Rev. 22:1 a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God
"Those who overcome all things, including persecution for His name's sake (3 Ne. 12:10), will experience the 'great joy' (3 Ne. 12:12) of having their hungering and thirsting for righteousness satisfied by the Savior, who grants them a steady diet of righteousness from the 'living fountains of waters,' which represent the love of God and whose source flows from His throne in the temple of heaven. (Rev. 7:16-17; Rev. 22:1; 1 Ne. 11:25.) This is the living water that quenches the spiritual thirst everlastingly. Like the seed that becomes a fruitful tree (Alma 32), so this living water can be in men 'a well of water springing up into everlasting life' (John 4:14)." (William J. Bohn, "Three Other New Testament Temples," Ensign, July 1991, 24-25)
Elder Charles A. Callis
In this Church there is a stream of living water that flows from the throne of God. Why go to the ends of the earth in search for the truth when it is here for you to partake of? Why seek for faith-destroying mystery? Oh, won't you drink of this living stream? For if you will your souls shall never thirst again. (Conference Report, October 1931, Second Day-Morning Meeting 67 - 68.)
Rev. 22:2 the tree of life... bare twelve manner of fruits
"Note that the tree stands alone. It has no competition. The tree of good and evil has ceased to exist because the inhabitants of the city, knowing good from evil, have spurned all evil and eternally choose the good. In consequence the cherubim, placed to guard the tree of life, have been removed, allowing God's people to eat freely of the fruit. Jewish thought looked forward to the time when men would be free to partake of the wondrous tree.
"Following Ezekiel 47:12, the Seer notes that each month the tree produces a different type of fruit. John conveys the idea that the tree does not follow the normal course of budding, blossoming, fruit setting, and ripening, with one harvest a year. The crops grow continually. The entire image, as one scholar notes, 'expresses the absolute triumph of life over death.' The very leaves of the trees hold healing properties. Where it stands, not a single blade of sorrow or pain can be found. All nations are healed, that is, made whole and complete, through the power of the tree.
"But one must not overlook the meaning of the tree itself, for 'it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; . . . [which is] the most joyous to the soul' (1 Ne. 11:22-23). Thus, the tree and the water symbolize the same thing. The continuous flow of the water and the perpetual bearing of the tree emphasize the limitlessness of God's love. It flows from him forever and unconditionally. All who wish to partake may do so." (Richard D. Draper, Opening the Seven Seals: The Visions of John the Revelator [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 241-242.)
Rev. 22:2 the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations
Parley P. Pratt
The tree of life will stand on either side of the river, even the tree which will have once borne twelve manner of fruits, and have yielded its fruit every month, its leaves having been for the healing of the nations. But now, when John sees it, the nations have no need of healing, for there is no death, neither pain, nor sorrow, for the former things have passed away, and all things are become new; consequently, he speaks in the past tense, and says they were for the healing of the nations; of course, referring to the times when they existed temporally, according to Ezekiel, before their final change.
Now, of the things which we have spoken, that is the sum: Ezekiel and the other prophets have presented us with a view of the cities of Zion and Jerusalem as they will exist during the one thousand years of rest called the Millennium; and John has given us a view of the same cities, after their final change, when they came down from God out of heaven, and rest upon the new earth. (Parley P. Pratt, A Voice of Warning [New York City: Eastern States Mission [189-?], 108 - 109.)
Rev. 22:4 And they shall see his face
Bruce R. McConkie
If we keep the commandments and are true and faithful in all things, we shall inherit eternal life in our Father's kingdom. Those who attain this high state of glory and exaltation shall dwell in the presence of God. They shall see his face and converse with him mouth to mouth. They shall know him in the full sense of the word because they have become like him. And all who are now living those laws to the full which will enable them to go where God and Christ are, and there enjoy eternal association with them-that is, all those who are now living in its entirety the law of the celestial kingdom-are already qualified to see the Lord. The attainment of such a state of righteousness and perfection is the object and end toward which all of the Lord's people are striving. We seek to see the face of the Lord while we yet dwell in mortality, and we seek to dwell with him everlastingly in the eternal kingdoms that are prepared. (The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 578.)
