Re 22:1-21. The River of
Life: The Tree of Life: The Other Blessednesses of the Redeemed. John Forbidden to Worship the Angel. Nearness of Christ's Coming to Fix Man's Eternal
State. Testimony of Jesus, His Spirit, and the Bride, Any Addition to Which, or Subtraction from Which,
Shall Be Eternally Punished. Closing Benediction.
1. pure—A, B, Vulgate, and Hilary 22, omit.
water of life—infinitely superior to
the typical waters in the first Paradise (Ge 2:10-14); and even superior to those
figurative ones in the millennial Jerusalem (Eze 47:1,
12; Zec 14:8), as the matured
fruit is superior to the flower. The millennial waters represent full
Gospel grace; these waters of new Jerusalem represent Gospel glory
perfected. Their continuous flow from God, the Fountain of life,
symbolizes the uninterrupted continuance of life derived by the saints,
ever fresh, from Him: life in fulness of joy, as well as perpetual
vitality. Like pure crystal, it is free from every taint: compare Re 4:6, "before the throne a sea of glass, like
2. The harmonious unity of Scripture is herein
exhibited. The Fathers compared it to a ring, an unbroken circle,
returning into itself. Between the events of Genesis and those at the
close of the Apocalypse, at least six thousand or seven thousand years
intervene; and between Moses the first writer and John the last about
one thousand five hundred years. How striking it is that, as in the
beginning we found Adam and Eve, his bride, in innocence m Paradise,
then tempted by the serpent, and driven from the tree of life, and from
the pleasant waters of Eden, yet not without a promise of a Redeemer
who should crush the serpent; so at the close, the old serpent cast out
for ever by the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, who appears with His
Bride, the Church, in a better Paradise, and amidst better waters
22:1): the tree of life also
is there with all its healing properties, not guarded with a
flaming sword, but open to all who overcome (Re 2:7), and there is no more curse.
street of it—that is, of the city.
on either side of the river—Alford translates, "In the midst of the street
of it (the city) and of the river, on one side and on the other" (for
the second Greek, "enteuthen," A, B, and Syriac
read, ekeithen: the sense is the same; compare Greek,
19:18); thus the trees were
on each side in the middle of the space between the street and the
river. But from Eze 47:7, I
prefer English Version. The antitype exceeds the type: in the
first Paradise was only one tree of life; now there are "very
many trees at the bank of the river, on the one side and on the
other." To make good sense, supposing there to be but one
tree, we should either, as Mede, suppose
that the Greek for street is a plain washed on
both sides by the river (as the first Paradise was washed on one side
by the Tigris, on the other by the Euphrates), and that in the midst of
the plain, which itself is in the midst of the river's branches, stood
the tree: in which case we may translate, "In the midst of the street
(plain) itself, and of the river (having two branches flowing)
on this and on that side, was there the tree of life." Or else with
Durham suppose, the tree was in
the midst of the river, and extending its branches to both banks. But
compare Eze 47:12,
the millennial type of the final Paradise; which shows that there are
several trees of the one kind, all termed "the tree of life." Death
reigns now because of sin; even in the millennial earth sin, and
therefore death, though much limited, shall not altogether cease. But
in the final and heavenly city on earth, sin and death shall utterly
yielded her fruit every
month—Greek, "according to each month"; each month had
its own proper fruit, just as different seasons are now marked by their
own productions; only that then, unlike now, there shall be no
season without its fruit, and there shall be an endless variety,
answering to twelve, the number symbolical of the world-wide
Church (compare Note, see on Re 12:1; Re 21:14). Archbishop
Whatley thinks that the tree of life was among the trees of
which Adam freely ate (Ge 2:9, 16, 17), and that his continuance in
immortality was dependent on his continuing to eat of this tree;
having forfeited it, he became liable to death; but still the effects
of having eaten of it for a time showed themselves in the longevity of
the patriarchs. God could undoubtedly endue a tree with special
medicinal powers. But Ge 3:22 seems
to imply, man had not yet taken of the tree, and that if he had,
he would have lived for ever, which in his then fallen state would have
been the greatest curse.
leaves … for …
healing—(Eze 47:9, 12). The leaves shall be the
health-giving preventive securing the redeemed against, not
healing them of, sicknesses, while "the fruit shall be for meat." In
the millennium described in Eze 47:1-23 and Re 20:1-15, the Church shall give the Gospel-tree
to the nations outside Israel and the Church, and so shall heal their
spiritual malady; but in the final and perfect new
Jerusalem here described, the state of all is eternally fixed, and no
saving process goes on any longer (compare Re 22:11). Alford
utterly mistakes in speaking of "nations outside," and "dwelling on the
renewed earth, organized under kings, and saved by the influences of
the heavenly city" (!) Compare Re 21:2, 10-27; the "nations" mentioned (Re 21:24) are those which have long before,
namely, in the millennium (Re 11:15),
become the Lord's and His Christ's.
