Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary - Alford
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.Ch. 22:1-5.] The end of the description: the means of healing for the nations (1, 2): the blessedness, and eternal reign of the glorified servants of God (3-5).
And he shewed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, coming forth out of the throne of God and of the Lamb (which throne is one and the same: see ch. 3:21, and note on ch. 20:11. The O. T. passages in view are Genesis 2:10; Ezekiel 47:1 ff.). In the midst of the street of it (the city), and of the river, on one side and on the other (the gen. ποταμοῦ is governed by ἐν μέσῳ as Ewald and Düsterd. al., not by ἐντεῦθεν κ. ἐκεῖθεν, as De Wette: the meaning being that the trees were on each side in the middle of the space between the street and the river. See Ezekiel 47:7), (was) the tree of life (ch. 2:7; Ezek. ut supra ff., i. e. trees of the kind described: as in Ezek.), producing twelve fruits (kinds of fruit, Ezekiel 47:12), according to each month yielding its fruit (Ezek. ut supra): and the leaves of the tree (are) for healing of the nations (so exactly, Ezek. ver. 12: “and the leaf thereof (φύλλον is read for ἀνάβασις, in LXX, by “alii apud Tromm.”) for medicine.” On the sense of ἐθνῶν, the nations outside, see above, ch. 21 end). And every curse (accursed thing, see below. κατάθεμα, another form of κατανάθεμα; in ref. Matt. we have the verb καταθεματίζειν) shall exist no longer (cf. ref. Zech. There shall no more be those accursed things which bar the residence of God among His people: see Joshua 7:12, which shews that these words are in close connexion with what follows): and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in her, and His servants shall serve Him (in ministration and holy service, see ch. 7:15), and they shall see His face (be close to Him, and know Him even as they are known, Matthew 5:8), and His name (shall be) on their foreheads (ref.). And night shall not be any more (ch. 21:25), and they shall have no need of the light of a lamp or (and) of the light of the sun (ch. 21:23), because the Lord God shall shine (shed light) upon them: and they shall reign (De Wette well remarks, in a higher sense than in ch. 20:4, 6) to the ages of the ages.
6-21.] Concluding assurances and exhortations: and herein, 6, 7, assurance by the angel of the truth of what has been said, in the terms of ch. 1:1. And he (the angel) said to me, These sayings (the whole book, by what follows) are faithful and true (see on reff.): and the Lord (Jehovah) the God of the spirits of the prophets (i. e. of those spirits of theirs, which, informed by the Holy Spirit, have become the vehicles of prophecy) sent His angel to shew to His servants what things must come to pass shortly (on the whole of this see on ch. 1:1, from which place it is repeated at the close of the book of which that is the opening). And behold, I come quickly (the speech passes into the words of Christ Himself, reported by the angel: so in ver. 12, and in ch. 11:3): Blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book (the speech is a mixed one: in τοῦ βιβλίου τούτου, the Writer has in view the roll of his book now lying all but completed before him: but the words are the saying of the angel: τῆς προφητείας ταύτης would express it formally). And I John (was he) who heard and saw these things (pres. participles without temporal significance—was the hearer and seer of these things): and when I heard and saw, I fell down (as in ch. 19:10, where see notes) to worship before the feet of the angel who shewed me (pres. part. as above) these things. And he saith to me, Take heed not: I am a fellow-servant of thine, and (a fellow-servant) of thy brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the sayings of this book: worship God (the same feeling again prevailed over the Apostle as before, and is met with a similar rebuke. I hardly can with Düsterd. see any real distinction implied, in the ἀδελφῶν σου τῶν προφητῶν here, between the situation of the Seer then and now. D. thinks, the intention now is to exalt his prophetic office and character). And he saith to me, Seal not up the sayings of the prophecy of this book (cf. ch. 10:4, where the command is otherwise: also reff. Daniel): for the time is near (in Daniel 8:26, the reason for sealing up the vision is that the time shall be for many days). Let him that is unjust (pres. part. as above) commit injustice (aor. of acts, not of a state, which