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1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
Ver. 1. A pure river ] Not muddy as Nile, but clear as Calirrho. The allusion seems to be to that earthly paradise so well watered, Genesis 2:8-14 , or else to Ezekiel 47:1-12 . This river is Christ, John 4:14 , and so is that tree of life, Revelation 22:2 . The second Adam is a quickening spirit. Apollonius telleth us (lib. 3, Argonaut.) that in the court of Aeta, king of Colchis, were three fountains, which flowed, one with milk, another with wine, and a third with honey. In heaven there is all this and more.
2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Ver. 2. In the midst of the street of it ] In medio foro eius, where all may easily come by it; not kept with a strong guard, as the apples of Alcinous, Hesperides, &c.
Twelve manner of fruits ] Heaven’s happinesses are so many that they cannot be numbered, so great that they cannot be measured, so copious that they cannot be defined, so precious that they cannot be valued.
Every month ] Like the lemon tree, which ever and anon sendeth forth new lemons as soon as the former are fallen down with ripeness.
And the leaves ] No want of anything either for food or medicine. Ita balbutit nobiscum Deus. So God speaks obscurely with us.
3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
Ver. 3. And there shall be no more curse ] No casting out by excommunication; no cause of any such thing.
Of God and of the Lamb ] He and the Father are one, John 10:30 . See Trapp on " Joh 10:30 "
4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.
Ver. 4. And they shall see his face ] How we shall see God, whether with our minds only, or with bodily eyes we shall behold his invisible Majesty in the glorious face of Jesus Christ, there can be nothing determined.
And his name shall be ] As servants of old had their master’s name branded in their foreheads.
5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
Ver. 5. And there shall be no night ] See the note on Revelation 21:25 .
For the Lord God ] He that is Αυτοφως , light essential.
And they shall reign ] Reign together with Christ, a part of whose joy it is that we shall be where he is, John 17:20 : he will not be long without us.
6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.
Ver. 6. And he said unto me ] This is the conclusion of the whole prophecy; and it is very august and majestical.
These sayings are faithful and true ] Thus (among other evidences of its divinity) the Scripture testifies of itself; and we know that its testimony is true. Vapiscus saith of the ancient historians that there is none of them that hath not told many lies. Tertullian saith of Tacitus, that he was mendaciorum loquacissimus, a very loud and lewd liar. Baronius doth not compose annals, but coin them, saith one. But none of all this can be said of God’s word of truth, void of all insincerity or falsehood.
The Lord God of the holy prophets ] Some copies have it, The Lord God of the spirits of the prophets. He is the God of the spirits of all flesh, but of the spirits of prophets in a special manner; for those holy men spake no otherwise than as they were acted or imbreathed by the Holy Ghost,2 Peter 1:21; 2 Peter 1:21 . See Trapp on " 2Pe 1:21 "
Sent his angel ] As Revelation 1:1 . The authority therefore of this book is unquestionable, whatever some have surmised from Revelation 20:4 , that it was the work of Cerinthus or some other millenary.
7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
Ver. 7. Blessed is he that keepeth ] In memory and manners, Revelation 1:3 . Those were pronounced happy that read and hear, but so as they retain in mind and practise the contents of this book.
8 And I John saw these things, and heard them . And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.
Ver. 8. Saw these things and heard them ] So that there is no colour of cause why any one should doubt or distrust such a witness.
I fell down to worship ] This is the second time. It is hard to say how often a saint may fall into the same sin; howbeit they sin of incogitancy; put them in mind, and they mend all. They sin of passion, and passions last not long. There is no way of wickedness in them, they make not a trade of it,Psalms 139:24; Psalms 139:24 .
9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
Ver. 9. See thou do it not ] See Trapp on " Rev 19:10 " This was a flat prohibition, not a merry repulse; as Lorinus and Veigas the Jesuits would have it.
For I am thy fellowservant ] Wycliffe disallowed the invocation of saints and angels, when he called servants, not gods. For the wore knave, which he used, signified in those days servant, not as it doth in our days a wicked varlet, as his enemies maliciously interpret it; Bellarmine for one, a man utterly ignorant of the English tongue.
10 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.
Ver. 10. Seal not ] Keep them not up for thine own proper use (as he did that wrote upon his writings, τα εις εμαυτον , things for myself), but freely impart them, and in such sort as that others may conceive and improve them.
