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the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
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Revelation 22

Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & PsalmsHengstenberg's Commentary

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Verse 1

Ch. Revelation 22:1. And he shewed me a [Note: Luther has a pure river.” But the καθαρό?ν is not sufficiently authenticated. Bengel has remarked that καθαρό?ν and λαμπρό?ν are sometimes in Revelation found together, in respect to garments, but in nothing else. In ch. 15:6, 19:8, 14, the two together make good enough sense; but here καθαρό?ν would hardly suit, as the quality of purity is not of moment.] river of the water of life, shining like chrystal; which went from the throne of God and of the Lamb. That we are not to explain with Luther: living water, appears alone from a comparison of ch. Revelation 7:17. It appears likewise from ch. Revelation 21:27, where the book of life is spoken of (the last words of which verse form the connecting link with ours), and Revelation 22:2 here, where we read of the tree of life. If this then is certain, there can be no doubt in regard to the signification of the water, and explanations like that of Bengel, “the power of the Holy Spirit which makes all fresh and fruitful,” of themselves fall to the ground. The water signifies, according to the express declaration of the author himself, life, that is, salvation, blessedness (comp. on the notion of life in John at ch. Revelation 7:17). The great fulness of life, which belongs to the glorified church, is represented here under the image of its pouring itself forth as a river. In Ezekiel, Ezekiel 47, a pictorial delineation is given of the greatness of this river. The glorious nature of the life is represented by the “shining like chrystal.”

St John was deeply penetrated by the conviction, that man, so soon as he believes in the Son of God, is thereby raised from death to life. But we still are not warranted to say with Koestlin, p. 238, “John is too sure of life, and is always too deeply conscious of its power and blessedness, to think of representing hope in respect to the possession of life as the peculiar mental characteristic of the Christian.” The tone of depression that pervades his Gospel is a proof of the contrary, as also the entire description of the Christian state in the last discourses of Christ: The world hates you, you shall have tribulation in the world, you need the Comforter to support you under all your distress and sorrow, you need to have your eye directed to the eternal blessedness and glory, that your heart may not be appalled ( John 14:2-3, John 17:24, comp. 1 John 2:25, 1 John 2:28, 1 John 3:2). Were it otherwise, St John would have been an idealistic visionary, which God forbid! There are not two lives, but only one life, which begins the moment we attain to faith in Christ, and continues through all eternity—though this life, during all the period of our sojourn in the world, is still interwoven with manifold troubles and interruptions, both of an inward ( 1 John 1:8) and an outward kind. In the future state of being alone will the germ of life fully develop itself. Life in the present state of being is as plainly recognized in the Revelation as it is in the Gospel. To be living and not dead is set forth in it as the Christian state ( Revelation 3:1). That in the Revelation the future phase of the divine life should be more prominently brought out, the present in the Gospel arises simply from the circumstance that the Gospel must represent, what we have already received through Christ, the Revelation what he will yet give to his servants. Add to this, that the Revelation was seen at a time when dark shadows had settled down on the life of Christians.

The type of the river here is the river that at first watered paradise. That allusion is made to that admits of less doubt, as here, precisely as in Genesis 2:9-10, the river and the tree are placed in immediate connection with each other. In Psalms 36:8, “And thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures,” David sees in this river the type of those streams of delight, which God’s love even now pours down to refresh his people. Here the true antitype is transferred to eternity. Then, we ought to compare Joel 3:18. “A fountain goes out of the house of the Lord, and waters the valley of Shittim;” also Ezekiel 47, where a stream flows out of the sanctuary, and, after vivifying and fertilizing the desert, empties itself into the Dead Sea; finally, Zechariah 14:8, “And it comes to pass in that day, that living waters shall go forth out of Jerusalem, their half toward the east sea, and their half toward the west sea, in summer and in winter shall it be.” The fountain is the fountain of blessing, of salvation, of life. The waters quicken the dry and thirsty desert of man’s necessities (see Christol. II. p. 367). These Old Testament promises find here their last and most glorious fulfilment. The most horrible manifestation of death is being morally dead; the most frightful side of human misery is enmity or indifference toward God. This side of death and misery, which Ezekiel takes quite peculiarly into account, who, as Joel had done before and Zechariah after him, still contemplates the salvation of Christ as one whole, and so comprises in it the life, the bestowal of which has already been celebrated by John in the Gospel—that side has here been already done away. The river of life here pours itself forth only for those, who have died in the Lord, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

That the river here is for quenching the thirst, or satisfying the desire of blessedness, appears from ch. Revelation 21:6, Revelation 22:17. “The poor and needy seek for water, and there is none, their tongue faints for thirst,” this is too often verified in the parched wilderness of the present life.

The river goes from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in accordance with the declaration, “All that the Father hath is mine.” Bengel: “Here, and in Revelation 22:3, the glory of Christ is described in the most glorious manner, the Father’s throne being also spoken of as his throne.” Comp. at ch. Revelation 7:17, according to which the Lamb is in the midst of the throne. God is thus set forth as in Christ the dispenser of life or blessing. Christ is called the Lamb, because through his labours and blood he has won for us this crown of all his gifts.

It is a small idea, to suppose that John here alludes to a natural spring under the temple in the Old Jerusalem. This is the less to be imagined, as there really did not exist a proper spring under the temple. Water was merely conveyed to it through a conduit.

Verses 1-5

THE SEVENTH GROUP, THE NEW JERUSALEM (Ch. Revelation 21:1-22 , Revelation 22:1-5 )

The sixth group, in Revelation 17-20 represented the judgment upon the three enemies of God, of the Lamb, and the church. It closes with the completion of their overthrow in the destruction of the chief enemy, Satan; with the last judgment on their servants, and the removal of all that has pressed in upon the creation through sin. Everything is now prepared for the entrance of the last phase of the kingdom of God, for the foundation of the new earth, on which righteousness dwells, for the erection on it of the kingdom of glory, for the solemnization of the marriage of the Lamb, to the threshold of which we were brought by the song of praise in ch. Revelation 19:6-8, that anticipated the contents of Revelation 19:11 to Revelation 20:15. This sacred closing history is the subject of the present group. A church, which has such hope, can never faint under the tribulations, which it may have to endure for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

She beholds the end and is comforted. She rejoices in her Lord, who reserves the good wine till the last. That the hope may become truly living, the object of it is vividly delineated by John to the church, and set, as it were, before her eyes. A body is prepared for it by him, that she might take up more successfully the conflict with the visible, which is apt to induce despair, as was done in former times by the prophets of the Old Testament, or rather by the Holy Spirit, who spake through them, that the minds of believers might have the glory of the future exhibited to their view in such vividness of colouring, as would be sufficient to free them from care, anxiety, and grief. So, for example, Ezekiel in Ezekiel 40-48, and Isaiah in Isaiah 9. There is an unmistakeable reference to these Old Testament representations in the description given here of the new Jerusalem. By this reference, it is intimated, that we must seek only for the beginning of their fulfilment in the first appearance of Christ, and that Christian hope is still always justified in repairing to them for strength and refreshment.

