And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
The Spirit and the Bride, Rev 22:17
17. And the Spirit &c.] “The Bride” is, it is here implied, the Church on earth, imploring her Lord about to come to her. But the Bride throughout this book has been the perfect or heavenly Church; notice the identification of the Church in both states. Notice also the identity of St Paul’s doctrine, and in part of his imagery, Gal 4:26: Eph 5:25 sqq. “The Spirit” is, as in Rom 8:26, the Spirit dwelling in or inspiring the faithful: the Spirit says, “Come!” when He teaches the Bride to say it.
Come ] The word is (in the true text) the same here as in Rev 6:1; Rev 6:3; Rev 6:5; Rev 6:7.
let him that heareth say, Come ] The prayers of the Church are prayed, not preached; yet they do serve for instruction to those who only “hear” them: by hearing they are educated to join in them. Cf. Col 3:16.
let him that is athirst ] Isa 55:1.
come ] Correlative to the “coming” of Christ to us is our “coming” to Him. The invocation “Come!” in the earlier clauses is certainly addressed to Him, so that this does not express the answer to it. But it is evident (even more evident in the Greek than in the English) that the thought is present of the one coming being correlative to the other. We come to Christ, that we may learn to “love His appearing,” and be able to cry to Him “Come,” instead of fearing it.
and whosoever &c.] Omit “and”: the last clause of the verse is rather explanatory of the preceding one than coordinate with it.
freely ] i.e. “without money and without price:” see on Rev 21:6.
Fuente: The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come – That is, come to the Saviour; come and partake of the blessings of the gospel; come and be saved. The construction demands this interpretation, as the latter part of the verse shows. The design of this whole verse is, evidently, to show the freeness of the offers of the gospel; to condense in a summary manner all the invitations of mercy to mankind; and to leave on the mind at the close of the book a deep impression of the ample provision which has been made for the salvation of a fallen race. Nothing, it is clear, could be more appropriate at the close of this book, and at the close of the whole volume of revealed truth, than to announce, in the most clear and attracting form, that salvation is free to all, and that whosoever will may be saved.
The Spirit – The Holy Spirit. He entreats all to come. This he does:
(a)In all the recorded invitations in the Bible – for it is by the inspiration of that Spirit that these invitations are recorded;
(b)By all his influences on the understandings, the consciences, and the hearts of people;
(c)By all the proclamations of mercy made by the preaching of the gospel, and by the appeal which friend makes to friend, and neighbor to neighbor, and stranger to stranger – for all these are methods in which the Spirit invites people to come to the Saviour.
And the bride – The church. See the notes at Rev 21:2, Rev 21:9. That is, the church invites all to come and be saved. This it does:
(a)By its ministers, whose main business it is to extend this invitation to mankind;
(b)By its ordinances – constantly setting forth the freeness of the gospel;
(c)By the lives of its consistent members – showing the excellency and the desirableness of true religion;
(d)By all its efforts to do good in the world;
(e)By the example of those who are brought into the church – showing that all, whatever may have been their former character, may be saved; and,
(f)By the direct appeals of its individual members.
Thus a Christian parent invites his children; a brother invites a sister, and a sister invites a brother; a neighbor invites his neighbor, and a stranger a stranger; the master invites his servant, and the servant his master. The church on earth and the church in heaven unite in the invitation, saying, Come. The living father, pastor, friend, invites – and the voice of the departed father, pastor, friend, now in heaven, is heard re-echoing the invitation. The once-loved mother that has gone to the skies still invites her children to come; and the sweet-smiling babe that has been taken up to the Saviour stretches out its arms from heaven, and says to its mother – Come.
Say, Come – That is, come to the Saviour; come into the church; come to heaven.
And let him that heareth say, Come – Whoever hears the gospel, let him go and invite others to come. Nothing could more strikingly set forth the freeness of the invitation of the gospel than this. The authority to make the invitation is not limited to the ministers of religion; it is not even confined to those who accept it themselves. All persons, even though they should not accept of it, are authorized to tell others that they may be saved. One impenitent sinner may go and tell another impenitent sinner that if he will he may find mercy and enter heaven. How could the offer of salvation be made more freely to mankind?
And let him that is athirst come – Whoever desires salvation, as the weary pilgrim desires a cooling fountain to allay his thirst, let him come as freely to the gospel as that thirsty man would stoop down at the fountain and drink. See the notes on Isa 55:1. Compare the Mat 5:6 note; Joh 7:37 note; Rev 21:6 note.
And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely – Rev 21:6. Every one that is disposed to come, that has any sincere wish to be saved, is assured that he may live. No matter how unworthy he is; no matter what his past life has been; no matter how old or how young, how rich or how poor; no matter whether sick or well, a freeman or a slave; no matter whether educated or ignorant; no matter whether clothed in purple or in rags – riding in state or laid at the gate of a rich man full of sores, the invitation is freely made to all to come and be saved. With what more appropriate truth could a revelation from heaven be closed?
Fuente: Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
The Spirit and the bride say, Come.
And let him that heareth say, Come.
Christs coming to the world, and mens coming to Christ
The two halves of the verse do not refer to the same persons, or the same coming. The first portion is an invocation or a prayer; the second portion is an invitation or an offer. The one is addressed to Christ, the other to men. The commentary upon the former is the last words of the Book, where we find the seer answering the promise of his Master–Behold! I come quickly! with the sigh of longing: Even so: Come! Lord Jesus. And in precisely a similar fashion the bride here, longing for the presence of the bridegroom, answers His promise–Behold I come quickly, which occurs a verse or two before–with the petition which all who hear it are bidden to swell till it rolls in a great wave of supplication to His feet. And then with that coming, another coming is connected. The one is the coming of Christ to the world at last; the other is the coming of men to Christ now. The double office of the Church is represented here, the voice that rose in petition to heaven has to sound upon earth in proclamation. And the double relation of Christ to His Church is implied here. He is absent, therefore He is prayed to come; but He is in such a fashion present as that any who will can come to Him.
I. The invocation, or the coming of Christ to the world. Christ has come, Christ will come. These are the two great facts from which, as from two golden hooks, the whole chain of human history hangs in a mighty curve. Memory should feed upon the one, hope should leap up to grasp the other. Christ comes, though He is always present in human history, comes to our apprehensions in eras of rapid change, in revolutionary times when some ancient iniquity is smitten down, and some new fair form emerges from the chaos. The electricity is long in gathering during the fervid summer heat, in the slow-moving and changing clouds, but when it is gathered there comes the flash. The snow is long in collecting on the precipitous face of the Alp, but when the weight has become sufficient down it rushes, the white death of the avalanche. For fifty-nine (silent) minutes and fifty-nine (silent) seconds the hand moves round the dial, and at the sixtieth it strikes. So, at long intervals in the history of nations, a crash comes, and men say: Behold the Lord! He cometh to judge the world. Surely, surely it needs no words to enforce the thought that all who love Him, and all who love truth and righteousness, which are His, and all who desire that the worlds sorrows should be alleviated and the worlds evils should be chastised and smitten, must lift up the old, old cry: Even so! Come! Lord Jesus.
II. The invitation, or the coming of men to Christ. What is it to come? Listen to His own explanation: He that cometh unto Me shall never hunger, etc. Then coming, and taking, and drinking, are all but various forms of representing the one act of believing in Him. We come to Him when we trust Him. To come to Christ is faith. Who is it that are asked to come? He that thirsteth and he that willeth. The one phrase expresses the universal condition, the other only the limitation necessary in the very nature of things. He that thirsteth. Who does not? Your heart is parched for love; your mind, whether you know it or not, is restless and athirst for truth that you can cleave to in all circumstances. Your will longs for a loving authority that shall subdue and tame it. Your conscience is calling out for cleansing, for pacifying, for purity. Your whole being is one great want and emptiness. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God, it is only He that can slake the thirst, that can satisfy the hunger. Whosoever will. A wish is enough, but a wish is indispensable. How strange, and yet how common it is, that the thirsty man is not the willing man. Further, what is offered? The water of life. What is that? Not a thing, but a person–Christ Himself; even as He said: If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink. And what are the conditions? Let Him take the water of life for nothing; as the word might have been tendered, For nothing. He says to us, I will not sell it to you, I will give it to you. And too many of us say to Him, We had rather buy it, or at any rate pay something towards it. No effort, no righteousness, no sacrifice, no anything is wanted. Without money and without price. You have only got to give up yourselves.
III. The connection between these two comings. There is a twofold connection that I would point out to you. Christ does not yet come in order that men may come to Him. He delays His drawing near, in His longsuffering mercy, in order that over all the earth the glad news may flash, and to every spirit the invitation may come. Christ tarries that you may hear, and repent, and come to Him. That is the first phase of the connection between these two things. The other is–because Christ will come to the world, therefore let us come to Him now. Joyful as the spring after the winter, and as the sunshine after the darkness, as that coming of His ought to be to all; and though it be the object or desire to all hearts that love Him and the healing for the miseries and sorrows of the world, do not forget it has a very solemn and a very terrible side. He comes, when He does come, to judge. He comes, not as of old, in lowliness, to heal and to succour and to save, but He comes to heal and to succour and to save all them that love His appearing, and them only, and He comes to judge all men whether they love His appearing or no. (A. Maclaren, D. D.)
The two comes
I. Our text begins with the heavenward cry of prayer. Surely the sense requires us to regard this cry of come as addressed to our Lord Jesus, who in a previous verse had been saying, Behold I come quickly, and My reward is with Me.
1. The matter of this cry–it is the coming of Christ. The Spirit and the bride say, Come. This is and always has been the universal cry of the Church of Jesus Christ.
2. Next observe the persons crying. The Spirit is first mentioned–The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And why does the Holy Ghost desire the coming of the Lord Jesus? At present the Spirit is, so to speak, the vicegerent of this dispensation upon earth. How much He is provoked all the world over it is not possible for us to know! The ungodly vex Him, they reject His testimony, and resist His operations. And, alas, the saints grieve Him too; and so He desireth the end of this evil estate, and saith to our Lord Jesus, Come. Beside, the Spirits great desire is to glorify Christ. Now, as the coming of Christ will be the full manifestation of the Redeemers glory, the Spirit therefore desireth that He may come and take to Himself His great power, and reign. Our text next tells us that, the bride saith, Come. Now, a bride is one whose marriage is near, either as having just happened or as close at hand. So is the Church very nearly arrived at the grand hour, when it shall be said the marriage of the Lamb is come and His bride hath made herself ready; and because of that she is full of joy at the prospect of hearing the cry, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh. Who marvelleth that it is so? The next clause of the text indicates that each separate believer should breathe the same desire, Let him that heareth say, Come. This will be the index of your belonging to the bride, the token of your sharing in the one Spirit, if you unite with the Spirit and the bride in saying, Come. For no ungodly man truly desireth Christs coming; but on the contrary he desireth to get away from Him, and forget His very existence. To delight in drawing near unto the Lord Jesus Christ; to long to see Him manifested in fulness of glory is the ensign of a true soldier of the Cross. Do you feel this?
3. Now a word upon the tense in which the cry is put. It is in the present tease. The Spirit and the bride are anxious that Christ should come at once, and he that knoweth Christ and loveth Him desireth also that He should not tarry. Is it not time as far as our poor judgments go that Jesus should come?
II. The earthward cry of invitation to men. I cannot quite tell you how it is that the sense in my text glides away from the coming of Christ to the earth into the coming of sinners to Christ, but it does. Like colours which blend, or strains of music which melt into each other, so the first sense slides into the second. This almost insensible transition seems to me to have been occasioned by the memory of the fact that the coming of Christ is not desirable to all mankind. He lets the prayer flow towards Himself, but yet directs its flow towards poor sinners also. He Himself seems to say, Ye bid Me come, but I, as the Saviour of men, look at your brothers and your sisters who are yet in the far country, the other sheep which are not yet of the fold, whom also I must bring in, and in answer to your cry to Me to come I speak to those wandering ones, and say, Let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Is not that the way in which the sense glides from its first direction? Now,- from whom does this cry arise?
1. It first comes from Jesus. It is He who says, Let Him that is athirst come.
2. But next, it is the call of the Spirit of God. The Spirit says, Come. This Book which He has written, on every page says to men, Come! Come to Jesus. And those secret motions of power upon the conscience, those times when the heart grows calm even amid dissipation, and thought is forced upon the mind, those are the movements of the Spirit of God by which He is showing man His danger and revealing to him his refuge, and so is saying, Come.
3. And this is the speech of the Church too in conjunction with the Spirit, for the Spirit speaks with the bride and the bride speaks by the Spirit. The Church is always saying Come.
4. The next giver of the invitation is spoken of as him that heareth. If you have had an ear to hear, and have heard the gospel to your own salvation, the very next thing you have to do is to say to those around you, Come. Give your Masters invitation, distribute the testimony of His loving will, and bid poor sinners come to Jesus.
III. The connection between these two comings.
1. There is this relation, first, they are both suggested in this passage by the closing of the scriptural canon. It is because the Book was about to receive its finis that the Spirit and the bride unitedly cried to the sinners to come at once. No fresh gospel is to be expected, therefore let them come at once
2. I think I perceive another connection, namely, that those people who in very truth love Christ enough to cry to Him continually to come are sure to love sinners also, and to say to them also, Come.
3. There is this connection also, that before Christ comes a certain number of His elect must be ingathered. Oh, then, it is ours to labour that the wanderers may come home, for so we are, as far as lieth in us, hastening the time when our Beloved Himself shall come.
4. Once more, there is a sort of coming of Christ which, though it be not the first meaning here, may be included in it, for it touches the centre of the sinners coming to Christ. Because when we cry, Come, Lord Jesus, if He shall answer us by giving us of His Spirit more fully, so that He comes to us spiritually, then penitent souls will assuredly be brought to His feet.
IV. Well, then, lastly, what are the responses? We sent up a cry to heaven, and said, Come. The response is, Behold, I come quickly. That is eminently satisfactory. Christ will descend to earth as surely as He ascended to heaven, and when He cometh there will be victory to the right and to the true, and His saints shall reign with Him. And now concerning this other cry of Come. We ask sinners to come. We have asked them in a fourfold voice: Jesus, the Spirit, the bride, and him that heareth, they have all said, Come. Will they come? (C. H. Spurgeon.)
The double come
We have open before us the last page of the Word of God. How shall the book finish? Shall it close with a promise? It is well that it should, and there is the cheering word for the righteous, Blessed are they that do His commandments, etc. Shall it close with a threatening to the wicked? Here it is: without are dogs, etc. Shall the last sentence be full of tender invitation and earnest entreaty to the sinner, bidding him come to Christ and live? Yes, let it be so; and yet shall we forget the Lord Himself while we are thinking of the sinner? He has told us that He will come–should not the very last word of Scripture have a reference to Him and to His glorious advent? Should not the Spirit at the last, as well as at the first, bear witness to Jesus? Shall not the last word that shall linger in the readers ear speak of the approaching glory of the Lord? Yes, let it be so: but it would be best of all if we could have a word that would combine the four: a promise to the righteous, a threatening to the wicked, an invitation to the poor and needy, and a welcome to the coming one. Who could devise such a verse? The Holy Ghost is equal to the emergency. He can dictate such a verse: He has dictated it. Here it is in the words of our text.
I. First, then, let us consider, the twofold ministry.
1. There is in the text a cry for the coming of the Lord. Let every one that hears the prophecy of our Lords assured coming join in the prayer, Thy kingdom come.
2. But there is a second ministry of the Church, which is the cry for the coming of sinners to Christ. In this respect the Spirit and the Bride say, Come. The world should ring with Come to Jesus!
3. This, then, is the double ministry, and I want you to notice that the first call is not opposed to the second. The fact that Christ is coming ought never to make us any the less diligent in pressing sinners to come to Christ.
4. Again, take heed that the second call never obscures the first. Be taken up with evangelical work; let it fill your heart; but, at the same time, watch for that sudden appearing which, to many, will be as unwelcome as a thief in the night.
5. Let the two comes leap at the same moment from your heart, for they are linked together. Christ will not come until He hath gathered unto Himself an elect company; therefore, when you and I go forth and say to sinners, Come, and God blesses us to the bringing of them in, we are doing the best we can to hasten the advent of the Son of man.
II. This twofold ministry is secured. According to our text, The Spirit and the bride say, Come. They always do say it, and always will say it till Jesus comes.
1. The Spirit says it. What a cry must this be which comes up from the Spirit of God Himself! Given at Pentecost, He has never returned or left the Church, but He dwells in chosen hearts, as in a temple, even to this day. He is always moving men to pray that Christ may come, and moving men to come to Christ.
2. This also is certainly fulfilled by the Church wherever she is a true Church.
III. The way in which this twofold ministry is increased. Let him that heareth say, Come. The hearing man is to say, Come, but the unconverted man is not bidden so to do. No, he cannot say Come till he has first come for himself. You that are not saved cannot invite others. How can you? Yet all of you who have really heard the gospel with opened ear, and received the truth of God by faith into your souls, are called upon to cry, Come.
1. See how this perpetuates the cry. As in the old Greek games the athletes ran with torches, and one handed the light to another, and thus it passed along the line, so is it with us. Each man runneth his race, but he passeth the torch on to another that the light may never go out from generation to generation. Let the fathers teach the children, and the children their children, and so while the sun and the moon endure let the voice that crieth, Come to Christ, go up to heaven, and let the voice that crieth, Come to sinners, be heard in the chief places of concourse.
2. This precept secures the swelling of the volume of the cry; for if every man that hears the gospel is to cry, Come, then there will be more voices, and yet more. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
On the invitations of the gospel
I. What is implied in this invitation? And what is comprehended in coming to Him? Simply obeying His word! Even now the chief of sinners is invited to return to God, with the promise of free forgiveness, and the prospect of everlasting felicity held out to him.
II. Such is the invitation before us. Is it, in what it requires us to do, aught else than what our own consciences have often and again urged us to do? Has the still small voice within us never told us that while we are at a distance from God, we never can be happy? But we have also to remember that the calls to return to God, which have been addressed to us through the instrumentality of conscience, were in reality the dictates of that Spirit of all grace and goodness, who is represented in the text as inviting us to a Saviour. Though we cannot explain His operations, nor distinguish them usually from what we call those of our own minds, yet we know that the Spirit of God suggests and excites to all good, that it is He who restrains us from utter reprobation. But we have also to observe, that the invitations of the Spirit are addressed to us in the written word of God; and oh, how frequently are the entreaties, the warnings, and the calls of that word read, without the slightest remembrance that it actually is the Word of God to the reader! Surely it is not a question to be dismissed without concern, whether your Maker has called on you to return to His service and favour, and you are exposed to the fearful penalty of shutting your ears to His call, and despising His reproof. The Bride saith, Come! The Church of Christ is meant by this expression. That Church consists not only of those Christians who are now on earth, but of those also who have gone before us, on the path Which leads to God, and now live in His presence in heaven. We are not only, through the mercy of the Almighty, called on to consider the things which belong to our peace, through the instrumentality of Christian institutions around us, but we should also remember that they too call upon us, who now enjoy the reward of their toils and have entered on their rest, to follow in their footsteps and emulate their example. The affections of nature add their entreaty to the command of Divine authority; and every holy example of departed saints, in the record of your own memory, or in that of Scripture, as well as all the invitations addressed to you through the instituted means of grace, form but, as it were, the united voice of the Church in heaven and the Church on earth–Come! Come to participate in the privileges of those who were the truly honourable of the earth, and to an eternal reunion with the great and good, in unmingled happiness and perfection. One observation on the words, Let him that heareth say, Come–him who has already heard and obeyed the call. We are bound, as far as in us lies, to make known the gospel of our hopes to others, and endeavour to induce them to believe and obey; and, may we not add, that this should be felt by Christians as the impulse of affection, not merely as the obligation of duty. Let him that heareth say, Come. Opportunities, both public and private, are abundant, for this joint exercise of Christian love and Christian obedience. And are there not abundant motives to it? It is to be a fellow-worker with Christ. It is to be an honoured means in Gods hand of accomplishing greater good than lies within the attainment of earthly power or wisdom.
III. Who are they to whom the invitation is so especially addressed, under the descriptions, Him that is athirst, and Whosoever will? The metaphor employed in our text directs us intelligibly in pointing out the first of the classes referred to. Let him that is athirst take of the water of life freely. That is, him who thirsts for that water! Come to Christ, and take of the water of life freely; intrust yourself unreservedly into His hands, and to His disposal, as your Teacher, your Master, and your Saviour; and while you do this you will experience that the more your knowledge of Him increases, the more your peace and your hope will increase also. It is, in truth, the inquirers unwillingness to submit himself to Christ in all his offices, which usually stands in the way of his own peace. We believe there are exceptions, but not so numerous as to disprove the general assertion. A sense of sin leads us to distrust the Redeemer, or a love of some sin renders us indisposed to renounce it. To meet these obstacles the gospel is, on the one hand, abundant in its assurances that none ever did or shall trust in God in vain; and, on the other, most peremptory in its demands that all sin shall be renounced in coming unto Christ. And whosoever will! Whosoever is sincerely desirous to partake in the benefits of salvation, whether his feelings are characterized or not by the excitement of those just referred to, let him too come! The description is just made more general in these words for the purpose of displaying more forcibly and persuasively the Divine goodwill towards all; nor can we conceive a limitation to the comprehensiveness of this description, which would authorise us in refusing to any the hopes and invitations of the gospel. (John Park.)
Gods mercy towards a soul-thirsting world
I. In the provision He has made for it.
1. The provision is exquisitely suitable.
2. The provision is absolutely free.
II. In the pressing invitation to the provision.
1. The Divine Spirit says Come.
2. The Christian Church says Come.
3. The mere hearer, is commanded to say Come. (Homilist.)
Come, oh Saviour! Come, oh sinner!
I. The cry for Christs advent. It is this advent that is the great theme of the Apocalypse, and the central objects of its scenes. It opens with, Behold, He cometh; it goes on with, Behold, I come as a thief; and it ends with, Behold, I come quickly. All the predictions throughout the book bear upon this event, and carry forward the Churchs hopes to this great goal. But there are three parties here represented as uttering this prayer.
1. The Spirit. He cries, Come. What so interests the Spirit in the advent?
(1) Christ will then be fully glorified, and it is the Spirits office to glorify Christ.
(2) Then the whole earth will be converted, and the Spirit will get full scope to all His longings and yearnings over men.
2. The Bride–the Lambs wife, the whole Church as a body, as a virgin betrothed, looking for the marriage day.
3. He that heareth. Blessed is he that heareth. Not as if the hearer was not part of the Bride; but the word thus singles out each one on whose ears the message is falling. The moment you hear it, you should cry, Come, Come, Lord Jesus! For then our sins and sorrows are ended; then our victory is won; then this vile body is changed; then we meet and unite forever with the loved and lost; then shall the ransomed of the Lord return, and come to Zion with songs.
II. The invitation to the sinner.
1. The inviter–Christ Himself; the same who said, Come unto Me. He invited once on earth: He now invites from heaven with the same urgency and love.
2. The persons invited. Do you want to be happy? Joy is here for you, whoever and whatever you are.
3. The blessings invited to–the water of life. Water, that which will thoroughly refresh you and quench your thirst; water of life, living and life-giving; a quickening well; a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. Not a shower, nor a stream, but a well–a fountain (Rev 21:6).
4. The price–Freely! Free to each one as He is; though the chief of sinners, the emptiest, wickedest, thirstiest of the sons of men.
5. The time–the invitation comes forth at the close of that book which sums up all revelation. It contains Christs last words, meant specially for the last days of a weary, thirsty world; when men, having tried every pleasure, vanity, lust, folly, and found nothing, having exhausted every cup and broken every cistern, will be found more thoroughly weary and thirsty than before. (H. Bonar, D. D.)
