A Study of Revelation

13* “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

Christ identifies himself ad the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and ending. This is the same identification he makes at the beginning of this book.

Rev. 1:8
8* “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Alpha and omega re the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet; so Christ is saying that he is complete in every way. From “A” to “Z” Christ has it covered.

14* Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.

This is how one enters into God’s holy city, the church. Anyone can enter into God’s beautiful city where the tree of life is located. We enter by rendering obedience to the commandments he has spoken. Those commandments are given through his written Word, the Bible.

Today, when anyone obeys the law of Christ, he enters into God’s spiritual city, the church of our Lord. By becoming members of the Lord’s church, we have a right to the tree of life which enables us to live spiritually forever. We must not make the same mistake as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. If we sin willfully, the Lord will remove us from his spiritual city, just as he removed Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.

15* Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

Located outside the walls of the city, the spiritual kingdom of God is all manner of sin. Those who have not obeyed the commandments of God have not entered into the city and are living in a world of sin. The only way to escape a life of sin, which yields sure spiritual death and destruction in judgment, is to obey the commandments of God and enter into his beautiful city. The gates of His city are never closed. Anyone at an time may choose to enter in, but the majority of people today seem to choose the ways of sin rather than follow Christ and live with him for eternity.

16* “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

This verse make it clear that the book of Revelation is a message for the church of all ages, it is a message for all churches of Christ. Revelation was written for our study and understudying today as much as it was for Christians of the first century. The meanings of these visions have not changed with the passing of time. The lessons taught in the Bible do no change with time.

Jesus identifies himself as the “root and the descendant of David.” A descendant would mean that Jesus was born from the seed of David. A rood is the structure which anchors a plant and supplies its nourishment. With this in mind, it is unnatural for us to think of something as being both the root and the descendant of anything. But this is exactly what Christ was. He not only came from the seed of David, he was also the root of David. The law of Moses was given to the Israelite nation to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah.

Gal. 3:19
19* ¶ Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.

This seed is referring to christ. Therefore, Christ was the reason the law of Moses was given to the Jewish nation of which David once reigned as king. So, Christ not only was the offspring of David, he was the root also.

Christ also identifies himself as the bring and morning star. To be identified as a star shows the greatness of an individual. We use the same symbolism to talk about someone we think is a “super-star” in sports. Christ was a bright star–the brightest of all. He gave mankind the most wonderful gift of all. He gave us the opportunity to live forever.

The morning star is one which shines brightly just before the dawn of a new day. A new day represents the coming of a new ear which is better than the previous one. This also describe Jesus perfectly. He came to earth and hi glory shined brightly among men. He brought in a new day or time, the gospel age, in which man could be reconcile to God by receiving forgiveness of his sins. Jesus is truly our bright and morning star.

17* The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

Christ is bidding all that will be obedient unto him to “come.” The Spirit and the bride refer to the Holy Spirit and the church. Through the Word, the Holy Spirit constantly bids all to come. We in the church should constantly bid those who are lost in a world of sin to come in. This is further proof that the beautiful city described in these last two chapters is the church. Rev. 21:19 says that this city is a description of the bride of Christ. In this verse, the bride is bidding all who will to come. The church is not bidding people to come into our final dwelling place of heaven. The church is bidding all who will obey the commands of God to come into it. Those who hear will be able to enter. Paul wrote:

Rom. 10:17
17* So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

Anyone who hears the Word of God and obeys its commands may enter into that beautiful city, the church.

Rev. 3:20
20* ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

Those who desire to know the truth will find it according to Jesus:

Matthew 5:6
6* “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

When one seeks to find the truth he may enter into God’s city. the water of life is referring to the gospel. All who are obedient to it will be added unto God’s kingdom and have the promise of eternal life if they remain faithful.

18* I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;

You will not often hear this verse quoted in the proper context. The plagues which this verse talks about are found in the book of Revelation. This verse has its primary application to the book of Revelation. In Chapter 15 we noticed:

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
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The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven. Instruction is given to the angels from God himself to put out the seven bowls on the “earth.” In the book of Revelation “earth” refers to people. Sometimes it means the whole world, sometimes it refers to a specific land portion, but always it is used to refer to people or forces which oppose God.

2* So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth; and it became a loathsome and malignant sore on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image.

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

In our study of Revelation to this point we have learned that those who have the mark of the beast and who worship his image are non-Christians. The loathsome and malignant sores are symbolic of the pains and anguish which sin will cause man to suffer while on earth. Exodus 9:8-11 gives the account of the boils which was one of the ten plagues God sent against the people of Egypt. Egypt opposed God and persecuted his people.

