IV. CHRIST’S OWN TESTIMONY
"I Jesus have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the bright morning star."
This book is written for the church. Fearing that man may not listen, God sends His angel to testify. This verse speaks of God’s relationship with man in two aspects. First, it speaks of His relationship to the Jews and to the kingdom. "I am the Root...of David." (According to His divinity, He is the source of David.) This shows that He is Jehovah in the Old Testament. As David was the first king chosen by God to satisfy His heart’s desire, so also the Lord Jesus in the millennium is the chosen King to satisfy God. "And the Offspring of David." (According to His humanity, the Lord Jesus was born of King David.) This speaks of the aspect of His humanity. As Solomon was the son of David and was the king of peace, so the Lord Jesus is the King of peace in the millennium. These two statements answer the question posed in Matthew 22:45, "If then David calls Him Lord, how is He his son?"
Second, it speaks of His relationship to the church and to the rapture. "The bright morning star." The "morning star" appears before dawn in the dark hour. The Lord Jesus is the morning star to the watchful believers that they may be raptured. (The dark hour before dawn is the great tribulation, and dawn is the coming of the kingdom.)
V. THE RESPONSE
OF THE SPIRIT AND THE BRIDE
"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come! And let him who hears say, Come! And let him who is thirsty come; let him who wills take the water of life freely."
This is the last time that "the Spirit" is mentioned in this book. We do not know why the Spirit is not mentioned in connection with the new heaven and new earth.
The "bride" here is not the same as the wife mentioned in 19:7. The bride of prophecy ends at 22:5. The bride here is the bride mentioned in the epistles of Paul. "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come!" This is the prayer of the Holy Spirit and the church. Verse 16 is spoken specifically to the church, and verse 17 is the reply.
"And let him who hears." This has been mentioned in 1:3, 13:9, and many times in chapters two and three. "Him who hears" always refers to individual persons. "And let him who is thirsty come." This points back to the situation of the church. "Thirsty" means to be thirsty in the soul. "Come" here is the same as "come" in Matthew 11:28. "Let him who wills take the water of life freely." This does not refer to the water of life in 22:1, but speaks of the eternal life which the believers receive, enabling them to be satisfied with Christ and no longer thirst for the world. No one who yearns for the Lord’s soon return is indifferent toward the souls of the sinners. On the one hand, they beg the Lord to come soon, and on the other hand, they desire that the sinners would be saved.
VI. THE LAST WARNING
"I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this scroll; and if anyone takes away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and out of the holy city, which are written in this scroll."
The tree of life and the holy city are the same as those in verse 14. The difference is that verse 14 speaks only of entering into the city, whereas verse 19 speaks of having the holy city as one’s portion. This means that one not only enters into the city, but has the city as his portion as well.
No one should intentionally add to or take away from the words of this book. Many books which were written two or three hundred years later have also been called books of revelation. These can easily diminish the value of the book of Revelation written by John. That is why the warning here is so serious.
VII. THE LAST MESSAGE, PRAYER, AND BLESSING
A. Revelation 22:20
"He who testifies these things says, Yes, I come quickly. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!"
Here the Lord Jesus Himself testifies. Before, He said, "Behold, I come quickly"; now He says, "Yes, I come quickly."
"Come, Lord Jesus!" is John’s prayer. We need not ask what people think about the Lord’s coming back. Rather, we need only to ask whether or not their hearts want the Lord to come back, whether or not they are like those who wait for the Lord’s coming, those who say to Him, "Come, Lord Jesus!" The very last prayer in the Bible is "Come, Lord Jesus!" This prayer will eventually be answered one day. This is a prayer that many faithful believers have uttered countless times for nearly two thousand years.
B. Revelation 22:21
"The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen."
This is John’s blessing. Without the grace of the Lord Jesus, sinners cannot be saved, and the saints cannot stand. The grace of our Lord Jesus has the power to prepare us for the rapture and bring us into the kingdom.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 16: Study on Revelation, Chapter 12, by Watchman Nee)