Revelation of John 22


The river of the water of life, 1.

The tree of life, 2.

There is no curse nor darkness in the city of God, 3-5.

The angel assures John of the truth of what he has heard, and

states that the time of the fulfilment is at hand, 6, 7.

He forbids John to worship him, 8, 9.

Again he states that the time of the fulfilment of the

prophecies of this book is at hand, 10-12.

Christ is Alpha and Omega, 13.

The blessedness of those who keep his commandments; they

enter through the gates into the city, 14.

All the unholy are excluded, 15.

Christ sent his angel to testify of those things in the

Churches, 16.

The invitation of the Spirit and the bride, 17.

A curse denounced against those who shall either add to or

take away front the prophecies of this book, 18, 19.

Christ cometh quickly, 20.

The apostolical benediction, 21.


Verse 1. Pure river of water of life] This is evidently a

reference to the garden of paradise, and the river by which it was

watered; and there is also a reference to the account,

Eze 47:7-12.

Water of life, as we have seen before, generally signifies

spring or running water; here it may signify incessant

communications of happiness proceeding from God.

Verse 2. In the midst of the street of it] That is, of the city

which was described in the preceding chapter.

The tree of life] An allusion to Ge 2:9. As this tree of life

is stated to be in the streets of the city, and on each side of

the river, tree must here be an enallage of the singular for the

plural number, trees of life, or trees which yielded fruit by

which life was preserved. The account in Ezekiel is this: "And by

the river, upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side,

shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade-it shall

bring forth new fruit, according to his months-and the fruit

thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine;"

Eze 47:12.

Twelve manner of fruits] καρπουςδωδεκα Twelve fruits;

that is, fruit twelve times in the year, as is immediately

explained, yielded her fruit every month. As this was a great and

spacious city, one fountain was not sufficient to provide water

for it, therefore a river is mentioned; a great river, by which it

was sufficiently watered. Some think that by this tree of life the

Gospel is indicated; the twelve fruits are the twelve apostles;

and the leaves are Gospel doctrines by which the nations-the

Gentiles, are healed of the disease of sin. But this seems to be

a fanciful interpretation.

Verse 3. No more curse] Instead of καταναθεμα, curse, the best

MSS., versions, &c., read καταθεμα cursed person. As there shall

be no more sinning against God, so there shall be no more curse of

God upon the people; for they shall be all his servants, and serve

him. Our first parents came under the curse by sinning against

their Maker in paradise; these shall never apostatize, therefore

neither they nor the earth shall be cursed.

Verse 4. See his face] Enjoy what is called the beatific vision;

and they shall exhibit the fullest evidence that they belong

entirely to him, for his name shall be written on their foreheads.

Verse 5. There shall be no night there] See the 23d and 25th

verses of the preceding chapter. Re 21:23, 25

Verse 6. These sayings are faithful and true] See the preceding

chapter, Re 21:5. From this verse to the end of the chapter is

reckoned the epilogue of this book. 1. The angel affirms the truth

of all that had been spoken, Re 22:6-11. 2. Jesus Christ confirms

what has been affirmed, and pledges himself for the fulfilment of

all the prophecies contained in it, Re 22:12-17. 3. John cautions

his readers against adding or diminishing, and concludes with the

apostolical blessing, Re 22:18-21.

The things which must shortly be done.] There are many sayings

in this book which, if taken literally, would intimate that the

prophecies delivered in the whole of the Apocalypse were to be

fulfilled in a short time after their delivery to John; and this

is a strong support for the scheme of Wetstein, and those who

maintain that the prophecies of this book all referred to those

times in which the apostle lived, and to the disturbances which

then took place, not only among the Jews, but in the Roman empire.

What they all mean, and when and how they are to be fulfilled, God

in heaven alone knows.

Verse 8. I fell down to worship] I prostrated myself before him

as before a superior being, to express my gratitude, and give him

thanks for the communications he had made. See on Re 19:10.

Verse 10. Seal not the sayings] Do not lay them up for future

generations; they concern the present times; they must shortly

come to pass, for the time is at hand. See above, Re 22:6. What

concerned the Jews was certainly at hand.

Verse 11. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still] The time

of fulfilment will come so suddenly that there will be but little

space for repentance and amendment. What is done must be done

instantly; and let him that is holy persevere, and hold fast what

he has received.

Verse 12. Behold, I come quickly] I come to establish nay cause,

comfort and support my followers, and punish the wicked.

Verse 13. I am Alpha and Omega]

See Clarke on Re 1:8; "Re 1:18".

Verse 14. Blessed are they that do his commandments] They are

happy who are obedient.

That they may have right to the tree of life] The original is

much more expressive, ιναεσταιηεξουσιααυτονεπιτοξυλοντης

ζωης That they may have authority over the tree of life; an

authority founded on right, this right founded on obedience to

the commandments of God, and that obedience produced by the grace

of God working in them. Without grace no obedience; without

obedience no authority to the tree of life; without authority no

right; without right no enjoyment: God's grace through Christ

produces the good, and then rewards it as if all had been our own.

Verse 15. Without are dogs] All those who are uncircumcised in

heart. The Jews call all the uncircumcised dogs. "Who is a dog?

Ans. He who is not circumcised." Pirkey Elieser, chap. 29.

And sorcerers] See Clarke on Re 21:8.

Verse 16. I Jesus] The Maker, the Redeemer, and Judge of all


Have sent mine angel] An especial messenger from heaven.

