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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 22

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary

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Introduction

REVELATION 21-22

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

UBS4NKJVNRSVTEVNJB
The New Heaven and the New EarthAll Things Made NewVision of the New JerusalemThe New Heaven and the New EarthThe Heavenly Jerusalem
(Revelation 21:1-5)
Revelation 21:1-4Revelation 21:1-8Revelation 21:1-4Revelation 21:1-4Revelation 21:1-4
Revelation 21:5-8Revelation 21:5-8Revelation 21:5-8Revelation 21:5-8
The New JerusalemThe New JerusalemThe Measuring of the CityThe New JerusalemThe Messianic Jerusalem
Revelation 21:9-14Revelation 21:9-21Revelation 21:9-14Revelation 21:9-21Revelation 21:9-14
Revelation 21:15-21The Glory of the New JerusalemRevelation 21:15-21Revelation 21:15-2
The River and the Tree of Life
Revelation 21:22-5Revelation 21:22Revelation 21:22-5Revelation 21:22-3a
The River of Life
Revelation 22:1-5
Revelation 22:3-5Revelation 22:3-5
The Coming of ChristThe Time is NearEpilogueThe Coming of Jesus
Revelation 22:6-7Revelation 22:6-11Revelation 22:6Revelation 22:6Revelation 22:6-7
Revelation 22:7Revelation 22:7
Revelation 22:8-11Jesus Testifies to the ChurchesRevelation 22:8-9Revelation 22:8-11Revelation 22:8-9
Revelation 22:10-11Revelation 22:10-15
Revelation 22:12-13Revelation 22:12-17Revelation 22:12-13Revelation 22:12-13
Revelation 22:14-15Revelation 22:14-15Revelation 22:14-15Epilogue
Revelation 22:16-17Revelation 22:16-17Revelation 22:16Revelation 22:16
Revelation 22:17aRevelation 22:17
Revelation 22:17b
Revelation 22:17c
A WarningConclusion
Revelation 22:18-19Revelation 22:18-19Revelation 22:18-19Revelation 22:18-19Revelation 22:18-19
I Am Coming Quickly
Revelation 22:20Revelation 22:20-21Revelation 22:20Revelation 22:20Revelation 22:20
Revelation 22:20bRevelation 22:20bRevelation 22:20b
Revelation 22:21Revelation 22:21Revelation 22:21Revelation 22:21

READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT THE PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

A. Revelation 20-22 form the seventh literary unit. Revelation 21-22 conclude the actions of God in human history and initiate the eternal kingdom (cf. Daniel 7:13-14, Daniel 7:27; 1 Corinthians 15:27-28). Revelation 22:6-21 is the conclusion to the entire book.

B. Almost every element in these two chapters is an allusion to (1) Genesis 1-3; (2) Psalms 110:0; or (3) intertestamental Jewish apocalyptic literature.

C. There has been much discussion about the unusual elements in this last section.

1. mention of "the nations" Revelation 21:14; Revelation 22:2

2. mention of "The kings of the earth" Revelation 21:24, Revelation 21:26

3. mention of the "unclean outside the city" Revelation 21:27; Revelation 22:15

There seem to be several possible reasons for including these elements:

1. John is alluding to OT prophecies. Like the parables in the Gospels, interpreters are not meant to literally interpret the details, but identify the major emphases.

2. John's purpose is to show the ultimate distinctions between the saved and the lost.

3. The "nations" mentioned in this section are used in a general ethnic sense like "the people of God" in Revelation 5:9; Revelation 7:9; Revelation 22:4 and 22:5.

4. Because of these elements some have seen the saved Jews inside the city and the saved Gentiles outside the city. But, because of Galatians 3:29 and Ephesians 2:11-13, this simply cannot be a viable theological option.

5. I think there is a recapitulation between Rev. 17-19 and Rev. 20-22. This explains the recurrent themes throughout this section.

