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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
Revelation 22



Other Authors
Verse 1

Revelation 22:1. ποταμὸν(238)) See App. Ed. ii. In the mention of clothing, the Apocalypse more than once uses together καθαρὸν λαμπρὸν; in other places, either καθαρὸν separately, or λαμπρὸν separately, as by far the most weighty part of the authorities here read.

Verse 2

Revelation 22:2. ἐντεῦθεν καὶ ἐντεῦθεν) ἔνθεν καὶ ἔνθεν, Ezekiel 47:7; Ezekiel 47:12, adverbially; but here ἐντεῦθεν, as in other places ἐνταῦθα, is a preposition.(239)ἀποδιδοῦν) for ἀπόδιδον, as διδόω for δίδω΄ι.— εἰς θεραπείαν) לִתְרוּפָה, Ezekiel 47:12, where the LXX. have εἰς ὑγιείαν. θεραπεία implies an inceptive signification: and yet there will be nothing of the character of disease. Comp. Ezekiel 47:9. Hence the difficulty of the question concerning the salvation of the nations may be explained.

Verse 3

Revelation 22:3. κατάθεμα) Thus comp. with other editions printed at Antwerp and Geneva, and with almost all the MSS. See App. Ed. ii.(240)ἐν αὐτῇ, in it) This may possibly refer to the street: comp. Job 29:7, ἐν δὲ πλατείαις ἐτίθετό μου δίφρος. But it refers to the city itself, as Revelation 22:2, αὐτῆς, of it: although in truth the throne will be in the most conspicuous place of the city.— αὐτοῦ, of Him) Where mention is made both of God and of the Lamb, the following relative, αὐτοῦ, of Him, has reference either to the Lamb, ch. Revelation 6:17, also ch. Revelation 1:1, Revelation 20:6, because in these places there is ascribed to the Lamb, wrath, revelation, the kingdom: or it has reference to God, as in this passage, because the throne is more frequently ascribed to God; wherefore also, ch. Revelation 11:15, the word βασιλεύσει, shall reign, refers to the Lord. It is not there said, they shall reign; nor is it said in any place, αὐτῶν, of them, in the plural, on account of their intimate union. In the mention of the Lamb, there is an allusion also to God: in the mention of God, there is an allusion also to the Lamb.

Verse 5

Revelation 22:5. ἐπʼ αὐτοὺς) ἐπʼ is omitted by many,(241) whom Wolf supports, especially comparing the passage, ch. Revelation 21:23. But the places differ. The glory of God enlightens the city: the Lord God pours light upon the citizens. Thus it is said, להאיר על הארץ, Genesis 1:15. The antiquity of the witnesses defends the particle ἐτί.

Verse 6

Revelation 22:6. καὶ, and) There is a wonderful disagreement between interpreters respecting the distribution of the speeches in this epilogue. But if my interpretation pleases any one, there speaks—

The angel, Revelation 22:6.

Jesus, Revelation 22:7.

John, respecting his own action, and his correction by the angel, Revelation 22:8-9.

Again, in the same order,

The angel, Revelation 22:10-11.

Jesus, Revelation 22:12-17

John, Revelation 22:18-19.

John and Jesus, and again John, Revelation 22:20-21.

πιστοὶ καὶ ἀληθινοὶ, faithful and true) To be received with firm faith, and moreover with a worthy interpretation. The truth of these words was confirmed, in particular, respecting the marriage of the Lamb, ch. Revelation 19:9, and respecting the renewing of the universe, ch. Revelation 21:5; now generally, as in an epilogue, the truth of the words of the whole book is confirmed: and that is consistent with itself, even in places where many refuse to believe. But woe unto them who love falsehood rather than this truth, and who defame the truth as falsehood, and especially that very truth which lies between these confirmations, ch. Revelation 20:1, etc.— θεὸς τῶν πνευμάτων τῶν προφητῶν, the God of the spirits of the prophets) There is only one Spirit, by whose inspiration the prophets spake: 1 Peter 1:11; 2 Peter 1:21 : but individuals, according to the measure given unto them, had their own spirits. The God of these spirits is the LORD for instance, the God of David, the God of Daniel. And the same sent His angel, that the approaching accomplishment of those things which had been foretold by those ancient prophets might now be shown to John.

Verse 8

Revelation 22:8. (242) καὶ ἐγὼ, and I) Dionysius of Alexandria construed this also with μακάριος, blessed, Revelation 22:7 : εἰμὶ, I am, is rather to be understood.

