Revelation 22 ►
Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
A river of water of life, or of living water. It is spoken with allusion to the rivers of paradise and to the tree of life. (Witham)
For the healing of the nations, or Gentiles, to signify the call of all Gentiles or nations to this heavenly happiness. (Witham)
They shall see his face. Thus in a few words is expressed the happiness of the blessed in heaven; they shall see God, from which vision proceed love, joy, and everlasting praises of the divine Majesty. (Witham)
These words are most faithful. Here begins the conclusion and close of all these revelations. — The Lord God of the spirits of the prophets sent his Angel to shew, &c. and in the 16th verse it is said: I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify: from whence we may understand that Jesus, as to his person, is the same Lord God with the Father, though as man he is the root of the offspring of David, of the race of David, as the Messias was to be. (Witham)
Behold I come quickly. Man’s life is short, and at his death he must give an account to God. All time is short, if compared with eternity. St. John (ver. 8) was again for casting himself at the feet of the Angel, though here it is not expressed whether it were to adore God, or whether it were by an inferior veneration to the Angel, often expressed by adoration. (Witham)
Rev 22:8-9 is the second time the saint wishes to adore the Angel, but not with the supreme worship of latria, as he knew the object of his worship was only an Angel, and of course a mere creature; but the Angel, through respect for St. John, still refuses the proffered honour, (see Chap. xix. 10.) and to shew the holy society that was hereafter to exist between Angels and men, who were to compose but one and the same family. (Bible de Vence)
Seal not the words; as not designed to be kept sealed or secret, but to be delivered to the faithful for their instruction, that they may be prepared to suffer persecutions; that their faith, hope, and charity may be enlivened and increased by a firm expectation of their happiness in the next world, after short sufferings in this. (Witham)
He that hurteth, (by living in sins against God, himself, and his neighbours) let him hurt still; i.e. he shall be permitted; and he that is just, let him be justified still, and increase in virtues by God’s assistance. (Witham) — It is not an exhortation or license to go on in sin, but an intimation that how far soever the wicked may proceed, their progress shall quickly end, and then they must expect to meet with proportionable punishments. (Challoner)
I am alpha and omega. See Chap. i. 8. (Witham)
That they may have a right or power to eat of the tree of life. A right grounded on the promises of God and his graces. (Witham)
Without are dogs; meaning unbelievers, and whosever loveth and maketh a lie, i.e. all the wicked, who have not walked in the ways of truth. (Witham)
And the Spirit and the bride say: Come. This is, the Spirit of God, who moves us to love and praise him; and the bride, i.e. the Church, the spouse of Christ, which earnestly desires to be happy in the enjoyment of God: and every one that heareth these divine promises, let him with all the affections of his soul, with his whole heart, say: Come. He that thirsteth after justice, the Author and Fountain of all justice, let him come and be filled gratis by the bounty and liberality of our merciful God. (Witham)
I, John, testify and bear witness of all the truths contained in this revelation: If any man shall add to these things, he becomes guilty of sin, and makes himself liable to the punishments and plagues that are written in this book. (Witham)
He that giveth testimony of these things, i.e. God, and Jesus Christ by an Angel, saith, surely, (or even so, or truly, these are certain truths) I come quickly, to reward the good and punish the evil. To which words St. John himself replieth with a zealous prayer and earnest desire, saying, Amen, let it be so. — Come, Lord Jesus: come, and remain always in my soul by thy grace, and make me partaker of thy glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Witham) — Conclusion. The Church in sighs and groans, and by the mouth of her children, solicits the coming of Jesus Christ, her divine Spouse. The fruit to be drawn from the perusal of this sacred book, is ardently to desire the kingdom of God, to sigh after the day of eternity, to feel the weight of the yoke of the present life, and the disgrace of our exile, and to live here below as strangers. Enkindle in me, O Lord, this desire; enable my poor soul to join with the beloved disciple in this prayer: Come Lord Jesus; that she may go and lose herself in Thee, who art her Centre, her God, her All.
Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
1 And he shewed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.
2 In the midst of the street thereof, and on both sides of the river, was the tree of life, bearing twelve fruits, yielding its fruits every month: the leaves of the tree for the healing of the nations.
3 And there shall be no curse any more: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it. And his servants shall serve him.
4 And they shall see his face: and his name shall be on their foreheads.
5 And night shall be no more. And they shall not need the light of the lamp, nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall enlighten then. And they shall reign for ever and ever.
