Revelation 22:17
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come . . .—The cry of all creation is for its true Lord; the cry of the Spirit in prophecies and in the hearts of God’s people is for the coming Lord—the bride waiting for the bridegroom cries “Come.” The Apocalypse is the book of the coming One; it ends with the cry that the coming One would come (comp. Revelation 22:20); but let those who thirst for His coming come to Him. We may draw near to Him, who is drawing near to us: let him that thirsteth, come; let him that will take the water of life freely. (Comp. John 7:37.) “The power of the whole gospel,” says Bengel, “concentrates itself in this, that one should be able to respond to this Come, and repeat it from the heart.”

Revelation

CHRIST’S LAST INVITATION FROM THE THRONE

Revelation 22:17The last verses of this last book of Scripture are like the final movement of some great concerto, in which we hear all the instruments of the orchestra swelling the flood of triumph. In them many voices are audible alternately. Sometimes it is the Seer who speaks, sometimes an angel, sometimes a deeper voice from the Throne, that of Christ Himself. It is often difficult, therefore, amidst these swift transitions, to tell who is the speaker; but one thing is clear that, just before the verse from which my text is taken, our Lord has been proclaiming from the Throne His royalty and His swift coming ‘to render to every man according’ to his work, and to gather His own into the city.

After that solemn utterance He is silent for the moment, and there is a great hush. Then a voice is heard saying, ‘Come! ‘It is the voice of the Bride in whom the Spirit speaks. What should she say, in answer to His promise, but pour out her wish for its fulfilment? How should the Bride not long for the bridegroom? Then apparently the Seer breaks in, summoning all who have heard Christ’s promise, and the Church’s prayer, to swell her cry of longing. For, indeed. His coming is the Divine ‘event to which the whole Creation moves’; and in it all the world’s dreams of a golden age are fulfilled, and all the world’s wounds are healed. ‘Let him that heareth say. Come!’

But who speaks my text? Apparently Christ Himself, though its force would not be materially modified if it were the voice of John, the Seer. It is His answer to the cry of the Church. He delays His coming; for this among other reasons that all the world may hear His gracious invitation. Then there are two comings in this verse - the final coming of Christ to the world; the invited coming of the world to Christ.

Now, it is obvious, I think, that such a way of understanding our text, with its vivid interchange of speakers and subjects, gives a far richer meaning to it than the interpretation which is so common amongst us, which recognizes in all these ‘Comes’ only a reference to one and the same subject, the approach of men to Jesus Christ through faith in Him.

Let us, then, listen to this Voice from the Throne, almost the last recorded words of the ascended Jesus, in which are gathered all His love for men and His longing to bless them.

I. Now, first let me suggest the question - To whom Christ from the Throne thus calls?

The persons addressed are designated by two descriptions: they that are ‘athirst,’ and those that ‘will.’ In one aspect of the former designation it is universal; in another aspect it is by no means so. The latter designation is, alas! anything but universal, because there are many men that thirst; and, strange as it seems, will not to be satisfied. But we take these two apart, and look at them separately.

The first qualification is need, and the sense of need. These two things, alas! do not go together. One is universal, the other by no means so. When a man is thirsty he knows that he is. But it is quite possible that your soul’s lips may be cracking and black with thirst, and you may be all unconscious of it. There is a universal need stamped upon men, by the very make of their spirits, which declares that they must have something or someone external to themselves, on whom they can rest, and from whom they can be satisfied. The heart yearns for another’s love; the mind is restless till it grasps reality and truth. The will longs to be mastered, even though it rebels against the Master, and the whole nature of man proclaims, ‘My soul thirsteth for God; for the living God.’ No man is at rest unless he is living in conscious amity with, and in possession of, the Father’s heart and the Father’s strength.