The brides twofold cry
I. That when the Church cries most earnestly for the Master, she will strive most earnestly for the world. Her prayer to Christ, and her invitation to the perishing, will go forth from the self-same lips, and at the self-same time. Her advent song will have a good gospel refrain. There are times when it can hardly be said that the Church does long for the nearer and fuller manifestation of her Lord–when she has settled down into a state of apathy and indifference. And it is just at these times that she grows lax in her evangelistic work, and becomes careless about the world which lieth in wickedness. On the other hand, there are times when the Church is stirred to her deepest, inmost heart for a fuller and nearer manifestation of her Masters presence. And it is just at these times that she pleads most earnestly and powerfully with sinners, and that her invitations to the world go forth most freely. Calling earnestly for the Lord, she calls most beseechingly to the world. She finds the banquet so rich and full that she cannot but invite the perishing to partake of it.
II. If the Church would hear the Lords voice and enjoy the Lords presence, she must make His voice heard by the unconverted. Let him that heareth say, Come. That is–let him that hearkeneth, that hath his ears open for the Masters voice, and wishes to enjoy the Masters presence, let him make known the Masters promises and the Masters invitations to the unbelieving world. Or to put it in one brief, simple sentence. The highest Christian life can only be enjoyed by those who are wrestling with the world, and calling the unbelieving to the Saviours feet. The higher Christian life is not possible to those who coddle and nurse their own souls, and spend all their strength in hunting for spiritual joy and securing their own salvation. Just in proportion to our anxiety about the salvation of others will complete salvation be attained by ourselves. Christ will speak most graciously to our souls when our mouths are open to declare His word. You have heard of the old mystics, the Christian mystics of the middle ages. They were men who thought that Christ would appear to them in some material form–or at least some visible form–if they watched and waited for Him long and patiently enough. And they shut themselves in their lonely cells, far away from the world, its cares, and sorrows. But the vision came not. The weird creations of their own mad dreams came to mock their endeavours–nothing more. No face of Christ appeared; there was no realisation of the Divine presence. These men were seeking to save their own souls, and only that, and Christ would not answer them. There is something akin to this old mysticism in the present day. Men who have no desire for evangelisation work, no concern for the sinning, dying world, are expecting to receive of Christ all the power and joy of faith. They are sitting down with open ear but closed lips at the Masters feet; they would gain all for themselves and nothing for the world; and Christ withholds the vision now as He did in days of old. You shall not have the fulness of power, He says, unless you will use it in the work of conversion. I will not show you the glory of My face unless you will make known that glory to others. Let him that heareth say, Come.
III. Those who long for the Masters presence have most faith in the Masters power. It is this longing and expectant bride who is praying for the second advent–panting, groaning for her Lords presence. It is this bride who utters the closing invitations of our text. It is because she has felt His power–felt it throbbing through all her being–that she longs for more of it. It is because she has tasted the water of life, and knows its sweetness, and its gladness, and its healing virtues, that she prays for a fuller draught. Ah, she has great faith in her Master and in the provisions of His love. The first and last and always present sign of an apathetic and listless Church is a loss of faith in the power of the gospel. The Church which has enjoyed little of Christ is still generally audacious and unbelieving enough to think that it has enjoyed all. It thinks it has received all, or nearly all, that He can give, and proved the sum total of His power. But to a Church which rejoices in Christ, which has drunk largely of His Spirit, and is crying day and night for more of it, the gospel is all the power and sweetness of God to every one that it touches. (J. G. Greenhough, M. A.)
The gracious invitation of Christ to sinners
I. What is implied the thirsting here spoken of.
1. Do any make the things of this world the chief object of their thirst? Our Lord tells them how they should regulate their desires, and which way they ought to turn them (Psa 4:6).
2. If any thirst after righteousness–either the righteousness of justification or sanctification–they must apply to Jesus Christ in order to obtain the necessary mercies (1Co 1:30).
3. If any thirst after Jesus Christ and His grace; such are called in the text. This thirst is a fruit of spiritual life: for how can a soul thirst after Jesus unless the soul knows Him, and, in some measure, the need it stands in of an interest in Him; and His suitableness to the wants of the soul?
4. If any thirst after happiness–though this thirsting may be found where there is nothing but common convictions, no desire after holiness, but only a desire to be saved from misery, not from sin–yet Jesus calls such to come to Him for that happiness which they desire. Would you be happy hereafter? Then you must begin with Christ now; He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
(1) Spiritual thirst proceeds from a sense of the souls wants: either grace and holiness, or the increase of these mercies.
(2) Souls spiritually athirst are pained and uneasy in their minds till they obtain the very mercy desired.
(3) Spiritual thirst centres in Christ; souls spiritually athirst have their chief inquiries and desires after Him and His benefits as the Water of Life; and Himself as the Fountain of all grace and blessedness.
(4) Spiritual thirst after Jesus Christ, His grace, righteousness, and holiness is laborious; it is willing to be at any pains, in Gods way, to gain satisfaction, or have its desires answered.
II. The Lord Jesus Christ invites every thirsty soul to come to Him.
1. What this coming is. It is believing in Jesus Christ (Joh 6:35). Not an act of the body, but of the soul. The consent of the will. Receiving and resting upon Christ alone for salvation. We first come to Christ by faith, and then to God by Him.
2. To whom convinced sinners should come for relief. To Jesus Christ. He is very God; and, as Mediator between God and man, He has an all-fulness in Him.
3. Who are the persons that Jesus calls to come to Him.
III. How are we to understand the expression whosoever will.
IV. The Lord Jesus Christ will abundantly satisfy every thirsty soul that comes to him. This is evident–
1. By the frequent repetition of His calls and invitations to sinners to return and come to Him for His benefits.
2. From the many instances of those that came to Jesus Christ, in the days of His ministry upon earth, for some bodily favour, either for themselves or friends or relations.
3. By the experience of every true believer.
V. What do needy souls find in Jesus Christ upon their coming to Him?
1. He that has natural thirst is willing to be at any reasonable cost for something to satisfy his thirst: for he knows that if he has not timely relief he is in danger of his life. So the soul that thirsts after Jesus Christ and His grace is willing to part with all for Him; for he knows that Christ has enough in Him to satisfy all his spiritual desires.
2. That which satisfies natural thirst will be highly esteemed (Job 23:12; Jer 15:16; Psa 119:97).
3. If the soul is truly athirst after Jesus Christ and His grace, nothing short of Christ will satisfy it.
4. A thirsty man will be glad of, and thankful for, seasonable relief.
5. The thirsty mans desires are not satisfied once for all, but he must have new supplies (Joh 6:34; 1Pe 2:3-4).
6. A thirsty man will be willing to take any pains to obtain his desires. Such will come to the fountain, and sit at the pool, and wait at the posts of wisdoms gates; they will honour the ordinances of Jesus Christ by a careful attendance on them, or rather on God in them, in order to obtain the mercies that their souls want. To such as have experienced this thirsting after Jesus Christ and His benefits, and have been made willing to come to Him, and look for salvation from Him upon His own terms. Be very thankful to God for what He has discovered to you, and wrought in and for you. Give thanks to God for the fulness of Jesus Christ as Mediator, prepared for the supply of needy souls; and then for His showing you, by the gospel, the fulness of grace that is in Christ. Give thanks to God for drawing you. Take care to exert and lay out for the honour and glory of God and for the exaltation of Jesus Christ, for the service of His kingdom and the good of souls whatsoever you have received from Him. Oh let Him have the honour of His grace. (W. Notcutt.)
Come and welcome
The cry of the Christian religion is the simple word come. The Jewish law said, Go, and take heed unto thy steps as to the path in which thou shalt walk. Go, and break the commandments, and thou shalt perish; go, and keep them, and thou shalt live. The law repels; the gospel attracts.
I. There is a water of life. Man is utterly ruined and undone. He is lost in a wild waste wilderness. The skin bottle of his righteousness is all dried up, and there is not so much as a drop of water in it. Must he perish? He looks aloft, beneath, around, and he discovers no means of escape. Must thirst devour him? No; for the text declares there is a fountain of life. Ordained in old eternity by God in solemn covenant, this fountain, this Divine well, takes its spring from the deep foundations of Gods decrees. This sacred fountain, established according to Gods good will and pleasure in the covenant, opened by Christ when He died upon the Cross, floweth this day to give life and health and joy and peace to poor sinners dead in sin and ruined by the fall. There is a water of life. By this water of life is intended Gods free grace, Gods love for men, so that if you come and drink, you shall find this to be life indeed to your soul, for in drinking of Gods grace you inherit Gods love, you are reconciled to God, God stands in a fatherly relation to you, He loves you, and His great infinite heart yearns towards you. Again, it is living water not simply because it is love, and that is life, but it saves from impending death. Come hither then, ye sin-doomed; this water can wash away your sins, and when your sins are washed away, then shall ye live; for the innocent must not be punished. Here is water that can make you whiter than driven snow. But, saith the poor convicted soul, this is not all I want, for if all the sins I have ever committed were blotted out, in one ten minutes I should commit many more. If I were now completely pardoned, it would not be many seconds before I should destroy my soul and sink helplessly again. Ay! but see here, this is living water, it can quench thy thirst of sin; entering into thy soul it shall overcome and cover with its floods thy propensities to evil. This is life indeed, for here is favour, here is pardon, here is sanctity, the renewing of the soul by the washing of water through the Word. But, saith one, I have a longing within me which I cannot satisfy. I feel sure that if I be pardoned yet there is something which I want–which nothing I have ever heard of, or have ever seen or handled, can satisfy. I have within me an aching void which the world can never fill. But hearken! thou that art wretched and miserable, here is living water that can quench thy thirst. Come hither and drink, and thou shalt be satisfied; for he that is a believer in Christ finds enough for him in Christ now, and enough for ever. You shall never thirst again, except it be that you shall long for deeper draughts of this living fountain. And, moreover, he who drinketh of this living water shall never die. His body shall see corruption for a little while, but his soul, mounting aloft, shall dwell with Jesus. Yea! and his very body, when it has passed through the purifying process, shall rise again more glorious than when it was sown in weakness. It shall rise in glory, in honour, in power, in majesty, and united with the soul, it shall everlastingly inherit the joys which Christ has prepared for them that love Him.
II. The invitation is very wide–whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. The one question I have to ask is, art thou willing? if so, Christ bids thee take the water of life. Art thou willing? if so, be pardoned, be sanctified, be made whole. For if thou art willing Christ is willing too, and thou art freely invited to come and welcome to the fountain of life and grace. Now mark, the question has to do with the will. Oh, says one, I am so foolish I cannot understand the plan of salvation, therefore I may not come and drink. But my question has nothing to do with your understanding, it has to do with your will. You may be as big a fool as you will, but if you are willing to come to Christ you are freely invited. Oh, says one, I can understand the plan of salvation, but I cannot repent as I would. Sir, my heart is so hard I cannot bring the tear to my eye. I cannot feel my sins as I would desire. Ay, but this text has nothing to do with your heart; it is with your will. Are you willing? Then be your heart hard as the nether millstone, if thou art willing to be saved I am bidden to invite thee. Whosoever will, not whosoever feels, but whosoever will, let him come and take the water of life freely. Yes, says one, I can honestly say I am willing, but my heart will not soften. I wish that grace would change me. I can say I wish that Christ would soften my heart. I am willing. Well, then, the text is for thee, Whosoever will, let him come. If thou art willing thou art freely invited to Christ. No, saith one, but I am such a great sinner. I have been a drunkard; I have been a lascivious man; I have gone far astray from the paths of rectitude. I would not have all my sins known to my fellow creatures. How can God accept of such a wretch as I am, such a foul creature as I have been? Mark thee, man! There is no reference made here to thy past life. It simply says, whosoever will. Art thou willing? Ah! saith one, God knows I am willing, but still I do not think I am worthy. No, I know you are not, but what is that to do with it? It is not, whosoever is worthy, but whosoever will, let him come. Well, says one, I believe that whosoever will may come, but not me, for I am the vilest sinner out of hell. But hark thee, sinner, it says, whosoever. What a big word that is! Whosoever! There is no standard-height here. It is of any height and any size.
III. How clear the path is, whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. That word let is a very curious word, because it signifies two opposite things. Let is an old-fashioned word which sometimes signifies hinder. He that letteth shall be taken away–that is, He that hindereth. But here, in our text, it means the removing of all hindrance. Let him come–methinks I hear Jehovah speaking this. Here is the fountain of love and mercy. But you are too unworthy, you are too vile. Hear Jehovah! He cries, Let him come, he is willing. Stand back! doubts and fears; away with you, let him come; make a straight road; let him come if he be but willing. Then the devil himself comes forward, and striding across the way, he says to the poor trembling soul, I will spill thy blood; thou shalt never have mercy. I defy thee; thou shalt never believe in Christ, and never be saved. But Christ says, Let him come; and Satan, strong though he be, quails beneath Jehovahs voice, and Jesus drives him away, and the path stands clear, nor can sin, nor death, nor hell, block up the way when Jehovah Jesus says, Let him come. Standing one day in the court-house, some witness was required, I forget his name; it may have been Brown, for instance, in one moment the name was announced, Brown, Samuel Brown; by and by twenty others take up the cry, Samuel Brown, Samuel Brown. There was seen a man pushing his way through; Make room, said he, make room, his honour calls me, and though there were many in his path they gave way, because his being called was a sufficient command to them, not to hinder him, but to let him come. And now, soul, if thou be a willing sinner, though thy name is not mentioned–if thou be a willing sinner, thou art as truly called as though thou wert called by name, and therefore, push through thy fears. Make elbow room, and come; they that would stop thee are craven cowards. He has said, Let him come, and they cannot keep you back; Jehovah has said, Let him come, and it is yours now to say, I will come.
IV. The condition which is the death of all conditions–let him take it freely. Methinks I see one here who is saying, I would be saved and I will do what I can to be worthy of it. The fountain is free, and he comes with his halfpenny in his hand, and that a bad one, and he says, Here, sir, give me a cup of this living water to drink; I am well worthy of it, for see the price is in my hand. Why, man, if thou couldst bring the wealth of Potosi, or all the diamonds of Galconda, and all the pearls of Ormuz, you could not buy this most costly thing. Put up your money, you could not have it for gold or silver. The man brings his merit: but heaven is not to be sold to meritmongers. Or perhaps you say, I will go to church regularly, I will give to the poor, I will attend my meeting-house, I will take a sitting, I will be baptized, I will do this and the other, and then no doubt I shall have the water of life. Back, miserable herd, bring not your rags and rubbish to God, He wants them not. Stand back, you insult the Almighty when you tender anything as payment. Back with ye; He invites not such as you to come. He says come freely. He wants nothing to recommend you. He needs no recommendation. You want no good works. Do not bring any. But you have no good feelings. Nevertheless you are willing, therefore come. He wants no good feelings of you. You have no belief and no repentance, yet nevertheless you are willing. Do not try to get them yourself–come to Him, and He will give them to you. Come just as you are; it is freely, without money and without price. Whosoever will, let him come. Let him bring nothing to recommend him. Let him not imagine he can give any payment to God, or any ransom for his soul; for the one condition that excludes all conditions is, Let him come and take the water of life freely. There is a man of God here who has drank of the river of the water of life many times; but he says, I want to know more of Christ, I want to have nearer fellowship with Him; I want to enter more closely into the mystery of His sacrifice; I want to understand more and more of the fellowship of His sufferings, and to be made conformable unto His death. Well, believer, drink freely. You have filled your bowl of faith once, and you drank the draught off; fill it again, drink again, and keep on drinking. Put your mouth to the fountain if you will drink right on. As good Rutherford says in one of his letters, I have been sinking my bucket down into the well full often, but now my thirst after Christ has become so insatiable that I long to put the well itself to my lips and drain it all, and drink right on. Well, take it freely as much as ever you can. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
Let him that heareth say, Come.—
The great commission
It is midnight in the crowded city. A million of people, weary with the cares and burdens of the day, have sought relief in sleep. In thousands of houses the lights are extinguished, and nothing breaks the silence of healthy repose. From an upper window, unseen of any, came a puff of smoke and curled upward into the night air. The watchman passed the building, and, to his observation, all was safe. He turned the corner of his beat, but a steady column of smoke was rising in place of the single puff. Ere he returns to point of view a fiery wave is rolling up to heaven. The heated air has waked a current, and the fire-fiends are in glee as through the thin partitions of the blocks the greedy flames make their way. Who shall arouse the sleeping city? Who shall save the dwellers in yonder house, already lighted with the reflected beams a though the devils were dancing on its rafters in glee at its speedy destruction? Must we wait for the citys appointment, the mayors seal, the officials paper? Let him that seeth cry, Fire! Let him that heareth cry, Fire! and roll the cry in deafening thunders on till every soul is stirred, every family safe. The possession of a tongue is the evidence of heavens commission–the roaring flame is the voice of authority commanding to immediate alarm, to instant toil, and none may find excuse from blame who withhold their cries as they stand beside the charred, disfigured bodies of the unalarmed. Here is the ground for universal Christian labour. The dangerous exposure of man voices the Divine commission to each. Let us try again: The clouds refused their moisture, and the hot sun poured incessantly upon the dry and parching earth. The seed lost its power of reproduction; fruit juices dried in the vine and tree; grass withered in the field, and when the winds of autumn blew not a barn held any treasure, not a home had any provision. The days of famine came; children cried for food their parents could not give; infants died upon the famished breasts of their mothers; strong men crept about in the helplessness of infancy; the flocks were destroyed; weeping and wailing were on every side. The dreadful news was sent to distant lands, and the cry for bread burdened every breeze. The eager watchers sat upon the mountains and gazed upon the far-off sea. At length, slow rising on the distant edge, a sail appears; with beating hearts they watch; nearer it comes, sailing to their relief. The shore is reached; it is the relief-ship, crammed with bread and fruits of life. The busy hands roll the cargo out and spread it on the shore and welcome all. The starving are at home. The dying want only a crust of bread to bring them back to life again. And now in rich abundance plenty for all is heaped upon the land. The few upon the border satisfy their wants; the multitudes beyond the hill that skirts the beach are ignorant of any provision, and as the minutes pass their lives go out. Who shall proclaim that plenty waits their coming? Who shall carry the glad news over the hills into the inland cities that the suffering is at an end and there is enough for all? Let him that has a voice cry, Bread upon the shore! and him that heareth cry, Bread upon the shore! till the echo rings through the whole famished land and has fallen upon every ear and the multitudes are flocking to satisfy their wants. What shall be said of him who, knowing the destitution and made acquainted with the supply, coolly declares, Let them find it out for themselves. I have eaten. Or who is content to let only the appointed herald make proclamation once for all? What shall be said of him who sees a starving family, notes the faltering steps, the hollow cheeks, the tear-dimmed eye, the haggard look, and ventures no information that the food has come? Again, we have found a call for universal Christian toil emphasised by supply as well as need. Heaven cries to each through teeming bounty for all. O that the Christian world would wake to faithfulness, and when the Spirit and the Bride has said, Come, even he that heareth would say, Come. The great realities of the Christian faith demand individual effort for their promulgation.
I. The danger of the soul calls for the alarm cry of each. If the flames of a burning city call to each to give alarm, how much more the flames that throw their glare upon the living soul? We need not cross the borders of this world, nor travel out of the circle of personal acquaintance, to find consuming men, burning with a heat that stirs the pity which they treat with scorn. Think of the pitiful crowds of women out of whose being all trace of mother-love is burned, all tender affections gone–sweetness, kindness, virtue–the very ashes of all nobleness blown away, and the bestial fires still glowing in their souls; yet they were fair, favoured, honoured as any till the torch was applied, the conflagration started, and no soul sought to quench it. There is no soul in all the world to which the fiery torch of sin has not been placed. The peril of each is imminent. The watchman passes by but does not see the smouldering passion, the heated imagination. The inflamed soul is careless of others. But there are those who have been dashed with the waters of life and see and know the increasing danger; there are those who have themselves been plucked as brands from the burning. They note the first puff that indicates in their friend, in a passer-by, the kindled fire; they see the glare in the eye, on the cheek, in the spirit; that detects the glow that heralds the blazing city of the soul; honour, honesty, obedience to God, regard for human rights, child-love, wife-love, even self-love, are wrapped in smoke and flame, and yet the cry of alarm is withheld. Seize the child with blazing garments and wrap her in a rug, no matter who she is, no matter where she stands; it shall save a life. Raise the cry for instant help. Summon the ambulance. This is the voice of humanity. How much louder then should be the call, how much more vigorous the effort to relieve the endangered soul! Begin in your own home to-day where the danger is truly personal. Is it enough that you talk of all matters but the souls escape from sin? Is it enough that the preacher cries out in trumpet-tones, Let him that heareth say, Come? Assail each ear with the cry that God has put upon your lips.
II. The provision for saving the soul calls for individual proclamation. If the sea-side watchers, failing to inform the famine land of plenty, deserve the detestation of mankind, what is the righteous judgment on him who fails to inform of the spiritual supply for endangered and perishing souls? Let him that heareth say, Come. It is not the results of his own investigations that man is sent to proclaim. It is of the glorious provision of God. Not the subtleties of abstruse metaphysical reasoning, nor the teachings of learned scientists, but pardon for the guilty, a Saviour for the lost, he is to shout and whisper into every ear, that the dying may hear it and never die, that the living may catch its meaning and live for ever. Tis not a call for the investigation of provision, but for its distribution. Its summons is not to the trained scholars of the land alone, to the skilful reasoners, to the eloquent lips, but to hearers of every class. The sacred privilege, the solemn duty, opens before every one who hears to proclaim the mercy and the grace of God toward men to give hope to the hopeless, courage to the faint, a Saviour to all. The commission bears no time limitation. Not once a week, when Sabbath bells ring, but every day and every time a needy soul is met may the word be spoken, Come to the open fountain! Come to the bread of life! I have read that during a heavy storm off the coast of Spain a dismantled merchantman was observed by a British frigate drifting before the gale. Every eye and glass were on her, and a canvas shelter on the deck almost level with the sea suggested the idea that there yet might be life on board. Instantly the order sounded to put the ship about, and a boat puts off with instructions to bear down upon the wreck and rescue life if aught remained. Away after that drifting hulk go the gallant men, risking their own lives on the mountain billows of the roaring sea. Reaching it they cry aloud, and from the canvas screen creeps out what proved to be the body of a man so shrivelled and wasted as to be easily lifted on board. In tender pity the rough men rub the chilled and wasted body. About to pull away, the saved man moves and moans and whispers, and as they listen they can catch the muttered words, There is another man. The saved would save his friend, though almost in the hands of death. It is the lesson for us all. While another man treads the globe unsaved by the blood of Christ, he, brethren to the rescue! Not in the feebleness of your own strength, but in obedience to Him who sends the thrilling message to all whose ears have been touched with the heavenly music, saying, Let him that heareth say, Come. (S. H. Virgin, D. D.)
Let him that heareth say, Come
1. Notice the party addressed: Him that heareth. There is no reference here to age, or position, or gifts, or learning.
2. Observe the terms in which this duty is prescribed. He that heareth is to say, Come. The terms here used are very general, and in many respects indefinite. If you cannot say, Come, in the church, you can say it in the shop, or at the fireside, or on the roads. The Sabbath, for example, is a most suitable time to say, Come, when the minds of men are less occupied with worldly cares and business; or a time of affliction, when the heart is likely to be somewhat softened.
I. Show how the truth of the text is confirmed and exemplified by other passages in the Word of God (Psa 66:16; Isa 2:3; Zec 8:21; Joh 1:41; Joh 1:45-46; Joh 4:29, etc.). It is no new commandment, but one which has been from the beginning, that they who have accepted the invitation of the gospel should straightway invite others to the feast.
