Page images
PDF
EPUB

26. Και οίσουσιν τήν δόξαν και την τιμήν των εθνών εις αυτήν. . 26. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.

Here, as at verse 24 above, the Seer encourages the Gentiles. When he wrote this the household of God on earth was passing into the hands of the Gentiles. The successor of S. Peter was a Gentile.

27. Και ου μη εισέλθη εις αυτήν παν κοινόν και ποιών βδέλυγμα και ψεύδος, ει μη οι γεγραμμένοι εν τω βιβλία της ζωής του αρνίου. .

27. There shall not enter it anything defiled, or anyone that worketh abomination or a lie, but they who are written in the book of life of the Lamb.

But though the Gentiles as a class shall inherit the kingdom, no one defiled shall enter: where kovov may mean the eating of Bazaar meat which had been offered to idols. See koivòv, Acts x. 14. Abomination, B&buyua, was one of the characteristics of idolatrous Rome (see R. xvii. 4, notes). See also R. xxi. 8 for the list of those, including "all liars,” whose portion is hell. This caution was needed in the first century particularly. For the Book of Life see R. iii. 5, xx. 12, 15, notes.

CHAPTER XXII

1. Και έδειξεν μοι ποταμών ύδατος ζωής λαμπρόν ως κρύσταλλον εκπορευόμενον εκ του θρόνου του Θεού και του αρνίου. .

1. And he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

“He showed me” refers to “the angel" of R. xxi. 9, who is still in attendance upon the Seer. The "water of life" we have had before. It is one of the heavenly rewards promised to the martyrs at R. vii. 17, and again at R. xxi. 6. It is referred to in S. John's Gospel, “ He that believeth in me, as the Scripture saith, Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living waters. "Now this he said of the spirit which they should receive who believed in him, for as yet the spirit was not given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (Jhn. vii. 38, 39). The O.T. reference is from Cants. iv. 15, Jer. ii. 13, and xvii. 13. In

S. John's Gospel our Lord says, “But when the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father, the spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he shall give testimony of me" (Jhn. xv. 26). The Seer now sees the river of the water of life proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. The union of God and the Lamb in heaven is marked. See also Jhn. iv, 14.

2. 'Εν μέσω της πλατείας αυτής και του ποταμού εντεύθεν και εκείθεν ξύλον ζωής ποιούς καρπούς δώδεκα, κατά μήνα έκαστον αποδιδουν τον καρπόν αυτού, και τα φύλλα του ξύλου εις θεραπείας των εθνών. .

2. In the midst of the streets thereof, and on both sides of the river, was the tree of life, bearing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

The promises made to the martyrs and to the Churches are kept in view in this part of the Book. “He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith to the Churches. To him that overcometh I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of my God" (R. ii. 7). The tree of life is in the midst of paradise, in Genesis—"and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever" (Gen. iii. 22).

The Seer has the prophecy of Ezechiel in mind. In Ezechiel xlvii. 12, we read: “And by the torrent on the banks thereof, on both sides shall grow all trees that bear fruit : their leaf shall not fall off, and their fruit shall not fail : every month shall they bring forth firstfruits, because the waters thereof shall issue out of the sanctuary, and the fruits thereof shall be for food, and the leaves thereof for medicine." Here we have the same figures, somewhat modified. All we know is that the Lamb is the Tree of Life, and the Bread of Life. Bearing twelve fruits probably refers to the twelve tribes of Israel. And the mention of the nations again, as at xxi. 24, shows how important it was to bring home to those early Christians, who were Gentiles by birth, that they had a full share in the New Jerusalem.

3. Και πάν κατάθεμα ουκ έσται έτι, και ο θρόνος του Θεού και του αρνίου εν αυτή έσται, και οι δούλοι αυτού λατρεύσουσιν αυτώ. .

3. And no curse shall be any more ; but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him.

“ And no curse shall be any more ” refers to the last verse. The idea set forth seems to be that the inhabitants of paradise

may eat of the fruit of the tree of life without fear of God's curse. God cursed the earth and mankind because Adam hearkened to Eve" and did eat of the tree of life” (Gen. iii. 17). “ · And the throne of God and of the Lamb." There is no but in the Greek. We have seen the throne in heaven at R. iv. 2. The Lamb is now joined with God in the throne (R. iii. 21). “And his servants shall serve him" belongs to the next sentence, and refers back to the promises made to the martyrs at R. vii. 15, “ Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple.” “ Aatpeúo ovoLv aŭro" occurs in both passages. It connotes Divine worship.

4. Και όψονται το πρόσωπον αυτού, και το όνομα αυτού επί των μετώπων αυτών. . 4. And they shall see his face; and his name shall be on their foreheads.

“And they shall see His face," as they stand before the throne and serve God (see R. vii. 9, 15). “ His name shall be on their foreheads" is the fulfilment of the promise made to the Church of Philadelphia at R. iii. 12. We are reminded that the Beatific vision of God is the supernatural end of man.

5. Και νύξ ουκ έσται έτι, και ουκ έχουσιν χρείαν φωτός λύχνου και φωτός ηλίου, ότι κύριος ο Θεός φωτιεί επ' ' αυτύος, και βασιλεύσουσιν εις τους αιώνας των αιώνων.