But, brethren, half of you do not know what ails you. You recognize the gnawing discontent, the urging restlessness, the continual feeling after something more than you have, and it often impels you on the wrong road. There is such a thing as misinterpreting the cry of the Spirit, and that misinterpretation is the crime and the misery of millions of men and of many in this building this evening. That they shall stifle their true need under a pile of worldly things, that they shall direct their longings to what can never satisfy them, that they shall put away all thoughts of the one sufficient anchorage, and hold, and nourishment, and refreshment, and gladness of the spirit, is indeed the state and the misery of many of us.

Perverted tastes are by no means confined to certain forms of disease of the body. There is the same perversion of taste in regard of higher things. You and I are made to feed upon God, and we feed upon ourselves, and one another, and the world, and all the trash, in comparison to our immortal desires and capacities, which we find around us. It seems to me sometimes, looking upon the busy life in the midst of which we live, and the way in which, from Monday morning to Saturday night, each man is hurrying after his chosen pursuits, as if we were all stricken with insanity, and chasing after dreams; or as if, if I might take such an illustration, we were like the actors upon a stage, at some banquet in a play, pretending with great gusto to be drinking nothing, out of cups tinseled to look like gold, but which are only wood. Do you interpret aright the immortal thirst of your soul? Having the need, brother, are you conscious of the need; and, if conscious, do you know where the fountain bubbles up that will supply it? I fear- I fear that there are many who, if they would interrogate their own hearts honestly, and look this question in the face, would have to answer. No! It is ‘as when a thirsty man drearaeth, and behold! he drinketh; but he awaketh; and, behold! he is faint, and his soul within him hath appetite.’

Now, I dare say there are many who are not aware of this thirst of the soul. No! you have crushed it out, and for a time you are quite satisfied with worldly success, or with the various objects on which you have set your hearts. It will not last! It will not last! It is not likely to last even the length of your life. It will not last any longer. Some of us may be like the cactus that grows in hot, light soil in eastern lands, having a considerable store of moisture in the fleshy spike that will help it through a long time of drought, but the store gets used up. Be sure of this, that, until you go to Jesus Christ, you dwell in ‘a dry and thirsty land where no water is.’ So far as the sense of need goes this text may not appeal to you. So far as the reality of the need goes it certainly does.

Then, look at the other designation of the persons to whom Christ’s merciful summons comes: ‘Whosoever will let him take.’ Now, I said that the former designation, in one view of it, covered the whole ground of humanity. We cannot say that of this other one, for we are brought face to face with that strange and most inexplicable and yet most certain and tragic of all facts in regard to men, that they do turn away their wills from the merciful call of God, and that some of them, gnawing their very tongues with thirst, yet put away with impatient hand the sparkling cup that He offers to them freely. There is nothing sadder, there is nothing more certain, than that we poor little creatures can assert our will in the presence of the Divine lovingkindness, and can thwart, so far as we are concerned, the council of God against ourselves, ‘How often would I have gathered,’ said the foiled, long-suffering Christ - ‘how often would I have gathered . . . and ye would not!’ Oh! brethren, it is an awful thing to think that with this universal need there is such a partial yielding of the will to Him.

I do not enter here and now upon the various reasons or excuses which men offer to themselves and one another for this disinclination to accept the Divine mercy, but I do venture to say that the solid core of unwillingness to be saved upon Christ’s conditions underlies a vast deal- not all, but a vast deal - of the supposed intellectual difficulties of men in regard to the Gospel. The will bribes the understanding, in a great many regions. It is a very common thing all round the horizon of thought and knowledge that a man shall believe or disbelieve largely under the influence of prejudice or inclination. So let no man be offended if I say that what we have to guard against, in all regions of thought, we have also to guard against in our relation to the truths of the Gospel, and make very sure that, when we think we are being borne along by pure, impartial reason, the will has not put a bridle in the nose of the steed, and is guiding it astray.

