“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 (1).
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 (2).
“Out of the throne.” Actually gushing from the base of the throne is the river "of water of life." Some have asked, “Is this river called “the water of life" as a symbolic name to remind all, forever, that Christ is truly the giver of the water of life? (John 4:13-14, 1 Corinthians 10:4 and Exodus 17:6). Or, does it have life giving properties?
What kind of “life” does the river of the water of life give? When we read Verse 2, we immediately know that it sustains plant life, and, common sense will tell us, if a certain water source sustains plant life, it will also quench human thirst. It appears that since this “water of life” gushes from the base of God’s Throne in the New Jerusalem, it must have other life-giving properties. The Greek word for “life” that refers to both the river and the Tree of Life, transplanted from Eden, is:
“zōē” and is used in the New Testament "of life as a principle, life in the absolute sense, life as God has it, that which the Father has in Himself, and which He gave to the Incarnate Son to have in Himself, John 5:26, and which the Son manifested in the world, 1 John 1:2. From this life, man has become alienated in consequence of the Fall, Eph. 4:18, and of this life men become partakers through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, John 3:15, who becomes its Author to all such as trust in Him, Acts 3:15, and who is therefore said to be 'the life' of the believer, Col. 3:4, for the life that He gives He maintains, John 6:35, 63. Eternal life is the present actual possession of the believer because of his relationship with Christ, John 5:24, 1 John 3:14, and that it will one day extend its domain to the sphere of the body is assured by the Resurrection of Christ, 2 Cor. 5:4, 2 Tim. 1:10. This life is not merely a principle of power and mobility, however, for it has moral associations which are inseparable from it, as of holiness and righteousness.” --Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words.
Here we see in the everlasting kingdom a ''Tree of Life," and, from the description, it is in the midst of the street. That would be the main boulevard of the city. You must remember this city is 1,500 miles square, approximately. Since it grows on both sides of the river, it appears that this is a type of tree, rather than merely one single specimen. There are probably many. This tree also yields a different type of fruit each month in a yearly cycle. This, alone, should still the anxious hearts of those who have heard someone saying that, in the eternal state, there shall be no time sequence. It will be just one big now. That’s what some people say. Here we see a continuing time sequence of a twelve-month year.
We often hear the question: “How will the fruit of this tree be for the healing of the nations?” We’ll look at the word translated "healing," and we’ll make an application. The word “healing” is the Greek word, “therapeia,” and it literally means "serving, care, or healing." It is the word from which we get our English word, "therapy."
Since there will be no wounds or sickness in the eternal state, according to Revelation 21:4, the fruit of this tree would not be for the healing of that which is injured or decayed, because there will be none of that. Thus, the fruit of this tree must be, it would seem, for the "service and care" (therapeia) of the nations, that is, for their well being. We can look forward to enjoying the delicious fruit, just as we do today. We must remember, we’ll be in our glorified bodies and do not have to eat to sustain life. We will eat for our enjoyment. The Lord Jesus, after His Resurrection, ate honeycomb.
It is hard for man to fathom the characteristics of this new city, the New Jerusalem. It is also an eternal city WITHOUT a Temple! You will recall that there will be a Temple in the Millennial Earth. But here in the New Jerusalem, there will be no need for a Temple, as Christ will be that Temple. The entire city will be that Temple, a vast, cubical Holy of Holies wherein God dwells. (Revelation 21:16).
Since our redemption will have been completed, and our conversation and thoughts will only be holy, we will be dwelling with God in that Holy City. This is how God fully saves us from sin:
Past: When we first believed in Christ, we were saved from the PENALTY of sin,
Present: When we abide daily in Christ, we are saved from the POLLUTION of sin,
Future: When we shall dwell in our glorified bodies in the New Jerusalem with Christ,
we will be saved from the PRESENCE of sin.
“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 (3):
In this new world, the awful curse that fell upon man and upon the Earth as the penalty for Adam's sin, is no more (Genesis 3:14-19). The Apostle Paul spoke of this curse when he said:
"For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now" (Romans 8:22).
No, in "that land beyond the river," the ground will no longer be cursed and bear thorns and thistles, nor will man be separated from his God any more because of sin. Truly that will be "The Sweet By and By," so celebrated in the hymn.
And they shall see his face, and his name shall be in their foreheads.(4)
Now we can hear the old hymn, "When I shall see Him face to face, And tell the story saved by grace." Words cannot express the joy which will be ours to see our blessed Redeemer's face. And, then, what an opposite fate awaits the lost who refused to accept Christ’s payment for their sins. (John 3:36). Yes, they will be cast into the Lake of Fire.
“His name ... in their foreheads.” This is promised to the overcomer in Revelation 3:12. In Revelation 13:16, the False Prophet was seen placing the Antichrist's name on the foreheads of his faithful. That, too, was the satanic imitation of what God would someday do for His own.
