We come to my final lesson on this great book of Revelation. I do not think I considered how long we would spend running through these 22 chapters. It makes me laugh a little inside that it turned out to be right at 15 months from January 8th a year ago to April 8th this year. From an 8th to an 8th. 62 lessons ended up in this book would make a great golf score (Hard to avoid golf thoughts when I live in Augusta, Georgia and this final lesson is on Master’s Sunday at the Augusta National). Whew! It has been a blessing just as chapter 1 said it would be. Look once again at Revelation 1:3.
3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. (Revelation 1:3–ESV)
He who reads this book to the point of understanding will be blessed. That is what John meant. Here is a link to our lesson on that.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” (Revelation 22:16–ESV)
What more can I say about verse 16? Since I believe the Bible is the inspired word of God I do not immediately see new revelation in Jesus’ statement about the angel’s testimony. Perhaps newness is less critical than nestling a concluding reminder of who is signing off. Jesus is signing off placing his signature, so to speak, on what has gone before. When I send an email that I need to have all my authority behind I add in all my credentials. Microsoft Outlook calls it my “Formal Signature.” Jesus uses a formal signature as this letter closes up.
For those of us who want a more profound pondering things get more interesting when we read further into verse 16. There we see the words root and descendant laid like an odd-couple around David. Let us dig at the word root for a bit by planting other verses around it.
10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 3:10–ESV) To cut down a tree lay your axe to the root said John the Baptist.
6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away…20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. (Matthew 13:6,20-21–ESV) Here Jesus’ parable of the sower speaks of roots. They support the plant and need to be deep.
20 As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. (Mark 11:20–ESV) Remember this tree that failed to thrive? In this verse the disciples are amazed at its thorough withering: from the leaves to the roots. It was a withering unto death, not just unto a new season.
16 If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. (Romans 11:16-18–ESV)
1 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit…10 In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious. (Isaiah 11:1,10–ESV) This passage was referenced in Romans 15.
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (1 Timothy 6:10–ESV)
15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; (Hebrews 12:15–ESV)
5 And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5–ESV)
What root-implications can we garner from this set of verses? Support, sustenance, endurance, part of the plant, substance. Those at least are the herbivorous connections. Don’t miss the tie-in from Isaiah to Revelation in the use of the term Root of Jesse (Jesse was David’s father). Jesus was not just the root of David, but the root of David’s father. There is the pre-incarnation eternal tie-in of Jesus. Add to this the argument between Jesus and the Pharisees toward the end of John 8. There the incarnate Jesus incensed the Pharisees by saying, “Before Abraham was, I am.” See how that goes even farther back than David and Jesse, his father?
Here is Jesus again, this time beyond history, showing himself to the church eternal. He says I existed forever, came into your world as a man for about three decades and then went back to heaven. There he is preparing a place for us and someday will wrap it all up. We need to take that to the bank and live in and among it.