Verse 2

Revelation 22:2. In the midst of the street of it, and on both sides [Note: The expression ἐ?νταῦ?θαν καὶ? ἐ?ντεῦ?θεν occurs in the whole of the New Testament only here and in John 19:18, and by that parallel alone is strongly confirmed in opposition to the other certainly well supported reading ἐ?ντεῦ?θεν και ἐ?κεῖ?θεν . In regard to the origin of the latter, Bengel says briefly and well: Ex opinione elegantiae Hebraismo praeferendae. The ἐ?ντεῦ?θεν και ἐ?ντεῦ?θεν does not occur in Greek authors, but frequently in the LXX., comp. Numbers 22:24; Daniel 12:5. We can entertain the less doubt of its originality, since it corresponds exactly to מוה ומוה of the fundamental passage in Ezekiel. From that passage also there can be no doubt that we must render: and on both sides of the river.] of the river, the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, and brought forth its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree for the healing of the heathen. Besides thirst the Lord’s people are in this life also liable to hunger (comp. Matthew 5:6; Revelation 7:16). Hence life or salvation is here represented as the fruit of a tree, as in the preceding verse it had been imaged by water. That the tree should be called the tree of life, because the participation of its fruit imparts life, appears from a comparison of Genesis 3:22, “And now, lest he should stretch forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live for ever.” There can be no doubt that allusion is here made to this paradisiacal tree of life from ch. Revelation 2:7, “He that overcometh, to him will I give to eat of the tree of life, that is in the paradise of my God.” Bengel: “A sure way is laid open in the holy city to that tree of life, which Adam was debarred from touching.” It is also referred to in Ezekiel 47:7, “When I turned back, behold on the border of the river there was wood very much, on both sides;” and Ezekiel 47:12, “And by the river on its banks at either side grew every kind of tree of eatable fruit; its leaf withers not, and its fruit ceases not; all months does it ripen; for its waters come out of the sanctuary. And its fruit serves for food, and its leaf for healing.” By an unseasonable comparison of Psalms 1:3, Jeremiah 17:8, several have there wished to understand by the trees the righteous; in which also there lies at bottom the erroneous supposition, that by the waters are denoted the outpouring of the Spirit, which can only come into view as a part in the whole of life or salvation, certainly for Ezekiel a very important part, since his prospect still comprehended the militant church, in which healing grace is of peculiar moment. If we fail to perceive that the tree in Ezekiel is the tree of life, we violently tear his prophecy from its connection with Genesis 2:9, Genesis 3:22, on the one hand, and with the passage before us on the other.

The variety of the trees in Ezekiel and here on both sides of the river seems to present an important deviation from the representation given in Genesis, where only one tree of life is spoken of. But this latter point admits of some doubt. It is said “the tree of life which is in the midst of the garden;” and at any rate it had conjoined with it as a type “every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food,” which the Lord is said, in the immediately preceding context, to have made to spring out of the earth, and which we can suppose, according to Genesis 2:10, to have grown on the banks of the river. We must still think of these trees as trees of life in the more general sense, the tree of life only as such in the highest degree. Farther, in Ezekiel the tree of life stands only on both sides of the river; here it stands also in the middle of the street. But from the connection in which the tree of life stands with the water of life, we can scarcely think that by this is meant a second quite separate position. We are rather to suppose that the river flows through the street, and that the tree of life stands on both sides of the stream.

The tree yielding new fruits every month simply indicates, that in the new Jerusalem the enjoyment of life shall be without interruption; otherwise than in the present world, where death is constantly breaking in anew with violence upon life. We are not to think of different kinds of fruits. Luther has put improperly twelve sorts for twelve.

It is not said that the leaves of the tree shall serve for the healing of the heathen; but the power is only attributed to them generally, of producing healing, without intimating whether this was to take place first in the new Jerusalem, or should have begun to do so here. We must understand this latter to be the case. It is only in respect to the present state of things that it could be said, “he healed them who had need of healing,” ( Luke 9:11). Healing implies disease. But this belongs only to the present life. They alone enter into the glory of heaven, who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. But the new Jerusalem comes down from heaven, ch. Revelation 21:2. Into its gates they only enter who have made themselves ready, who are arrayed in pure and white clothing (ch. Revelation 19:7-8, comp. Revelation 21:2). Nor beyond the confines of the new Jerusalem is there any other resting place but the lake of fire; so that the remark of Bengel, “This might throw some light on the question, how it shall fare in eternity with the heathen, who have not received the gospel,” is to be entirely rejected. No intermediate state is to be thought of as possible, whore all the circumstances are of a fixed character, and no room is left for change. We can the less conceive of a dwelling of the heathen outside Jerusalem, since it is within this that the tree of life stands. To bring the enjoyment of the leaves within this present life is also the more natural, since in ch. Revelation 2:7, which points to the future world, it is only the eating of the fruit that is spoken of. One point only comes into consideration in respect to the leaves, that they are inferior to the fruit, and regard is not had to the power of healing corporeal disease, which resides in many natural leaves. The fruit is nobler than the leaves; if, then, the leaves are so sanatory, how efficacious must be the fruit! The powers of life, which descend from the Jerusalem above on this poor earth for the healing of wretched sinners, are a foretaste of the surpassing blessedness, which may be expected in the new Jerusalem by the just made perfect.