For the time is at hand ] And every day’s events shall explain the prophecy.
11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
Ver. 11. He that is unjust, &c. ] q.d. Let things be foretold never so plainly, and fall out never so accordingly, yet wicked men will be uncounsellable, incorrigible, Isaiah 26:10 ; "But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant," 1 Corinthians 14:38 . He falls with open eyes, let him fall at his own peril: who so blind as he that will not see? "Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone," Hosea 4:17 . He hath made a match with mischief, he shall have his belly full of it.
And he that is filthy, let him be filthy still ] This is the last judgment we read of (befalling in this life) in all the New Testament. As that judgment of pining away in their iniquity (as if nothing could awaken them) is the last that God mentioneth, Leviticus 26:39 , after those dismal ones there threatened to befall the people. It is contiguous, and as it were bordering upon hell itself.
Let him be righteous still ] Let him persevere and proceed.
12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
Ver. 12. Behold, I come quickly ] Therefore quicken your pace, bestir yourselves lustily; your time is short, your task is long, your wages inconceivable.
13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
Ver. 13. I am Alpha and Omega ] And am therefore worthy to be believed in my predictions of future events, which I can easily bring about and effect, since to me all things are present.
14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
Ver. 14. That they may have right ] That they may be assured of their interest in Christ and his kingdom. Plutarch tells of Eudoxas, that he would be willing to be burnt up by the sun presently, so he might be admitted to come so near it as to learn the nature of it. What then should not we be content to do or suffer for the enjoyment of Christ and heaven?
15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
Ver. 15. For without are dogs ] In outer darkness. The Irish air will sooner brook a toad or snake to live therein, than heaven will brook a sinner. It was not permitted to a dog to enter into the Acropolis or tower at Athens, δια του ακολαστου και δυσωδους for his heat in venery and ill savour, saith Plutarch. Goats, likewise, saith Varro, come not there (unless for necessary sacrifice once a year) lest they should hurt the olive. No filthy dogs or nasty goats get into heaven’s tower, &c. The panther smells well among beasts (whom thereby she draweth about her), not so among men. God and the saints loathe what the wicked love and delight in, as the panther doth in man’s excrements.
And whosoever loveth ] Though he maketh it not. Some will not coin a false tale, that yet will spread it; these are equally guilty, and excluded God’s kingdom, Psalms 52:3 .
16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
Ver. 16. Have sent mine angel ] With weariness of flight, as Daniel 9:21 .
I am the root ] That bear up David by my Deity; but am born of him in regard of my humanity.
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Ver. 17. And the Spirit and the Bride ] i.e. The Bride sanctified and set to work by the Spirit,Romans 8:26; Romans 8:26 .
And let him that heareth say, Come ] Abrupt sentences, full of holy affection; q.d. Let him pray daily, Thy kingdom come.
" Heu pietas ubi prisca! profana o tempera! mundi
Faex! vesper! prope nox! o mora! Christe veni."
Mr Burroughs’s last words were, I come, I come, I come! and so he gave up the ghost.
And let him that is athirst, come ] q.d. If you think me long in coming, come to me in mine ordinances; there "I will stay you with apples, comfort you with flagons," Song of Solomon 2:5 .
The water of life freely ] See Trapp on " Rev 21:6 "
18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
Ver. 18. If any man shall add unto these things ] Either to this or to any of the foregoing books of Scripture, Deuteronomy 4:2 ; Proverbs 30:6 ; Galatians 3:15 ; 2 Timothy 3:16-17 . All which notwithstanding, the Jews have added their Deuteroseis, the Turks their Alfurta, the Papists their unwritten verities, which they equalize (at least) to the Scriptures.
19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
Ver. 19. And if any man shall take away ] Since every word of God is pure, precious, and profitable, Proverbs 30:5 ; 2 Timothy 3:16 .
20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
Ver. 20. Even so; Come, Lord Jesus ] This is the common and constant vote of all good people; and is therefore pinned as a badge upon their sleeve, 1 Thessalonians 1:10 . See Trapp on " 1Th 1:10 "
21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Ver. 21. The grace of our Lord ] An epistolary conclusion. The Revelation is rather to be counted an epistle than a book. Read it as sent us from heaven, and ruminate what ye read.
Deo soli Gloria.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 22". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29