This closing chapter of the Book of Revelation continues our thrilling "sightseeing tour" of the New Jerusalem, and reaffirms the fact that only those who possess the righteousness of Christ are granted admittance and residence.
Verse 1: And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
Verse 2: In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month. and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
The first two verses of chapter 22 establish the fact that, in our new glorified bodies, we, as inhabitants of the Holy City, will continue to enjoy the habit of eating. Why not? When we see Jesus, we shall be like him (1 John 3:2). Since He ate in His glorified body (see Luke 24:43), why wouldnít we? Our text also describes the best drink we will ever enjoy - pure, refreshing water direct from the throne of God. Think of it! Distilled or chemically treated water is no longer necessary, for pollution has become non-existent!
Not only do we have crystal clear water to drink, but we also enjoy delicious health producing fruit. In fact, the tree of life bears twelve manner of fruits and produces them monthly.
This is interesting.
When Adam and Eve sinned by partaking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17), God drove them out of the Garden of Eden. He then stationed an angel before its entrance in order to keep them from eating the fruit of the tree of life, lest they eat and live eternally in their sinful state.
Now a new day has arrived. The saints are in the very presence of God, and may eat of the tree of life to their heartís content. Undoubtedly this tree plays a part in promoting oneís endless existence, for even the leaves contain healing or health for the nations living under, or in the light of, the city. The word health is the proper translation, not healing. Since there is no sorrow, sickness, or pain, healing is unnecessary because eternal health is for all. In the heavenly city, doctors and nurses are permanently retired. Hallelujah!
Verse 3: And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
The curse, which originated in the Garden of Eden and was partially removed during the Millennium, is now obliterated forever.
Verse 4: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.
Think of it! We will observe the beauty of our Saviourís countenance daily as we live in His presence forever and ever. When we look at the One who is altogether lovely and He, in turn, looks at us, He will observe His name indelibly inscribed upon our foreheads. This is our seal of eternal ownership! Oh, how wonderful to belong to Jesus!
Verse 5: And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
Because Christ, in all His glory, illuminates the city and its inhabitants - those who walk in the light of the city - no other type of natural or artificial lighting is required. Even the sun which warmed the former earth for so many centuries is no longer necessary. The warmth of the love of God shines upon His people for the ages of ages in this land of eternal day.
Verse 6: And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.
At this point the angel tells John the reason God has allowed him to experience this vision of the revelation. He says, "The God of the holy prophets who is truth and cannot lie, sent me to tell you that the things you have heard and seen must come to pass speedily."
Verse 7: Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
In verse 6, our Lord told John that the things written in this Book of Revelation must shortly be done or "come to pass speedily." Then He adds in verse 7, Behold, I come quickly [or speedily]. The term speedily is not used in relationship to hours, days, months, or even years. Rather, it speaks of a series of events happening in rapid succession once they begin. In other words, when these things begin to come to pass (see Luke 21:28), the signs and events will fall into place so speedily - one after another - that a state of preparedness should be maintained. Hence, the admonition: Blessed [or happy] is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. Such an individual will be ready for the Lordís return.
Verse 8-9 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book. Worship God.
Poor mortals never learn! John had already made the mistake of bowing before an angel and being rebuked in chapter 19, verse 10. Now he does it again! Fortunately, we have a God of love. He is willing to forgive the same mistake seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22). Only by His grace, love, compassion, and forgiveness are any of us able to continue. Thank you, Lord Jesus!
Verse 10: And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.
Following Godís revelation to Daniel, the prophet was told to seal the book [until] the time of the end (Daniel 12:4).
John, however, is forbidden to seal the Book of Revelation because the time is at hand, or has come. In the Greek, the word time is kairos, and means "opportune moment" or "correct season." Thus, the angel is saying, "The time for the revealing of prophetic truth has come. People are to be made aware of the future. They must learn the history of the churches and the plan of the ages. Then, as they live in these periods of time, they will understand Godís program. They will also realize that, once the events begin, they will speedily come to pass. Knowing this, they will prepare. Therefore, do not seal the prophecy of the sayings of this book."