Rev. 22:7 Behold, I come quickly
The time is near-how near, no man knoweth: the day and the hour when the Son of Man shall come is a secret. In a revelation given to this Church, it is said that no man shall know until he comes; therefore we cannot expect to know the day nor the hour; but we know it is near at hand, and what a consolation it is. There may be men that will know within a year-that will have revelation to say within one or two years when the Lord shall appear. I do not know that there is anything against this.
But the great question is, brethren and sisters, Are we ready?-are we perfect enough for this day? Are we honest enough? and are we filled with integrity enough to be ready for the Saviour and his holy angels? Is there a sufficiency of union? Have we that firmness in our minds that we can stand in their presence-that we can look them in the eye and say that all is right? If we are pure, when we see a pure and holy being, clothed with all the glory of the heavens, surrounded with light that far outshines the sun at noonday, so much so that his eye discerns all things and pierces the inmost recesses of the heart,-when we can look him in the face, a thrill of joy will run through our bodies, and we shall be happy. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 8: 49 - 50.)
Rev. 22:10 Seal not the sayings of the prophecy
When Nephi saw the things that John saw, he was commanded not to write them:
But the things which thou shalt see hereafter thou shalt not write; for the Lord God hath ordained the apostle of the Lamb of God that he should write them.
And also others who have been, to them hath he shown all things, and they have written them; and they are sealed up to come forth in their purity, according to the truth which is in the Lamb, in the own due time of the Lord, unto the house of Israel. (1 Ne. 14:25-26)
Nephi was not to write the vision. Others saw it and wrote it down but were required to seal it up. The Brother of Jared saw all things and wrote them down. Moroni read his words and inscribed them on the gold plates. He sealed them up and they remained sealed to this day:
Behold, I have written upon these plates the very things which the brother of Jared saw; and there never were greater things made manifest than those which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared.
Wherefore the Lord hath commanded me to write them; and I have written them. And he commanded me that I should seal them up; and he also hath commanded that I should seal up the interpretation thereof; wherefore I have sealed up the interpreters, according to the commandment of the Lord.
For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord.
And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are. (Ether 4:4-7)
The Apostle John the Revelator was foreordained to reveal the doctrine in the vision. The Lord is very particular about how and by whom his word is revealed. In contrast to so many other prophets who saw the same things but were commanded either not to write them or to seal them up, John is commanded not to seal up the vision. It is time for the world to begin to understand what is to come at the end. It is time for the world to begin to understand what God has prepared for them that love Him.
Rev. 22:11 he which is filthy, let him be filthy still
Joseph Fielding Smith
How wonderful is the peace and joy which fills the soul of the virtuous person! How terrible are the torments of the unvirtuous! They shall have no place in the first resurrection. When the final judgment comes they are they who remain "filthy still." They cannot enter the Holy City, they are the "dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolators, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie," who are cast out. (The Way to Perfection [Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1949], 237.)
Rev. 22:11 he that is righteous, let him be righteous still
B. H. Roberts
There is no one great thing that man can do and then do no more and obtain salvation. After entering into the kingdom of God, in the manner already pointed out in these pages, it is by learning "precept upon precept; line upon line; here a little and there a little," that salvation will be made secure. It is by resisting temptation today, overcoming a weakness tomorrow, forsaking evil associations the next day, and thus day by day, month after month, year after year, pruning, restraining and weeding out that which is evil in the disposition, that the character is purged of its imperfections. Salvation is a matter of character-building under the Gospel laws and ordinances, and more especially with the direct aid of the Holy Spirit.
Nor is it enough that one get rid of evil. He must do good. He must surround himself with circumstances congenial to the sensitive nature of the Holy Ghost, that he may not be offended, and withdraw himself; for if he does so, amen to the man's spiritual or moral development. He must cultivate noble sentiments by performing noble deeds-not great ones, necessarily, for opportunity to do what the world esteems great things, comes but seldom to men in the ordinary walks of life; but noble deeds may be done every day; and every such deed performed with an eye single to the glory of God, draws one that much nearer into harmony with Deity. And "if you wish to go where God is," said the Prophet Joseph, "you must be like God, or possess the principles which God possesses, for if we are not drawing towards God in principle, we are going from him and drawing towards the devil."
