Revelation and You
1. (a) What reassurance does the angel give John regarding all the wonderful promises in Revelation? (b) Who is it that says, “I am coming quickly,” and when is this “coming”?
ON READING the delightful description of New Jerusalem, you may be moved to ask: ‘Can something so wonderful really come to be?’ John answers that question by reporting the angel’s next words: “And he said to me: ‘These words are faithful and true; yes, Jehovah the God of the inspired expressions of the prophets sent his angel forth to show his slaves the things that must shortly take place. And, look! I am coming quickly. Happy is anyone observing the words of the prophecy of this scroll.’” (Revelation 22:6, 7) All the wonderful promises of Revelation will really be fulfilled! Speaking in the name of Jesus, the angel declares that Jesus is coming soon, “quickly.” This must be Jesus’ coming “as a thief” to destroy Jehovah’s enemies and usher in the grand and happy climax of Revelation. (Revelation 16:15, 16) We should, therefore, conform our lives to the words of “this scroll,” Revelation, to be pronounced happy at that time.
2. (a) How does John react to the richness of revelation, and what does the angel tell him? (b) What do we learn from the angel’s words, “Be careful!” and, “Worship God”?
2 After such a richness of revelation, it is understandable that John felt overwhelmed: “Well, I John was the one hearing and seeing these things. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel that had been showing me these things. But he tells me: ‘Be careful! Do not do that! All I am is a fellow slave of you and of your brothers who are prophets and of those who are observing the words of this scroll. Worship God.’” (Revelation 22:8, 9; compare Revelation 19:10.) This twice-stated warning not to worship angels was timely in John’s day, when some evidently pursued such worship or claimed special revelations from angels. (1 Corinthians 13:1; Galatians 1:8; Colossians 2:18) Today, it highlights the fact that we must worship God alone. (Matthew 4:10) We should not corrupt pure worship with the worship of anyone or anything else.—Isaiah 42:5, 8.
3, 4. What does the angel continue to tell John, and how has the anointed remnant obeyed his words?
3 John continues: “He also tells me: ‘Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, for the appointed time is near. He that is doing unrighteousness, let him do unrighteousness still; and let the filthy one be made filthy still; but let the righteous one do righteousness still, and let the holy one be made holy still.’”—Revelation 22:10, 11.
4 The anointed remnant today have obeyed the words of the angel. They have not sealed up the words of the prophecy. Why, the very first issue of Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence (July 1879) set out comments on numerous verses of Revelation. As we noted in our opening chapter, Jehovah’s Witnesses have over the years published other enlightening books on Revelation. Now we again draw the attention of all truth-lovers to the powerful Revelation prophecies and their fulfillment.
5. (a) What if people want to ignore the warnings and counsel in Revelation? (b) What should be the response of meek and righteous ones?
5 If people want to ignore the warnings and counsel in Revelation, well, let them do so! “He that is doing unrighteousness, let him do unrighteousness still.” If it is their choice, those who are wallowing in the filth of this permissive age can die in that filth. Shortly, Jehovah’s judgments will be executed to completion, starting with the destruction of Babylon the Great. Let meek persons be diligent to heed the prophet’s words: “Seek Jehovah . . . Seek righteousness, seek meekness. Probably you may be concealed in the day of Jehovah’s anger.” (Zephaniah 2:3) As for those who are already dedicated to Jehovah, “let the righteous one do righteousness still, and let the holy one be made holy still.” The wise know that no temporary advantage coming from sin can compare with the lasting blessings to be enjoyed by those who pursue righteousness and holiness. The Bible says: “Keep testing whether you are in the faith, keep proving what you yourselves are.” (2 Corinthians 13:5) Based on the course you choose and stay with, you will receive your reward.—Psalm 19:9-11; 58:10, 11.
6. What does Jehovah say as he addresses readers of Revelation for the last time in the prophecy?
6 Jehovah, the King of eternity, now addresses readers of Revelation for the last time in the prophecy, saying: “Look! I am coming quickly, and the reward I give is with me, to render to each one as his work is. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Happy are those who wash their robes, that the authority to go to the trees of life may be theirs and that they may gain entrance into the city by its gates. Outside are the dogs and those who practice spiritism and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone liking and carrying on a lie.”—Revelation 22:12-15.
7. (a) For what is Jehovah “coming quickly”? (b) Why will the clergy of Christendom have no share in New Jerusalem?