Our study of the Book of Revelation has revealed that the Rapture, the Tribulation, and the Great White Throne Judgment will soon come to pass. As a result, some will realize that little time is left and will ask Christ to save them. Others will continue to harden their hearts. The decision is every individualís to make. Oneís acceptance or rejection of Godís truth and the Lord Jesus Christ as oneís personal Saviour will determine where one spends eternity and what one will be forever. Hence, the next statement...
Verse 11: He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
Choose this day what you shall be eternally!
Verse 12: And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
Godís prophetic time clock is ticking, and every event will certainly and speedily come to pass.
Verse 13: I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
God is saying, "When I come, I will finish the work of redemption which I began, for I am the Alpha and Omega, the author and finisher of [the] faith (Hebrews 12:2)." If you receive the gospel invitation, you will be happy for...
Verse 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.
According to Dr. C. I. Scofield, a better rendering of verse 14 is, "Blessed are they that wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life." If one is seeking rights to the tree of life by commandment keeping, he is planning to arrive in the eternal state by his works. This, of course, is impossible as we have learned through Titus 3:5, Romans 4:5, and numerous other texts.
Dr. A. C. Gaebelein, Dr. H. A. Ironside, Dr. J. A. Seiss, and practically all noted Bible scholars also translate the verse, "Blessed are they that wash their robes (in the blood of the Lamb) that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." Those who reject the message of the blood and salvation by grace through faith in the completed work of Christ (see Ephesians 2:8,9) are reminded:
Verse 15: For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
This is the crowd pictured in Revelation 21:8. The dogs are identical to the abominable of chapter 21. The abominable never lived it (see Titus 1:16), and the dogs went back to their dirt - their old sinful habits (see 2 Peter 2:22). Both verses speak of individuals who lack the "new birth" experience - the one and only way a person can become a new creation in Christ Jesus (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). There is absolutely no doubt about the destiny of those who reject Godís message and the truths revealed in the Book of Revelation, for...
Verse 16: I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
The message of the revelation is true because Christ inaugurated and guarantees it. Who would dare question Him? In this verse, the Lord also calls himself the root and offspring of David. As the root, He is Davidís Lord - the preexistent God (see Psalm 110:1). As his offspring, He is Davidís son, the incarnate Christ (see Matthew 22:41-46).
This is a beautiful picture of the God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is also the bright and morning star. In fact, Peter calls Him the day star (2 Peter 1:19).
Now listen intently, for this is deeply moving. God so loves sinners that His compassionate heart must extend the gospel call one last time before the book closes. Oh, that modern day ministers were as evangelistic as the Heavenly Father! Hear Him:
Verse 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.
In this text, God compassionately declares, "Believe in Me; come to Me. Invite Me into your heart and life. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Everyone and everything is pulling for you:
(1) the Holy Spirit is,If you have rejected this invitation, if you have considered the message of the Book of Revelation unimportant, or if you are among those who believe that the Book of Revelation is not part of the canon of Scripture - that it is but a collection of riddles, simply a symbolic hoax perpetrating a myth - beware! For God himself warns one and all...
(2) the bride of Christ is,
(3) everyone who hears and believes is,
(4) the glorious city in which the Bride dwells is saying, ĎDonít you want me for your eternal home?í Finally
(5) your own spiritual thirst is crying out, ĎI want to be satisfied."í Why not come and drink? The water of life is free. It is without cost or obligation for everyone, and whosoever will may come!
Verse 18: For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
Verse 19: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
What a strong judgmental warning! What a serious admonition from the Almighty to take the Book of Revelation seriously! God means what He says and says what He means. One is not to meddle with or handle lightly the truths which mean so much to the God of heaven and earth, for...
Verse 20: He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
Godís last promise as the Book of Revelation closes is, Surely, I come quickly. When one sees the beginning of these events and the rapid succession of signs following speedily, Jesus will come quickly - or suddenly. The response of His people is: Amen. This expression literally means, so be it (Jeremiah 11:5). And then they immediately add, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
The final message to the Church is that our Lord will return. Until this glorious event takes place and He calls us to himself in the twinkling of an eye, my prayer for every born-again child of God reflects the benediction of this blessed book:
Verse 21: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
This concludes our study of the book of Revelation.
Next week we will answer some questions recently received. Soon we
will begin an in-depth study of the 1,000 year reign of Jesus Christ upon
Earth which begins at the conclusion of the 7-yr "Tribulation" period.