Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
BLESSEDNESSES OF THE
SPIRIT, AND THE
1. pure--A, B, Vulgate, and HILARY
water of life--infinitely superior to the typical waters in the
and even superior to those figurative ones in the millennial Jerusalem
(Eze 47:1, 12;
as the matured fruit is superior to the flower. The millennial waters
represent full Gospel grace; these waters of new Jerusalem represent
Gospel glory perfected. Their continuous flow from God, the Fountain of
life, symbolizes the uninterrupted continuance of life derived by the
saints, ever fresh, from Him: life in fulness of joy, as well as
perpetual vitality. Like pure crystal, it is free from every taint:
"before the throne a sea of glass, like crystal."
2. The harmonious unity of Scripture is herein exhibited. The
Fathers compared it to a ring, an unbroken circle, returning into
itself. Between the events of Genesis and those at the close of the
Apocalypse, at least six thousand or seven thousand years intervene;
and between Moses the first writer and John the last about one thousand
five hundred years. How striking it is that, as in the beginning we
found Adam and Eve, his bride, in innocence m Paradise, then tempted by
the serpent, and driven from the tree of life, and from the pleasant
waters of Eden, yet not without a promise of a Redeemer who should
crush the serpent; so at the close, the old serpent cast out for ever
by the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, who appears with His Bride,
the Church, in a better Paradise, and amidst better waters
the tree of life also is there with all its healing properties,
not guarded with a flaming sword, but open to all who overcome
and there is no more curse.
street of it--that is, of the city.
on either side of the river--ALFORD
translates, "In the midst of the street of it (the city) and of the
river, on one side and on the other" (for the second Greek,
"enteuthen," A, B, and Syriac read, ekeithen: the
sense is the same; compare Greek,
thus the trees were on each side in the middle of the space between the
street and the river. But from
I prefer English Version. The antitype exceeds the type: in the
first Paradise was only one tree of life; now there are "very
many trees at the bank of the river, on the one side and on the
other." To make good sense, supposing there to be but one
tree, we should either, as MEDE, suppose that the
Greek for street is a plain washed on both sides
by the river (as the first Paradise was washed on one side by the
Tigris, on the other by the Euphrates), and that in the midst of the
plain, which itself is in the midst of the river's branches, stood the
tree: in which case we may translate, "In the midst of the street
(plain) itself, and of the river (having two branches flowing)
on this and on that side, was there the tree of life." Or else with
DURHAM suppose, the tree was in the midst
of the river, and extending its branches to both banks. But compare
the millennial type of the final Paradise; which shows that there are
several trees of the one kind, all termed "the tree of life." Death
reigns now because of sin; even in the millennial earth sin, and
therefore death, though much limited, shall not altogether cease. But
in the final and heavenly city on earth, sin and death shall utterly
yielded her fruit every month--Greek, "according to each
month"; each month had its own proper fruit, just as different seasons
are now marked by their own productions; only that then, unlike now,
there shall be no season without its fruit, and there shall be
an endless variety, answering to twelve, the number symbolical
of the world-wide Church (compare Note, see on
ARCHBISHOP WHATLEY thinks
that the tree of life was among the trees of which Adam freely
(Ge 2:9, 16, 17),
and that his continuance in immortality was dependent on his
continuing to eat of this tree; having forfeited it, he became
liable to death; but still the effects of having eaten of it for a time
showed themselves in the longevity of the patriarchs. God could
undoubtedly endue a tree with special medicinal powers. But
seems to imply, man had not yet taken of the tree, and that if
he had, he would have lived for ever, which in his then fallen state
would have been the greatest curse.
leaves . . . for . . . healing--
(Eze 47:9, 12).
The leaves shall be the health-giving preventive securing
the redeemed against, not healing them of, sicknesses, while "the fruit
shall be for meat." In the millennium described in
and Re 20:1-15,
the Church shall give the Gospel-tree to the nations outside Israel and
the Church, and so shall heal their spiritual malady; but in the
final and perfect new Jerusalem here described, the state
of all is eternally fixed, and no saving process goes on any longer
ALFORD utterly mistakes in speaking of "nations
outside," and "dwelling on the renewed earth, organized under kings,
and saved by the influences of the heavenly city" (!) Compare
Re 21:2, 10-27;
the "nations" mentioned
are those which have long before, namely, in the millennium
become the Lord's and His Christ's.
3. no more curse--of which the earnest shall be given in the
God can only dwell where the curse and its cause, the cursed thing sin
are removed. So there follows rightly, "But the throne of God and of
the Lamb (who redeemed us from the curse,
Ga 3:10, 13)
shall be in it." Compare in the millennium,
serve him--with worship
4. see his face--revealed in divine glory, in Christ
Jesus. They shall see and know Him with intuitive knowledge of Him,
even as they are known by Him
and face to face. Compare
with Joh 14:9.
