Brief Exposition of Revelation 22

Revelation 22
Still the description of the Holy City is unfolded to us. A pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeds from the throne of God and the Lamb. The tree of life grows on its banks, bearing twelve manner of fruits, yielding her fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree being for the healing of the nations.
Ezekiel 47 speaks of the water flowing from under the threshold of the temple eastward, parting into two streams, carrying on its bank all manner of trees for food, their fruit being for meat, and their leaves for medicine. How like it is to God that there should be a heavenly stream and an earthly stream of Millennial blessing.
But in the case of Revelation 22 it is the water of life, and the tree of life, both speaking of Christ Himself. We are told what the leaves are for, even for the healing of the nations, but we are not told what the fruit is for in so many words, but surely the inference is plain that the fruit, the highest expression of life in a tree, is for the heavenly saints.
There shall be no more curse. This proves again that this must be the heavenly Bride, for Israel, the earthly Bride, will come into her last great woe when the will of man at the close of the Millennium under the devil's leadership shall raise its head in its last impious uprising. But in the heavenly city there shall be no more curse.
So the blissful description runs on, not now a question of the nations, but of the heavenly city itself. They need no candle nor light of the sun, neither artificial nor created light: neither light by night as the candle, for there shall be no night there; nor light by day as of the glorious sun, for there will be then a light beyond that of the glory of the greatest created luminary, even the light of the Lord God which He bestows upon them.
We are finally told that they shall reign forever and ever.
Thus closes the symbolic description of the Church in administration in the Millennium. It fills our heart with a heavenly transport as we read it. Its glowing description sounds as a joyful paean, a song of holy triumph.
“Behold, I come quickly,” is the hope of the Church, whilst “the things which are” (Revelation 2-3) run their course. John falls in worship at the feet of the angel who showed him these wonderful things, but the angel bids him worship God. He is told not to seal the sayings of the prophecy he received, because the time for its fulfillment is near. A thousand years is with God as a day, and a day as a thousand years.
But in view of things coming to a head, how solemn is the statement, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” How solemn when the time has arrived when men shall be fixed in one condition or the other, whether for weal or woe.
The Lord comes quickly, and His reward is with Him to give to every man according as his work shall be—in the case of the believer this will be carried out at the judgment seat of Christ; with the unbeliever by the judgments falling on the earth; with the Jewish brethren of Matthew 25, and those nations who have responded to the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom, at the sessional judgment of the sheep and the goats, the goats representing those who refuse the message; and for the wicked dead at the great white throne.
Again the Person of Christ is presented to us in an arresting way: “I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
Finally and solemnly the two classes are placed before us—those who have washed their robes in order to have right to the Tree of Life, and those who are “without” because of their moral character, unfit for the inside place.
“Blessed are they that do His commandments” is generally admitted to be a wrong translation of verse 14. “Blessed are they that wash their robes” (JND), is admitted to be the correct way of translating the verse, bringing before us the thought that only the precious blood of Christ suffices for cleansing, giving us right to the Tree of Life, and ability to enter the gates into the city.
Again the Lord presents Himself. It is not John testifying of Him, but He testifies of Himself, using John as His inspired pen.
These things are testified in the churches; we are clearly back to Revelation 2 and 3, as we said. Christ is the Root and Offspring of David. As David's Root, David sprang from Him; as David's Offspring Christ sprang (as pertaining to the flesh) from David. The Church is not indifferent to Christ's Messianic claims, nor to the glory of His Person. No one could be David's Root but Deity; none could be David's Offspring but a Man. How the glory of His person is here presented.
Moreover, He is the Bright Morning Star. The Old Testament closes with the Sun of Righteousness arising with healing in His wings, that is, Christ in Millennial glory of His Person is here presented.
The New Testament ends with Christ, the Bright Morning Star, that is the Hope of the Church. Just as the bright morning star is seen before the sun arises, so the Church will see her Lord before Israel will see her Messiah. This title—the Bright Morning Star—refers to His coming for His saints, before He comes with His saints as the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings to reign in righteousness over this earth.
No wonder that with such a presentation of Christ the Spirit and the Church say, Come.
And the heart of God goes out in a last yearning appeal in inviting any, who hear, to say, Come, and any who are athirst to drink of the water of life freely. How good it is for us to keep alive in our hearts to the very end a desire for the blessing of others.
A solemn warning is given as to adding to or subtracting from the sayings of the Book, evidently emphasizing the deep importance of these communications.
Finally the Lord testifies to His own, as if lothe to leave the subject, “Surely I come quickly, Amen.” How sweetly solemn is the addition of that “Amen.” There is no mistake about it. The response from the heart of the Church comes at once, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
Meanwhile, be the time short or long, circumstances easy or difficult—and surely they will be difficult—“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” is sufficient for each fainting heart.
Surely the coming of the Lord draws very nigh. An earnest spirit of expectation is upon the hearts of His people.
Events in the world, happening with bewildering rapidity, proclaim the fact that the events narrated in this Book from Revelation 4 are soon to begin.
How happy it is that before that time arrives Christ will come for His Church. “A little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry” (Heb. 10:3737For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. (Hebrews 10:37)). How sweet and happy is our prospect.