would be pres.) still: and let the filthy (reff.: morally polluted) pollute himself (in the constant middle sense of passive verbs when the act depends on a man’s self) still: and let the righteous do righteousness still, and the holy sanctify himself still (see Ezekiel 3:27: and cf. Matthew 26:45, “Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand:” also Ezekiel 20:39. The saying has solemn irony in it: the time is so short, that there is hardly room for change—the lesson conveyed in its depth is, “Change while there is time”). Behold I come quickly, and my reward is with me (reff. Isa.) to render (this infin. may be either of purpose, dependent jointly on ἔρχομαι and ὁ μισθ. κ.τ.λ., or epexegetic of that which is wrapped up in the word μισθός itself. No very satisfactory account is given of this last construction in Winer, edn. 6, § 44. 1) to each as his work is (these words sound as if spoken by our Lord Himself: perhaps at the conclusion, the Apostle puts together, in prophetic shortness, many divine sayings of warning and consolation, with the replies to them). I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end (these words have hitherto been said by the Father: see above, ch. 1:8, 21:6, and notes. And in all probability it is so here likewise, whether we assume the words to be spoken by Christ in God’s name, or by the Eternal Father Himself). Blessed are they that wash their robes (see the digest. The vulg. addition “in sanguine agni,” after ch. 7:14, is of course the right supplement), that they may (on ἵνα with fut. see reff. and ch. 14:13 note. It is a mixed construction: between “that they may have” and “for they shall have”) have the power (licence) over the tree (to eat of the tree: ἐπί of the direction of their reaching for the fruit) of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs (impure persons, reff.), and the sorcerers, and the fornicators, and the murderers, and the idolaters, and every one loving and practising falsehood (see on these, ch. 21:8).
I Jesus (our Lord now speaks directly in His own person) sent my angel to testify these things to you in (the ἐπί of addition by juxtaposition, see reff.) the churches. I am the root (reff.) and the race (the offspring, as E. V. So Virg. Æn. iv. 12, “genus esse Deorum”) of David, the bright morning-star (that brings in the everlasting day).
And the Spirit (in the churches, and in the prophets) and the Bride (the Church herself) say Come (see on ch. 6:1, &c.): and let him that heareth (the cry of the Spirit and Bride) say Come: and let him that thirsteth come; let him that will, take the water of life freely (this verse is best understood as a reply of the Apostle to our Lord’s previous words).
18-20.] Final solemn warning of the Apostle. I (emphatic) testify to every one (or, “of every one,” by a very common N. T. construction: see reff. for both usages) who heareth the sayings of the prophecy of this book, If any one add (aor. = futurus exactus, shall have added) to them, God shall add to him (lay upon him, as he has laid his own additions upon them: the verb being from ref. Deut., where the plagues of Egypt are threatened to the Israelites in case of their disobedience) the plagues which are written in this book: and if any one shall take away from the sayings of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his portion from the tree of life (strike out his portion from the aggregate of those of which the whole participation of that tree is made up), and [out of] the holy city, which are written in this book (see Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 12:32. The adding and taking away are in the application and reception in the heart: and so it is not a mere formal threat to the copier of the book, as that cited from Irenæus in H. E. v. 20, ὁρκίζω σε τὸν μεταγραψάμενον τὸ βιβλίον τοῦτο.… ἵνα ἀντιβάλῃς ὃ μετεγράψω, καὶ κατορθώσῃς.… All must be received and realized. This is at least an awful warning both to those who despise and neglect this book, and to those who add to it by irrelevant and trifling interpretations).
20, 21.] Final assurance of the Lord, and reply of the Apostle on behalf of the Church: and benediction. He who testifieth these things (the Lord Jesus) saith, Yea, I come quickly. Amen (the reply of the Apostle, not the conclusion of our Lord’s saying), Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with the saints (i. e. with the church of God. This, the reading of the Codex Sinaiticus, is no where else found as a parting formula).