7 Once again, Jehovah God emphasizes his eternal sovereignty and the fact that what he first purposes he will at last perform. He is “coming quickly” to execute judgment and will reward those earnestly seeking him. (Hebrews 11:6) His standards determine who will be rewarded and who will be rejected. The clergy of Christendom have acted like “speechless dogs,” winking at the vices that Jehovah here describes. (Isaiah 56:10-12; see also Deuteronomy 23:18, New World Translation Reference Bible, footnote.) Certainly, they have ‘liked and carried on’ lying doctrines and dogmas and have totally ignored the counsel of Jesus to the seven congregations. Hence, they have no share in New Jerusalem.
8. (a) Who only “go to the trees of life,” and what does this mean? (b) How have the great crowd “washed their robes,” and how do they retain a clean standing?
8 Only those anointed Christians who truly “wash their robes” so as to be clean in Jehovah’s eyes are privileged to “go to the trees of life.” That is, they receive the right and title to immortal life in their heavenly position. (Compare Genesis 3:22-24; Revelation 2:7; 3:4, 5.) After their death as humans, they gain entrance into New Jerusalem by resurrection. The 12 angels allow them in, while keeping out any who practice lies or uncleanness though claiming to have a heavenly hope. The great crowd on earth also have “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” and need to maintain their clean standing. This they can do by avoiding the vices that Jehovah here warns against, as well as by taking to heart Jesus’ admonition in his seven messages to the congregations.—Revelation 7:14; chapters 2 and 3.
9. What words does Jesus speak, and to whom is his message and the whole of Revelation primarily directed?
9 After Jehovah, Jesus speaks. He addresses words of encouragement to righthearted ones who read Revelation, saying: “I, Jesus, sent my angel to bear witness to you people of these things for the congregations. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright morning star.” (Revelation 22:16) Yes, these words are primarily “for the congregations.” This is a message, first of all, for the congregation of anointed Christians on earth. Everything in Revelation is addressed primarily to anointed Christians, who will inhabit New Jerusalem. Through that congregation, the great crowd is also privileged to gain understanding of these precious prophetic truths.—John 17:18-21.
10. Why did Jesus call himself (a) “the root and the offspring of David”? (b) “the bright morning star”?
10 Jesus Christ was entrusted with conveying Revelation to John and through him to the congregation. Jesus is both “the root and the offspring of David.” He descended from David according to the flesh and thus is qualified to be King of Jehovah’s Kingdom. He will also become David’s “Eternal Father,” and thus David’s “root.” (Isaiah 9:6; 11:1, 10) He is the permanent, immortal King in David’s line, fulfilling Jehovah’s covenant with David, and “the bright morning star” foretold in Moses’ day. (Numbers 24:17; Psalm 89:34-37) He is the “daystar” that rises, causing the day to dawn. (2 Peter 1:19) All the wiles of the great enemy Babylon the Great were not able to prevent this glorious rising.
11. What open invitation does John now present, and who may respond to it?
11 Now it is John’s own turn to speak. Out of a heart brimming with appreciation for all that he has seen and heard, he exclaims: “And the spirit and the bride keep on saying: ‘Come!’ And let anyone hearing say: ‘Come!’ And let anyone thirsting come; let anyone that wishes take life’s water free.” (Revelation 22:17) The benefits of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice will not be limited to the 144,000, for here is an open invitation. Jehovah’s impelling spirit works through the bride class, so that the message continues to be sounded forth with all clarity: “Take life’s water free.” (See also Isaiah 55:1; 59:21.) Anyone who is thirsting for righteousness is invited to “come” and receive of Jehovah’s bounty. (Matthew 5:3, 6) How privileged are all of the prospective earthly class who respond to this invitation of the anointed John class!
12. How does the great crowd respond to the invitation of Revelation 22:17?
12 Since the early 1930’s, the growing number of the great crowd has been “hearing”—paying attention to the invitation. Like their anointed fellow slaves, they have attained to a clean standing before Jehovah. They long for the time when New Jerusalem will descend from heaven to channel blessings to humankind. Having heard the rousing message of Revelation, the great crowd not only say “Come!” but actively gather others to Jehovah’s organization, training these also to proclaim: “Let anyone thirsting come.” So the number of the great crowd continues to grow, as over 6,000,000 of them in 235 lands around the earth share with fewer than 9,000 of the anointed bride class in extending the invitation to “take life’s water free.”
