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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Revelation 22

Verse 1

He shewed me (εδειξεν μο). The angel as in Revelation 21:9; Revelation 21:10 (cf. Revelation 1:1; Revelation 4:1). Now the interior of the city.

A river of water of life (ποταμον υδατος ζωης). For υδωρ ζωης (water of life) see Revelation 7:17; Revelation 21:6; Revelation 22:17; John 4:14. There was a river in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:10). The metaphor of river reappears in Zechariah 14:8; Ezekiel 47:9, and the fountain of life in Joel 3:18; Jeremiah 2:13; Proverbs 10:11; Proverbs 13:14; Proverbs 14:27; Proverbs 16:22; Psalms 36:10.

Bright as crystal (λαμπρον ως κρυσταλλον). See Revelation 4:6 for κρυσταλλον and Revelation 15:6; Revelation 19:8; Revelation 22:16 for λαμπρον. "Sparkling like rock crystal" (Swete), shimmering like mountain water over the rocks.

Proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb (εκπορευομενον εκ του θρονου του θεου κα του αρνιου). Cf. Ezekiel 47:1; Zechariah 14:8. Already in Revelation 3:21 Christ is pictured as sharing the Father's throne as in Hebrews 1:3. See also Revelation 22:3. This phrase has no bearing on the doctrine of the Procession of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 2

In the midst of the street thereof (εν μεσω της πλατειας αυτης). Connected probably with the river in verse Revelation 22:1, though many connect it with verse Revelation 22:2. Only one street mentioned here as in Revelation 21:21.

On this side of the river and on that (του ποταμου εντευθεν κα εκειθεν). Εντευθεν occurs as a preposition in Daniel 12:5 (Theodoret) and may be so here (post-positive), purely adverbial in John 19:18.

The tree of life (ξυλον ζωης). For the metaphor see Genesis 1:11 and Revelation 2:7; Revelation 22:14. Ξυλον is used for a green tree in Luke 23:31; Ezekiel 47:12.

Bearing (ποιουν). Neuter active participle of ποιεω (making, producing, as in Matthew 7:17). Some MSS. have ποιων (masculine), though ξυλον is neuter.

Twelve manner of fruits (καρπους δωδεκα). "Twelve fruits."

Yielding (αποδιδουν). Neuter active participle of αποδιδωμ, to give back, but some MSS. have αποδιδους (masculine) like ποιων.

For the healing of the nations (εις θεραπειαν των εθνων). Spiritual healing, of course, as leaves (φυλλα) are often used for obtaining medicines. Here again the problem occurs whether this picture is heaven before the judgment or afterwards. Charles distinguishes sharply between the Heavenly City for the millennial reign and the New Jerusalem that descends from heaven after the judgment. Charles rearranges these chapters to suit his theory. But chronology is precarious here.

Verse 3

There shall be no curse any more (παν καταθεμα ουκ εστα ετ). No other example of καταθεμα has been found outside of the Didache XVI. 5, though the verb καταθεματιζω occurs in Matthew 26:74, meaning to curse, while we have αναθεματιζω in Mark 14:71 in the same sense. It may be a syncopated form of καταναθεμα. The usual αναθεμα (curse) occurs in 1 Corinthians 16:22; Galatians 1:8; Romans 9:3. For παν with ουκ ουδεν see Revelation 21:27.

Shall do him service (λατρευσουσιν αυτω). Future active of λατρευω, linear idea, "shall keep on serving." See Revelation 7:15 for present active indicative of this same verb with the dative αυτω as here, picturing the worship of God in heaven. See Revelation 27:1 for "the throne of God and of the Lamb."

Verse 4

They shall see his face (οψοντα το προσωπον αυτου). Future active of οραω. This vision of God was withheld from Moses (Exodus 33:20; Exodus 33:23), but promised by Jesus to the pure in heart (Matthew 5:8) and mentioned in Hebrews 12:14 as possible only to the holy, and promised in Psalms 17:15. Even here on earth we can see God in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6), but now in the New Jerusalem we can see Christ face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12), even as he is after we are made really like him (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2). It is anthropomorphic language, to be sure, but it touches the essential reality of religion. "The supreme felicity is reached, immediate presence with God and the Lamb" (Beckwith).

