriptures are now almost complete, and the Lord must convey a final urgent warning and one more gracious invitation and promise, before the last Amen.

     The Lord’s final promise of blessing is to them “that do his commandments,” assuring them the right of entry to the holy city and to the tree of life.  However, certain of the ancient manuscripts differ from the received text at this point, rendering the verse in some such fashion as: “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life…” (New American Standard Version).

     There is, of course, an earlier reference to the tribulation saints who “washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14).  Also, the Scriptures plainly teach that salvation is by God’s grace, not by the keeping of commandments.

     However, there are also two other references in Revelation to keeping God’s commandments.  “…the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17).  “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12).

     Further, there are at least ten other references in John’s writings to “keeping his commandments” (John 14:15, 21; 15:10 (2); 1 John 2:3, 4; 3:22, 24; 5:2, 3).  Even though one is not saved through keeping commandments, it is surely true that those who are saved will love His commandments and sincerely try to keep them.  The Lord Jesus said: “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).  “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love” (John 15:10).  In John’s epistle, these strong words occur: “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:3, 4).  There are many other references that say essentially the same thing.

     Thus the weight of internal evidence, as in so many other disputed renderings, turns out to be strongly in favor of the King James translation after all.  It is only those who keep His commandments who have right to the tree of life, not because they have obeyed the commandments, but because their saving faith in Christ has both impelled and enabled them to keep His commandments.  Their faith cannot be seen outwardly, but their love of Christ’s commandments has demonstrated to all the genuineness of their inward faith.

     The first and greatest commandment, of course, is the love of God (Matthew 22:37), and “we love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).  “And this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment” (1 John 3:23).  Those who go in and out of the holy city and who partake of the wonderful tree of life are surely those who love the Lord Jesus Christ and who, therefore, love His commandments and His perfect will.

Revelation 22:15.     For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. 

     Those who love the Lord and keep His commandments can enter the city, for their names are in the Lamb’s book of life, and they have been redeemed by His blood.  But there is a far greater number (Matthew 7:13, 14) who will never enjoy the delights of the new earth.  Their names are not in the book of life (Revelation 21:27) and they have been confined forever to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).

     Here again are listed some of the prominent categories of sinners who must suffer eternally in hell (note also Revelation 21:8, 27).  The first group listed here is given the harsh appellation of  “dogs,” evidently a pejorative describing a particularly obnoxious group of people.  A similar metaphor occurs in Philippians 3:2: “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.”  The term probably could be applied to various types of men whose character betakes in one way or another of certain doglike behaviors.  Isaiah speaks of the unfaithful teachers in Israel as “dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber,” and then as “greedy dogs which can never have enough” (Isaiah 56:10, 11).

     An even more unsavory figure is used in Deuteronomy 23:17, 18: “There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.  Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the Lord thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the Lord thy God.”  The term “dog” is obviously used here as a synonym for “sodomite,” and indeed the word was used in ancient Israel as a euphemism for a male prostitute in the licentious temple worship of the heathen.  In fact, Gentiles as a group were sometimes insultingly called “dogs” by the Israelites, probably because of their association with such practices.  The prohibition here against bringing a whore or a sodomite into the house of the Lord is clearly a warning against turning the true temple of God into a heathen temple, and this answers to the barring of “dogs,” or sodomites, from the new Jerusalem.

     The sin of homosexuality, as well as prostitution of any kind, is “abomination unto the Lord,” and “whatsoever worketh abomination” shall not enter into the city (Revelation 21:27).  In this passage, these “dogs” are grouped with “sorcerers,” also associated with pagan religious ceremonies and their use of drugs, as discussed before, and with “whoremongers” “and idolaters,” all of which are associated together in terms of the wicked sexual practices associated with the religious worship of the heathen peoples in biblical days.

     But note how modern all these sins are, as well.  Consider the amazing revival of acceptability in modern “Christendom” of homosexuality as well as sexual permissiveness in general, associated so commonly today again with drugs and occult paganism, not to mention idolatrous covetousness and even blatant idol worship.  All show that John was writing in the context of the last days as much as he was of apostolic times.  “Murderers” are in the list as well, those who destroy bodies as well as those who destroy souls.  And modern technological, intellectual civilization has experienced the greatest murder rates of any period of history.  And once again, lest anyone feel self-righteous because of freedom from such gross sins, the Lord adds liars to the list as well (compare Revelation 21:8, 27).  Unless forgiven and cleansed by the blood of Christ, those who practice lying will also be barred from the city and its tree of life.

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