A BRIEF REVIEW OF THE MAIN BODY OF THE REVELATION :
(i) 1:9- 20 : The vision of Christ , who gives John the commission to write down what he sees in that vision.
(ii) 2:1-3:22 : The vision of the 7 churches, representing the church in every age gradually degenerating into the lukewarm church of Laodicea, or Babylon.
(iii) 4:1- 5:14 : The vision of the open door, giving John a glimpse into heaven where he sees the vision of the Lamb standing as though it had been slain, standing before the throne of God. He was declared worthy to receive and to open the book with its seven seals.
(iv) 6:1- 22:5 : The vision of the 7 seals , giving way to the vision of the 7 trumpets, and on to the vision of the 7 bowls. These visions gave us insight into the powerful struggle (the spiritual battle of which Paul also speaks in Ephesians 6) which, under the leadership of the devil, the anti-christ and the beast has raged throughout the ages, and which shall come to an end at the 2nd coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw in the examples of the 7 churches and also in this section, how often the love of the church on earth grows cold, as she forgets to embrace Jesus her only Saviour, thus becoming a prostitute , metaphorically speaking , called Babylon. She becomes in fact another instrument in the hands of the anti-christ. We also have seen that in this age the Lord God has sent war and pestilences, ‘natural disasters’ and all kinds of trouble so that this sinister evil power could not develop itself prematurely. We have learned that all these temporary judgements of God are illustrative of that great judgement that is to come. We have learned that in the midst of all this turmoil the Lord Jesus keeps His people safe, even though many die as martyrs. We are nowhere safer than in the arms of Jesus – even though we die ! We have seen that in the midst of the trials of this present age time, He keeps 144 000 (the full number of the elect) sealed and safe ! The devil and his armies are no match for Christ and they will be defeated! And so it is, and so it happens that we see all wickedness destroyed and we see the New Jerusalem, the true church coming out of the new heavens and upon the new earth, issuing in a new age of the glorious and eternal rule of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And now, we come to the epilogue – the final word of the Revelation to John in 22: 6- 21.
The main subject of this epilogue is the “soon - coming“ of the Lord. This is mentioned four times in this passage. The same idea is expressed in v.10 : " Do not seal up the words of this prophecy of this book: for the time is near”. The remarkable thing is this assertion that our Lord repeatedly says that He will come soon . This is, of course, not the first time that we have heard him say it. He has said it in the very opening line of the Revelation (1:1): “… The Revelation which God gave John to show to his servants the things that must soon take place.”
V.7. “I am coming soon” : There is urgency in this passage. Now remember that this Revelation was given to John at a time when the church was under immense pressure and subject to persecution. John himself was in exile for this reason : “ I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation … was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” . We then read then of the various trials of the 7 churches in Asia (Rev. 2&3) and we understand that the church at large needed perspective. She needed to know that the Lord was not slow in coming to deliver her. Some people were saying that the Lord was slow in coming . Such a “charge of slowness” is found in 2 Peter 3: 9,10. And now, 2000 years later Christ has not yet come. What then is meant by his “soon - coming”?
It means that He is committed to coming,and according to His time table and as quickly as it is possible.