But for the most of you who stand apart from Jesus Christ this is the truth, that your attitude is a merely negative one. It is not that you will not to have Him but that you do not will to have Him. But that negative attitude, that passive indifference which largely comes from a heart that does not like to submit to the conditions that Christ imposes, makes a positive hindrance to your getting between your lips the water of life. You know the old proverb: One man can take a horse to the water, ten cannot make him drink. We can bring you to the water, or the water to you, but neither Christ nor His servants can put the refreshing, life-giving liquid into your mouth if you lock your lips so tight that a bristle could not go in between them. You can thwart Christ, and when He says, ‘Take, drink!’ you can shake your head and mumble, ‘I will not.’ So, dear friends, I beseech you to take this solemnly into consideration, that the operative cause why most of us who are not Christians are not, is simply disinclination. Wishing is one thing; willing is quite another. "Wishing to be delivered from the gnawing restlessness of a hungry heart, and to be satisfied, is one thing; willing to accept the satisfaction which Christ gives on the terms which Christ lays down is, alas! quite another.

Seeing that to know our need and to be willing to let Him supply it in His own fashion are the only qualifications, then how magnificently from this last word of the Christ from the Throne comes out the universality of His Gospel. ‘Whosoever will,’ that is all. If you choose you may. No other conditions are laid down. If there had been any which were beyond the power of every soul of man upon earth, then Christianity would have dwindled to a narrow, provincial, sectional thing. But, since it only demands the need, which is universal; the sense of need, which every man may feel; and willingness, which every man ought to, and can, exercise, it is the Gospel for the world, and it is the Gospel for me, and it is the Gospel for each of you. See that ye refuse not the offered draught.

II. That brings me, secondly, to say a word about what Christ from heaven thus offers to us all.

This book of Revelation, as I have already remarked, in another connection, is the close of the great Revelation of God; and it is full of the echoes of His earlier words. The river of the water of life has been rippling and tinkling from the first chapter of Genesis to the last of Revelation. It is the river that flowed through Eden; the river which makes glad with its streams the City of God, the river of the Divine pleasures, of which God makes His children drink; the river which the prophet saw stealing out from under the Temple doors, and carrying life whithersoever it came; the river which Christ proclaimed should flow from because it had flowed into, all that should believe upon Him, ‘the river of the water of life, clear as crystal,’ which the Seer had just seen proceeding from the Throne of God and of the Lamb. Our Lord’s words to the Samaritan woman, and His words on that last great day of the feast, when He stood and cried, ‘If any man thirst let him come to Me and drink,’ and many another gracious utterance, are all gathered up, as it were, in this last Voice from the Throne.

The water of life is not merely living water, in the sense that it flashes and sparkles and flows; but it is water which communicates life. ‘Life’ here is to be taken in that deep, pregnant, comprehensive sense in which the Apostle John uses it in all his writings. It is his shorthand symbol for the whole aggregate of the blessings which come to men through Jesus Christ, and which, received by men, make them blessed indeed.

The first thought that emerges from this ‘water of life,’ considered as being the sum of all that Christ communicates to humanity is - then, where it does not run or is not received, there is death. Ah, brother, the true death is separation from God, and the true separation from God is not brought about because He is in heaven, and we are upon earth; or because He is infinite and incomprehensible, and we are poor creatures of an hour, but because we depart from Him in heart and mind, and, as another Apostle says, are dead in trespasses and sins. Death in life, a living death, is far more dreadful than when the poor body is laid quiet upon the bed, and the spirit has left the pale cheeks. And that death is upon us, unless it has been banished from us by a draught of the water of life. Dear brethren, that is not pulpit rhetoric; it is the deepest fact about human nature. It is not a mere metaphor. I take it that the death of the body is metaphor, so to speak, the embodiment in material form, as a parable of the far grimmer thing which goes on in the region of the spirit. And I beseech you to remember that according to the whole teaching of Scripture, which I think is countersigned by the verdict of an awakened conscience, death is the separation from God by sin; and the only quickening potion is the water which Christ gives; or rather, as He Himself said, ‘He that drinketh of My blood hath life indeed.’