Today we can see high school students, often proudly, displaying their school buttons or banners. At sports events, buttons are seen everywhere. People, especially, desire to be identified with a winning team. Pilots wear their wings with pride, and, sadly, many communists display their emblem of red with just as much pride. All the momentary joy that these give their wearers, fades into nothingness, at the supreme joy which the believers will someday have. They will forever have the privilege of bearing the name of their wonderful Saviour upon 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.”
“And they shall reign for ever and ever.” Again, assuring the believer they have everlasting life with Christ.
There are infidels who proudly claim they don’t wish to spend eternity in Heaven, because, “It would get boring.” They do not want to hear the wonderful, biblical, teaching about Heaven, or the awful truth about Hell. They have been totally brainwashed. What a sad plight that is.
“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” (6).
“These sayings are faithful and true. Again, we are assured that the wonderful things, and events, recorded in this book are "faithful and true.” This constant encouragement toward belief is needed, because of the great unbelief, opposition, and skepticism that you meet when talking about, or preaching this great book. Human nature has never changed, as the Prophet Isaiah had the same problem with Israel, and its leaders, that the United States is having.
“I have declared the former things from the beginning, and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them, I did them suddenly, and they came to pass (3). Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass (4), I have even from the beginning declared it to thee, before it came to pass I shewed it thee: lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them (5). Thou hast heard, see all this, and will not ye declare it? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them (6). They are created now, and not from the beginning, even before the day when thou heardest them not, lest thou shouldest say, Behold, I knew them” (7).
This book gives the final chapters in the world's history, yet it has a bond with the remotest antiquity. We read that the divine author of this book is none other than "the Lord God of the holy prophets” (22:6).
“Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book (7).
The promise still stands, that those who keep the prophecy of this book will be blessed. Therefore, here in Revelation 22:7, the one who will be blessed is the one who, first of all, retains and, second of all, obeys the message of this book.
What will Heaven be like in this new city, the New Jerusalem? There will be no more separation! All the saints of the ages will be there, and, no more, will friends have to part again. No more, will families have tearful farewells. There will be no funerals. What a grand reunion the saints in Christ will enjoy forever and forever!
As Dr. Wilbur M. Smith has so wonderfully reminded us, there will be no need to carry photographs of our absent loved ones, in order for us to renew our memory of them. Those who have been absent for years will now be ever present forever. There will be no more disagreements, or misunderstandings, with our loved ones. Together, we all will rejoice in everlasting joy and companionship.
“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 (8).
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” (9).
Peter, in 2 Peter 1:16, assures us that he and the other apostles "have not followed cunningly devised fables, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty." Luke does the same, when in Luke 1:1-4, at the beginning of his gospel, he certifies that his information comes from eyewitnesses. John follows Peter, and Luke, and here testifies to us that he, personally, saw and heard the things recorded in the Book of Revelation. The Greek literally reads, “And, I, John, am the one hearing and seeing these things.”
As has been mentioned before, here, we see the angel absolutely refusing to allow himself to be worshiped. “God alone,” he says, “is to be worshiped.” Yet, when John falls at the feet of Jesus (Revelation 1:17), or when Peter falls at Jesus' feet (Luke 5:8), we have no record ever of Jesus rebuking them for this. No, Jesus accepted the homage of men which was due only to God. Jesus accepted the worship of the heavenly beings, when they reverenced Him, along with God the Father. Why? The answer is: Jesus is God. There is no other acceptable explanation. The Church has held this doctrine through the centuries, and all cultists who deny it are misled heretics.
“And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand” (Revelation 22:10).
Yet, we have many churches and denominations who say,“We cannot preach the Book of Revelation. It’s too scary!” We must ask, “Why would God write a book, if it was not to be read?” For a so-called preacher to say, “I can’t preach the Book of Revelation, because it is too scary,” is absurd! I would suspect him of being “as lost as a goose in a caboose in a Cleveland blizzard!”
“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him (5).
Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:5-6).
In Verse 6 above, God calls this preacher a liar, as, when he added his own words, “It’s too scarey,” he dishonored God’s Words. This is a lost preacher, and one of Satan’s missionaries that he sends out to deceive, and magnetize as many as he can into Hell.
1 Corinthians 2:14.
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
2 Corinthians 11:13-15.
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ (13).
And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light (14).
Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works” (15).
The angel's command in this verse to “...Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book:...,” is in direct contrast to Daniel 12:4, wherein that prophet was ordered to “seal the book.” God said, “Seal the book, Daniel, it’s not for your time.” We find out here, since Christ's death and Resurrection, we have been in the "last times,” and the spirit of Antichrist, though not yet the person of the Antichrist, has been growing in the world. 1 John 2: 18 reads,
"Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard .that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists, whereby ye know that it is the last time."
