Revelation

22:6-11

Epilogue

i] General testimonies to Christ

Synopsis

John now concludes his apocalyptic letter with a series of testimonies that call for perseverance in faith.

 
Teaching

The Kingdom of God is at hand; Give weight to God's word for the end is near.

 
Issues:

i] Context: See 1:1-8. Aune argues that the epilogue, 22:6-21, parallels 1:1-3 such that "the author has self-consciously framed the entire composition with similar motifs." Osborne identifies three themes found in the epilogue which parallel the prologue, 1:1-8: "the hand of God and Christ who reveal this prophecy, the nearness of the end of all things, and the importance of faithful endurance for Christ." Given the piecemeal arrangement of the epilogue (presenting as a collection of independent sayings: v6, 7, 8-9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14-15, 16, 17, 18-19, 20, 21) there have been numerous attempts to rework it, even to view it as a kind of antiphonal liturgy, but such are all speculative.

 

ii] Background: See 1:1-8.

 

iii] Structure:General testimonies to Christ:

John restates the divine source of his revelation, v6;

An exhortation from Christ, v7:

"I am coming soon";

Honor the message, not the messenger, v8-9;

The message is for today, v10;

"Do not seal up the words of the prophecy."

Decide while you can, v11.

 

iv] Interpretation:

The epilogue restates the main themes of the revelation, namely, the impacting realization of the kingdom of God / the reign of God in Christ, and thus, for unbelievers to repent and for believers to persevere in faith.

John begins with what amounts to a divine authentication of the prophecy / revelation - the revelation is from Christ; John, as are the angels, is a mere conduit, v6. This fact is reinforced as John reminds his readers of his experience (recorded in 19:10) where an angel tells him that the angels, John himself, the prophets, and all who persevere in faith, are fellow servants of the Lord most high, v8-9. Let the reader focus on the words of the revelation, not the speaker / writer.

Given that the message / revelation is from Christ, it is necessary for the reader to act on its words. The kingdom / reign of God in Christ is bursting in upon us and so it is important to remember that the person who is blessed is the person who acts on the message, v7. The message is for today, v10, a day for decision, a day for the sinner to repent and for the saint to persevere in faith / conquer, v11.

 

v] Homiletics

"I am interested in Heaven, interested in that land because I have held a clear title to a bit of property there for many years. I did not buy it. It was given to me without any money or price, although the Donor purchased it for me at a tremendous sacrifice. I am not holding it for speculation since the title is not transferable. It is not a vacant lot. For more than half a century the greatest architect and builder of the universe has been building a home for me on the site. This home will never need to be remodeled or repaired because it will suit me perfectly, individually, and will never grow old.

Termites cannot undermine its foundations for it has been built upon the 'Rock of Ages.' Fire cannot destroy or floods wash it away. No locks or bolts will ever be placed on its doors, for no vicious person can ever enter that land where my dwelling stands. It is now almost completed and ready for me to enter in and abide in peace eternally without fear of being ejected.

There is this valley of deep shadows between the place where I live here and that to which I shall journey in a very short time. I cannot reach my house in the City of God without passing through this dark valley of shadows. But, I am not afraid because my best friend, my Savior, went through the same valley long ago and drove away its gloom. He has been patient with me through all my wonderings since I first realized His saving kindness. I have little fear, for I hold His promise to me. He alone will be with me as I walk through the Valley of shadows and I shall not lose my way when He is with me. As with the disciples in the storm, he will see me safely to that far shore." Unknown.

 
Text - 22:6

General testimonies to Christ, 22:6-11: i] John restates the divine source of his revelation, v6.

moi dat. pro. "[the angel said] to me" - [and he said] to me. Dative of indirect object. Note variant legei, present tense, rather than the unexpected aorist eipen, "he said." Again, we don't know exactly who is speaking, but presumably the angel who is doing the talking in 21:9 through to 22:5.

pistoi kai alhqinoi "trustworthy and true" - [these words are] faithful and true. Predicate nominative of an assumed verb to-be. See 21:5.

twn pneumatwn (a atoV) gen. "who inspires [the prophets]" - [and the lord god] of the spirits [of the prophets]. Given that "spirit" here is "the faculty within a person that allows one to prophecy", Koester, then, as Mathewson suggests, the genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / subordination, such that "God sovereignly determines and controls the utterances of the prophetic servants so what they say and write is both reliable and true", Aune. The genitive "of the prophets" is adjectival, possessive - those who possess a spirit which is quickened by the Spirit of God, so Smalley, Swete. John doesn't specify which prophets he has in mind, but presumably the prophets (preachers???) of the early church, so Aune.

