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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Revelation 22



Verse 1

He shewed me (εδειχεν μοιedeixen moi). The angel as in Revelation 21:9, Revelation 21:10 (cf. Revelation 1:1; Revelation 4:1). Now the interior of the city.

A river of water of life (ποταμον υδατος ζωηςpotamon hudatos zōēs). For υδωρ ζωηςhudōr zōēs (water of life) see Revelation 7:17; Revelation 21:6; Revelation 22:17; John 4:14. There was a river in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:10). The metaphor of river reappears in Zechariah 14:8; Ezekiel 47:9, and the fountain of life in Joel 3:18; Jeremiah 2:13; Proverbs 10:11; Proverbs 13:14; Proverbs 14:27; Proverbs 16:22; Psalm 36:10.

Bright as crystal (λαμπρον ως κρυσταλλονlampron hōs krustallon). See Revelation 4:6 for κρυσταλλονkrustallon and Revelation 15:6; Revelation 19:8; Revelation 22:16 for λαμπρονlampron “Sparkling like rock crystal” (Swete), shimmering like mountain water over the rocks.

Proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb (εκπορευομενον εκ του τρονου του τεου και του αρνιουekporeuomenon ek tou thronou tou theou kai tou arniou). Cf. Ezekiel 47:1; Zechariah 14:8. Already in Revelation 3:21 Christ is pictured as sharing the Father‘s throne as in Hebrews 1:3. See also Revelation 22:3. This phrase has no bearing on the doctrine of the Procession of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 2

In the midst of the street thereof (εν μεσωι της πλατειας αυτηςen mesōi tēs plateias autēs). Connected probably with the river in Revelation 22:1, though many connect it with Revelation 22:2. Only one street mentioned here as in Revelation 21:21.

On this side of the river and on that (του ποταμου εντευτεν και εκειτενtou potamou enteuthen kai ekeithen). ΕντευτενEnteuthen occurs as a preposition in Daniel 12:5 (Theodoret) and may be so here (post-positive), purely adverbial in John 19:18.

The tree of life (χυλον ζωηςxulon zōēs). For the metaphor see Genesis 1:11. and Revelation 2:7; Revelation 22:14. ΧυλονXulon is used for a green tree in Luke 23:31; Ezekiel 47:12.

Bearing (ποιουνpoioun). Neuter active participle of ποιεωpoieō (making, producing, as in Matthew 7:17). Some MSS. have ποιωνpoiōn (masculine), though χυλονxulon is neuter.

Twelve manner of fruits (καρπους δωδεκαkarpous dōdeka). “Twelve fruits.”

Yielding (αποδιδουνapodidoun). Neuter active participle of αποδιδωμιapodidōmi to give back, but some MSS. have αποδιδουςapodidous (masculine) like ποιωνpoiōn the healing of the nations (εις τεραπειαν των ετνωνeis therapeian tōn ethnōn). Spiritual healing, of course, as leaves (πυλλαphulla) are often used for obtaining medicines. Here again the problem occurs whether this picture is heaven before the judgment or afterwards. Charles distinguishes sharply between the Heavenly City for the millennial reign and the New Jerusalem that descends from heaven after the judgment. Charles rearranges these chapters to suit his theory. But chronology is precarious here.

Verse 3

There shall be no curse any more (παν κατατεμα ουκ εσται ετιpan katathema ouk estai eti). No other example of κατατεμαkatathema has been found outside of the Didache XVI. 5, though the verb κατατεματιζωkatathematizō occurs in Matthew 26:74, meaning to curse, while we have ανατεματιζωanathematizō in Mark 14:71 in the same sense. It may be a syncopated form of κατανατεμαkatanathema The usual ανατεμαanathema (curse) occurs in 1 Corinthians 16:22; Galatians 1:8; Romans 9:3. For πανpan with ουκουδενouk =λατρευσουσιν αυτωι ouden see Revelation 21:27.