His name on their foreheads (το ονομα αυτου επ των μετωπων αυτων). As in Revelation 3:12; Revelation 7:3; Revelation 14:1.

Verse 5

Shall be night no more (νυξ ουκ εστα ετ). As in Revelation 21:25.

They need (εχουσιν χρειαν). Present active indicative, "They have need," though A has εξουσιν (shall have), future like εστα. Here again there is repetition of part of Revelation 21:23, but for the purpose of showing the delightsomeness of the New Jerusalem with no need of lamp or sun (change to φως with ηλιου instead of φωτος, "they have no light of sun").

Shall give them light (φωτισε). Future active of φωτιζω, while aorist εφωτισεν in Revelation 21:23.

They shall reign (βασιλευσουσιν). Future active of βασιλευω. Reign eternally in contrast with the limited millennial reign of Revelation 20:4; Revelation 20:6. This glorious eternal reign with Christ occurs repeatedly in the book (Revelation 1:6; Revelation 3:21; Revelation 5:10) as in Luke 22:30. Christ's Kingdom is spiritual (John 18:36). "The visions of the Apocalypse are now ended; they have reached their climax in the New Jerusalem" (Swete). Now John gives the parting utterances of some of the speakers, and it is not always clear who is speaking.

Verse 6

He said unto me (ειπεν μο). Apparently the same angel as in Revelation 22:1 (Revelation 21:9; Revelation 21:15).

These words (ουτο ο λογο). The same words used in Revelation 21:5 by the angel there. Whatever the application there, here the angel seems to endorse as "faithful and true" (πιστο κα αληθινο) not merely the preceding vision (Revelation 21:9-22), but the revelations of the entire book. The language added proves this: "Sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly come to pass" (απεστειλεν τον αγγελον αυτου δειξα τοις δουλοις αυτου α δε γενεσθα εν ταχε), a direct reference to Revelation 1:1 concerning the purpose of Christ's revelation to John in this book. For "the God of the spirits of the prophets" (ο θεος των πνευματων των προφητων) see Revelation 19:10; 1 Corinthians 14:32. Probably the prophets' own spirits enlightened by the Holy Spirit (Revelation 10:7; Revelation 11:8; Revelation 22:9).

Verse 7

And behold, I come quickly (κα ιδου ερχομα ταχυ). Christ is the speaker, either through this angel or more probably directly from Christ without introduction as in verses Revelation 22:12; Revelation 22:16. About Christ coming quickly see Revelation 2:5; Revelation 2:16; Revelation 3:11; Revelation 16:15, and already in Revelation 1:2. Once more we must recall that ταχυ and εν ταχε are according to God's time, not ours (2 Peter 3:8).

Blessed (μακαριος). This beatitude is like in substance the first (Revelation 1:3) and is in Christ's own words like the one in Revelation 16:15. This book is here called a "prophecy" (προφητειας) as in verses Revelation 22:10; Revelation 22:18; Revelation 22:19. It is Christ's revelation from God, a direct message from God. Part of it is prediction of doom on Christ's enemies, but most of it is a comforting picture of final triumph and bliss for the faithful in a time of great distress and persecution.

Verse 8

And I John (Καγω Ιωαννης). Here John the Seer is the speaker. He had already given his name (Revelation 1:1; Revelation 1:4; Revelation 1:9). Here he claims to be the "one who hears and sees these things" (ο ακουων κα βλεπων ταυτα).

I fell down to worship (επεσα προσκυνησα). Second aorist active indicative of πιπτω (with form) and the first aorist active infinitive of purpose of προσκυνεω. It was a natural, though a wrong, thing to do, especially after Christ's own voice followed that of the angel "which shewed me these things" (του δεικνυοντος ταυτα). Genitive singular of the articular present active participle of δεικνυω. Cf. Revelation 1:1; Revelation 4:1; Revelation 17:1; Revelation 21:9; Revelation 22:1; Revelation 22:6.

Verse 9

See thou do it not (Hορα μη). The angel promptly interposes (λεγε, dramatic present). See Revelation 19:10 for discussion of this same phrase ορα μη when John had once before started to worship the angel in his excitement. Here we have added to the words in Revelation 19:10 "the prophets (των προφητων) and also "them which keep the words of this book" (των τηρουντων τους λογους του βιβλιου τουτου), the last a repetition from Revelation 22:7. In both places we have "Worship God" (τω θεω προσκυνησον). And not an angel.