D. There is one more series of the "seven" found in these two chapters. These are the things that are no more

1. The sea Revelation 21:1

2. Death Revelation 21:4

3. Mourning Revelation 21:4

4. Weeping Revelation 21:4

5. Pain Revelation 21:4

6. Night Revelation 21:25

7. The curse Revelation 22:3

E. As the judgments associated with the Second Coming of Christ are depicted in dramatic fashion in three visions (seals, trumpets, and bowls), possibly heaven is depicted in dramatic fashion in three OT metaphors:

1. The Tabernacle, Revelation 21:1-8

2. New Jerusalem, Revelation 21:9-26

3. The Garden of Eden, Revelation 22:1-5

This may also be true of the Prologue (Revelation 1:1-8), which emphasizes

1. The immediacy of Christ's return

2. The faithfulness of God's words

3. The needed holiness of God's people

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. Are believers going to heaven or is heaven returning to a cleansed earth?

2. How is Revelation 21:3 related to the term "Emmanuel"?

3. Why is there no temple in the new Jerusalem (cf. Revelation 21:22)?

4. Who are the people mentioned in Revelation 21:24?

5. How do believers "keep/heed" the words of this prophecy (cf. Revelation 22:7)?

6. If this is heaven who are the evil ones outside the city in Revelation 22:15?

7. Why is Revelation 22:17 so important?

8. Is Revelation 22:18-19 to be taken literally? Could a believer who misinterprets Revelation lose his/her salvation?

9. Three times in Revelation 22:0 it says "I am coming quickly (cf. Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:12, Revelation 22:20). Why has it been over 2,000 years?

Verses 1-5

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 22:1-5 1Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 2in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; 4they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. 5And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.

Revelation 22:1 "Then he showed me a river of the water of life" There should be no chapter division here. The concept of a river flowing from the presence of God is an allusion to the OT (cf. Psalms 46:4; Ezekiel 47:1-12; Joel 3:18; Zechariah 14:8). Water is a common metaphor referring to God abundantly supplying the spiritual needs of His people (cf. Isaiah 12:3; Isaiah 44:3; Isaiah 49:10; Jeremiah 2:13; Jeremiah 17:13; John 4:10-15; Revelation 7:17; Revelation 21:6). Only John uses the term life (zoç) to refer to resurrection life.

"clear as crystal" This speaks of the purity of God's heavenly city (cf. Revelation 4:6).

"coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb" There is only one throne (cf. Revelation 21:22). This is anthropomorphic language from ancient eastern royal court imagery. God is an eternal spirit; He does not sit on a physical throne. It is a metaphor of His sovereign rule.

Revelation 22:2 "On either side of the river was the tree of life" This same tree is alluded to in Revelation 2:7. This whole vision is from Ezekiel 47:1-12 (here, Revelation 22:12). There are many references in Jewish apocalyptic literature to the tree of life found in Genesis 2:9; Genesis 3:22 (cf. Enoch 25:2ff; IV Esdras 7:53; 8:52; II Enoch 8:3). That which Adam forfeited from God (fellowship, knowledge, eternal life), God now freely gives to redeemed mankind (cf. Philippians 2:6).

"bearing twelve kinds of fruit" See SPECIAL TOPIC: THE NUMBER TWELVE at Revelation 7:4.

"and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations" This is highly unusual because there should be nothing left to cure! However, this may simply be a quote from Ezekiel 47:12; possibly the recurrent theological theme is that God wants all ("the nations") to be saved (cf. Isaiah 2:3-4; Isaiah 45:22-25; Isaiah 60:3; Isaiah 66:18-19; Zechariah 2:11; Zechariah 8:20-23).

Revelation 22:3 "There shall no longer be any curse" This is an allusion to Genesis 3:17 and Zechariah 14:11. The new age has come and the curse of the OT (cf. Ephesians 2:15-16; Colossians 2:14) has been removed by Christ's death (cf. Romans 8:18, Romans 8:25; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 2:13, Ephesians 2:16). In Revelation the crystal sea of Revelation 4:6 symbolizes God's transcendent holiness. Fallen mankind could not approach God, but now the sea is removed (cf. Revelation 21:1).

