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 (Rev. 22:17).

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.

The thought is that, although this gospel call 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.


Herman Hoeksema (1886-1965)


[Source: The Protestant Reformed Churches in America (1947), pp. 348-349]

7.   Does not the Bible teach a general offer of salvation, when it says: “whosoever will may come”?
I am afraid that you quote this from a hymn rather than from the Word of God.

8.   But are not these words found in Revelation 22:17?
No; there you read the following words: “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.”
Now, notice:
a.   That the text first of all speaks of him that is athirst. Athirst after what? After the water of life, of course. It speaks, therefore, to them that are truly, spiritually athirst. And this is not true of all men, though they may thirst after many things. They surely do not thirst after the living God.
b.   That it is only he that is athirst that will take of the water of life. He that is not athirst will not take that water, but despises it. The will to take of the water of life is motivated by the thirst. Hence, “Whosoever will” and “he that is athirst” are identical. Christ, therefore, calls whosoever is athirst.
c.   But this being athirst and, therefore, also this will to take the water of life freely, is not of nature, but of the grace of God. God is always first, not man. From which it follows, that also in Revelation 22:17 the Lord is calling the elect by their spiritual name.



[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!



Prof. Herman C. Hanko

[Source: Common Grace Considered (2019 edition), p. 155]

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 preoccupation 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 (Prov. 8:1ff; Matt. 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 22:17, 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.”



More to come! (DV)

No comments:

Post a Comment