Verse 10

And he saith unto me (κα λεγε μο). The angel resumes as in Revelation 19:9.

Seal not up (μη σφραγισηις). Prohibition with μη and the ingressive first aorist active subjunctive of σφραγιζω. Charles takes this to be the command of Christ because in verses Revelation 22:7; Revelation 22:18 "the words of the prophecy of this book" come from Christ. But that is not a conclusive argument, though Charles, as already stated, rearranges these chapters to suit his own notion. Once only (Revelation 10:4) was John directed to seal and not to write. See there for discussion of σφραγιζω. This book is to be left open for all to read (Revelation 1:3; Revelation 13:18; Revelation 17:9; Revelation 22:7; Revelation 22:18).

At hand (εγγυς). As in Revelation 1:3.

Verse 11

Let him do unrighteousness still (αδικησατω ετ). First aorist (constative) active imperative of αδικεω, viewed here as a whole. The language is probably ironical, with a reminder of Daniel 12:10, in no sense a commendation of their lost estate. Charles rejects this verse as not like John. It is the hopelessness of the final state of the wicked which is here pictured. So as to "Let him be made filthy still" (ρυπανθητω ετ). First aorist (constative) passive imperative of ρυπαινω, old verb, to make foul or filthy (from ρυπος, filth, 1 Peter 3:21, as is ρυπαρος, filthy), here only in N.T. The use of ετ is not perfectly clear, whether "still" or "yet more." It is the time when Christ has shut the door to those outside who are now without hope (Matthew 25:10; Luke 13:25). Ρυπαρος occurs elsewhere in N.T. only in James 2:2, and ρυπαρια (filthiness) only in James 1:21. So then "the righteous" (ο δικαιος) is to do righteousness still (δικαιοσυνην ποιησατω ετ, first constative aorist active imperative of ποιεω) and "the holy" (ο αγιος) to be made holy still (αγιασθητω ετ, first constative aorist passive imperative of αγιαζω). The states of both the evil and the good are now fixed forever. There is no word here about a "second chance" hereafter.

Verse 12

My reward is with me (ο μισθος μου μετ' εμου). It is Christ speaking again and he repeats his promise of coming quickly as in verse Revelation 22:7. He speaks now as the Rewarder (ο μισθαποδοτης) of Hebrews 11:6. Cf. Revelation 11:18; Isaiah 40:10; Isaiah 62:11.

To render (αποδουνα). Second aorist active infinitive of purpose of αποδιδωμ, to give back. Each will receive the reward according to his own work (Revelation 2:23; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 2:26).

Verse 13

I am the Alpha and the Omega (Εγω το Αλφα κα το Ο). Applied to God in Revelation 1:8; Revelation 21:6, and here alone to Christ, crowning proof in this book of Christ's deity. So in Revelation 21:6 God is termed, as Christ is here, η αρχη κα το τελος (the beginning and the end), while ο πρωτος κα ο εσχατος (the first and the last) is applied only to Christ (Revelation 1:17; Revelation 2:8). Solemn assurance is thus given that Christ is qualified to be the Judge of verse Revelation 22:12 (cf. Matthew 25:31-46). In Hebrews 12:2 Jesus is the αρχηγος κα τελειωτης της πιστεως (the author and finisher of faith). Christ was the Creator of the universe for the Father. So now he is the Consummation of redemption.

Verse 14

Blessed (μακαριο). This is the last beatitude of the book and "deals with the issues of the higher life" (Swete).

They that wash their robes (ο πλυνοντες τας στολας αυτων). Present active articular participle of πλυνω. See Revelation 7:14 for this very verb with στολας, while in Revelation 3:4 the negative statement occurs. Cf. 1 Corinthians 6:11.

That they may have the right (ινα εστα η εξουσια αυτων). Purpose clause with ινα and the future middle of ειμ (a common construction in this book, Revelation 6:4; Revelation 6:11; Revelation 9:5; Revelation 9:20; Revelation 13:12; Revelation 14:13), that there may be their right."