deixai (deiknumi) aor. inf. "to show" - [sent the angel of him] to show. The infinitive is adverbial, expressing purpose; "in order to show ...." "Sent" may take the sense "commissioned", so Smalley; "commissioned in order to reveal ...."

toiV douloiV (oV) dat. "[his] servants" - to the servants [of him]. Dative of indirect object. The prophets, as also angels and believers, are designated servants of God.

genesqai (ginomai) aor. mid. inf. "[must soon] take place" - [what things] to happen [in quickness is necessary]. The infinitive serves as the subject of the impersonal verb dei, "it is necessary", the accusative subject of the infinitive being the pronoun a}, "what things." The prepositional phrase en tacei is adverbial, temporal, "in quickness" = "quickly". John's language here reflects Daniel 2:28-29. The a}, "what", that is soon to come is obviously the Great Day of the Lord Almighty / the day of judgment. "He sent is angel to show his servants what must happen very soon", TEV.

 
v7

ii] An exhortation from Christ, v7. To emphasize his prophetic role, John now quotes the central message of the revelation, a message he received from Christ, a message he has already revealed in 2:16, 3:11; "I am coming quickly." For John, "the unveiling of God's salvific purposes for his creation is an ongoing and ever-present reality", Smalley. In another macarism (there are seven in the Revelation) we have the words "Blessed / Happy is the person who acts on the teaching of this revelation."

oJ thrwn (threw) pres. part. "[blessed] is the one who keeps [the words]" - [and behold I am coming quickly, blessed] the one keeping [the words]. The participle serves as a substantive, with makarioV, "blessed", serving as a predicate adjective.

thV profhteiaV (a) gen. "of the prophecy" - The genitive is adjectival, best classified as epexegetic, limiting "the words" by specifying the words in mind.

tou bibliou (on) gen. "written in [this] scroll" - of [this] scroll, book. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, idiomatic, eg., "the words which are written in this book." Here the pronoun toutou, serves as an adjective, with the noun "book" carrying the article tou to indicate its adjectival function. "Happy is the person who acts on the prophetic message contained in this book."

 
v8

iii] Honor the message, not the messenger, v8-9. John virtually repeats 19:9-10 where he mistakenly seeks to worship the intermediary for the revelation God gave to him. The repetition of this failing serves as a call "to remain obedient to the covenant commands of God and to direct all worship to him alone." Such "emphasizes the need for members of the Johannine community, and the Church in general, to reject idolatry of all kinds, .... this has been a theme throughout the Apocalypse", Smalley.

kagw "I" - and i. A shortened version of kai + egw = "and I"; the "I" serves as the nominative subject of an assumed verb to-be, with "John" standing in apposition to "I"; "And I, John, am ....." As at the beginning of the letter, we have a personal attestation of apostolic authority. See the issue of authorship in the introduction.

oJ akouwn (akouw) pres. part. "the one who heard" - the one hearing [and the one seeing these things (the visions)]. The participle, as with "the one seeing", is usually treated as a substantive, predicate nominative of an assumed verb to-be, "I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things", ESV.

ote "when" - [and] when [i heard and saw]. Introducing a temporal clause. Note the textual variants for eblaya, "seen". John usually has eidon, "I saw." Aune suggests the original was an imperfect, "I was seeing."

proskunhsai (proskunew) aor. inf. "[I fell down] to worship" - [i fell] to do obeisance. The infinitive is adverbial, final, expressing purpose; "I fell down in order to worship." Phillips treats the action as inceptive; "At the time when I heard and saw them, I fell at the feet of the angel who showed them to me and I was about to worship him."

emprosqen "at [the feet]" - before [the feet]. Spacial preposition; "before, in front of."

tou aggelou (oV) gen. "of the angel" - The genitive is adjectival, possessive.

tou deiknontoV gen. pres. part. "who had been showing [them]" - showing [these things to me]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "angel", as NIV.

moi dat. pro. "to me" - Dative of indirect object.

 
v9

moi dat. pro. "[he said] to me" - Dative of indirect object.

o{ra mh "don't do that!" - This idiomatic elliptical construction of oJraw + a negation / prohibition = "see that you do not do that." "'That is what you must not do', he said to me", Barclay.

