Reading the Bible with Dead Guys: Matthew Henry on Revelation 22

This article is part of the Reading the Bible with Dead Guys series.

Reading the Bible With Dead Guys is a weekly blog series giving you the chance to read God’s Word alongside some great theologians from church history. With content adapted from the Crossway Classic Commentaries series, these posts feature reflections on Scripture by giants of the faith like John Calvin, Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon, John Owen, and more.

Today we’ll hear from Matthew Henry (1662–1714) on Revelation 22:20-21.

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.” —Revelation 22:20-21

We now come to the conclusion of the whole book of Revelation. This comes in three parts:

1. Christ’s farewell to his church.

He seems now, after he had been revealing these things to his people on earth, to take leave of them and return to heaven. But he leaves them with great kindness and assures them that it will not be long before he comes again. He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus (verse 20). “Yes, I am coming soon.”

Just as when he ascended into heaven after his resurrection he left a promise about his gracious presence, so here he parts with a promise about his speedy return. Some might say, “Where is the promise of his return being fulfilled, when so many ages have gone by since this was written?” Let such people know that God is not slack about keeping the promises he has made to his people, but is long-suffering toward his enemies. His coming will be sooner than they realize, sooner than they are prepared for, sooner than they desire. But to his people it will be at the right season. The vision is about an appointed time, and he will not delay.

2. The church’s heartfelt echo to Christ’s promise.

a.) Declaring her firm belief in it. Amen. “So it is, so it will be.”

b.) Expressing her earnest desire for it. Come, Lord Jesus. “Even so, come Lord Jesus; come quickly, my Beloved.” “Come away, my lover, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the spice-laden mountains” (Song of Songs 8:14). Thus beats the pulse of the church; thus breathes the gracious
Spirit that actuates and informs the mystical body of Christ. We should never be satisfied until we find such a spirit breathing in us, making us look for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. This is the language of the church of the firstborn, and we should join other believers in this song, often reminding ourselves of his promise. What comes from heaven in a promise should be sent back to heaven in a prayer.

Come, Lord Jesus ends this state of sin, sorrow, and temptation. “Gather your people out of this present evil world and take them up to heaven, that state of perfect purity, peace, and joy, and so finish your great purpose and fulfill all your words in which your people have put their hope.”


Matthew Henry

Henry explores Revelation's imagery and symbolism as the church is reminded of God's sovereignty in accomplishing his will. A Crossway Classic Commentary, abridged and adapted for today's reader.

3. The apostolic blessing “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen”

Note here:
a.) The Bible ends with clear evidence about the Godhead of Christ, since the Spirit of God teaches the apostle to bless his people in the name of Christ, and to ask Christ for a blessing on them. This is a proper act of adoration.

b.) We should desire nothing more than that Christ’s grace should be with us in this world, to prepare us for the glory of Christ in the other world. It is by his grace that we must be kept in a joyful expectation of his glory and become fit for this and persevere in it. His glorious appearing will be joyful and welcome for those who take part in his grace and favor here. Therefore, to this most comprehensive prayer we should all add our heartfelt Amen.

We should most earnestly thirst after greater measures of the gracious influences of the blessed Jesus in our souls and his gracious presence with us, for he is our Sun and Shield. “For the LORD God is a sun and a shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless” (Psalm 84:11).

This article was adapted from Matthew Henry's commentary on Revelation, part of the Crossway Classic Commentaries series edited by Alister McGrath and J. I. Packer.

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