It is possible that the term represents the Hebrew charam, meaning destroyed or totally destroyed (cf. Zechariah 14:11). If this is the OT allusion, then this verse refers to the security of the new Jerusalem and would be similar to the promises of 1 Peter 1:4-5.

Notice the unusual grammatical features of this phrase. There is one throne, but two on it (i.e., God and the Lamb). However, the servants serve "Him" (singular). This involves the mystery of monotheism and incarnation. One God, but also a divine Messiah (and a personal Holy Spirit).

Revelation 22:4 "they will see His face" In the OT to see God meant death. Moses was not allowed to see God's face (cf. Exodus 33:20). Seeing God or dwelling with God are rewards to those who are pure (cf. Psalms 11:7; Psalms 16:11; Psalms 17:15; Psalms 140:13; Matthew 5:8). The original intimacy intended in Eden has been fully restored (cf. Psalms 42:1-2)!

"and His name will be on their foreheads" As Satan marked his followers (cf. Revelation 13:1-17; Revelation 14:9; Revelation 20:4), God marked His (cf. Revelation 3:12; Revelation 7:3; Revelation 14:1). It was a symbol of ownership and security. See note at Revelation 7:2.

Revelation 22:5 "there shall no longer be any night" (cf. Revelation 21:23-25; Isaiah 60:19-20; Zechariah 14:7)

"and they will reign forever and ever" Who rules with Christ during the millennial kingdom? Revelation 20:4-5 suggests only Christians who lived during the end-time persecution, but Revelation 2:26 and Revelation 5:10 imply that all saints will rule with Christ on the earth. There is no clear differentiation in the Bible between the eternal reign (cf. Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:14, Daniel 7:18; Isaiah 9:7; Luke 1:33; 2 Peter 1:11; Revelation 11:15) and the millennial reign. It is hermeneutically inappropriate to derive a major doctrine from an apocalyptic passage. This verse implies an eternal reign.

The imagery of God's people experiencing an evil invader, who is totally destroyed by God, is taken from Ezekiel 37-39. John never intended this to be interpreted literally! It is an abuse of authorial intent to turn apocalyptic imagery into historical literalness! Our love for the Bible and our curiosity about the future have caused the modern western church to interpret prophecy and apocalyptic literature in strange and strained ways! See Special Topic: Reigning in the Kingdom of God at Revelation 5:10.

Verse 6

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 22:6 6And he said to me, "These words are faithful and true"; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place.

Revelation 22:6 "he said to me" This refers to the angels who had the seven bowls of judgment (cf. Revelation 21:9; Revelation 22:1, Revelation 22:8, Revelation 22:9, Revelation 22:10).

"these words are faithful and true" This phrase is used to describe

1. Jesus (cf. Revelation 1:5; Revelation 3:7, Revelation 3:14; Revelation 19:11)

2. Jesus' followers (cf. Revelation 17:14)

3. God's word (cf. Revelation 19:9; Revelation 21:5; Revelation 22:6)

Often God is described as "righteous and true" (cf. Revelation 15:3; Revelation 16:7; Revelation 19:2). The Hebrew behind this phrase implies total trustworthiness.

"The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets" This is possibly:

1. an allusion to Revelation 19:10

2. a reference to the inspiration of the OT (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21)

3. a reference to the inspiration of the NT (cf. 2 Peter 3:15-16)

4. a reference to the gospel preachers of John's day

5. a reference to John's book (visions)

The original Greek texts did not have capitalization. Often the translators or interpreters must decide whether "spirit" refers to the Holy Spirit or the human spirit. This text refers to the human spirit (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:32; Hebrews 12:9).

"sent His angel" This is an allusion to Revelation 1:1. These closing verses are very similar in their motifs to chapter 1. The traditional personal letter format used in Revelation 1:0 is used again in Revelation 22:0.