Shall do him service (λατρευωlatreusousin autōi). Future active of αυτωιlatreuō linear idea, “shall keep on serving.” See Revelation 7:15 for present active indicative of this same verb with the dative autōi as here, picturing the worship of God in heaven. See Revelation 22:1 for “the throne of God and of the Lamb.”

Verse 4

They shall see his face (οπσονται το προσωπον αυτουopsontai to prosōpon autou). Future active of οραωhoraō This vision of God was withheld from Moses (Exodus 33:20, Exodus 33:23), but promised by Jesus to the pure in heart (Matthew 5:8) and mentioned in Hebrews 12:14 as possible only to the holy, and promised in Psalm 17:15. Even here on earth we can see God in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6), but now in the New Jerusalem we can see Christ face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12), even as he is after we are made really like him (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2). It is anthropomorphic language, to be sure, but it touches the essential reality of religion. “The supreme felicity is reached, immediate presence with God and the Lamb” (Beckwith).

His name on their foreheads (το ονομα αυτου επι των μετωπων αυτωνto onoma autou epi tōn metōpōn autōn). As in Revelation 3:12; Revelation 7:3; Revelation 14:1.

Verse 5

Shall be night no more (νυχ ουκ εσται ετιnux ouk estai eti). As in Revelation 21:25.

They need (εχουσιν χρειανechousin chreian). Present active indicative, “They have need,” though A has εχουσινhexousin (shall have), future like εσταιestai Here again there is repetition of part of Revelation 21:23, but for the purpose of showing the delightsomeness of the New Jerusalem with no need of lamp or sun (change to πωςphōs with ηλιουhēliou instead of πωτοςphōtos “they have no light of sun”).

Shall give them light (πωτισειphōtisei). Future active of πωτιζωphōtizō while aorist επωτισενephōtisen in Revelation 21:23.

They shall reign (βασιλευσουσινbasileusousin). Future active of βασιλευωbasileuō Reign eternally in contrast with the limited millennial reign of Revelation 20:4, Revelation 20:6. This glorious eternal reign with Christ occurs repeatedly in the book (Revelation 1:6; Revelation 3:21; Revelation 5:10) as in Luke 22:30. Christ‘s Kingdom is spiritual (John 18:36.). “The visions of the Apocalypse are now ended; they have reached their climax in the New Jerusalem” (Swete). Now John gives the parting utterances of some of the speakers, and it is not always clear who is speaking.

Verse 6

He said unto me (ειπεν μοιeipen moi). Apparently the same angel as in Revelation 22:1 (Revelation 21:9, Revelation 21:15).

These words (ουτοι οι λογοιhoutoi hoi logoi). The same words used in Revelation 21:5 by the angel there. Whatever the application there, here the angel seems to endorse as “faithful and true” (πιστοι και αλητινοιpistoi kai alēthinoi) not merely the preceding vision (21:9-22:5), but the revelations of the entire book. The language added proves this: “Sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly come to pass” (απεστειλεν τον αγγελον αυτου δειχαι τοις δουλοις αυτου α δει γενεσται εν ταχειapesteilen ton aggelon autou deixai tois doulois autou ha dei genesthai en tachei), a direct reference to Revelation 1:1 concerning the purpose of Christ‘s revelation to John in this book. For “the God of the spirits of the prophets” (ο τεος των πνευματων των προπητωνho theos tōn pneumatōn tōn prophētōn) see Revelation 19:10; 1 Corinthians 14:32. Probably the prophets‘ own spirits enlightened by the Holy Spirit (Revelation 10:7; Revelation 11:8; Revelation 22:9).

Verse 7

And behold, I come quickly (και ιδου ερχομαι ταχυkai idou erchomai tachu). Christ is the speaker, either through this angel or more probably directly from Christ without introduction as in Revelation 22:12, Revelation 22:16. About Christ coming quickly see Revelation 2:5, Revelation 2:16; Revelation 3:11; Revelation 16:15, and already in Revelation 1:2. Once more we must recall that ταχυtachu and εν ταχειen tachei are according to God‘s time, not ours (2 Peter 3:8).

