Bible Commentaries

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

Revelation 22

Verse 11

Revelation 19:11 to Revelation 22:5.] THE END: beginning with the triumphal coming forth of the Lord and His saints to victory (Revelation 19:11-16), then proceeding with the great defeat and destruction of the beast and false prophet and kings of the earth (Revelation 19:17-21), the binding of Satan and the millennial reign (ch. Revelation 20:1-6), the unbinding of Satan and his destruction and that of the deceived nations (Revelation 20:7-10), the great general judgment (Revelation 20:11-15), and terminating with the vision of the new heavens and earth, and the glories of the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:1 to Revelation 22:5).

Verses 1-5

CH. Revelation 21:1 to Revelation 22:5.] The new heavens and new earth: the glories of the heavenly Jerusalem. The whole of the things described in the remaining portion of the book are subsequent to the general judgment, and descriptive of the consummation of the triumph and bliss of Christ’s people with Him in the eternal kingdom of God. This eternal kingdom is situated on the purified and renewed earth, become the blessed habitation of God with his glorified people. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first (i. e. old, see ref.) heaven and the first earth were departed: and the sea exists no longer (see on the whole, Isaiah 65:17. The vision does not necessarily suppose the annihilation of the old creation, but only its passing away as to its outward and recognizable form, and renewal to a fresh and more glorious one. And though not here stated on the surface, it is evident that the method of renewal is that described in 2 Peter 3:10 ff.; viz. a renovation by fire. This alone will account for the unexpected and interesting feature here introduced, viz. that the sea exists no longer. For this the words mean (see Revelation 21:4), and not as Düsterd., that the (former) sea, as well as the former heaven and earth, had passed away). And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem (see especially ref. Gal., ἄνω ἱερους., and note), coming down out of heaven from God (Schöttg. quotes from the remarkable Jewish book Sohar, Gen. f. 69, c. 271, “R. Jeremias dixit, Deus S. B. innovabit mundum suum, et ædificabit Hierosolymam, ut ipsam descendere faciat in medium sui de cœlo, ita ut nunquam destruatur.” See Schöttg.’s dissertation “de Hierosolyma cœlesti,” in his vol. i. 1205 ff.), prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (as in our common discourse, so here with the Evangelist, the name of the material city stands for the community formed by its inhabitants. But it does not follow in his case, any more than in ours, that both material city and inhabitants have not a veritable existence: nor can we say that the glorious description of it, presently to follow, applies only to them. On the figure, see Isaiah 61:10 to Isaiah 62:5). And I heard a great voice out of the throne saying, Behold, the tabernacle (i. e. dwelling: the allusion being to the tabernacle in the wilderness, in which God dwelt in symbol only) of God is with men, and He shall dwell (tabernacle) with them, and they shall be his people (plur., because, as in Revelation 21:24, many nations shall now partake in the blessed fulfilment of the promise), and He shall be God with them (the name Emmanuel, μεθʼ ἡμῶν ὁ θεός, first then being realized in its full significance), their God (so the ancient promises are fulfilled, Exodus 29:45; Leviticus 26:11; Ezekiel 37:27): and [God] shall wipe away every tear from their eyes (reff.): and death shall exist no longer (ch. Revelation 20:14), and (Gr. nor) mourning (Isaiah 65:19) and (nor) crying and (nor) pain shall exist no longer: [because] the first (former state of) things are passed away. And He that sitteth on the throne (see note, ch. Revelation 20:11) said, Behold, I make all things new. And he (probably the angel, or voice from heaven, that gave the Seer similar commands before, ch. Revelation 14:13, Revelation 19:9. This seems probable on account of the change to the formula λέγει, as well as from the nature of the command: for we have εἶπέν μοι resumed immediately with the ἐγώ, leaving no doubt Who speaks) saith, Write: because these words are faithful and true. And He said to me (viz. ὁ καθήμενος ἐπὶ τοῦ θρόνου), [They are fulfilled (viz. οὗτοι οἱ λόγοι: or, but I prefer the other, πάντα).] I am (or, excluding the portions in brackets, I have become) the Alpha and the Omega (see above, ch. Revelation 1:8), the beginning and the end (“the Unchangeable and Everlasting One, by Whom the old was and the new shall be, by Whom the old is fulfilled in the new, and with it all hope and all promise.” De Wette). I to him that thirsteth will give [to him] of the fountain of the water of life freely (cf. ch. Revelation 7:17, and reff. Isa. and John: cf. also Matthew 5:6). He that conquereth shall inherit these things (the glories to be shewn in the heavenly Jerusalem), and I will be to him (a) God, and he shall be to me a son (this will be the full performance to the sons of God of the promise in ref. 2 Kings: which being first made to Solomon, received its chief fulfilment in the great Son of David and of God (ref. Heb.), and now in Him to them that are His). But to the cowardly (the contrast to νικῶντες: the ὑποστελλόμενοι of Hebrews 10:38; those who shrink timidly from the conflict), and the unbelievers, and the polluted with abominations (those who have partaken of the βδελύγματα in ch. Revelation 17:4,—of idolatries, &c.), and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers (the form φαρμακός, found only in ref. in the N. T., is the common one in the LXX. See besides ref. and other places in Exodus, Deuteronomy 18:11; Daniel 2:2; Malachi 3:5. The form φαρμακεύς does not occur in the LXX), and idolaters, and all the false (i. e. all liars), their part (the construction is changed: instead of οὐκ ἔσται μέρος ἐν κ. τ. λ., it proceeds in the affirmative, implying that negative and expressing more) (shall be) in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (reff.).