3. no more curse—of which the earnest
shall be given in the millennium (Zec 14:11). God can only dwell where the curse and
its cause, the cursed thing sin (Jos 7:12), are removed. So there follows rightly,
"But the throne of God and of the Lamb (who redeemed us from the curse,
13) shall be in it." Compare
in the millennium, Eze 48:35.
serve him—with worship (Re 7:15).
4. see his face—revealed in divine
glory, in Christ Jesus. They shall see and know Him with
intuitive knowledge of Him, even as they are known by Him (1Co
13:9-12), and face to face.
Compare 1Ti 6:16, with Joh 14:9. God the Father can only be seen in
in—Greek, "on their
foreheads." Not only shall they personally and in secret (Re 3:17) know their sonship, but they shall be
known as sons of God to all the citizens of the new Jerusalem, so that
the free flow of mutual love among the members of Christ's family will
not be checked by suspicion as here.
5. there—so Andreas. But A, B, Vulgate, and Syriac
read, "(there shall be no night) any longer"; Greek,
"eti," for "ekei."
they need—A, Vulgate, and
Coptic read the future, "they shall not have need." B
reads, "(and there shall be) no need."
candle—Greek, "lamp." A,
Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic insert "light (of a
candle, or lamp)." B Omits it.
of the sun—so A. But B omits it.
giveth … light—"illumines." So
Vulgate and Syriac. But A reads, "shall give
them—so B and Andreas. But A reads, "upon them."
reign—with a glory probably
transcending that of their reign in heaven with Christ over the
millennial nations in the flesh described in Re 20:4, 6; that reign was but for a limited time,
"a thousand years"; this final reign is "unto the ages of the
6. These sayings are true—thrice
repeated (Re 19:9; 21:5). For we are slow to believe that God is
as good as He is. The news seems to us, habituated as we are to the
misery of this fallen world, too good to be true [Nangle]. They are no dreams of a visionary, but the
realities of God's sure word.
holy—so Andreas. But A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, and
Coptic read, "(the Lord God of the) spirits (of the
prophets)." The Lord God who with His Spirit inspired their spirits so
as to be able to prophesy. There is but one Spirit, but individual
prophets, according to the measure given them (1Co 12:4-11), had their own spirits [Bengel] (1Pe 1:11; 2Pe 1:21).
be done—Greek, "come to
7. "And" is omitted in Coptic and Andreas with English Version, but is
inserted by A, B, Vulgate and Syriac.
8. Both here and in Re 19:9, 10, the apostle's falling at the feet
of the angel is preceded by a glorious promise to the Church,
accompanied with the assurance, that "These are the true sayings of
God," and that those are "blessed" who keep them. Rapturous emotion,
gratitude, and adoration, at the prospect of the Church's future glory
transport him out of himself, so as all but to fall into an
unjustifiable act; contrast his opposite feeling at the prospect of the
Church's deep fall [Auberlen], see on Re 17:6; Re 19:9, 10.
saw … and heard—A, B,
Vulgate, and Syriac transpose these verbs. Translate
literally, "I John (was he) who heard and saw these things." It is
observable that in Re 19:10,
the language is, "I fell before his feet to worship him"; but here, "I
fell down to worship (God?) before the feet of the angel." It
seems unlikely that John, when once reproved, would fall into the very
same error again. Bengel's view,
therefore, is probable; John had first intended to worship the
angel (Re 19:10),
but now only at his feet intends to worship (God). The angel
does not even permit this.