II. The motives that should stimulate us to carry out this exhortation.
1. For Christs sake we ought to say, Come. How then can we pretend to love Christ if we are habitually neglecting to say, Come? Does it not evince base ingratitude if we are not working for Him who did and suffered so much for us?
2. The condition of Christless souls may well excite our pity, and prompt us to active exertion on their behalf.
3. For our own sake we ought to say, Come. However difficult a duty is, it is never for our interest to neglect it. And think what a noble service this is! It makes us partakers with Christ in His work. Christian activity, like mercy, is twice blessed. In watering others our own souls are also watered. A traveller was crossing mountain heights alone over almost untrodden snows. Warning had been given him that if slumber pressed down his weary eyelids they would inevitably be sealed in death. For a time he went bravely along his dreary path. But with the deepening shade and freezing blast of night there fell a weight upon his brain and eyes which seemed to be irresistible. In vain he tried to reason with himself; in vain he strained his utmost energies to shake off that fatal heaviness. At this crisis of his fate his foot struck against a heap that lay across his path. No stone was that, although no stone could be colder or more lifeless. He stooped to touch it, and found a human body half buried beneath a fresh drift of snow. The next moment the traveller had taken a brother in his arms, and was chafing his chest, and hands, and brow, breathing upon the stiff, cold lips the warm breath of his living soul, pressing the silent heart to the beating pulses of his own generous bosom. The effort to save another had brought back to himself life, warmth, and energy. He saved his brother and was saved himself. Go thou and do likewise. Earnest efforts for the salvation of others will save us many a bitter regret.
III. Directions as to how you are to say, Come.
1. Humbly. Beware of cherishing high thoughts of yourselves, as if through any merit or efforts of your own you had attained your present position. Beware of despising any to whom you say Come, as if you had all your lives been immensely superior to them.
2. Earnestly. Such awful realities as the soul, sin, Christ, death, judgment, eternity, are not matters to be lightly or coldly spoken of.
3. Believingly and prayerfully. Have confidence in the power of Gods truth when it is accompanied with the demonstration of the Spirit. And, having this faith, let your prayer ascend to God on behalf of your unconverted friends, and on your own behalf, that you may be rightly guided in saying Come to them.
4. Perseveringly. Be not discouraged by even many rebuffs and refusals. Give none up in despair. Remember how long-suffering the Lord was to you, and be you as long-suffering towards others. (J. G. Dalgliesh.)
The duty of missionary enterprise
Let me give you one or two reasons why missions are especially incumbent upon this nation.
1. First, because we owe to them immeasurable benefits. I throw in without estimate all that missions have done for the cause of science, though there is scarcely one single science that does not owe to them an immense advance. I throw in without estimate all they have done to the cause of civilisation, though no less a witness than Charles Darwin said that the lesson of the missionary was the enchanters wand. I throw in without estimate all that they have done for the diminution of human misery, the suppression of war, the spread of commerce, the abolition of execrable cruelties. It is Christ, says Chunder Sen–and you could have no more unprejudiced witness–it is Christ, and not the British Government, that rules India. Our hearts, he says, speaking for his countrymen, our hearts have been conquered, not by armies, not by your gleaming bayonets, and your fiery cannon, but by a higher and different power, and that power is Christ, and it is for Jesus, he adds, and for Jesus only, that we will give up the precious diadem of India. Without missions the sagacity of Lawrence and the heroic courage of Havelock would have been in vain.
2. Because to us of this British race God has undoubtedly assigned the whole future of the world. Before a century is over the English-speaking people will be one-third of the whole human race. From this little island have sprung the millions of America, of Australasia, of colonies which are empires on which the sun never sets. Why is it that God has thus enlarged Japhet? Was it for the benefit of brewers and gin distillers? Was it that the coffers of our merchants might burst with their accumulated hoards?
3. Because, if our numbers have increased fivefold, our wealth at the same time has increased sevenfold. For what cause did God pour this river of gold into the coffers of our people? Was it that we should settle on our lees and live in ease on the earth? Or was it rather that we should send forth that great angel who has the everlasting gospel in his hands?
4. Because we have taken with us all over the world a ruinous and a clinging curse, the curse of drink. It is not the only wrong we have done by any means. The diseases we have inflicted have been bad enough, but our drink is worst of all; and as yet the conscience of this nation is as hard as the nether millstone to the fact of our guilt. Let the shameful truth be spoken, that mainly because of drink our footsteps amongst savage races have again and again been footsteps dyed in blood. We have cursed all India with our drink and our drunkenness; and at this moment, after so short an occupation, we are cursing Egypt with it too. We have poured upon these nations the vials of this plague of ours–are we not bound to give them the antidote?
5. I might dwell on many more reasons, above all the truly apostolical succession of heroic personalities inspired by the immediate Spirit of God whom missions have called forth, of men who, even in this nineteenth century, have won the purple crown of martyrdom, and shown us that there may be something higher and more heroic in religion than the quotidian arguing of our religious squabbles and our ceremonial routine. But this only I will add, whenever a cause is noble, and is necessary, and calls for self-denial, it always evokes a mushroom crop of stale epigrams expressing the wit of prudential selfishness and the excuse of closefisted greed. Do not, then, be misled by the plausible devils plea that we have too much heathenism at home to trouble ourselves with heathenism abroad. We have heathenism enough at home, God knows, but when long ago a member of the Massachusetts legislature said, We have not religion enough at home, and cannot afford to send any abroad, a wiser and sincerer man than he answered, The religion of Christ is such that the more you send abroad the more you have at home. (Dean Farrar.)
Babes in grace can say, Come
There is your qualification; you have proved the truth of God in your own soul, and so can speak experimentally; you have found Christ; you have drunk the living water, and you can say, Come. I wanted a drink one day in a thirsty place in Italy, and by the coachmans help I asked at a house for water. The owner of the house was busy and did not come to show me where the water could be found; but he sent a girl with me; she was very little, but she was quite big enough, for she led the way to a well, and I was soon refreshed. She had not to make a well, but only to point it out, and therefore her youth was no disadvantage. We have not to invent salvation, but to tell of it; and therefore you who are but babes in grace can perform the work. You have heard the voice of Jesus say, Stoop down, and drink, and live: go forth and echo that voice till thousands quench their thirst. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
Bring another brother
During the exhibition of 1867 in Paris, a minister met with an instance of direct labour for souls, which he states he can never forget. In conversation with an engineer employed on one of the pleasure-boats which ply on the Seine, the discovery was made that the man was a Christian, and on the inquiry being put, by what means he was converted, he replied: My mate is a Christian, and continually he told me of the great love of Jesus Christ, and His readiness to save, and he never rested until I was a changed man. For it is a rule in our church that when a brother is converted, he must go and bring another brother; and when a sister is converted, she must go and bring another sister; and so more than a hundred of us have been recovered to the simplicity which is in Christ Jesus. This is the way in which the gospel is to spread through the whole world. By the silent force of a consistent life, by the prevalence of importunate prayer, by the seasonable testimony of our lips in converse with our fellow-men, let us love to make Jesus known.
Spreading the tidings
An English Presbyterian missionary relates an interesting incident which occurred as he was halting for refreshments under a great tree on the boundaries of the Fukien province. He chanced to overhear a Chinaman speaking with an unusually pleasant and impressive voice, and giving to the bystanders an account of the Christian religion. He did this as if uttering the deepest convictions of his own heart. The missionary afterwards learned that this man had been a patient in one of the hospitals, and though not well he was travelling towards his home, and on his way was preaching the gospel which he had himself heard. How many such cases there may be we do not know, but it is interesting to find that at least some of those who are casually reached are becoming earnest promulgators of the truth they have heard.
Taking good news home
A New Zealand girl, who was brought over to England to be educated, in the course of time became a true Christian. When the time came for her to return to her own country, some of her playmates endeavoured to dissuade her. They said, Why do you want to go back to New Zealand? You have become accustomed to England. You love its shady lanes and clover-fields. Besides, yon may be shipwrecked on the return voyage. And if you should get back safe your own people may kill you and eat you. Everybody there has forgotten you. What, she said, do you think that I could keep the Good News to myself? Do you think that I could be content with having got pardon, and peace, and eternal life for myself, and not go and tell my dear father and mother how they may get it too? I would go if I had to swim there!
And let him that is athirst come.
Christs last invitation from the throne
I. Now, first let me suggest the question–to whom Christ from the throne thus calls? The persons addressed are designated by two descriptions: they that are athirst, and those that will. In one aspect of the former designation it is universal; in another aspect it is by no means so. There are many men that thirst; and, strange as it seems, will not to be satisfied. The first qualification is need, and the sense of need. These two things, alas! do not go together. There is s universal need stamped upon men, by the very make of their spirits, which declares that they must have something or some one external to themselves, on whom they can rest, and from whom they can be satisfied. The heart yearns for anothers love; the mind is restless till it grasps reality and truth. No man is at rest unless he is living in conscious amity with, and in possession of, the Fathers heart and the Fathers strength. But half of you do not know what ails you. You recognise the gnawing discontent. There is such a thing as misinterpreting the cry of the Spirit, and that misinterpretation is the crime and the misery of millions of men. That they shall stifle their true need under a pile of worldly things, that they shall direct their longings to what can never satisfy them, is indeed the state and the misery of many of us. Perverted tastes are by no means confined to certain forms of disease of the body. There is the same perversion of taste in regard of higher things. You and I are made to feed upon God, and we feed upon ourselves, and one another, and the world, and all the trash, in comparison to our immortal desires and capacities, which we find around us. Do you interpret aright the immortal thirst of your soul? Now, I daresay there are many of my hearers who are not aware of this thirst of the soul. No I you have crushed it out, and for a time you are quite satisfied with worldly success, or with the various objects on which you have set your hearts. It will not last! So far as the sense of need goes this text may not appeal to you. So far as the reality of the need goes it certainly does. Then, look at the other designation of the persons to whom Christs merciful summons comes: Whosoever will let him take. There is nothing sadder, there is nothing more certain, than that we poor little creatures can assert our will in the presence of the Divine lovingkindness, and can thwart, so far as we are concerned, the counsel of God against ourselves. How often would I have gathered, etc. I do not enter now upon the various reasons or excuses which men offer for this disinclination to accept the Divine mercy, but I do venture to say that unwillingness to be saved upon Christs conditions underlies a vast deal–not all, but a vast deal–of the supposed intellectual difficulties of men in regard to the gospel. The will bribes the understanding in a great many regions. But for the most of you who stand apart from Jesus Christ this is the truth, that your attitude is a merely negative one. It is not that you will not to have Him but that you do not will to have Him. You know the old proverb: One man can take a horse to the water, ten cannot make him drink. We can bring you to the water, or the water to you, but neither Christ nor His servants can put the refreshing, life-giving liquid into your mouth if you lock your lips so tight that a bristle could not go in between them. Wishing is one thing; willing is quite another. Wishing to be delivered from the gnawing restlessness of a hungry heart, and to be satisfied, is one thing; willing to accept the satisfaction which Christ gives on the terms which Christ lays down is, alas! quite another.
II. That brings me, secondly, to say a word about what Christ from heaven thus offers to us all. The water of life is not merely living water, in the sense that it flashes and sparkles and flows; but it is water which communicates life. Life here is to be taken in that deep, pregnant, comprehensive sense in which the Apostle John uses it in all his writings. The first thought that emerges from this water of life, considered as being the sum of all that Christ communicates to humanity is–then, where it does not run or is not received, there is death. Ah, the true death is separation from God, and the true separation from God is not brought about because He is in heaven, and we are upon earth; or because He is infinite and incomprehensible, and we are poor creatures of an hour, but because we depart from Him in heart and mind, and, as another apostle says, are dead in trespasses and sins. Death in life, a living death, is far more dreadful than when the poor body is laid quiet upon the bed, and the spirit has left the pale cheeks. And that death is upon us, unless it has been banished from us by a draught of the water of life. But, then, besides all these thoughts, there come others, on which I need not dwell, that in that great emblem of the water that gives life is included the satisfaction of all desires, meeting and over-answering all expectations, filling up every empty place in the heart, in the hopes, in the whole inward nature of man, and lavishing upon him all the blessings which go to make up true gladness, true nobleness, and dignity. Nor does the eternal life cease when physical death comes. The river–if I might somewhat modify the figure with which I am dealing, and regard the man himself in his Christian experience as the river–flows through a narrow, dark gorge, like one of the canons on American streams, and down to its profoundest depths no sunlight can travel.
III. Lastly, what Christ from heaven calls us to do. He that is athirst let him come; and whosoever will let him take! The two things, coming and taking, as it seems to me, cover substantially the same ground. So let us put away the metaphors of coming and taking and lay hold of the Christ-given interpretation of them, and say the one thing that Christ asks me to do is to trust my poor, sinful self wholly and confidently and constantly and obediently to Him. That is all. Ah! All! And that is just where the pinch comes. My father! my father! remonstrated Naamans servants, when he was in a towering passion because he was told to go wash in the Jordan; if the prophet had bidden thee do some great thing, wouldst thou not have done it? How much rather then when he saith to thee, wash and be clean. I do believe that great multitudes of people would rather, like the Hindoos, stick hooks in the muscles of their backs, and swing at the end of a rope if that would get heaven for them, than simply be content to come in forma pauperis, and owe everything to Christs grace, and nothing to their own works. Let him take. Well, that being translated, too, is but the exercise of lowly trust in Him. Faith is the hand that, being put out, grasps this great gift. You must make the universal blessing your own. Are you athirst? I know you are. Do you know it? Are you willing to take Christs salvation on Christs terms, and to live by faith in Him, communion with, and obedience to Him? If you are, then earth may yield or deny you its waters, but you will not be dependent on them. When all the land is parched and baked, and every surface well run dry, you will have a spring that fails not, and the water that Christ will give you will be in you a fountain of water leaping up into everlasting life. (A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Whosoever will let him take the water of life freely.—
The Bible invitation turns on the human will. It invites every man that chooses, but there it stops. The Bible rests on the assumption that every man, if he enters into life, must enter into it by his own free choice. Jesus Christ comes with invitations, but they are only invitations. He opens the door, but He allows men to come in or stay out, as they choose. He offers help, but He only offers it. If salvation were what a great many people even in our day seem to imagine it to be, God might give it to men whether they wanted it or not. If it were getting into a beautiful city, with domes and palaces and pearly gates and golden streets, God could take the man and put him there and lock the gates and shut him in. If it were getting into a certain outward circumstance, God could put a man there whether he chose or not. Virtue is the free choice of the will. There is, therefore, no way by which God Almighty can make a man virtuous against his will. Is not God omnipotent? What do you mean by omnipotence? Do you mean, Cannot God make a man virtuous whether he wills to be virtuous or not? No! because virtuous is willing to be virtuous. That is virtue. If God could make a man virtuous despite himself, he would not be virtuous when he was made. Virtue is the free choice of righteousness, and the free revolt from that which is unrighteous. God can confer a certain measure of happiness; God can surround a man with certain conditions that will help him to virtue; God can bring influences about him that will take him away from vice; but in the last analysis every man must choose for himself what shall be his life, because life is choice and choice is life. Have you a wish, a purpose to be a nobler, a truer man? Then there is help for you. If not, then there is nothing to do except to wait until you do have such a purpose. Let me take this simple proposition to classify men, measuring them by this one simple standard, First, then, in the moral scale, is the Pharisee. He may be in the Church, he may be outside the Church; for the Pharisee is a man who is contented with himself. He has no moral ideals; he has no dissatisfaction with the past; he has no aspiration for a nobler future; he lives from hand to mouth; he lives from day to day. If he has any question to ask of the Christian, the question is, How will it help me? If I am a Christian man, will God help me in my business? If I am a Christian man, shall I get more honour, more pleasure, more satisfaction out of life? Above this Pharisee is the man who has some dissatisfaction for the past and some aspiration for the future, and does want to be a better man. Perhaps some minister has touched some chord in his heart, and his soul has responded. Perhaps some sudden sin has shaken him out of his self-satisfaction. Perhaps he has broken down just where he thought he was strong, yielded to some sudden temptation, and found he was weak when he did not know that he was weak. In some such way he has come into a dissatisfaction with himself and a desire for something better and nobler. The man who has been in the gutter and is ashamed of the smell of the gutter, the man who has any desire toward a better life or any hate of the life that is past, goes into the kingdom of God before the man who is satisfied with himself. But aspiration is not enough; dreaming is not doing, dreaming is not even wishing. The man has dreamed something better, the man has had some dissatisfaction with his past; and now out of this dissatisfaction and out of this dream there comes a wish. He wishes to be a better man; perhaps he even prays to be a better man; perhaps he even goes to a minister or friend and says, What can I do to be a better man? The life that now is awakened in him is more than an aspiration; it is a definite desire. But desiring is not enough. Whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely. Aye, if he will. If he is dissatisfied with the past, if he is desirous of something better in the future, and so desirous that he chooses it, and chooses it now, the doors are open to him. (L. Abbott, D. D.)
The last invitation in the Bible
I. The greatness of the blessing offered.
II. The simplicity of the terms on which the offer is made. We have but to come and take. We are at a distance naturally, and alienated by wicked works; therefore we must turn and come.
III. The character of those to whom the blessing is offered.
IV. The unanimity of those who offer the blessing. There are four voices; and none of them are discordant, or without significance. Four witnesses to the greatness and freeness of the gospel; four who call us away to the Water of Life. (Alex. Warrack.)
The gospel invitation
I. The blessings offered. These are represented to us under the image of water.
1. Water is an element absolutely necessary, in the present constitution of things, to the preservation and continuance of life.
2. Water is an element productive of purity.
3. Water is an element which refreshes the weary, and invigorates the weak.
II. The persons to whom these blessings are offered.
III. The terms upon which these blessings are offered. Why are they free?
1. One reason is, that they are above all price, and though they had been much less worth than they are, we had nothing to give. We must have them freely or not at all. The best of Gods temporal gifts are free, the air that we breathe is free, the light of heaven is free, the sun descends upon the just and the unjust.
2. But, again, these blessings are offered freely to us, because the price of them has already been paid by another. (James Clason.)
The last message of God to men
I. The spirit saith come, and take the water of life freely. To the Holy Spirit in an especial manner, are to be ascribed, from first to last, the conversion, the regeneration, the sanctification, and the ultimate salvation, of every sinner. But even if you do not belong to the number of those to whom the invitation of the text has been brought home with saving power, yet it is no less certain that the Spirit of God is in many different ways still addressing you with the invitation to come and take of the water of life freely. You cannot deny that, in the course of Divine Providence, you have had the Bible, which the Spirit dictated concerning Christ, put into your hands in a language which you could both read and understand; that you have been familiar, even from your youth up, with the great truths which it proclaims of your own lost condition by nature, and of the method of recovery through a Saviour; and that these truths have been pressed home upon your attention so often and in so many ways as to leave you without excuse, if still careless or unmindful of them. Nay, is it not possible for you to recollect certain seasons in your past history, when Divine things were more peculiarly brought home to your hearts; a season of affliction perhaps, when you were clearly taught the unsatisfactory nature of present enjoyments; a season of personal danger or family bereavement, when the thought of death and eternity overawed your soul; a season of conviction, when such views of your own character as sinners, and such impressions of your own danger as rebels before God, were awakened, as almost forced you to cry out in terror, What must I do to be saved? You must be constrained to admit that every such event was sent by Him for the purposes of your spiritual awakening and conversion. They were so many distinct demands upon you on His part to consider your ways, and to repent and be saved.
II. the bride saith, come, and take the water of life freely. If we view the Church generally, as a community of believers separated from the world around them by the possession of the peculiar faith and privileges and hopes of Christ, or if we view the Church more especially in reference to the office-bearers whom Christ has appointed, and the ordinances He has established in the midst of it; in either case it must be apparent that one of its grand purposes is to hold forth a witness in behalf of the gospel among men, and to make provision for the pressing of its invitations and its claims upon all. The very fact of the continued existence for eighteen hundred years of a visible community of saints, divided from the rest of mankind, and united together by the belief and practice of the gospel, notwithstanding of the enmity and persecution of a hostile world, is the strongest of all historical testimonies to the Divine and saving power of that faith which they profess. Every saint within that Church has been a witness on behalf of the truth to the men of the age and the place where he lived. His faith, his hope, his holy life, his triumphant death, have each been a testimony to others that was neither silent nor unseen. And when we consider the provision that has been made in the ordinance of a stated ministry, and of the administration of the sacraments, for the preservation and furtherance of the gospel in the world, we cannot fail to perceive the force and propriety of the statement of the text, that the Bride, or the Church, joins with the Spirit of God in the invitation to sinners to take of the water of life freely.
III. let him that heareth say, come, and take of the water of life freely. There is no man, of whatever character, that either lives or dies for himself alone (Rom 14:7); he must be the means of spreading either a salutary or a pernicious influence around him. If a man is still under the bondage of sin, and cherishes in his bosom a principle of ungodliness, he will become the centre, so far as his influence extends, whence moral evil is diffused about him. If, on the contrary, he has been himself converted, and regenerated, his life and character will bear testimony to the truths which he has believed; and he must, from the very nature of the thing, become a witness for God and the gospel in the sight of all with whom he associates. And how much more will this be the case, when the Christian sees in the common ruin in which all men are by nature involved, the equal necessity which all have for some method of recovery and salvation; and when he recognises in the gospel, which he himself has believed, a provision made for reaching the case and ministering to the wants of all. Having tasted of the waters of salvation himself, he will be anxious to unseal the living fountain to his fellowmen. And even did he bear no testimony to the Saviour, but that which his faith and holiness and heavenly peace and joy afforded, yet these alone would speak in a language which could not be misunderstood, and would proclaim to all the grace and blessedness of the gospel. It is thus that not only the Church in its collective character, but every individual believer that is gathered within its pale, becomes a missionary of the faith to press its claims and its importance upon the attention and the consciences of his fellowmen; and while the Spirit is striving with the hearts of sinners in secret, and the Bride is openly proclaiming the tidings of salvation to all, the man whose ears have been opened to hear and receive the truth, will find in that fact both the warrant and the will to join in the united invitation to others to come, and take of the waters of life freely.
IV. let him that is athirst come; and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. The expression, whosoever will, is evidently applicable to the case of every human being without exception; and is plainly demonstrative of the freeness with which the gospel invitation is addressed to all, without reference to character, or circumstance, or condition. The expression, he that is athirst, is no less universally applicable to all mankind, inasmuch as it is descriptive of the condition of every human being who is not in possession of happiness up to the full measure of his desires, and who still longs after the experience of a peace and blessedness which may be permanent and satisfying. Every son of man who feels in his heart one unsatisfied desire, one disappointed hope, one bereaved affection, one yearning after happiness which he does not yet enjoy; in short, any human being that knows the existence of human feeling within his bosom, comes under the description of he that is athirst. The two expressions, then, are virtually the same; they embrace essentially the same description of persons; and they prove that the invitation of the text is not confined to any particular class or character of individuals, but is equally and unreservedly addressed to all. Have you never felt the hopelessness of those efforts by which you have sought to work out a justifying righteousness for yourselves, and earn, as it were your own acceptance with God? Then unto you is this salvation offered, freely and without price. (James Bannerman, D. D.)
I. What is a will? It is that faculty of the soul which is governed by the understanding, but which is itself the governor of the actions.
II. What can the will of the natural man perform? Anything consistent with the strength of body and mind which the person may possess; for instance, a man may have a will to walk forty miles in a day, and yet his strength may only be sufficient for half that distance; he may have a will to be a great scholar, and his mind be incapable of containing what he desires to know–it may perform any external act, may cause him to take medicine, but cannot insure health; may make him a good husband, attend to all relative duties, and even external acts of religion, but nothing whatever of a spiritual nature.