Verse 9

Revelation 22:9. (243) ὅρα ΄ή· σύνδουλός σου εἰ΄ὶ) After σου, the more recent Latin editions and Erasmus inserted γάρ.(244) But Wolf excellently observes, that the whole of this speech of the angel is concise and elliptical, such as the speech of those who greatly loathe anything is accustomed to be. There is a very similar example of the omission of γὰρ, Acts 14:15.

Verse 10

Revelation 22:10. καὶ λέγει μοι, and he says to me) It is the same angel, whose addresses are mentioned in Revelation 22:9-10; and yet the formula, and he says to me, is placed between, because the angel here (Revelation 22:10) follows up afresh the discourse mentioned in Revelation 22:6, after the interruptions made in Revelation 22:7-9. Comp. and he says to me, ch. Revelation 17:15, Revelation 19:9.— μὴ σφραγίσῃς, seal not) They are like persons sealing, whose purpose it appears to be, under specious pretexts, to restrain the fuller handling of this prophecy.

Verse 11

Revelation 22:11. ῥυπαρευθήτω(245)) Erasmus, here patching up Greek words from Latin, made ῥυπωσάτω, from ῥυπόω. I said in my Apparatus that ῥυπάω, not ῥυπόω, is a neuter verb: but Wolf expressed his fear, that it could not be proved, that ῥυπάω only was neuter. It was the part of that most learned man, to maintain by examples his assertion concerning the use of ῥυπόω also as a neuter. Neuters in οω are indeed given, δολιόω, μεσόω, σκηνόω: but when two verbs are formed from one theme, very frequently the form in οω is active, and the form in εω or αω is neuter, as καρπόω, εὐκαρπέω· ἀντιστατέω, ἀναστατόω· ἀσθενέω, ἀσθενόω· κρατερέω, κρατερόω· and thus ῥυπάω, ῥυπόω. Undoubtedly in Aristophanes, who is quoted by Wolf (besides ῥυπῶν, which is ambiguous when taken by itself), ῥυπῶντα, ἐῤῥύπων, are neuter, not ῥυποῦντα, ἐῤῥύπουν. But grant that ῥυποῦν also is neuter, the verb ῥυπαρεύομαι, even though it does not elsewhere occur, is however defended by the analogy of the words πονηρεύομαι, σοβαρεύομαι, ψυχρεύομαι, which also are rare verbs, and, which is the point of chief importance, by all the manuscripts.— δικαιοσύνην ποιησάτω, let him do righteousness) Thus, ποιῶν τὴν δικαιοσύνην, who doeth righteousness, 1 John 2:29; 1 John 3:7.— ἅγιος, the holy) and pure, fleeing from all things filthy and profane, in opposition to the practice of dogs and swine.

Verse 13

Revelation 22:13. ἐγὼ τὸ ἄλφα καὶ τὸ ω, πρῶτος καὶ ἔσχατος, ἀρχὴ καὶ τὸ τέλος, I Alpha and O, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End(246)) See App. Crit. Ed. ii. on this passage. The Lord Jesus plainly speaks here: and there are three clauses, the first of which we weighed at ch. Revelation 1:8, where the Father speaks of Himself; the second we considered at ch. Revelation 1:17, where the Lord Jesus speaks of Himself; the third, together with the first, we touched upon at ch. Revelation 21:6, where again the Father speaks. Now, in the present passage, the three clauses are accumulated, a most manifest proof of the glory of the Lord Jesus; who testifies concerning Himself both those things which the Father had spoken concerning Himself, ch. Revelation 21:6, and those things which He Himself had spoken concerning Himself, ch. Revelation 1:17. Is it then one and the same sentiment which is expressed in a threefold form? Nay, something more is contained in it. The clause α and ω is as it were the basis of those titles, which we have just noticed, of God and Christ; and it has a kind of general and as it were hieroglyphic force, to be determined by the other titles which follow. This is first spoken by the Father, ch. Revelation 1:8; and the second answers to it, in which Christ calls Himself the First and the Last, ch. Revelation 1:17. Artemonius, who is excellently refuted by Wolf, translates it, most excellent and most abject. He Himself by Isaiah explains it, as Him, before whom and after whom there is no other God, the Author of salvation. This is at the commencement of the book. At the close, He who sits upon the throne says, I am α and ω: and He Himself explains it, the Beginning and the End, ch. Revelation 21:6. Then the Lord Jesus says, I α and ω: and He also adds the explanation, but a twofold one: for He both repeats that saying of His, the First and the Last, and now, when the throne of God and of the Lamb is in the new Jerusalem, speaking of Himself, He adds that, which the Father had spoken, the Beginning and the End. It is put without the article, πρῶτος καὶ ἔσχατος, and that too in the primary copies; but with the article, ἀρχὴ καὶ τὸ τέλος, just as τὸ α καὶ τὸ ω, which is a remarkable sign of a kind of gradation.