9. Literally, "See not"; the abruptness of the
phrase marking the angel's abhorrence of the thought of his
being worshipped however indirectly. Contrast the fallen angel's
temptation to Jesus, "Fall down and worship me" (Mt 4:9).
for—A, B, Vulgate, Syriac,
Coptic, Andreas, and Cyprian omit "for"; which accords with the abrupt
earnestness of the angel's prohibition of an act derogatory to God.
and of—"and (the fellow servant) of
10. Seal not—But in Da 12:4, 9 (compare Da 8:26), the command is, "Seal the book," for
the vision shall be "for many days." The fulfilment of Daniel's
prophecy was distant, that of John's prophecy is near. The New
Testament is the time of the end and fulfilment. The Gentile Church,
for which John wrote his Revelation, needs more to be impressed with
the shortness of the period, as it is inclined, owing to its Gentile
origin, to conform to the world and forget the coming of the Lord. The
Revelation points, on the one hand, to Christ's coming as distant, for
it shows the succession of the seven seals, trumpets, and vials; on the
other hand, it proclaims, "Behold, I come quickly." So Christ marked
many events as about to intervene before His coming, and yet He also
says "Behold, I come quickly," because our right attitude is that of
continual prayerful watching for His coming (Mt
25:6, 13, 19; Mr 13:32-37
[Auberlen]; compare Re 1:3).
11. unjust—"unrighteous"; in relation to
one's fellow men; opposed to "righteous," or "just" (as the
Greek may be translated) below. More literally, "he that
doeth unjustly, let him do unjustly still."
filthy—in relation to one's own soul
as unclean before God; opposed to holy," consecrated to God as pure. A
omits the clause, "He which is filthy let him be filthy still." But B
supports it. In the letter of the Vienne and Lyons Martyrs (in Eusebius) in the second century, the reading
is, "He that is lawless (Greek, 'anomos') let him
be lawless; and he that is righteous let him be righteous (literally,
'be justified') still." No manuscript is so old. A, B, Vulgate,
Syriac, Coptic, Andreas, and Cyprian read, "let him do righteousness"
2:29; 3:7). The punishment of
sin is sin, the reward of holiness is holiness. Eternal punishment is
not so much an arbitrary law, as a result necessarily following in the
very nature of things, as the fruit results from the bud. No worse
punishment can God lay on ungodly men than to give them up to
themselves. The solemn lesson derivable from this verse is, Be
converted now in the short time left (Re 22:10, end) before "I come" (Re 22:7, 12), or else you must remain
unconverted for ever; sin in the eternal world will be left to its own
natural consequences; holiness in germ will there develop itself into
perfect holiness, which is happiness.
12. And—in none of our manuscripts. But
A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, and Cyprian omit it.
behold, I come quickly—(Compare Re 22:7).
my reward is with me—(Isa 40:10;
to give—Greek, "to render."
every man—Greek, "to
shall be—so B in Mai. But B in Tischendorf, and A, Syriac, read, "is."
13. I am Alpha—Greek, "…
the Alpha and the Omega." A, B, Vulgate, Syriac,
Origen, and Cyprian transpose thus, "the First and the Last, the
Beginning and the End." Andreas supports
English Version. Compare with these divine titles assumed here
by the Lord Jesus, Re 1:8, 17; 21:6. At the winding up of the whole scheme
of revelation He announces Himself as the One before whom and after
whom there is no God.
14. do his commandments—so B, Syriac,
Coptic, and Cyprian. But A,
Aleph, and Vulgate read, "(Blessed are they that) wash
their robes," namely, in the blood of the Lamb (compare
Re 7:14). This reading takes away the
pretext for the notion of salvation by works. But even English
Version reading is quite compatible with salvation by grace; for
God's first and grand Gospel "commandment" is to believe on Jesus. Thus
our "right" to (Greek, "privilege" or "lawful authority over")
the tree of life is due not to our doings, but to what He has done for
us. The right, or privilege, is founded, not on our
merits, but on God's grace.
through—Greek, "by the
15. But—so Coptic. But A, B,
Hippolytus, Andreas, and Cyprian
dogs—Greek, "the dogs"; the
impure, filthy (Re 22:11;
maketh—including also "whosoever
practiceth a lie" [W. Kelly].
16. mine angel—for Jesus is Lord of the
unto you—ministers and people in the
seven representative churches, and, through you, to testify to
Christians of all times and places.
root … offspring of
David—appropriate title here where assuring His Church of
"the sure mercies of David," secured to Israel first, and through
Israel to the Gentiles. Root of David, as being Jehovah; the
offspring of David as man. David's Lord, yet David's son (Mt 22:42-45).
the morning star—that ushered in the
day of grace in the beginning of this dispensation and that shall usher
in the everlasting day of glory at its close.
