Revelation Studies & Charts
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Revelation 22 (web)

Continued Description
of the New Jerusalem

22:1 He showed me a{TR adds "pure"} river of water of life, clear as crystal,
proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb,
22:2 in the middle of its street. On this side of the river and on that was the tree of life,
bearing twelve kinds of fruits, yielding its fruit every month.
The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

22:3 There will be no curse any more.
The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants serve him.
22:4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
22:5 There will be no night, and they need no lamp light;
for the Lord God will illuminate them. They will reign forever and ever.

Conclusion

22:6 He said to me, "These words are faithful and true.
The Lord God of the spirits of the prophets sent his angel
to show to his bondservants the things which must happen soon."
 
22:7 "Behold, I come quickly.
Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."


22:8 Now I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things.
When I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel
who had shown me these things.
22:9 He said to me, "See you don't do it! I am a fellow bondservant with you and with your brothers,
the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God."

22:10 He said to me, "Don't seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.
22:11 He who acts unjustly, let him act unjustly still. He who is filthy, let him be filthy still.
He who is righteous, let him do righteousness still. He who is holy, let him be holy still."
 

22:12 "Behold, I come quickly. My reward is with me,
to repay to each man according to his work.

22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,
the Beginning and the End.

22:14 Blessed are those who do his commandments,
that they may have the right to the tree of life,
and may enter in by the gates into the city.

22:15 Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral,
the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

22:16 I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify these things to you for the assemblies.
I am the root and the offspring of David; the Bright and Morning Star."
 

22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" He who hears, let him say, "Come!"
He who is thirsty, let him come. He who desires, let him take the water of life freely.

22:18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book,
if anyone adds to them, may God add to him the plagues which are written in this book.
22:19 If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy,
may God take away his part from the tree of life,
and out of the holy city, which are written in this book.

22:20 He who testifies these things says, "Yes, I come quickly." Amen!
Yes, come, Lord Jesus.
22:21 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with all the saints. Amen.


Comments

vs 1 The water of life had been mentioned before. Whereas Jesus is described as the bread of life, the Holy Spirit seems to be associated with the water of life. Thus we have the Trinity here.

vs 2 The tree of life brings us full circle from the Garden of Eden to the New Jerusalem. The garden of Eden contain the tree of life, from which man was separated after the fall. But now being restored to God, accessed to the tree is also open.

It is unclear whether this tree is simply that - a tree, or whether it symbolizes something else. For example Prov 3:18 indicates that wisdom is a tree of life, as is the fruit of the righteous in Prov 11:30. And with respect to healing, Prov 15 :4 "The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life."

vs 3 "curse" does not mean swearing, but rather misfortune due to condemnation, such as in the curse of the fall of man.

vs 4 A name on the forehead is an identifying mark for others to see. Thus we will be recognized by creation as sons of God, as Paul mentions in Romans.

"For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." Rom 8:19
vs 5 "darkness" always seems to have a negative connotation in the scriptures, and "light" a positive one.

Reigning forever indicates that such a position of authority extends beyond the Millenial Kingdom.

vs 6 He repeats a statement he made in the previous chapter, Rev 21:5. He mentions these because of the awesome implications of his statements.

vs 7 No doubt there were many generations of Christian mislead by what he meant by "soon". Nonetheless, their anticipation was worthwhile if it resulted in a godly life. For whether it be Christ's coming or our own death, our time is inevitably limited here.