But, then, besides all these thoughts, there come others, on which I need not dwell, that in that great emblem of the water that gives life is included the satisfaction of all desires, meeting and over-answering all expectations, filling up every empty place in the heart, in the hopes, in the whole inward nature of man, and lavishing upon him all the blessings which go to make up true gladness, true nobleness, and dignity. Nor does the eternal life cease when physical death comes. The river - if I might modify the figure with which I am dealing, and regard the man himself in his Christian experience as the river - flows through a narrow, dark gorge, like one of the canons on American streams, and down to its profoundest depths no sunlight can travel. But the waters are not diminished though they are confined, nor are they arrested by the black rocks, but at the other end of the defile they come out into flashing sunset and sparkle and flow. And away somewhere in the dark gorge mighty tributaries have poured in, so that the stream is broader and deeper, and pours a more majestic volume towards the great ocean from which it originally came.

Brother, here is the offer - life eternal, deliverance from the death of sin both as guilt and power; the pouring out upon us of all the blessing that our thirsty spirits can desire, and the perpetuity of that blessed existence and endless satisfaction through the infinite ages of timeless being. These are the offers that Christ makes to each of us.

III. Lastly, what Christ from heaven calls us to do.

‘He that is athirst let him come; and whosoever will let him take!’ The two things, coming and taking, as it seems to me, cover substantially the same ground. You often hear earnest, evangelical preachers reiterate that call - ‘Come to Jesus! come to Jesus!’ with more fervor than clearness of explanation of what they mean. So, I would say, in one sentence emphatically, and as plainly as I can put it, that Jesus Christ Himself has told us what He means. Because when He was here upon earth He stood and cried, ‘If any man thirst let him come to Me and drink.’ And He explained Himself when He said, ‘He that cometh unto Me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.’ So let us put away the metaphors of ‘coming’ and ‘taking’ and lay hold of the Christ-given interpretation of them, and say the one thing that Christ asks me to do is to trust my poor, sinful self wholly and confidently and constantly and obediently to Him. That is all.

Ah! All! And that is just where the pinch comes. ‘My father! my father!’ remonstrated Naaman’s servants, when he was in a towering passion because he was told to go wash in the Jordan; ‘if the prophet had bidden thee do some great thing, wouldst thou not have done it? How much rather then when he saith to thee, Wash and be clean?’ Naaman’s strange reluctance to do a little thing in order to produce a great effect whilst he was willing to take a mint of trouble in order to produce it, is repeated over and over again amongst us. You will see men buy damnation dear who will not have salvation because it is a gift and they have nothing to do. I do believe that great multitudes of people would rather, like the Hindoos, stick hooks in the muscles of their backs, and swing at the end of a rope if that would get heaven for them, than simply be content to come in forma pauperis, and owe everything to Christ’s grace, and nothing to their own works.

Why! what is the meaning of all this new vitality of sacerdotal notions amongst us to-day, and of the efficacy of sacraments, and all the rest of it, except the pur-blindness to the flashing glory of the central truth of the Gospel that not by anything that we do, but simply by His Cross and passion received by faith into our hearts, are we saved? Brethren, it is not theology about Christ’s sacrifice, but it is the Christ whom the theology about His sacrifice explains that you must get hold of. And if you trust Him you have come to Him in a very real sense, and have His presence with you, and you are present with Him far more really than were the men who companied with Him all the time that He went in and out amongst them here on this earth. So much for the ‘come.’