I am the root and the offspring of David] Christ is the root of

David as to his Divine nature; for from that all the human race

sprang, for he is the Creator of all things, and without him was

nothing made which is made. And he is the offspring of David as to

his human nature; for that he took of the stock of David, becoming

thereby heir to the Jewish throne, and the only heir which then

existed; and it is remarkable that the whole regal family

terminated in Christ: and as HE liveth for ever, he is the alone

true David and everlasting King.

The bright and morning star.] I am splendour and glory to my

kingdom; as the morning star ushers in the sun, so shall I usher

in the unclouded and eternal glories of the everlasting kingdom.

Verse 17. The Spirit and the bride] All the prophets and all the

apostles; the Church of God under the Old Testament, and the

Church of Christ under the New.

Say, Come.] Invite men to Jesus, that by him they may be saved

and prepared for this kingdom.

Let him that heareth] Let all who are privileged with reading

and hearing the word of God, join in the general invitation to


Him that is athirst] He who feels his need of salvation, and is

longing to drink of the living fountain.

And whosoever will] No soul is excluded: Jesus died for every

man; every man may be saved; therefore let him who wills, who

wishes for salvation, come and take the water of life

freely-without money or price!

Verse 18. If any man shall add] Shall give any other meaning to

these prophecies, or any other application of them than God

intends, he, though not originally intended, shall have the

plagues threatened in this book for his portion.

Verse 19. If any man shall take away] If any man shall lessen

this meaning, curtail the sense, explain away the spirit and

design, of these prophecies, God shall take away his part out of

the book of life, &c. Thus Jesus Christ warns all those who

consider this book to beware of indulging their own conjectures

concerning it. I confess that this warning has its own powerful

influence upon my mind, and has prevented me from indulging my own

conjectures concerning its meaning, or of adopting the conjectures

of others. These visions and threatenings are too delicate and

awful a subject to trifle with, or even to treat in the most

solemn manner, where the meaning is obscure. I must leave these

things to time and event, the surest interpreters. No jot or

tittle of Christ's word shall fall to the ground; all shall have

its fulfilment in due time.

This is termed a revelation, but it is a revelation of symbols;

an exhibition of enigmas, to which no particular solution is

given, and to which God alone can give the solution.

Verse 20. Surely I come quickly] This may be truly said to every

person in every age; Jesus the Judge is at the door!

Even so, come, Lord Jesus.] The wish and desire of the suffering

Church, and of all the followers of God, who are longing for the

coming of his kingdom.

Verse 21. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ] May the favour and

powerful influence of Jesus Christ be with you all; you of the

seven Churches, and the whole Church of Christ in every part of

the earth, and through all the periods of time.

Instead of παντωνυμων, you all, the most excellent MSS. and

versions have παντωντωναγιων, all the saints. This reading

Griesbach has received into the text as indisputably genuine.

Amen.] So be it! and so shall it be for ever and ever. The

opinion of Dr. Priestley, concerning the authenticity of this

book, and the manner in which it is written, should not be

withheld from either the learned or pious reader. "I think it

impossible for any intelligent and candid person to peruse this

book without being struck in the most forcible manner with the

peculiar dignity and sublimity of its composition, superior to

that of any other writing whatever; so as to be convinced that,

considering the age in which it appeared, none but a person

divinely inspired could have written it. These prophecies are

also written in such a manner as to satisfy us that the events

announced to us were really foreseen, being described in such a

manner as no person writing without that knowledge could have

done. This requires such a mixture of clearness and obscurity as

has never yet been imitated by any forgers of prophecy whatever.

Forgeries, written of course after the events, have always been

too plain. It is only in the Scriptures, and especially in the

book of Daniel, and this of the Revelation, that we find this

happy mixture of clearness and obscurity in the accounts of future

events."-Notes on Revelation.

The Subscriptions to this book are both few and unimportant:-

The CODEX ALEXANDRINUS has simply-The Revelation of John.

The SYRIAC doubles the Amen.

The AETHIOPIC.-Here is ended the vision of John, the Apocalypse;

Amen: this is, as one might say, the vision which he saw in his

life; and it was written by the blessed John, the evangelist of


VULGATE and COPTIC nothing.

ANCIENT ARABIC.-By the assistance of our Lord Jesus Christ, the

vision of John, the apostle and evangelist, the beloved of the

Lord, is finished: this is the Apocalypse which the Lord revealed

to him for the service of men. To Him be glory for ever and ever.

HAVING now brought my short notes on this very obscure book to a

conclusion, it may be expected that, although I do not adopt any

of the theories which have been delivered concerning it, yet I

should give the most plausible scheme of the ancients or moderns

which has come to my knowledge. This I would gladly do if I had

any scheme to which I could give a decided preference. However, as

I have given in the preface the scheme of Professor Wetstein, it

is right that I should, at the conclusion, give the scheme of Mr.

Lowman, which is nearly the same with that of Bishop Newton, and

which, as far as I can learn, is considered by the most rational

divines as being the most consistent and probable.

The scheme of the learned and pious Bengel may be found in the

late Rev. John Wesley's notes on this book; that of Mr. Lowman,

which now follows, may he found at the end of Dr. Dodd's notes.

Among other objections to this and all such schemes, I have

this, which to me appears of vital consequence; its dates are too

late. I think the book was written before the destruction of

Jerusalem, and not in 95 or 96, the date which I follow in the

margin; which date I give, not as my own opinion, but the opinion

of others.

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