III. How do any possess the will mentioned in my text? Not by compulsion–the will cannot be forced, for then it would cease to be a will; but by being changed by the supernatural power and agency of the Holy Ghost, as the terms conversion and regeneration used to mark this change plainly prove. (A. Hewlett, M. A.)
Fuente: Biblical Illustrator Edited by Joseph S. Exell
Verse 17. The Spirit and the bride] All the prophets and all the apostles; the Church of God under the Old Testament, and the Church of Christ under the New.
Say, Come.] Invite men to Jesus, that by him they may be saved and prepared for this kingdom.
Let him that heareth] Let all who are privileged with reading and hearing the word of God, join in the general invitation to sinners.
Him that is athirst] He who feels his need of salvation, and is longing to drink of the living fountain.
And whosoever will] No soul is excluded: Jesus died for every man; every man may be saved; therefore let him who wills, who wishes for salvation, come and take the water of life freely-without money or price!
Fuente: Adam Clarke’s Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible
17. Reply of the spiritualChurch and John to Christ’s words (Rev 22:7;Rev 22:12; Rev 22:16).
the Spiritin thechurches and in the prophets.
the bridenot herecalled “wife,” as that title applies to her only when thefull number constituting the Church shall have been completed. Theinvitation, “Come,” only holds good while the Church isstill but an affianced Bride, and not the actually weddedwife. However, “Come” may rather be the prayer ofthe Spirit in the Church and in believers in reply to Christ’s “Icome quickly,” crying, Even so, “Come” (Rev 22:7;Rev 22:12); Re22:20 confirms this view. The whole question of your salvationhinges on this, that you be able to hear with joy Christ’sannouncement, “I come,” and to reply, “Come”[BENGEL]. Come to fullyglorify Thy Bride.
let him that heareththatis, let him that heareth the Spirit and Bride saying to the LordJesus, “Come,” join the Bride as a true believer, becomepart of her, and so say with her to Jesus, “Come.” On”heareth” means “obeyeth”; for until one hasobeyed the Gospel call, he cannot pray to Jesus “Come”;so “hear” is used, Rev 1:3;Joh 10:16. Let him that hears andobeys Jesus’ voice (Rev 22:16;Rev 1:3) join in praying “Come.”Compare Rev 6:1; Rev 6:10;see on Re 6:1. In the otherview, which makes “Come” an invitation to sinners, thisclause urges those who themselves hear savingly the invitation toaddress the same to others, as did Andrew and Philip after theythemselves had heard and obeyed Jesus’ invitation, “Come.”
let him that is athirstcomeAs the Bride, the Church, prays to Jesus, “Come,”so she urges all whosoever thirst for participation in thefull manifestation of redemption-glory at His coming to us, toCOME in the meantime anddrink of the living waters, which are the earnest of “the waterof life pure as crystal . . . out of the throne of God of the Lamb”(Re 22:1) in the regeneratedheaven and earth.
Andso Syriac.But A, B, Vulgate, and Coptic omit “and.”
whosoever willthat is,is willing and desirous. There is a descending climax; Let him thatheareth effectually and savingly Christ’s voice, prayindividually, as the Bride, the Church, does collectively, “Come,Lord Jesus” (Re 22:20).Let him who, though not yet having actually heard untosalvation, and so not yet able to join in the prayer, “LordJesus, come, “still thirsts for it, come toChrist. Whosoever is even willing, though his desires do notyet amount to positive thirsting, let him take the water oflife freely, that is, gratuitously.
Fuente: Jamieson, Fausset and Brown’s Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
And the Spirit and the bride say, come,…. Hearing Christ say that he should come quickly, Re 22:7 the Spirit and the bride express an earnest wish, and a most affectionate desire after his coming: by “the Spirit” may be meant the Spirit of God in the hearts of his people, who not only convinces them of, and acquaints with the coming of Christ to judgment, and gives them reason to expect it, but fills their souls with the love of his appearance, so that they look and long for it, and hasten in the breathings of their souls after it: and this in like manner he may be said to wish for, and desire it in them, as he is said to cry “Abba”, Father, in them, Ga 4:6 and to make intercession for them, Ro 8:26. Hence, some interpreters, by the spirit, understand such as have the Spirit, and are spiritual men; either have spiritual gifts, the gift of prophecy, as John, who in
Re 22:20 expresses an ardent desire that Christ would come quickly; or regenerate men in common, who are born of the Spirit, and bear his name, Joh 3:5 and so by an hendyadis, “the Spirit and the bride” signify one and the same; namely, the spiritual bride of Christ, who is sanctified by the Spirit of God; even all the elect of God, whom Christ loved from all eternity, and who are espoused to him as a chaste virgin; the new Jerusalem, who is as a bride adorned for her husband, and is the bride, the Lamb’s wife: these wait for the bridegroom’s coming, and most earnestly desire it, as there is good reason for them so to do, since his appearing in itself will be a glorious one, being in his own glory, and his Father’s, and the holy angels; and seeing then will be the solemnization of the marriage day between Christ and his church; it will be the saints’ redemption day; they will then possess full salvation in soul and body; complete grace will be given to them, and glory will be revealed in them, and they shall be for ever with the Lord.
And let him that heareth; what the Spirit and the bride say; or the words of this prophecy; or that has spiritual ears given him, and he hears so as to understand spiritual things, the kingdom of Christ, and the glories of it, let him join the Spirit and bride, and
say, come likewise; or express his wishes and desires in the same earnest and affectionate manner, that Christ would hasten his second coming:
and let him that is athirst come. These seem to be the words of Christ inviting such who thirst after him, his grace and righteousness, after more knowledge of him, and communion with him, to come unto him, by faith, and partake thereof, Joh 7:37 or who thirst after his second coming, and the glories and delights of the new Jerusalem state, to come into it, and eat of the tree of life, and drink of the river of water of life in it; for the character seems to design such, to speak in the language of the Jews, who use like phrases with this, who hunger, , “and thirst to drink living water” m, as appears by what follows:
and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. The water of life designs the free favour and love of God, and the communications and displays of it in the new Jerusalem state, even the comfort, refreshment, and glories of that state: to “take” it is to enjoy it, to partake of it, being led unto it, and that being given to them by Christ the Lamb in the midst of the throne, Re 7:17 and which is had “freely”, without money, and without price, as in Isa 55:1 which seems to be referred to; for the happiness of this state, as well as eternal life, is the free gift of God through Christ; and the persons encouraged to partake of it are “whosoever will”; that is, whoever has a will to divine and spiritual things, wrought in him by God, for no man has such a will of himself, Php 2:13 though this does not so much regard the character of the person that may take of the water of life, as the free manner in which he may take it: so the Jews are wont to express themselves, when they would signify the liberty that might be used, or the free way in which anything might be taken, particularly when speaking of the law, and the things of it,
, “whosoever has a mind to take, let him come and take”, as it is said, Isa 55:1 “ho, everyone that thirsteth”, c. n that is, he is free to take, he is welcome to it which passage referred to, is thus paraphrased by the Targumist, “ho, , “whosoever “will” learn, let him come and learn, &c.
m Raziel, fol. 31. 2. n Abot R. Nathan, c. 4l. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 79. 4. & 82. 4. Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 54. 3. & 100. 2.
Fuente: John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
The Spirit and the bride ( ). The Holy Spirit, speaking through the prophets or the Spirit of prophecy (Rev 2:7; Rev 16:4; Rev 18:24), joins with the bride (21:2), the people of God, in a response to the voice of Jesus just heard. After the picture of heaven in 22:1-5 there is intense longing (19:7) of God’s people for the consummation of the marriage of the Lamb and the Bride. So now “the prophets and the saints” (Swete) make a common plea to the Lord Jesus to “come” (, present middle imperative of , Come on) as he has just said twice that he would do (Rev 22:1; Rev 22:12). The call for Christ is to be repeated by every hearer ( ) as in 1:3.
Let him come (). Change of person and this verb applied not to Christ as just before, but to the one who wishes to greet Christ. The thirsty man is bidden to come himself before it is too late. See 5:6 for , used for spiritual thirst, and in particular John 6:35; John 7:37 for one thirsting for the water of life (Rev 21:6; Rev 22:1). Cf. Isa 55:1.
He that will ( ). Even if not yet eagerly thirsting. This one is welcome also. For this use of see Php 2:13.
Let him take (). Second ingressive aorist active imperative of . In accordance with the free promise in 21:6, “freely” () here as there. This gracious and wide invitation is cheering after the gloomy picture of the doomed and the damned. The warnings against the dragon and the two beasts with all their dreadful consequences are meant to deter men from falling victims to all the devil’s devices then and now. The door of mercy still stands wide open today, for the end has not yet come. The series of panoramas is over, with the consummation pictured as a reality. Now we drop back to the standpoint before we saw the visions through John’s eyes. In verse 17 we hear the voice of the Spirit of God inviting all who hear and see to heed and to come and drink of the water of life freely offered by the Lamb of God.
Fuente: Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament
The Spirit. In the Church.
The Bride. The Church.
Heareth. The voice of the Spirit and the Bride.
Fuente: Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament
1) “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come,” (kai ho pneuma kai he numphe legousin erchou) “And the Spirit and the bride say, come,” Rev 2:7; Come of your own accord, or volition. The Church and bride in unison, in colleague today, say, “Come” because the Holy Spirit came upon, to baptize and empower, and remain with and in her, till the Church and the Gentile age is over, Joh 16:7-14; Joh 14:16; Act 2:1-4.
2) “And let him that heareth say come,” (kai ho akouon eipato erchou) “And the one hearing, let him say, come,” of your own accord, volition, or if you will choose to do it. Every child of God is to hear and share Jesus Christ, the bread of life with others, lost men in all nations, Ecc 11:1-6; Joh 4:34-36; Act 1:8. Every believer is to pass the invitation on.
3) “And let him that is athirst come,” (kai ho dipson erchestho) “And the one thirsting, let him come; The one with a thirsty soul, whose soul thirsts, burns for the water of life, Isa 55:1-2; Joh 4:14; Joh 6:35; wherever he be, in the highways and hedges.
4) “And whosoever will,” (ho thelon) “And the one who wills from his soul,” the one Spiritually desiring, whose spirit is pricked, and conscience has been burdened with a weight of guilt of sin, like the Prodigal in the hog pen or Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus Road, Luk 15:17-21; Act 9:4-6.
5) “Let him take the water of life freely,” (labeto hudor zoes dorean) “Let him take (simply receive) the water of life freely; as given or doled out by the Lord, Isa 55:1-3; Isa 55:6-7; Joh 4:14; Joh 7:37; Rev 7:17; Rev 21:6; Rev 22:1.
Fuente: Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary
Text Rev. 22:17
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And he that heareth let him say, Come. And he that is athirst, let him come: he that will, let him take the water of life freely.
Initial Questions Rev. 22:17
How does the Spirit call men Rev. 22:17?
Who is the Bride Rev. 22:17?
How does the Bride call me Rev. 22:17?
Is the individual Christian responsible to invite those outside of Christ to accept Him as Lord Rev. 22:17?
The great invitation is extendedCome (erchon the command is sounded). The Spirit and the Bride give the invitation by co-witness. Both, the Holy Spirit and the Church of Jesus Christ bear the same testimony. And the one hearing (this is singular and means that every single Christian is to issue the invitation) let him say, Come. The personal responsibility of each Christian to bear testimony to the Lordship of Christ is here asserted. The contemporary Church is snarled up in the clergy system. Congregations hire a minister to do the work that God gave the entire Church to do (see Eph. 4:11-16). (Compare Paul and Johns metaphors for the Church of Christ. See the brilliant work by L. Cerfaux, The Church in The Theology of Paul, Herder and Herder, New York, 1959; Excellent, by Roman Catholic Biblical Theologian). And the thirsting one let him come. The one wishing (wanting to) let him take the water of life freely.
See Rev. 22:20-21.
Fuente: College Press Bible Study Textbook Series
(17) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come . . .The cry of all creation is for its true Lord; the cry of the Spirit in prophecies and in the hearts of Gods people is for the coming Lordthe bride waiting for the bridegroom cries Come. The Apocalypse is the book of the coming One; it ends with the cry that the coming One would come (comp. Rev. 22:20); but let those who thirst for His coming come to Him. We may draw near to Him, who is drawing near to us: let him that thirsteth, come; let him that will take the water of life freely. (Comp. Joh. 7:37.) The power of the whole gospel, says Bengel, concentrates itself in this, that one should be able to respond to this Come, and repeat it from the heart.
Fuente: Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)
17. Come To the promise of the morning star that he will come quickly, a welcoming response is now by the star, Jesus, heard. It sounds like the plaudit of a happy audience to a most welcome speaker, interposed without unwelcomely interrupting his speech. It is the united response of the Spirit in the heart of the bride, (the Church, Rev 21:9,) and of the bride herself to the bridegroom, Come! And every one that heareth that divine promise has privilege to re-echo to him that same Come! The blessed final result will be that, when He, the morning star, has come, every redeemed soul that is athirst, and whosoever will, will be permitted to enter the golden city and stand on the banks of the river, (Rev 22:1,) and take the water of life freely. See our note on Rev 22:20.
Fuente: Whedon’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
The Final Invitation.
‘And the Spirit and the Bride say “Come”. And he who hears let him say “Come”. And he who is thirsty let him come. And whoever will let him take of the water of life freely.’
The book ends with the final call to all to come. None who desire to come will be excluded. The invitation is there and all must either accept it or ignore it. The Spirit Who has spoken all these things invites them to respond to Christ. The Bride who has been so blessed invites them to be part of herself. The reader of and listener to the book, who is moved and stirred to response, will himself immediately issue the invitation to others. The water of life is freely available to all. Let them take it before it becomes unavailable. It is available to those who hear, and to those who are thirsty.
Fuente: Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett
INVITATION TO COME TO CHRIST
Rev 22:17. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
RICH beyond expression are the blessings held forth to us in the word of life: and as free as light are the invitations given us to partake of them. Not only in the epistles to the seven Churches, and in the other parts of this prophetic book, but throughout the whole Scriptures, is every possible encouragement afforded to the sinners of mankind, to repent of sin, and to lay hold upon the hope that is set before them in the Gospel. And here, in the close of the inspired volume, are invitations to us reiterated from every quarter, that we may be prevailed upon to accept of mercy, ere the door of mercy be for ever closed.
Let us consider,
The blessings to which we are invited
They are here designated by the water of life. We will notice them,
[The source from whence this water flows, is no other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. In the very chapter before us, the pure river of the water of life is said to proceed out of the throne of God and of the Lamb [Note: ver. 1.]. As in the wilderness, the water gushing from the rock that had been smitten supplied the necessities of all Israel; so the Lord Jesus Christ, when smitten with the rod of the law, poured forth the waters of salvation for the benefit of the whole world [Note: 1Co 10:4.]. He is the fountain of living waters [Note: Jer 2:13.]; and whosoever cometh to him, may drink and live for ever. In the chapter before our text, the Lord Jesus Christ declared this to the Apostle John: I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely [Note: Rev 21:6.]. In the days of his flesh, he spoke repeatedly to this effect. To the Samaritan woman, of whom he had asked a draught of water, he said, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith unto thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water [Note: Joh 4:10.]. On another occasion, when the people had, according to custom, drawn water from the pool of Siloam, he stood in the place of public concourse, and cried, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink: and out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. This latter expression is then explained by the Evangelist, who adds, This spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive [Note: Joh 7:37-39.]. Now here we have, in a general view, the import of the expression in my text. The Holy Spirit is that water of life which Christ is empowered to bestow: and wherever that blessed Spirit is imparted, there is within the persons own bosom a principle of life, seeking for vent in all suitable expressions of duty to God; or, as our Lord elsewhere expresses it, there is within him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life [Note: Joh 4:14.]; to which the Holy Spirit, in all his tendencies and operations, leads us to aspire.]
[Three blessings in particular I will specify, as granted by our Lord Jesus Christ unto all who come unto him; namely, pardon, and holiness, and glory.
The Lord Jesus will in the first place bestow the pardon of our sins. He is said by the prophet to be the Fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness [Note: Zec 13:1.]: and all who come to wash in that fountain are cleansed from all their sins. In it even sins of a crimson dye are made white as snow [Note: Isa 1:18.]: as it is said, The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin [Note: 1Jn 1:7.].
For the purposes of sanctification also shall this gift be bestowed: for, by the Prophet Ezekiel, he says, I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and to keep my judgments to do them [Note: Eze 36:25-27.].
Eternal glory also will he confer upon them: for, when they have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, he will lead them unto living fountains of waters [Note: Rev 7:14; Rev 7:17.], and will cause them to drink of the rivers of pleasure which are at Gods right hand for evermore [Note: Psa 36:8; Psa 16:11.].]
Let us now turn our attention to,
The invitation itself
Here we cannot but notice the very peculiar urgency and freeness of it
The urgency, to overcome reluctance
[The Spirit says, Come. The Holy Spirit of God has undertaken the office of revealing Christ to men, and of bringing sinners to Christ for the remission of their sins [Note: Joh 16:8; Joh 16:14.]. He descended visibly on the day of Pentecost for these ends; and by the ministry of the Apostles, as also by his operation on the souls of men, wrought powerfully upon multitudes, whom he made willing in the day of his power, and effectually subdued to the obedience of faith. Thus at this time also is he carrying on the work that has been assigned him in the economy of redemption. In the written word, he speaks to us: by the ministry of his servants, he pleads with us: by the convictions which he fastens on our mind and conscience, he strives with us individually; if by any means he may constrain us to accept the blessings offered to us in the Gospel. His voice to us every day and hour is, Come, come to Christ as the Saviour of your soul.
The Bride also says, Come. The Bride is the Church, the Lambs wife, who has experienced in her own person all the blessedness of that salvation which she is so desirous of imparting to all around her. The Church of old addressed her Lord, saying, Draw me, and we will run after thee [Note: Son 1:4.]: that is, Draw me, and I will not come alone: I will surely labour to the utmost of my power to make known to others the wonders of thy love, that they also may be partakers of my felicity, and unite with me in honouring and adoring thee. Thus the Church does in every age. She is the pillar and ground of the truth [Note: 1Ti 3:15.], supporting it firmly in the world, and exhibiting, as by public inscriptions that are visible to all, the glory and excellency of the Gospel salvation. She then unites with the Spirit of God in saying to all around her, Come: Come to Jesus and see what a Saviour he is. See in me what he both can and will do for you also; however far off you may now be, you may draw nigh to him with a full assurance of acceptance with him; and though now aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, you may become fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of God [Note: Eph 2:19.].
Let him also that heareth, say, Come. Those to whom the foregoing invitations are announced, should unite their efforts to make them known, and to induce every creature under heaven to accept them. Think not, brethren, that you have performed your duty when you have heard these invitations from the lips of your minister; no, nor when you have yourselves complied with his advice. You are all to be preachers in your own circles; all to repeat to your friends and relatives, your families and dependents, the glad tidings which you hear of a free and full salvation; and, with one heart and one voice, should join in saying to all around you, Come, come, come. This was the conduct of Andrew and of Philip, when they had found the Saviour [Note: Joh 1:40-41; Joh 1:43; Joh 1:45.]; and this must be the conduct of us all, in our respective spheres.]
The freeness, to counteract despondency
[We are all invited to take of the water of life freely. If we are athirst, we are the very persons whose names, if I may so speak, are especially written on the cards of invitation. Indeed, if our names had been expressly recorded in this passage, we should not have had a thousandth part of the assurance of Gods willingness to accept us that we now have; for there might be other persons of our name: but no mourning penitent in the universe can err in tracing his name in the designation that is here given.
It may be, however, that some may say, I am not sufficiently athirst to be able to appropriate to myself this character. I should be glad indeed to obtain mercy of the Lord; but I do not pant after it as the hart after the water-brooks, and therefore I have not in myself the qualification that is here required. To counteract such desponding fears, the Saviour says, Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely. If you have not all the thirst that you can wish, have you the inclination? have you the desire? Then you are the person invited: and you must not dream of staying till you can bring certain qualifications along with you, but come and take these blessings freely, without money and without price [Note: Isa 55:1.].]
To impress this subject the more deeply on your minds, let me address a few words,
To the reluctant
[Many are the excuses which you urge for your declining the invitation sent you in the Gospel: and to you they appear perhaps sufficient to justify your refusal. But your Lord and Saviour will not be deceived: he sees the radical indisposition of your mind to the blessings which he offers you; and will say of you, as he did in reference to those of old, They shall never taste of my supper [Note: Luk 14:16-24.]. You may be offering a variety of pleas: but he will put the true construction on them all, Ye will not come unto me that ye may have life [Note: Joh 5:40.]. O think, how bitterly you will regret your present conduct, when you shall see unnumbered myriads, who were once as far off from him as you now are, sitting down at the marriage-supper of the Lamb, and you yourselves be cast out into outer darkness! What weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth will you then experience to all eternity [Note: Mat 8:11-12.]! How will those words sound in your ears at the last day, Often would I have gathered thee, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings; but ye would not [Note: Mat 23:37.]! Do but reflect on this one moment,I would; and ye would not. Verily, that reflection will constitute the very summit of your misery in hell. I pray you, hold not out any longer against the urgent invitations which are now sent you; but come unto the Saviour, and accept the rest which he has promised to all that are weary and heavy-laden.]
To the desponding
[What can the Saviour add to convince you of his willingness to accept and bless you? Perhaps you will say, I have tried to come to him, and I cannot: and I have tried so long, that I think it in vain to entertain a hope of final success. Is this the case? Then hear what the Saviour says to you by the Prophet Isaiah: When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them: I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water [Note: Isa 41:17-18.]. Now I cannot conceive a case more desperate than that which is here depicted: The person is in himself poor and needy. (There you will easily recognize your own character. He has sought for water, even for the waters of salvation. (That represents what you also profess to have done.) He has found none. (There is your unhappy lot painted with the utmost precision.) His tongue faileth for thirst; so that he is ready to sink in utter despair. (What can you add to that, to bring it home more fully to your own case?) Yet this is the very person for whom God has reserved his blessings, and to whom he engages to impart them. But I am in such a state, that it is almost impossible to deliver me: you might as well expect a river to be running over the highest mountains, as for the waters of salvation to reach me. Is that the case? says the Saviour: then I will open rivers in high places; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. See here, my brethren, what wonderful condescension there is in your Lord and Saviour, that he will so describe your case, that it should not be possible for you to fail in recognising your own character, or to doubt any longer his ability and willingness to save you. Take then this passage; and rely upon it; and plead it with him; and expect the accomplishment of it to your own soul. Then shall your light rise in obscurity, and your darkness be as the noon-day [Note: Isa 58:10.]. You shall find that the Saviour is not a fountain sealed [Note: Son 4:12.], but a fountain opened [Note: Psa 36:9. Joe 3:18.]; and out of that well of salvation you shall drink water with joy for evermore [Note: Isa 12:3.].]
Fuente: Charles Simeon’s Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
I do not wish to be considered as speaking decidedly upon the subject, but as it strikes me, this is God the Holy Ghost making a response to Christ, and the Church following the same, and the looker on, and him that heareth, catching the sound from the same words, as Jesus had so graciously uttered them; and echoing the invitation. When Jesus saith, Behold I come quickly, the Holy Ghost saith, Even so, COME, Lord Jesus, and the whole Church the Bride, being quickened and regenerated, are longing for his coming. And the hearer of the promise, is included in the same, he longeth for it. Yea, the thirsty, and whosoever will, whomsoever the Lord hath put a thirst for Christ in the heart, and a willingness in the soul to receive Jesus, all join in the fervent cry. The water of life is a river, open, free, full, and everlastingly running. All shall be welcome to take their fill from it, if Christ by his grace, be welcomed in their hearts to fill them.