‘Let him take.’ Well, that being translated, too, is but the exercise of lowly trust in Him. Faith is the hand that, being put out, grasps this great gift. You must make the universal blessing your own. The river flows past your door, broader and deeper and more majestic than the ‘father of waters’ itself. But all that is naught to you unless you take your own little pitcher to the brink and fill it, and take it home. ‘He loved me, and gave Himself for me.’ Do you say that? Dear brother! are you athirst? I know you are. Do you know it? Are you willing to take Christ’s salvation on Christ’s terms, and to live by faith in Him, communion with, and obedience to Him? If you are, then earth may yield or deny you its waters, but you will not be dependent on them. When all the land is parched and baked, and every surface well run dry, you will have a spring that fails not, and the water that Christ ‘will give you will be in you a fountain of water leaping up into everlasting life.’ Nor will your supplies fail when death cuts off all that flow from earthly cisterns, for they who here drink of the river will hereafter go up to the Source, and ‘they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, for the Lamb that is in the midst of the Throne shall feed them, and shall lead them to living fountains of water, and God the Lord shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.’ Revelation 22:17. And the Spirit — With which I inspire my servants; and the bride — The church, whom I have espoused, or the Spirit of adoption in the bride, says, with earnest desire and expectation, Come — And accomplish all the words of this prophecy. And let him that heareth say, Come — Let every one echo the invitation; and let my people, in all ages, consider it as their duty so to do; and let him that is athirst — That sincerely and earnestly desires the blessings of the gospel, whether the blessings of grace, or those of glory; come — And partake of those blessings. Let him apply to the Lord Jesus, in repentance and faith, to be pardoned and renewed; taken into God’s favour, and stamped with his image here, and put in possession of eternal life hereafter, and he shall not apply in vain; and whosoever will — Here they also, who are farther off, are invited; let him take of the water of life — He may partake of spiritual and eternal blessings; freely — Yea, as freely as he makes use of the most common refreshments, as freely as he drinks of the running stream. Such a declaration of free grace seems to have been wisely inserted just in the close of the sacred canon, to encourage the hope of every humble soul that is truly desirous of the blessings of the gospel; and to guard against those suspicions of divine goodness, which the dark mind of man is so ready to imbibe. The word λαμβανετο, which we render take, often signifies receive; and the word δωρεαιν, rendered freely, implies the same as gratis, namely, the perfect freedom of the gift, and may probably refer to the celebrated invitation, Isaiah 55:1-3.22:6-19 The Lord Jesus spake by the angel, solemnly confirming the contents of this book, particularly of this last vision. He is the Lord God faithful and true. Also by his messengers; the holy angels showed them to holy men of God. They are things that must shortly be done; Christ will come quickly, and put all things out of doubt. And by the integrity of that angel who had been the apostle's interpreter. He refused to accept religious worship from John, and reproved him for offering it. This presents another testimony against idolatrous worship of saints and angels. God calls every one to witness to the declarations here made. This book, thus kept open, will have effect upon men; the filthy and unjust will be more so, but it will confirm, strengthen, and further sanctify those who are upright with God. Never let us think that a dead or disobedient faith will save us, for the First and the Last has declared that those alone are blessed who do his commandments. It is a book that shuts out form heaven all wicked and unrighteous persons, particularly those who love and make lies, therefore cannot itself be a lie. There is no middle place or condition. Jesus, who is the Spirit of prophecy, has given his churches this morning-light of prophecy, to assure them of the light of the perfect day approaching. All is confirmed by an open and general invitation to mankind, to come and partake freely of the promises and of the privileges of the gospel. The Spirit, by the sacred word, and by convictions and influence in the sinner's conscience, says, Come to Christ for salvation; and the bride, or the whole church, on earth and in heaven, says, Come and share our happiness. Lest any should hesitate, it is added, Let whosoever will, or, is willing, come and take of the water of life freely. May every one who hears or reads these words, desire at once to accept the gracious invitation. All are condemned who should dare to corrupt or change the word of God, either by adding to it, or taking from it.And the Spirit and the bride say, Come - That is, come to the Saviour; come and partake of the blessings of the gospel; come and be saved. The construction demands this interpretation, as the latter part of the verse shows. The design of this whole verse is, evidently, to show the freeness of the offers of the gospel; to condense in a summary manner all the invitations of mercy to mankind; and to leave on the mind at the close of the book a deep impression of the ample provision which has been made for the salvation of a fallen race. Nothing, it is clear, could be more appropriate at the close of this book, and at the close of the whole volume of revealed truth, than to announce, in the most clear and attracting form, that salvation is free to all, and that whosoever will may be saved.