Verse 3

Revelation 22:3. And there shall be no more curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall serve him. The first words are taken from Zechariah 14:11, “And they dwell in it, and there shall be no more curse in it, and Jerusalem is securely enthroned.” On that passage it was remarked in the Christology, “The words, There shall be no more curse, represent the whole church of God as consisting, after this catastrophe, of the purely righteous and holy, and therefore no longer, as in former times, to be purified by sifting theocratical judgments. In the new Jerusalem the penal justice of God will no more find an object; so that his whole procedure toward her will be an uninterrupted manifestation of his love and righteousness.” In regard to the meaning of the curse, see my Christology on Malachi 4:6. Among other things, it was there said, “The idea of cursing is always that of the forced consecration to God of those who had obstinately refused to consecrate themselves voluntarily to him—of the manifestation of the divine glory in the destruction of those, who during their life-time would not reflect it, and therefore would not realize the general destination of man, the design of all creation. God sanctifies himself upon all those, in whom he is not sanctified. The destruction of every thing on earth, which will not serve him, proclaims his praise.” God constantly declares anew to his militant church what he said of old to Joshua, Joshua 7:12, “The children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed; for they have even taken of the accursed thing; neither will I be with you any more except ye destroy the accursed from among you.” Times of revival are constantly followed again by times of decay; times, in which the true city becomes an harlot, in which iniquity rises to the ascendant; and then, where the carcase is, there the eagles gather themselves together; God proves himself to be the jealous God, who visits the iniquities of the fathers on the children.— The clause, “and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it,” is very closely connected with that, which declares, “there shall be no more curse.” Because there is no more curse, that is, no more an object of cursing, the gracious presence of God and of Christ shall no longer be liable to such a withdrawal as of old, when it was said to the Jews, as the curse began to alight on them, “Behold your house is left unto you desolate; ye shall not henceforth see me, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” ( Matthew 23:38-39); and so does he virtually speak from time to time to his church. The more the time happens to be one of cursing, so much the more refreshing and consolatory for the true members of the church should be this word of Christ, “And there shall be no more curse, and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it.”

In regard to the serving as connected with high grace and reward, see on ch. Revelation 7:15. It is said, “His servants shall serve him,” not, their servants shall serve them; according to the word, “I and my Father are one.” [Note: Bengel, “Where mention is made both of God and of the Lamb, the relative following, αὐ?τοῦ? , is to be referred either to the Lamb (ch. 6:17, also 1:1, 20:6), because in such passages wrath, revelation, kingdom, is ascribed to the Lamb; or to God, as here, because the throne is more frequently spoken of in connection with God; whence also the verb βασιλεύ?σει is to be referred to the Lord. It is not said there, they will reign, nor is the plural αὐ?τῶ?ν , of them, ever used respecting them, on account of the essential unity. When the Lamb is mentioned God also is indicated, as is the Lamb when God is mentioned.”]

The fut. in Revelation 22:3-5, serve to shew, as Bengel has justly remarked, that “there shall be an everlasting continuance in the glorious things here described.” Up to this the Seer wrote what he had seen; here writing in such a manner could no longer suffice, and the description must take the form of prophecy.

Verse 4

Revelation 22:4. And they shall see his face, and his name shall be on their foreheads. To see God’s face means to enjoy God’s favour (see my Come. on Psalms 17:15, also Matthew 5:8).

In ch. Revelation 14:1, the chosen bear the name of God on their foreheads as a mark of their proved fidelity. But here it is written on their foreheads as a reward—a pledge of their right to participate in all the benefits of the kingdom of glory.

Verse 5

Revelation 22:5. And there shall be no night there, and they need no lamp, nor the light of the sun; for God the Lord will shine upon them; [Note: Bengel: Ἐ?π’ is omitted in some copies, which are defended by Wolf, who chiefly compares ch. 21:23. But the passages differ: the glory of God illuminates the city: upon citizens the Lord God pours down light. So it is said in Genesis 1:15, “to give light upon the earth.” The genuineness of ἐ?πὶ? is defended by the most ancient codices. Allusion is specially made to Genesis 1:1.] and they shall reign for ever and ever. It was said also in Re 22:25 of the preceding chapter, that there should be no night there; the night there denoting, as was mentioned, the absence of blessing, which is always experienced when the gracious presence of the Lord is withdrawn, as it too often is in the militant church on account of the prevalence of iniquity. Here once again this thought returns at the close, being very consolatory for those who find themselves enveloped in the shades of night, and are obliged constantly to cry out, Watchman, is the night near gone? There is here a remarkable point of contact with the Gospel of John. In three passages of that Gospel, which mutually throw light on each other, and the import of which would not be so commonly misapprehended, if they were not viewed apart, but in connection with each other, and with the passages in the Revelation, by the day is denoted the time of grace and salvation, by the night the time of perdition, as it enters when grace is withdrawn. He who has lived with wakeful eye through the year 48, will be able to understand this distinction in John between day and night. Jesus says in John 9:4, when he was going to heal the man that had been born blind, “I must work the works of Him who sent me, while it is day; the night cometh when no man can work.” In John 11 Jesus asks his disciples again to march with him into Judea. “The disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee, and goest thou thither again?” Jesus answered in John 11:9-10, that it was still day, and no danger was to be feared, this arises only when the night comes, in which the light of the world appears not. Luke 22:35-36 is to be compared, as the Lord there points out to his disciples the difference between the time when God imparts his grace and when he withdraws it. Finally, in John 13:30, it is said, “But it was night when he went out.” There can be no doubt that these words have something of an enigmatical character about them; that the natural night was regarded by John here only as the symbol of the spiritual night, when the light of grace shines not, and along with that the power of darkness begins ( Luke 22:53); when the hour has arrived for a desperate attack on the kingdom of God. The consolatory word, “and there shall be no night there,” also pre-supposes that the alternation of night and day in the spiritual life of the church shall have finally ceased in the new Jerusalem. So long as this still continues, the church must be exercised by the cross, as must also individual believers. If at present the night were to cease, spiritual darkness would soon acquire unconditional sway over the church, according to the word spoken of old to Israel, “When Israel waxed fat, he kicked,” &c. Now, therefore, we must let the night fall upon us, though the longing of our heart must be toward the time, when it shall be perpetual day. We could not, besides, properly enjoy the day as yet, because we are constantly apprehensive of the night coming, which often breaks so suddenly in upon us.

