REVELATION

CHAPTER 22



This chapter continues the description of the Holy City of Jerusalem that has come down from heaven to the earth. In short the description of the Kingdom of God as it applies to the earth of the future.

It is also the conclusion of the message from the Almighty to His Son, and as we shall see, it is verified by that Son who is also our Lord, King and eternal High Priest.

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Rev 22:1

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb NIV

The angel is pointing out the “RIVER OF LIFE” and describing it as being clear as crystal which is flowing outward from the Father or the Almighty who is seated in the middle of this crystal like substance related earlier in Revelation as a sea of glass, which we were made familiar with in chapter four.

Rev 4:5-6

 Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. NIV

The symbolism here is, if you will pardon the pun, crystal clear.  It means all life emanates from the Creator.  The Creator has given His Son the ability to distribute that life as he chooses.  And the Son, because the Father desires it, has chosen to give that life from this ever-gushing river flowing out from the Father as an eternal gift to those that follow the Son. 

Rev 2:7

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. NIV

The paradise of God was the Garden of Eden, which was here on earth.  Christ also told his family:

Rev 2:11

He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. NIV

The second death applies to those on earth, not to those in heaven.  Those that have already overcome will be under that gift of eternal life, which is why they are being told the second death cannot harm them, for they have been given their gift of eternal life just as Christ promised through the word of His Father.

Rev 2:26

To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations… NIV

The nations exist on the earth; in heaven there is only one family that makes up one nation.  That authority is preaching the true word of God.

Rev 3:5-6

He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. NIV

Those that have overcome will be in heaven as spiritual beings existing in the spiritual Kingdom of Heaven.

Rev 3:12

Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. NIV

Again, notice Christ is acknowledging His Father as His God.

Rev 3:21

21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.

(The point here is that both heaven and earth are part of God's kingdom, but the ultimate aim of a follower of Christ is to attain the spiritual existence of a spiritual brother of Christ.)

This chapter is speaking as a conclusion incorporating both the spiritual brothers and sisters of the family, and the physical brothers and sisters of the family who aspire to be spiritual members of God's family.  But while the physical members of the family are being brought to the state of righteousness needed to become a spiritual member, they are here on earth in the symbolic land that is being described below.

Rev 22:2

down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. NIV

Again we have a description of an earthly scene.  Could this scene also be attributed to a heavenly place?  Not likely…and that is said because of the following scripture.

Rev 22:3

No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. NIV

It was the earth, not heaven, that was cursed when Adam and Eve broke God's Commandment not to eat of the forbidden fruit.  It is the earth that is being spoken of here, which is why it starts “No longer will there be any curse.” There was never a curse placed on heaven.  The curse was placed on earth with thorns and thistles and the ground holding back its produce.  That was done to make what God told Adam, come about.

Gen 3:17-19

17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, `'You must not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.

18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.

19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return." NIV

But there is something else to be noted about verse three in this final chapter of Revelation. “The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city.” Does that mean that God will no longer be in heaven?  Of course not, but it means HE and HIS Son will be with us also just as God's presence was with the Ark of the Covenant in the time of Moses.  However, just as that ancient kingdom of Hebrews foreshadowed the family of God of today, the presence of God, at that time on earth, was only a shadow of what THEIR presence will be like, when what is being said in this chapter is fulfilled.  How do we know that? We know it because:

Rev 22:4

They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. NIV

That His name will be on their foreheads does not mean that a big stamp will tattoo God's name on your skin.  It means that God and the spirit of God will be uppermost in the minds and thoughts of all beings on earth.  It means, “Every knee will bow before him.”

Rev 22:5

There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. NIV

Does that mean that the sun will no longer shine on earth?  Let us be careful here and not suddenly resort to taking things said in Revelation as being literal.  Of course the sun will shine.  Without the sun, the earth would spiral off into space to only God knows where. Well, it has been argued, maybe that is what the Creator has in mind.  That would be a possibility if God needed to change or alter his original plan.  However, God was content with the universe as He had made it, and the universe has done nothing to displease Him, so we can be sure the universe will remain just as God created it. 

Eccl 3:14

I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him. NIV

Just the same, there will be no need of the sun or any other light source concerning spiritual matters. God and His Son will brightly illuminate all spiritual matters and that is what is meant by “There will be no more night.”  At present, we live in a world of darkness or night.  In the kingdom spoken of in these verses, that darkness will be no more.

Now John relates this angel's concluding statement.

Rev 22:6

The angel said to me, "These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place." NIV

All the words we hear from this angel are coming as a message from the Creator, but the next are being spoken through the angel directly from God Himself.