Thus by refusing to follow the evil inclinations of the disposition on the one hand, and cultivating noble sentiments on the other, a character may be formed that shall be godlike in its attributes, and consequently its possessor will be fitted to dwell with God, and if so prepared, there is no question but his calling and election are sure. (The Gospel and Man's Relationship to Deity [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1901], 208-209.)
Rev. 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end
"Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and omega is the last letter, thus verifying that Christ is the member of the Godhead who began the work of bringing 'to pass the immortality and eternal life' (Moses 1:39) of mankind upon this mortal earth and will be the one to conclude the events of this earth's plan of salvation. The Lord used the same Greek word designations in modern revelation (see D&C 19:1; D&C 38:1; D&C 45:7)." (Monte S. Nyman, "I Am Jesus Christ the Son of God," Ensign, Dec. 1999, 9)
Rev. 22:14 that they may... enter in through the gates of the city
Heber C. Kimball
As for any man's going into the celestial glory, or entering through the straight gate into the celestial world, there never will a man or woman go there, except they obey the celestial law which gives them that privilege. I know it is the case, but some think that if brother Brigham, brother Heber, and others go there, they will take the rest with them, but I can tell you that they will not do it, for justice stands at the door and demands its claims, and though mercy stands pleading on the other side it cannot rob justice, for justice must have its demands, and will claim that which is its own, and mercy cannot claim that which is not its own, and neither can rob the other. By observing justice and mercy we can enter through the gates into the city and obtain that glory which we are all anticipating.
Brethren and sisters, reflect where we are, what we are, and what we are doing; how careless and unconcerned some of us often are in relation to those things that we are counselled to do. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 3: 56.)
Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the House of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the Holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 2: 31 - 32.)
Rev. 22:16 I am the root and the offspring of David
For Christ to be the root and offspring seems to be a contradiction. While the offspring is the branch, the root comes before the main trunk as the main source of sustenance. Such was Jehovah to King David-he was the root of his success, the source of his power. In an irony that the Jews of Christ's day never resolved, Jehovah was born through the lineage of David. While they knew the Messiah would come through David's line, they did not understand that Jehovah himself would take upon him flesh and blood as the long awaited Messiah. Therefore, Christ came before David and after David. He was both root and offspring. This irony is taught beautifully by the Master and by Isaiah.
While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.
He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,
The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?
If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?
And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions. (Matt. 22:41-46)
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. (Isa. 11:1)
Rev. 22:16 the bright and morning star
Howard W. Hunter
The world is full of people who are willing to tell us, "Do as I say." Surely we have no lack of advice givers on about every subject. But we have so few who are prepared to say, "Do as I do." And, of course, only One in human history could rightfully and properly make that declaration. History provides many examples of good men and women, but even the best of mortals are flawed in some way or another. None could serve as a perfect model nor as an infallible pattern to follow, however well-intentioned they might be.
Only Christ can be our ideal, our "bright and morning star" (Rev. 22:16). Only he can say without any reservation, "Follow me; learn of me; do the things you have seen me do. Drink of my water and eat of my bread. I am the way, the truth, and the life. I am the law and the light. Look unto me and ye shall live. Love one another as I have loved you" (see Matt. 11:29; Matt. 16:24; John 4:13-14; John 6:35, 51; John 7:37; John 13:34; John 14:6; 3 Ne. 15:9; 3 Ne. 27:21).
My, what a clear and resonant call! What certainty and example in a day of uncertainty and absence of example. ("What Manner of Men Ought Ye to Be?" Ensign, May 1994, 64)
Jeffrey R. Holland
We could-and should-remember the wonderful things that have come to us in our lives and that "all things which are good cometh of Christ" (Moro. 7:24). Those of us who are so blessed could remember the courage of those around us who face more difficulty than we, but who remain cheerful, who do the best they can, and trust that the Bright and Morning Star will rise again for them-as surely he will do (see Rev. 22:16).
