Keys to Revelation – Chapter 22
Taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (C) 1978 by the New York
International Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
BIBLE TEXT COMMENTARY
REV 22:1 Then the angel showed me [river] – A literal river that is
the river of the water of life, as called the “Water of Life River.”
clear as crystal, flowing from the The name of the river agrees to the
throne of God and of the Lamb concept of “living water” found in
John 4:10. This river consists of
water that is the very essence of
There is a similar description of a
river that flows from the Millennial
Temple out onto the land in Ezekiel
The inhabitants of the eternal city
will drink from this special river
(REV 22:17) and it will somehow
provide them with life. Because
there is no death in heaven, we can
assume that no one will ever fail to
drink from this river. In fact, it
will be one of the many great pleas
ures of the eternal state.
[clear as crystal] – This gives the
picture of a bright pure river,
glistening like a liquid diamond. In
fact, the term translated as “clear,”
really means “brilliant.” This
implies having a light bearing
quality, appearing like a liquid,
lighted, sparkling, diamond crystal.
[flowing] – The Water of Life River
is no still stream of water, rather
it flows from the throne of God and
“winds” its way throughout the
Golden City (1400 mi cube). I
believe that it continues to flow out
of the city onto the new earth.
[from the throne] – The source of the
river is the very throne of God and
the Lamb, Jesus Christ. During our
present age, most rivers have as
their source rain and/or snowfall.
But, the river of the Water of Life,
has as its origin, God the Father and
Jesus Christ, literally creating the
brilliant crystal water instantly
and thus causing it to flow into a
REV 22:2 down the middle of the [down the middle] – In the city of
great street of the city. On each New Jerusalem there is a “Great
side of the river stood the tree of Street” that proceeds throughout
life, bearing twelve crops of every part of its vast area. The
fruit, yielding its fruit every street is literally split in the
month. And the leaves of the tree middle by this beautiful, life
are for the healing of the nations. giving river. Imagine, the street
is very wide and made of pure gold,
like transparent glass (REV 21:21),
and flowing down the middle is the
Water of Life river.
[on each side stood] – On both banks
of the river were trees. The picture
is the redeemed saints traveling on
the great street with a tree-lined
river flowing down the middle. The
saints on both sides of the street
can simply walk to the center of the
street and have access to the trees
and the river.
[tree of life] – Just as drinking
from the River of the Water of Life
brings life, so will eating from the
fruit of the Tree of Life. We first
saw the Tree of Life in the Garden of
Eden (GEN 2:9). It was right next to
a tree that brought death. Adam and
Eve could and did eat regularly from
the Tree of Life and they would live
forever as long as they continued to
eat from the tree.
But then they sinned against God and
He prevented them from eating from
the life-giving tree so that they
would not continue to live
indefinitely with their unredeemed
sins. However, in our redeemed state
in the New Jerusalem, we will never
fail to eat from the Tree of Life and
will thus live forever.
[bearing twelve crops] – These trees
that line the river bear fruit in a
regular cycle. Every month a new
crop of fruit is produced. This
seems to present a problem when one
considers the fact, that some say
there is no time in heaven. Actually,
while there is no day and night, that
is no reason to assume that there is
no time. God gave the Sun and Moon
to mark the day and night, but in
reality, time continues to advance,
whether they exist or not.
Take the astronauts into space with
their TIMEX watches and removed them
away from our Sun and they still can
mark the 24-hour day by their
watches. Likewise, God has revealed
that in eternity there will be a
measurement of time that will allow
for a monthly (30 day cycle) crop of
One should note that in Ezekiel’s
description of the Millennial Kingdom
there also appears a river with fruit
trees on each side. The river comes
from the temple and causes the dead
sea to become fresh water. The fruit
trees are said to produce fresh fruit
each month due to the water flowing
from the special river (EZE 47:12).
[leaves of the tree] – These trees
are to be pictured as looking very
much like the trees of this age.
They will have a wooden tree trunk
with branches with green leaves and
[healing of the nations] – A very
difficult phrase to understand.
Somehow the leaves are therapeutic
and bring about healing. But who
would need healing in the eternal
state? The word for “healing” is
therapeian, which would be better
understood to mean “health giving.”
Therefore, the leaves provide a
healthy, enjoyable environment. It
could be like the Water of Life that
is to be drunk, although no one
thirsts. Also, the fruit of the Tree
of Life, which is to eaten, although
no one hungers.
God has determined that the redeemed
will drink and eat in the eternal
state. He has somehow “tied” our
eternal life to these two activities.
He will ensure that all will desire
to drink and eat for He desires it.
Likewise, these leaves will have some
life-giving effect to the saints and
we will not fail to use them for that
[nations] – See REV 21:24
REV 22:3 No longer will there be [No longer…any curse] – The curse
any curse. The throne of God and of was placed upon man and the universe
the Lamb will be in the city, and when he sinned in Genesis Chapter 3.
his servants will serve him. The whole universe has been subject
to decay and death because of the sin
of mankind, but promised liberation
from this curse in Romans 8:21. In
the Millennial Kingdom there is a
partial lifting of the curse, for sin
and death do occur, but in a very
limited way (ISA 65:20). However,
in the New Heavens and New Earth,
there will be no curse at all.
