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Sunday, October 1st, 2023
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 22

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

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Verses 1-21

Revelation 22:1 . He shewed me a pure river of water of life. From the city we go to the palace, where the vision opens on the rock of ages, the Elohim, seated on his throne. Thence flows the crystal river with a constant stream, never exhausted with drought, nor ever swollen and turbid with rain. It is pellucid as the clearest crystal, and he who drinks shall never die, for death and the curse are now no more.

Revelation 22:2 . In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life: ποιουν καρπους δωδεκα , making its fruit, or bearing it every month, a month being the usual time or season of any species of ripe fruit. Thus Christ the tree of life is everywhere planted inseparably from the streams of life, and yet the streams and the tree continue one. The celestial paradise is perennial, ever in verdure, ever in bloom, ever loaded with delicious, rich and full-ripe fruit of sanctifying grace. Why then drink of turbid streams, and live on sour fruits?

Revelation 22:3-5 . There shall be no more curse, as in Revelation 21:4.

Revelation 22:6 . He said unto me, these sayings are faithful and true. These words begin the conclusion of the book. Write it for a testament to remain in the church, a record of appeal concerning the fidelity of Christ to his people, the certainty of vengeance on the impenitent world, and the glory and coronation of his faithful followers in the everlasting kingdom of heaven.

Revelation 22:8 . Revelation 22:1 John saw these things, and heard them. I, an old man, dropping into eternity, leave this testament with the church, and haste away to appear before the great white throne. And I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel, as stated in Revelation 19:10. Christ spake here in the angel, yet he must not worship the Lord in a creature.

Revelation 22:11 . He that is righteous, let him be righteous still. Some Greek copies have, ο δικαιος , δικαιοσυνην ποιησατω ετι . Let him that is righteous, work righteousness still.

Revelation 22:13 . I am Alpha and Omega. The revelation ends as it began in the first chapter.

Revelation 22:15 . Without are dogs. This is repeated in substance from Revelation 21:8, for it is proper for the gates of Zion to have double guards.

Revelation 22:16 . I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright and morning star. Here the divine and human nature of the Redeemer are joined in the glory of his person. I am of David’s line, as promised in 2 Samuel 7:0; but I came from Him who has said, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. I therefore, while the river flows with streams of grace, and while the twelve gates are open to all the world, repeat the cry of the prophet, and say in all the power of the Spirit, Ho every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and let all who hear, echo my voice of invitation, for this is my last voice, my final call. Let all who hunger and thirst, inspire others with the sentiments they feel: let all who may not hear the gospel, but groan in spirit, and say, who will show us any good, come and take of the water of life freely.

Revelation 22:18-19 . If any man shall add to these things, or take away from the words of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, as the names of ancient citizens were erased from the city records, when they committed felonies against the state, and as he of old died who touched the ark with unhallowed hands.

How do these awful words affect thee, oh Griesbach, with thy countless Arian readings, culled from copies of poor clergymen, who wrote out their own bibles, often making, and often copying errors. Jerome in his time complained, that they wrote what they thought instead of what they found. Why then expose their weakness to a future age? Have we not the labours of Origen, who spent his whole life on the old testament, and much on the new? Has not Jerome visited Asia for a perfect text of the new testament? Have we not the Complute edition, and versions, a work of the Spaniards, who were warned, as Eusebius says, on the breaking out of the Arian controversy, to hold fast the faith once delivered to the saints. What more can we need? And thou, oh Wakefield, worse than others, to say when the Saviour gave up the ghost, “He breathed his last.” A shocking note. We shall see by and bye whether thy work will stand or fall.

Revelation 22:21 . The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. John, like the holy patriarchs, and the Saviour, left his blessing on the churches. Amen.


The river of life is the effusion of the Godhead on the glorified in heaven, and was typified by the river described by Ezekiel 47:2. The tree of life growing on each side of this river is a figure of Christ, who feeds his flock with the life of heaven and love. They who drink of this stream and eat of this tree, shall taste the pure pleasures of God, by union and fellowship with him.

Darkness and death, and the curse shall be no more; but the recollection of those past evils shall make heaven sweeter to us when it comes. Neither is it far distant. Behold, I come quickly; blessed is he that keepeth the saying of this prophecy. What an argument for holiness, while we may be holy! What an argument to obedience, for the faithful only have a right to the tree of life in the midst of the paradise of God, of which the earthly Eden was a figure.

This heaven is yet open, its gates are never shut; let us therefore profit while the spirit invites, while the bride, this heaven-descended church invites; and while the thirsty may, and while the hearer of those good things may invite his neighbour; yea, and while he who has but the faintest will may come without money and without price. Thus the gospel ends where it began, by publishing grace unmerited and free. Christ is the gift of God, and the foundation of eternal life.

The canon of the holy scripture is sealed, and it is death to counterfeit the king’s seal. Who can take a threatening from this book, without weakening the motives to repentance? Who can erase a promise, without diminishing the comfort of the church? And who can blot a text which militates against his opinion, without exalting his own creed above the word of God? Rather let us say, Lord, write all these truths on our hearts, and seal us to the day of thy coming. Amen.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Revelation 22". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/revelation-22.html. 1835.
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