Verse 14

Revelation 22:14. αὐτοῦ, of Him) of Him, who is coming: Revelation 22:12. He Himself speaks concerning Himself. There is a very similar phrase, ch. Revelation 5:10 : them, that is, us.— ἵνα ἔσται) ἵνα explains the blessedness here mentioned, as ch. Revelation 14:13; and ἔσται for makes the discourse exceedingly emphatic.— τὸ ξύλον τῆς ζωῆς, the tree of life) of which they who eat, live for ever: Genesis 3:22.

Verse 15

Revelation 22:15. (247) φιλῶν ψεῦδος) A good mind loves the truth, a bad one loves falsehood. That saying of Aristotle may in a certain sense be accommodated to this passage: τοῦτʼ ἔστιν κατʼ ἀλήθειαν εὐφϋία, τὸ δύνασθαι καλῶς ἑλέσθαι τʼ ἀληθὲς καὶ φυγεῖν τὸ ψεῦδος· ὅπερ οἱ πεφυκότες εὖ, δύνανται ποιεῖν εὖ· οἱ γὰρ φιλοῦντες καὶ ΄ισοῦντες τὸ προσφέρο΄ενον εὖ, κρίνουσι τὸ βέλτιστον: lib. viii. Topic. cap. 14. Let this be transferred to spiritual things. It is the part of a good disposition to love the truth, and to hate falsehood: of a bad disposition, to hate the truth, and to love falsehood. Such indeed we all are by nature; but one receives the truth, an other continues to imitate the deaf adder: Psalms 58:4-5. Hence the hearing of many is averse from the harmony of the truth, especially from that of the Apocalypse. The things which are set forth are plain from the words themselves and from the parallelism, but σωφροσύνη must be applied.

Verse 16

Revelation 22:16. ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις) The genuine reading,(248) to which, as not being understood, one has prefixed ἐν, another ἐπί. If either particle had been originally written, the copyists would not so easily either have changed or omitted it. But, as Wolf well reminds us, they who are intended by the particle you, are distinguished from the churches. For ὑμῖν is the dative, and ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις the ablative, as ch. Revelation 8:3-4. The seven churches in Asia altogether are witnesses to the individual churches, and these to their individual angels and hearers.— ἀστὴρ λα΄πρὸς πρωϊνός) He does not say ἑωσφόρος, nor φωσφόρος, but uses a new appellation, ἀστὴρ λα΄πρὸς πρωϊνός. This greatly increases the force of the signification.

Verse 17

Revelation 22:17. λέγουσα, saying) It may refer also to τὸ πνεῦμα, by a Hebraism, because רוח is of the feminine gender.

Verse 18

Revelation 22:18. (249) ΄αρτυρῶ ἐγὼ) See Appar. on this passage.(250) In Revelation 22:18-19, there is a most severe testimony, a most weighty admonition to all hearers of the Apocalypse. If any man shall add, there shall be added upon him plagues: if any man shall take away, from him shall be taken away blessings. Repayment in kind [talio]. It is more grievous, as it appears from the annexed threatenings, to add, than to take away: though many critics actually show that they entertain a contrary opinion, being more timid in the erasure than in the admission of glosses. To change, is at once both to add and to take away. First, any hearer may offend in this matter, when he endeavours to pass off as Apocalyptic writings which are not such, or suppresses those which are truly Apocalyptic. An unskilful expounder, who is blind and rash, offends, and especially if he deems himself to be endowed with a singular prophetical gift and faculty. An unfaithful translator and copyist, who writes out the text incorrectly, exceedingly offends: for while the text is uncorrupted, especially at the foundation, the offence of the expounder and of the hearer may be corrected; but when the text is corrupted, the injury is much greater. Yet in all these modes the offence may be committed in a greater or less degree, the faithful being hindered, so that they cannot learn to hear the Lord’s I come, and to answer Come, and thus to enjoy the truth and fruit of the whole book or of the separate parts and portions, and to recognise the glory of Jesus Christ: Revelation 22:17; Revelation 22:20. Nor is theirs a slight fault, who perversely, unfairly, and unseasonably bring forward mysteries, and produce in the world and its princes envy and suspicion towards the kingdom of God. It is not the modest endeavour, joined with the desire of progress, and not blocking up the way to the truth arising from other sources, which is here condemned; it is profane boldness, arising from carnal sense, which is condemned. And John especially forewarned Cerinthus, who afterwards incurred this censure. This clause applies to the case of all the books of Holy Scripture: comp. Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; but it especially applies to the Apocalypse, the crowning point of prophecy, which was exposed to peculiar danger, and the minute and admirable connection of which might be disturbed or obscured by the change of even a single word. The separate parts of this book, guarded as it is by so severe an interdict, are of great moment. The extraordinary multitude of various readings in the Apocalypse cries aloud, that all have not at all times acted with religious caution in this matter. [In this very interdict, about the not adding or taking away, I have noticed twenty-four varieties of reading introduced by copyists.—Not. Crit.] Thanks be unto God, who has preserved to us marks and traces of the genuine reading through the dangers of so many ages!— ἐάν τις ἐπιθῇ, κ. τ. λ., if any man add) To add, according to the interpretation of Lange, is to put off to the future those things which are already accomplished: to take away, is to regard future things as already accomplished. Comm. Apoc. f. 250. Let another see, that he does not add; I am on my guard, that I do not take away.

