Revelation 22

Listen to Revelation 22

The River of Life

1 Then the angel[a] showed me 1the river of 2the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
2 through the middle of 3the street of the city; 4also, on either side of the river, 5the tree of life[b] with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were 6for the healing of the nations.
3 7No longer will there be anything accursed, but 8the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and 9his servants[c] will worship him.
4 10They will see his face, and 11his name will be on their foreheads.
5 And 12night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp 13or sun, for 14the Lord God will be their light, and 15they will reign forever and ever.

Jesus Is Coming

6 And he said to me, 16"These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of 17the spirits of the prophets, 18has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place."
7 "And behold, 19I am coming soon. 20Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."
8 I, 21John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, 22I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me,
9 23but he said to me, "You must not do that! I am a fellow servant[d] with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those 24who keep the words of this book. Worship God."
10 And he said to me, 25"Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.
11 26Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy."
12 "Behold, 27I am coming soon, 28bringing my recompense with me, 29to repay everyone for what he has done.
13 30I am the Alpha and the Omega, 31the first and the last, 32the beginning and the end."
14 Blessed are those who 33wash their robes,[e] so that they may have the right to 34the tree of life and that 35they may enter the city by the gates.
15 36Outside are 37the dogs 38and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
16 39"I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things 40for the churches. I am 41the root and 42the descendant of David, 43the bright morning star."
17 The Spirit and 44the Bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And 45let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the 46water of life without price.
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: 47if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book,
19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in 48the tree of life and in 49the holy city, which are described in this book.
20 He who testifies to these things says, "Surely 50I am coming soon." Amen. 51Come, Lord Jesus!
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.[f] Amen.

Revelation 22 Commentary

Chapter 22

A description of the heavenly state, under the figures of the water and the tree of life, and of the throne of God and the Lamb. (1-5) The truth and certain fulfilling of all the prophetic visions, The Holy Spirit, and the bride, the church, invite, and say, Come. (6-19) The closing blessing. (20,21)

Verses 1-5 All streams of earthly comfort are muddy; but these are clear, and refreshing. They give life, and preserve life, to those who drink of them, and thus they will flow for evermore. These point to the quickening and sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit, as given to sinners through Christ. The Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Son, applies this salvation to our souls by his new-creating love and power. The trees of life are fed by the pure waters of the river that comes from the throne of God. The presence of God in heaven, is the health and happiness of the saints. This tree was an emblem of Christ, and of all the blessings of his salvation; and the leaves for the healing of the nations, mean that his favour and presence supply all good to the inhabitants of that blessed world. The devil has no power there; he cannot draw the saints from serving God, nor can he disturb them in the service of God. God and the Lamb are here spoken of as one. Service there shall be not only freedom, but honour and dominion. There will be no night; no affliction or dejection, no pause in service or enjoyment: no diversions or pleasures or man's inventing will there be wanted. How different all this from gross and merely human views of heavenly happiness, even those which refer to pleasures of the mind!

Verses 6-19 The Lord Jesus spake by the angel, solemnly confirming the contents of this book, particularly of this last vision. He is the Lord God faithful and true. Also by his messengers; the holy angels showed them to holy men of God. They are things that must shortly be done; Christ will come quickly, and put all things out of doubt. And by the integrity of that angel who had been the apostle's interpreter. He refused to accept religious worship from John, and reproved him for offering it. This presents another testimony against idolatrous worship of saints and angels. God calls every one to witness to the declarations here made. This book, thus kept open, will have effect upon men; the filthy and unjust will be more so, but it will confirm, strengthen, and further sanctify those who are upright with God. Never let us think that a dead or disobedient faith will save us, for the First and the Last has declared that those alone are blessed who do his commandments. It is a book that shuts out form heaven all wicked and unrighteous persons, particularly those who love and make lies, therefore cannot itself be a lie. There is no middle place or condition. Jesus, who is the Spirit of prophecy, has given his churches this morning-light of prophecy, to assure them of the light of the perfect day approaching. All is confirmed by an open and general invitation to mankind, to come and partake freely of the promises and of the privileges of the gospel. The Spirit, by the sacred word, and by convictions and influence in the sinner's conscience, says, Come to Christ for salvation; and the bride, or the whole church, on earth and in heaven, says, Come and share our happiness. Lest any should hesitate, it is added, Let whosoever will, or, is willing, come and take of the water of life freely. May every one who hears or reads these words, desire at once to accept the gracious invitation. All are condemned who should dare to corrupt or change the word of God, either by adding to it, or taking from it.

Verses 20-21 After discovering these things to his people on earth, Christ seems to take leave of them, and return to heaven; but he assures them it shall not be long before he comes again. And while we are busy in the duties of our different stations of life; whatever labours may try us, whatever difficulties may surround us, whatever sorrows may press us down, let us with pleasure hear our Lord proclaiming, Behold, I come quickly; I come to put an end to the labour and suffering of my servants. I come, and my reward of grace is with me, to recompense, with royal bounty, every work of faith and labour of love. I come to receive my faithful, persevering people to myself, to dwell for ever in that blissful world. Amen, even so, come, Lord Jesus. A blessing closes the whole. By the grace of Christ we must be kept in joyful expectation of his glory, fitted for it, and preserved to it; and his glorious appearance will be joyful to those who partake of his grace and favour here. Let all add, Amen. Let us earnestly thirst after greater measures of the gracious influences of the blessed Jesus in our souls, and his gracious presence with us, till glory has made perfect his grace toward us. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Cross References 51

