Who is the "him that heareth" in

Revelation 22:17 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.


What is this verse about? Is it the church calling the world to come to Christ?

  • 1
    Revelation 22:20 also needs to be considered in relation to 22:17. Surely I come quickly. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Good question +1.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 1, 2019 at 11:18

2 Answers 2


Rev 22:17 consists of four statements as follows:

  • (a) The Spirit and the Bride say "come"
  • (b) Let the one hearing say "come"
  • (c) Let the one thirsting come
  • (d) And the one desiring let [him] take of the water of life freely

It is uncontroversial that in part (a) the "Spirit" is the Holy Spirit and "the Bride" is the church (Rev 21:9, 10); and that these two plead that Jesus will fulfil His promise to return quickly as expressed in Rev 22:12 & 20, Titus 2:13, 2 Tim 4:8, 1 Peter 1:7, Isa 25:9, etc. It also uncontroversial that in part (b) "the one hearing", or, "him that hears" (in some versions) is the one (ie, anyone) listening to the book of Revelation being read, Rev 1:3 and Rev 22:18 as part of the Gospel message to a fallen world.

The difficulty in understanding this text is the person(s) to whom parts (b) and (c) of Rev 22:17 are addressed; more specifically, who is being asked to "come"? There are several possibilities:

  1. That part (b) is addressed, again, to Jesus to fulfil His promise to "come". If this is true, it is also possible that, by omission of repetition, and implied "say" is intended in part (c) so that, fully written out, it would also be, 'let the one thirsting [say] "Come" ', because a thirsting soul want to drink from the river of the water of life as described in Rev 22:1, 2.
  2. That Part (b) is addressed, again, to Jesus to fulfil His promise to "come" as above but that part (c) is a plea to those that thirst to come to Jesus for the water of life as promised in Rev 22:1, 2, but only because the verb "say" is absent.
  3. That part (b) is addressed to the unbelieving world to accept the gospel and that part (c) is a similar plea.

In my view, option (3) is not credible because unbelievers do not yearn nor plead for the appearing of Jesus but dread it as described in Rev 6:15-17. However, options 1 & 2 are credible. Option 1 is consistent with part (a) and Rev 22:12, 20. Option 2 is consistent with part (d). Both options 1 & 2 are consistent with the Gospel message as a whole.

In any case, "the one hearing" is the one who is listening to the Gospel via John's book of Revelation and asked, along with John (v20), to pray for the soon return of Jesus.


I see a link between "him that hears" and this passage:

  • God chides Jerusalem for being stupid and blind:

[Isa 29:9-20 NLT] (9) Are you amazed and incredulous? Don't you believe it? Then go ahead and be blind. You are stupid, but not from wine! You stagger, but not from liquor! (10) For the LORD has poured out on you a spirit of deep sleep. He has closed the eyes of your prophets and visionaries. (11) All the future events in this vision are like a sealed book to them. When you give it to those who can read, they will say, "We can't read it because it is sealed." (12) When you give it to those who cannot read, they will say, "We don't know how to read." (13) And so the Lord says, "These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.

  • his "solution" will be a wisdom of amazing power not according to human thought and not merely powerless words:

NLT Isa 29: (14) Because of this, I will once again astound these hypocrites with amazing wonders. The wisdom of the wise will pass away, and the intelligence of the intelligent will disappear."

Paul appeals to this verse as the purpose of the gospel:

[1Co 1:17-25, 30 NASB] (17) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. (18) For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (19) For it is written, "I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE." (20) Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? (21) For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. (22) For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; (23) but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, (24) but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (25) Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. ... (30) But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,

  • God anticipates, exposes and rebukes hypocrisy, low notions of God's wisdom and blaming God:

NLT Isa 29:(15) What sorrow awaits those who try to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their evil deeds in the dark! "The LORD can't see us," they say. "He doesn't know what's going on!" (16) How foolish can you be? He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay! Should the created thing say of the one who made it, "He didn't make me"? Does a jar ever say, "The potter who made me is stupid"?

  • God points to the messianic age when Israel (IE: the elect remnant thereof) will be reborn through the reading of scripture:

NLT Isa 29:(17) Soon--and it will not be very long--the forests of Lebanon will become a fertile field, and the fertile field will yield bountiful crops. (18) In that day the deaf will hear words read from a book, and the blind will see through the gloom and darkness. (19) The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the LORD. The poor will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.

  • Those of Jerusalem who do not hear will be destroyed:

NLT Isa 29:(20) The scoffer will be gone, the arrogant will disappear, and those who plot evil will be killed.

I think this view is enforced by the blessing on him who reads this prophecy aloud:

[Rev 1:3 KJV] (3) Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.