13. What warning does Jesus issue?
13 Next, it is Jesus who speaks again, saying: “I am bearing witness to everyone that hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone makes an addition to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this scroll; and if anyone takes anything away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take his portion away from the trees of life and out of the holy city, things which are written about in this scroll.”—Revelation 22:18, 19.
14. How does the John class view “the prophecy” of Revelation?
14 Those of the John class must draw attention to “the prophecy” of Revelation. They must not hide it or add to it. Its message must be preached openly, “from the housetops.” (Matthew 10:27) Revelation is inspired of God. Who would dare change a word of what God himself has spoken and transmitted through the one who is now the reigning King, Jesus Christ? Certainly, such a person would deserve to lose out in the quest for life and suffer the plagues that must come upon Babylon the Great and upon the whole world.
15. What is the significance of Jesus’ words that he “bears witness of these things” and “I am coming quickly”?
15 Jesus now adds a final word of encouragement: “He that bears witness of these things says, ‘Yes; I am coming quickly.’” (Revelation 22:20a) Jesus is “the faithful and true witness.” (Revelation 3:14) If he bears witness to the visions of Revelation, they must be true. Both he and Jehovah God himself repeatedly stress the fact that they are coming “quickly,” or soon, Jesus here saying that for the fifth time. (Revelation 2:16; 3:11; 22:7, 12, 20) The “coming” is to execute judgment on the great harlot, the political “kings” and all others who oppose “the kingdom of our Lord [Jehovah] and of his Christ.”—Revelation 11:15; 16:14, 16; 17:1, 12-14.
16. Knowing that Jehovah God and Jesus are coming quickly, what resolute action should you take?
16 Your knowing that Jehovah God and Jesus are coming quickly should encourage you to keep “close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah.” (2 Peter 3:12) Any seeming stability of the earth of Satan’s system of things is illusory. Any seeming success that the heaven of the worldly rulers under Satan might achieve is transitory. These things are passing away. (Revelation 21:1) The only permanence is to be found in Jehovah, his Kingdom under Jesus Christ, and his promised new world. Never lose sight of that!—1 John 2:15-17.
17. How should your appreciation of Jehovah’s holiness affect you?
17 May you, then, allow what you have learned from your study of Revelation to influence your life profoundly. Did not your glimpse into Jehovah’s heavenly presence impress on you the transcendent glory and holiness of our Creator? (Revelation 4:1–5:14) What a privilege to serve such a God! May your appreciation for his holiness move you to take very seriously Jesus’ counsel to the seven congregations and avoid things such as materialism, idolatry, immorality, lukewarmness, apostate sectarianism, or anything else that could make your service unacceptable to Jehovah. (Revelation 2:1–3:22) The apostle Peter’s words to the John class apply also in principle to the great crowd: “In accord with the Holy One who called you, do you also become holy yourselves in all your conduct.”—1 Peter 1:15, 16.
18. In what should you play as full a part as possible, and why is this work urgent today?
18 Additionally, may you be moved to a renewed zeal as you proclaim “the year of goodwill on the part of Jehovah and the day of vengeance on the part of our God.” (Isaiah 35:4; 61:2) Whether of the little flock or of the great crowd, may you have the fullest share possible in publicizing the pouring out of the seven bowls of Jehovah’s anger, telling of God’s judgments on Satan’s world. At the same time, lend your voice to the joyful proclamation of the everlasting good news concerning the established Kingdom of Jehovah and his Christ. (Revelation 11:15; 14:6, 7) Be at this work urgently. And may a realization that we are in the Lord’s day move many who are not yet serving Jehovah to join in the work of proclaiming the good news. May these also progress toward dedicating their lives to God with a view to baptism. Remember, “the appointed time is near”!—Revelation 1:3.
19. What are the closing words of the elderly apostle John, and how do you respond to them?
19 Thus, with John, we fervently pray: “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.” And John, the elderly apostle, adds: “May the undeserved kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ be with the holy ones.” (Revelation 22:20b, 21) May it also be with all of you who read this publication. May you have faith that the grand climax of Revelation is at hand, so that you too can join us in a hearty “Amen!”
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“Outside are the dogs . . . ”
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“Happy are those who . . . gain entrance into the city by its gates”