In regard to the reigning of believers, see on ch. Revelation 1:6, Revelation 5:10, Revelation 20:6. Here, when the meek shall possess the earth, the kingdom of the elect shall reach its highest elevation. If till then it has reigned, with its divine head, in the midst of its enemies, thenceforth its enemies shall be for ever completely subdued, and there shall be nothing more to withstand the full establishment of its dominion. Bengel asks: “If the inhabitants of the city shall be all regents, where then shall be the subjects?” The answer, which he himself gives to this question, “outside the city upon the new earth,” rests upon the quite untenable supposition, that there shall be in the future world, beside the new Jerusalem and the lake of fire, some intermediate place. A hint for the right answer is furnished by Psalms 49:14, where it is said of the wicked, “As sheep they are laid in hell, death feeds on them, and the righteous reign over them in the morning.” There the wicked, notwithstanding their destruction, are the object of that ruling, which is to be exercised by the righteous. So also here. The ungodly world, which even by that parallel passage must necessarily be subject to a higher sway, is reigned over by the righteous in their earlier possession, in the arrangements which arc made in behalf of them in their provisional heritage of good.

We close the exposition of this section in the words of Bengel: “Thus far of the holy city Jerusalem! Would that we may enter therein! Would that we even were therein! Now it is in our power to attain to a happy portion, if we will but turn our back on a lost world, and renounce the service of the prince of the world. There is need for a good, instant resolution to act, under the impulse of grace. But whoever has set his face stedfastly to go toward this Jerusalem, shall abide in it, and shall never err from the way of life.”

Verse 6

Revelation 22:6. And he said to me: These words are certain and true. And the Lord the God of the Spirits of the prophets has sent his angel to shew to his servants what must shortly come to pass. The asseveration of truth and certainty was made, after the example of Daniel ( Daniel 8:26), in ch. Revelation 19:9, in respect to the great and consolatory truths of the coming of the kingdom of the Lord, of the marriage feast of the Lamb. and the fitting preparation of the bride; and again in Revelation 21:5, in respect to the great word, “Behold I make all things new.” Here it stands at the close of the whole book, which contains so much that raises it above the common, and deprives it of human probability.

The words, “and the Lord the God of the Spirits of the prophets,” assign the reason of the confidence. What John has to communicate to the church belongs not to him (only if this were the case, could we judge the confidence expressed by a human standard); but it ascends through the medium of the angel to the Most High God. In ch. Revelation 19:9, “These words are true, of God,” the expression, “of God,” corresponds. There is a reference to the beginning of the Introduction in ch. Revelation 1:1, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to shew to his servants what must shortly come to pass, and he signified it by his angel, whom he sent to his servant John.” This intentional connection with the Introduction must have been designed to intimate that the conclusion of the book begins here. As the tendency of the Introduction was directed mainly to the object of shewing the high importance of the book, the conclusion also begins immediately with the same topic. If there by the servants of God the prophets are to be understood, so also here. We must explain, as was shewn on that passage: to his servants, who are represented by John. As God has all human spirits in his hand, so has he in particular the Spirits of the prophets; that is, the spirit of each particular prophet (comp. 1 Corinthians 14:32); so that whatever excitation any of them experience proceeds from him; and this God has in consequence communicated to his servant John through his angel the discoveries respecting the future, which are unfolded in this book. The Spirit of the prophets is the Spirit of prophecy, which rests on them (comp. ch. Revelation 19:10). It is one Spirit that moves in all the prophets ( 1 Peter 1:11; 2 Peter 1:21). But individual prophets have each their own Spirit, differing according to that measure of the Spirit’s grace, which is severally given to them.

The expression, shortly, is here only a subordinate intimation; q.d. what must come to pass, and that indeed shortly. This shortly, which is again resumed in Revelation 22:7, contains a second reason for the high importance of the book. Threatenings and promises, which are soon to be fulfilled, demand the most wakeful attention on the part of all, who would not be entangled in the snare of the pregnant too late.

The expression, “what must shortly come to pass,” which was already explained at ch. Revelation 1:1, shews, that this verse does not even primarily refer to what immediately precedes, to what lies beyond the thousand years’ reign; but that it applies to the whole of the book. In unison with that is the fact of the coincidence with the Introduction of the book, which has the effect of emphatically stamping this as the conclusion of it.

Verses 6-21

The Conclusion (Ch. Revelation 22:6-21 )

The conclusion of the book, in correspondence with its introduction, expressly points to its high importance, and at the same time applies its consolatory and refreshing fundamental truth of the coming of the Lord once more to the hearts of all saints.

Verse 7

Revelation 22:7. And behold I come quickly. Blessed is he, who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book. Revelation 22:3 of the Introduction corresponds. There the person who reads is pronounced blessed, “for the time is near.” Here the order is reversed: I come quickly, therefore, etc. That the declaration, “Behold I come quickly,” is spoken from the person of Christ, is clear as day (comp Revelation 22:20). But there is no proper change of person; the person sent only speaks from the person of the sender, as in Genesis 19:21-22. The angel, as he is, and because he is the angel of God, so also the angel of Christ (comp. Revelation 22:16). There was no reason given for bounding off the sphere of God in respect to that of Christ. In the fundamental passage also of Malachi the Lord comes in the covenant-angel.

The threefold, “Behold I come quickly,” here and in Revelation 22:12; Revelation 22:20 (comp. Revelation 3:11, Revelation 2:5; Revelation 2:16), refers to the Old Testament classical passage respecting the coming of the Lord, Malachi 3:1, “The Lord whom ye seek, will suddenly come to his temple, and the covenant-angel, whom ye desire, behold he comes, saith the Lord of Hosts.” In no other passage of the Old Testament is the idea of coming so prominently brought out; first, he will come suddenly; and then again at the end, with solemn emphasis, Behold he comes. It contains all the three words of the clause before us: the behold, the coming, and the quickly (suddenly). That the passage here has a close connection with that of Malachi is evident from what was remarked in the Christology regarding the import of the latter: “On the complaint of the people, that appearances belied the idea of a righteous God, the prophet answers, that God will soon remove this apparent contrariety between appearance and idea. He, who now seems to be absent, will soon appear in the person of his heavenly messenger. That this announcement received its final fulfilment in the appearance of Christ, in whom the angel of the Lord, the Logos, became flesh, scarcely needs to be remarked. It is equally evident, that we are not to seek this final fulfilment, either in the state of humiliation, or in the state of exaltation alone, but are rather to combine the two together as an inseparable whole. The appearance of Christ in humiliation contained in the germ every thing as to blessing and cursing which in his state of exaltation he has either already brought, or will yet bring into accomplishment.” The thought in Malachi is that of the irrepressible energy and desire for outward manifestation on the part of the Logos, according to which he is always, from the time of the prophet onwards to the end of the world, carrying forward a plan, in which, as circumstances perpetually require his interposition, so he is ever ready to interfere either for salvation or for judgment. John also points to the same prophecy of Malachi, in John 1:9, John 1:15, John 1:27 of his Gospel, where he speaks of the manifestation of Christ in the flesh, and in ch. Revelation 21:22, the expression, I come, is found there with a reference to Malachi, precisely as here, of the future coming of the Lord.