[throne of God and of the Lamb] –
The Father will be visible as Light
and the Son in His Glorified body
that still bears the marks of cruci
fixion (JOH 20:27). We do not see
the Holy Spirit described, but can
assumed that He too will be there
with us. Oh, what a glorious time
living in the very presence of the
Almighty Triune God!
[servants will serve Him] – There is
purpose and function in Eternity.
Our great God has a purpose for each
of us and we will serve Him to that
end. There will absolute perfect
obedience to God in our service.
REV 22:4 They will see his face, [see His face] – We will have
and his name will be on their immediate access to the face of God,
foreheads. perpetually looking upon His Glory.
We will have perfect communion with
[His name…on their foreheads] – See
REV 14:1 for comments.
REV 22:5 There will be no more [no more night] – Night on this earth
night. They will not need the light is produced when the earth rotates
of a lamp or the light of the sun, away from the Sun. However, on the
for the Lord God will give them new earth the light comes, not from
light. And they will reign for ever the sun, but from the Lord God. This
and ever. is very similar to the light of GEN
1:3, when God created light, but had
not yet created any stars to include
the sun. God can and has created
light without a source!
[reign for ever and ever] – The
“they” spoken of is the redeemed.
We are to reign as Kings with Him
forever, ruling over the Kingdom of
Heaven (DAN 7:18, 27). I am not sure
what we will rule over. It could be
angels and the various plans and
programs of God.
REV 22:6 The angel said to me, [angel] – Same one that showed John
“These words are trustworthy and the New Heavens and the New Earth to
true. The Lord, the God of the include the New Jerusalem.
spirits of the prophets, sent his
angel to show his servants the [words are trustworthy] – Possibly
things that must soon take place.” John was overwhelmed with all the
beauty and reality of the coming
eternal state that the angel felt a
need to reassure to John the truth of
all that has been expressed.
[spirits of the prophets] – Referring
to all the prophecies of the Old and
New Testaments that spoke of these
coming events. They, along with
what has been revealed here, testify
to the truth of what God has
[show his servants] – God gave the
Revelation as an encouragement to us
in our Christian Walk. This Book
gives us the “Big Picture” so we can
focus on our assigned task on this
earth. We do not need to focus on
acquiring wealth and position, for
that is waiting for us in the eternal
state. We can gain hope from these
verses as we struggle with the
wickedness of this age and our own
[soon take place] – In the whole of
the history of man (10,000 to 12,000
years) these are the last events, for
it is the final phase. We can see in
the world today that we are waiting
for the Rapture of the Church. And
that event will begin this last phase
which ends with the redeemed possess
ing the New Earth.
REV 22:7 “Behold, I am coming [I am coming soon] – These are the
soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the risen Christ. He is
words of the prophecy in this saying that the time is near and for
book.” His saints to live in the expectation
of His return. Again, the very next
event on God’s timetable is the
visible, physical return of Christ
with the Rapture of the Church.
[blessed is he who keeps] – God is
declaring a special blessing for
those who keep the prophecy of this
Book of Revelation. In other words,
those who read the book and take it
to heart, allowing it to affect their
actions in this age. See additional
comments on REV 1:3.
REV 22:8 I, John, am the one who [fell down to worship] – John became
heard and saw these things. And overwhelmed at what he had heard and
when I had heard and seen them, I seen and felt very humble before such
fell down to worship at the feet of a great person and started to worship
the angel who had been showing them the angel (see REV 19:10).
REV 22:9 But he said to me, “Do [fellow servant] – The angels are
not do it! I am a fellow servant serving God as we also try to do.
with you and with your brothers the They are confirmed in righteousness
prophets and of all who keep the and therefore cannot sin against God.
words of this book. Worship God!” Thus, they serve Him with perfect
obedience, as we will someday do.
REV 22:10 Then he told me, “Do not [Do not seal up] – In verse 10:4 John
seal up the words of the prophecy was told to “seal up what the seven
of this book, because the time is thunders have said…” He was not
near. allowed to write it down for our
reading, but here John is reminded to
write down everything else that was
revealed to him. The churches of
John’s day needed desperately to read
these words to encourage them in
REV 22:11 Let him who does wrong [Let him who does…] – This is
continue to do wrong; let him who another difficult passage. God is
is vile continue to be vile; let not commanding wickedness, but saying
him who does right continue to do that we cannot and should not make
right; and let him who is holy the unbeliever (those doing wrong and
continue to be holy.” the vile) correspond to Christian
lifestyle and commands. It would be
impossible and could make them
either resentful of the Gospel or
to think themselves “saved” because
they keep the external rules.
The Holy Spirit will convict them of
sin and lead them to salvation if
they are willing. However, for the
saved (those doing right and holy),
His command is for them to persevere.