To come to the tree of life (επ το ξυλον της ζωης). "Over the tree of life." On εξουσια επ = "power over" see Revelation 6:8; Revelation 13:7; Revelation 16:9; Luke 9:1. On "the tree of life" see Revelation 2:7; Revelation 22:2.

May enter in (εισελθωσιν). Purpose clause with ινα and the second aorist active subjunctive of εισερχομα parallel with ινα εστα (future).

By the gates (τοις πυλωσιν). Associative instrumental case of πυλων (Revelation 21:12), "by the gate towers."

Verse 15

Without (εξω). Outside the holy city, with which compare Revelation 21:8; Revelation 21:27. Dustierdieck supplies an imperative: "Out, ye dogs."

The dogs (ο κυνες). Not literal dogs, but the morally impure (Deuteronomy 23:18; 2 Kings 8:13; Psalms 22:17; Psalms 22:21; Matthew 7:6; Mark 7:27; Philippians 3:3). Dogs in the Oriental cities are the scavengers and excite unspeakable contempt.

The sorcerers (ο φαρμακο). As in Revelation 21:8, where are listed "the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters," all "outside" the holy city here as there "in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, the second death." Both are pictures (symbolic language) of hell, the eternal absence from fellowship with God. Another time Jesus spoke of "the outer darkness" (εις το σκοτος το εξωτερον, Matthew 8:12; Matthew 22:13; Matthew 25:30), outside of lighted house, as the abode of the damned. Another symbol is the worm that dies not (Mark 9:48).

Every one that loveth and maketh a lie (πας φιλων κα ποιων ψευδος). An interpretation of πασιν τοις ψευδεσιν (all liars) of Revelation 21:8 and of ποιων ψευδος (doing a lie) of Revelation 21:27. Satan is the father of lying (John 8:44) and Satan's home is a congenial place for those who love and practise lying (2 Thessalonians 2:12). See 1 John 1:6 for not doing the truth and see also Romans 1:25; Ephesians 4:25.

Verse 16

I Jesus (Εγω Ιησους). The last and most solemn attestation to the book that from Jesus (the historic Jesus known to the churches), in harmony with Revelation 1:1.

Have sent (επεμψα). First aorist active indicative of πεμπω, used here in the same sense as αποστειλας in Revelation 1:1 as his personal messenger. It is the Jesus of history here speaking, who is also the Christ of theology and the Lamb of God.

For the churches (επ ταις εκκλησιαις). For this use of επ see Revelation 10:11; John 12:16. It is not just for the seven churches (Revelation 1:4), but for all the churches in the world then and now.

I am the root and the offspring of David (Εγω ειμ η ριζα κα το γενος Δαυειδ). See Revelation 5:5 for "the root of David," to which John now adds το γενος in the sense of "offspring" (Acts 17:28), not of family or race (Acts 4:6; Acts 7:13). Cf. Matthew 22:42-45.

The bright, the morning star (ο αστηρ ο λαμπρος ο πρωινος). The Davidic King is called a star in Numbers 24:17; Luke 1:78. This "day-star" (φωσφορος) is interpreted as Christ (2 Peter 1:19). In Revelation 2:28 the phrase "the morning star" occurs in Christ's words, which is here interpreted. Christ is the Light that was coming into the world (John 1:9; John 8:12).

Verse 17

The Spirit and the bride (το πνευμα κα η νυμφη). The Holy Spirit, speaking through the prophets or the Spirit of prophecy (Revelation 2:7; Revelation 16:4; Revelation 18:24), joins with the bride (Revelation 21:2), the people of God, in a response to the voice of Jesus just heard. After the picture of heaven in Revelation 22:1-5 there is intense longing (Revelation 19:7) of God's people for the consummation of the marriage of the Lamb and the Bride. So now "the prophets and the saints" (Swete) make a common plea to the Lord Jesus to "come" (Ερχου, present middle imperative of ερχομα, Come on) as he has just said twice that he would do (Revelation 22:1; Revelation 22:12). The call for Christ is to be repeated by every hearer (ο ακουων) as in Revelation 1:3.