The Spirit - The Holy Spirit. He entreats all to come. This he does:

(a) in all the recorded invitations in the Bible - for it is by the inspiration of that Spirit that these invitations are recorded;

(b) by all his influences on the understandings, the consciences, and the hearts of people;

(c) by all the proclamations of mercy made by the preaching of the gospel, and by the appeal which friend makes to friend, and neighbor to neighbor, and stranger to stranger - for all these are methods in which the Spirit invites people to come to the Saviour.

And the bride - The church. See the notes at Revelation 21:2, Revelation 21:9. That is, the church invites all to come and be saved. This it does:

(a) by its ministers, whose main business it is to extend this invitation to mankind;

(b) by its ordinances - constantly setting forth the freeness of the gospel;

(c) by the lives of its consistent members - showing the excellency and the desirableness of true religion;

(d) by all its efforts to do good in the world;

(e) by the example of those who are brought into the church - showing that all, whatever may have been their former character, may be saved; and,

(f) by the direct appeals of its individual members.

Thus a Christian parent invites his children; a brother invites a sister, and a sister invites a brother; a neighbor invites his neighbor, and a stranger a stranger; the master invites his servant, and the servant his master. The church on earth and the church in heaven unite in the invitation, saying, Come. The living father, pastor, friend, invites - and the voice of the departed father, pastor, friend, now in heaven, is heard re-echoing the invitation. The once-loved mother that has gone to the skies still invites her children to come; and the sweet-smiling babe that has been taken up to the Saviour stretches out its arms from heaven, and says to its mother - "Come."

Say, Come - That is, come to the Saviour; come into the church; come to heaven.

continued...

17. Reply of the spiritual Church and John to Christ's words (Re 22:7, 12, 16).

the Spirit—in the churches and in the prophets.

the bride—not here called "wife," as that title applies to her only when the full number constituting the Church shall have been completed. The invitation, "Come," only holds good while the Church is still but an affianced Bride, and not the actually wedded wife. However, "Come" may rather be the prayer of the Spirit in the Church and in believers in reply to Christ's "I come quickly," crying, Even so, "Come" (Re 22:7, 12); Re 22:20 confirms this view. The whole question of your salvation hinges on this, that you be able to hear with joy Christ's announcement, "I come," and to reply, "Come" [Bengel]. Come to fully glorify Thy Bride.

let him that heareth—that is, let him that heareth the Spirit and Bride saying to the Lord Jesus, "Come," join the Bride as a true believer, become part of her, and so say with her to Jesus, "Come." On "heareth" means "obeyeth"; for until one has obeyed the Gospel call, he cannot pray to Jesus "Come"; so "hear" is used, Re 1:3; Joh 10:16. Let him that hears and obeys Jesus' voice (Re 22:16; Re 1:3) join in praying "Come." Compare Re 6:1, 10; see on [2752]Re 6:1. In the other view, which makes "Come" an invitation to sinners, this clause urges those who themselves hear savingly the invitation to address the same to others, as did Andrew and Philip after they themselves had heard and obeyed Jesus' invitation, "Come."

let him that is athirst come—As the Bride, the Church, prays to Jesus, "Come," so she urges all whosoever thirst for participation in the full manifestation of redemption-glory at His coming to us, to COME in the meantime and drink of the living waters, which are the earnest of "the water of life pure as crystal … out of the throne of God of the Lamb" (Re 22:1) in the regenerated heaven and earth.