ἀκούων, he that heareth) The Spirit and the bride saying, Come.—V. g.

Verse 19

Revelation 22:19. ἀπὸ τοῦ ξύλου τῆς ζωῆς καὶ τῆς πόλεως τὴς ἁγίας, τῶν γεγραμμένων, κ. τ. λ.) See App. Crit. Ed. ii. on this place.(251) The tree of life itself, and the holy city itself, are the first and the last (ch. 2. 3. 22), nay, even the sum of those distinguished privileges, the hope of which is given to the faithful in this book.

Verse 21

Revelation 22:21. (252) πάντων) Some add, ὑ΄ῶν and ἀ΄ήν.(253) Wolf will not have the last word ἀμὴν, which is found in many manuscripts, and in all the published editions, omitted. How ready the copyists were to insert the particle Amen in Doxologies and clauses containing a prayer, since it is usually found in such situations, appears from almost all the books of the New Testament, at the close, and from the annotation of Wolf on App. Revelation 1:18, where almost all the copyists have absurdly inserted ἀμήν. One copyist who omits it, is of more value than ten who add it at their own pleasure. See App. Crit. Ed. ii. on this passage [where the relation in which Wolf stood to Bengel is distinctly set forth at large]. Now, if any one should write out at full length such a text, for instance of the Apocalypse, as many persons prefer at the present day, he will have a reading which is full, intelligible, tinged with parallelism, that is, interpolated, and almost everywhere made up of the fewest and most recent authorities, which, when compared with the editions, would not much differ from the text published by H. Stephens and the Elzevirs. My recension also, in the margin, indeed, is sometimes deprived of the greater number of authorities; but this happens in those places which were less frequently quoted by the Fathers: nor, however, is it without the support of competent authorities, whose antiquity, together with the exegetical arguments natural to the text itself, makes up for the deficiency in number. With the exception of such passages (for they are to be treated for a while by way of exception), my text in its whole tenor approaches the copies which are by far the most numerous, spread out from the times of John to all ages and countries, whether you look to the Greek manuscripts, or the versions, and especially to the noted Italian Version, or to the fathers, Irenæu(254), Hippolytus, Orige(255), Athanasius, Andreas, Tertullian, Cypria(256), Jerome, Primasius, etc.: bound to follow no edition entirely, and yet seldom compelled to betake itself to manuscripts only. The reading is for the most part brief; and where there was a manifold variety, it takes a middle course: it everywhere retains its ancient and austere, that is, its natural character. Of what kind this was, Wolf has discovered, as I think, in the Supplements to his Curæ (if he has advanced to this point), and has yielded to the truth more plainly ascertained. He has always been mindful of his own moderation towards me; and all, as I hope, will understand that I also have accurately preserved the laws of moderation. The Exegesis, of which by far the better portion is contained here, proceeds on the same plan. Wherever I have not been able to exchange my own sentiments with the opinion of others, competent judges will, as I hope, recognise not obstinacy (for a sentiment which has been already carefully weighed, through many doubts and considerations, is less liable to change), but love of the truth. And the same persons, when they shall have considered what foundations I first laid, and when they shall have duly weighed what I have replied to doubts put forward from various quarters, will perhaps determine that a suitable defence(257) of other passages also, which no one hitherto has censured, if they shall be censured, will be in readiness for me to make, or will suggest itself to my readers, if I am silent or dead.(258)


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 22:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, June 4th, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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