Revelation 22

Chapter 22

1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb[a] 2 down the middle of the street. On either side of the river was the tree of life[b] with its twelve crops of fruit, yielding fruit each month. The leaves of the trees are for the healing of the nations.

3 Nothing accursed will be found there anymore. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face,[c] and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And there will be no more night. They will have no need for light from a lamp or from the sun, for the Lord God will give them light, and they will reign[d] forever and ever.

Epilogue: My Return Is Near[e]

Worship God Alone. The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true, for the Lord God who inspires the prophets has sent his angel to show his servants what soon must take place.

7 “ ‘Behold, I am coming soon!’[f] Blessed is the one who observes the words of prophecy contained in this book.”

8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I knelt at the feet of the angel who had shown them to me to worship him. 9 However, he said to me, “You must not do that. I am a fellow servant of you and of your brethren the prophets and of those who observe the words of this book. Worship God!”

10 The Great Separation.[g] Then he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of prophecy that are in this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the wicked persist in acting wickedly, and let the vile continue in their vileness, but let the righteous persevere in righteousness, and let the holy continue to be holy.”

12 “ ‘Behold, I am coming soon, and I will bring with me my reward to repay everyone as his deeds deserve. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.’

14 “Blessed[h] are those who wash their robes clean so that they will be free to eat from the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. 15 Others must remain outside: the dogs,[i] the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices deceit.

16 “Come, Lord Jesus!”[j]“ ‘I, Jesus, sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David,[k] the bright Morning Star.’ ”

17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Let each listener say, “Come!” Let everyone who thirsts come forward, and let the one who desires it receive the gift of life-giving water.

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of prophecy in this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues written about in this book; 19 if anyone takes away from the words in this book of prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are written about in this book.

20 The one who gives this testimony says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus![l]

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all.

Footnotes

  1. Revelation 22:1 An allusion to the Trinity, since “the river of the water of life” symbolizes the Spirit (see Jn 7:37-39). See also note on Rev 7:17.
  2. Revelation 22:2 Tree of life: see Gen 2:9; 3:22; Ezek 47:12.
  3. Revelation 22:4 See his face: no human could see God’s face and live (Ex 33:20-23). This was in keeping with the custom in ancient times whereby criminals were banished from the king’s presence (see Est 7:8; see also 2 Sam 14:24). However, the residents of heaven will look on God without harm because they are now holy (see Mt 5:8; Jn 1:18; 1 Cor 13:12; 1 Tim 6:16; 1 Jn 3:2).
  4. Revelation 22:5 They will reign: see Rev 5:10; 20:6; Dan 7:18, 27.
  5. Revelation 22:6 The Epilogue is a series of disparate propositions in which we find: statements of Christ and John that authenticate the Book (vv. 6-9, 16); a notification from Christ about the coming fulfillment of the prophecy (vv. 10-15); a warning from Christ to falsifiers of the Scripture (vv. 18-19); the word of Christ’s promise and the word of the Christians’ faith (v. 20); and the epistolary greeting (v. 21).

    6
    These serve to exhort the readers to take this whole revelation seriously. They should realize that they are living at the decisive moment and so fix their attention on the Lord who is coming!

  6. Revelation 22:7 I am coming soon: the speaker is Christ. Blessed: the sixth beatitude (see note on Rev 1:3).
  7. Revelation 22:10 The history of humankind continues up to the return of Christ. We must take his part and be polarized by the idea of a definitive lot, by the expectation of Life and Light, by the joyous certitude of the Elect. The author draws here on Ps 62:13 and Isa 40:10; 41:4; 44:6.
  8. Revelation 22:14 Blessed: the seventh beatitude (see note on Rev 1:3).
  9. Revelation 22:15 Dogs: they were regarded as despicable creatures; when the term was applied to people it referred to all types of ceremonially unclean persons and also to people of low moral character: e.g., male prostitutes (Deut 23:18) and unfaithful leaders (Isa 56:10).
  10. Revelation 22:16 At its beginning, the Book of Revelation took the form of a letter (Rev 1:4). Now it ends with the classic salutation of a letter—but a salutation preceded by a threat to forgers, who would otherwise be at ease in the exploitation of apocalyptic writings.
  11. Revelation 22:16 The Root and the Offspring of David: see note on Rev 1:5; see also Isa 11:1, 10; Rom 1:3. The bright Morning Star: a beautiful title for Christ, already used in Rev 2:28 to signify his power.
  12. Revelation 22:20 Come, Lord Jesus!: this is the ardent plea of those who, in the midst of persecutions and trials, await the return of Christ (see note on 1 Cor 16:22). The Church should ceaselessly strive to recover this fervent expectation for the one in whom she has placed her faith, her hope, and her love, the one from whom she awaits all things.
    The New Testament is not a book that one can close upon itself. It is the charter of the Covenant, the Good News from which one must live. It remains open toward its fulfillment: on the last page we have the beautiful and ancient liturgical prayer of Christians: “Come, Lord Jesus!”

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