I cannot allow myself to pass away from this most gracious verse, before that I have called upon the Reader to observe with me, a certain interesting point concerning it, which may not perhaps before have arrested his notice. But it is worthy our closest remark, that in the last public sermon the Lord Jesus ever preached, and which was at the Jewish passover, he closed all he had to say, in words similar to those with which the Holy Ghost hath closed the canon of scripture. I n the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink, Joh 7:37 . And here we find the Holy Ghost sealing up the last of his blessed scriptures, in words to the same effect. So that here is Christ at one time, and the Holy Ghost at another, both engaged in the same thing. So earnest is Christ, when on earth, and when in heaven, as well as the Spirit, that his Church shall hear his voice, and be on the lookout for his coming.
Fuente: Hawker’s Poor Man’s Commentary (Old and New Testaments)
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Ver. 17. And the Spirit and the Bride ] i.e. The Bride sanctified and set to work by the Spirit,Rom 8:26Rom 8:26 .
And let him that heareth say, Come ] Abrupt sentences, full of holy affection; q.d. Let him pray daily, Thy kingdom come.
” Heu pietas ubi prisca! profana o tempera! mundi
Faex! vesper! prope nox! o mora! Christe veni.”
Faex! vesper! prope nox! o mora! Christe veni.”
Mr Burroughs’s last words were, I come, I come, I come! and so he gave up the ghost.
And let him that is athirst, come ] q.d. If you think me long in coming, come to me in mine ordinances; there “I will stay you with apples, comfort you with flagons,” Son 2:5 .
The water of life freely ] See Trapp on “ Rev 21:6 “
Fuente: John Trapp’s Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)
The promise of 12 a is caught up and answered by a deep “come” from the prophets in ecstasy ( personified, cf. Rev 2:7 , etc.) and the Christian congregation. . Hitherto (Rev 21:2 , etc.) this term has been reserved for the church triumphant in the world to come. Now, with the memory of these oracles fresh in his mind, the prophet applies it to the church on earth, as Paul had already done. . . ., a liturgical note, like Mar 13:14 ( cf. Weinel, 84, 85). . . ., addressed to strangers who sometimes attended the Christian worship ( cf. 1Co 14:23-24 ). For this fine turn of expression (the double use of come ), cf. Did. x. 6, “may grace come and may this world pass away. Hosanna to the God of David! If anyone is holy let him come [ i.e. , to the Lord’s table]; if anyone is not, let him repent. Mr na th ” ( cf. below, Rev 22:20 ). The less likely alternative is to take here as addressed not to Jesus but to the outside world.
Fuente: The Expositors Greek Testament by Robertson
CHRIST’S LAST INVITATION FROM THE THRONE
The last verses of this last book of Scripture are like the final movement of some great concerto, in which we hear all the instruments of the orchestra swelling the flood of triumph. In them many voices are audible alternately. Sometimes it is the Seer who speaks, sometimes an angel, sometimes a deeper voice from the Throne, that of Christ Himself. It is often difficult, therefore, amidst these swift transitions, to tell who is the speaker; but one thing is clear that, just before the verse from which my text is taken, our Lord has been proclaiming from the Throne His royalty and His swift coming ‘to render to every man according’ to his work, and to gather His own into the city.
After that solemn utterance He is silent for the moment, and there is a great hush. Then a voice is heard saying, ‘Come! ‘It is the voice of the Bride in whom the Spirit speaks. What should she say, in answer to His promise, but pour out her wish for its fulfilment? How should the Bride not long for the bridegroom? Then apparently the Seer breaks in, summoning all who have heard Christ’s promise, and the Church’s prayer, to swell her cry of longing. For, indeed. His coming is the Divine ‘event to which the whole Creation moves’; and in it all the world’s dreams of a golden age are fulfilled, and all the world’s wounds are healed. ‘Let him that heareth say. Come!’
But who speaks my text? Apparently Christ Himself, though its force would not be materially modified if it were the voice of John, the Seer. It is His answer to the cry of the Church. He delays His coming; for this among other reasons that all the world may hear His gracious invitation. Then there are two comings in this verse – the final coming of Christ to the world; the invited coming of the world to Christ.
Now, it is obvious, I think, that such a way of understanding our text, with its vivid interchange of speakers and subjects, gives a far richer meaning to it than the interpretation which is so common amongst us, which recognizes in all these ‘Comes’ only a reference to one and the same subject, the approach of men to Jesus Christ through faith in Him.
Let us, then, listen to this Voice from the Throne, almost the last recorded words of the ascended Jesus, in which are gathered all His love for men and His longing to bless them.
I. Now, first let me suggest the question – To whom Christ from the Throne thus calls?
The persons addressed are designated by two descriptions: they that are ‘athirst,’ and those that ‘will.’ In one aspect of the former designation it is universal; in another aspect it is by no means so. The latter designation is, alas! anything but universal, because there are many men that thirst; and, strange as it seems, will not to be satisfied. But we take these two apart, and look at them separately.
The first qualification is need, and the sense of need. These two things, alas! do not go together. One is universal, the other by no means so. When a man is thirsty he knows that he is. But it is quite possible that your soul’s lips may be cracking and black with thirst, and you may be all unconscious of it. There is a universal need stamped upon men, by the very make of their spirits, which declares that they must have something or someone external to themselves, on whom they can rest, and from whom they can be satisfied. The heart yearns for another’s love; the mind is restless till it grasps reality and truth. The will longs to be mastered, even though it rebels against the Master, and the whole nature of man proclaims, ‘My soul thirsteth for God; for the living God.’ No man is at rest unless he is living in conscious amity with, and in possession of, the Father’s heart and the Father’s strength.
But, brethren, half of you do not know what ails you. You recognize the gnawing discontent, the urging restlessness, the continual feeling after something more than you have, and it often impels you on the wrong road. There is such a thing as misinterpreting the cry of the Spirit, and that misinterpretation is the crime and the misery of millions of men and of many in this building this evening. That they shall stifle their true need under a pile of worldly things, that they shall direct their longings to what can never satisfy them, that they shall put away all thoughts of the one sufficient anchorage, and hold, and nourishment, and refreshment, and gladness of the spirit, is indeed the state and the misery of many of us.
Perverted tastes are by no means confined to certain forms of disease of the body. There is the same perversion of taste in regard of higher things. You and I are made to feed upon God, and we feed upon ourselves, and one another, and the world, and all the trash, in comparison to our immortal desires and capacities, which we find around us. It seems to me sometimes, looking upon the busy life in the midst of which we live, and the way in which, from Monday morning to Saturday night, each man is hurrying after his chosen pursuits, as if we were all stricken with insanity, and chasing after dreams; or as if, if I might take such an illustration, we were like the actors upon a stage, at some banquet in a play, pretending with great gusto to be drinking nothing, out of cups tinseled to look like gold, but which are only wood. Do you interpret aright the immortal thirst of your soul? Having the need, brother, are you conscious of the need; and, if conscious, do you know where the fountain bubbles up that will supply it? I fear- I fear that there are many who, if they would interrogate their own hearts honestly, and look this question in the face, would have to answer. No! It is ‘as when a thirsty man drearaeth, and behold! he drinketh; but he awaketh; and, behold! he is faint, and his soul within him hath appetite.’
Now, I dare say there are many who are not aware of this thirst of the soul. No! you have crushed it out, and for a time you are quite satisfied with worldly success, or with the various objects on which you have set your hearts. It will not last! It will not last! It is not likely to last even the length of your life. It will not last any longer. Some of us may be like the cactus that grows in hot, light soil in eastern lands, having a considerable store of moisture in the fleshy spike that will help it through a long time of drought, but the store gets used up. Be sure of this, that, until you go to Jesus Christ, you dwell in ‘a dry and thirsty land where no water is.’ So far as the sense of need goes this text may not appeal to you. So far as the reality of the need goes it certainly does.
Then, look at the other designation of the persons to whom Christ’s merciful summons comes: ‘Whosoever will let him take.’ Now, I said that the former designation, in one view of it, covered the whole ground of humanity. We cannot say that of this other one, for we are brought face to face with that strange and most inexplicable and yet most certain and tragic of all facts in regard to men, that they do turn away their wills from the merciful call of God, and that some of them, gnawing their very tongues with thirst, yet put away with impatient hand the sparkling cup that He offers to them freely. There is nothing sadder, there is nothing more certain, than that we poor little creatures can assert our will in the presence of the Divine lovingkindness, and can thwart, so far as we are concerned, the council of God against ourselves, ‘How often would I have gathered,’ said the foiled, long-suffering Christ – ‘how often would I have gathered . . . and ye would not!’ Oh! brethren, it is an awful thing to think that with this universal need there is such a partial yielding of the will to Him.
I do not enter here and now upon the various reasons or excuses which men offer to themselves and one another for this disinclination to accept the Divine mercy, but I do venture to say that the solid core of unwillingness to be saved upon Christ’s conditions underlies a vast deal- not all, but a vast deal – of the supposed intellectual difficulties of men in regard to the Gospel. The will bribes the understanding, in a great many regions. It is a very common thing all round the horizon of thought and knowledge that a man shall believe or disbelieve largely under the influence of prejudice or inclination. So let no man be offended if I say that what we have to guard against, in all regions of thought, we have also to guard against in our relation to the truths of the Gospel, and make very sure that, when we think we are being borne along by pure, impartial reason, the will has not put a bridle in the nose of the steed, and is guiding it astray.
But for the most of you who stand apart from Jesus Christ this is the truth, that your attitude is a merely negative one. It is not that you will not to have Him but that you do not will to have Him. But that negative attitude, that passive indifference which largely comes from a heart that does not like to submit to the conditions that Christ imposes, makes a positive hindrance to your getting between your lips the water of life. You know the old proverb: One man can take a horse to the water, ten cannot make him drink. We can bring you to the water, or the water to you, but neither Christ nor His servants can put the refreshing, life-giving liquid into your mouth if you lock your lips so tight that a bristle could not go in between them. You can thwart Christ, and when He says, ‘Take, drink!’ you can shake your head and mumble, ‘I will not.’ So, dear friends, I beseech you to take this solemnly into consideration, that the operative cause why most of us who are not Christians are not, is simply disinclination. Wishing is one thing; willing is quite another. “Wishing to be delivered from the gnawing restlessness of a hungry heart, and to be satisfied, is one thing; willing to accept the satisfaction which Christ gives on the terms which Christ lays down is, alas! quite another.
Seeing that to know our need and to be willing to let Him supply it in His own fashion are the only qualifications, then how magnificently from this last word of the Christ from the Throne comes out the universality of His Gospel. ‘Whosoever will,’ that is all. If you choose you may. No other conditions are laid down. If there had been any which were beyond the power of every soul of man upon earth, then Christianity would have dwindled to a narrow, provincial, sectional thing. But, since it only demands the need, which is universal; the sense of need, which every man may feel; and willingness, which every man ought to, and can, exercise, it is the Gospel for the world, and it is the Gospel for me, and it is the Gospel for each of you. See that ye refuse not the offered draught.
II. That brings me, secondly, to say a word about what Christ from heaven thus offers to us all.
This book of Revelation, as I have already remarked, in another connection, is the close of the great Revelation of God; and it is full of the echoes of His earlier words. The river of the water of life has been rippling and tinkling from the first chapter of Genesis to the last of Revelation. It is the river that flowed through Eden; the river which makes glad with its streams the City of God, the river of the Divine pleasures, of which God makes His children drink; the river which the prophet saw stealing out from under the Temple doors, and carrying life whithersoever it came; the river which Christ proclaimed should flow from because it had flowed into, all that should believe upon Him, ‘the river of the water of life, clear as crystal,’ which the Seer had just seen proceeding from the Throne of God and of the Lamb. Our Lord’s words to the Samaritan woman, and His words on that last great day of the feast, when He stood and cried, ‘If any man thirst let him come to Me and drink,’ and many another gracious utterance, are all gathered up, as it were, in this last Voice from the Throne.
The water of life is not merely living water, in the sense that it flashes and sparkles and flows; but it is water which communicates life. ‘Life’ here is to be taken in that deep, pregnant, comprehensive sense in which the Apostle John uses it in all his writings. It is his shorthand symbol for the whole aggregate of the blessings which come to men through Jesus Christ, and which, received by men, make them blessed indeed.
The first thought that emerges from this ‘water of life,’ considered as being the sum of all that Christ communicates to humanity is – then, where it does not run or is not received, there is death. Ah, brother, the true death is separation from God, and the true separation from God is not brought about because He is in heaven, and we are upon earth; or because He is infinite and incomprehensible, and we are poor creatures of an hour, but because we depart from Him in heart and mind, and, as another Apostle says, are dead in trespasses and sins. Death in life, a living death, is far more dreadful than when the poor body is laid quiet upon the bed, and the spirit has left the pale cheeks. And that death is upon us, unless it has been banished from us by a draught of the water of life. Dear brethren, that is not pulpit rhetoric; it is the deepest fact about human nature. It is not a mere metaphor. I take it that the death of the body is metaphor, so to speak, the embodiment in material form, as a parable of the far grimmer thing which goes on in the region of the spirit. And I beseech you to remember that according to the whole teaching of Scripture, which I think is countersigned by the verdict of an awakened conscience, death is the separation from God by sin; and the only quickening potion is the water which Christ gives; or rather, as He Himself said, ‘He that drinketh of My blood hath life indeed.’
But, then, besides all these thoughts, there come others, on which I need not dwell, that in that great emblem of the water that gives life is included the satisfaction of all desires, meeting and over-answering all expectations, filling up every empty place in the heart, in the hopes, in the whole inward nature of man, and lavishing upon him all the blessings which go to make up true gladness, true nobleness, and dignity. Nor does the eternal life cease when physical death comes. The river – if I might modify the figure with which I am dealing, and regard the man himself in his Christian experience as the river – flows through a narrow, dark gorge, like one of the canons on American streams, and down to its profoundest depths no sunlight can travel. But the waters are not diminished though they are confined, nor are they arrested by the black rocks, but at the other end of the defile they come out into flashing sunset and sparkle and flow. And away somewhere in the dark gorge mighty tributaries have poured in, so that the stream is broader and deeper, and pours a more majestic volume towards the great ocean from which it originally came.
Brother, here is the offer – life eternal, deliverance from the death of sin both as guilt and power; the pouring out upon us of all the blessing that our thirsty spirits can desire, and the perpetuity of that blessed existence and endless satisfaction through the infinite ages of timeless being. These are the offers that Christ makes to each of us.
III. Lastly, what Christ from heaven calls us to do.
‘He that is athirst let him come; and whosoever will let him take!’ The two things, coming and taking, as it seems to me, cover substantially the same ground. You often hear earnest, evangelical preachers reiterate that call – ‘Come to Jesus! come to Jesus!’ with more fervor than clearness of explanation of what they mean. So, I would say, in one sentence emphatically, and as plainly as I can put it, that Jesus Christ Himself has told us what He means. Because when He was here upon earth He stood and cried, ‘If any man thirst let him come to Me and drink.’ And He explained Himself when He said, ‘He that cometh unto Me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.’ So let us put away the metaphors of ‘coming’ and ‘taking’ and lay hold of the Christ-given interpretation of them, and say the one thing that Christ asks me to do is to trust my poor, sinful self wholly and confidently and constantly and obediently to Him. That is all.
Ah! All! And that is just where the pinch comes. ‘My father! my father!’ remonstrated Naaman’s servants, when he was in a towering passion because he was told to go wash in the Jordan; ‘if the prophet had bidden thee do some great thing, wouldst thou not have done it? How much rather then when he saith to thee, Wash and be clean?’ Naaman’s strange reluctance to do a little thing in order to produce a great effect whilst he was willing to take a mint of trouble in order to produce it, is repeated over and over again amongst us. You will see men buy damnation dear who will not have salvation because it is a gift and they have nothing to do. I do believe that great multitudes of people would rather, like the Hindoos, stick hooks in the muscles of their backs, and swing at the end of a rope if that would get heaven for them, than simply be content to come in forma pauperis , and owe everything to Christ’s grace, and nothing to their own works.
Why! what is the meaning of all this new vitality of sacerdotal notions amongst us to-day, and of the efficacy of sacraments, and all the rest of it, except the pur-blindness to the flashing glory of the central truth of the Gospel that not by anything that we do, but simply by His Cross and passion received by faith into our hearts, are we saved? Brethren, it is not theology about Christ’s sacrifice, but it is the Christ whom the theology about His sacrifice explains that you must get hold of. And if you trust Him you have come to Him in a very real sense, and have His presence with you, and you are present with Him far more really than were the men who companied with Him all the time that He went in and out amongst them here on this earth. So much for the ‘come.’
‘Let him take.’ Well, that being translated, too, is but the exercise of lowly trust in Him. Faith is the hand that, being put out, grasps this great gift. You must make the universal blessing your own. The river flows past your door, broader and deeper and more majestic than the ‘father of waters’ itself. But all that is naught to you unless you take your own little pitcher to the brink and fill it, and take it home. ‘He loved me, and gave Himself for me.’ Do you say that? Dear brother! are you athirst? I know you are. Do you know it? Are you willing to take Christ’s salvation on Christ’s terms, and to live by faith in Him, communion with, and obedience to Him? If you are, then earth may yield or deny you its waters, but you will not be dependent on them. When all the land is parched and baked, and every surface well run dry, you will have a spring that fails not, and the water that Christ ‘will give you will be in you a fountain of water leaping up into everlasting life.’ Nor will your supplies fail when death cuts off all that flow from earthly cisterns, for they who here drink of the river will hereafter go up to the Source, and ‘they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, for the Lamb that is in the midst of the Throne shall feed them, and shall lead them to living fountains of water, and God the Lord shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.’
Fuente: Expositions Of Holy Scripture by Alexander MacLaren
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Rev 22:17
17The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.
Rev 22:17 “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come'” Although there are different interpretations of this passage it seems from the context that this must be a gospel invitation to everyone who senses a need and will respond to God’s offer in Christ. This has continued to be the focus of the book of the Revelation, not only to encourage the saved but to convict and encourage the lost to respond to God’s free offer in His Son. The four-fold use of “come” (all four refer to the lost and not to Christ’s second coming); the recurrent use of “the one who”; and the tremendous good news that it is without cost (cf. Isaiah 55) should be an encouragement to everyone and anyone to respond! This seems to me to be a flashback to those who were living in John’s day (and every day). This may explain the unusual elements (the presence of the lost after Judgment Day) in Revelation 19-22. There are several flashbacks to John’s own day, which may be explained by parallelism among the seven literary units of Revelation. He wrote with his “beloved children” in Ephesus in mind (cf. I, II, and 3 John).
SPECIAL TOPIC: THE TRINITY
Fuente: You Can Understand the Bible: Study Guide Commentary Series by Bob Utley
This verse illustrates the Figure of speech Polysyndeton. App-6.
bride. Greek. numphe. See Rev 21:9.
And. The texts omit.
whosoever will. Literally the one willing
freely. See Rev 21:6.
Fuente: Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics
Rev 22:17. , saying) It may refer also to , by a Hebraism, because is of the feminine gender.
Fuente: Gnomon of the New Testament
4. AN INVITATION AND A WARNING
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.–The invitation is to come to Christ, and is based upon his right to our devotion and service. This right rests upon his character as Creator and the legal Ruler in the “tabernacle of David.” The Holy Spirit entreats us to come by the teachings of the apostles and prophets. These contain the motives of mercy and rewards, as found in this book and other parts of the sacred record. The church, which is the wife (Rev 21:9), invites by preaching the word and proper Christian living. Those that hear (heed) are authorized to say, Come. Those who desire and are willing may take the water of life freely–that is, can have an abundant “entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2Pe 1:11.) With such invitations no earnest and honest soul need be lost.
18 If any man shall add unto them, God shall add unto him the plagues which are written in this book.–This is probably the language of John himself. He warns of the disasters that will come upon those who tamper with the divine record of this book. The same principle applies to all God’s laws at whatever time they are in force. (Deu 4:2; Gal 1:6-9.) John, however, is here speaking of Revelation; the expression this book is sufficient proof. Being a prophetic book with the fulfillment of its symbols yet future when John wrote, there would be more temptations to change its words to fit supposed fulfillments. The desire to add other predictions would need to be curbed.
The opposite danger–leaving out what might seem to conflict with views already taken–would also be strong. Those rejecting any part of the book would lose their inheritance in the heavenly city. This will condemn not only actual mutilation of the book, but also its perversion through teaching to support a false theory. No book should be studied with more caution or care.
Commentary on Rev 22:17-19 by Foy E. Wallace
II. THE INVITATIONAL AND BENEDICTORY CONCLUSION
Rev 22:17 : And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
As heretofore mentioned, these concluding admonitory words were the sayings of John himself, not of Jesus, in which he sounded the note of an unlimited invitation, but not an unconditional one. This seventeenth verse of the last chapter of Revelation has had a first place in gospel preaching for centuries. It has been proclaimed the high note of redemption and has been compared to ringing the bells of heaven. It was the call to all men to come to the river and the tree of life within the wonderful city of verse fourteen. The city was the New Jerusalem, which has been specifically and repeatedly designated the Lambs Bride–the church of Christ.
The Spirit which joined in this invitation was the One Spirit before the apocalyptic throne, from which the seven spirits of the vision had proceeded. Joined with the Spirit in this great invitation was the Bride, bidding all to come within her walls. And the Seer himself exhorted any one who heareth–who had heard the Spirit and the Bride say, Come–to ring the bell and join the refrain by saying, Come. And all who would thereafter hear this book of Revelation read in the churches (Rev 1:3) should join the glad chorus and say, Come. All who were athirst, without the water of salvation, were entreated to come, to the river which flowed the thirst–quenching water of life, to drink of which one would never thirst again. (Joh 4:14) And to make this gospel call all inclusive John said: whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Salvation full and free was offered to all, but within the sphere of salvation– the church. And it was made conditional by in saying whosoever will, and in the accompanying word take. These words expressed conditions. They required that the will of man shall yield to the will of God in the doing of the commandments of Rev 22:14. The phrase let himcome implies that the gospel is persuasive, not coercive. No one can shoot the gospel into a sinner nor machine-gun Christianity into a heathen–but he that will, whosoever or wheresoever he may be, can come without hindrance or restraint.
Rev 22:18-19 : If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
These verses were prefaced by the statement of John for I testify unto every man. The preposition for connects this verse with the preceding Rev 22:17. It conveys the meaning: in view of which, or in consideration of which, or with reference to which–that is, the universal invitation brought forth a universal admonition, a caution and a warning: the fateful consequences of adding to or taking from the Word of God. Though the restriction in itself was limited to these things and this book, the other portions of the Word of God in the other epistles are not less important than the book of Revelation, and the injunction therefore applies with equal appeal and penalty to all of the inspired scriptures. It means that any alteration of them in any degree is criminal in the sight of God.
The same injunction was included in the Mosaic law (Deu 4:2); and the principle was embodied in the apostolic epistles (1Co 4:6 ; 2Jn 1:9-11). The effect in its application of all scripture would be the same (2Ti 3:16-17) and the consequences therefore the same. An instance of the evil results of presumptuous men changing the truth was put into the record in the cases of Hymenaeus, Alexander and Philetus (1Ti 1:19-20 — 2Ti 2:17-18); and the direful end of such presumption is damnation. (Rom 1:22-25;-2Th 2:8-12)
The consequences of such interpolation and deduction were the anathemas of the plagues and forfeiture of all portion in the book of life, the holy city, or the promised rewards. The names of all who would thus divert and pervert divine revelation would be erased from the registry of the citizens of the city of God.