6 And he said to me: These words are most faithful and true. And the Lord God of the spirits of the prophets sent his angel to shew his servant the things which must be done shortly.
7 And: Behold I come quickly. Blessed is he that keepeth the words of the prophecy of this book.
8 And I, John, who have heard and seen these things. And, after I had heard and seen, I fell down to adore before the feet of the angel who shewed me the things.
9 And he said to me: See thou do it not. For I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets and of them that keep the words of the prophecy of this book. Adore God.
10 And he saith to me: Seal not the words of the prophecy of this book. For the time is at hand.
11 He that hurteth, let him hurt still: and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is just, let him be justified still: and he that is holy, let him be sanctified still.
12 Behold, I come quickly: and my reward is with me, to render to every, man according to his works.
13 I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
14 Blessed are they that wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb: that they may have a right to the tree of life and may enter in by the gates into the city.
15 Without are dogs and sorcerers and unchaste and murderers and servers of idols and every one that loveth and maketh a lie.
16 I, Jesus, have sent my angel, to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the root and stock of David, the bright and morning star.
17 And the spirit and the bride say: Come. And he that heareth, let him say: Come. And he that thirsteth, let him come. And he that will, let him take the water of life, freely.
18 For I testify to every one that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book: If any man shall add to these things, God shall add unto him the plagues written in this book.
19 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 these things that are written in this book.
20 He that giveth testimony of these things, saith: Surely, I come quickly: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
The Douay-Rheims Bible is in the public domain. (Douay Rheims Catholic Bible Translation Online)
“The new Jerusalem described.
 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth was gone, and the sea is now no more.  And I John saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a great voice from the throne, saying: Behold the tabernacle of God with men, and he will dwell with them. And they shall be his people; and God himself with them shall be their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away.  And he that sat on the throne, said: Behold, I make all things new. And he said to me: Write, for these words are most faithful and true.
 “The first heaven and the first earth was gone”: being changed, not as to their substance, but in their qualities.
 And he said to me: It is done. I am Alpha and Omega; the beginning and the end. To him that thirsteth, I will give of the fountain of the water of life, freely.  He that shall overcome shall possess these things, and I will be his God; and he shall be my son.  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, they shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.  And there came one of the seven angels, who had the vials full of the seven last plagues, and spoke with me, saying: Come, and I will shew thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb.  And he took me up in spirit to a great and high mountain: and he shewed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God,
 Having the glory of God, and the light thereof was like to a precious stone, as to the jasper stone, even as crystal.  And it had a wall great and high, having twelve gates, and in the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.  On the east, three gates: and on the north, three gates: and on the south, three gates: and on the west, three gates.  And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them, the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.  And he that spoke with me, had a measure of a reed of gold, to measure the city and the gates thereof, and the wall.
 And the city lieth in a foursquare, and the length thereof is as great as the breadth: and he measured the city with the golden reed for twelve thousand furlongs, and the length and the height and the breadth thereof are equal.  And he measured the wall thereof an hundred and forty-four cubits, the measure of a man, which is of an angel.  And the building of the wall thereof was of jasper stone: but the city itself pure gold, like to clear glass.  And the foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper: the second, sapphire: the third, a chalcedony: the fourth, an emerald:  The fifth, sardonyx: the sixth, sardius: the seventh, chrysolite: the eighth, beryl: the ninth, a topaz: the tenth, a chrysoprasus: the eleventh, a jacinth: the twelfth, an amethyst.
 “The measure of a man,”: i. e. According to the measure of men, and used by the angel. This seems to be the true meaning of these words.
 And the twelve gates are twelve pearls, one to each: and every several gate was of one several pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.  And I saw no temple therein. For the Lord God Almighty is the temple thereof, and the Lamb.  And the city hath no need of the sun, nor of the moon, to shine in it. For the glory of God hath enlightened it, and the Lamb is the lamp thereof.  And the nations shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honour into it.  And the gates thereof shall not be shut by day: for there shall be no night there.