It hardly needs to be remarked, that the word, “Behold I come quickly,” does not refer to a single act; that it rather denotes the gladsome character of Christ’s appearing in regard to the fulfilment of all the promises and threatening of this entire book. Bengel: “This word I come admonishes us of the whole subject-matter of the book, and on this account should everything in us be raised and elevated, that the whole Apocalyptic heaven may, in a manner, turn round, before our eyes.

In ch. Revelation 1:3 the words of the prophecy alone are mentioned. But here there is added: of this book. This addition shews, that the completion of the book kept pace with the receiving of the Revelation. The book, which is also repeatedly mentioned in the following verses, must already be completed as to its main part. [Note: So also toward the end of the Pentateuch, in Deuteronomy, where its speedy conclusion comes in view, Moses speaks of it as a book; first Deuteronomy 17:18; Deuteronomy 17:10, then ch. 28:58, 29:19, 20, 26. See the Beitr. III. p. 168.]

Verse 8

Revelation 22:8. And I John am he, who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel, who showed me these things. Revelation 22:9. And he said to me, See thou do it not; I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God. These two verses also have respect to the high importance of the book, and press it on the hearts of the readers, that they take up the right position in regard to it. A trustworthy man, a tried organ of divine communications, JOHN, whom Jesus loved, expressly assures us, that he has not spoken of his own, but only what he has heard and received. And this same John, carried away by the lofty theme of the Revelation, throws himself down before the angel, who had conveyed to him such a wonderful message. With what profound reverence, then, should not the church regard a book, which unfolds such things to her view! How should she tremble before the word of God, which is there presented to her!

In regard to the expression: I John, see at ch. Revelation 1:1; Revelation 1:4; Revelation 1:9. “But who,” says Vitringa, “could he be, excepting John the apostle; known by this name to the churches, the venerable elder of the Asiatic churches?” Bengel also says, “John had placed his name in the title of his book, in the superscription to the seven churches, and at the beginning of his narrative. And now at the close he names himself still again, so that we might perfectly know, that he, namely the apostle John, bad written this credible testimony of the future coming of Jesus Christ. A learned man who otherwise possessed much good, has said concerning it, that John affixes his name so frequently, that it seems as if he had wished to write an obligation. The words are almost ludicrous; but we may turn them to good account. For as people set their names to important original documents, to prevent all error and uncertainty respecting them, so John does substantially the same here.” In his Gospel also, John 21:24, John points to his person as a security for the truth of what is reported by him. Often, too, in the Gospel does he mention his name ( John 13:23; John 19:26; John 21:20), only he does it there covertly, in accordance with the objective character of all biblical history, which everywhere allows the I to fall back; while here, according to the custom. of the prophets (see on ch. Revelation 1:1), he comes quite boldly forward, with his I John. It is, further, common to the Revelation and the Gospel, not only that there should be an emphatic assurance of the truth and trustworthiness of the matters reported (comp. Revelation 22:6 here, and the parallel passages, with John 19:35, John 21:14), but also that there should be a special reference to the seeing and hearing ( John 1:14, John 19:35; 1 John 1:1-2, 1 John 4:14). We must here lay the emphasis on the name John, and on the heard and saw.

In ch. Revelation 19:10 the offered worship had respect to the joyful message concerning the universal dominion of God, which was certainly at hand, the marriage of the Lamb, and the preparation of the bride: here, on the other hand, it is done in respect to the whole subject-matter of the book. The only other difference is, that here, in addition to the prophets, those also are mentioned who keep the words of this book. Bengel: “Much stress must indeed be laid upon the discourses of this book, and on the keeping of it; because those who keep it stand in such a blessed society and brotherhood.” The angels are servants of God, in respect to their office, and so also are the prophets. Those, therefore, who keep the words of this book, could not be regarded in any other light than as servants of God in his vineyard. The keeping of the words of this book manifests itself in those, to whom it belongs, especially by their not appearing faint and lifeless in the testimony of Jesus (comp. at ch. Revelation 14:12); and to have the testimony of Jesus is a calling in the church (comp. at ch. Revelation 6:9, Revelation 12:17). Or, we are to regard those, who keep the words of this book, as annexed to the prophets, so that the angel is only in so far their fellow-servant, as they are comprehended under the prophets as their heads. Even if we should ascribe to them a separate and independent place, they must still not be loosed from their connection with the prophets. The parallel passages shew, that the pre-eminent dignity of this class is what properly calls forth the declinature.

Verse 10

Revelation 22:10-12. The book is of great importance. For, its threatenings and promises are drawing near to their fulfilment. He who does not consider it, shall certainly loose salvation, and be unexpectedly overtaken by the threatened plagues. Revelation 22:10. And he says to me: Seal not the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. The words, “And he says to me,” shews that the discourse of the angel here takes a new beginning.

Seal not. It was intimated to Daniel that his prophecy was then, and for a long time to come, to be regarded as a shut and sealed book; and only the church of the future should be able to make a right use of it (comp. at ch. Revelation 10:4). It is otherwise with our prophecy; and the circumstance is well fitted to bring clearly to view its high importance. Its contents are of a kind generally more accessible; for it is occupied with matters which had in the circumstances of the time what was essential to their existence, and which were to have light thrown upon them by their immediately beginning fulfilment. The expression, the time is near, holds not merely in respect to the first readers and hearers of the Revelation, but for all time. A large proportion of what is announced in the Revelation is of a kind which has its fulfilment continually repeated anew, and reaches through all history. So, especially, the vision of the seven seals, and the vision of the seven trumpets. But in particular the word, “The time is near,” holds in respect to the times, in which the special catastrophes announced in the Revelation are ready to break forth. It holds quite peculiarly in respect to our own times, in which the last and the greatest special pre-intimations are proceeding with giant strides toward their accomplishment. So that the declaration of the time being near should be felt by us as a strong recommendation of the Apocalypse to our regard.

