Matthew Henry Complete

Commentary on The Revelation

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Chapter 22

In this chapter we have,

  1. A further description of the heavenly state of the church (v. 1-5).
  2. A confirmation of this and all the other visions of this book (v. 6–19).
  3. The conclusion (v. 20, 21).

Verses 1-5 The heavenly state which was before described as a city, and called the new Jerusalem, is here described as a paradise, alluding to the earthly paradise which was lost by the sin of the first Adam; here is another paradise restored by the second Adam. A paradise in a city, or a whole city in a paradise! In the first paradise there were only two persons to behold the beauty and taste the pleasures of it; but in this second paradise whole cities and nations shall find abundant delight and satisfaction. And here observe,

I. The river of paradise. The earthly paradise was well watered: no place can be pleasant or fruitful that is not so. This river is described,

II. The tree of life, in this paradise. Such a tree there was in the earthly paradise, Gen. 2:9. This far excels it. And now, as to this tree, observe,

III. The perfect freedom of this paradise from every thing that is evil (v. 3): There shall be no more curse; no accursed onekatanathema, no serpent there, as there was in the earthly paradise. Here is the great excellency of this paradise. The devil has nothing to do there; he cannot draw the saints from serving God to be subject to himself, as he did our first parents, nor can he so much as disturb them in the service of God.

IV. The supreme felicity of this paradisiacal state.

Verses 6-19 We have here a solemn ratification of the contents of this book, and particularly of this last vision (though some think it may not only refer to the whole book, but to the whole New Testament, yea, to the whole Bible, completing and confirming the canon of scripture); and here,

Verses 20-21 We have now come to the conclusion of the whole, and that in three things:—

I. Christ’s farewell to his church. He seems now, after he has been discovering these things to his people on earth, to take leave of them, and return to heaven; but he parts with them in great kindness, and assures them it shall not be long before he comes again to them: Behold, I come quickly. As when he ascended into heaven, after his resurrection, he parted with a promise of his gracious presence, so here he parts with a promise of a speedy return. If any say, "Where is the promise of his coming, when so many ages have passed since this was written?’’ let them know he is not slack to his people, but long-suffering to his enemies: his coming will be sooner than they are aware, sooner than they are prepared, sooner than they desire; and to his people it will be seasonable. The vision is for an appointed time, and will not tarry. He will come quickly; let this word be always sounding in our ear, and let us give all diligence that we may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless.

II. The church’s hearty echo to Christ’s promise,

III. The apostolical benediction, which closes the whole: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, Amen. Here observe,


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