 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.  There shall not enter into it any thing defiled, or that worketh abomination or maketh a lie, but they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb.”( Revelation 21, DRB)
◄ Revelation 21 ►
Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
New, by their form and qualities, but not by their substance. — The first heaven and first earth was passed away: being changed, not as to their substance, but in their qualities. (Challoner)
From the seventh verse of the foregoing chapter, begins as it were the third part of the Apocalypse containing the coming of antichrist, the great day of judgment, the punishment of the wicked, and the eternal happiness of God’s elect in heaven, or in the celestial Jerusalem, which St. John describes in this chapter as if it were like a large city, beautified and enriched with gold and all manner of precious stones, &c. (Witham)
Coming down from God out of heaven. By the city we must understand its citizens, the Angels and saints. (Witham) — Justice, innocence, the good works of the saints, are the ornaments of the inhabitants of this new Jerusalem, the Church triumphant. If the world of the old Adam has appeared so beautiful, so magnificent, good God, what will be the riches of that which is made for Jesus Christ, the second Adam, and for his members! O Jesus! Father of the world to come, render us worthy of this new and everlasting world, and give us a disgust, a mortal hatred, for that which perishes, and which is the cause of our perdition.
Behold the tabernacle of God with men, inasmuch as God’s elect shall there dwell with him for ever and ever. (Witham)
It is done. The state of Christ’s Church on earth, and in this world, is now finished; and the time is come to reward the good, and to punish the wicked in the lake burning with fire and brimstone, in hell, with the devils for all eternity. (Witham) — This living water is God himself, of which the saints shall be inebriated at the source; i.e. in God himself. Enviable moment, when all the designs of God upon Jesus Christ and upon his Church will be accomplished: but how little thought of now! And how can we hope to be inebriated at this source of God above, if we do not aspire after it whilst we are in this dreary desert here below? He who begins and finishes gratuitously here below the work of our faith, crowns it still more liberally in heaven.
I will shew thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb: all the Church triumphant in heaven. (Witham)
The city is situate four-square; and by what follows, so as to be a perfect square, though everything that is quadrangular is not always a square, or perfect square. (Witham)
In quadro, Greek: tetragonos, quadrangularis.
The measure of a man, which is of an Angel. This seems, without doubt, the sense of it. (Witham)
Mensura hominis, quæ est Angeli; Greek: metron anthropou, o estin aggelou.
No temple in it. No need of a temple for divine worship, where God is in such a perfect manner present to all the blessed, where nothing can distract or divert their souls from endless adorations, praises, &c. (Witham)
Needeth not sun nor moon, where there is no vicissitude or succession of day and night, the divine brightness always shining to them. (Witham)
The kings of the earth shall bring their glory; the elect, of all states and conditions, shall now be exalted like kings, or rather infinitely above the glory that we can imagine of any kings in this world. (Witham)
There shall not enter it any thing defiled. This is what we ought always to remember and have in our minds. (Witham)
Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
The Apocalypse Of Saint John (Revelation)
Satan is bound for a thousand years. The souls of the martyrs reign with Christ in the first resurrection. The last attempts of Satan against the church. The last judgment.
“ And I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand.  And he laid hold on the dragon the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.  And he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should no more seduce the nations, till the thousand years be finished. And after that, he must be loosed a little time.  And I saw seats; and they sat upon them; and judgment was given unto them; and the souls of them that were beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and who had not adored the beast nor his image, nor received his character on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.  The rest of the dead lived not, till the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
 “Bound him”: The power of Satan has been very much limited by the passion of Christ: for a thousand years; that is, for the whole time of the New Testament; but especially from the time of the destruction of Babylon or pagan Rome, till the new efforts of Gog and Magog against the church, towards the end of the world. During which time the souls of the martyrs and saints live and reign with Christ in heaven, in the first resurrection, which is that of the soul to the life of glory; as the second resurrection will be that of the body, at the day of the general judgment.
