Apocalypse 1: The Writer1

In this way, John directly relates his “open-mindedness”, his ability to receive revelation, to his typical experiences of the Sunday – enabling him to hear this loud voice behind him, like a trumpet. Then, turning to see the voice that was speaking to him, indeed he sees seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands perceives one like a son of man – the first vision to be described in this book of revelation.

At the very end of the book, many of the themes from the beginning come back. But first, at the end of the final vision (21:6-7), in the words of the angel who showed John the city and the river flowing through the city, we hear an echo of the words of the One sitting on the throne in that final vision (21:5): “these words are trustworthy and true”. The angel then evokes the very first words of the Introduction, about the angel sent to show to His servants what must soon take place – by, as is said here, “the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets”. And the promise of His Coming – soon, is added here in the first of the three times they are heard in the conclusion of the book (22:7, 12, 20), before the 6th beatitude affirms the importance of ”keeping” the words of the prophecy of this book.

In conclusion, in the verses 8-9 “I John” affirms that indeed he is the one who “heard and saw these things” – which he had described throughout the book. Again, he is rebuffed by the angel whom he wants to worship (see 19:10), as the angel is a fellow servant with John and his brothers, the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book (again this “keep”!) – the revelation to John, in this last part, being seen as a prophetic vision.

John, in the first of the words of the Lord which follow (22:10-12), contrary to what had been said to him when the Thunders spoke (10:4), is told that he should not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book – “for the time is near” (see 1:3). For the near future, it will be “business as usual” for both evildoers and righteous. But He who is coming soon will bring with him his “recompense”, his “reward”, in settlement of things done or omitted. And once more, as in the Introduction after the promise of Christ’s coming, the voice of the Lord God comes through, of Him “who is and who was and who is to come”, Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, affirming what has been revealed (22:13). The 7th beatitude rounds this off, reminding us strongly of our human task to continue to “wash our robes” (see 6:11 and 7:9 and 14). Who indeed will have conquered (to use the refrain in the Seven Letters and in the Last Vision [in 21:7]), will have access to the main elements of that new heaven and new earth; the others, as already has been expressed in 21:8, will have to stay “outside”.

Addressing directly those who, servants of his Lord and God (1:1), were to receive this revelation, “I Jesus” now affirms this testimony for the churches (22:16ff). Doing so, he calls to mind vital elements of the two first visions in this revelation: the ancestry of the Lamb who was perceived as sacrificed (5:6), as well as the moment that “One like a Son of man” reveals himself as the Son of God to him who gains the morning star (2:18 and 28). In such a way he prepares for the fulfillment of the 4th beatitude (19:9 following 19:7), using the image found in the Last Vision (21:2 and 9) of the Bride who invites everyone to “Come” to this marriage supper of the Lamb, at the same time calling up the vision of the multitude before the throne and words of the Last Vision (7:16 and 21:6). Those who have conquered, who have received their settlement, have already paid their price and may just “come”.

John, being the witness to the prophecy of this book, here as in the beginning (1:2-3), has to “warn” (22:18ff) that this prophecy as a whole is inviolable, as it is a road to fulfillment, Therefore, whoever adds to it or takes away from it, will be “outside” as well.

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