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Revelation 22:11

If you haven't read it, you might want to go to the first part of this study of Revelation chapter 22. This page looks at just Revelation 22:11, a verse that is said to be a reference to the close of probation.

"He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still." (Rev 22:11)

A common term for the event described in this verse is "the close of probation." It is sometimes understood as a declaration something like "time is up" suggesting that if people haven't made a decision for Christ by that point then it is too late.

But what about the word "let"? It sounds more like permission than a restriction. Is it possible that at that point everyone has made their decision and this is more like granting people the freedom to choose and go the direction they want?

The "let him" is not "he must now and forever remain in this condition but, rather, "he has made his final decision, I will allow him to have his free will and will not force a change." The verse above indicates the point in time when this declaration is made. It is quickly followed by a verse stating the imminence of the Second Coming:

This declaration is similar to:

"Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone." (Hos 4:17)

Another example of a final decision, in this case, for a nation:

"Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." (Matt 23:38)

Some also see the time determined leading up to Noah's flood as a period od probation:

"And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years." (Gen 6:3)

There are four classes mentioned: unjust, filthy, righteous, holy. These four groups can be compared to the four horses of Revelation chapter 6 as follows:

Group in Rev 22:11 Horse Groups of people Rider Condition
holy white God's army of 144,000 Christ Ready for judgment which begins at the house of God
filthy red Christians by profession only Satan Deceived by Babylon; being called out - come out of her my people
righteous black God's people in Babylon Christ Deceived by Babylon; being called out - come out of her my people
unjust pale never professed Christ Satan Never accepted Christ (or rejected Him) and never justified in the first place

Two of these groups are associated with Christ and are identified as the holy and the righteous, The holy are those that have formed Christ-like characters and provided evidence that God's laws can, in fact, be kept. The righteous are those who are right with God but perhaps have not achieved totally holy lives - fortunately there is forgiveness.

The other two groups are associated with or controlled by Satan. Some, of course, have never accepted the Redeemer or His sacrifice for them. They are unjust, they have never been made right with God. Another group professes acceptance of Christianity but are depending upon their own righteousness, their own works to merit salvation. These are described by the following verse:

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." (Isa 64:6)

Fortunately, even for these most-deceived people, there is still (presently) opportunity for a change:

"And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment." (Zech 3:4)

But the point will come, speed on by the conditions in the last days, when all will have made a final decision and fully developed their characters. The declaration has to do with those fully-developed, fully-ripened characters, which is the same as saying that it is harvest time:

"And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe." (Rev 14:18)
"The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels." (Matt 13:39)

The parable of the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13) certainly fits in with this understanding.

The "let him be" shows that God does not coerce the will:

"And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day. For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD. And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them." (Eze 2:3-5)
"But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels. Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries." (Psa 81:11-14)

The form of speech used in Revelation chapter 22:11 is called, in Latin, "idem per idem," literally: "the same for the same." We use it in expressions such as "boys will be boys" Spanish people use it saying "whatever will be will be" in Spanish: "Que sera, sera." Other Biblical examples include:

  1. "If I perish, I perish" (Esther 4:16)
  2. "I am who I am" (Exo 3:14)
  3. "I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy." (Exo 33:19)
Go to the rest of our study of Revelation 22.  


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The Greek has multiple words for forgiveness? God forgives (charizomai) whether we ask or not. Receiving forgiveness (apheimi) is by our choice.
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