 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection. In these the second death hath no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ; and shall reign with him a thousand years.  And when the thousand years shall be finished, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go forth, and seduce the nations, which are over the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, and shall gather them together to battle, the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.  And they came upon the breadth of the earth, and encompassed the camp of the saints, and the beloved city.  And there came down fire from God out of heaven, and devoured them; and the devil, who seduced them, was cast into the pool of fire and brimstone, where both the beast  And the false prophet shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
 And I saw a great white throne, and one sitting upon it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away, and there was no place found for them.  And I saw the dead, great and small, standing in the presence of the throne, and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged by those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and hell gave up their dead that were in them; and they were judged every one according to their works.  And hell and death were cast into the pool of fire. This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life, was cast into the pool of fire.”(Revelation 20, DRB)
Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
And bound him for a thousand years. I shall give the reader an abridgment of what St. Augustine has left us on this chapter, in this 20th book de Civ. Dei [The City of God]. From the 5th to the 16th chap. (t. vii. p. 578, et seq.) he treats upon these difficulties: What is meant by the first and second resurrection; by the binding and chaining up of the devil; by the thousand years that the saints reign with Christ; by the first and second death; by Gog and Magog, &c. As to the first resurrection, chap. vi. he takes notice on the 5th verse, that resurrection  in the Gospels, and in St. Paul, is applied not only to the body but also to the soul; and the second resurrection, which is to come, is that of the bodies: that there is also a death of the soul, which is by sin; and that the second death is that of soul and body by eternal damnation: that both bad and good shall rise again in their bodies. On those words, (ver. 6) Blessed is he that hath part in the first resurrection; in these the second death hath no power. Such, saith he, (chap. ix.) as have risen from sin, and have remained in that resurrection of the soul, shall never be liable to the second death, which is damnation. Cap. vii. p. 580, he says that some Catholics not understanding rightly the first resurrection, have been led into ridiculous fables, and this by the interpretation which they put on the thousand years; as if the first resurrection implied a resurrection of the bodies of the martyrs and saints, who should live on the earth with Christ for a thousand years before the general resurrection, in all manner of delights. This was the opinion of those called Millenarians: this, saith he, might seem tolerable in some measure, if taken for spiritual delights, (for we ourselves were once in these sentiments) but if for carnal pleasures, it can only be believed by carnal men. He then expounds what may be understood by the binding and chaining of the devil for a thousand years (Cap. vii. & viii, p. 581) that the thousand years, meaning a long time, may signify all the time from Christ’s first coming to his second at the end of the world, and to the last short persecution under antichrist. The devil is said to be bound, that is, his power much lessened and restrained, in comparison of the great and extensive power he had over all nations before Christ’s incarnation; not but that he still tempts many, and raiseth persecutions, which always turn to their greater good; and that towards the end of the world he shall be let loose, as it were, for a short time, and permitted with his infernal spirits to exercise his malice against mankind, to try the patience of the elect, and to shew the power of God’s grace, by which his faithful servants shall triumph over the devil. (N. B.) What St. Augustine adds divers times in these chapters: “Let no one,” says he, “imagine that even during that short time, there shall be no Church of Christ on the earth: God forbid: even when the devil shall be let loose, he shall not be able to seduce the Church.” Cap. ix, p. 586, he expounds those words, (ver. 4-5) I saw the souls of them that were beheaded….and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years….this is the first resurrection: i.e. the first resurrection is while the devil is chained up for the space of a thousand years. He takes notice that the present state of the Church is many times called the kingdom of God, and that the Church of Christ reigns now with Christ, both in the living saints, and those who are dead, in the souls of the martyrs, and of others, who have lived and died piously, now reign with Christ, not yet in their bodies, but their souls reign with him. On those words of the 4th verse: who had not adored the beast, nor his image, nor received his mark, he only gives this exposition, as agreeable to the Christian faith, that by the beast may be understood the multitude of wicked sinners in general, and the image of the beast  those who are of the Church in outward appearance and profession only, and not by their works. When it is said (ver. 5) that the rest of the dead lived not till the thousand years were finished: they lived not, says he, as to their souls, when they should have lived; and therefore not being happy in heaven, when their bodies shall rise, it shall not be to life, but to judgment and damnation, which is the second death. Cap. xi, he expounds the 7th and 8th verses, where it is said that Satan shall be loosed….and seduce the nations which are over the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, and shall gather them together to battle. This, says St. Augustine, will be the last persecution at the approach of the day of judgment, which the whole city, or the whole Church of Christ dispersed through the universe, will suffer from the whole city of the devil. Neither need Gog and Magog be taken for a particular barbarous people, but such as are dispersed in a manner in every nation, and who shall then break out by the instigation of Satan into an open hatred and persecution