Here in Revelation this plague is poured out on those people who are not Christians. They are the ones who will be affected by these sores. Their sins will cause all types of mental and physical anguish which could be avoided by following the ways of the Lord.

In the book of Revelation the “sea” is used to represent the masses of people who live on earth. The “earth” in the first plague represents the people of the world, non-Christians. This plague affects the same people. Both these plagues are directed toward people who live on earth and engage themselves in the continual practice of sin. In some parts of Revelation “earth” seems to refer to those people who are spiritually-minded or who seek to worship someone or something other than the true God. The “sea” seems to represent those who have no desire to worship or believe in a higher being other than man himself. The “sea” here is symbolically representing the masses of people who do not believe in God. Those who do not believe in God become dead spiritually. To be without God in this life is to be dead spiritually and without hope of life eternal. There is no life in them.

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

These rivers and springs represent the abundant teachings of those who attempt to direct the spiritual lives of people upon the earth. As was the case with wormwood in the water in Rev. 8:11, and the water that flowed from the dragon that the earth drank in Rev. 12:16, these waters represent the false teachings that come from false religions who demand that people worship and serve God according to their dictates. This water is like “blood” because these people are spiritually dead. Because these people practice false teaching and persecute Christians God has judged them to be spiritually dead, or “they became blood” which signifies death.

Revelation 16: 8* The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun, and it was given to it to scorch men with fire.

This bowl of wrath indicates that the preaching and teaching of the gospel of Christ will torment those who refuse to accept it. Notice a slight difference here. This bowl is poured out on the sun which in turn is given the power to scorch men with fire. The “sun” is a reference to spiritual light. In 2 Cor. 4:4 the gospel is referred to as “the light.” Christians walk “in the light” (1 Jn. 1:7). Just as the sun is the physical light of this world, the gospel is the spiritual light of the world.

When we say that the “heat” is on someone, or that they may have gotten themselves in a “hot” spot, we use the same kind of imagery. The preaching of God’s Word is not an easy thing for sinners to hear. Because they will not accept it, it “scorches” them.

Men will blaspheme God because of these plagues but they refuse to repent, therefore these plagues continue to scorch them every time they hear the gospel preached. This is the condition in our world today. Many in the so-called “christian” world who follow the teachings and traditions of men who refuse to accept the word of God suffer from these plagues.

19* and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

A stern warning to all who attempt to interpret the book of Revelation. We have taken these verses very seriously in our study. We have attempted to allow the Word of God to interpret Revelation for us. We have not used the speculative interpretations of man’s traditions. We have allowed the Bible to speak for itself.

If man tampers with this book, a book that deals with spiritual matters, God will add to him the plagues recorded in this book that have to do with spiritual matters. The plagues in the book of Revelation are directed against non-Christians. If anyone adds to God’s Word, he is not a Christian because he is attempting to be saved according to his own method. We must follow God’s pan in order to be acceptable unto him.

We must not diminish God’s Word either. This is an admonition to Christians to live faithful lives. Having our names added to the book of life and entering God’s holy city does not give us a license to commit any sinful act we might desire and still expect God to take us home to heaven with him. If we do these things, our names will be stricken from the book of life, and our part will be removed from the holy city.

This is another proof that the “holy city” and the “bride of Christ” are both a reference to the church. Once Christians get to heaven judgment is past. There will be no chance for our names to be removed from the book of life. If, however, we live sinful lives while here on earth, we will be removed from our access to the tree of life, and God will remove us from the church.

20* ¶ He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
21* The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

Jesus once again announces that he will come quickly. This is the third time this statement has been repeated in this chapter. We should be constantly aware that Jesus could come at any time. We must be watchful and keep ourselves prepared for this great event. This has been a constant admonition throughout the book of Revelation.

John answers, “Amen, come, Lord Jesus.” Christians should look forward to Christ second coming. One of the main purposes of the book of Revelation is to comfort and assure Christians that their situation would be much better after Christ returns than it is now. Many times Christians get so caught up in the pleasures of this life and forget that our life to come will be much preferred to this one. We should strive to live in such a way that we will be able to say, “Come Lord Jesus.”

Revelation was intended to bring us grace. It was intended for members of the Lord’s church. The lessons contained in this book are the same lessons the first century Christians needed to learn.

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