Verse 11

Revelation 22:11. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him do righteousness still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still. This verse stands in the middle, between the declaration that the time is near, and the announcement, “Behold I come quickly; and its meaning is to be determined by its position.

Both the two, that the wicked should continue to be wicked, and the righteous to be righteous, is alike agreeable to the will of God. If the second is no mere permission, but a manifestation of will on the part of God, so must it be also in respect to the first. If they will have it so, let it be so; if it is right in their view, so is it also in God’s. He will take care that they do not escape from him. If they will not sanctify him, he will sanctify himself upon them; and that not merely in the future world, but also soon in this. For, where the carcase is, there are the eagles gathered together. There is a similar announcement in Ezekiel 3:27,”He that hears, let him hear, and he that forbears, let him forbear.”

The righteous stand opposed to those that do injustice, and the holy to the filthy. [Note: The noun ῤ?υπαπί?α occurs in Joshua 1:21, us denoting filth in a moral sense. From that John has formed the verb ῤ?υπαρεύ?ω , which is found nowhere else.] The nature of sanctification consists in the separation, whereby one keeps one’s self undefiled from the world. To do righteousness [Note: The reading δικαιωθή?τω has been formed merely in imitation of the following word ἀ?γιασθή?τω .] for exercising it, is an expression peculiar to St John (comp. 1 John 2:29. 1 John 3:7, Gospel John 3:21, where he speaks of doing the truth). The fundamental passage is Genesis 18:19, where doing righteousness appears as the mark of a true descendant of Abraham, and a condition necessary for obtaining the divine blessing (comp. Isaiah 56:1, Isaiah 58:2; Psalms 106:3).

Verses 12-13

Revelation 22:12. Behold [Note: Luther has: and behold.] I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give to every one as his work shall be. On the word, I come quickly, comp. Revelation 22:7. The declaration, My reward is with me, is taken from Isaiah 40:10, Isaiah 62:11, where Jehovah is the speaker. Hence we can apply from 2 John 2 John 1:8, the admonition, “See that we lose not what we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.” The reward, as we learn from what follows, comprehends here also the recompense of the wicked. On the words, “to give to every one,” Here the work simply is mentioned; on which Bengel remarks:” The whole doing of a good or bad man is a single work and business, Matthew 16:27.”

Revelation 22:12 lays the foundation for the two declarations in Revelation 22:13-14. As the beginning belongs to God in Christ, so also does the end; blessed then they who do his commandments, Revelation 22:13, but woe to sinners, Revelation 22:14.—

Revelation 22:13. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the ending. The Omega and the ending are here to be accented (comp. at ch. Revelation 21:6, Revelation 1:8). We must take heed that we stand well with him, to whom the end belongs. It is a piece of folly to attach one’s self to those, who expatiate only for a time in the middle. Here also some have sought to decide in regard to the person who speaks what is not decided by John. The speaker here, as in ch. Revelation 1:8, is simply God in the undistinguished unity of his being, or God in Christ. That Christ is also the Alpha, the beginning, the first, and consequently the Omega, the end, the last, is evident alone from the fact, that he is the Word of God (comp. on ch. Revelation 19:13), the beginning of the creation of God (ch. Revelation 3:14). But the angel cannot, without some specific intimation, be regarded as speaking now from the person of the Father, and again from the person of the Son; and where he does not speak in his own person, or the speaker is not more definitely described, as at Revelation 22:16, there it can only be God in Christ.

Verse 14

Revelation 22:14. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that their power may be to the tree of life, and to enter by the gates into the city. The meaning is, blessed therefore are they; for the benediction rests on the circumstance, that God in Christ is the Alpha and the Omega. Were it otherwise, they would be the most miserable of men ( 1 Corinthians 15:19). To keep or to do God’s commandments, or his will, his law, is a mode of speech peculiarly frequent with St John (ch. Revelation 12:17, Revelation 14:12; John 7:19, John 4:34, John 6:38, John 7:17, John 9:31). Among these commands faith in Jesus is the foremost (comp. at ch. Revelation 14:12). A similar benediction pronounced on doing is found in John 13:17, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” The his shows that the angel is speaking here in his own person. Bengel’s remark, “ His is ornately put for mine; his, of him who is the Alpha and the Omega,” would only be warrantable, if the other supposition were not so natural.

In the words, “that their power may be,” &c., the manner in which the blessedness is to be realized is more accurately determined (comp. on ch. Revelation 14:13). Bengel: “When Adam broke the command the way to the tree of life was barred; but they who do the commandments shall have power over the tree of life.”

No other entrance can be found into the new Jerusalem, but through the gates. Their being so expressly mentioned here, therefore, can only be intended to add vividness to the description. He who travels toward a city in the first instance directs his eye to the gates; and the glory of the gates here referred to, described in ch. Revelation 21:21, here again comes especially into view. Allusion is, perhaps, made to Psalms 122:1-2.

Verse 15

Revelation 22:15. Without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and all who love and do a lie. In ch. Revelation 21:8, those whose part is to be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, form four pairs—the four being the signature of the earth—the fearful and unbelieving, the abominable and murderers, whoremongers and sorcerers, idolaters and all liars. In ch. Revelation 21:27 the enumeration of those, who are excluded from the kingdom of God, is comprised in the number three. Here the excluded are seven, and the seven is divided by the four and the three; as quite similarly in Isaiah 1:4 there are to be found seven designations of sinful and corrupt ways, divided into four and three.

Bengel: “The series is headed by the dogs, that is the unholy and impure, who by their rough behaviour show that they are quite unlike the Lamb. In the language of the world the rabble are called by way of contempt, canaille, that is, dog. They who familiarly use such words should take heed that they are not themselves reckoned to be such by Christ.” The dog is in Scripture “the symbol of the disgustingly impure, the shameless, those who are altogether deserving of contempt.”It was in a manner consecrated to this use by the Mosaic law. The chief quality that here comes into view is impurity; comp. Proverbs 26:11, “as a dog that returns to his vomit,” 2 Peter 2:22; Matthew 7:6. Still we must not stand simply at that. The base dog-like spirit (comp. Php_3:2 ) manifests itself also in another manner; for example, in wrath and biting (comp. Psalms 22:16; Matthew 7:6). That the latter is here also taken into account, appears to be indicated by the juxtaposition of sorcerers with dogs, who, according to the parallel passages, are brought here into notice as persons who seek to hurt their neighbour secretly. Otherwise, we might seek the point of comparison in the disgusting character of their dispositions. Several have wished to understand by the dogs “the effeminate, and abusers of themselves with mankind,” of 1 Corinthians 6:9. But however certainly these occupy one of the first places among the dogs, we still cannot think of their being specially and exclusively meant. They would require to have been more specifically described. In Deuteronomy 23:18 also, to which reference is sometimes made, the dog by itself is only a designation of base and disgusting filthiness; it is the genus for the species of abominations mentioned in Revelation 22:17. It is this latter verse alone that supplies the more definite meaning.

