Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
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.
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.SECTION TWENTY-SECOND
The Epilogue. (Rev 22:6–21)
General.—The Johannean character of the Epilogue of the Revelation has already been dwelt upon. A depth of meaning and a festalness of mood, conjoined with a somewhat indefinite expression, or a mysterious form, are peculiar to this section as well as to the Epilogue of the Gospel; and the fundamental thought which animates them both is an earnest longing for the Coming of the Lord. In regard to the construction, comp. the EXEG. NOTES.
Special.—The pureness of the Revelation (Rev 22:6) corroborated by its Author. By its intimate connection with the whole of Holy Writ. By its fulfillment hitherto.—(Rev 22:7.) Behold, I come quickly. 1. How this saying is misunderstood when it is interpreted in the sense of a secular computation of time. 2. How, for the standpoint of religious sentiment and Christian expectations, it always retains its truth, and, 3. continually gains in weight.—Blessed is he that keepeth the words of the prophecy.
Rev 22:8, 9. What is the significance of the distinction between the Angel of Christ and Christ Himself (see EXEG. NOTES)?—[Rev 22:10.] Seal not the words of the prophecy of this Book. Why not? The time is at hand.—Earnest and grand character of the course of the world to its end.—Seal not the Book; not even by false interpretations—especially, chiliastic darkenings and rationalistic volatilizings.—Seal not even the Apocalypse with hierarchic seals, much less then the whole of the Bible.
Rev 22:11. Lofty import of these words: What thou doest (wilt do), do quickly! (See EXEG. NOTES.)—Christ’s word concerning His Coming (Rev 22:12). He announces Himself as the righteous Recompenser.—His reward according to men’s works: 1. The reward not as the wages of hired service, but an honorarium of love; 2. Not for works of hired service, but for those of the service of love.—Christ as the Alpha and Omega. Some say: Omega, but not Alpha. Others: Alpha, but not Omega. Whoso, however, rightly says the one, says also the other.—Antithesis of blessedness and damnation (Rev 22:14, 15).—Without—its import (Rev 22:15).—Who is without? Note the pure and purely moral character of these traits.—Christ’s testimony regarding His Coming: A testimony to the Church (Rev 22:16).—Christ in His human and Divine glory (I am the Root, etc.).—How His human and Divine glory guarantees His Coming.—[Rev 22:17.] The three-fold Come—of the Spirit, the Bride, the individual Christian.—He who would greet the Lord with a come! must first hearken to the Lord’s call: Come!—Our Welcome to the Advent of Christ must be based upon His Welcome to the reception of salvation.—The clear sound of the Gospel may still be heard at the very close of the Revelation. Here, also, the declaration is: Take freely.—[Rev 22:18.] The Apostle’s warning in regard to the Apocalypse: It is no subject for haughty-cavil, but an enigma for humble meditation.—The mysteries and enigmas of Scripture concluded with a final enigma.—Whoso occupies a wrong position in regard to the future, occupies also a wrong position in regard to the present and the past.—[Rev 22:20.] Briefest and most sublime dialogue between the Lord and His people. 1. He says: I come quickly 2. We say: Amen, yea, come, Lord Jesus.—Who can, with a good courage, say Amen to the announcement of His Coming?—The sum of all human longing, all Christian hope, all Divine promise, in the cry: Come, Lord Jesus!—The Apocalypse, a Book of faith; of love; of hope; of longing, of patience; of comfort; of investigation; of knowledge. Of sacred awe, of blessed vision.
Rev 22:21. The benediction. Benedictions from the beginning to the end of the Scriptures: In respect (1) of their purport; (2) of their rich development; (3) of their conditionedness; (4) of their glorious operation.
STARKE (Rev 22:10): No man should be prohibited from reading the Holy Scriptures.
Rev 22:11. If the wicked wilfully refuse to follow, God at last suffers them to go their own way (Prov. 1:24 sqq.).
Rev 22:12. Comp. Is. 40:10.
Rev 22:17. Because many souls should yet be drawn to Christ—among other things, by the testimonies of this Book concerning the glorious Coming of Christ—John adds these words: let him that heareth, say, Come.
Rev 22:19. O awful punishment of those who falsify God’s word! There is nothing more precious [than the word of God]—hence it needs no addition of worldly eloquence, there is nothing more pure—hence we must take nothing from it.