And—so Syriac. But A, B, Vulgate, and Coptic omit "and."

whosoever will—that is, is willing and desirous. There is a descending climax; Let him that heareth effectually and savingly Christ's voice, pray individually, as the Bride, the Church, does collectively, "Come, Lord Jesus" (Re 22:20). Let him who, though not yet having actually heard unto salvation, and so not yet able to join in the prayer, "Lord Jesus, come, "still thirsts for it, come to Christ. Whosoever is even willing, though his desires do not yet amount to positive thirsting, let him take the water of life freely, that is, gratuitously.

See Poole on "Revelation 22:13" And the Spirit and the bride say, come,.... Hearing Christ say that he should come quickly, Revelation 22:7 the Spirit and the bride express an earnest wish, and a most affectionate desire after his coming: by "the Spirit" may be meant the Spirit of God in the hearts of his people, who not only convinces them of, and acquaints with the coming of Christ to judgment, and gives them reason to expect it, but fills their souls with the love of his appearance, so that they look and long for it, and hasten in the breathings of their souls after it: and this in like manner he may be said to wish for, and desire it in them, as he is said to cry "Abba", Father, in them, Galatians 4:6 and to make intercession for them, Romans 8:26. Hence, some interpreters, by the spirit, understand such as have the Spirit, and are spiritual men; either have spiritual gifts, the gift of prophecy, as John, who in Revelation 22:20 expresses an ardent desire that Christ would come quickly; or regenerate men in common, who are born of the Spirit, and bear his name, John 3:5 and so by an hendyadis, "the Spirit and the bride" signify one and the same; namely, the spiritual bride of Christ, who is sanctified by the Spirit of God; even all the elect of God, whom Christ loved from all eternity, and who are espoused to him as a chaste virgin; the new Jerusalem, who is as a bride adorned for her husband, and is the bride, the Lamb's wife: these wait for the bridegroom's coming, and most earnestly desire it, as there is good reason for them so to do, since his appearing in itself will be a glorious one, being in his own glory, and his Father's, and the holy angels; and seeing then will be the solemnization of the marriage day between Christ and his church; it will be the saints' redemption day; they will then possess full salvation in soul and body; complete grace will be given to them, and glory will be revealed in them, and they shall be for ever with the Lord.

And let him that heareth; what the Spirit and the bride say; or the words of this prophecy; or that has spiritual ears given him, and he hears so as to understand spiritual things, the kingdom of Christ, and the glories of it, let him join the Spirit and bride, and

say, come likewise; or express his wishes and desires in the same earnest and affectionate manner, that Christ would hasten his second coming:

and let him that is athirst come. These seem to be the words of Christ inviting such who thirst after him, his grace and righteousness, after more knowledge of him, and communion with him, to come unto him, by faith, and partake thereof, John 7:37 or who thirst after his second coming, and the glories and delights of the new Jerusalem state, to come into it, and eat of the tree of life, and drink of the river of water of life in it; for the character seems to design such, to speak in the language of the Jews, who use like phrases with this, who hunger, , "and thirst to drink living water" (m), as appears by what follows:

and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. The water of life designs the free favour and love of God, and the communications and displays of it in the new Jerusalem state, even the comfort, refreshment, and glories of that state: to "take" it is to enjoy it, to partake of it, being led unto it, and that being given to them by Christ the Lamb in the midst of the throne, Revelation 7:17 and which is had "freely", without money, and without price, as in Isaiah 55:1 which seems to be referred to; for the happiness of this state, as well as eternal life, is the free gift of God through Christ; and the persons encouraged to partake of it are "whosoever will"; that is, whoever has a will to divine and spiritual things, wrought in him by God, for no man has such a will of himself, Philippians 2:13 though this does not so much regard the character of the person that may take of the water of life, as the free manner in which he may take it: so the Jews are wont to express themselves, when they would signify the liberty that might be used, or the free way in which anything might be taken, particularly when speaking of the law, and the things of it, "whosoever has a mind to take, let him come and take", as it is said, Isaiah 55:1 "ho, everyone that thirsteth", &c. (n) that is, he is free to take, he is welcome to it; which passage referred to, is thus paraphrased by the Targumist, "ho, , "whosoever "will" learn, let him come and learn, &c.