Whoremongers are here associated with murderers as adulterers are in the law of Moses. In ch. Revelation 21:8 whoremongery is considered under the aspect of an injury done to a neighbour. Bengel: “Whoremongery is now almost less thought of in Christendom than it was among the heathen; but here whoremongers stand between sorcerers and murderers; so that they may easily understand what their recompense shall be.”

Idolaters here also are the kind, liars the species—comp. at ch. Revelation 22:8. The doing a lie stands opposed to doing the truth in John 3:21.

Bossuet, “I am not sure if any portion of Scripture can be found in which terrors and consolations are better intermingled together, than they are in these last chapters. There is everything to attract in this most blessed city; all in it is rich and glorious; but every thing also is fitted to inspire one with dread; for we perceive still more there of purity than of grandeur.”

Verse 16

Revelation 22:16. I Jesus have sent my angel to testify these things to you upon [Note: The ἐ?πὶ? was a source of perplexity to those who did not rightly understand the ἡ?μῶ?ν . They hence either dropt it out, or substituted ἐ?ν in its place.] the churches. I am the root and the race of David, the bright morning-star. Behind John, the poor instrument, stands a greater than he, whose shoes he is not worthy to loose.

The subject-matter of the book ascends through the medium of the angel to Jesus. Whosoever apprehends his glory (I am the root, &c)., cannot doubt the truth of its contents; he will expect with firm confidence the fulfilment of its promises. The these things refer to the whole contents of the book. To you, my servants, who are represented by John, the prophets (comp. on ch. Revelation 22:6; Revelation 22:9, Revelation 1:1). To testify, not that he, but that I may testify, comp. Revelation 1:2. Upon the churches (the ἐ?πὶ? as in ch. Revelation 10:11; John 12:16), the churches being regarded as the object of the testimony. The whole book is occupied with the future affairs of the church. The churches are the Christian churches generally, not merely the seven of Asia; for to these only the seven epistles specially belonged (comp. i. p. 57). Even in these epistles the promises do not respect alone the seven churches, but the churches generally. The book closes in Revelation 22:21 with the words, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with all saints.”

The root of David, as in ch. Revelation 5:5, is the product of the root, the sprout from the root, that in which the family of David, that had sunk into the lowest depression, again bloomed forth. Because Jesus is the root, he is also the race of David. In him alone is the race preserved; while otherwise it would have vanished without a trace. The race of David is more than his offspring; it indicates that the race of David should, save for Christ, have ceased to exist. The race of David is here brought into view in respect to the unconquerable strength and everlasting dominion promised it by God, (comp. Luke 1:32-33). What he testifies, in whom the glorious race of David culminates, will assuredly go into fulfilment.

Jesus is called the bright morning-star in allusion to Isaiah 14:12, on account of his glorious dominion; comp. on ch. Revelation 2:28. The practical result of the verse is this: You must, therefore, firmly believe what in this book is said of my coming, of the water of life, etc. For, the saying, “whatever he has promised, he holds sacred,” stands good with respect to me; I shall not feed my people with empty hopes.

Verse 17

Revelation 22:17. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come! And he that hears, let him say, Come! And he that is athirst let him come; he that wills, let him take the water of life freely. What the book contains of the coming of the Lord, etc. is certain, Revelation 22:16. And, therefore, the joyful echo of the Spirit responds here to the word of Christ: Come! And this, again, is immediately followed by the call of the Spirit to every one, who hears the come, to accord with it, and by the invitation to the thirsty to participate in the enjoyment of the promised salvation.

The Spirit is not the Spirit that dwells in all believers ( Romans 8:26), but the Spirit of prophecy (ch. Revelation 19:10), the Spirit of the prophets (ch. Revelation 22:6), in which John was on the Lord’s day (ch. Revelation 1:10, Revelation 4:2), which also speaks through John in ch. Revelation 14:13, and which utters the promises in the seven epistles. The bride, i.e. the church (comp. Revelation 19:7, Revelation 21:2; Revelation 21:9), stands related here to the church, as elsewhere the saints to the prophets—comp. at ch. Revelation 18:20, “The saints are the genus, the apostles and prophets, who are personally identical, are the most distinguished species of these,” ch. Revelation 11:18, Revelation 16:6, Revelation 17:6, Revelation 18:24. There is no change of person here as to the Come uttered by the Spirit, and the Come uttered by the bride, but the Spirit himself, and John his organ, proclaims the Come as the bride’s representative. This Come uttered by the organ of the church in her name is a fact—she speaks—and on it follows the call to all the members of the church, to accord with this Come.

He that hears—not generally the words of the prophecy of this book, by comparing Revelation 22:18 and Revelation 1:3, for had this been the thing to be heard, it would have required to be more specially described—but the Come of the Spirit and the bride. Bengel: “He that has so much joy as to be able to say, Come, let him say it. And he that still cannot, let him learn to do so. The power of the whole gospel concentrates itself in this, that one should be able to respond to this Come, and repeat it from the heart.” On the words, “And he that is athirst let him come,” comp. John 8:37, “If any one thirsts, let him come to me and drink,” and the remarks made at ch. Revelation 21:6. If the contents of this book really belong to the true and faithful witness, the thirsty need but to come; such simply as have the will, may receive the water of life. For now all is ready.

