The Conclusion of Blessing and Promise
CONCLUSION OF BLESSING AND PROMISE
And he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 2 in the middle of its street
- Notice the “and”? The “and” connects this to what came before in the previous chapter.
- And in the previous chapter we saw a vision of “the glorious city…or the glorious church.”
- The “church” or the redeemed of God have been faithful through out their fiery ordeal and in the sight of God they are precious.
- And here in chapter 22 God continues to encourage those who have been faithful to Him.
- This is language of blessing and reassurance for those who remain faithful to God no matter what.
So he says: And he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 2 in the middle of its street.
- People living in a desert area know how refreshing a “crystal clear river of water can be.”
- It gets hot and dry…you get hot and thirsty…and the sight of crystal clear water is something you can hardly wait for.
These Christians, under the rule of Rome, have gone through a desert worse than any we have known.
- They have been persecuted and executed…and they are wondering if putting their faith in Christ has been a foolish thing.
- And God reassures them here that their faith is not in vain by speaking of something they would understand and that is “water.”
- They understood that because they too lived in a desert area.
- But this isn’t just “water”…this is “water of life” which would be even more refreshing to those who have been living in a desert of severe persecution.
- This is here to tell them that their faith is not in vain…and even though they might suffer…perhaps even die…they will drink from the “water of life.”
- They will live even though they die.
And notice where this “river of the water of life” comes from.”
- “It comes from the throne of God and of the Lamb…”
- The “throne” here speaks of God’s authority…and the fact that the “water of life” comes from His throne speaks of mercy and grace.
- And what this says here is those who allow God to rule over their lives…those people will receive what He gives in mercy and grace and that is “the water of life.”
- Those who do not bow to His authority…who do not obey Him…and serve Him…will not drink from this water.
Now, this “water of life” is not the only thing that the people of God have access too. Look at vs. 2:
And on either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
- Notice the number 12…once again 12 is the number of God’s people.
- This fruit from the “tree of life” is provided for the people of God.
And notice, this tree yields its fruit “every month.” That would be 12 times a year.
- Over and over again we are being told that these blessings are for the people of God.
- And they are a continuous, ongoing, never ending blessing.
And then he says: …and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
- The fruit is for the inhabitants of the city…or the people of God…but here the leaves are for the nations.
- The blessings of this tree are for the inhabitants of the city…and yet, others have the opportunity to share in these blessings if they only will.
Look at verse 17: And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.
Here you have the Spirit and the bride…or the church…inviting all to drink of the water of life.
- It is a “fountain free”…available to all that will come.
- But if they refuse to come…if they refuse to be “washed clean” (21: 27) there will be no life.
So the fruits of the tree of life in verse 2 are for the inhabitants of the city…or for God’s people…but all people are invited to share in the blessings.
Let’s quickly hit on a concept that is taught out of this passage.
- Many want to say that this is speaking of eternity…or heaven.
- How can that be?
- If the leaves are for the healing of the nations…where do the nations come from?
- Is this tree something that the “nations” can eat from after the judgment has taken place?
- And if this takes place in “eternity”…then what is it the nations need to be healed from?
- If it is in “eternity” it must be a “spiritual” healing.
- So the people who say this is talking about eternity or heaven…are they saying that people who are lost before eternity…can then be saved after eternity begins?
Obviously that is not going to take place…so what that means is, this cannot be talking about eternity…or heaven.
- This is a message that was specifically for the Christians at the time to reassure them that even though they were suffering at the hands of Rome…and perhaps might even die…eternal life was theirs if they would remain faithful.
- And it was also intended to let others know that they too could share in the “water of life” if they would only come.
3 And there shall no longer be any curse;
- There are several possibilities with this phrase.
- But the point is: For the faithful church of God…there is no curse…there is only LIFE!
3 And there shall no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His bond-servants shall serve Him; 4 and they shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.
- “To see His face” speaks of communion or fellowship.
- Remember over in 2 Samuel 15 when Absalom was allowed to come back to Jerusalem but wasn’t allowed to see his father’s face?
- That indicated that there was no fellowship…no communion.
Here, those who remain faithful to God and the Lamb…who allow God and the Lamb to rule their lives…those people can be assured of communion or fellowship with God and the Lamb.
- And the significance of His name on their foreheads indicates “possession.”
- We saw this back in chapter 7:3.
Rev 22:5 And there shall no longer be any night; and they shall not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall illumine them; and they shall reign forever and ever.
- Since the Lord dwells in the city and the city depends on Him for their light…then this is a night-less city.
- No darkness, no gloom or evil are found here.
Rev 22:6 And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”; (in other words, “You can depend on it.”
…and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must shortly take place.
- Do you see the statement, “things which must shortly take place”?
- Any one who ignores this statement when determining the meaning of this book is not being fair to the book.
- We saw this at the very beginning…and here it is once again.
- The things written in this book “must shortly take place.”
7 “And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.”
- Again, the word “quickly” indicates that the judgment mentioned in this book was something that would soon begin to take place.
- And he says once again that this book is a prophecy.
- The nature of prophecies is a prophecy deals with the problems of it’s time.
- It deals with calling people to repentance.
- And it sounds a warning or a judgment on those who are enemies of God.
- The things spoken of in this book were written for the people of its day…to encourage them…to warn them…and to pronounce judgment on their enemies.
- The indication is that the writings of this revelation have already come to pass.
Rev 22:8 And I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things.
- These Christian knew John…and so by putting is name here he is confirming to these brethren the authenticity and authority of this book.
And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. 9 And he said to me, “Do not do that;
- I think there is two things we can get from this.
- One, we are not to worship angels.
- And two, if angels are not to be worshipped…then why would anyone think it is ok to worship a human being…especially some blasphemous emperor of Rome.
And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. 9 And he said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book; worship God.”
- Only God can deliver…therefore, only God is worthy of our worship.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023