Blessed (μακαριοςmakarios). This beatitude is like in substance the first (Revelation 1:3) and is in Christ‘s own words like the one in Revelation 16:15. This book is here called a “prophecy” (προπητειαςprophēteias) as in Revelation 22:10, Revelation 22:18, Revelation 22:19. It is Christ‘s revelation from God, a direct message from God. Part of it is prediction of doom on Christ‘s enemies, but most of it is a comforting picture of final triumph and bliss for the faithful in a time of great distress and persecution.

Verse 8

And 1 John (Καγω ΙωαννηςKagō Iōannēs). Here John the Seer is the speaker. He had already given his name (Revelation 1:1, Revelation 1:4, Revelation 1:9). Here he claims to be the “one who hears and sees these things” (ο ακουων και βλεπων ταυταho akouōn kai blepōn tauta).

I fell down to worship (επεσα προσκυνησαιepesa proskunēsai). Second aorist active indicative of πιπτωpiptō (with α̇a form) and the first aorist active infinitive of purpose of προσκυνεωproskuneō It was a natural, though a wrong, thing to do, especially after Christ‘s own voice followed that of the angel “which shewed me these things” (του δεικνυοντος ταυταtou deiknuontos tauta). Genitive singular of the articular present active participle of δεικνυωdeiknuō Cf. Revelation 1:1; Revelation 4:1; Revelation 17:1; Revelation 21:9.; Revelation 22:1, Revelation 22:6.

Verse 9

See thou do it not (ορα μηHora mē). The angel promptly interposes (λεγειlegei dramatic present). See note on Revelation 19:10 for discussion of this same phrase ορα μηhora mē when John had once before started to worship the angel in his excitement. Here we have added to the words in Revelation 19:10 “the prophets” (των προπητωνtōn prophētōn) and also “them which keep the words of this book” (των τηρουντων τους λογους του βιβλιου τουτουtōn tērountōn tous logous tou bibliou toutou), the last a repetition from Revelation 22:7. In both places we have “Worship God” (τωι τεωι προσκυνησονtōi theōi proskunēson). And not an angel.

Verse 10

And he saith unto me (και λεγει μοιkai legei moi). The angel resumes as in Revelation 19:9.

Seal not up (μη σπραγισηιςmē sphragisēis). Prohibition with μηmē and the ingressive first aorist active subjunctive of σπραγιζωsphragizō Charles takes this to be the command of Christ because in Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:18 “the words of the prophecy of this book” come from Christ. But that is not a conclusive argument, though Charles, as already stated, rearranges these chapters to suit his own notion. Once only (Revelation 10:4) was John directed to seal and not to write. See note on Revelation 10:4 for discussion of σπραγιζωsphragizō This book is to be left open for all to read (Revelation 1:3; Revelation 13:18; Revelation 17:9; Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:18).

At hand (εγγυςeggus). As in Revelation 1:3.

Verse 11

Let him do unrighteousness still (αδικησατω ετιadikēsatō eti). First aorist (constative) active imperative of αδικεωadikeō viewed here as a whole. The language is probably ironical, with a reminder of Daniel 12:10, in no sense a commendation of their lost estate. Charles rejects this verse as not like John. It is the hopelessness of the final state of the wicked which is here pictured. So as to “Let him be made filthy still” (ρυπαντητω ετιrupanthētō eti). First aorist (constative) passive imperative of ρυπαινωrupainō old verb, to make foul or filthy (from ρυποςrupos filth, 1 Peter 3:21, as is ρυπαροςruparos filthy), here only in N.T. The use of ετιeti is not perfectly clear, whether “still” or “yet more.” It is the time when Christ has shut the door to those outside who are now without hope (Matthew 25:10; Luke 13:25). υπαροςRuparos occurs elsewhere in N.T. only in James 2:2, and ρυπαριαruparia (filthiness) only in James 1:21. So then “the righteous” (ο δικαιοςho dikaios) is to do righteousness still (δικαιοσυνην ποιησατω ετιdikaiosunēn poiēsatō eti first constative aorist active imperative of ποιεωpoieō) and “the holy” (ο αγιοςho hagios) to be made holy still (αγιαστητω ετιhagiasthētō eti first constative aorist passive imperative of αγιαζωhagiazō). The states of both the evil and the good are now fixed forever. There is no word here about a “second chance” hereafter.