REV 22:12 “Behold, I am coming [I am coming soon] – See REV 22:7
soon! My reward is with me, and I
will give to everyone according to [reward…I will give …according] –
what he has done. This passage speaks of the Mercy Seat
where the saints will be rewarded for
their works of righteousness done on
earth by the power of the Holy
Spirit. It is possible that there
will be varying rewards for the
diversity of works performed by the
different saints. However, it may
also be possible that all Christians
will receive the same rewards as
pictured in the Parable of the
Workers in the Vineyard (MAT 20:1-
REV 22:13 I am the Alpha and the See REV 21:6
Omega, the First and the Last, the
Beginning and the End.
REV 22:14 “Blessed are those who [Blessed are] – In light of the many
wash their robes, that they may judgments and blessings depicted in
have the right to the tree of life this book, it is truly a blessing not
and may go through the gates into to suffer the described wrath and
the city. to be a partaker of the bliss and
beauty outlined by John.
[wash their robes] – God described
the situation of lost man as being
clothed with filthy rags (ISA 64:6).
In REV 7:14 He stated clearly the
process by which we could solve our
problem, “…they have washed their
robes and made them white in the
blood of the Lamb.” Only those who
<1> Believe in Jesus Christ, <2>
Repent of their sins, and <3> Submit
to the Lordship of Jesus Christ will
have their robes washed in His pre
cious, precious Blood!
[right to the tree of life] – The
only ones who can live eternally in
the glorious bliss of Heaven with the
Triune God are those who eat from the
Tree of Life. Those who have been
washed in the Blood of Christ gain
access to the life-giving tree.
[may go through the gates] – The home
of the redeemed is in the New
Jerusalem with God, and only those
who have come to Christ by Believing,
Repenting, and Submitting have the
right to enter the pearly gates into
REV 22:15 Outside are the dogs, [Outside] – This is outside of the
those who practice magic arts, the the New Heavens and the New Earth
sexually immoral, the murderers, in the place called the Lake of Fire
the idolaters and everyone who (REV 20:15).
loves and practices falsehood.
[dogs] – Not literal dogs but those
who are evil, “Watch out for
those dogs, those men who do evil,
those mutilators of the flesh” (PHI
REV 22:16 “I, Jesus, have sent my [sent…for the churches] – Jesus has
angel to give you this testimony specifically given this Revelation of
for the churches. I am the Root and Himself for the churches. Yet, this
the Offspring of David, and the Book of Revelation, is one of the
bright Morning Star.” most neglected books of the Bible.
[Root and the Offspring of David] –
Jesus is the fulfillment of the
promise of a Messiah that would come
from the “stump of Jesse” (ISA 11:1,
10; ROM 1:3).
[bright Morning Star] – When the long
night of darkness is about over, the
first sign of day is the bright
morning star. Jesus is the promised
star (NUM 24:17) that will end the
darkness of this age.
REV 22:17 The Spirit and the bride [The Spirit] – This is the Holy
say, “Come!” And let him who hears Spirit, equally God in every way to
say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, the Father and the Son. He is our
let him come; and whoever wishes, sweet helper and teacher in this age.
let him take the free gift of the
water of life. [the bride] – The saints currently in
Heaven waiting for our coming. See
REV 21:9 for comments.
[Come!] – The Spirit and the Bride
call out to all who would read or
hear the words of this Book to come
to the bliss of Heaven and the
presence of the Almighty God.
[free gift] – Salvation is free but
it is not cheap. It costs no money
or works, but simply the giving up of
oneself to Christ, by believing who
Christ claimed to be, by repenting of
one’s sins, and by submitting our
will to His.
REV 22:18 I warn everyone who [I warn] – God warns everyone who
hears the words of the prophecy of would hear this revelation about
this book: If anyone adds anything Jesus Christ, not to tamper with it.
to them, God will add to him the This severe warning is for those who
plagues described in this book. would willfully tamper with the
message that is contained here.
This warning is similar to the one
in Proverbs 30:6, “Do not add to His
words, or he will rebuke you and
prove you a liar.” Likewise, like
the warning given in Gal 1:8-9, “But
even if we or an angel from heaven
should preach a gospel other than the
one we preached to you, let him be
[if anyone adds] – For those who
would add to God’s words in this
book, God will ensure they will
receive the judgment described in
this Book of Revelation.
REV 22:19 And if anyone takes [if anyone takes words away] – For
words away from this book of those who would take away from God’s
prophecy, God will take away from words in this book, God will ensure
him his share in the tree of life they will not taste of the Tree of
and in the holy city, which are Life, that would have been theirs,
described in this book. had they not refused to Believe,
Repent, and Submit to Christ.
It becomes obvious that those who
would willfully add to or take away
from the Book of Revelation are not
REV 22:20 He who testifies to [He who testifies] – This book is the
these things says, “Yes, I am testimony of Jesus Christ, revealing
coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord who He is and what He will do in the
[I am coming soon] – Jesus promises
that He is in fact coming soon. We
must realize that each generation is
actually closer to the return of
Christ than the previous ones. The
next event on God’s timetable is the
return of Jesus for His Church.
[Come, Lord Jesus] – this should be
our response to the reading and
hearing of this book. There is no
family, career, home, car, etc., that
can compare to the glories of an
eternity with God. We should all cry
out, “Come, Lord Jesus!”
REV 22:21 The grace of the Lord John ends this marvelous letter with
Jesus be with God’s people. Amen. a benediction.
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