God the Father can only be seen in Christ.
in--Greek, "on their foreheads." Not only shall
they personally and in secret
know their sonship, but they shall be known as sons of God to all the
citizens of the new Jerusalem, so that the free flow of mutual love
among the members of Christ's family will not be checked by suspicion
5. there--so ANDREAS. But A, B,
Vulgate, and Syriac read, "(there shall be no night) any
longer"; Greek, "eti," for "ekei."
they need--A, Vulgate, and Coptic read the future,
"they shall not have need." B reads, "(and there shall be) no
candle--Greek, "lamp." A, Vulgate, Syriac, and
Coptic insert "light (of a candle, or lamp)." B
of the sun--so A. But B omits it.
giveth . . . light--"illumines." So Vulgate and
Syriac. But A reads, "shall give light."
them--so B and ANDREAS. But A reads,
reign--with a glory probably transcending that of their reign in
heaven with Christ over the millennial nations in the flesh described
Re 20:4, 6;
that reign was but for a limited time, "a thousand years"; this final
reign is "unto the ages of the ages."
6. These sayings are true--thrice repeated
(Re 19:9; 21:5).
For we are slow to believe that God is as good as He is. The news seems
to us, habituated as we are to the misery of this fallen world, too
good to be true [NANGLE]. They are no dreams of a
visionary, but the realities of God's sure word.
holy--so ANDREAS. But A, B, Vulgate,
Syriac, and Coptic read, "(the Lord God of the)
spirits (of the prophets)." The Lord God who with His Spirit
inspired their spirits so as to be able to prophesy. There is but one
Spirit, but individual prophets, according to the measure given them
had their own spirits [BENGEL]
be done--Greek, "come to pass."
7. "And" is omitted in Coptic and
ANDREAS with English Version, but is
inserted by A, B, Vulgate and Syriac.
8. Both here and in
Re 19:9, 10,
the apostle's falling at the feet of the angel is preceded by a
glorious promise to the Church, accompanied with the assurance, that
"These are the true sayings of God," and that those are "blessed" who
keep them. Rapturous emotion, gratitude, and adoration, at the prospect
of the Church's future glory transport him out of himself, so as all
but to fall into an unjustifiable act; contrast his opposite feeling at
the prospect of the Church's deep fall [AUBERLEN],
Re 19:9, 10.
saw . . . and heard--A, B, Vulgate, and
Syriac transpose these verbs. Translate literally, "I John (was
he) who heard and saw these things." It is observable that in
the language is, "I fell before his feet to worship him"; but here, "I
fell down to worship (God?) before the feet of the angel." It
seems unlikely that John, when once reproved, would fall into the very
same error again. BENGEL'S view, therefore, is
probable; John had first intended to worship the angel
but now only at his feet intends to worship (God). The angel
does not even permit this.
9. Literally, "See not"; the abruptness of the phrase marking
the angel's abhorrence of the thought of his being worshipped
however indirectly. Contrast the fallen angel's temptation to Jesus,
"Fall down and worship me"
for--A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic,
ANDREAS, and CYPRIAN omit
"for"; which accords with the abrupt earnestness of the angel's
prohibition of an act derogatory to God.
and of--"and (the fellow servant) of thy brethren."
10. Seal not--But in
Da 12:4, 9
the command is, "Seal the book," for the vision shall be "for many
days." The fulfilment of Daniel's prophecy was distant, that of John's
prophecy is near. The New Testament is the time of the end and
fulfilment. The Gentile Church, for which John wrote his Revelation,
needs more to be impressed with the shortness of the period, as it is
inclined, owing to its Gentile origin, to conform to the world and
forget the coming of the Lord. The Revelation points, on the one hand,
to Christ's coming as distant, for it shows the succession of the seven
seals, trumpets, and vials; on the other hand, it proclaims, "Behold, I
come quickly." So Christ marked many events as about to intervene
before His coming, and yet He also says "Behold, I come quickly,"
because our right attitude is that of continual prayerful watching for
(Mt 25:6, 13, 19;
11. unjust--"unrighteous"; in relation to one's fellow men;
opposed to "righteous," or "just" (as the Greek may be
translated) below. More literally, "he that doeth unjustly, let
him do unjustly still."
filthy--in relation to one's own soul as unclean before God;
opposed to holy," consecrated to God as pure. A omits the clause, "He
which is filthy let him be filthy still." But B supports it. In the
letter of the Vienne and Lyons Martyrs (in
EUSEBIUS) in the second century, the reading is,
"He that is lawless (Greek, 'anomos') let him be
lawless; and he that is righteous let him be righteous (literally, 'be
justified') still." No manuscript is so old. A, B, Vulgate, Syriac,
Coptic, ANDREAS, and
CYPRIAN read, "let him do righteousness"
(1Jo 2:29; 3:7).