"the things which must soon take place" There is a series of allusions to the imminence of the Lord's coming (cf. Revelation 1:1, Revelation 1:3; Revelation 3:11; Revelation 22:6 [twice], Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:10, Revelation 22:12, and 20). The two-thousand-year delay thus far is somewhat difficult for believers to understand (the delay is revealed in 2 Thessalonians), but it must be seen that every generation of Christians has the hope of the coming of the Lord in their day. There is a real tension in the NT between the any-moment return of the Lord and some things that must occur first. Believers are to remain faithful and active!

Here is a brief quote on this subject from my commentary on Matthew.

"There is theological paradoxical tension between

1. the any moment return (cf. Matthew 24:27, Matthew 24:44) and the fact that some events in history must occur

2. the Kingdom as future and the Kingdom as present.

The NT states that some events will occur before the Second Coming.

1. the Gospel preached to the whole world (cf. Matthew 24:14: Mark 13:10)

2. the great apostasy (cf. Matthew 24:10-13, Matthew 24:21; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:1ff; 2 Thessalonians 2:3)

3. the revelation of the "man of sin" (cf. Daniel 7:23-26; Daniel 9:24-27; 2 Thessalonians 2:3)

4. removal of the one who restrains (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7)

5. Jewish revival (cf. Zechariah 12:10; Romans 11:0)"

Those who believe that there is significant parallelism among the seven literary units of the book also assert that each one of them represents the period between the first and second comings of Christ from different perspectives (e.g., William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors). If this is true then the texts that refer to the imminent coming of Christ (cf. Revelation 1:3; Revelation 3:11; Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:10, Revelation 22:12, Revelation 22:20) refer to the initiation of these prophecies after the death and resurrection of Christ. The eschatological ball is rolling!

Verse 7

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 22:7 7"And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book."

Revelation 22:7 "I am coming quickly" Apparently the angel is quoting Jesus (cf. Revelation 22:12-15). This is stated specifically by Jesus in Revelation 22:16. Exactly who speaks in Revelation 22:17 and Revelation 22:18-19 is uncertain, but Jesus speaks again in Revelation 22:20 and John in Revelation 22:21. See Special Topic: Soon Return at Revelation 1:3.

"Blessed is he who" This is another of the seven blessings for believers found throughout the book (cf. Revelation 1:3; Revelation 14:13; Revelation 16:15; Revelation 19:9; Revelation 20:6; Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:14).

"prophecy" This book is a prophecy and must be interpreted in the light of prophetic literature (cf. Revelation 22:9-10, Revelation 22:18-19; Revelation 1:3; Revelation 10:11). This book is not historical narrative! Prophecy always has a conditional element. New Testament eschatological passages reflect OT prophetic insight that viewed the end-time through contemporary occurrences and faith responses. Many scholars believe the apocalyptic genre grew out of Jewish propheticism. See SPECIAL TOPIC: NEW TESTAMENT PROPHECY at Revelation 1:3.

Verses 8-9

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 22:8-9 8I, John, am the one 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. 9But he said to me, "Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God."

Revelation 22:8 This is a highly unusual verse. This is the exact problem that John had in Revelation 19:10. Apparently he must have thought that this angel was deity.

Revelation 22:9 "those who heed the words of this book" Christianity involves an initial decision of repentance, faith, and continuing repentance, faith, obedience, and perseverance! Revelation, written to persecuted Christians, emphasizes perseverance. The temptation for our culture today is not physical persecution, but "dry rot," apathy, practical atheism, materialism, shallow Christianity with all benefits and no responsibility!

Verses 10-11

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 22:10-11 10And he said to me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy."

Revelation 22:10 "'Do not seal up" This is exactly opposite of Isaiah 8:16; Daniel 8:26 and Revelation 12:4, Revelation 12:9. The time of prophetic fulfillment has arrived. God's warnings to unbelievers and encouragement to believers is now! The decisive decision is demanded now! The Kingdom is present.

"The time is near" See Special Topic: Soon Return at Revelation 1:3.

Verses 12-13

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 22:12-13 12"Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. 13"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."