Verses 1-5

1–5.] The end of the description: the means of healing for the nations (Revelation 22:1-2): the blessedness, and eternal reign of the glorified servants of God (Revelation 22:3-5).

And he shewed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, coming forth out of the throne of God and of the Lamb (which throne is one and the same: see ch. Revelation 3:21, and note on ch. Revelation 20:11. The O. T. passages in view are Genesis 2:10; Ezekiel 47:1 ff.). In the midst of the street of it (the city), and of the river, on one side and on the other (the gen. ποταμοῦ is governed by ἐν μέσῳ as Ewald and Düsterd. al., not by ἐντεῦθεν κ. ἐκεῖθεν, as De Wette: the meaning being that the trees were on each side in the middle of the space between the street and the river. See Ezekiel 47:7), (was) the tree of life (ch. Revelation 2:7; Ezek. ut supra ff., i. e. trees of the kind described: as in Ezek.), producing twelve fruits (kinds of fruit, Ezekiel 47:12), according to each month yielding its fruit (Ezek. ut supra): and the leaves of the tree (are) for healing of the nations (so exactly, Ezek. Revelation 22:12; “and the leaf thereof ( φύλλον is read for ἀνάβασις, in LXX, by “alii apud Tromm.”) for medicine.” On the sense of ἐθνῶν, the nations outside, see above, ch. 21 end). And every curse (accursed thing, see below. κατάθεμα, another form of κατανάθεμα; in ref. Matt. we have the verb καταθεματίζειν) shall exist no longer (cf. ref. Zech. There shall no more be those accursed things which bar the residence of God among His people: see Joshua 7:12, which shews that these words are in close connexion with what follows): and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in her, and His servants shall serve Him (in ministration and holy service, see ch. Revelation 7:15), and they shall see His face (be close to Him, and know Him even as they are known, Matthew 5:8), and His name (shall be) on their foreheads (ref.). And night shall not be any more (ch. Revelation 21:25), and they shall have no need of the light of a lamp or (and) of the light of the sun (ch. Revelation 21:23), because the Lord God shall shine (shed light) upon them: and they shall reign (De Wette well remarks, in a higher sense than in ch. Revelation 20:4; Revelation 20:6) to the ages of the ages.