17. Reply of the spiritual Church and John to
Christ's words (Re 22:7, 12, 16).
the Spirit—in the churches and in the
the bride—not here called "wife," as
that title applies to her only when the full number constituting the
Church shall have been completed. The invitation, "Come," only holds
good while the Church is still but an affianced Bride, and not
the actually wedded wife. However, "Come" may rather be the
prayer of the Spirit in the Church and in believers in reply to
Christ's "I come quickly," crying, Even so, "Come" (Re 22:7, 12); Re 22:20 confirms this view. The whole question
of your salvation hinges on this, that you be able to hear with joy
Christ's announcement, "I come," and to reply, "Come" [Bengel]. Come to fully glorify Thy Bride.
let him that heareth—that is, let him
that heareth the Spirit and Bride saying to the Lord Jesus, "Come,"
join the Bride as a true believer, become part of her, and so say with
her to Jesus, "Come." On "heareth" means "obeyeth"; for until one has
obeyed the Gospel call, he cannot pray to Jesus "Come"; so
"hear" is used, Re 1:3; Joh 10:16. Let him that hears and obeys Jesus'
voice (Re 22:16; Re 1:3) join in praying "Come." Compare Re 6:1, 10; see on Re
6:1. In the other view, which makes "Come" an invitation to
sinners, this clause urges those who themselves hear savingly the
invitation to address the same to others, as did Andrew and Philip
after they themselves had heard and obeyed Jesus' invitation,
let him that is athirst come—As the
Bride, the Church, prays to Jesus, "Come," so she urges all whosoever
thirst for participation in the full manifestation of
redemption-glory at His coming to us, to COME in the meantime and drink of the living waters,
which are the earnest of "the water of life pure as crystal … out
of the throne of God of the Lamb" (Re 22:1) in the regenerated heaven and
And—so Syriac. But A, B,
Vulgate, and Coptic omit "and."
whosoever will—that is, is willing and
desirous. There is a descending climax; Let him that heareth
effectually and savingly Christ's voice, pray individually, as the
Bride, the Church, does collectively, "Come, Lord Jesus" (Re 22:20). Let him who, though not yet having
actually heard unto salvation, and so not yet able to join in
the prayer, "Lord Jesus, come, "still thirsts for it,
come to Christ. Whosoever is even willing, though his
desires do not yet amount to positive thirsting, let him take
the water of life freely, that is, gratuitously.
18. For I testify—None of our
manuscripts have this. A, B, Vulgate, and Andreas read, "I" emphatic in the Greek.
unto these things—A, B, and Andreas read, "unto them."
add … add—just retribution in
19. book—None of our manuscripts read
this. A, B, Aleph, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic
read, "(take away his part, that is, portion) from the tree of
life," that is, shall deprive him of participation in the tree of
and from the things—so Vulgate.
But A, B, Aleph, Syriac, Coptic, and Andreas omit "and"; then "which are written in this
book" will refer to "the holy city and the tree of life." As in the
beginning of this book (Re 1:3) a
blessing was promised to the devout, obedient student of it, so now at
its close a curse is denounced against those who add to, or take from,
20. Amen. Even so, come—The Song of
8:14) closes with the same
yearning prayer for Christ's coming. A, B, and Aleph omit "Even
so," Greek, "nai": then translate for Amen, "So
be it, come, Lord Jesus"; joining the "Amen," or "So be it," not
with Christ's saying (for He calls Himself the "Amen" at the beginning
of sentences, rather than puts it as a confirmation at the end), but
with John's reply. Christ's "I come," and John's "Come," are almost
coincident in time; so truly does the believer reflect the mind of his
21. our—so Vulgate, Syriac, and
Coptic. But A, B, and Aleph omit.
Christ—so B, Vulgate, Syriac,
Coptic, and Andreas. But A and
with you all—so none of our
manuscripts. B has, "with all the saints." A and Vulgate have,
"with all." Aleph has, "with the saints." This closing
benediction, Paul's mark in his Epistles, was after Paul's death taken
up by John. The Old Testament ended with a "curse" in connection with
the law; the New Testament ends with a blessing in union with
the Lord Jesus.
Amen—so B, Aleph, and Andreas. A and Vulgate Fuldensis omit
May the Blessed Lord who has caused all holy
Scriptures to be written for our learning, bless this humble effort to
make Scripture expound itself, and make it an instrument towards the
conversion of sinners and the edification of saints, to the glory of
His great name and the hastening of His kingdom! Amen.