"keeps the word" means to pay careful attention; or more practically, to infer appropriate applications from.

vs 8,9 And once again John shows his weakness by inferring the wrong application here. He had already been told previously not the worship the angel in Rev 19:10. This shows a weakness in the early church that led to the Catholic's veneration of the saints - essentially replacing God as the object of worship with saints like Mary. Even within Protestant Christianity, institutionalism has led to too much deference towards institutional authorities to the detriment of the individual Christian's relationship with God. Legitimate servants of God, even angels, must be aware that they may end up being a hinderance, distracting people from focussing on God. Thus this angels trys to get John to focus back on God by saying essentially that he is no more special than John is. Oh, that professional ministers be more diligent to admit the same.

vs 10 This is somewhat in contrast to the vision given to Daniel: "Da 8:26 What is strange to me is the following: Daniel was written about 600 bc and the prophecy concerned events to come at least 2000 ad. And Revelation speaks of the same events. So why is it that at least 2600 years into the future was consider "And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days." in Dan 8:26, but in this verse Rev 22:10, at least 2000 years into the future is considered the near future? The words make sense if the prophecy was to be fulfilled in John's time. And Preterists have tried to argue from these kind of things that the events have already occurred. But they certainly have not. (see vs 20 also).

vs 11 What he means by this is similar as Jesus meant in Rev 3:16. God doesn't want people to sit on the fence. He hates hypocrits more than blatant sinners. As Elijah said:

"And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word." 1Kings 18:21
There are many "Christians" who, while saying they believe, behave as if they don't.

vs 12 Now Jesus is speaking. While Christians are free from a judgment leading to condemnation, we do face a judgment leading to rewards for services rendered. What services have you been rendering?

vs 13 Jesus also apparently had spoken to Isaiah:

"Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last." Is 48:12
This also affirms the deity of Christ according to the previous chapter:
"And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." Rev 21:6,7
vs 14 The King James deviates from this declaring instead, "Blessed are they that do his commandments" in place of "washing their robes". This is due to a different in the greek manuscripts from which these translations have been derived.

vs 15 Outside are the unredeemed, among whom are the worthless, nominal Christians who never came to saving faith.

Mt 25:30 "And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Mt 8:12 "But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

"Dogs" - one is reminded of 2Pet 2:22 ", speaking of nominal Christians who fall away, not having a redeemed nature. There were Christians who had previously practiced sorchery, but "Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver." Ac 19:19 Christians should neither pay heed to astrologers not psychics, nor be superstitious in any way. In fact this list is all pretty much a repeat of the list in
"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." Rev 21:8
vs 16 The root is the foundation and origin of the tree. Not having Christ as the root of his faith, the nominal Christian is prone to falling away
Mt 13:21 "Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended."
But the connection between "root" and "son of David" that Jesus is speaking of is found in Ro 15:12 where Paul quotes Isaiah: "Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols?" Isaiah 10:11. In fact that whole section in Isaiah speaks of the Messianic Kingdom (which Christians call the Millenial Kingdom).

The "morning star" star that shines in the east as the sun is rising. It precedes the sun, rising in the dawn. It must be bright to outshine the sun. Peter speaks of this with reference to the Christians:

"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:" 2Pe 1:19
He is referring to the return of Christ in which the believers will be revealed as having had Christ in their hearts. John also speaks of this hope:
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." 1John 3:2,3
Jesus revealing Himself through the believers in the New Jerusalem is also promised to the overcomers of Rev 2:28. Saving faith is an overcoming faith.

vs 17 Contrary to the fatalistic attitude of some particularly in the Calvinist camp, Christ encourages people to exercise their freedom of choice and come. Whoever wishes (more literally - "wills"), let him take the gift of eternal life freely.

There are those who think that we are not involved at all in the process of our salvation. That it doesn't matter what we wish or what we will. There are those who misinterpret John 1:12,13 "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." But what this means is that having cooperated with God, having exercised your will, your wish, you decided to receive Christ Having received Christ, you don't have to do anything to become born of God, that is automatic. You don't have to make any decision about being born of God. You don't have to exercise your will. Having believed, God will cause you to be born of Him, by His Spirit.

The verbs are all in the active voice. God wants us to be involved actively in our salvation. Come and take it! Are you thirsty? Do you want it? Don't wait for some experience to happen to you. Don't doubt whether God is calling you. He says, "Let him who hears". Do you hear? Then come and take it. It's free! God wants you to have it. It's available for everyone who will take it.

