- Keith Fink
“Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy (Revelation 22:11).”
Allow me to say what some of you are thinking: “What!?” It is easy to see why we would respond this way; after all, there are ways of understanding this that would be contrary to what we know of God and His purposes (e.g., that He would be “pro evil”). You can look to commentaries for help and if they do their job well they will list for you at least six different ways to understand this, cite other commentators who support each of those ideas, offer weaknesses of each proposal, and then make their own proposal.
That there are such passages in God’s Word should not disturb us. Remember, the Bible is telling us about a transcendent God and His great purposes. Keeping that reality in mind, we should expect there would be occasions where we might find ourselves saying, “What!?” When we come to such passages we should make sure any option we choose is within the boundaries of clear doctrine. Above all, we should not build some new theology on what is unclear.
We are likely meant to be reminded of very similar things that are said in Daniel 12:10. However, what makes the passage from Revelation more difficult is that it is an exhortation, while the passage from Daniel is simply a statement of fact. What is being said in Revelation is also likely similar to Isaiah 6:9-10.
For what it is worth, I think this is a call for the truth of people’s hearts to be seen more clearly. That is a call for things not to be covered over by sham religiosity or political correctness. Evil should be seen as evil and righteousness as righteousness. There are two separate destinies for two different groups of people; yet when we wear similar veneers; it is easy to become confused. It does us no good to deceive some if the truth will be known by God. Two groups - which are you a part of?