The punishment of sin is sin, the reward of holiness is holiness.
Eternal punishment is not so much an arbitrary law, as a result
necessarily following in the very nature of things, as the fruit
results from the bud. No worse punishment can God lay on ungodly men
than to give them up to themselves. The solemn lesson derivable from
this verse is, Be converted now in the short time left
end) before "I come"
(Re 22:7, 12),
or else you must remain unconverted for ever; sin in the eternal world
will be left to its own natural consequences; holiness in germ will
there develop itself into perfect holiness, which is happiness.
12. And--in none of our manuscripts. But A, B, Vulgate,
Syriac, Coptic, and CYPRIAN omit it.
behold, I come quickly--(Compare
my reward is with me--
(Isa 40:10; 62:11).
to give--Greek, "to render."
every man--Greek, "to each."
shall be--so B in MAI. But B in
TISCHENDORF, and A, Syriac, read, "is."
13. I am Alpha--Greek, ". . . the Alpha
and the Omega." A, B, Vulgate, Syriac,
ORIGEN, and CYPRIAN transpose
thus, "the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."
ANDREAS supports English Version. Compare
with these divine titles assumed here by the Lord Jesus,
Re 1:8, 17; 21:6.
At the winding up of the whole scheme of revelation He announces
Himself as the One before whom and after whom there is no
14. do his commandments--so B, Syriac, Coptic, and
CYPRIAN. But A, Aleph, and Vulgate
read, "(Blessed are they that) wash their robes," namely, in
the blood of the Lamb (compare
This reading takes away the pretext for the notion of salvation by
works. But even English Version reading is quite compatible with
salvation by grace; for God's first and grand Gospel "commandment" is
to believe on Jesus. Thus our "right" to (Greek, "privilege" or
"lawful authority over") the tree of life is due not to our doings, but
to what He has done for us. The right, or privilege, is
founded, not on our merits, but on God's grace.
through--Greek, "by the gates."
15. But--so Coptic. But A, B,
HIPPOLYTUS, ANDREAS, and
dogs--Greek, "the dogs"; the impure, filthy
maketh--including also "whosoever practiceth a lie"
16. mine angel--for Jesus is Lord of the angels.
unto you--ministers and people in the seven representative
churches, and, through you, to testify to Christians of all times and
root . . . offspring of David--appropriate title here
where assuring His Church of "the sure mercies of David," secured to
Israel first, and through Israel to the Gentiles. Root of David,
as being Jehovah; the offspring of David as man. David's Lord, yet
the morning star--that ushered in the day of grace in the
beginning of this dispensation and that shall usher in the everlasting
day of glory at its close.
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);
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,
Let him that hears and obeys Jesus' voice
join in praying "Come." Compare
Re 6:1, 10;
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"
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"
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,
18. For I testify--None of our manuscripts have this. A, B,
Vulgate, and ANDREAS read, "I" emphatic in
the Greek. "I testify."
unto these things--A, B, and ANDREAS read,
add . . . add--just retribution in kind.
19. book--None of our manuscripts read this. A, B, Aleph,
Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic read, "(take away his part,
that is, portion) from the tree of life," that is, shall deprive
him of participation in the tree of life.
and from the things--so Vulgate. But A, B, Aleph,
Syriac, Coptic, and ANDREAS omit "and";
then "which are written in this book" will refer to "the holy city and
the tree of life." As in the beginning of this book
a blessing was promised to the devout, obedient student of it, so now
at its close a curse is denounced against those who add to, or take
20. Amen. Even so, come--The Song of Solomon
closes with the same yearning prayer for Christ's coming. A, B, and
Aleph omit "Even so," Greek, "nai": then translate
for Amen, "So be it, come, Lord Jesus"; joining the
"Amen," or "So be it," not with Christ's saying (for He calls Himself
the "Amen" at the beginning of sentences, rather than puts it as a
confirmation at the end), but with John's reply. Christ's "I come," and
John's "Come," are almost coincident in time; so truly does the
believer reflect the mind of his Lord.
21. our--so Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic. But A, B,
and Aleph omit.
Christ--so B, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, and
ANDREAS. But A and Aleph omit.
with you all--so none of our manuscripts. B has, "with all the
saints." A and Vulgate have, "with all." Aleph has, "with
the saints." This closing benediction, Paul's mark in his Epistles, was
after Paul's death taken up by John. The Old Testament ended with a
"curse" in connection with the law; the New Testament ends with
a blessing in union with the Lord Jesus.
Amen--so B, Aleph, and ANDREAS. A
and Vulgate Fuldensis omit it.
May the Blessed Lord who has caused all holy Scriptures to be written
for our learning, bless this humble effort to make Scripture expound
itself, and make it an instrument towards the conversion of sinners and
the edification of saints, to the glory of His great name and the
hastening of His kingdom! Amen.