Commentary on Rev 22:17-19 by Walter Scott
This revelation, not of glory, but of Himself, the Bridegroom of the bride, at once stirs up her slumbering affections. Her heart is roused. Jesus has kindled a fire in her soul which cannot be put out. She hears Him say I am the Bright and Morning Star. It is the voice of her Beloved, and at once the appeal is answered, The Spirit and the bride say, Come, that is, to Him. The first two clauses of Rev 22:17 are the answer to the last clause of Rev 22:16. We have not the response of the Spirit only, but that of the bride jointly with the Spirit. It is not the Spirit in the bride, but both who unite in the cry to Him, Come. Then each individual hearer is invited to join in the glad welcome, Come. This is the day when the midnight cry has gone forth, Behold the Bridegroom, (Authorities omit the word cometh from Mat 25:6.) the day of grace, of Gods long-suffering mercy. So now the call goes out to every thirsty soul. Is anyone wearied, disappointed? Here is a word which covers all need. Let him that is athirst come. Again we meet with a word which is sufficiently comprehensive to embrace every willing soul on earth, for none is forgotten, He that will, let him take (the) water of life freely.
A SOLEMN WARNING.
Rev 22:18-19 – I testify to every one who hears the words of the prophecy of this book. If any one shall add to these things, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book. And if any one take from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book. Wherever the words of this prophecy are read or heard this deeply solemn warning applies. It is stern denunciation by the Lord. He testifies of the awful sin, of the ruinous consequences to every soul who adds to or takes from this verbally inspired book. To tamper with the words of the prophecy of the book is to bring oneself under the divine lash. The plagues of the book, which are many and varied, are added in righteous retribution to those who add to its words. Those who take from the words of the prophecy shall have their part taken from the tree of life, and from the holy city. It is thus that God guards the book which above all others in the sacred canon is treated with neglect and by many with contempt. (Yet the writer has transcribers of his book especially in view, and wishes to prevent them from making any arbitrary alterations, as was then often done, especially in writings of the same prophetic kind; so Grotius, Vitringa, etc. – Bleeks Lectures an the Apocalypse, p. 355.)
Commentary on Rev 22:17-19 by E.M Zerr
Rev 22:17. The subject running through this verse is along the line of invitations. It has been stated more than once that as to the relative place of the items in the over-all vision of this book, the time of the judgment has been reached. From that standpoint there would be no reason to give anyone an invitation to come for salvation–that opportunity has passed. Yet in reality, aside from the symbolized feature of the book, the basic purpose of the book of Revelation is to give the world a final document from Heaven as an incentive for preparing to meet the day of all days, the second coming of Christ and the judgment of the world. Otherwise there would be no point in inviting men to come and drink of the water of life. Nor would there be any call for the warning sounded in the two verses following this. Hence we shall consider the important phrases of this combined invitation. The bride is the (espoused) church (2Co 11:2) and the Spirit is in the church (Eph 2:22). The church of Christ has a standing invitation to people of the world, wishing them to accept the salvation offered so freely. In truth, it is the only organization that has any right to make such an offer (Eph 3:21 and 1Ti 3:15). But others as individuals have the right to repeat the invitation, hence the verse says for those who hear to repeat the call. That makes it the duty of every individual to be active in the salvation of souls. Let him that is athirst come. This is in line with the statement of Jesus in Mat 5:6 that they who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled. That is logical, for unless a man is thirsty he will not be interested in the opportunity to drink. Whosoever will signifies the same as the preceding comment, that unless a man is willing it would do him no good to go through the formality of obeying the Gospel. Let it be observed also that the blessing is to those who come. Man must come to the fountain for it will not be moved towards him for his convenience. The water of life is the same that Jesus made known to the woman of Samaria (Joh 4:10-14). This water is the word of God and it will be in man “a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” It is offered freely which means abundantly and without the price such as silver and gold.
Rev 22:18. It is asked if the phrase this book refers to the book of Revelation or to the whole Bible. Its direct application is to this book for it is the one that John was engaged to write. But the principle applies to the entire word of God, for 1Pe 4:11 commands “any man” who speaks to do so as the oracles of God. That would not be done were he to make any change in the Sacred Text, either by adding to it or by taking from it. To add unto these things would not be done only by literally writing some uninspired words to the document; no person is apt to do that. But when a man assumes the privilege of practicing things not authorized in the book,he thereby adds to it in principle. The plagues were symbolized and were repeated in various forms. The idea is that such a man will be plagued as severely as those described.
Rev 22:19. There is nothing put in the book of God that is not necessary, therefore it is sinful to take any of it out. That would be done by rejecting any of its requirement. (See Heb 2:2.) Take away his part. No man actually has possession of any part of the things in the holy city, but God has prepared a part for each person who will prepare himself for it by faithfulness to the word.
Commentary on Rev 22:17-19 by Burton Coffman
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And he that heareth, let him say, Come. And he that is athirst, let him come: he that will, let him take the water of life freely.
The Spirit and the bride say, Come … “The Spirit is the Holy Spirit, and the bride is the church (Rev 21:2; Rev 21:9). It is the testimony of the church empowered by the Holy Spirit.” Note that there are four invitations in this verse, yet there is only one. “It is not as though the Spirit says, Come; and then also the bride says, Come; but the Spirit moves in her, and she is moved by him.”
Come … This is what people have to do if they wish to be saved. This verb implies that unless men shall “come,” they shall continue to be lost. This means that God in Christ has already done everything that even God can do to save people, and that the next move is up to them. This also inherently teaches that it is possible for people to do this. No enabling act on God’s part is necessary; it is the human will that must respond to this call.
And he that heareth, let him say, Come … Roberts tells us that, “There is evidence from early sources (Didache 10:6-7), that this was a liturgical prayer used in the ritual of the Lord’s supper.” This is no doubt correct; and it is most important in determining the meaning of “come” in this passage and elsewhere in the New Testament. The word maranatha, transliterated from the Aramaic was commonly used in such rituals, and it may be written either marana tha, or as maran atha (The old manuscripts did not divide between words.). Note the discussion of these two ways of dividing this word in 1Co 16:2, and see the discussion in my Commentary on 1Corinthians, pp. 284,285. Remember that there is just as much authority for rendering “Come, Lord Jesus” as “The Lord has come,” as there is for understanding it as a petition for him to come. In fact, there is a double meaning in it. It means, “Come Lord, and be with us in the communion, as thou hast promised”; but it also means, “Lord, come in the Second Advent.” The Supper itself was observed with reference to that future event as well as a reference to the crucifixion. What better way could there have been to preserve this mystical implication than by using one word that gathered up multiple meanings in itself, maranatha? The late great Christian scholar, J. W. Roberts, left us this priceless comment:
At the table (of the Lord’s Supper) they saw his presence with the eye of faith and took it as a pledge of his ultimate manifestation at the parousia … (John) knows that the church will join in saying of Christ, Come.
The double meaning here extends even further than this, for the saying of “Come” by the Spirit and by the church also refers to the invitation for men to accept the gospel, as already pointed out.
The key word in this passage should be rendered maranatha, as a single word with two meanings. It is a tragedy that the usual scholarly bias to the effect that all of the first century Christians believed the Second Advent to be scheduled for their immediate future has caused them to edit out of the word one of its legitimate meanings by writing it marana tha. We defy anyone to deny that there is just as much authority for writing it maran atha. To divide the word at all is to impose an interpretation upon it. The true meaning is that, “The Christians prayed for the Lord to come in whatever manner of visitation he should choose.”
And let him that heareth say, Come … This is directed not to the Lord but to sinners to accept the gospel. “The personal responsibility of each Christian to bear testimony to the lordship of Christ is here asserted.” We also agree with Strauss that many Christians are not living up to this trust, because, “The contemporary church is snarled up in the clergy system.”
It will be noted here that we construe the first two “Comes” as directed to Christ, and the latter two as directed to sinners. Beasley-Murray also concurred: “It is more likely that John intends us to view the call in the first two sentences as directed to the Lord.” H. B. Swete also took this view.
 Robert H. Mounce, op. cit., p. 395.
 R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 670.
 J. W. Roberts, op. cit., p. 201.
 F. F. Bruce, Answers to Questions (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1973), p. 100.
 J. W. Roberts, op. cit., p. 201.
 Ibid., p. 202.
 James D. Strauss, op. cit., p. 293.
 G. R. Beasley-Murray, op. cit., p. 344.
 H. B. Swete, as quoted by William Barclay, op. cit., p. 229.
I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto them, God shall add unto him the plagues which are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book.
The sacred prohibition against either adding to or taking from the word of God may not be restricted to the book of Revelation. We have already noted that John was conscious of this book’s being the last of the sacred canon (see under 5:11); and it should be observed here that John tailored his words to include both his prophecy and the canon. “Prophecy of this book” (Rev 22:18), means the book of Revelation; “book of this prophecy” (Rev 22:19) means the entire Bible. There is the additional fact that the prohibition against adding to or taking from, is here identical with the warning in the Old Testament to the same effect (Deu 4:2; Deu 12:32). John was not conscious merely of writing Scripture, but of writing the final Scripture.
The solemn prohibitions here are not directed solely against copyists, but against all perverters of sacred truth. We view these two verses as the words of Jesus.” Swete says, “The speaker is surely Jesus.” Why should John have appended this here when he did not do so in the case of his gospel? This action here, signaling the end of the New Testament, was not taken by John, but by Jesus.
The prophecy of this book … “The Apocalypse is a book of prophecy; four times it is called that in Revelation (Rev 1:3; Rev 22:10; Rev 22:18-19 and here).”
If any man shall add unto them … “Those who allow this book to form a basis of unbridled fancy, or a ground of bitter dispute and controversy cannot be excused from serious blame and fault.” Certainly the importing of whole systems of theological speculations must be seen as forbidden. Wesley understood the prohibitions “as applicable to the whole New Testament.” “God’s word is neither a human discovery, nor a human invention.” We should recognize such truth in all our studies of the word of God.
If any man shall take away from the words …
Inasmuch as this portion of the word of God is rooted in, interwoven with, and is the completion of, all the word of God, it becomes impossible to tamper with this final book without maltreating what had been given by God before.
“These words are a solemn protest against the spirit which handles rashly or deceitfully God’s word.” Any violation of God’s word, whether by adding to it, or taking from it, or by making one’s wishes the parent of his interpretation, is strictly prohibited. The tendency of people to violate the word of God evidently underlies the efforts of some to make these verses not the words of the apostle, but of “some later scribe, anxious that none should alter the book in the days to come.” Alford noted that, “This is an awful warning to those who add to it by irreverent and trifling interpretations.”
It is the humble prayer of this student of the Scriptures that none of the interpretations presented either add to or subtract from what is written. Any view, or any interpretation that violates what the text says should be rejected.
 Isbon T. Beckwith, op. cit., p. 779.
 H. B. Swete, op. cit., p. 311.
 W. A. Criswell, Expository Sermons on Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1962). IV. p. 166.
 Charles R. Erdman, The Revelation of John (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1966), p. 180.
 John Wesley, op. cit., in loco.
 George Eldon Ladd. op. cit., p. 296.
 G. H. Lang, The Revelation of Jesus Christ (London: Portsmouth Press, 1945), p. 385.
 W. Boyd Carpenter, Ellicott’s Bible Commentary, Vol. VIII (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing Company, 1959), p. 636.
 William Barclay, op. cit., p. 232.
 Alford as quoted by Lenski, op. cit., p. 673
Commentary on Rev 22:17-19 by Manly Luscombe
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come! And let him who hears say, Come! And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. The door to the city is always open. The invitation to come to Christ is not closed here on earth. Jesus stands at the door of our heart and knocks, waiting for us to open. (Rev 3:20) Jesus invites all to accept the invitation for salvation. (Mat 11:28-30). Are you thirsty? Jesus offers the water of life. Are you hungry? Jesus is the bread of life. Are you facing death? Jesus offers the Tree of Life. Are you weary? Jesus offers spiritual rest.
18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. NOTE: This warning is specific to the book of Revelation. However, similar statements are made elsewhere in the Scriptures. They are inspired of God. We, finite humans, do not have the knowledge or power to alter, revise, add to, take from, or substitute anything written here. (Deu 4:2; Deu 12:32; Pro 30:6). With the warning comes a promise. If you add to the things written here, God will add the plagues that are recorded in this book.
Fuente: Old and New Testaments Restoration Commentary
Come to the savior
‘And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely’
There is a vast difference between being religious and knowing the living God as he is revealed in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We must never presume that people are saved, born again, and truly know the Lord Jesus Christ simply because they attend church, participate in Bible studies, or even engage in a personal study of Holy Scripture. With that fact in mind, I want to persuade any reading these lines who have not yet come to Christ in faith to do so. I know of no better way to do so than to instruct you in the great and glorious truths of the gospel. As you read these lines, pray that God the Holy Spirit will grant you life and faith in Christ. It is he who through the revelation of the gospel bids us come to the Savior. Yet, the most aged, well-taught, and deeply experienced of Gods saints will find the contents of this study comforting, edifying, and delightful, as they are applied to his heart by the Holy Spirit.
1. God has planned, purposed, and predestinated the salvation of a great multitude of sinners
He will save some. That is certain (Rom 8:29-30). He saves them by grace alone, without condition or qualification. If God has purposed to save some, perhaps I am one, perhaps you are one. It may be that he has kept you alive these many years so that he may be gracious to you at this moment.
2. The Lord Jesus Christ has fully met and satisfied every requirement of God for the salvation of his elect
There is nothing for us to do. Jesus Christ has done it all. All who are saved are saved upon the basis of and by the merits of Christs obedience to God as the sinners Substitute (Rom 5:19). He has finished the work of righteousness (Joh 17:4). He has finished the work of redemption (Joh 19:30). That is to say, he has both obeyed and satisfied all the demands of Gods holy law as the Surety and Representative of Gods elect.
3. God the Holy Spirit will effectually regenerate and call every chosen, redeemed sinner to life and faith in Christ (Psa 65:4; Joh 6:63)
Christ will save his sheep. Not one of Gods elect will perish. The Son of God shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied. Christs blood was not shed in vain. Gods purpose will not be overturned. The grace of God cannot be frustrated.
4. Every sinner who comes to Christ in faith is saved. ‘He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life’ (Joh 3:36)
Faith in Christ is the evidence of eternal election, effectual redemption, and saving grace (Heb 11:1). If you trust Christ, you have life. It really is as simple as that. :Your faith is the fruit and result of Gods predestination, Christs redemption, and the Spirits call.
5. Every sinner who hears (or reads) the gospel is called, invited, and urged to come to Christ and live (Rev 22:17)
You are invited, you are called, you are urged to come to Christ. The blessings held forth to you in the Word of life are rich beyond expression. The invitations given to you in the gospel are as free as sunshine. Throughout the Scriptures every encouragement is given to sinners to ‘lay hold upon the hope that is set before you’ in the gospel. Everything in the Book of God is designed of God to encourage sinners to come to Christ and live. There is not a word in the Bible to discourage any sinner from trusting Christ. And here, at the close of the Inspired Volume, invitations are heaped upon invitations from every quarter, urging you to enter the door of mercy before it is closed. ‘And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.’
If you come to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith you shall have eternal life. If you come to Christ, you have already passed from death unto life, and shall never, under any circumstances, come into condemnation (Joh 5:24). We do not believe on Christ to get born again. We believe on Christ because we have been born again. Faith is not our contribution to the work of grace. Our faith is the fruit of grace already bestowed (Gal 5:22; Eph 2:8; Php 1:29; Col 2:12).
Here is a gospel invitation
‘And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.’ I know that sinners are commanded to trust Christ. And I know that it is the responsibility of every sinner to do so. Yet, the Lord Jesus, by his Spirit, in the gospel, also gently woos and invites needy sinners to come to him, and tenderly urges them to do so (Mat 11:28-30; Mat 23:37). The spirit of this passage is not so much that of an authoritative command as it is that of a tender, loving, urgent invitation. It is an invitation from three sources.
1. The Spirit says, ‘Come’
It is the office work of God the Holy Spirit to reveal Christ to men and effectually bring sinners to him in repentance and faith, causing them to look to him and be saved (Zec 12:10; Joh 16:7-13). Whenever the Word comes in power, it comes in the power, not of men, but of the Holy Spirit, who alone can conquer the hearts of men and bring them effectually to Christ (1Th 1:4-5). Only God the Holy Spirit can give life to the dead, faith to the faithless, and grace to the graceless. The success of the gospel is not determined by the ability and ingenuity of preachers, but by the power of God the Holy Spirit. By the ministry of his servants preaching the gospel of Christ the Holy Spirit pleads with and beseeches sinners to come to Christ (2Co 5:18-21). By the voices of men the Spirit of God urges sinners to come to Christ. Yet, sincere as these gospel invitations are, they will be unheeded by you unless the Spirit of God graciously arrests you, compels you, and forces you to come. It takes more than an invitation to get sinners to trust Christ. It takes a mighty operation of grace (Col 2:12). Man has neither the ability nor the will to come to Christ (Joh 6:44; Joh 5:40). Only God the Holy Spirit can make you willing and give you the ability to come to Christ (Psa 110:3).
2. The bride says, ‘Come’
The bride is the church, the Lambs wife. Because she has experienced the blessedness of salvation, she is anxious for all around her to know its delight. Those who have experienced grace are anxious to see others experience grace. In the Song of Solomon, the church cried, ‘Draw me, and we will run after thee’ (Rev 1:4), as if to say, ‘Draw me and I will not be content to come alone. I will do everything in my power to bring others with me.’ This is the work of the church in every age. She is the pillar and ground of the truth. She supports the truth, proclaims the truth, publishes the truth, and seeks to bring men and women into the knowledge of the truth. The church of God unites with the Spirit of God, and says, ‘Come.’ ‘Come to the Savior. See what a wonderful Savior he is. See in us what Christ can do for you. You are far off; but Christ can bring you nigh. You are strangers, foreigners, and aliens from the commonwealth of Israel; but Christ can make you heirs of God. You are dead; but Christ can give you life. You are lost; but Christ can save you. You are sinful; but Christ can made you holy.’ ‘Come, and see!’
3. ‘And let him that heareth say, Come’
All who have heard and believe the gospel are to be actively engaged in the furtherance of the gospel. Let us use every means at our disposal and every opportunity given to induce sinners to come to Christ. Each one is to be a preacher in his own circle (Joh 1:35-49).
This gracious invitation is both free and universal
It is an unconditional offer of grace to all who will but come to Christ. All who are thirsty are welcome to come. The invitation is to you, ‘And let him that is athirst come.’ Every mourning, broken, heavy hearted sinner in the universe is bidden to come. Perhaps you think, ‘I am not thirsty enough. I would come, but I do not really pant and thirst for Christ as I should, as the hart panteth after the waterbrooks. If I had greater thirst, then I could come to Christ.’ If that is the case, answer this question: Are you willing to come to Christ? If you are willing to come, you are welcome to come. The invitation reads, ‘And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.’ Are you inclined to come to Christ? Do you desire to come to Christ? Will you come to Christ? If you will come, you can come and may come. That is the rub – Will you come to Christ. Will you be saved by grace alone? Will you be saved by the righteousness of another? Will you be saved by the blood of Jesus? If you are willing to come, the invitation is free and unconditional. ‘Let him take,’ by personal faith, ‘the water of life,’ Christ Jesus, ‘Freely,’ without cost, condition, or cause.
This invitation is easily obeyed
This is what must be done: ‘Come.’ This coming is not a physical act involving the body. It is a spiritual act of the heart and mind. Right where you sit, without moving a muscle, come to Jesus Christ now. To come to Christ is to trust him. Come like the leper – in submission (Mat 8:1). Come like the woman with an issue of blood – in desperation (Mat 9:20-21). Come like Bartemaeus – in earnest (Mar 10:46-52). Come like the Gadarene – naked and vile (Mar 5:1-15). Come like the publican – a sinner needing mercy (Luk 18:13). Come like the thief – to be remembered (Luk 23:42). Come like the adulterous woman – with all your accusers (Joh 8:1-12). But come to the Savior!
Obedience to this gospel invitation is richly rewarded
If you do come to Christ, you shall be saved. Come to Christ anyway you can, anyway you will, believing on him, trusting him alone to save you. He promises, ‘Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out’ (Joh 6:37). Come to Christ in faith and eternal life is yours. The blessings of grace in Christ are called the ‘Water of Life.’ The source from which this water of life flows is the Lord Jesus Christ himself (Rev 22:1). As the waters gushed out of the smitten Rock in the wilderness to supply life to Israel, so our Lord Jesus Christ, smitten by the rod of Gods law and justice, pours out the waters of salvation upon perishing sinners (1Co 10:4). Christ is the Fountain of Living Waters, who gives life and grace to thirsty sinners (Rev 21:6; Joh 4:10-14; Joh 7:37-38). Pardon (Zec 13:1; Isa 1:18; 1Jn 1:7), holiness (Eze 36:25-27), and everlasting life are found in this Fountain of Living Waters (Psa 36:8-9). The Lord Jesus Christ, is a fountain opened to sinners. He is not a sealed fountain, but an opened Fountain. He is not a secret fountain, hidden in the mists of religious confusion, but an opened Fountain. This fountain was opened in the covenant, opened at the cross, and is opened by the faithful exposition of the gospel. None who drink of this Fountain shall be disappointed (Joh 7:37-39; Joh 4:14). May God give you grace to come to the Fountain and drink. ‘And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.’
Fuente: Discovering Christ In Selected Books of the Bible
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And he that heareth, let him say, Come. And he that is athirst, let him come: he that will, let him take the water of life freely.Rev 22:17.
The last verses of this book of Scripture are like the final movement of some great concerto, in which we hear all the instruments of the orchestra swelling the flood of triumph. In them many voices are audible alternately. Sometimes it is the Seer who speaks, sometimes an angel, sometimes a deeper voice from the Throne, that of Christ Himself. It is often difficult, therefore, amidst these swift transitions, to tell who is the speaker; but this much is clear, that, just before the verse from which the text is taken, our Lord has been proclaiming from the Throne His royalty and His swift coming to render to every man according to his work, and to gather His own into the heavenly city. After that solemn utterance He is silent for a moment, and there is a great hush. Then our Lords declaration is met by a response from the Spirit and the Church. The Spirit and the Bride reply, Come. The call is also to be taken up by every hearer. Each one is to say, Come. Then, in answer to the cry of the spirit, of the Church, and of the Faithful, begging Him to come, our Lord speaks again, this time to all the yearning and weary souls among mankind: He that is athirst, let him come: he that will [that desires to have Jesus], let him take the water of life freely.
Thus there are two comings in this versethe final coming of Christ to the world, and the invited coming of the world to Christ. Such a way of understanding the text, with its vivid interchange of speakers and subjects, gives a far richer meaning to it than the common interpretation which recognizes in all these Comes only a reference to one and the same subjectthe approach of men to Jesus Christ through faith in Him.
The Book of the Revelation goes out on a kind of fugue on the word Come. The Spirit and the Bride say, Come; the Spirit, searching the deep things of man and interpreting the unwritten yearnings of the race, saith, Come; the Bride, the Church of Christ, weary yet willing to wait, willing to wait yet weary, saith, Come. And he that heareth and understandeth all that is meant by the coming, saith, Come. And all together, the Spirit, the Church, and the men who have heard, unite to plead with the man who has not found the water of life, and with tender urgency bid him Come, and take freely, in order that having drunk from the well of salvation he may add his voice to their prayer. And the answer falls: Behold, I come quickly. Blessed are they who, after reading the words of the book of this prophecy, can say, Even so, come, Lord Jesus.1 [Note: C. A. Scott, The Book of the Revelation, 336.]
We have in the text
I. An Invitation to Christ to come, presented by
(1) The Spirit.
