John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
Verse 1. And he showed me a river of the water of life - The ever fresh and fruitful effluence of the Holy Ghost. See Ezekiel 47:1-12; where also the trees are mentioned which "bear fruit every month," that is, perpetually. Proceeding out of the throne of God, and of the Lamb - "All that the Father hath," saith the Son of God, "is mine;" even the throne of his glory.
Verse 2. In the midst of the street - Here is the paradise of God, mentioned, Revelation 2:7. Is the tree of life - Not one tree only, but many. Every month -That is, in inexpressible abundance. The variety, likewise, as well as the abundance of the fruits of the Spirit, may be intimated thereby. And the leaves are for the healing of the nations - For the continuing their health, not the restoring it; for no sickness is there.
Verse 3. And there shall be no more curse - But pure life and blessing; every effect of the displeasure of God for sin being now totally removed. But the throne of God and the Lamb shall be in it - That is, the glorious presence and reign of God. And his servants - The highest honour in the universe. Shalt worship him - The noblest employment.
Verse 4. And shall see his face - Which was not granted to Moses. They shall have the nearest access to, and thence the highest resemblance of, him. This is the highest expression in the language of scripture to denote the most perfect happiness of the heavenly state, 1 John 3:2. And his name shall be on their foreheads - Each of them shall be openly acknowledged as God's own property, and his glorious nature most visibly shine forth in them. And they shall reign -But who are the subjects of these kings? The other inhabitants of the new earth. For there must needs be an everlasting difference between those who when on earth excelled in virtue, and those comparatively slothful and unprofitable servants, who were just saved as by fire. The kingdom of God is taken by force; but the prize is worth all the labour. Whatever of high, lovely, or excellent is in all the monarchies of the earth is all together not a grain of dust, compared to the glory of the children of God. God "is not ashamed to be called their God, for whom he hath prepared this city." But who shall come up into his holy place? "They who keep his commandments," verse 14. Revelation 22:14
Verse 5. And they shall reign for ever and ever - What encouragement is this to the patience and faithfulness of the saints, that, whatever their sufferings are, they will work out for them "an eternal weight of glory!" Thus ends the doctrine of this Revelation, in the everlasting happiness of all the faithful. The mysterious ways of Providence are cleared up, and all things issue in an eternal Sabbath, an everlasting state of perfect peace and happiness, reserved for all who endure to the end.
Verse 6. And he said to me - Here begins the conclusion of the book, exactly agreeing with the introduction, (particularly verses 6, 7, 10, Revelation 22:6,7,10 with chap. i. 1, 3,) Revelation 1:1,3 and giving light to the whole book, as this book does to the whole scripture. These sayings are faithful and true - All the things which you have heard and seen shall be faithfully accomplished in their order, and are infallibly true. The Lord, the God of the holy prophets - Who inspired and authorised them of old. Hath now sent me his angel, to show his servants - By thee. The things which must be done shortly -Which will begin to be performed immediately.
Verse 7. Behold, I come quickly - Saith our Lord himself, to accomplish these things. Happy is he that keepeth - Without adding or diminishing, verses 18, 19, Revelation 22:18,19 the words of this book.
Verse 8. I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel - The very same words which occur, Revelation 19:10. The reproof of the angel, likewise, See thou do it not|, for I am thy fellowservant, is expressed in the very same terms as before. May it not be the very same incident which is here related again? Is not this far more probable, than that the apostle would commit a fault again, of which he had been so solemnly warned before?
Verse 9. See thou do it not|-The expression in the original is short and elliptical, as is usual in showing vehement aversion.
Verse 10. And he saith to me - After a little pause. Seal not the sayings of this book - Conceal them not, like the things that are sealed up. The time is nigh - Wherein they shall begin to take place.
Verse 11. He that is unrighteous - As if he had said, The final judgment is at hand; after which the condition of all mankind will admit of no change for ever. Unrighteous - Unjustified. Filthy - Unsanctified, unholy.
Verse 12. I - Jesus Christ. Come quickly - To judge the world. And my reward is with me - The rewards which I assign both to the righteous and the wicked are given at my coming. To give to every man according as his work - His whole inward and outward behaviour shall be.
Verse 13. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last - Who exist from everlasting to everlasting. How clear, incontestable a proof, does our Lord here give of his divine glory!
Verse 14. Happy are they that do his commandments - His, who saith, I come - He speaks of himself. That they may have right -Through his gracious covenant. To the tree of life - To all the blessings signified by it. When Adam broke his commandment, he was driven from the tree of life. They who keep his commandments" shall eat thereof.
Verse 15. Without are dogs - The sentence in the original is abrupt, as expressing abhorrence. The gates are ever open; but not for dogs; fierce and rapacious men.
Verse 16. I Jesus have sent my angel to testify these things -Primarily. To you - The seven angels of the churches; then to those churches - and afterwards to all other churches in succeeding ages. I - as God. Am the root - And source of David's family and kingdom; as man, an descended from his loins. "I am the star out of Jacob," Numbers 24:17; like the bright morning star, who put an end to the night of ignorance, sin, and sorrow, and usher in an eternal day of light, purity, and joy.
Verse 17. The Spirit and the bride - The Spirit of adoption in the bride, in the heart of every true believer. Say - With earnest desire and expectation. Come - And accomplish all the words of this prophecy. And let him that thirsteth, come - Here they also who are farther off are invited. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life - He may partake of my spiritual and unspeakable blessings, as freely as he makes use of the most common refreshments; as freely as he drinks of the running stream.
Verses 18, 19. I testify to every one, &c. - From the fulness of his heart, the apostle utters this testimony, this weighty admonition, not only to the churches of Asia, but to all who should ever hear this book. He that adds, all the plagues shall be added to him; he that takes from it, all the blessings shall be taken from him; and, doubtless, this guilt is incurred by all those who lay hinderances in the way of the faithful, which prevent them from hearing their Lord's "I come," and answering, "Come, Lord Jesus." This may likewise be considered as an awful sanction, given to the whole New Testament; in like manner as Moses guarded the law, Deuteronomy 4:2, and Deuteronomy 12:32; and as God himself did, Malachi 4:4, in closing the canon of the Old Testament.
Verses 19. See note on "Re 22:18"|
Verse 20. He that testifieth these things - Even all that is contained in this book. Saith - For the encouragement of the church in all her afflictions. Yea - Answering the call of the Spirit and the bride. I come quickly - To destroy all her enemies, and establish her in a state of perfect and everlasting happiness. The apostle expresses his earnest desire and hope of this, by answering, Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
Verse 21. The grace - The free love. Of the Lord Jesus - And all its fruits. Be with all - Who thus long for his appearing!
on the Whole Bible