Revelation 22:12–21 (NKJV)
After the angel declares the validity of the prophecy, and a brief reference to God’s soon and imminent return, the scene shifts a bit and Jesus begins to speak directly to John again. In this passage, there are several warnings and instructions for the reader in preparation for the coming of the Lord.
12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”Revelation 22:12-17
14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
It is stated here again that the Lord is coming quickly. Here, though, His reward is guaranteed to come with Him. His reward is to be given to everyone on the basis of their works. He reiterates His self-identification as Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End, First and the Last. God is before and after, never not existing in eternity past or future. God is always and forever. He also repeats His instructions that those who do His commandments have the right to enter the gates into the city, and will have the right to the tree of life. This hearkens back to the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They had access to the tree of life and to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They chose to eat of the knowledge tree, and then were made aware of their sinfulness. At that point, they were banished from Eden and kept from the tree of life. Here, though, the proper time and conditions lend themselves to the Edenic conditions being restored, as they have entered the time of reward for being in relationship with Christ. Therefore, eternal life is warranted and available. Those who did not enter into relationship with Christ, however, are outside the city, unable to eat of the tree. They are characterized as dogs, sorcerers, sexually immoral, murderers, idolaters, and liars. This is a doomed lot, unable to enter the city.
Jesus finishes up this section by endorses the testimony of these things, and then reveals His own person even more fully as the “Root and Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” These names declare Him as the rightful King of the righteous, and as the light to all who would seek Him. He is the answer to all the questions that plague mankind. The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” This invitation is in advance of the Tribulation, in advance of the torment and judgment upon the world, in advance of Armageddon and the Great White Throne and the lake of fire. This call is to anyone who reads this prophecy, and is a call to come to Christ and call others to come to this fountain of living water. If you thirst, come to this living water and drink freely. Life eternal and holy, wondrous and awesome, can be yours!
18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.Revelation 22:18-19
A warning is added to the discussion here: do not later the words of this prophecy. While this may be concerning the Revelation, it could very well apply to the entire Bible. Do not add or subtract from the Word of the Lord. Do not alter it to suit your purposes. The very plagues measured out to Egypt, and to the Tribulation-era world, will be measured out to the one who adulterates the Word of the Lord. Do not forfeit your place in the Book of Life, the holy city, and the rewards that accompany residence there. Be true to God’s Word, preach it with anointing, and live by it wholly. When you sin, repent and start fresh. Do not try to improve on God’s teaching, for He is God and we are frail, temporal humanity.
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”Revelation 22:20-21
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Finally, Jesus reminds us that He is surely coming quickly. With this He concludes this Revelation with the word, “Amen,” which is translated, “so be it.” This seals the message and concludes the book. Jesus had stamped His seal of approval on this message. John embraces this message and speaks a phrase to hasten the coming of the Lord, the glorious event of final rest, by saying “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” Let us echo his message of anticipation, and live in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ until His coming. This ends the message of the Word of God for mankind.
Artwork from http://biblia.com/verseoftheday/image/Re22.13?width=700