The Book of Revelation (part 38)
July 21, 2021
The Book of Revelation (part 38)
Ephesians 1:10-12 (J.B. Phillips)
For God had allowed us to know the secret of His plan, and it is this: He purposes in His sovereign will that all human history shall be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in Heaven or earth shall find its perfection and fulfillment in Him. 11 And here is the staggering thing—that in all which will one day belong to Him we have been promised a share (since we were long ago destined for this by the one who achieves His purposes by His sovereign will), 12 so that we, as the first to put our confidence in Christ, may bring praise to His glory!
Jesus has returned. The final battles have been won. God’s enemies have been subdued. Satan and all personalities that followed him are in their eternal home, the lake of fire. Every unredeemed human has been judged and every eternal sentence carried out. Those without Christ are in the lake of fire. Believers are in their glorified bodies, and now, the earth has been transformed into an eternal home for those God created to fellowship with Him and be His friends for eternity.
The future of the earth is a hidden mystery that will unfold to us after the millennial reign of Christ.
1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT)
That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
In Revelation 21, we have looked at the New Heavens and New Earth that have been cleansed and prepared to be an eternal home for God to dwell with His “family.”
The Bride of Christ – The New Jerusalem, has come out of heaven to be the eternal home for God and His human family.
His original plan for man to be His eternal companion with which He has close communion is fulfilled!
As we begin the very last chapter of the Bible, remember that John is being shown the Bride, the Lamb’s wife, which is the New Jerusalem.
Revelation 21:9 (NKJV)
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”
Revelation 22 continues with the angel showing John the eternal place for God’s family.
Revelation 22:1-2 (NKJV)
And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
As it was in the Garden of Eden, so will it be yet again in the New Jerusalem. After the sin of Adam and Eve, the world has gone through several millennia of sin, sickness, poverty, adversity, war, pain, and death. Now, a new “Garden of Eden” is created as the new home for God’s family in eternity.
Here we are at the consummation of the redemption of the human race from sin. God is now living with the race He created for fellowship with Himself!
As at the beginning in Genesis 2 in Eden, a river is flowing whose waters bring refreshment. Here in the restored earth and the New Jerusalem, a river begins at God’s throne.
Genesis 2:8-10 (NLT)
Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. 9 The LORD God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10 A river flowed from the land of Eden, watering the garden and then dividing into four branches.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) Study Bible Notes:
When sin entered, the garden and its river were hidden or withdrawn. But when God concludes His redemptive program and brings full salvation to humankind with eternal life through Jesus Christ, the river of eternal life will again flow to provide healing for the earth.
Jesus gave us a river of water in the baptism with the Holy Spirit, so that we would always have access to the river of God!
John 7:37-39 (NKJV)
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
The river here was also seen by Ezekiel in Ezekiel 47:
Ezekiel 47:1-12 (NLT)
In my vision, the man brought me back to the entrance of the Temple. There I saw a stream flowing east from beneath the door of the Temple and passing to the right of the altar on its south side. 2 The man brought me outside the wall through the north gateway and led me around to the eastern entrance. There I could see the water flowing out through the south side of the east gateway. 3 Measuring as he went, he took me along the stream for 1,750 feet and then led me across. The water was up to my ankles. 4 He measured off another 1,750 feet and led me across again. This time the water was up to my knees. After another 1,750 feet, it was up to my waist. 5 Then he measured another 1,750 feet, and the river was too deep to walk across. It was deep enough to swim in, but too deep to walk through.
6 He asked me, “Have you been watching, son of man?” Then he led me back along the riverbank. 7 When I returned, I was surprised by the sight of many trees growing on both sides of the river. 8 Then he said to me, “This river flows east through the desert into the valley of the Dead Sea. The waters of this stream will make the salty waters of the Dead Sea fresh and pure. 9 There will be swarms of living things wherever the water of this river flows. Fish will abound in the Dead Sea, for its waters will become fresh. Life will flourish wherever this water flows. 10 Fishermen will stand along the shores of the Dead Sea. All the way from En-gedi to En-eglaim, the shores will be covered with nets drying in the sun. Fish of every kind will fill the Dead Sea, just as they fill the Mediterranean. 11 But the marshes and swamps will not be purified; they will still be salty. 12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow along both sides of the river. The leaves of these trees will never turn brown and fall, and there will always be fruit on their branches. There will be a new crop every month, for they are watered by the river flowing from the Temple. The fruit will be for food and the leaves for healing.”
In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
It is quite interesting that Tree of Life reappears in the New Earth.
Dake Study Bible Notes: (healing of the nations)
Preservation of life for the natural, earthly nations, as well as for the resurrected saints (Rev. 2:7; 22:2). There will be no sickness, so no healing from disease, but eternal health and life will come from the leaves of the trees (Rev. 21:4; 22:2-21 cp. Gen. 3:22-24).
Evidently, the leaves on these trees have substances in them that keep the human body renewed and replenished unlike any other food source.
Dake Study Bible Notes:
There must have been an inherent virtue in the tree of life to preserve life indefinitely if man was created to live forever should he not sin, then he lost eternal life in the fall. Christ brings it back to him (2Tim. 1:10). The tree of life would have caused even sinful man to live forever physically.
Remember that there are people in natural human bodies like ours who will eventually fill the earth again. They came out of the seven years of “tribulation,” came through the millennial reign of Christ, and are now in the New Earth. Evidently, their bodies are renewed and sustained by the tree of life.