(2) The Bride.
(3) The Hearer.
II. An Invitation to come to Christ, addressed to
(1) The Thirsty.
(2) The Willing.
The Invitation to Christ
The invitation is given (1) by the Spirit, (2) by the Bride, and (3) by the Hearer. The Spirit and the Bride are not identical, as if the Spirit simply spoke through the Bride, that is, the Church. And yet the writer of the Apocalypse does not mean that the Spirit, as the third person in the Trinity, gives the invitation directly to the second Person to hasten His coming. By the spirit, St. John means those who are especially endowed with the spirit of wisdom and of utterance. There was in the Early Church a distinct order or school of prophets to whom the word of the Lord came, as it came to the prophets of the old dispensation. But it did not come from without. The word was in their heart. It was the Spirit within them; it was the Spirit of God expressing itself by them. People, says Dr. W. M. Macgregor, had the wisdom and the courage in those days to believe that in their lowly gatherings the voice of God was sometimes heard. When plain men spoke above themselves, in words all depth and fire and essential insight, speaking so as to catch their fellows up to God, it was reverently confessed that the Spirit of God was speaking; and on the lips of these men, who for the moment had the inspired utterance, the recurring word was, Come, Lord Jesus. Then the Bride, the whole Church of Christ, joined in the invitation. And last of all the hearer, every hearer of this book; not only the Church in her ideal unity, but each individual member of every Christian congregation where the book shall be read is invited to demand the fulfilment of the Lords promise, Behold, I come quickly.
1. The Spirit says, Come.It is true that the spirit of this world and age does not speak thus. The more it strives after ease and comfort in this life, the further it is from wishing to have the present state of things ended by the coming of the Lord. But the Spirit of God and of Christ, which is meant herethe true spiritual life-throb of the children of God; the power of faith and salvation, of hope and patience, by which they fight their way victoriously through this worldthis Spirit cries at all times, come, Lord Jesus; come to our aid in every difficulty; come and advance Thy Kingdom; even by the very obstacles raised by Thine enemies come, and by Thine advent make an end to all sorrow and suffering! This Spirit, emanating as it does from eternity, implants in our hearts a holy longing after this eternity, and is itself the innermost strength of this holy longing, of this love for the Lord and His appearing. It is this same Spirit that creates a deep yearning for freedom from all the bonds of sin and death, and for entire unity with the Lord; that creates the burning desire to see the Church of Christ healed of all schisms and corruption, and the honour of the glory of the Lord made manifest before the whole world, and incontestably established for all eternity. Thus does the Spirit continually incite to the prayer, Come, Lord Jesus!
In what respect the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, differ from the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, which are Gods forever, is seldom, as far as I have heard, intelligibly explained from the pulpit; and still less the irreconcilable hostility between the two royalties and realms asserted in its sternness of decision. Whether it be, indeed, Utopian to believe that the kingdom we are taught to pray for may comeverily comefor the asking, it is surely not for man to judge; but it is at least at his choice to resolve that he will no longer render obedience, nor ascribe glory and power, to the Devil. If he cannot find strength in himself to advance towards Heaven, he may at least say to the power of Hell, Get thee behind me; and staying himself on the testimony of Him who saith, Surely I come quickly, ratify his happy prayer with the faithful Amen, even so, come, Lord Jesus.1 [Note: Ruskin, The Lords Prayer and the Church (Works, xxxiv. 212).]
Lo as some venturer, from his stars receiving
Promise and presage of sublime emprise,
Wears evermore the seal of his believing
Deep in the dark of solitary eyes,
Yea to the end, in palace or in prison,
Fashions his fancies of the realm to be,
Fallen from the height or from the deeps arisen,
Ringed with the rocks and sundered of the sea;
So even I, and with a pang more thrilling,
So even I, and with a hope more sweet,
Yearn for the sign, O Christ! of Thy fulfilling,
Faint for the flaming of Thine advent feet.2 [Note: F. W. H. Myers, Saint Paul.]
2. The Bride says, Come.This is not indeed the heart cry of the whole visible Church; for in so far as she allows herself to be rocked to sleep by the spirit of this world, she becomes, with all her hopes and wishes, so completely a citizen of this world that she wishes the day of the Lord may long be delayed, until she herself has enjoyed life. Therefore she does not say, or at least does not say from her heart, Come, Lord Jesus. But the Bride who has given herself wholly to the Lord, who keeps the covenant of faith which she has made with Him, and as His betrothed keeps herself unspotted from the world, who knows full well that the good things of this world are fair but poor and perishable, who knows that by the appearing of her Beloved a time of unclouded, endless joy and glory will dawn for her, she it is who says and prays with earnest longing, Come, Lord Jesus.
The Bride is represented here on earth. The Bride is represented there in glory:
One family we dwell in Him,
One Church above, beneath;
Though now divided by the stream,
The narrow stream of death.
But whether it is here on earth or yonder in glory, still the Bride speaks one language. Wherever you meet with a soul in whom there is the spirit of the Bride, and who belongs in Gods eternal foreknowledge to that elect company, you will find one whose life is a continuous invitation; for, wherever the Bride is, she still seems to say, Come.1 [Note: W. H. M. H. Aitken, Gods Everlasting Yea, 242.]
3. And let him that heareth say, Come; that is, let him that heareth with the hearing of faith; let him who has made his own the glorious prospect opened up in the visions of this Book as to the Lords Second Coming add his individual cry to the cry of the universal Church. The call is to be taken up and repeated by every hearer of the Book; not only the Church in her ideal unity, but each individual member of every Christian congregation where the Book shall be read, is invited to demand the fulfilment of the Lords promise. The power of the whole gospel, says Bengel, concentrates itself in this, that one should be able to respond to this Come, and repeat it from the heart.
I do not know of a better evangelist than a fresh convert. When the love of God is first shed abroad in our hearts, and we receive the fulness of His first blessing, it is so natural that we should go and tell other people of what the Lord has done for us. About three weeks after a mission had been held in the north of England, the mission preacher paid another visit to the neighbourhood, and asked those who had received benefit to meet him in the school-room of the church. One of the very first to come forward was a little boy. He came forward like a man, and held out his little hand and grasped the mission preacher by his. His eyes were sparkling with joy. Well, my dear boy, how are you getting on? Have you been doing the part of a mission preacher? Yes, said the boy; and now, sir, we are all of one mind in our house, mother and brothers and sisters, all except father, and we are bound to have him too.1 [Note: W. H. M. H. Aitken, Gods Everlasting Yea, 245.]
All day the caravan had toiled over the hot sand without water. They had thought to find it twenty-four hours before; but when they reached the place where they expected it, the spring was dry. There had been only a few drops of water left in their skin bags then. Now there was none; and the little girl of the company lay sick in her mothers arms, moaning for water.
Water! Water! Water! was her constant cry. Her father could not bear it. He stopped the caravan, and said, We must find water, or the child will die. We will make a bed for her on the sand and leave her here with her mother, and we will go out and search far and wide until we have found water.
Oh, how earnestly the boy Hafiz hunted! Every minute his dear little sisters moans seemed to sound in his ears. He clambered over jagged rocks. He searched over barren wastes, and at last he found a spring that gushed up cool and clear behind a pile of concealing stones. He shouted to the rest and waved his arms, calling to them over the desert, Come! Come! Here is water!
With all possible speed they hastened to the blessed spring. Each one shouted to his neighbour, who passed the word on. Come! Come! Come! Come! The sound seemed to fill the desert. How they ran to the spot, bringing water skins, gourds, cooking vessels, everything that would hold water!
The little girl took a long, long draught and her moaning ceased. The perspiration came out in drops on her forehead. The flush went out of her face. She turned over and fell into a quiet sleep.
I believe the water saved her life, said the mother to Hafiz.2 [Note: From The Childrens Friend, Richmond, U.S.A.]
The Invitation to the Sinner
Here we have a remarkable change. We pass at once, and quite abruptly, from an invitation to Christ to hasten His coming to an invitation addressed to those who are thirsty, and those who are willing, to come to Christ. It is as if the writer had intended to ask the thirsty one, and every one that had any good will at all, to join in the welcome to the coming Christ, and then suddenly remembered that that could not be until they knew Christ. So he turns his sentence into an invitation to them to come to Christ, that they may taste and see how gracious the Lord is. Then will they be ready to welcome His coming.
Man was forbidden to come near to the tree after he had sinned in the Garden of Eden. There was a flaming sword to keep him from coming near that tree, but now here there are not only trees of life, but there is also a river of life, and this river of life has its source in the throne of glory, and as it flows along, the word of the Lord is this: Is any man thirsty? Let him take of the water of life freely. Oh, that grand word let! If God says, Let him, who then is going to deny it?1 [Note: A. G. Brown, Gods Full-Orbed Gospel, 79.]
i. The Invitation to the Thirsty
There is no animal craving so fierce or so intolerable as the craving of thirst. This may be due to the fact that the deprivation of liquid is a condition with which all the tissues sympathize. Every atom of the body joins in the cry, and the expression is concentrated in the parched mouth and the dry and feverish lips. This great craving of thirst is used in this book to symbolize the craving of the soul, and these plenteous waters are used to shadow forth the abundance of the satisfaction which is found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We must go to the far East and the far South to understand the images which were called up in the mind of an old Jew at the very name of wells and water-springs; and why the Scriptures speak of them as special gifts of God, life-giving and Divine. We must have seen the treeless waste, the blazing sun, the sickening glare, the choking dust, the parched rocks, the distant mountains quivering as in the vapour of a furnace; we must have felt the lassitude of heat, the torment of thirst, ere we can welcome, as did those old Easterns, the well dug long ago by pious hands, whither the maidens come with their jars at eventide, when the stone is rolled away, to water the thirsty flocks; or the living fountain, under the shadow of a great rock in a weary land, with its grove of trees, where all the birds for many a mile flock in, and shake the copses with their song; its lawn of green, on which the long-dazzled eye rests with refreshment and delight; its brook, wandering awayperhaps to be lost soon in burning sand, but giving, as far as it flows, Life; a Water of Life to plant, to animal, and to Man 1:1 [Note: C. Kingsley, The Water of Life, 1.]
1. Will anything allay this thirst?
(1) Not sin. The wonderful thing is that we can ever persuade ourselves that it can. The devil can mix the most insidious potions and can make them sparkle like the water of life, but when we drink them it is as though a man consumes salt water to appease his thirst. Animal gratification can never quench a spiritual craving. It is the most pathetic of all tragedies when a man or woman flees to drink to quieten the soul. It shall be as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite.
Against the deceitfulness of sin he warned his friends in such terms as these: Sin says, Im not sin at all. Then Sin says, Im pleasant. Yes, pleasant poison. Then Sin says, Ah! do you call that sin? Well, it is but a little sin. Alas! alas! for us men there can be no little sin, unless there be a little God against whom to commit it. Then Sin says, It is a common sin; good people do that. A good man has crooked legs; are crooked legs therefore no evil? He has stiff joints; are stiff joints therefore no evil? Ah! men dont argue that way about the natural evil, but they do about the spiritual evil, because they love sin, and will take any excuse for it, and never readier than when they find it in a good man. Then Sin says, If you sin theres Christ to go to. 2 [Note: A. Moody Stuart, Recollections of the late John Duncan, 109.]
(2) Not work. I will join any man, says Jowett, in singing a pan of blessedness on work; but if hard work will lead to spiritual contentment, the great majority of my congregation will be in the enjoyment of spiritual rest. And yet after the hardest days work, often in the midst of it, there is a sigh, a weariness, a state of staleness, a certain out-of-jointness, which is abundant proof that the old craving is still there like a smoking volcano, and that its inner fires are not yet quenched. Thank God for work, but work can never take the place of God.
The opponents of legislation on the question of limiting the hours of labour induced the Lord Mayor to call a general meeting of London shopkeepers, expecting to carry a resolution against any such measure as he had proposed. Sir John attended and asked for a hearing. Having explained how matters stood, he moved an amendment in favour of his [Shop Hours Regulation] Bill and quoted, as illustrating the hard lives of shop assistants, and especially of women, the Norfolk epitaph:
Here lies a poor woman, who always was tired,
For she lived in a world where too much was required.
Weep not for me, friends, she said, for Im going
Where therell neither be cooking nor washing nor sewing.
I go where the loud Hallelujahs are ringing,
But I shall not take any part in the singing.
Then weep not for me, friends, if death do us sever,
For Im going to do nothing for ever and ever.
This quotation, he observes, carried the meeting and the amendment. Variant readings of this epitaph are extant, but the gist of it is the same in all.1 [Note: H. G. Hutchinson, Life of Sir John Lubbock, Lord Avebury (1914), i. 223.]
(3) Not money. The most awful weariness in the world today will be found where money abounds. The fact of the matter is, spiritual satisfaction is to be obtained at a counter where money is not accepted as a means of exchange. Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
We have seen what money can do. Every moment we feel its power. But the things it cannot do! You can get out of it all lifes bottom things, but you can get none of lifes top things. It can feed all the flesh appetites. It will supply you with luxury, with ease. It can buy bows, and reverences, and salutations in the market-place. It is a purveyor to all the devilriesto avarice, to covetousness, to selfishness, to envy, to hatred, to lust, to murder. Not, certainly, that it always produces these things. But it can produce them; it is the soil where they grow; where they have grown in every age and every country of the world. But from all the gold bags in the Bank of England you could not distil one drop of mother love. You can extract from them nothing of the worlds highest thought or best feeling. You cannot write a spiritual book on money; no, nor a spiritual chapter. We are trying here, but are failing egregiously. The real soul of humanity gets no rise from this source. Under its power the heart chills; it never expands. Ask whence has come the great literature, the noble music, the fine heroisms? They do not hail from Mammon. Gold is a separator, never a uniter.1 [Note: J. Brierley, The Secret of Living, 41.]
(4) Not culture. Satisfaction cannot be found even in the higher and finer cultures of the mindin music and art and literature. These ministries can soothe, they can excite, they can gratify, but they cannot satisfy; and when the volume is closed, when the harmonious strains have died away, when the creations of art have been laid aside, the secret yearning asserts itself, and the unsatisfied soul cries out, I thirst!
Man, individually, cannot be satisfied with the material, the intellectual, the sthetic. There is still a part of his nature which rises above these, and demands more. It shows itself in his religions, his philosophies, and in the inordinate graspings of lower natures after the material. This is one answer to the Goethe view of mans chief endpresent enjoyment, wisely moderated, and long drawn out. It never has satisfied, and cannot; it is the resource of moral defect or of despair. It is the positivism of Comte gilded, which sometimes affects a high Stoicism and worship of humanity,as if that could be in the mass which is not in the man,sometimes falls back by a natural reaction to Epicureanism, and sometimes hovers round the scepticism depicted by the Preacher.2 [Note: John Ker, Thoughts for Heart and Life, 215.]
2. If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. The Lord Jesus claims to satisfy the soul; yes, to satisfy the soul as a babe is satisfied to find its mothers breast. The water that I shall give shall be in him a well. The Lord creates a new well of peace and fruitful satisfaction. For, look you, solid satisfaction. lies in the possession of a certain quality of spirit. What is that spirit? What sort of gif t would send this congregation away in radiant triumph? If God were now to give me the choice as to what every member of this congregation should receive before we leave the building, what would I choose? I think I would choose three things. First of all, pardon: forgiveness for all our ill doings and all our wasted treasure. Secondly, purity: the washing away of all stains, the searching out of hidden germs and defilement. And thirdly, peace: the sense of the glorious at-one-ness with the glorious God. And if we obtained those three gifts we should all go away with feet like hinds feet. And these are just the gifts to be found in Christ. Let him come unto me and drink. We should find pardon; in whom we have the forgiveness of sins. We should find purity; He hath washed us from our sins in his own blood. We should find peace; My peace I give unto you. He is the fountain of these secrets of blessedness. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.1 [Note: J. H. Jowett.]
The words Water of Life have a spiritual and mystic meaning. The Eastand indeed the West likewisewas haunted by dreams of a Water of Life, a Fount of Perpetual Youth, a Cup of Immortality. How could that in man which ought not to die be kept alive? how strengthened and refreshed into perpetual youth? And waterwith its life-giving and refreshing powers, often with medicinal properties seemingly miraculouswhat better symbol could be found for that which would keep off death? Perhaps there was some reality which answered the symbol, some actual Cup of Immortality, some actual Fount of Youth. But who could attain to them? Surely the gods hid their own special treasure from the grasp of man. Surely that Water of Life was to be sought for far away, amid trackless mountain-peaks, guarded by dragons and demons. For the old legends and dreams, in whatsoever they differed, agreed at least in this, that the Water of Life was far away; infinitely difficult to reach; the prize only of some extraordinary favourite of fortune, or of some being of superhuman energy and endurance. The gods grudged life to mortals, as they grudged them joy and all good things. That God should say Come; that the Water of Life could be a gift, a grace, a boon of free generosity and perfect condescension, never entered into their minds. That the God of gods, the Maker of the universe, should say, Come, and drink freely ; that He should stoop from heaven to bring life and immortality to lightto tell men what the Water of Life was, and where it was, and how to attain it; much more, that that God should stoop to become incarnate, and suffer and die on the cross, that He might purchase the Water of Life, not for a favoured few, but for all mankind; that He should offer it to all, without condition, stint, or drawback;this, this, never entered into their wildest dreams.2 [Note: C. Kingsley, The Water of Life, 6.]
ii. The Invitation to the Willing
1. Behind the thirsty there is yet this other class who are invited to comethose who are willing. Willingness to receive the truth may exist where as yet there is no thirst for it, and such willingness is of God, and a first step towards eternal life.
However little chance we may seem to have of doing anything, we can at least determine to be something; not to let our life be filled, like some base vessel, with the offscourings and rinsings of other spirits, but to remember that the water of life is given freely to all who come. That is the worst of our dull view of the great Gospel of Christ. We thinkI do not say this profanely but seriouslyof that water of life as a series of propositions like the Athanasian Creed!
Christ meant something very different by the water of life. He meant that the soul that was athirst could receive a draught of a spring of cool refreshment and living joy. He did not mean a set of doctrines; doctrines are to life what parchments and title-deeds are to an estate with woods and waters, fields and gardens, houses and cottages, and live people moving to and fro. It is of no use to possess the title-deed if one does not visit ones estate. Doctrines are an attempt to State, in bare and precise language, ideas and thoughts dear and fresh to the heart. It is in qualities, hopes and affections that we live; and if our eyes are opened, we can see, as my friend dreamed he saw, the surface of the hard rock full of moving points, and shimmering with threads of swift life, when the sun has fallen from the height, and the wind comes cool across the moor from the open gates of the evening.1 [Note: A. C. Benson, Joyous Gard, 134.]
2. This seems to include everyone. But it does not. It excludes a great many persons. Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. The Bible invitation turns on the human will. It invites every man that chooses, but there it stops. The Bible rests on the assumption that every man, if he enters into life, must enter into it by his own free choice.
God pays His child no finer compliment than when He trusts him with his destiny. There must be something inexpressibly great in man to merit this surpassing confidence. True, God was held by the alternative of making a race of automatons or a race endowed with choice; and He made the latter. It was counted that such a creature was worth all the cost of pain and woe, of evil and despair; worth the cost of Calvary. But God leaves us not alone: a highway of truth is blazed by revelation, sweet voices counsel us to walk thereon, an inner Spirit offers holy motive, and a Saviour takes the thrust of an avenging sword. Above, below, around, within us tender help is proffered; but no power may touch with lightest hand the sceptre of the soul. There in the throne-room man is master. A thousand ministries from heaven wait his nod; a thousand demons from the pit attend his will.1 [Note: C. G. Doney, The Throne-Room of the Soul, 11.]
If you ask me why the King is upon the throne, I reply in the words he insists should be on all his coins, Dei Gratiaby the grace of God. But, on the other hand, if you ask me why yonder criminal is in the cell, I dare not reply, By the will of God; but I say, Because he has done wrong; and I insist that he is morally responsible, else you must not shut him up as a criminal. You may confine him as a lunatic, as one who is dangerous to society; but do not punish him as a criminal for what he had no power to avoid. No, these two things are quite compatiblethe Divine sovereignty and the free agency of man; and herein consists the glory of God. He performs His purposes not by mere machines, but by living moral agents, who have this power of will. We all acknowledge that the power of the statesman, who moulds the will of the people, is of a higher order than the power of a blacksmith, who moulds a dead, resistless piece of iron to his purpose. So God carries out His own will, though liable to be crossed at every turn by the will of Man 1:2 [Note: E. A. Stuart, Children of God, 162.]
With the call to come, give us the will to come, most Bountiful Lord Jesus. Thou who turnedst water into wine; who saidst, Give me to drink; who criest, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink; who saidst, With desire I have desired; who declarest, My blood is drink indeed; who saidst in extremity, I thirst; suffer us not to make ourselves as Dives, but join us to Thyself and quench our thirst.3 [Note: Christina G. Rossetti, The Face of the Deep, 542.]
A visitor to Dr. Horatius Bonars church (about 1876) says: His address was founded on the words The Spirit and the bride say, Comethe last invitation in the Bible. It was marked by the absence of all attempt at originality. It was simply an invitationwarm, loving, urgent. With one of the most winning faces I ever saw, he closed: Whosoeverthat includes you: whosoever willdoes that include you?
Long since that aged saint hath reached the fair celestial shore,
And gained the martyrs crown, for he the martyrs suffering bore;
Long since his happy feet have stood within his Fathers home,
Yet still the mighty voice he heard, with ceaseless cry, saith, Come!
And lifes bright fountain springeth yet, as free, and fresh, and fair,
As when in Patmos dreary Isle it cheered the exile there!
And hark! the Spirit and the Bride repeat in mercy still,
That he who is athirst may drinkyea, whosoever will!
O blessed voices! be it ours your loving call to hear
And so obey that when, at last, from yonder radiant sphere
The Heavenly Bridegroom shall descend to claim His own again,
We may lift up our heads and say, Lord, even so, Amen!1 [Note: Elizabeth Surr.]
Aitken (W. H. M. H.), Gods Everlasting Yea, 235.
Bannerman (J.), Sermons, 382.
Brewin (R.), Gospel Sermons, 85.
Brown (A. G.), Gods Full-Orbed Gospel, 66.
Christlieb (T.), Memoir and Sermons, 105.
Davies (T.), Sermons and Expositions, i. 568.
Davison (W. T.), The Indwelling Spirit, 195.
Dods (M.), Footsteps in the Path of Life, 127.
Doney (C. G.), The Throne-Room of the Soul, 11.
Goodwin (H.), Parish Sermons, ii. 132.
Hackett (B.), Memorials of a Ministry, 116.
Hall (C. R.), Advent to Whitsun-Day, 69.
Jeffrey (G.), The Believers Privilege, 269.
Jerdan (C.), For the Lords Table, 386.
Keble (J.), Sermons for the Christian Year: Miscellaneous, 209.
Kingsley (C.), The Water of Life, 1.
Macgregor (W. M.), Jesus Christ the Son of God, 264.
Maclaren (A.), Expositions: Epistles of John to Revelation, 391.
McNeill (J.), Regent Square Pulpit, iii. 81.
Price (A. C.),Fifty Sermons, viii. 1.
Scott (C. A.), The Book of the Revelation, 336.
Stuart (E. A.), Children of God, 159.
Talmage (T. de W.), Fifty Sermons, ii. 113.
Wilberforce (B.), Steps in Spiritual Growth, 178.
Christian Age, xliii. 370 (L. Abbott).
Christian World Pulpit, xxi. 328 (S. A. Tipple); xlv. 38 (B. Wilberforce).
Church of England Pulpit, xxxvii. 101 (B. Wilberforce).