Since the spirit of Antichrist is growing, and since the Rapture may take place at any time, John is told not to seal up this prophecy. "The time is at hand" must be understood in the same way as "Behold, I come quickly" (Revelation 22:7).
“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” (11).
Here at the close of the book is a statement, not of "fixity of species," but of "fixity of character." “Let him be righteous still:...” This is the decree of eternity. The redeemed, made righteous by Christ's blood, will forever remain righteous. The unregenerate will retain their iniquitous nature forever. “Let him be unjust still...”
"And, behold, I come quickly...to give every man according as his work shall be."
“And, behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (12).
- To the believer at Christ's coming at the Rapture, this means we shall be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ, not for our salvation, but for our rewards (2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15).
- To those alive at the close of the Tribulation, Christ shall judge them as to whether they can enter into the Millennial Kingdom. The saved alone shall enter. He puts the goats on the left hand and the sheep on the right hand. (Matthew 25:33).
“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand [the Sheep], Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34):
“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand [the Goats], Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41):
“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 (14).
For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” (15).
“For without are...” Those who are outside the walls, do not have their sins paid for. It should not be thought that they are upon the New Earth, immediately, right outside the walls of the New Jerusalem. No, these have been sent away forever into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20). They are "without" (Greek: exo), that is, "outside" of both the New Earth and the New Jerusalem forever. They have been cast into the "outer darkness" (Matthew 8:12, 22:13, 25:30).
“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” (Revelation 22:16).
In the very last book of the Bible, the Savior has answered the question that He asked the Pharisees, while He was here on the Earth. How could He be the Root (the ancestor) and the Offspring (descendant) of David, all at the same time? Only Messiah, Himself, could fulfill that. The Pharisees should have known the answer; but, they did not. Here is that famous question from Matthew 22:41-46:
“While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, (41) Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David (42). He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, (43) The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? (44) If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? (45) And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.”
Jesus sent an angel with the answer to this question, and He wanted John to write it, so that everyone would know. Christ makes it perfectly clear, by these words, that He is God in human flesh, and Israel’s Messiah.
- “I am the root,” in that He is the Eternal God that brought David into this world.
- “I am the offspring of David,” in that His humanity is linked with David in His birth.
“ 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.”
Here we find our final hymn from Heaven now swells into four invitations given to the sinner, beseeching him to come to Christ in order to receive forgiveness and life.
First, we have the Holy Spirit and the Bride, or the Church, give the invitation. The force of the Greek present, imperative “erchou,” for "Come" is: "Be thou continually coming." It is a coaxing command saying, "Keep on coming, come until you arrive." It is not talking about your good works, but come until you have arrived at the decision that Christ is the only way to Heaven. It, of course, does not mean "come repeatedly,” again and again” as if you could lose your salvation, and then, have to get your salvation again. It is not talking about that at all. It is an invitation to the lost to accept Christ’s payment for their sin. Come! Come! Keep looking! If you have doubts, check them out.
Secondly, the one hearing these words, John, an angel, or you and I, is admonished to say, "Come."
Thirdly, the one who is thirsty for righteousness is invited to come (Matthew 5:6). One need only be a lost sinner who desires forgiveness, and eternal life, to meet these qualifications.
Finally, with the beautiful English words, "whosoever will," all are invited. Here the words, "whosoever will," mean, "whosoever is desiring." The Lord Jesus Christ wants you to come to Him, trust Him as your Savior, and have everlasting life. Notice the last word in Verse 17, which is “freely.” This means that salvation is a free gift, bought, and paid for by the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Lord emphasizes that your home in Heaven is a free gift. All you have to do to receive it is to believe, have faith, and trust (all from the same Greek word, “pisteuō,”) in the One who bought it for you on the Cross. His name is Jesus Christ.
The Greek word, “pisteuō” means "to believe," also "to be persuaded of," and hence, "to place confidence in, to trust," signifies, in this sense of the word, reliance upon, not mere credence. It is most frequent in the writings of the Apostle John, especially the Gospel. He does not use the noun. John uses this word ninety-nine times, that is three tiimes as many as Matthew, Mark, and Luke, together. -- Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words.
Notice the word “GIFT” in the following Scriptures.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (8):
Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9).
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
“But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many (15). And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification (16). For if by one man's offence death reigned by one, much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.(17). Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life” (Romans 5:15-18).
Only a fool would refuse the free gift of eternal life and a home in Heaven.
“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good” (Psalm 14:1).
In Revelation 22:7 and Revelation 22:12, the Lord has said: “I come quickly.” In 22:17, “The Spirit and the bride say, Come to the Lord Jesus Christ.” There, He continues the invitation to the lost to “Take of the water of life freely.” The last prayer of the Bible is from the Holy Spirit, through John, saying: “Even so, Come Lord Jesus.” This ought to be our daily prayer, also.