Let him come (ερχεσθω). Change of person and this verb applied not to Christ as just before, but to the one who wishes to greet Christ. The thirsty man is bidden to come himself before it is too late. See Revelation 5:6 for διψαω, used for spiritual thirst, and in particular John 6:35; John 7:37 for one thirsting for the water of life (Revelation 21:6; Revelation 22:1). Cf. Isaiah 55:1.

He that will (ο θελων). Even if not yet eagerly thirsting. This one is welcome also. For this use of θελω see Philippians 2:13.

Let him take (λαβετω). Second ingressive aorist active imperative of λαμβανω. In accordance with the free promise in Revelation 21:6, "freely" (δωρεαν) here as there. This gracious and wide invitation is cheering after the gloomy picture of the doomed and the damned. The warnings against the dragon and the two beasts with all their dreadful consequences are meant to deter men from falling victims to all the devil's devices then and now. The door of mercy still stands wide open today, for the end has not yet come. The series of panoramas is over, with the consummation pictured as a reality. Now we drop back to the standpoint before we saw the visions through John's eyes. In verse Revelation 22:17 we hear the voice of the Spirit of God inviting all who hear and see to heed and to come and drink of the water of life freely offered by the Lamb of God.

Verse 18

I testify (Εγω μαρτυρω). Commentators disagree keenly about the words in verses Revelation 22:18; Revelation 22:19. Charles rejects them as an interpolation and out of harmony with the rest of the book. Beckwith takes them to be John's own warning, drawn from Deuteronomy 4:2 "to every man that heareth" (παντ τω ακουοντ, dative of the articular present active participle of ακουω, which compare Revelation 1:3). Swete properly holds these verses to be from Jesus himself, still bearing solemn witness to this book, with warning against wilful perversion of its teachings.

If any man shall add (εαν τις επιθη). Condition of the third class with εαν and the second aorist active subjunctive of επιτιθημ, with επ added with αυτα, as also in the conclusion επιθησε επ' αυτον (future active). This warning is directed against perversions of this book, not about the New Testament or the Bible as a whole, though it may be true there also. Surely no warning was more needed when we consider the treatment accorded the Apocalypse, so that Dr. Robert South said that the Apocalypse either found one crazy or left him so.

Verse 19

If any man shall take away (εαν τις αφελη). Also condition of the third class with εαν and second aorist active subjunctive of αφαιρεω, with απο repeated both in the condition and in the conclusion (αφελε απο, future active indicative of αφαιρεω for the more usual αφαιρησε).

Which are written in this book (των γεγραμμενων εν τω βιβλιω τουτω). Ablative neuter plural articular perfect passive participle in apposition with εκ του ξυλου της ζωης (from the tree of life) and εκ της πολεως της αγιας (out of the holy city). Such a man is unworthy of his inheritance.

Verse 20

He which testifieth (ο μαρτυρων). That is Jesus (Revelation 1:2) who has just spoken (Revelation 22:18).

Yea: I come quickly (Ναι, ερχομα ταχυ). Affirmation again of the promise in Revelation 22:7; Revelation 22:12. On Να (Yes) see Revelation 1:7 for the Lord's assent to the call. Then John expresses his absolute belief in the Lord's promise: "Amen: come, Lord Jesus" (Αμην, ερχου, Κυριε Ιησου). On Αμην see Revelation 1:7. On ερχου see Revelation 22:17. Note Κυριε with Ιησου. As in 1 Corinthians 12:3; Philippians 2:11. For Paul's confidence in the deity of Christ and the certainty of his second coming see Titus 2:13; 2 Timothy 4:8. Μαρανα θα (1 Corinthians 16:22).

Verse 21

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with the saints (η χαρις του Κυριου Ιησου μετα των αγιων). John's own benediction, an unusual ending for an apocalypse, but suitable for one meant to be read in the churches (Revelation 1:3). Grace is Paul's unvarying word in conclusion of his letters, as is true of Hebrews 13:25. "The saints" or the consecrated (ο αγιο) is John's constant word for believers in Christ (Revelation 8:3; Revelation 11:18; Revelation 13:7; Revelation 13:10; Revelation 14:12; Revelation 16:6; Revelation 17:6; Revelation 18:20; Revelation 18:24; Revelation 19:8; Revelation 20:9). It is a good word for the close of this marvellous picture of God's gracious provision for his people in earth and heaven.

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 22". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/revelation-22.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.