On some days we will have cause to remember the unkind treatment he received, the rejection he experienced, and the injustice-oh, the injustice-he endured. When we, too, then face some of that in life, we can remember that Christ was also troubled on every side, but not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed (see 2 Cor. 4:8-9).
When those difficult times come to us, we can remember that Jesus had to descend below all things before he could ascend above them, and that he suffered pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind that he might be filled with mercy and know how to succor his people in their infirmities (see D&C 88:6; Alma 7:11-12).
To those who stagger or stumble, he is there to steady and strengthen us. In the end he is there to save us, and for all this he gave his life. However dim our days may seem they have been darker for the Savior of the world. ("This Do in Remembrance of Me," Ensign, Nov. 1995, 69)
Rev. 22:18 If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book
Howard W. Hunter
These verses of scripture have been cited repeatedly by those attempting to discredit the Book of Mormon, claiming that God's revelation to man is closed. Nothing more is to be added and nothing is to be taken away. They assert that the Book of Mormon is an attempt to add to the words of the Bible. These claims were made when the Book of Mormon was first published and have continued to be made, and are made today. Is there any validity to such assertions?
The answer to this query is really very simple. A careful reading of the words makes it clear that the warning against adding to or taking away does not refer to the whole Bible or even to the New Testament, but to use John's words, only to the words of "the book of this prophecy." That is, the prophecy contained in the book of Revelation. This is substantiated by the fact that some of the books of the New Testament had not yet been written when John wrote the book of Revelation, and even those that had been written and were in existence at that time had not yet been gathered into one compilation.
The collection of writings consisting of the sixty-six books we know as the Bible were brought together and compiled into one volume long after John wrote the prophetic book that has been placed at the end of the collection. It is clear, therefore, that the terrible judgments pronounced upon those who add to the book could not possibly apply to the whole of the Bible or even to the New Testament, but only to the book of Revelation.
Secondly, the warning uses the words "the prophecy of this book" and also "the words of the book of this prophecy." The word book in both instances is singular and could only refer to the book of prophecy written by John which is titled, in the King James Version, "The Revelation of St. John the Divine" and is often referred to as the Apocalypse-a Greek word which means revealed. Of necessity the word book would have been in the singular because when written it was not associated with any other book or books, and it was after many years and many ecclesiastical debates that it was added to the collection that became known as the new canon of scripture or the New Testament.
It is also interesting to note that John himself added to scripture after writing the book of Revelation, which is generally conceded to have been written while he was on the Isle of Patmos. It was long after John left Patmos that he wrote his first epistle. This fact standing alone would be sufficient to defeat the claim that revelation was closed and that man was enjoined from adding to scripture. This adds cumulative evidence that John had reference to the book of Revelation only.
In the Old Testament also are found similar vigorous denunciations and commands that there shall not be taken away or added to the words that were written. The first is found in Deuteronomy, written at the time Moses was exhorting Israel to live the law of the Lord. The Torah was oral law and had not been reduced to writing prior to the time of the codification of the law in Deuteronomy. Now that it had been reduced to writing by Moses prior to his death and assumed to be complete, Moses wrote:
"Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you." (Deut. 4:2.)
Later in this same book of the law, Moses repeated the admonition in similar words. He said,
"What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it." (Deut. 12:32.)
In the minds of some, these admonitions in the Old Testament raise the same question as to the Book of Mormon being an attempted addition to scripture as does the injunction and warning at the end of the book of Revelation. In effect, these passages contain the same injunction as the one at the close of the Apocalypse; and if the same interpretation and argument was applied to them as is applied to the closing verses of the book of Revelation, there would be no scripture after the writings of Moses. Such an absurdity would result in discarding the greater part of the Old Testament and all of the books of the New Testament.
A careful reading of each of these admonitions makes it clear that man is not to make changes in the revelations of the Lord: man is not to add to or take from the words of God. There is no indication or intimation that God could not, or would not, add to or take from; nor would any reasonable person with a belief in the divine powers of God consciously believe that God would be so restricted. Without question he would have the right and power to give additional revelation for the guidance of his children in any age and to add additional scripture. ("No Man Shall Add to or Take Away," Ensign, May 1981, 64-65)