  • 1. Ezekiel 47:1; Zechariah 14:8; [Psalms 46:4]
  • 2. See Revelation 21:6
  • 3. Revelation 21:21
  • 4. Ezekiel 47:12
  • 5. ver. 14, 19; Revelation 2:7; Genesis 2:9
  • 6. [Revelation 21:24]
  • 7. Zechariah 14:11; [Genesis 3:17]
  • 8. Revelation 21:3, 23; Ezekiel 48:35
  • 9. Revelation 7:15
  • 10. Matthew 5:8; 1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 John 3:2
  • 11. Revelation 3:12; Revelation 7:3; Revelation 14:1
  • 12. Revelation 21:25
  • 13. See Revelation 21:23
  • 14. Psalms 36:9; See Revelation 21:11
  • 15. Daniel 7:18, 27; Romans 5:17; 2 Timothy 2:12; See Revelation 20:4
  • 16. See Revelation 21:5
  • 17. 1 Corinthians 14:32
  • 18. Revelation 1:1
  • 19. ver. 12, 20; Revelation 3:11
  • 20. Revelation 1:3
  • 21. Revelation 1:1, 4, 9
  • 22. Revelation 19:10
  • 23. [See ver. 8 above]
  • 24. [See ver. 6 above]
  • 25. [Revelation 10:4]
  • 26. Ezekiel 3:27; [Daniel 12:10; 2 Timothy 3:13]
  • 27. ver. 7, 20
  • 28. Isaiah 40:10; Isaiah 62:11
  • 29. See Matthew 16:27
  • 30. See Revelation 1:8
  • 31. See Revelation 1:17
  • 32. Revelation 21:6
  • 33. See Revelation 7:14
  • 34. ver. 2, 19
  • 35. Psalms 118:20; See Revelation 21:27
  • 36. [Galatians 5:19-21]; See Matthew 8:12
  • 37. See Philippians 3:2
  • 38. See Revelation 21:8
  • 39. Revelation 1:1
  • 40. Revelation 1:4
  • 41. See Revelation 5:5
  • 42. See Matthew 1:1
  • 43. [Revelation 2:28; Numbers 24:17; Isaiah 60:3; Matthew 2:2]
  • 44. Revelation 21:2, 9
  • 45. Revelation 21:6; Isaiah 55:1; John 7:37
  • 46. See Revelation 21:6
  • 47. Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 12:32; [Proverbs 30:6]
  • 48. ver. 2, 14
  • 49. See Revelation 21:2
  • 50. ver. 7, 12
  • 51. [2 Timothy 4:8]

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. Greek he
  • [b]. Or the Lamb. In the midst of the street of the city, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life
  • [c]. Greek bondservants; also verse 6
  • [d]. Greek fellow bondservant
  • [e]. Some manuscripts do his commandments
  • [f]. Some manuscripts all the saints

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains a further account of the above city, a confirmation of the visions of this book, and the conclusion of it. The city is further described by the river that ran by it, or through it, called a river of water of life, said to be pure and clear as crystal, and to have its rise from the throne of God and the Lamb; and by the tree of life in the midst of it, situated on each side the river, bearing twelve sorts of fruit, yielded every month, the leaves of which heal the nations, Re 22:1,2 and the happiness of the inhabitants of it is set forth, by there being no curse in it; by the throne of God and the Lamb being in it; by the service of the saints in it; by the pleasure they enjoy, and the honour put upon them; by the light of the place, and the duration of the saints' reign, Re 22:3-5 next follow testimonies concerning the authority of the book, and the truth of things in it; and first, the testimony of the angel that talked with John, declaring that the things in it were true and faithful; and that he was sent from the Lord God of the prophets to show to the saints things that would quickly come to pass; and that Christ himself would quickly come; and that they were happy who kept and observed the sayings and prophecies of it, Re 22:6,7 then the testimony of John who saw and heard them, and was about to worship the angel that declared them, but was forbid by him, and dissuaded from it, by observing to him who he was, a fellow servant of his and of his brethren, and that God only was to be worshipped, Re 22:8,9 who is ordered, as it seems by Christ, not to seal up the prophecies delivered to him, since the time of their fulfilment was at hand, when men would remain just as they were, whether ungodly and filthy, or righteous and holy, Re 22:10,11 and who declares that he should quickly come to reward every man according to his works; and that he was the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last; and that they were happy that did his commandments, since it would appear they had a right to the tree of life, and to entrance through the gates into the city before described, when wicked men, whose characters are given, would be without, Re 22:12-15 and still more clearly and fully Christ asserts himself to be the author of this revelation, and the sender of the angel, to testify it to the church, who is David's root and offspring, and the morning star, whose coming is to be wished for by the Spirit and bride, and every truly gracious soul, Re 22:16,17 and to show the perfection and authority of this book, as well as of the whole Scripture, and to deter persons from adding to it, or taking from it, he threatens to inflict on such persons the plagues herein written, and to take the names of such out of the book of life, out of the holy city, and from the things written in this book, Re 22:18,19 and then he delivers out a fresh asseveration of his speedy coming, to which John adds his hearty "Amen", and earnest request that he would come quickly; and the book is concluded with a benediction usual in the epistles, especially in those of the Apostle Paul, Re 22:20,21.

Revelation 22 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.