Verse 12

My reward is with me (ο μιστος μου μετ εμουho misthos mou met' emou). It is Christ speaking again and he repeats his promise of coming quickly as in Revelation 22:7. He speaks now as the Rewarder (ο μισταποδοτηςho misthapodotēs) of Hebrews 11:6. Cf. Revelation 11:18; Isaiah 40:10; Isaiah 62:11.

To render (αποδουναιapodounai). Second aorist active infinitive of purpose of αποδιδωμιapodidōmi to give back. Each will receive the reward according to his own work (Revelation 2:23; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 2:26).

Verse 13

I am the Alpha and the Omega (Εγω το Αλπα και το ΟEgō to Alpha kai to O). Applied to God in Revelation 1:8; Revelation 21:6, and here alone to Christ, crowning proof in this book of Christ‘s deity. So in Revelation 21:6 God is termed, as Christ is here, η αρχη και το τελοςhē archē kai to telos (the beginning and the end), while ο πρωτος και ο εσχατοςho prōtos kai ho eschatos (the first and the last) is applied only to Christ (Revelation 1:17; Revelation 2:8). Solemn assurance is thus given that Christ is qualified to be the Judge of Revelation 22:12 (cf. Matt 25:31-46). In Hebrews 12:2 Jesus is the αρχηγος και τελειωτης της πιστεωςarchēgos kai teleiōtēs tēs pisteōs (the author and finisher of faith). Christ was the Creator of the universe for the Father. So now he is the Consummation of redemption.

Verse 14

Blessed (μακαριοιmakarioi). This is the last beatitude of the book and “deals with the issues of the higher life” (Swete).

They that wash their robes (οι πλυνοντες τας στολας αυτωνhoi plunontes tas stolas autōn). Present active articular participle of πλυνωplunō See Revelation 7:14 for this very verb with στολαςstolas while in Revelation 3:4 the negative statement occurs. Cf. 1 Corinthians 6:11.

That they may have the right (ινα εσται η εχουσια αυτωνhina estai hē exousia autōn). Purpose clause with ιναhina and the future middle of ειμιeimi (a common construction in this book, Revelation 6:4, Revelation 6:11; Revelation 9:5, Revelation 9:20; Revelation 13:12; Revelation 14:13), that there may be their right.”

To come to the tree of life (επι το χυλον της ζωηςepi to xulon tēs zōēs). “Over the tree of life.” On εχουσια επιexousia epi = “power over” see Revelation 6:8; Revelation 13:7; Revelation 16:9; Luke 9:1. On “the tree of life” see Revelation 2:7; Revelation 22:2.

May enter in (εισελτωσινeiselthōsin). Purpose clause with ιναhina and the second aorist active subjunctive of εισερχομαιeiserchomai parallel with ινα εσταιhina estai (future).

By the gates (τοις πυλωσινtois pulōsin). Associative instrumental case of πυλωνpulōn (Revelation 21:12), “by the gate towers.”

Verse 15

Without (εχωexō). Outside the holy city, with which compare Revelation 21:8, Revelation 21:27. Dustierdieck supplies an imperative: “Out, ye dogs.”

The dogs (οι κυνεςhoi kunes). Not literal dogs, but the morally impure (Deuteronomy 23:18; 2 Kings 8:13; Psalm 22:17, Psalm 22:21; Matthew 7:6; Mark 7:27; Philemon 3:3). Dogs in the Oriental cities are the scavengers and excite unspeakable contempt.

The sorcerers (οι παρμακοιhoi pharmakoi). As in Revelation 21:8, where are listed “the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters,” all “outside” the holy city here as there “in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, the second death.” Both are pictures (symbolic language) of hell, the eternal absence from fellowship with God. Another time Jesus spoke of “the outer darkness” (εις το σκοτος το εχωτερονeis to skotos to exōteron Matthew 8:12; Matthew 22:13; Matthew 25:30), outside of lighted house, as the abode of the damned. Another symbol is the worm that dies not (Mark 9:48).