against the faithful servants of God; as it is said, (ver. 8.) they ascended upon the breadth of the earth, and surrounded the camp of the saints, where we cannot literally understand one camp, one city, or one place, but the Church every where dispersed. Cap. xii, he expounds the 9th verse, where he takes fire to signify, metaphorically, the firm resistance and constancy of the good, and the fire  of their zeal, which devoured as it were the wicked; or we may understand with others, the temporal fire of God’s judgments in this world against the wicked, but not the last eternal fire; because the eternal fire comes not down from heaven but the wicked are cast into it below. Cap. xiii, he teacheth that the last persecution of antichrist, here mentioned, shall but last three years and six months; i.e. a little while. Cap. xiv and xv, he expounds the 10th and following verse, of the devil being cast into the lake of fire, after the last persecution of antichrist. By the beast he understands, as before, the city or multitude of all the wicked; and by the false prophet, either antichrist or the outward appearance of faith in them that have none. Then follows the last judgment, where it is said that the books are opened, and also that another book was opened. By the first book, may be understood men and their consciences; and by the other book, the book of life, that of eternal predestination. Thus far S. Augustine, where we see that he delivers the common Catholic doctrine, that by the thousand years, so often mentioned in this chapter, he understands all that time in which the souls of the martyrs, and of all other saints, reign happy with Christ in heaven, till after the general resurrection they receive a full and complete happiness, both as to soul and body. A false exposition of these thousand years gave occasion to the mistake, the error, and heresy of those called the Millenarians, which Mede and Dr. W. have followed. Papias, who lived soon after, or perhaps with St. John, was the chief promoter of this mistake; a man, says Eusebius, of “little judgment and capacity,” who misconstrued the discourses which he heard. He was followed by divers writers in the second, third, and fourth century, who did not hold with Cerinthus and his followers, that the saints should rise before the general resurrection, and reign with Christ on earth for a thousand years in all manner of sensual pleasures; but in spiritual delights, in the city of Jerusalem, built anew after that glorious manner described in the next chapter. Now though this opinion had several considerable abettors, of which I find these seven: Papias, St. Justin Martyr, St. Irenæus, Tertullian, Nepos, (a bishop, in Egypt; in Eusebius, lib. xii. chap. xxiv.) Victorinus Petabionensis, Lactantius, and Severus Sulpitius: yet were there always other learned Catholic writers who rejected it as a fable. Of this number was Caius, a priest, at Rome, about the end of the second age [century]; Origen, in his prologue on the Canticles; St. Denys, of Alexandria, who in the third age [century] wrote to confute Nepos; (see Eusebius, lib. vii. History of the Church, chap. xxiv., who treats it as a fable ) St. Basil, who calls it an old wife’s tale, and a Jewish fiction, Epist. 293; St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Orat. 52; St. Epiphanius, St. Jerome, Philastrius, Theodoret, who place this opinion among the heresies and heretical fables: so that this could never be looked upon as the constant doctrine and tradition of the Church. The bishop of Meaux takes notice, that Mede either mistook or falsified the text of St. Justin, who, in his Dialogue with Tryphon, holds that opinion of a thousand years reign; but adds, “I also told you, that many who are Christians of pious and sound sentiments, do not own this to be true.” Thus we read in the Greek, as well as in the Latin translation: but Mr. Mede quite changes the sense, by adding a negative in this manner; but many who are not of this pure and holy doctrine, &c. We may observe that St. Justin says in the next page, that they who own not the resurrection of the body, and say that souls go to heaven without any future resurrection, are not to be accounted Christians, but are to be looked upon as Sadducees and unbelievers. Which is very true. And he adds, that he, and others who think right with him, know that there will be a resurrection of the flesh, and a rebuilding of Jerusalem for a thousand years, which St. Justin himself judge grounded on the prophets, Isaias, Ezechiel, &c. So that not to make St. Justin contradict himself, he mentions three opinions: the first is the heresy of those who absolutely denied the future resurrection of the dead: these were not Christians, but unbelievers, Sadducees, &c. The second was of those who held that the martyrs and saints should rise and reign for a thousand years in their bodies on the earth; this, which was his own opinion, he calls the right and true doctrine. But thirdly, he does not condemn those pious Christians who, as he had said before, disowned this thousand years reign, for this would be to contradict himself. (Witham) — In the above chapter, what man can reflect without trembling, that the devil has the rage of a dragon, the cunning of an old serpent, the malice of a calumniator, and that he is a most implacable enemy? On the other hand, what man is there that does not feel consolation in the reflection, that Jesus Christ has vanquished this savage fiend, and bound him in fetters, by limiting the exercise of his rage and malice? Some understand this chaining of the dragon of the reign of Constantine, and particularly after the defeat of Licinius; (see above, [Apocalypse] chap. xii. 18.) and the thousand years of the intermediate period between Constantine and antichrist, when the devil will again be let loose, but for a short time, only three years and a half. (Bible de Vence) — Bound him, &c. The power of Satan has been very much abridged by the passion of Christ; for a thousand years; that is, for the whole time of the new testament, but especially from the time of the destruction of Babylon or pagan Rome, till the new efforts of Gog and Magog against the Church, towards the end of the world. During which time the souls of the martyrs and saints live and reign with Christ in heaven, in the first resurrection, which is that of the soul to the life of glory, as the second resurrection will be that of the body, at the day of the general judgment. (Challoner)
Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary