Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
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.CHAPTER 22:1-5
After the coming, Jerusalem and her blessings are once more revealed. In the opening verses of this chapter we find the glories of the redeemed.
Unspeakably beautiful and glorious are the concluding statements of this glory-section of the Revelation. Seven glories of the Redeemed are enumerated. 1. There will be no more curse. It means a perfect sinlessness; perfect holiness. 2. The throne of God and of the Lamb is there and the redeemed are forever linked with that throne. It is a perfect and blessed government which can never be disturbed by disorder. 3. His servant shall serve Him. Heaven will not consist in idleness. The holy city knows of service. And the service the saints will render to God in glory will be a perfect service. What will it be? We do not know what service it will be. God will have many surprises for His saints in glory. 4. There is also an eternal vision. “And they shall see His face.” Oh! joy of all the joys in glory to see Him as He is and never lose sight of Him in all eternity. 5. His name shall be in their foreheads. It tells of eternal ownership and eternal possession. His name and the glory connected with it will be ours in eternal ages. 6. An eternal day. No more night; no need of any light. He is the light for all eternity. 7. An eternal reign. And they shall reign forever and ever. What glory and blessedness all this means. Such are the coming glories of the redeemed.
And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.CHAPTER 22:6-21
The Final Messages
1. The angel’s message (Revelation 22:6-11)
2. The message of the Lord (Revelation 22:12-13)
3. The two classes (Revelation 22:14-15)
4. His final testimony (Revelation 22:16)
5. The answer of the Spirit and the bride (Revelation 22:17)
6. The final warning (Revelation 22:18-19)
7. The final word--the final prayer (Revelation 22:20-21)
Here it is an angel who speaks. “And the Lord God of the holy prophets (literal: of the spirits of the prophets) sent His angel to show unto His servants the things which must shortly be done.” This reminds us of the beginning of the book, where we find a similar announcement. Suddenly some day these things will come to pass. The Lord will call His people to glory in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and then these things John had beheld will shortly come to pass. And then His own voice breaks in: “Behold I come quickly; Blessed is He that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” Three times we find this announcement in the last chapter (Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:12 and Revelation 22:20). Here it is connected with the walk of the believer.
Just as in the beginning of the book a blessing is pronounced upon them that read the words of this prophecy (Revelation 1:3), so we have at the close of Revelation a similar beatitude. And keeping these blessed words means more than believing in them; their power is to shape our conduct and walk. What godly lives God’s people would live on earth, what unselfish and sacrificing lives, if they remembered constantly Him who thus testifies three times in the last chapter of the Bible, “Behold I come quickly.” Note the awful results in Christendom today for not having kept the sayings of the Prophecy of this book.
Then the Seer is told not to seal the sayings of this prophecy. Daniel was told to do the opposite (Daniel 12:4). Old Testament prophecy reveals prophetic events in the far distance. They could then not be fully comprehended. But after Christ came and the full revelation of things to come is given, no sealing is needed; the events are at hand, yet grace has delayed and delays still the fulfillment. And the heavenly messenger announces also the fixed state of the two classes into which all humanity is divided. The unjust and filthy, the unsaved, continue to exist in the nature which they possess, and the fact that the desires of that corrupt nature can no longer be gratified must constitute in itself an unspeakable torment. The righteous and holy, those saved by grace, partakers of the divine nature, will always be righteous and holy.
And now the Lord speaks again. For the second time He announces His coming. Here it is in connection with rewards. “My reward is with Me.” He Himself will receive His reward which is due Him as the sin-bearer. He will see the travail of His soul and be satisfied. And with His coming, His own people will receive their rewards. What a stimulating power His soon coming is to service! And the coming One is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
Once more the two classes come into view. This is in fullest keeping with the end of the book and the end of the Bible. The Authorized Version here is faulty. Instead of “Blessed are they that do His commandments” the correct reading is “Blessed are they that wash their robes.” The former is an interpolation; the latter is the divine statement. (All leading scholars like Alford, Darby, etc., make the change. Even the Vulgate has it “Beati, qui lavant stolas suas in sanguinem Agni.”) Eternal life and eternal glory cannot be obtained by keeping commandments, by the works of the law. The blood of the Lamb alone is the title to glory. And then the other class. The one who rejects Christ, and thereby denies his lost condition and need of a Saviour, loveth and maketh a lie. He lives according to the old nature and the fruits of the flesh are there.
How He speaks in this last Bible book! In the beginning of Revelation we find His self-witness in the church-message and once more we hear His voice, bearing testimony to Himself. How majestic: I, Jesus! He reveals Himself once more by the name of humiliation. What comfort it must have been to John! What comfort it is to us! Then He speaks of Himself as the Root and Offspring of David. He is David’s Lord and David’s Son (Psalm 110:1). He is the hope of Israel and in Him the promises made to David will all be realized. This will be the case when He comes to reign in power and great glory. But He also speaks of Himself as “the bright and morning-star.” His coming in power and glory is the sunrise for Israel and the Gentiles, the breaking of the millennial day. But for His Church He comes first as the morning star, as the Morning star in the eastern sky precedes the rising of the sun in all its glory. The Lord will come as the Morning star some time in the interval between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel and as the Sun of Righteousness after that week has come to an end.
As soon as He mentions Himself as the Morning star, there is an answer from the earth. The Spirit now down here, for He came down from heaven on Pentecost, and the Bride, the Church, say, “Come.” It is addressed to the Lord. They both long for His coming. And each individual believer who heareth is asked to join with this “Come.” Surely in these days of darkness and world-confusion, the Spirit saith, “Come!” And never before were there so many individual believers on earth who say “Come,” who wait for His coming. And the Come--from loving hearts--will increase and become a loud and pleading cry, till one blessed day He will answer and come to take His waiting people home. Here also is the final gospel message of the Bible. He that will, let him take the water of life freely. Once more a loving God makes it clear that the water of life is free to all who want it. It is the last “Whosoever” in the Bible.
And what a solemn warning is given! In a larger sense the warning applies to the entire Word of God. Higher criticism, which takes away, and false teachers, who add unto it, find written here their deserved judgment. But the Revelation is specially in view. Whosoever meddles with His Revelation must fall under the severest divine displeasure. Beware! oh ye critics! Beware! ye who call this book uninspired and warn against the study of it!
We reach the final statements of this great book. For the third time He announces His coming. “He that testifieth these things saith, surely I come quickly.” It is the last time our Lord speaks from heaven. The next time His voice will be heard will be on that day when He descends out of heaven with a shout. While the two former announcements of His coming found in this chapter are preceded by the word, “Behold,” this last one affirms the absolute certainty of the event. And there is the answer, the blessed response. “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” It is the Church which answers His positive and certain announcement. It is the last word recorded in the Bible coming from the lips of man.
The first word we hear man address to the Lord in the Bible is the solemn word “I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid” (Genesis 3:10). The last word addressed to the Lord by redeemed man is “even so, come, Lord Jesus.” And between these two utterances in Genesis and Revelation is the story of redemption. Well might this final prayer of the Bible be termed the forgotten prayer. But it is equally true, with the revival of the study of prophecy, more hearts and lips are praying today for His coming, than ever before. And the prayer will be answered. May the reader and the writer pray for His coming daily and may our lives too bear witness to the fact that we expect Him to answer the petition of His people. The final benediction assures us once more of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. The better rendering is “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all the saints.”