Every one that loveth and maketh a lie (πας πιλων και ποιων πσευδοςpās philōn kai poiōn pseudos). An interpretation of πασιν τοις πσευδεσινpāsin tois pseudesin (all liars) of Revelation 21:8 and of ποιων πσευδοςpoiōn pseudos (doing a lie) of Revelation 21:27. Satan is the father of lying (John 8:44) and Satan‘s home is a congenial place for those who love and practise lying (2 Thessalonians 2:12). See 1 John 1:6 for not doing the truth and see also Romans 1:25; Ephesians 4:25.

Verse 16

I Jesus (Εγω ΙησουςEgō Iēsous). The last and most solemn attestation to the book that from Jesus (the historic Jesus known to the churches), in harmony with Revelation 1:1.

Have sent (επεμπσαepempsa). First aorist active indicative of πεμπωpempō used here in the same sense as αποστειλαςaposteilas in Revelation 1:1 as his personal messenger. It is the Jesus of history here speaking, who is also the Christ of theology and the Lamb of God.

For the churches (επι ταις εκκλησιαιςepi tais ekklēsiais). For this use of επιepi see Revelation 10:11; John 12:16. It is not just for the seven churches (Revelation 1:4), but for all the churches in the world then and now.

I am the root and the offspring of David (Εγω ειμι η ριζα και το γενος ΔαυειδEgō eimi hē riza kai to genos Daueid). See Revelation 5:5 for “the root of David,” to which John now adds το γενοςto genos in the sense of “offspring” (Acts 17:28.), not of family or race (Acts 4:6; Acts 7:13). Cf. Matthew 22:42-45.

The bright, the morning star (ο αστηρ ο λαμπρος ο πρωινοςho astēr ho lampros ho prōinos). The Davidic King is called a star in Numbers 24:17; Luke 1:78. This “day-star” (πωσποροςphōsphoros) is interpreted as Christ (2 Peter 1:19). In Revelation 2:28 the phrase “the morning star” occurs in Christ‘s words, which is here interpreted. Christ is the Light that was coming into the world (John 1:9; John 8:12).

Verse 17

The Spirit and the bride (το πνευμα και η νυμπηto pneuma kai hē numphē). The Holy Spirit, speaking through the prophets or the Spirit of prophecy (Revelation 2:7; Revelation 16:4; Revelation 18:24), joins with the bride (Revelation 21:2), the people of God, in a response to the voice of Jesus just heard. After the picture of heaven in Revelation 22:1-5 there is intense longing (Revelation 19:7) of God‘s people for the consummation of the marriage of the Lamb and the Bride. So now “the prophets and the saints” (Swete) make a common plea to the Lord Jesus to “come” (ΕρχουErchou present middle imperative of ερχομαιerchomai Come on) as he has just said twice that he would do (Revelation 22:1, Revelation 22:12). The call for Christ is to be repeated by every hearer (ο ακουωνho akouōn) as in Revelation 1:3.

Let him come (ερχεστωerchesthō). Change of person and this verb applied not to Christ as just before, but to the one who wishes to greet Christ. The thirsty man is bidden to come himself before it is too late. See Revelation 5:6 for διπσαωdipsaō used for spiritual thirst, and in particular John 6:35; John 7:37 for one thirsting for the water of life (Revelation 21:6; Revelation 22:1). Cf. Isaiah 55:1.

He that will (ο τελωνho thelōn). Even if not yet eagerly thirsting. This one is welcome also. For this use of τελωthelō see Philemon 2:13.

Let him take (λαβετωlabetō). Second ingressive aorist active imperative of λαμβανωlambanō In accordance with the free promise in Revelation 21:6, “freely” (δωρεανdōrean) here as there. This gracious and wide invitation is cheering after the gloomy picture of the doomed and the damned. The warnings against the dragon and the two beasts with all their dreadful consequences are meant to deter men from falling victims to all the devil‘s devices then and now. The door of mercy still stands wide open today, for the end has not yet come. The series of panoramas is over, with the consummation pictured as a reality. Now we drop back to the standpoint before we saw the visions through John‘s eyes. In Revelation 22:17 we hear the voice of the Spirit of God inviting all who hear and see to heed and to come and drink of the water of life freely offered by the Lamb of God.

Verse 18

I testify (Εγω μαρτυρωEgō marturō). Commentators disagree keenly about the words in Revelation 22:18, Revelation 22:19. Charles rejects them as an interpolation and out of harmony with the rest of the book. Beckwith takes them to be John‘s own warning, drawn from Deuteronomy 4:2 “to every man that heareth” (παντι τωι ακουοντιpanti tōi akouonti dative of the articular present active participle of ακουωakouō which compare Revelation 1:3). Swete properly holds these verses to be from Jesus himself, still bearing solemn witness to this book, with warning against wilful perversion of its teachings.

If any man shall add (εαν τις επιτηιean tis epithēi). Condition of the third class with εανean and the second aorist active subjunctive of επιτιτημιepitithēmi with επιepi added with αυταauta as also in the conclusion επιτησει επ αυτονepithēsei ep' auton (future active). This warning is directed against perversions of this book, not about the New Testament or the Bible as a whole, though it may be true there also. Surely no warning was more needed when we consider the treatment accorded the Apocalypse, so that Dr. Robert South said that the Apocalypse either found one crazy or left him so.

Verse 19

If any man shall take away (εαν τις απεληιean tis aphelēi). Also condition of the third class with εανean and second aorist active subjunctive of απαιρεωaphaireō with αποapo repeated both in the condition and in the conclusion (απελει αποaphelei apo future active indicative of απαιρεωaphaireō for the more usual απαιρησειaphairēsei).

Which are written in this book (των γεγραμμενων εν τωι βιβλιωι τουτωιtōn gegrammenōn en tōi bibliōi toutōi). Ablative neuter plural articular perfect passive participle in apposition with εκ του χυλου της ζωηςek tou xulou tēs zōēs (from the tree of life) and εκ της πολεως της αγιαςek tēs poleōs tēs hagias (out of the holy city). Such a man is unworthy of his inheritance.

Verse 20

He which testifieth (ο μαρτυρωνho marturōn). That is Jesus (Revelation 1:2) who has just spoken (Revelation 22:18).

Yea: I come quickly (Ναι ερχομαι ταχυNaiΝαιerchomai tachu). Affirmation again of the promise in Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:12. On Αμην ερχου Κυριε ΙησουNai (Yes) see Revelation 1:7 for the Lord‘s assent to the call. Then John expresses his absolute belief in the Lord‘s promise: “Amen: come, Lord Jesus” (ΑμηνAmēnερχουerchouΚυριεKurie Iēsou). On ΙησουAmēn see Revelation 1:7. On Μαρανα ταerchou see Revelation 22:17. Note Kurie with Iēsou As in 1 Corinthians 12:3; Philemon 2:11. For Paul‘s confidence in the deity of Christ and the certainty of his second coming see Titus 2:13; 2 Timothy 4:8. Marana tha (1 Corinthians 16:22).

Verse 21

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with the saints (hē charis tou Kuriou Iēsou meta tōn hagiōn). John‘s own benediction, an unusual ending for an apocalypse, but suitable for one meant to be read in the churches (Revelation 1:3.). Grace is Paul‘s unvarying word in conclusion of his letters, as is true of Hebrews 13:25. “The saints” or the consecrated (hoi hagioi) is John‘s constant word for believers in Christ (Revelation 8:3.; Revelation 11:18; Revelation 13:7, Revelation 13:10; Revelation 14:12; Revelation 16:6; Revelation 17:6; Revelation 18:20, Revelation 18:24; Revelation 19:8; Revelation 20:9). It is a good word for the close of this marvellous picture of God‘s gracious provision for his people in earth and heaven.


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 22:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

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