Revelation 22

Revelation 22  •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Then we have another glorious description. “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” It is not now lightnings and thunders and voices. These were simply the characters of provisional judgment that filled the interval after the church was gone, and before the reign with Christ. But when Christ and the church peacefully reign, such is the imagery that suits—“a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the broadway of it, and of the river, on this side and on that, [the] tree of life,” bearing not merely as the original one did, but now according to the fullness of the provision of God’s grace for man, for man in glory first, but for man on the earth also, but for man in glory—“producing twelve fruits, in each month yielding its fruit: and the leaves of the tree for the healing of the nations.” Man on the earth has his portion in the goodness of a God who is manifesting His kingdom. “And no curse shall be any more: and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him.” All this description closes in verse 5.
After that we have the admonitions to the end of this book. On these I may say but a very few words.
Revelation 22:66And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. (Revelation 22:6) commends these sayings afresh. And the coming of the Lord is urged in connection with it. “Behold I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the words of the prophecy of this book.” Then again the character of it, as derived from Christianity having already taken its place, is asserted. “Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” In Daniel’s time, and even to Daniel himself, the book was sealed. The old oracles were sealed then: not so John’s. “And He saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is near.” In Daniel’s time it was not at hand. To the church the end is always near. In her own course, and in the matters of her portion, the church does not know time at all. Everything that belongs to the body of Christ is unearthly and unworldly. The church is heavenly; and in heaven there are no times nor seasons. There may be lights of the heaven to mark times and seasons for the earth, and again on the earth. But the church consists of souls called out from the earth, and is not of the world: consequently to the church the time is always at hand. When Christ at God’s right hand was announced, even from the very beginning, He was ready to judge the quick and the dead. He remains in that condition of readiness from the time when He sat at God’s right hand until the present. The church goes on according to the will of the Lord, who might according to His own purpose lengthen or abridge the space. It is entirely in His hand, and in none other’s. Whereas for the Jew, there are necessary dates and momentous changes that must take place; and hence, as Daniel represents the Jew, we have the difference kept up, To the Christian this book is net sealed. All is opened, and this because we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us; “for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God,” Therefore we find in connection with the book a most solemn warning. “Let him that is unrighteous be unrighteous still: and let the filthy be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” When the hour comes that is spoken of here, it is not for us, but for those who will be found after we are gone. All is then fixed. There will be no time for seeking mercy, as it were: whatever the state in which the Lord at His coming will find us, all is closed up and fixed. Accordingly, “Behold, I come quickly, and My reward is with Me.” We see that it is in connection with the foregoing—net merely His coming for us who will keep the sayings of it, but for those whom He will find here below—“to give to each as his work is.”
Further, after this Jesus introduces Himself, as well as sends His angel. “I Jesus sent Mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright the morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come: and let him that heareth say, Come: and let him that is athirst come: let him that will take the water of life freely.” Thus the name of Christ, not merely as the root and the offspring of David, but as the bright morning star, calls out responsively the heart of the church, and this too under the guiding activity of the Holy Spirit. The church cannot hear of Him as the bright morning star without at once desiring that He should come. She does not, it is true, say, “Come quickly.” This would not be fitting for the church nor the Christian. Patience or endurance of hope is what becomes us. But it is blessed that He says, “I come quickly”; and it is only Christ who in scripture ever says so. But we as properly say, “Come.” We desire that He should come quickly, but we leave this to Him, because we know His love, and can trust Him. We know that if He tarries, it is not that He is “slack concerning His promise,” but that “His longsuffering brings salvation to many.” And who would defraud either the soul of salvation, or the Lord of showing it?
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.” It is to Jesus. To whom else could they say it? The bride breathes out this word to the bridegroom; and the Holy Spirit it is that gives strength to her desire that He should come. But there is a message also for others. There is a word to him that hears. “Let him that heareth say, Come.” He is urged to take up the same cry. If you are a believer, do not be afraid, even if you know but little; for the Lord neither forgets nor slights those who may be comparatively unintelligent. He has, I think, exactly that class in view when He sanctions the calling him who hears to say “Come.” The bride represents those that are spoken of in the normal possession and enjoyment of their privileges. There are many who are not so; but the Lord does not forget them. “Let him that heareth,” then, “say, Come.” If they have only heard His voice, this after all is the incalculable boon; yea, it is the turning-point of all blessing. It is not the enjoyment of all, but it is the hinge on which all depends. It is the way to all, if it be not the actual entrance into and enjoyment of it. “Let him that heareth,” then, be encouraged to “say, Come.” There is nothing in Jesus to harm him; there is everything to bless; there is Himself to be enjoyed, even if they have failed in the full knowledge of it here below.
But then while there is such a call to Christ, while the believer is not to be afraid, but to call on the Lord to come, the church does not forget those that are poor sinners, let them be deeply conscious of it, or let them be those that are only made willing by the grace of God (which is the feeblest expression of the sinner’s need, just as you have the feeblest expression of the saint in the previous call). So we find the Lord has room for all that is the fruit of His own grace only, for the appeal of grace, even when there is not the answer to it. Yet grace despised necessarily ends in judgment. “And let him that is athirst come; and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
Then the book concludes after a solemn warning against either adding to or taking from its contents. “He that testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” “Surely I come quickly.” After so long a tarrying how blessed! After so many sorrows, trials, difficulties, dangers, how sweet to have such a word, and to know that He who speaks is the holy and the true, and surely about to come in the faithfulness of His love! He will not fail to take up the gage He has given our hearts. He is coming, and coming soon for us.
May our hearts answer freely to His word of love and truth with our “Amen” His grace be with all!