H. Hoeksema provides us with a helpful illustration here : 
“When Germany in World war 2 pressed the Allies hard, they were for a time in desperate straits. They looked for the coming of the Americans. The Americans said, "We are coming, and we are coming quickly." But many months elapsed before they actually did come. To the Allies in their desperate condition it seemed a long time before they actually came. Yet did not the Americans come quickly? Surely, they did; and they came as fast as it was possible for them to come. But think what was implied in their coming. Many, many things had to be prepared before they could come. An army had to be drafted and trained. Money had to be raised. The army had to be equipped. The material, clothing and ammunition and weapons, had to be manufactured. Ships had to be built. In view of all this, it was absolutely true that they were coming quickly. The same may be applied to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
From our point of view it may seem a long time. But look! The children of God must be gathered. The whole church, gathered from all nations, must be filled: not one of the elect may be lacking. Besides, the great apostasy must take place. Antichrist and all the power of iniquity must develop. Babylon must be realized. The world-power must be formed. Surely, all these things being taken into consideration, we may certainly say, "He comes quickly." Things, especially in the last twenty-five or fifty years, are developing before our very eyes. We see Him come! “
Another illustration from the Bible to help us to understand that “soon” may not necessarily mean “in a hurry”, but rather “on time”. So, when for instance Lazarus was sick (John 11) there was great need on a human level for hurry for Jesus to come and heal him before he died. And then he did die. And Jesus took his time in getting there. In fact, when Jesus arrived, Lazarus was already four days in the grave. Jesus was late according to Mary (Jn. 11:21). But was He? No, He wasn’t! He was on time. Not a minute too soon or too late! This was a deliberate and timely arrival, and in it God would be glorified (Jn. 11: 4, 40). This is the point that Peter also makes in 2 Peter 3:9,10.
Realizing, however, that from John’s point of view, and the church under great pressure, the time of Christ’s promised coming may indeed seem long and delayed, the Lord assures His church repeatedly that He is indeed coming soon and not too late. To this end He assures John:
V.6 :"And he said to me, These words are trustworthy and true . And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.” Jesus says to John in effect, “…what is written in the book shall surely happen. Therefore believe John… Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book” (v.7)
Vv. 8-9 : When John understood this, he was so overwhelmed that he fell down at the feet of the angel to worship. The vision of glory always produces worship, and for a moment John was tempted to worship the messenger rather than Him who gave the Message to the messenger ! This is very typical of us human beings! The angel however quickly helps him to redirect the worship to God , who alone is to be worshipped and praised! Once this obstacle is put out of the way John is once again able to receive further instruction .
V. 10 : “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.” This book must not be closed. It must not be sealed. The world must hear this! The response to this revelation will of course be two-fold. We read of this in the very next verse:
V.11 : “Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.” There will be those that will be hardened by this message and there will be those that will obey this message. This is true of the entire Bible. When it is opened and expounded, there will be those who will ignore, or mock or resist its message. On the other hand, there will be those who receive this message with joy and faith and obedience. The point is that this book must not remain sealed up because it appears to be controversial and judgmental. The people of this world need to hear this message.
The Revelation draws very clear lines, emphasising the great difference between the people of God, who will inhabit the city of God, the new Jerusalem and the people of the world, who are the subjects of Satan, the anti-christ and the beast, and who are the citizens of the city of Babylon. This distinction and division between these two kind of people in this world is not made by me or others, but by this open book, which may not be sealed up. The separating process must happen, and it will happen, when the Great Judge will reveal who are the sheep and who are the goats (see Matt. 25:31-46). The consequences of unbelief are always the product of our own choice. As C. S Lewis once remarked, "A man can't be taken to hell, or sent to hell: you can only get there on your own steam."
Vv. 12 &13: “Behold I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me , to repay everyone for what he has done.” That day will reveal who we are , and the great Judge who is “the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End“ will make no mistake in His judgement. Before Him our souls stand exposed and open. The inner workings of the heart and the mind cannot be concealed before His piercing eyes. This is, incidentally, not a proof text that we will be ultimately justified by our works. The Lord Jesus is speaking here of the response of faith, which is good works . Good works should invariably should follow a true profession of faith. And this is a pattern that will be looked for and ‘rewarded’ on the Day of Judgment.
V. 14 : Here we observe that in the New Jerusalem there are only those who have their robes washed, that is those, who have by faith have washed their robes in the blood of Christ. Christ alone is our guarantee , our entrance ticket to heaven. It is by His blood that we can enter into the presence of our holy Creator. He gives them the right to come to the tree of life and for this reason they may enter into the city by the gates.