This is a warning against tampering with God’s Word. Satan loves for people to add to the Word of God. Let us look at it here in Revelation 22:18,19:
“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 (18): 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” (19).
Some people always think they know more than God. We have everything the Lord wants us to know from Genesis to Revelation, in His Word, the Bible.
- How many young people and others have died prematurely by disobeying their parents and their teachings? The Fifth Commandment in Exodus 20:12 says to...
“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:12).
Ephesians 6:1-3 says the same thing as Exodus. In Ephesians 6:3, the Lord gives the benefit of honoring your father and mother.
“That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the Earth.” (Ephesians 6:3).
- For length of days and peace. (Proverbs 3:1-4).
- For health. (Proverbs 3:5-8).
- For health. (Proverbs 4:14-22).
- For health (Proverbs 12:17,18).
- For health (Proverbs 13:12,17).
- For health (Proverbs 14:30).
- For health (Proverbs 15:29,30).
- For health (Proverbs 16:24).
- For health (Proverbs 17:22).
I have asked several different doctors if a happy, positive attitude has a bearing on a healthy body. I have never received a negative answer. “You had better believe it does!” would sum up their response. The ten Scriptures listed above are just a handful that might be interesting to you.
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (15). Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).
One needs a purpose, plan, provision, and protection from the Lord, NOT an anti-depressant pill. Proverbs is the best book ever given to man, concerning practical psychology to apply to any problem you are facing. Read it through before you hit the panic button, and run to the drug store for a prescription and get hooked on anti-depressants.
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 22:19).
In Verse 18, people added to God’s Word. In Verse 19, they took away from His Word, which amounts to, they did not believe the Bible, God’s Word to all humanity.
“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him (5). Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:5-6).
Verses 18 and 19 are describing lost people who want nothing to do with the God’s Word. The evidence is two-fold:
- “Take away from the words of the book.”
“Take away” is the Greek “onairio” from “ana” meaning “up” and “airo” “to take.” Literally, it means to lift up or away, hence to put to death, and is usually translated to “kill or slay.” (Ibid). In other words, “Get the Word of God out of here, and throw it in the dump!” (Put it to death.)
- God’s Response. “Take away his part out of the book of life,”
The unbeliever’s name was put in the Book of Life at conception. (Psalm 139:15,16).
“Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness (27). Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous” (Psalm 69:27-28).
God has the last word, not them.
“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41)
You may think that you have no talent, and God can’t use you. In 1822, a well-known preacher, Dr. Cesar Milan of Switzerland, was visiting at the home of a friend in Brighton, England. One evening he said to the daughter of his host, “I wish you were a Christian, Charlotte.” The young woman resented his speaking to her on the subject, so he felt it best to drop the matter for the moment. What he had said had disturbed her, however, and the next day she told him that she would like to be converted, but she didn’t know how. He went on to explain the way of salvation, but noticed that she was determined to clean up her life and do what she could do, first, to establish her own righteousness. She, therefore, would not receive the freely offered righteousness of God.
Finally, he said, “Charlotte! Charlotte! You must come yourself to the Savior just as you are.” “What?” replied Charlotte. “You certainly don’t mean that God will accept me without any works of my own, do you?” The man said, “I mean just exactly that!” Nothing more was said, but shortly after that, Charlotte trusted Christ as her Savior. To describe how it all happened, she wrote her famous hymn, “Just As I Am, which appears in almost every hymnal.
Just as I am, without one plea
But that thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bidd’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
Words by Charlotte Elliott, 1834
Let me ask you, Friend. If you want to be saved, you must come to Jesus just as you are. Don’t be like Charlotte Elliott, and try to offer your good works. He is asking you to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved.” You see, salvation is not doing your best. It is having Christ’s best put to your account by receiving Him by faith.
Not many people know the rest of Charlotte Elliott’s story. She came to write her heart-searching hymn, “Just As I Am,” as we have said. Few know the thrilling sequel to the story. Soon after composing this effective song, Miss Elliott became seriously ill, and was bedridden almost all the remaining days of her life. She suffered such intense pain that she was seldom permitted a visitor. Those who looked at her life may have thought it was really wasted, but after her death, friends found 3,000 letters, in an old trunk, sent to her from all over the world, thanking her for the comfort, encouragement, and inspiration, her one simple hymn had brought to them.
Like a well-watered tree of the Lord, she had done His bidding, and brought forth much fruit. Although, it was not until after many days that it became evident how much the Lord had prospered her in penning her much-loved hymn.
“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season, his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Psalm 1:3
And as you close the pages of this book, I pray that you accept the sweet invitation extended to you by the Spirit, and the Bride,…to come just as you are…
“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.”