Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
rev 22:1And he showed me a river of the water of life - The ever fresh and fruitful effluence of the Holy Ghost. See Eze 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.
rev 22:2In the midst of the street - Here is the paradise of God, mentioned, Rev 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.
rev 22:3And 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.
rev 22:4And 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, Jo1 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," Rev 22:14.
rev 22:5And 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.
rev 22:6And he said to me - Here begins the conclusion of the book, exactly agreeing with the introduction, (particularly Rev 22:6-7, Rev 22:10, with Rev 1:1, Rev 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.
rev 22:7Behold, I come quickly - Saith our Lord himself, to accomplish these things. Happy is he that keepeth - Without adding or diminishing, Rev 22:18-19, the words of this book.
rev 22:8I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel - The very same words which occur, Rev 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?
rev 22:9See thou do it not - The expression in the original is short and elliptical, as is usual in showing vehement aversion.
rev 22:10And 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.
rev 22:11He 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.
rev 22:12I - 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.
rev 22:13I 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!
rev 22:14Happy 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.
rev 22:15Without 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.
rev 22:16I 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," Num 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.
rev 22:17The 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.
rev 22:18I 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, Deu 4:2, and Deu 12:32; and as God himself did, Mal 4:4, in closing the canon of the Old Testament.
rev 22:20He 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!
rev 22:21The grace - The free love. Of the Lord Jesus - And all its fruits. Be with all - Who thus long for his appearing!
It may be proper to subjoin here a short view of the whole contents of this book. In the year of the world, 3940. Jesus Christ is born, three years before the common computation. In that which is vulgarly called, the thirtieth year of our Lord, Jesus Christ dies; rises; ascends. A.D. 96. The Revelation is given; the coming of our Lord is declared to the seven churches in Asia, and their angels, Rev. i., ii., iii. 97, 98. The seven seals are opened, and under the fifth the chronos is declared, C. iv.-vi. Seven trumpets are given to the seven angels, C. vii. viii. Century, 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th, the trumpet of the 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th angel, C. viii. 510-589 The first woe, 589-634 The interval after the first woe, C. ix. 634-840 The second woe, / 800 The beginning of the non-chronos many kings, C. ix., x. 840-947 The interval after the second woe, / 847-1521 The twelve hundred and sixty days of the woman, after she hath brought forth the man child, C xii. 6 947-1836 The third woe, 12 1058-1836 The time, times, and half a time, and within that period, the beast, his forty- to C. xiii. 5 two months, his number 666, / 1209 War with the saints: the end of the chronos, 7 1614 An everlasting gospel promulged, C. xiv. 6 1810 The end of the forty-two months of the beast; after which, and the pouring out of the phials, he is not, and Babylon reigns queen, C. xv., xvi. 1832 The beast ascends from the bottomless pit, C. xvii., xviii. 1836 The end of the non-chronos, and of the many kings; the fulfilling of the word, and of the mystery of God; the repentance of the survivors in the great city; the end of the "little time," and of the three times and a half; the destruction of the east; the imprisonment of Satan, C. xix., xx. Afterward The loosing of Satan for a small time; the beginning of the thousand years' reign of the saints; the end of the small time, C. xx. The end of the world; all things new, C. xx., xxii.
The several ages, from the time of St. John's being in Patmos, down to the present time, may, according to the chief incidents mentioned in the Revelation, be distinguished thus:- Age II. The destruction of the Jews by Adrian, C viii. 7 III. The inroads of the barbarous nations, 8 IV. The Arian bitterness, 10 V. The end of the western empire. 12 VI. The Jews tormented in Persia, C. ix. 1 VII. The Saracen cavalry. 13 VIII. Many kings, C. x. 11 IX. The ruler of the nations born, C. xii. 5 X. The third woe, 12 XI. The ascent of the beast out of the pen, C. xiii. 1 XII Power given to the beast, 5 XIII. War with the saints, 7 XIV. The middle of the third woe, XV. The beast in the midst of his strength, XVI. The Reformation; the woman better fed, 9 XVII. An everlasting gospel promulged, C. xiv. 6 XVIII. The worship of the beast and of his image, 9