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PARADISE REGAINED # 68
The River of the Water of Life
“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 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. 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: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 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.” (Revelation 22:1-5).
Verses 1-5 are chronological and are a continuation of chapter 21 and the description of the New Jerusalem. It is unclear as to the location of the new city. Some think it will be situated on the new earth; others believe it will be suspended in space. One thing is for sure, this city is vastly different from the millennial city.
In chapter 21 John describes the construction and materials of the city. In this chapter, he describes the inside and its provisions. We have seen that the number 12 signifies that the New Jerusalem is the center of the divine government, which will rule the new heavens and the new earth. The light, although literal, speaks of the truth and righteousness in which the nations will walk.
John sees a “pure river” proceeding out of the throne of God and the Lamb. This raises the question as to the extent of this river and its purpose. If is a literal river, is the river confined to the city? Does it dissipate or pool into lakes and seas? Will those who live in the New Jerusalem need this water to survive or is it symbolic?
Dake says there are 12 boulevards matching the 12 gates. Most likely there is one main boulevard that leads to the throne, and it is this street that has the river of life and the tree of life by it. Dr. Ruckman says the tree is not singular but the species, and that many trees grow on either side of the boulevard. These trees produce fruit constantly for the nations dwelling on the new earth.
If those living on the new earth are in natural bodies, like those of Adam and Eve prior to the fall, these trees may provide for their eternal life in their natural bodies. We should keep in mind that the Garden of Eden also contained the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. The first pair needed to eat of the tree of life to maintain their natural lives. Instead, they chose to believe Satan’s lie and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was necessary for God to station a Cherub by the entrance of the garden to ensure that no one ate of the tree of life after the fall, lest they live forever in a sinful state. God deemed a natural death and resurrection superior to the alternative.
We must not think of sickness and disease being present in the new eternal state. However, those in natural bodies would become older and weaker and eventually die if they did not eat of the tree of life. The “healing” was for the preservation of eternal life. It is uncertain if one is required to eat of the tree continuously or if one partaking will give eternal life. Some commentators think it will be necessary for individuals to go up each year on their birthday.
Again, if literal, the trees yield their fruit each month. Therefore, there will be days, months and years on the New Earth. This will require the sun and the moon for those seasons.
The curse will be removed and will never return. Those in the city will have unbroken fellowship with God as Adam and Eve had prior to the fall. They shall see His face and will walk with Him in perfect fellowship.
“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. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. 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.” (Revelation 22:6-9).
The attention shifts from the New Jerusalem back to John and the angel. John is reassured that what he had seen and heard was indeed from God, and that they were about to take place. Those who hear and keep the saying of the letters to the churches will be blessed and enter into the joys described in the book (Revelation 1:3). We should add that John had seen the completed revelation before he wrote any part of the book.
When John hears these things, he does a strange thing. He falls down to worship at the feet of the angel. John is rebuked and told that the angel was only a servant of God. Notice that the angel directs John’s allegiance to the Scriptures and the worship of God. This is good advice for all people at all times.
“And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. 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. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 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. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” (Revelation 22:10-15).
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]If you have not come to Jesus Christ for eternal life, will you ask Him to save you now and receive the gift of eternal life? The invitation is “come.” [/pullquote]
The above passage confirms that the city is occupied by the Jews, or is open to them. Those have a right to enter the city who have observed the commandments. Also, the “dogs” is a reference to Gentiles.
Daniel, when shown the vision, was instructed to seal it up for the time of its fulfillment was in the distant future. However, that time in the Revelation had come and would be fulfilled at the Second Advent. Those, in the Tribulation, will receive their reward according to the state they are in at Christ’s return. As the tree falls, it will lie.
The wicked will be judged at the White Throne Judgment and will be cast into the lake of fire. Only those nations who obey God in the Millennium will have access to the tree of life on the new earth. Others will have been destroyed.
“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. 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. 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: 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.” (Revelation 22:16-19).
We noted in chapter 1:13 that Jesus walked in the midst of the seven churches. He was with them in all their suffering and tribulation. Now, at the conclusion of the Revelation, He reassures them. He is the promised seed of David. He is the Bright and Morning Star that brings light and life to the earth. All are invited to come and kiss the Son and drink deeply of the eternal life that is only in Him. It is free to all!
Once again, we are reminded of the certainty of the prophecies. Those who reject its teachings and warnings will be judged accordingly. These words are directed specifically to those who will be on earth at the time of these events.
“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Revelation 22:20-21
Once the events in this book commence, they will move in rapid succession. The Tribulation will last only seven short years. The Second Advent of Jesus will close it and begin the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. That will be followed by a new heaven and a new earth, which will be totally righteous and without sin.
Mankind has been returned to the exact condition planned in the beginning. He has learned that without total obedience to God he is hopeless and helpless. Men and angels will praise and serve Him forever for His wisdom, power, love, mercy, and salvation! If you have not come to Jesus Christ for eternal life, will you ask Him to save you now and receive the gift of eternal life? The invitation is “come.” Paradise has been regained!
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.
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