Revelation 22:11-12 "to render to every man according to what he has done" This is a recurring theme throughout the Bible (cf. Job 34:11; Psalms 28:4; Psalms 62:12; Proverbs 24:12; Ecclesiastes 12:14; Jeremiah 17:10; Jeremiah 32:19; Matthew 16:27; Matthew 25:31-46; Romans 2:6; Romans 14:12; 1 Corinthians 3:8; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Galatians 6:7-10; 2 Timothy 4:14; 1 Peter 1:17; Revelation 2:23; Revelation 20:12). God will reward those who love Him and live for Him in the midst of this fallen world system (cf. Revelation 2:23; Revelation 20:12-13). Lives reveal the spiritual reality and vitality of inner faith (cf. Matthew 7:0). Humans are stewards of the gift of life and will give an account to God!

This is not to imply a "works-righteousness." Mankind is redeemed through the grace of God by means of Christ's death and resurrection and the Spirit's wooing! However, the evidence that one has met God is a changed and changing life of Christlikeness! One's priorities and allocation of resources reveal the heart!

Revelation 22:11 This is an allusion to Daniel 12:10.

Revelation 22:12 "I am coming quickly" See Special Topic at Revelation 1:3.

Revelation 22:13 This verse is an allusion to the OT titles for YHWH found in Revelation 1:8 and Revelation 21:6, but here it refers to Christ. The transfer of these OT titles to Jesus was one way NT authors affirmed His deity. Verse Revelation 22:13 has three such OT titles or phrases which originally described the eternal God (cf. Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 44:6; Isaiah 48:12), but now are used for Jesus (cf. Revelation 1:17; Revelation 2:8).

Verses 14-15

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 22:14-15 14Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

Revelation 22:14 "Blessed" This is the last of the seven blessings for believers found in Revelation (cf. Revelation 1:3; Revelation 14:13; Revelation 16:15; Revelation 19:9; Revelation 20:6; Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:14).

"those who wash their robes" This is a metaphor for trusting in the atonement of Christ (cf. Revelation 7:14). Believers are accepted because He was accepted (cf. Ephesians 1:6). Believers live because He died. Believers have resurrection life because He lives!

There is a Greek manuscript variant in this phrase.

1. "wash their robes" is in MSS א (fourth century) and A (fifth century), as well as the Vulgate. The UBS4 gives it an "A" rating, meaning "certain."

2. "keep the commandments" is in 046, an uncial MS from the tenth century, minuscule MSS (1 and 94) from the twelfth century, and the Peshitta (Syrian) version.

"they may have the right to the tree of life; and may enter by the gates into the city" These are two metaphors for eternal salvation through Christ. One goes back to Genesis 2:9; Genesis 3:22 (cf. Revelation 2:7; Revelation 22:2, Revelation 22:14, Revelation 22:19) and the other to Revelation 21:2,9-22:5.

Revelation 22:15 "Outside are" This is very difficult to interpret unless it is a metaphor for the lake of fire (cf. Revelation 21:8).

"the dogs" This is another strange allusion because there should be no evil people left at this point in the book. In Deuteronomy 23:18 this term refers to male prostitutes of the Canaanite fertility cult. In other parts of the Old and New Testaments it refers to wicked people (cf. Psalms 22:16, Psalms 22:20; Matthew 7:6; and Philippians 3:2). Let me quote Robert H. Mounce at this point from his commentary on Revelation in the New International Series:

"The verse does not intend to teach that in the eternal state all manner of wicked men will be living just outside the heavenly city. It simply describes the future with the imagery of the present. The contrast is between the blessedness of the faithful and the fate of the wicked" (p. 394).

Verse 16

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 22:16 16"I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star."

Revelation 22:16 "'I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches" Notice that the term "you" is plural and the allusion to the seven churches of Rev. 2-3 is made very specific. The book begins and concludes with the genre of letter, while the visions in between are a combination of prophecy (the end viewed through the lens of the present) and apocalyptic (imaginative imagery).