But how do you take it? You simply take it by faith. Don't wait for or expect a special "experience". We walk by faith not by sight. Don't rely on any ritual either. Don't be concerned whether you've prayed just the right words according to somebody's formula. Just believe.

But how do you know whether you have received it? You will know by your performance. (The book of 1st John speaks extensively on this). If your performance is deficient, it may be indicative that you hadn't really heard, understood, or taken to heart the message.

Who is doing the calling? The Holy Spirit and the Redeemed. Part of the responsibility of the redeemed is the work of evangelism. Those who hear the message with understanding should also be involved in leading others to Christ. We are all called to call. While Christians work on the outside, the Holy Spirit works on the inside, calling within the person, convicting the person of sin, righteousness, and judgment; pleading with the person to turn from their sin; to turn to Christ.

Jesus made such a calling to the woman at the well in John 4, saying, "Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water."John 4:10.

vs 18,19 Although this warning is specific to the book of Revelation, I would infer that this principle would apply to the entire Word of God. For example, I remember Peter speaking of Paul's writings thusly:

"As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction." 2Pet 3:16
But this is not to say that we shouldn't infer applications from scripture, nor that we shouldn't try to interpret it. But rather our interpretations and applications should be considered more on the level of "opinion", while the Bible should be considered "fact".

There are two extremes - those who handling the Word of God too little, putting it on a shelf, essentially take away from the words of the book. Then there are those who think to much of their own opinion or the opinions of post-Biblical theologians or pastors, replacing the Word of God with the opinions of man. The apostle John writes:

"We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." 1John 4:6
Thus, mishandling the apostles writings is indicative that such a person has not been born of God and thus subject to God's wrath and will not share in the tree of life nor enter the New Jerusalem.

vs 20,21 Not doubt many generations have been mislead by this promise so frequently repeated "I am coming soon." Either "soon" must be taken as Peter said in speaking of Christ's return:

"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." 2Pet 3:8
Or else the imminence of his coming was dependent upon the obedience of the believers, and that they failed in the mission to be sufficiently diligent. For in the very next verse, Peter says:
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." 2Pet 3:9
And then in
2Pet 3:11,12 "Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?"
"speed its coming" implies that the timing of the Lord's coming is somewhat dependent upon the believers living holy and godly lives. Having failed to do so in the early years of the church, the Lord delayed his coming. And Jesus himself implied that this would be the case in his teachings in that parables.
"But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;" Luke 12:45
Although it is only an opinion, I think that Christ's delay is the churches' fault. When I read some of the history of the church after John's time, I was really not impressed. Even Jesus was not impressed by some of the churches in the early chapters of Revelation. And they got worst after that. Institutionalism set in, which corrupted the church for centuries. Institutional leaders, full of themselves, would exalt their own opinions above the Bible and treat the lay Christians with contempt and condescension, even taking the Bible away from them and replacing it with their own words. The great commission to make disciples of all nations was abandoned. Ministry became restricted to institutional leaders. And the spiritual maturity of lay Christians was suppressed. The institutional churches became dominated by nominal Christians, even among leadership, along with the leaven of their doctrine.

But the good news is that the situation has been changing in recent times. With the advent of evangelical thought, Christians are going back to the Bible. And more ordinary Christians are involved in ministry and living the Christian life. The great commission is being renewed. There has been a renewed emphasis on mission work, such as has not been seen since Paul's time. But there is more to do. For just communicating the gospel is not making disciples. Individuals must be treated with greater value. Years should be spent discipling individuals, and not simply a few minutes. Institutional leaders should humble themselves and not become the same source of corruption as occurred in the early church. Institutional churches should not be simply lecture halls and one-man shows to satisfy the ego of the pastor and the laziness of the congregation. They should be places where all believers can exercise their spiritual gifts to the edification of the body of Christ.

Let's finish the work and hasten the coming of the Lord.


The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources


Jul 29,2015