Rev 22:20. Let us say Amen and Yea to the promises of our Saviour, although as yet we see nothing (?) of their fulfillment.
CALWER Handbuch der Bibelerklärang. [Rev 22:10.] Although much in the Revelation was not intended to be understood until the times of fulfillment, yet this Book is not a shut (sealed) Book, but a Revelation [Offenbarung].
LISKO (Bibelwerk): [Rev 22:16.] He [Christ] is also the bright morning-star, Who caused the day, the whole period of Divine life in mankind, to arise, and issue forth from Himself, and Who now beams upon us from the other world (as the morning-star of the Day of Eternity).
GERLACH (Bibelwerk): Rev 22:17. To inflame the longing of the faithful for the return of their Saviour, is one of the principal designs of this Book.
[From M. HENRY: Rev 22:20. Christ will come quickly; let this word be always sounding in our ear, and let us give all diligence, that we may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless.—Surely I come quickly.—Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. What comes from heaven in a promise, should be sent back to heaven in a prayer.
Rev 22:21. Nothing should be more desired by us than that the grace of Christ should be with us in this world, to prepare us for the glory of Christ in the other world.—From THE COMPREHENSIVE COMMENTARY: Rev 22:16. The bright and morning star. Christ’s rising, in His incarnation, introduced the gospel-day; His rising in power introduceth the millennial day; His rising in the saving influences of His Spirit introduceth the spiritual day of grace and comfort; and His appearance to judge the world will introduce the eternal day of light, purity and joy. (BROWN.)—“The Spirit,” by the sacred Word, and by His convictions and influence in the sinner’s conscience, says “Come” to Christ for salvation; “the Bride,” or the whole Church militant and triumphant, says “Come,” and share our felicity. It therefore behooves every man who hears the invitation to call on others to “come.” (SCOTT.)—From BARNES: Rev 22:11: There is nothing more awful than the idea that a polluted soul will be always polluted; that a heart corrupt will be always corrupt; that the defiled will be put forever beyond the possibility of being cleansed from sin.
Rev 22:16. The bright and morning star. (Let that star) remind us that the Saviour should be the first object that should draw the eye and the heart on the return of each day.
Rev 22:17. And let him that is athirst, come. Whoever desires salvation, as the weary pilgrim desires a cooling fountain to allay his thirst, let him come as freely to the gospel as that thirsty man would stoop down at the fountain and drink.—From VAUGHAN: Rev 22:7. A special blessing is pronounced by our Lord Jesus Christ upon those who prize, and keep as a precious and sacred deposit, this particular portion of His revealed truth.
Rev 22:11. There will come a time to each one of us, when, whatever we are, that we shall be; when the seal of permanence will be set upon the spiritual condition; when the unjust man shall be unjust forever, and the righteous man shall be forever righteous.
Rev 22:12. To give back to each one as his work is. That is the judgment. It is the reaping of the thing sown. It is the receiving back the things themselves that were once done in the body (2 Cor. 5:10); receiving back the very acts and deeds themselves, only developed, full-grown, full-blown, ripened unto harvest.—From BONAR: Rev 22:14. Blessed are they that keep His commandments. It is to a life of such keeping that we are called. By such a life, we partake of blessedness as well as glorify God.—Enter in through the gates into the city. (Enter) not over the wall; not by stealth; but as conquerors in triumphal procession, their Lord, as King of glory, at their head.
Rev 22:17. Note here, 1. The cry for Christ’s advent. 2. The invitation to the sinner. Observe (1) The inviter; Christ Himself. He invited once on earth; He now invites from heaven with the same urgency and love. (2) The persons invited; a. The thirsty. They who would fain be happy, but know not how; who are seeking rest, but finding none; who are hewing out broken cisterns; betaking themselves to dried-up wells. b. Whosoever will. A wide description. It shuts out none. (3) The blessings invited to; The water of life. “Water,” that which will thoroughly refresh you and quench your thirst; “water of life,” living and life-giving. This water is the Holy Ghost Himself, Who comes to us as the bringer of God’s free love, with all the joy which that love introduces into the soul. (4) The price. Freely. Free to each one as he is; though the chief of sinners, the emptiest, wickedest, thirstiest of the sons of men.
Rev 22:18, 19. Note here, 1. The perfection of God’s word. 2. The honor God puts on it. 3. Our responsibilities in regard to it. 4. The sin and clanger of tampering with it.]