05 August, 2016

Revelation 22:17—“And let him that is athirst come . . . And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely”

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 (Revelation 22:17 KJV).


Prof. Herman Hanko

[Source: Common Grace Considered, pp. 86-87]

[This] text, and others like it, have been used to prove from Scripture a well-meant and gracious gospel offer in which God expresses His desire to save all men. But such an interpretation is incorrect. Presumably, the defenders of this position assume that, though this call of the gospel comes only to those that hear or are thirsty or will to come, such characteristics belong to all men. All men hear; all men thirst (for the coming of Christ), all men desire to come.

But this is an evident impossibility on the face of it. Such a view is based on the Arminian doctrine of free-willism, and cannot be found in Scripture. . .

Briefly, the meaning of the text is quite different. In the first part of the text John lays down the general truth that the “bride” of Christ, that is, His church, prays, by the power of the Spirit for Christ’s return. The words “The Spirit and the bride say, Come,” mean, by a Greek hendiadys, “The Spirit in the hearts of the bride says, Come.” He then turns to an admonition directed to the bride to make this prayer earnest and one’s own. These members of the church are described by their spiritual names. They hear what the book of Revelation says about the coming of Christ; they thirst for that coming, for it means their full salvation, and the waters of life shall be theirs to drink forever and ever to quench their thirst.

But even the saints need this admonition, for they are yet in the world, sinful and not always earnestly and eagerly longing for Christ’s return. They are too trapped in their pre-occupation with earthly things to give much thought to Christ’s coming. So the admonition directed to the saints is urgent.

Let us be aware of the fact that Scripture does call all men who hear the gospel to faith and repentance (Proverbs 8:1ff and Matthew 22:14). This command of God is not an expression of His loving desire to save all, but simply a sharp and earnest command. But there are also texts directed only to those who are God’s elect and who know already the work of the Spirit and the grace of God in their hearts. They are addressed by their spiritual names and cannot refer to all men. Such passages as Revelation 22:15, Isaiah 55:1 and Matthew 11:28 are clear instances of such passages. But in neither case does such a passage speak of God’s gracious and loving desire to save all who hear the gospel.



Rev. Herman Hoeksema

[Not] all men thirst after the water of life, and . . . also the will to come and to take that water is already the fruit of divine grace!



More to come! (DV)

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