"My angel" Often the sender is God the Father (cf. Revelation 22:6, "His angel"). Here the sender is Jesus ("My angel"). The phrase is also found in Revelation 1:1, but the pronoun antecedent is ambiguous.

"the churches" See Special Topic at Revelation 1:4.

"I am the root and the descendant of David" There are many allusions to the Davidic line of the Messiah in the OT (cf. 2 Samuel 7:12-16 and Isaiah 11:1, Isaiah 11:10) and in the NT (cf. Matthew 1:1; Matthew 9:17; Matthew 15:22; Matthew 21:9; Romans 1:3; 2 Timothy 2:8 Revelation 5:5). Jesus is the fulfillment of all OT prophecies.

SPECIAL TOPIC: JESUS THE NAZARENE

"the bright and morning star" This is a Messianic title (cf. Numbers 24:17 or Matthew 2:2 or 2 Peter 1:19). This may be a play on Isaiah 14:12 where a similar phrase referred to Satan. In Revelation evil often is a parody of the Triune God.

Verse 17

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 22:17 17The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

Revelation 22:17 "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come'" Although there are different interpretations of this passage it seems from the context that this must be a gospel invitation to everyone who senses a need and will respond to God's offer in Christ. This has continued to be the focus of the book of the Revelation, not only to encourage the saved but to convict and encourage the lost to respond to God's free offer in His Son. The four-fold use of "come" (all four refer to the lost and not to Christ's second coming); the recurrent use of "the one who"; and the tremendous good news that it is without cost (cf. Isaiah 55:0) should be an encouragement to everyone and anyone to respond! This seems to me to be a flashback to those who were living in John's day (and every day). This may explain the unusual elements (the presence of the lost after Judgment Day) in Revelation 19-22. There are several flashbacks to John's own day, which may be explained by parallelism among the seven literary units of Revelation. He wrote with his "beloved children" in Ephesus in mind (cf. I, II, and 3 John).

SPECIAL TOPIC: THE TRINITY

Verses 18-19

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 22:18-19 18I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19and if anyone takes 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.

Revelation 22:18-19 These verses are obviously related to the first hearers of the message as well as all future readers/hearers of this book. It is a common literary practice of the OT to put severe warnings addressed to those who might be tempted to tamper with God's word (cf. Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 12:32). This was not meant to be taken literally, but it is a very strong Oriental overstatement of the seriousness of altering God's message. This does not refer to believing interpreters or scribes who pray earnestly and seek God's will, but according to Ireneaus in his Contra-Heresies, 30:12, it referred to false teachers who add, change, or delete the words of Scripture, which is the thrust of this passage. Remember that we cannot proof-text one verse to establish a doctrine which goes against other clear teachings of Scripture.

"if. . .if" These are both third class conditional sentences which denote potential action.

Verse 20

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 22:20 20He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Revelation 22:20 "I am coming quickly" The immediacy of the end, of God's coming in judgment are characteristics of Jewish and Christian apocalyptic literature. This same theme is seen in Matthew 13:34-36; Matthew 24:43; Matthew 25:1-13; Luke 12:29; 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:4; 2 Peter 3:10. In light of a 2000 year delay this must be understood in an existential, not temporal fashion. He is coming! Live ready. See Special Topic at Revelation 1:3.

"Come, Lord Jesus" This is the Aramaic phrase, Maranatha (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:22). It is possible to interpret this in several ways:

1. if maranatha, then it is "Our Lord has come"

2. marana tha, then it is "Our Lord, Come!"

Number 1 fits this context best. We learn from the Didache Revelation 10:6 that this was the liturgical closing to the Lord's Supper service in John's day.

SPECIAL TOPIC: MARANATHA

Verse 21

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Revelation 22:21 21The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

Revelation 22:21 Notice that "the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ" being with His people, is the concluding truth presented to an age of persecuted Christians and is the hope of every generation of Christians!

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Revelation 22". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/revelation-22.html. 2021.
 
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