Keys to Revelation – Chapter 22
AUTHOR: Capoccia, Tony
PUBLISHED ON: May 12, 2003
PUBLISHED IN: Bible Studies

                        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
                                          colorful fruit.

                                          [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
                                          personal weaknesses.

                                          [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).
to me.                                   

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
                                          their persecution.

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
                                          the city.

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
                                          eternally condemned!” 

                                          [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
Jesus.                                    future.

                                          [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.

Tony Capoccia
Box 130
Shreveport, LA 71110
Modem (318) 949-1456
300/1200/2400/9600 Baud

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