Church Pulpit Year Book, 1909, p. 34.
Expository Times, xxi. 490.
Homiletic Review, xlv. 136 (J. H. Taylor).
Literary Churchman, xxvii. (1881) 231 (J. E. Vernon).
Record of Christian Work, xxxii. (1913) 666 (G. C. Morgan).
Fuente: The Great Texts of the Bible
the Spirit: Rev 22:16, Isa 55:1-3, Joh 16:7-15
the bride: Rev 21:2, Rev 21:9
Come: Isa 2:5
let him that heareth: Psa 34:8, Isa 2:3, Isa 2:5, Isa 48:16-18, Jer 50:5, Mic 4:2, Zec 8:21-23, Joh 1:39-46, Joh 4:29, 1Th 1:5-8
let him that is athirst: Rev 21:6, Isa 55:1, Joh 7:37
let him take: Isa 12:3, Joh 4:10, Joh 4:14
freely: Rom 3:24, 1Co 2:12
Reciprocal: Exo 17:6 – that the people Num 10:10 – in the day Num 10:29 – come Num 20:8 – speak Num 21:16 – Gather Deu 30:20 – thy life Ezr 7:13 – minded Psa 23:2 – leadeth Psa 30:5 – in his Psa 36:9 – For Psa 40:10 – not hid Psa 78:15 – General Psa 81:10 – open Psa 87:7 – all my Psa 95:6 – O come Pro 1:22 – ye simple Pro 8:4 – General Pro 9:4 – General Pro 25:25 – cold Son 2:10 – Rise Son 5:1 – General Son 8:14 – Make haste Isa 35:6 – for Isa 41:17 – seek Isa 43:20 – to give Isa 44:3 – pour water Isa 45:24 – even Jer 2:13 – the fountain Jer 17:13 – forsaken Eze 47:1 – waters issued Zec 10:8 – hiss Zec 14:8 – living Mat 11:28 – Come Mat 22:3 – sent Mat 22:9 – General Luk 14:16 – bade Luk 14:21 – Go Joh 1:37 – and they Joh 3:34 – for God Joh 5:26 – so hath Joh 5:40 – ye will not Joh 6:35 – he that cometh Joh 6:37 – I will Joh 11:25 – the life Joh 14:6 – the life Joh 15:25 – without Act 3:15 – Prince Act 11:12 – the Spirit 1Co 10:4 – did 1Co 15:45 – a quickening Phi 2:16 – Holding 1Th 1:8 – from 2Ti 1:10 – and hath Rev 2:7 – let him
Fuente: The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
THE SPIRIT AND THE BRIDE
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.
This is an invitation in the picturesque language of the writer of the Book of the Revelation to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
The Spirit and the Bride. The Spirit of God and the Church of God.
I. Why are these two mighty spiritual forces so closely joined together?They are mutually dependent one on the other. The Spirit could not be manifested apart from the Church. The Church could not exist without the Spirit.
II. The Spirit speaks through the Church.It is the living organism through which Christ manifests Himself to the world. And by the Church we do not mean the clergy only; we mean every faithful and consistent Christian. Each one is an evangelist inviting outsiders to come into the banqueting-house, when the banner over them will be love, to feast upon the blessings of salvation.
Rev. C. Rhodes Hall.
Fuente: Church Pulpit Commentary
Rev 22:17. The subject running through this verse is along the line of invitations. It has been stated more than once that as to the relative place of the items in the over-all vision of this book, the time of the judgment has been reached. From that standpoint there would be no reason to give anyone an invitation to come for sal-vation–that opportunity has passed. Yet in reality, aside from the symbolized feature of the book, the basic purpose of the book of Revelation is to give the world a final document from Heaven as an incentive for preparing to meet the day of all days, the second coming of Christ and the judgment of the world. Otherwise there would be no point in inviting men to come and drink of the water of life. Nor would there be any call for the warning sounded in the two verses following this. Hence we shall consider the important phrases of this combined invitation. The bride is the (espoused) church (2Co 11:2) and the Spirit is in the church (Eph 2:22). The church of Christ has a standing invitation to people of the world, wishing them to accept the salvation offered so freely. In truth, it is the only organization that has any right to make such an offer (Eph 3:21 and 1Ti 3:15). But others as individuals have the right to repeat the invitation, hence the verse says for those who hear to repeat the call. That makes it the duty of every individual to be active in the salvation of souls. Let him that is athirst come. This is in line with the statement oRev 1:3 in Mat 5:6 that they who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled. That is logical, for unless a man is thirsty he will not be interested in the opportunity to drink. Whosoever will signifies the same as the preceding comJoh 4:14 at unless a man is willing it would do him no good to go through the formality of obeying the Gospel. Let it be observed also that the blessing is to those who come. Man must come to the fountain for it will not be moved towards him for his convenience. The water of life is the same that Jesus made known to the woman of Samaria (Joh 4:10-14). This water is the word of God and it will be in man “a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” It is offered freely which means abundantly and without the price such as silver and gold.
Comments by Foy E. Wallace
THE INVITATIONAL AND BENEDICTORY CONCLUSION
Verse 17: And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let hiRev 22:18 athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
As heretofore mentioned, these concluding admonitory words were the sayings of John himself, not of Jesus, in which he sounded the note of an unlimited invitation, bu1Pe 4:11 unconditional one. This seventeenth verse of the last chapter of Revelation has had a first place in gospel preaching for centuries. It has been proclaimed the high note of redemption and has been compared to ringing the bells of heaven. It was the call to all men to come to the river and the tree of life within the wonderful city of verse fourteen. The city was the New Jerusalem, which has been specifically and repeatedly designated the Lamb’s Bride–the church of Christ.
The Spirit which joined in this invitation was the One Spirit before the apocalyptic throne, from wRev 22:19 seven spirits of the vision had proceeded. Joined with the Spirit in this great invitation was the Bride, bidding all to come within her walls. And the Seer himself exhorteHeb 2:2 ne who heareth–who had heard the Spirit and the Bride say, Come–to ring the bell and join the refrain by saying, Come. And all who would thereafter hear this book of Revelation read in the churches (Rev 1:3) should join the glad chorus and say, Come. All who were athirst, without the water of salvation, were entreated to come, to the river which flowed the thirst–quenching water of life, to drink of which one would never thirst again. (Joh 4:14) And to make this gospel call all inclusive John said: whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Salvation full and free was offered to all, but within the sphere of salvation– the church. And it was made conditional by in saying whosoever will, and in the accompanying word take. These words expressed conditions. They required that the will of man shall yield to the will of God in the doing of the commandments of verse fourteen. The phrase let him come implies that the gospel is persuasive, not coercive. No one can shoot the gospel into a sinner nor machine-gun Christianity into a heathen–but he that will, whosoever or wheresoever he may be, can come without hindrance or restraint.
Fuente: Combined Bible Commentary
Rev 22:17. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. He that will, let him take the water of life freely. It is not easy to determine exactly the bearing of the different clauses of this verse, and much diversity of opinion prevails upon the point. They are commonly regarded either as a continuation of the words of Jesus in Rev 22:16, or as the answer of the Church and the believing soul. Neither view is consistent with them as a whole. On the one hand, there is something unnatural in putting into the mouth of the Lord Himself those two cries addressed to Him to come which are contained in the first two clauses. No other instance of the kind occurs in the Apocalypse, frequently as His Coming is there spoken of. On the other hand, it is equally unnatural to look upon the last two clauses as a response of the Church to her Lord; while, if her mind is at the moment as full as we know it to be of the Coming of Jesus, it is not easy to comprehend how she could pass so rapidly to a meaning of the word come different from that which occupied all her thoughts. In these circumstances we venture to suggest that we may have here an interchange of thought and feeling between Jesus and His Church. He is coming: the Church is waiting in joyful assurance that He is at hand. Both the Lord and His Church are at a moment of highest rapture. What more natural than that at such a moment they should exchange their sentiments in the blessed fellowship of a common joy? If this be allowed, the first two clauses will be the answer of the Church to Him who has just described Himself by the glorious titles of Rev 22:16. The Spirit working in the Church, and teaching her to long and cry for that Coming with which all her hopes are associated, together with the Church herself, no sooner think of the testimony of Christ as ended than they can restrain themselves no longer, and by the voice of the Church they both cry Come (comp. on Joh 15:26-27). The Seer adds, in words expressing substantially the same thought, Let him that heareth,him that heareth in faith, and to whom the glorious prospects of this book are a reality,let him cry Come. Then Jesus Himself takes up the Come, Let him that is athirst come. We must understand these words in the same sense as that in which we have understood the similar words of chap. Rev 21:6. The thirst referred to is not the first thirst of the sinner after salvation. It is the constant longing of one who has already been refreshed for deeper and fuller draughts; and to each one who so thirsts the Lord says Come. So also with the last clause of the verse. The persons referred to are already believers, within the city, within reach of the water of life; and to them the Lord says, Let them take it freely, without hesitation and without stint.
Fuente: A Popular Commentary on the New Testament
Observe here, 1. The persons mentioned, The Spirit and the bride; by the Spirit understand the Holy Ghost, and by the bride the whole Catholic church in general, both in heaven and earth, and every true believer in particular. Behold how the Spirit speaks in the bride, and how the bride speaks from and by the Spirit. Christ by his Spirit is present with her, by his influence he is assistant to her.
Observe, 2. The title here given to the church, she is called Christ’s bride, and he elsewhere called her bridegroom; now this title of a bride given to her, is,
1. A title of eminency and excellency, and stands in opposition to adultery: she is a bride, not a whore; the false church is not a bride, but the whore, and so often called: she desires not Christ’s coming, no more than an adulteress desires the return of her husband; but the bride, being a chaste virgin, longs for it.
2. As the word bride is a word of excellency, as it stands in a distinction from matrimony and complete marriage; it is the bride, not a married wife. The saints are contracted to Christ in this world; the marriage is near, and shall be consummated in the next. A bride is a spouse on the confines of marriage, near the approaches of the conjugal solemnity. Blessed be God! it will not be long before Christ and his church, Christ and every believer, who are now betrothed and espoused, shall be fully and completely married, and in the perfect enjoyment of each other.
Observe, 3. The affection which this bride expresses towards her bridegroom; she says, Come, she passionately and impatiently desires, and vehemently longs for his coming. Come, is a word of invitation; “I pray come, it is my earnest suit and request that thou wouldest come.”
Learn hence, That the glorious coming and appearance of Jesus Christ to judgment, is vehemently desired and earnestly longed for by all believers. The Spirit in the bride, and the bride by the Spirit, say, Come.
Observe, 4. The invitation of access returned by Christ, the bride says, Come; says Christ, Let him that is athirst come; we must first come to Christ by faith and repentance, before we can ever desire Christ’s coming to us by death and judgment.
Observe lastly, The intimation given by Christ of a gracious acceptance, and a grateful entertainment: Whoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.
Here note, 1. The benefit mentioned or the mercy offered, water of life, all grace here, and glory hereafter; grace, as it leads to glory, and glory as it follows upon grace: grace carries life in the bosom of it, even eternal life.
Note, 2. The persons to whom this benefit is offered and tendered, that is, to whosoever will; to show that salvation is not forced upon us against our wills, but bestowed us in the use of our faculties, and in the exercise of our own endeavours; we are the subjects of this willingness, but God is the author of it, Psa 110:3. Certum est nos velle, cum volumus; sed Deus facit ut velimus; praebendo vires efficacissimas voluntati: says St. Austin.
Note, 3. The offer itself, let him take it freely: grace is the free gift of God, as well as eternal life. Such is God’s munificence and royalty, that he will not sell his good things; if he did, such is our indigence and poverty that we could never buy them; therefore, says God, take freely. Yet must we understand it only of a freedom from merit, not a freedom from endeavour. God’s offers in the gospel are conditional; he proffers his Son, and all good with him, but upon condition of our acceptance on his own terms. Let none then straiten the grace of God, where he has enlarged it. If a man has a mind to keep his sins, he shall have no mercy, be they never so small; but if he be willing to leave his sins, and to accept an offered Saviour, as offered, he shall not be excluded from mercy, be they never so great; for, says Christ, Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.
Fuente: Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament
The Spirit would be the Holy Spirit who spoke through the prophets and to the churches. ( Rev 2:7 ; Rev 2:11 ; Rev 2:17 ; Rev 2:29 ; Rev 3:6 ; Rev 3:13 ; Rev 3:22 ) Now, he invites Jesus to come as he has promised. (verses 7 and 12) The church, or bride, of Christ also wants Jesus to come and implores him. ( Rev 21:2 ; Rev 21:9 ; 1Co 16:22 ) Of course, there is also an invitation extended by the Spirit through the gospel to sinners to obey. Those who are thirsty for righteousness can reveive the water of life that is free or open for all. ( Mat 5:6 ; Mat 11:28-30 )
Fuente: Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books
Rev 22:17. And the Spirit With which I inspire my servants; and the bride The church, whom I have espoused, or the Spirit of adoption in the bride, says, with earnest desire and expectation, Come And accomplish all the words of this prophecy. And let him that heareth say, Come Let every one echo the invitation; and let my people, in all ages, consider it as their duty so to do; and let him that is athirst That sincerely and earnestly desires the blessings of the gospel, whether the blessings of grace, or those of glory; come And partake of those blessings. Let him apply to the Lord Jesus, in repentance and faith, to be pardoned and renewed; taken into Gods favour, and stamped with his image here, and put in possession of eternal life hereafter, and he shall not apply in vain; and whosoever will Here they also, who are farther off, are invited; let him take of the water of life He may partake of spiritual and eternal blessings; freely Yea, as freely as he makes use of the most common refreshments, as freely as he drinks of the running stream. Such a declaration of free grace seems to have been wisely inserted just in the close of the sacred canon, to encourage the hope of every humble soul that is truly desirous of the blessings of the gospel; and to guard against those suspicions of divine goodness, which the dark mind of man is so ready to imbibe. The word , which we render take, often signifies receive; and the word , rendered freely, implies the same as gratis, namely, the perfect freedom of the gift, and may probably refer to the celebrated invitation, Isa 55:1-3.
Fuente: Joseph Bensons Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
THE BRIDE PERFECTLY RESPONSIVE TO THE HOLY GHOST
We are living in the Gospel Dispensation, characterized by the universal mission of the Holy Ghost. The Father sent the Son into the world to bleed and die for the lost. The Son sent the Holy Ghost into the world to reveal Him to every human spirit, and calling all to repentance. The children of the Holy Ghost, who delight to do the will of their Heavenly Father, constitute the bridehood of Christ. Hence the Holy Ghost has sent the bride into the world, co-operate with Himself in the universal call to repentance. The peculiarity of the bride is that she is the companion and surviving representative of the suffering Savior. The visible Church is not identical with the bride. There is a Church within a Church. Therefore you must pass the second veil to find the true Church; i.e., the martyrs of all ages, who constitute the bridehood of Christ. The worldliness of the popular Church and her irresponsive attitude toward the Holy Ghost irreconcilably abnegate her claims to the bridehood. A moments reflection settles this question in favor of the sanctified people. They are constantly and perfectly responsive to the Holy Ghost in His universal call to repentance. The peculiarity of Holiness people is their indefatigable pertinacity in calling the people to the Savior. They persistently interview the comers and goers in the interest of their souls. In this way they provoke the disgust of all squeamish and fastidious people, and frequently render themselves odious to what is misnamed good society. But these so- called fanatics, who are always talking for Jesus to the disgust of the carnally-minded, are the people in the world who verify the definition of the bride in this verse. God give us grace to co-operate with the Holy host, and content ourselves to be popular with Jesus, though we incur the constant contempt of the worlds magnates! Dare to be true to the Holy Ghost, and co-operate with Him constantly in His perpetual calls of a lost world to Jesus. So soon as you become delinquent in your appeals to the people in the interest of their souls, you forfeit your claim to a place in the bridehood. Lord, help us to be true to the Holy Ghost! From the fact that the grace of God in Christ, as set forth in this verse, is perfectly free for all, and the omnipotent Holy Spirit is constantly calling, and here the bride is certified, with equal constancy, to be calling all to come and partake of the water of life freely, it follows, as a logical sequence, that none but the sanctified actually verify the character here imputed to the bride of Christ. Oh, how this verse ought to alarm the dumb Churches!
FINAL ANATHEMAS AGAINST ALL WHO HAVE THE AUDACITY TO TINKER WITH GODS WORD
18, 19: I testify to every one who heareth the words of this book of prophecy: If any one may add to these things, God will add unto him the plagues which have been written in this book: if any one may take from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take his part from the Tree of Life, and out of the Holy City, from the blessings which have been written in this book. We here readily see why our Savior forbade His own apostles to go and preach this gospel till they received the sanctifying baptism of Pentecostal fire. Without this heavenly enduement, He knew they were incompetent for the responsibility. It is impossible for a person to preach to others an experience he himself does not possess. For this reason, the Bible has been exposed to all sorts of perversions, dissections, additions, subtractions, and tergiversations, to suit the caprices of human creeds. Where is the Church which is not loaded down with human dogmata and institutions unheard of in the word of God? In this way God is actually crowded out of the heart, and they become devotees of idolatry. When you hear the preannouncement of a doctrinal sermon, look out for a harangue on the creed, with scarcely a scintillation of gospel truth. In 1Ti 1:5, Paul tells us
the end of the commandment is divine love out of a clean heart and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned.
You receive this divine love in regeneration, and a clean heart in sanctification. Then, if you keep your life all right, you will always have a good conscience. If you never take in any of the devils doubts, your faith will never fail. So, get genuinely converted and sanctified, then keep your faith and obedience all right, and you have all the doctrine in the Bible, verified daily in your own experience. Oh, how the Church-mongers in all ages have added human doctrines and institutions to the Bible, and burned millions of Gods saints because they did not submit to their pontifical dictations! I hope the readers of this book have all blessedly passed over the water-line. If you have not, I advise you to go at once and receive all the water you want, whether by Immersion or affusion, or both. You will make little or no progress in spiritual things till you settle all water- questions, and find out the secret that water never did have anything to do with your salvation. You are saved by grace alone, received and appropriated by faith. So, hasten to get through your humanisms, take your eye off the water and everything else, put it on Jesus, and keep it there. So long as you keep your eye on Jesus, He will keep His hand on you. Then neither men nor devils can hurt you. Does not the man who preaches immersion as necessary to salvation add immersion to the Bible? because it is not in it? You may receive this and other human institutions with impunity, if you have light to see that Jesus alone can save, with or without human manipulation. It is horrific to contemplate the fearful extent to which popery, prelacy, and priestcraft have gone in their accumulated additions to the plan of salvation. The result is that but few souls pass beyond the fogs of human invention into the clear light of Gods blessed truth. At the present day, the studied sermonettes preached from our popular pulpits give the people scarcely a scintillation of gospel pabulum. God is now, in the Holiness movement, fast leading the people out of the dismal night of creedisms and ecclesiasticisms into the cloudless day of His blessed, unadulterated, unsophisticated, and untinkered word. We hail with joy the glorious dawn of a better day. Thousands in all lands are rising up to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, clamorous for the truth as it is in Jesus, and no longer willing to receive the ipse dixit of uninspired men. God is now, in the Holiness movement, calling out His faithful people in all nations and Churches to receive His word from the debris of humanisms, and give it to the world in its pristine purity; while the ecclesiastics have literally inundated the Churches with human inventions, not only teaching sacramental salvation, the essentiality of water baptism, but even adding immersion to the Bible and worshipping it as a god i.e., making it essential to salvation and filling the Church with so many human inventions as to utterly bewilder the unspiritual, lead them into idolatry, to live and die in practical heathenism, ignorant of God and the sweet simplicity of His blessed truth. But not satisfied with their mammoth additions, they have rendered themselves quite as conspicuous for their subtractions. Consequently, they incur a double condemnation, the one for addition to Gods plan of salvation revealed in the Bible, and the other for subtraction from the same. Before I was sanctified, I preached fifteen years in the fogs of Babylon, awfully bewildered by the theologians. It is a significant fact that the same men who pile mountains on the Bible take mountains out of it, to make room for the dogmatic mountains which they build on it. Much of the most learned and influential preaching I ever heard was labored efforts to prove that there was no such person as the Holy Ghost, nor such a thing as spiritual conviction, regeneration, adoption, or sanctification. I have frequently heard collegiate graduates, standing in the pulpit, vociferate and argue a solid hour to disprove the entire problem of spiritual religion. Satan is not fool enough to waste his ammunition. When I was a boy, the awful and constant fight was made against spiritual regeneration, laboring most assiduously by logic, theology, and ridicule to utterly eliminate it out of the Bible, and throw it beyond the North Pole, so it never could get back.
They had nothing to say against sanctification, from the simple fact that it was neither preached nor professed; and the devil always shoots at something. Then the fight against regeneration was quite as hot and heavy as it is now against sanctification. Bible is a Greek word, which means book. Hence, Holy Bible simply means a book on holiness While it is a notorious fact that holiness is the theme of the Bible, set forth specifically six hundred times, and inferentially in thousands of instances, yet the Bible murderers have the audacity to stand in the pulpits and tell the people they cant be holy, and God doesnt require it. A few centuries ago, the clergy had triumphantly succeeded in taking God out of the plan of salvation, and monopolizing it themselves. God used Luther to restore the long-lost doctrine of justification by the free grace of God in Christ, received and appropriated by faith alone, independently of carnal ordinances and priestly manipulation. He used Wesley and others to restore the glorious doctrine of entire sanctification by the short route of consecration and faith, instead of the long pilgrimage of growth and purgatory. He is now using some of His true people to restore the long- lost truth of divine healing, womans ministry, and the Lords second coming. Certainly terrible retributions await those men who have devoted their life-long labors to the adulteration of Gods word, both by addition and subtraction. God has raised up the Holiness movement to give the Bible to the world without addition or subtraction. Nothing but entire sanctification can ever break off the creedistic shackles, and so illuminate the word and the heart as to enthrone Jesus the supreme and only autocrat of the soul, and the Bible your only way-bill from earth to heaven.
Fuente: William Godbey’s Commentary on the New Testament
The bride; the church.
Fuente: Abbott’s Illustrated New Testament
Jesus continued speaking to John. The "Spirit" is God’s Holy Spirit, and the "bride" is probably the church, not the New Jerusalem, since this appeal is to the present bride of Christ. [Note: Moffatt, p. 492.] Jesus quoted both of these entities reiterating their appeal to Himself to come back to the earth (cf. Rev 1:7). "The one who hears" is everyone who hears this book read in the churches, as was common in John’s day. This includes modern readers of it, of course. These individuals, as well as the bride gathered corporately, should likewise pray for the Lord’s return (cf. Mat 6:10; Luk 11:2).
"If the Holy Spirit, the church, and the Apostle John knew that Christ could not return at any moment because of other events or a time period that had to transpire first [i.e., Daniel’s seventieth week], why did they command Him in a way that implied that He could come at any moment?" [Note: Showers, Maranatha . . ., p. 142. See also his brief history of belief in the imminent coming of Christ on pp. 142-47.]
Now Jesus turned the invitation around. He invited the thirsty to come to Him and take the water of life freely (cf. Rev 22:1; Rev 7:16; Rev 21:6; Isa 55:1; Mat 5:6; Joh 6:35; Joh 7:37). Unbelievers obviously need to take their first drink of this living water, which represents Christ and eternal life, but believers also need to keep slaking their thirst by coming to Him again and again. The one who is thirsty is the person who senses his or her need (cf. Mat 5:6; Joh 4:10). "The one who wishes" is broad enough to include every single individual. This is an unusually winsome invitation (cf. Rev 21:6; Mat 11:28). The water of life costs the one who comes for it nothing. It costs us nothing, but it cost Jesus Christ greatly to give Himself for us.