(m) Raziel, fol. 31. 2.((n) Abot R. Nathan, c. 4l. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 79. 4. & 82. 4. Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 54. 3. & 100. 2.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
The promise of 12 a is caught up and answered by a deep “come” from the prophets in ecstasy (πνεῦμα personified, cf. Revelation 2:7, etc.) and the Christian congregation.—νύμφη. Hitherto (Revelation 21:2, etc.) this term has been reserved for the church triumphant in the world to come. Now, with the memory of these oracles fresh in his mind, the prophet applies it to the church on earth, as Paul had already done.—καὶ ὁ ἀκούων κ.τ.λ., a liturgical note, like Mark 13:14 (cf. Weinel, 84, 85).—καὶ ὁ διψῶν κ.τ.λ., addressed to strangers who sometimes attended the Christian worship (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:23-24). For this fine turn of expression (the double use of come), cf. Did. x. 6, “may grace come and may this world pass away. Hosanna to the God of David! If anyone is holy let him come [i.e., to the Lord’s table]; if anyone is not, let him repent. Mârăna thâ” (cf. below, Revelation 22:20). The less likely alternative is to take ἔρχου here as addressed not to Jesus but to the outside world.The Spirit and the Bride, Revelation 22:1717. And the Spirit &c.] “The Bride” is, it is here implied, the Church on earth, imploring her Lord about to come to her. But the Bride throughout this book has been the perfect or heavenly Church; notice the identification of the Church in both states. Notice also the identity of St Paul’s doctrine, and in part of his imagery, Galatians 4:26 : Ephesians 5:25 sqq. “The Spirit” is, as in Romans 8:26, the Spirit dwelling in or inspiring the faithful: the Spirit says, “Come!” when He teaches the Bride to say it.

Come] The word is (in the true text) the same here as in Revelation 6:1; Revelation 6:3; Revelation 6:5; Revelation 6:7.

let him that heareth say, Come] The prayers of the Church are prayed, not preached; yet they do serve for instruction to those who only “hear” them: by hearing they are educated to join in them. Cf. Colossians 3:16.

let him that is athirst] Isaiah 55:1.

come] Correlative to the “coming” of Christ to us is our “coming” to Him. The invocation “Come!” in the earlier clauses is certainly addressed to Him, so that this does not express the answer to it. But it is evident (even more evident in the Greek than in the English) that the thought is present of the one coming being correlative to the other. We come to Christ, that we may learn to “love His appearing,” and be able to cry to Him “Come,” instead of fearing it.

and whosoever &c.] Omit “and”: the last clause of the verse is rather explanatory of the preceding one than coordinate with it.

freely] i.e. “without money and without price:” see on Revelation 21:6.Revelation 22:17. Λέγουσα, saying) It may refer also to τὸ πνεῦμα, by a Hebraism, because רוח is of the feminine gender.Verse 17. - And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. These words are best understood as uttered by the writer. The Holy Spirit working in the Church, through whom she is bound to Christ as his bride, and the Church herself, eagerly welcome the fulfilment of Christ's promise made in ver. 12. (On "come," cf. Revelation 6:1.) And let him that heareth say, Come. The Church in her corporate capacity welcomes her Lord; so, also, let each member in his individual capacity, who hears this "testimony" (ver. 16), be desirous of the advent of his Master. And let him that is athirst come; athirst for the water of life (cf. Revelation 21:6). And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Omit "and." Again the active participle indicates the voluntary nature of the action; though the living water be freely given without money and without price, it is not enforced upon any. The Spirit

In the Church.

The Bride

The Church.

Heareth

The voice of the Spirit and the Bride.

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