Rev 22:7

"Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book." NIV

 

God is again verifying what He has told us in a previous chapter.

Rev 21:3

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them, and be their God. NIV

Now John decrees what he has told us is an affidavit coming from him as the assigned messenger.

Rev 22:8

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. NIV

This action by John startles the angel and causes this immediate rebuke.

Rev 22:9

But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!" NIV

 It is clear from the angel's sharp directions to John with the words “Worship God!" that being worshipped by others was not at all what he desired.  What he wanted was that all should worship the Almighty just as he and all the other faithful angels do. 

Rev 22:10

Then he told me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near. NIV

Now this faithful messenger from the Almighty says something that points up the understanding that God is the same today as He was yesterday.

Rev 22:11

Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy." NIV

For what he says is what was told to Daniel by the archangel Gabriel who related the same thought.

Dan 12:9-10

9 He replied, "Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.

10 Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. NIV

The only difference was that Daniel was told to seal up the word, but John was told not to, and the reason for that relates to time.

It can’t help but be noticed that there is also a difference between those that do right and those that are holy, for they are being spoken of separately.  The difference is that they that are holy have already become the spiritual heavenly brothers of Christ. They are the spiritual members of the family that the ones that do what is right will become, when their refinement by God is completed.  How do we know this?  Because Christ told us:

Mark 9:49

Everyone will be salted with fire.  God's people. Amen. NIV

It is God’s people that will be salted with fire.  The word fire here is used to mean refined.  This is why God is repeating what He said before:

Rev 22:12

"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. NIV

Take heed, those of you that believe that salvation does not come by works, for God is clearly saying in the verse above, “I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” That does not mean you gain salvation from works, but works,  just as James said, is needed to verify your faith. Listen carefully to who is saying that "He will give according to what each one has done."

Rev 22:13

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. NIV

When you realize that it is the Almighty who has sent this complete message of Revelation, then you can realize that it is The Almighty Creator that has just spoken the words above.  It is also the Almighty God that is saying:

Rev 22:14

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.” NIV

The creator is saying here that those that make themselves ready to become members of the family of God are blessed and admitted through the symbolic gates to the glorious Kingdom of God. 

Again, this had nothing to do with the act of salvation by Christ in bringing about the ransom of mankind with the sacrifice of His life.  However, it is clear that the individual has to wash his own robes by his faithful action of following the commands of Christ. The individual cannot make these symbolic robes white.  That has been done for him.  Nonetheless, the individual does have to wash them.  Those that do not follow the commands of Christ are equated with those that are outside.

Rev 22:15

Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. NIV

Remember the first verse of Revelation?

Rev 1:1

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, NIV

Now, here in the last chapter of this book from the Father, the Messiah adds his comment to His Father’s message. 

Rev 22:16

"I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star." NIV

Thus the Son verifies the first verse of this book, and He identifies Himself so no one can dispute it.

Rev 22:17

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. NIV

 

The spirit of the Bride?” The spirit of the bride is the body or church of Christ.  They are saying come.  Now we are told that even those outside the family or bride of Christ, anyone that hears and understands says come.  Come to what?  Come to the water of life that flows in such abundance from the Father and is administered by the Son.  Come to the kingdom of God that has been prepared for the family of God since before time began.

The fact that it is saying, “And let him who hears say, "Come!" means anyone and everyone that wants. “Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes,” means that anyone who wants can drink this free gift of eternal life. God is clearly saying let everyone join the family; everyone who accepts the Son as his king and eternal high priest and follows his commands. Let him come! “Let him take the free gift of the water of life.”

Now it is still Christ that is speaking in these verses as He declares a dire danger.

Rev 22:18

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. NIV

Notice Christ is not saying He personally will do anything, but it is His Father and His God who will add the plagues described in this book.

Rev 22:19

And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. NIV

Again, it is Christ who is saying the above.

Now, I have heard arguments that it is only the Book of Revelation that one cannot add or subtract anything from.  However, common sense tells you that the word of God comes from God, and that includes all verses in all passages in all the scriptures.  So for the argument that adding or subtracting applies only to the book of Revelation, let me ask this question.

What part of the Word could an individual change because that person had more knowledge than God?

At this point in the scriptures, Christ adds his affidavit to the message given in Revelation. 

Rev 22:20

He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. NIV

The next verse concludes what The Almighty has to say to His family.

Rev 22:21

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen. NIV

 

 

Let us hear again this wondrous promise directly from the Creator.

Rev 21:3

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. NIV

 Amen, and let us all pray…the sooner the better!



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