Verses 18-19

Revelation 22:18. I testify to every one, who hears the words of the prophecy of this book. If any one adds thereto. God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book. Revelation 22:19. And if any one take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life, and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

The natural man must, as in Scripture generally, so especially in the Revelation, not find much that he would find, and, again, find much that he would not. This simply arises from its being a testimony of the Spirit of God. Hence comes the disposition to make additions and omissions. Such adders and omitters are here meant, as those who said, “Where is the promise of his coming?” ( 2 Peter 3:4); or, “Let him make speed and hasten his work, that we may see it” ( Isaiah 5:19); or those who maintained, that it was unprofitable to remain faithful unto death (ch. Revelation 2:10), or, that people should freely eat of things sacrificed to idols, and commit fornication (ch. Revelation 2:10). That such additions and omissions are here referred to, as belong to the proper kernel of the book, such as would substitute for the narrow way presented in it a broad one, or would in some respect extinguish the light of hope, that shines in it for Christians, as was done by Hymeneus and Philetus, who said that the resurrection was past already ( 2 Timothy 2:17); this will not be for a moment doubted by any one, who has discerned the spirit of this book. It is also confirmed by the parallel passages of the Old Testament. It is said in Deuteronomy 4:2, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you;” and an example is given in Deuteronomy 4:16-19, where they are warned against a seduction to the worship of images and the host of heaven. Deuteronomy 12:32, “Whatsoever thing I command you, observe to do it; thou shalt not add thereto nor diminish from it,” stands connected with a warning against total apostacy, against a participation in the idolatry of the Canaanites, and mixing it up with the service of Jehovah. In Proverbs 30:5-6, “Every word of God is purified, he is a shield to those who trust in him. (But) add not thou to his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar,” such additions to the promises of God (for these are more especially referred to) are meant, as when, after the manner of Satan in Matthew 4:6, the protection, which God has promised to his people, so long as they walk in his way, is applied to those, who would strike out a way of their own—additions, therefore, which are based on a moral perversion. That there were persons in the Christian church disposed to make additions and omissions of the kind referred to, even at the time when the Revelation was seen, is abundantly clear from the seven epistles. Balaam and Jezebel had then revived again. The smuggling of heathenism into the church of God was pressed with great zeal, and in part also with prosperous success (see at ch. Revelation 2:6). In times of persecution and oppression, such as that in which the Apocalypse was written, there is a peculiar temptation to such additions and omissions. Whoever surrendered himself unconditionally to the truths set forth in this book, put himself in direct opposition to heathenism, and drew upon himself its persecuting violence. And any one that wanted the spirit of martyrdom, must add or take away. There was therefore sufficient reason for such an earnest threatening as is here uttered. The fear of man which always evokes the latitudinarian spirit, could only be expelled by the fear of God. Even still the dominion of the world carries along with it a powerful incentive to the adding and taking away. One plies every effort to take off the edge from the word of God, and to strike a shameful agreement with the world. Proofs enough of this are not wanting unfortunately even in the province of “a theology of faith.” Nor would the opposition that is raised against the composition of the Apocalypse by St John have been so resolute, if a horror had not been felt for the solemn earnest that appears in its witness-bearing, and had it not been perceived, that to yield one’s self unconditionally to it requires one to break unconditionally with the world. The offence which Luther took at these words, and expressed in his preface to the Revelation, proceeded only from a misunderstanding of the proper import. When they are correctly understood, none can take offence at them but those who regard the title, Revelation of Jesus Christ, as a mere assumption. The idea contained in them is simply this: As men deal with the word of God, so does God deal with them, and justly so, ch. Revelation 3:10. Quite similar is Galatians 1:8-9, which passage may serve as a commentary. It is not accidental, that the warning occurs toward the close of the first, and toward the close of the last book of the canon, whose author clearly perceived that it was given him to shut up the canon; as little as it is accidental that paradise meets us at the beginning of Scripture, and at the end the new Jerusalem. The warning uttered in the first and the last book substantially applies to all, that lies between the two.

In the word, “God will add,” the divine recompense is brought clearly to view by the similarity of the expression: “He that adds, shall have plagues added to him, he that takes away, from him shall blessings be taken away.” The two go inseparably together—on the one side the experience of the plagues and the loss of salvation, and on the other, deliverance from the plagues and the inheritance of salvation. The plagues, which are written in this book, are such as were to befal the ungodly world; and he who is to have these laid on him as a burden, must have previously made himself chargeable with the world’s guilt. By his profane rashness in adding, the offspring of his carnal state of mind, he shews that he has belonged to the world, and not to the church; and hence must be at last condemned with the world, and not preserved with the church.

By the word part the destiny and inheritance are denoted (comp. John 13:8). This was hitherto beside the tree of life, and in the holy city. But now it shall be taken away from both, and he receives instead his part in the lake of fire, which burns with fire and brimstone (ch. Revelation 21:8). In regard to the tree of life and the holy city, Bengel remarks: “These two are mentioned also at Revelation 22:14, and in these two stands the sum of the blessedness written at the beginning and at the close of the book, ch. Revelation 2:7, Revelation 3:12, Revelation 21:2, Revelation 22:2.” The words, “who are written in this book,” refer to the tree of life and the holy city, as also the plagues standing over against them are described as being written in this book. In Revelation 22:20 we have the parting words of Jesus and John. In Revelation 22:21 the latter dismisses his hearers.

Verse 20

Revelation 22:20. He who testifies these things says: Yea, I come quickly. Amen, come Lord Jesus. He who testifies these things is Christ (comp. at ch. Revelation 1:2; Revelation 1:5). The “Amen, come Lord Jesus,” is spoken by the Spirit through Jesus, or by John in the Spirit.

The “I come quickly,” is the sum of the prophetic announcements of the book. That the church with full confidence may say the Amen, come Lord Jesus, is the great practical design of this book. Where this design is accomplished, there all tribulation, anxiety, and pain are overcome, and there fidelity shall be found to be invincible. Bengel, “The expression these things refers to the whole book, Revelation 22:6; Revelation 22:18; John 21:24, ‘This is the disciple who testifies of these things.’”

Revelation 22:21. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with all saints. The variations in the text have arisen from a comparison of the forms of salutation used by Paul at the close of his epistles; which was the more natural, as John himself undoubtedly had respect to these Pauline salutations (comp. at ch. Revelation 1:4). The reading followed by Luther: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all,” agrees literally with the conclusion of the epistle to the Romans. The “with all,” which Tischendorf has admitted into the text, suits as little as the “with you all.” The circle of readers was not definitely enough marked by it. It must at the close be once more distinctly expressed, that the book is the property of the whole Christian church on earth, that all who belong to the number of saints are warranted and bound to seek in it their edification, and must give an account how they have used the means of salvation it provided. When it shall be said, Give an account of thy stewardship, the word here “with all saints” will also come to be mentioned.

Bibliographical Information
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 22". Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/heg/revelation-22.html.
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