sou gen. pro. "[I am a fellow servant] with you" - [i am a fellow servant] of you [and of the brothers of you]. The genitive is adjectival, possessive / relational, "I am nothing more than a fellow servant of yours", Cassirer, or association, as NIV; See sou 19:10. So also the genitive "of the brothers", with the genitive pronoun "of you" being adjectival, relational. "I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brothers", Berkeley.

twn profhtwn (hV ou) gen. "prophets" - the prophets. Standing in apposition to "brothers"; "I am a servant just like you and your companions, the prophets", Peterson. The sense is as NIV, "you and your fellow servants the prophets", not "you, and your fellow servants, and the the prophets."

twn thrountwn (threw) gen. pres. part. "[and with] all who keep [the words]" - [and] the ones keeping [the words]. The participle serves as a substantive. The genitive as sou above, so "a fellow servant ......... of / with those who keep the words of the book / scroll." "And all who keep the words of this book. Worship God", Peterson, are also "fellow servants" of/with the angels.

tw/ qew/ (oV) dat. "[worship] God" - [do obeisance to] god. Dative of direct object after the proV prefix verb "to do obeisance to / worship."

 
v10

iv] The message is for today, v10. The speaker is presumably the angel, so Mounce, Aune, ... Unlike some esoteric secret prophecy of an age to come (possibly like Daniel), John writes to his own generation, to his own contemporaries. "John's book is immediately relevant because it depicts a conflict with hostile forces that is already under way", Koester. This conflict is not going to drag on, given the central message revealed to John, namely, "I am coming soon", v7. John's realized eschatology (the kingdom of God is at hand) entails an urgent message in the face of imminent judgment, and as such demands an immediate response - the revelation must not be sealed.

moi dat. pro. "[he told] me" - [and he says] to me. Dative of indirect object.

mh sfragish/V (sfragizw) aor. subj. "do not seal up" - Subjunctive of prohibition. "Don't put it away on the shelf", Peterson.

thV profhteiaV (a) gen. "of the prophecy" - The genitive is adjectival, epexegetic, specifying the words in mind.

tou bibliou (on) gen. "of [this] scroll" - The genitive is adjectival, attributive, idiomatic / content, "the prophecy which is contained in this scroll."

gar "because" - because [the time is near]. Introducing a causal clause explaining why the scroll should not be sealed up, "because the time is up."

 
v11

v] Decide while you can, v11. Although this verse is usually viewed as an independent saying, it is integrally linked to v10. In v10 we are reminded that John's revelation must not be sealed because it requires urgent consideration,; "the time (for judgment) is near." In v11 we are faced with the situation that will confront humanity on the day of judgment. In simple terms, there will be no time for the sinner to repent and so they may as well keep on sinning. The same is so for the Christian community, those who have persevered in faith, conquered, endured, continued to testify, ..... need to just keep on keeping on for there is no time to change course. So, John again reminds the reader, particularly those of wavering faith, that now is the time to recommit to their faith, for a day will come when that opportunity will not exist. "John pictures the future in such a way that he hopes will either entice or frighten hearers and readers into making the appropriate decision to line up behind the Lordship of God and the Lamb (rather than the secular city)", Blount. See Mounce. Cf., Dan.12:10.

oJ adikwn (adikew) pres. part. "[let] the one who does wrong]" - the one doing harm [let him do harm]. The participle serves as a substantive, subject of the imperative verb "to harm / do wrong / act unjustly." A similar construction continues with three articular adjectives serving as substantives, "the impure one", "the righteous one", and "the holy one."

eti adv. "continue [to do wrong]" - [let him do harm] still. The temporal adverb, which "expresses the notion of continuance", Mathewson (BDAG 400.1a), also stands in three following constructs; "let the evil-doer go on doing evil; let the filthy-minded wallow in his filth; let the righteous man go on pursuing righteousness; let the holy man go on keeping himself holy", Cassirer. Note that Cassirer introduces the verse with "Meanwhile". This only works if John is reflecting the sense of Ezk.3:27, "Let those who will hear, hear; let those who refuse to hear, refuse." So, in this time when the scroll is open and the kingdom near, let the wicked person who ignores its warning, continue in their wickedness, but let the righteous person who takes it's warning to heart, continue in their righteousness. See Koester for this approach.

 

Revelation Introduction

 

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