When a king sits on his throne to judge,
he winnows out all evil with his eyes.
So is the task of a just king or a just judge. He listens well and he is a keen observer. He notes the wink or eyes averting his gaze. He sees the smile of arrogance and the nervous twitching of the liar. He sees through the exterior into the heart. Such is the task of the one who rules and judges justly.
If only we had many such judges. It is a skill few have, either out of ineptness or corruptness. How difficult it is to rule and judge well when one has his own guilt and sinfulness to deal with, as well as limitations.
All the more be thankful for the King and Judge who rules in perfect justice and righteousness. And yet such a thought should bring terror to our hearts, except that this same King and Judge is merciful and wise. In his mercy and by his wisdom he has provided the means by which we who are wicked may stand before him and be declared just. Those who do not understand this mercy will claim that it is a cheap grace that lets sinners off the hook. Those who do understand it are simply moved to bow before such incredulous mercy and wisdom, and all the more strive to live righteous and just lives. There are those who try to “work the system” and make his mercy work for them while they secretly hold on to their sin. But, the “king who sits on the throne of judgment winnows all evil with his eyes.”
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
John and the Angel
6 The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”
7 “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.”
8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. 9 But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!”
10 Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near. 11 Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.”
Epilogue: Invitation and Warning
12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you[a] this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.