V.15 : In marked contrast are those in the outside. They are excluded from the New Jerusalem. Again , a very clear division and an exclusion by Jesus .
Vv. 16 &17 : Again the Lord Jesus puts His stamp of authority upon His words , and in v. 17 we find an exhortation to embrace the message of this revelation, under the influence of the Spirit and the Bride who say : “Come ! And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires to take the water of life without price” (cf. Isa 55:1). Notice that the Spirit and the bride are here connected. The Spirit is the Spirit of the Bridegroom. That Spirit of the Bridegroom dwells in the bride- his church ! It is by the Spirit that the bride, the church gives to the people in the world an evangelistic invitation : "Come!" The ones that come are the thirsty ones , also spoken of by the prophet Isaiah in 55:1. The subjects of the true church (chosen before the beginning of time) always long for the coming of the bridegroom (Matt. 25:1-13). However, we shall find in the church at large that there are always “the 5 foolish virgins”, the false professors of faith , who will be shut out on that day . They are those who are paying mere lip service to the coming of the Lord. The true subjects of the Lord, by way of contrast always watch and wait for His coming. They live their lives in the light of His coming. They worship Him faithfully now. They have a desire for holiness and godliness. This is a test for us as a church and as individual believers. The question is: do we long for the Lord Jesus ? Do we find ourselves praying : "Come, Lord Jesus!” (v.20) ?
Vv. 18 &19 : The book of Revelation also tells us about the closure to the giving of revelation. With this revelation any need for further revelation has ceased. Nothing is to be added or taken away (22:19). For this reason the Revelation has a serious warning to those who deal lightly with this book. The warning is not addressed to those who say, “ I find it difficult to understand this book” . It does not apply to our imperfect understanding of this book. No, the words here refer to a conscious attitude of unbelief with respect to this Revelation. This warning is addressed to those who hear the words of this book, and who downplay its contents . The fact that so many pastors will not to preach this book to their people may be a serious indictment, and a withholding of blessing and encouragement to the church. But the most serious aspect may be that people may deny the facts represented in this book with respect to Christ’s second coming and all which follows that. Such people effectively cut themselves off from heaven and eternal life , which is exactly what this warning is about .
Of course, this must not be interpreted as if a person could lose their salvation – as if a person at one time really was a believer, but later fell from grace! The Bible clearly teaches that God preserves His people. Him whom Jesus has saved, he is saved . Nothing can undo the work of Christ (see Rom 8:28ff) . No names can ever be taken out of the book of life.
No! The truth about such a person is that he/she thinks themselves to be a Christian, when in fact there is no evidence that they are. They have no true exhibits of faith in God, and no trust in His Word. They have no assurance from the Holy Spirit that they are the children of God. Even worse , they may distort and corrupt the words of this prophecy concerning the holy city and the coming of the Lord. The sad thing is that in society such people may have a good standing before men, before the church in the world, who think of them as fine Christians. But the text says that anyone that takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy has never had his name recorded in the book of life in the first place. He has no place in the holy city . These verses teach that such a false prophet shall encounter all the plagues that are written in this book, that is, all the judgement that shall come upon the wicked and unbelieving rebels.
These are serious words, but they come from One who is serious. He the Alpha and the Omega (22:13 cf. also 1:8; 21:6), the Beginning and the End (cf. 21:6), the First and the Last (cf. 1:17; 2:8). He says concerning Himself in 22:16 : "I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star."
All that is left now is prayer: "Come Lord Jesus" (22:20) – Maranatha!
Well , I trust that as a result of this lengthy study of the Book of Revelation you have grown in the knowledge of the glory of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that you have grown in your faith. I trust that you have grown in the hope and the ability to love the world less than you love the Lord Jesus . I trust that you have received grace to wash your robes in the blood of the Lamb. I trust that I will see you one day walking in those streets of the great city – the New Jerusalem. And so I close where the book closes, with the apostle John pronouncing the blessing upon the church: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."