Revelation 22:14


A key passage in the Bible is Revelation 22:14.

Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.KJV.

At the very end of the Bible, we catch a final glimpse of the people of God--and we see that they enter beyond the gates of the Holy City because, through the enabling strength of Christ, they kept the Ten Commandments. Yet this verse need come as no surprise; for, throughout all the pages of Scripture which preceded this final one, God is calling His people to that obedience.

Revelation 22:14 is a landmark passage; for it, along with Isaiah 66:22-23, presents us with a final climactic view of Gods faithful ones, as they enter upon the glories of eternity beyond.

Yet now we are being told that it is not true; it will not happen that way. The new versions tell us the verse says something different.

Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.RSV.

And, even worse, this concept has found its way into the pages of the Adventist Review written by an associate director of the General Conference Biblical Research Institute!

Ellen White never, never, never quoted the English Revised or American Revised Version of this verse, even though she had access to them. Instead, she quoted only the King James. That fact provides us with certainty as to the correct translation! She quotes the verse over thirty times in her published books.

The redeemed saints, who have loved God and kept His commandments here, will enter in through the gates of the city, and have right to the tree of life. They will eat freely of it as our first parents did before their fall. My Life Today, 355.

They desire to live for themselves, not for God. He is not in their thoughts; therefore they are classed with unbelievers. Were it possible for them to enter the gates of the city of God, they could have no right to the tree of life, for when Gods commandments were laid before them with all their binding claims they said, No. Christ's Object Lessons, 270.

The faithful will enter the city of God because, by the enabling grace of Christ, they were overcomers. They were living clean lives. They were like God. They obeyed Gods commandments. Gods redeeming work enables those willing to submit to become mirrors of His character. This is what it means to be clothed in white robes. Their characters have been washed in His blood. Here is a passage which is the closest to combining both versions of Revelation 22:14.

He desires us to seek for a pure, clean soul, a soul washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. It is the white robe of Christ's righteousness that gives the sinner admittance into the presence of the heavenly angels. Not the color of his hair, but his perfect obedience to all Gods commandments, opens to him the gates of the Holy City. 7 Bible Commentary, 920.

The remainder of this page is an excerpt from a recently completed book manuscript by the present writer.

Revelation 22:14. This very important verse has been changed in the Neutral Text, and therefore in most modern translations.

Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.KJV.

Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.RSV; the footnote reads: Other ancient authorities read do his commandments.

Ellen White properly quotes this, as it is found in the KJV, many times.

There are interesting aspects to this variant:

First, it is clearly a doctrinal issue, and antinomians would be glad to see the commandments taken out of the verse.

Second, the variant is quite Biblical; for there are two other verses in Revelation which says something similar:

Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood. Revelation 1:5b, KJV.

These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Revelation 7:14b, KJV.

Third, it is an intriguing fact that both alternatives in Revelation 22:14 rhyme in the Greek!

Blessed are those doing the commandments His. / Makarioi oi poiountes tas entolas autou.

Blessed are those washing the robes His. / Makarioi oi plunontes tas stolas auton.

It is very possible that a copyist became confused, due to the similar sound, and substituted something like the earlier two verses in Revelation.        vf

  Translations . . by committees are . . much better . . than those by individuals. Rodriguez. It is well-known among Biblical scholars--and those who have served on 20th-century Bible translation committees--that the publisher selects men from all the denominations, and very few of them are qualified for the task. It is a matter of political appointments. In strong contrast, William Tyndale (the actual translator of the underlying text of the translation, which we today call the King James Bible [see my forthcoming book, The King James Bible and the Modern Versions], was a linguistic genius and totally dedicated to God). The King James is almost a mirror image of his work.

Textual evidence: The different [Greek] manuscripts provide the two main readings mentioned in your question. Rodriguez. Cyprian (died A.D. 258) quoted the verse as it is in the KJV, a hundred years before the earliest Greek manuscripts the translators work with: Cyprian, whose writings antedate any extant Greek manuscript, quotes the text as reading, Blessed are they that do His commandments. We may therefore safely consider this as the genuine reading. Uriah Smith, Daniel and Revelation, p. 776, quoting The Treatise of Cyprian, XII, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V, p. 525. The earliest useable Greek manuscripts date from about A.D. 350; Cyprian from about A.D. 225.