Verses 6-21

6–21.] CONCLUDING ASSURANCES AND EXHORTATIONS: and herein, 6, 7, assurance by the angel of the truth of what has been said, in the terms of ch. Revelation 1:1. And he (the angel) said to me, These sayings (the whole book, by what follows) are faithful and true (see on reff.): and the Lord (Jehovah) the God of the spirits of the prophets (i. e. of those spirits of theirs, which, informed by the Holy Spirit, have become the vehicles of prophecy) sent His angel to shew to His servants what things must come to pass shortly (on the whole of this see on ch. Revelation 1:1, from which place it is repeated at the close of the book of which that is the opening). And behold, I come quickly (the speech passes into the words of Christ Himself, reported by the angel: so in Revelation 22:12, and in ch. Revelation 11:3): Blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book (the speech is a mixed one: in τοῦ βιβλίου τούτου, the Writer has in view the roll of his book now lying all but completed before him: but the words are the saying of the angel: τῆς προφητείας ταύτης would express it formally). And I John (was he) who heard and saw these things (pres. participles without temporal significance—was the hearer and seer of these things): and when I heard and saw, I fell down (as in ch. Revelation 19:10, where see notes) to worship before the feet of the angel who shewed me (pres. part. as above) these things. And he saith to me, Take heed not: I am a fellow-servant of thine, and (a fellow-servant) of thy brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the sayings of this book: worship God (the same feeling again prevailed over the Apostle as before, and is met with a similar rebuke. I hardly can with Düsterd. see any real distinction implied, in the ἀδελφῶν σου τῶν προφητῶν here, between the situation of the Seer then and now. D. thinks, the intention now is to exalt his prophetic office and character). And he saith to me, Seal not up the sayings of the prophecy of this book (cf. ch. Revelation 10:4, where the command is otherwise: also reff. Daniel): for the time is near (in Daniel 8:26, the reason for sealing up the vision is that the time shall be for many days). Let him that is unjust (pres. part. as above) commit injustice (aor. of acts, not of a state, which would be pres.) still: and let the filthy (reff.: morally polluted) pollute himself (in the constant middle sense of passive verbs when the act depends on a man’s self) still: and let the righteous do righteousness still, and the holy sanctify himself still (see Ezekiel 3:27; and cf. Matthew 26:45, “Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand:” also Ezekiel 20:39. The saying has solemn irony in it: the time is so short, that there is hardly room for change—the lesson conveyed in its depth is, “Change while there is time”). Behold I come quickly, and my reward is with me (reff. Isa.) to render (this infin. may be either of purpose, dependent jointly on ἔρχομαι and ὁ μισθ. κ. τ. λ., or epexegetic of that which is wrapped up in the word μισθός itself. No very satisfactory account is given of this last construction in Winer, edn. 6, § 44. 1) to each as his work is (these words sound as if spoken by our Lord Himself: perhaps at the conclusion, the Apostle puts together, in prophetic shortness, many divine sayings of warning and consolation, with the replies to them). I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end (these words have hitherto been said by the Father: see above, ch. Revelation 1:8, Revelation 21:6, and notes. And in all probability it is so here likewise, whether we assume the words to be spoken by Christ in God’s name, or by the Eternal Father Himself). Blessed are they that wash their robes (see the digest. The vulg. addition “in sanguine agni,” after ch. Revelation 7:14, is of course the right supplement), that they may (on ἵνα with fut. see reff. and ch. Revelation 14:13 note. It is a mixed construction: between “that they may have” and “for they shall have”) have the power (licence) over the tree (to eat of the tree: ἐπί of the direction of their reaching for the fruit) of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs (impure persons, reff.), and the sorcerers, and the fornicators, and the murderers, and the idolaters, and every one loving and practising falsehood (see on these, ch. Revelation 21:8).

I Jesus (our Lord now speaks directly in His own person) sent my angel to testify these things to you in (the ἐπί of addition by juxtaposition, see reff.) the churches. I am the root (reff.) and the race (the offspring, as E. V. So Virg. Æn. iv. 12, “genus esse Deorum”) of David, the bright morning-star (that brings in the everlasting day).

And the Spirit (in the churches, and in the prophets) and the Bride (the Church herself) say Come (see on ch. Revelation 6:1, &c.): and let him that heareth (the cry of the Spirit and Bride) say Come: and let him that thirsteth come; let him that will, take the water of life freely (this verse is best understood as a reply of the Apostle to our Lord’s previous words).

Verses 18-20

18–20.] Final solemn warning of the Apostle. I (emphatic) testify to every one (or, “of every one,” by a very common N. T. construction: see reff. for both usages) who heareth the sayings of the prophecy of this book, If any one add (aor. = futurus exactus, shall have added) to them, God shall add to him (lay upon him, as he has laid his own additions upon them: the verb being from ref. Deut., where the plagues of Egypt are threatened to the Israelites in case of their disobedience) the plagues which are written in this book: and if any one shall take away from the sayings of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his portion from the tree of life (strike out his portion from the aggregate of those of which the whole participation of that tree is made up), and [out of] the holy city, which are written in this book (see Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 12:32. The adding and taking away are in the application and reception in the heart: and so it is not a mere formal threat to the copier of the book, as that cited from Irenæus in Eus(126) H. E. Revelation 22:20, ὁρκίζω σε τὸν μεταγραψάμενον τὸ βιβλίον τοῦτο.… ἵνα ἀντιβάλῃς ὃ μετεγράψω, καὶ κατορθώσῃς.… All must be received and realized. This is at least an awful warning both to those who despise and neglect this book, and to those who add to it by irrelevant and trifling interpretations).

Verse 20-21

20, 21.] FINAL ASSURANCE of the Lord, and REPLY of the Apostle on behalf of the Church: and BENEDICTION. He who testifieth these things (the Lord Jesus) saith, Yea, I come quickly. Amen (the reply of the Apostle, not the conclusion of our Lord’s saying), Come, Lord Jesus.

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with the saints (i. e. with the church of God. This, the reading of the Codex Sinaiticus, is no where else found as a parting formula).

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Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Revelation 22". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. 1863-1878.