5. And night shall be no more; and they shall not need the light of a lamp, nor the light of the sun; for the Lord God shall enlighten them, and they shall reign for ever and ever. (S= φως ηλίου, φωτίσει επ').

In this passage the Seer repeats and emphasises the spiritual characteristics of heaven, displayed at R. xxi. 23-25, to show that there is no material heaven. “And they shall reign," Baoiletoovoi, "for ever and ever" is contrasted with the martyrs' reign with Christ for a thousand years at R. xx. 4. Satan was cast into the pit at R. xx. 9; thereafter the reign of happiness in heaven is without limit, eternal happiness. The description of heaven ends here, and the peroration, as it were, begins in the next verse. This description of heaven refers to “the bride, the wife of the Lamb” (R. xxi. 9), the woman of R. xii. 1, who "appeared a great wonder in heaven,” the wife of the Lamb prepared by suffering (R. xix. 7). She, the last of the dramatis persone of the Book, unaccounted for, appears in this final scene, as the “ holy city Jerusalem ” (R. xxi. 10).

EPILOGUE

6. Και είπεν μοι Ούτοι οι λόγοι πιστοί και αληθινοί, και ο κύριος ο Θεός των πνευμάτων των προφητών απέστειλεν τον άγγελον αυτού δείξαι τους δούλους αυτού & δει γενέσθαι

εν τάχει.

6. And he said to me, These words are most faithful and true. And the Lord God of the spirits of the prophets sent his angel to show his servants the things which must be done shortly.

Here begins a recapitulation of what may be deemed the most important points in the Book.

· These words are most faithful and true” refers to the whole book, but especially to the rewards of heaven promised at R. xxi. 5. “The Lord God of the spirit of the prophets sent his angel to show his servants” corresponds with, and signified, “sending by his angel to his servant John" (R. i. I). This angel is the same who has been and still is in attendance on the Seer. At R. xvii. 1 this angel said, “Come, I will show thee the condemnation of the great harlot," and at R. xxi. 9 he said, “Come and I will show thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb." And when the Seer prostrated himself before him, he said, “Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." We are being led up to a second pronouncement of the angel, viz. "I am thy fellow-servant and of thy brethren the prophets and of them who keep the words of the prophecy of this book.” Hence, “the Lord God of the spirit of the prophets.” The Book is a prophecy in the sense of a prediction; the Seer is amongst the prophets.

To show his servants," taken from R. i. I, is to show a definite class.

“A deî yevéolai év táxeu is translated at R. i. I "the things which must shortly come to pass,” and here "the things which must be done quickly.” We know now what the things referred to are, viz., the fall of Jerusalem, the ten persecutions, and the fall of Rome. “Which must shortly come to pass" corresponds best with the Greek and with the facts.

7. Και ιδού έρχομαι ταχύ, μακάριος και τηρών τους λόγους της προφητείας του βιβλίου τούτου.

7. And behold I come quickly. Blessed is he that keepeth the words of the prophecy of this book.

This admonition refers back to R. i. 3, “the time is at hand.” It is repeated in verses 12 and 20 following. It refers

apparently to the coming of the Kingdom of Christ, which was at hand when this Book was written. In the messages to two of the Churches of the future, Philadelphia and Laodicea, similar warnings occur, but they have a distinct eschatological value, for they are addressed to the last ages of the Church. It is true that the whole Book including this last chapter is sent to the angels of the Churches, even to the present age. But the appeal of the Book seems to be chiefly to the first century, with its parousial views. The “Kingdom” was “Christianity," and the Kingdom quickly came. On the other hand, špxopal takes us back to R. i. 7, “Behold he cometh with the clouds," and reminds us that we are in or about the last age of the Church.

“Blessed is he that keepeth the words of the prophecy of this Book" is a special blessing to those who bear in mind its teaching. This blessing would seem to reach beyond the first century, to the students

of Revelation of our own times.

8. Κάγώ Ιωάννης ο ακούων και βλέπων ταύτα, και ότε ήκουσα και έβλεψα, έπεσα προσκυνήσαι έμπροσθεν των ποδών του αγγέλου του δεικνύοντος μοι ταύτα. .

8. And I John who had heard and seen these things. And after I had heard and seen, I fell down to adore before the feet of the angel, who showed me these things.

“And I, John," takes us back to the beginning of the Book, and is a confirmation of what is there stated as to the writer of the Book. "His servant John” (R. i. 1), “ John to the Seven Churches" (R. i. 4), “I, John, your brother” (R. i. 9). No one but the Apostle John could write with such assurance.

He fell down at the feet of the angel to do homage to him. II pookuvñoal," has that significance. It does not mean to adore. Adore is not in the Greek. S. John marks the difference between latria, "adoration," and Poo KŪVÉW "to prostrate oneself before a person in token of homage." He used latria at R. vii. 15, where there is question of the martyrs serving God-kal ratpeúovol avtô-and again at R. xxii. 3, “and his servants shall serve him”-Natpevo ovo w aŭto. He knew the angel to be "his fellow servant, and of thy brethren who have the testimony of Jesus" (R. xix. 10). But Eastern customs had such a hold on him that he could not refrain from saluting his former leader in the usual reverential way. _“ King Nebuchadnesor fell on his face and worshipped Daniel” (Dan. ii. 46). Abdias " fell on his face and said, Art thou my lord Elias?" (3 Kings xviii. 7). Cornelius the Centurion,

« PreviousContinue »