Revelation 2:7 (NKJV)
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. “To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”
Notice the tree of life in Eden:
Genesis 2:8-10 (NLT)
Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. 9 The LORD God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was a test tree for the will of man. And the tree of life evidently had something to do with keeping the physical body at top capacity.
Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden so that they could no longer partake of the tree of life.
Genesis 3:22-24 (NKJV)
Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23 therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.
Revelation 22:3 (NKJV)
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.
Remember that the curse came when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Their disobedience affected the whole of God’s creation on earth.
Genesis 3:17-19 (NKJV)
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”
Perhaps the purifying fire will rid the earth of all the elements of the curse:
2 Peter 3:10-13 (BBE)
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief; and in that day the heavens will be rolled up with a great noise, and the substance of the earth will be changed by violent heat, and the world and everything in it will be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things are coming to such an end, what sort of persons is it right for you to be, in all holy behaviour and righteousness, 12 Looking for and truly desiring the coming of the day of God, when the heavens will come to an end through fire, and the substance of the earth will be changed by the great heat? 13 But having faith in his word, we are looking for a new heaven and a new earth, which will be the resting-place of righteousness.
Bible Knowledge Commentary (2 Vols.):
As if to remind the reader that healing as such is not necessary, John added, No longer will there be any curse. As the curse of Adam’s sin led to illness requiring healing and death, so in the eternal state there will be no curse; therefore no healing of illness is necessary.
Revelation 22:4 (NKJV)
They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.
The name on the forehead denotes ownership.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) Study Bible Notes:
In the ancient world, a mark on the forehead (metopon) normally involved a master/slave relationship (cp. word study on seal, Gk sphragis). Such markings were used to signify (1) tribal identity, (2) ownership, or (3) loyalty to a deity (closely related to ownership).
Revelation 3:12 (NKJV)
He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.
Revelation 7:3 (NKJV)
Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.
Revelation 14:1 (NKJV)
Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads.
Revelation 22:5 (NKJV)
There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.
This is again mentioning that the light source of eternity will be God Himself!
Revelation 21:22-27 (NKJV)
But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. 24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. 25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). 26 And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. 27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
We help God in conducting the affairs of earth for eternity.
Revelation 1:5-6 (NKJV)
And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Revelation 5:10 (NKJV)
And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.
Daniel 7:18 (NKJV)
But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.
Daniel 7:27 (NKJV)
Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.
1 Corinthians 6:1-3 (NKJV)
Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?
2 Timothy 2:12 (NKJV)
If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.
Ephesians 2:6-7 (NKJV)
and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Revelation 22:6-7 (NKJV)
Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place. 7 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
Revelation 1:3 (NKJV)
Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.
Revelation 22:8-9 (NKJV)
Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. 9 Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”
John mistakenly fell for the second time at the feet of an angel to worship, and was reprimanded once again.
Revelation 19:10 (NKJV)
And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
Revelation 22:10-11 (NKJV)
And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. 11 He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.
God will allow you to do what you want to do, even though it may cost you. Don’t allow silence to be mistaken for permission.
Another way of looking at this is that God will allow people to do what they want to do. Once He has spoken and when people know and then reject His will, God then turns them over to their own self-will and says nothing more. God’s silence is NOT consent. Silence could be a sign of impending judgment.
Revelation 22:12-17 (NKJV)
And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.
The God of creation is the God of eternal restoration!
14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
In His benediction, Jesus emphasizes again that only those who obey Him will be with Him in eternity.
We see dogs as sweet pets who love us. In the first century Middle East, dogs are a reference to those who are spiritually unclean.
Philippians 3:2-3 (NKJV)
Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,
Psalms 22:16 (NKJV)
For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet;
Psalms 22:20 (NKJV)
Deliver Me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog.
Understanding the Bible Commentary Series – New Testament Set (18 Vols.):
We should not suppose that those outside the city consist only of unbelievers. The immediate context insists on a universal judgment by works (rather than by faith alone), which includes believers. Further, the list of vices characterizes some believers found in the congregations who first read John’s book. For example, some Christians in Thyatira have turned to the teaching of a certain “Jezebel,” who has misled them into sexual immorality and idolatry (cf. 2:20). Elsewhere in the NT, James speaks of materialistic believers as murderers (cf. James 4:2; 5:6), and Paul refers to Jewish Christian opponents in Philippi as “dogs” (cf. Phil 3:2). Thus, the rhetorical function of the vice list may well intend to bid certain believers, whose apostate tendencies imperil their salvation, to repent.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
Jesus mentions here some of His Messianic titles:
Revelation 5:5 (NKJV)
But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”
Isaiah 11:1 (NKJV)
There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
Isaiah 11:10 (NKJV)
And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious.”
Numbers 24:17 (NKJV)
I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and batter the brow of Moab, and destroy all the sons of tumult.
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
Understanding the Bible Commentary Series – New Testament Set (18 Vols.):
The concluding invitation, whoever is thirsty … take the free gift of the water of life, is not to introduce the unbeliever to God’s justifying grace (contra Beasley-Murray, Revelation, p. 345), but rather is meant for those readers who are in need of God’s sanctifying grace. It is for the rededication of believers rather than for the conversion of the lost.
This interplay between the invitation for Christ to return to earth and for the immature believer to return to God is similar to what we find in the NT book of James. The imminence of the Lord’s parousia (James 5:7–9) provides incentive to bring back those believers who “wander from the truth” (James 5:19), since they will be saved from the eschatological consequences of “a multitude of sins” (James 5:20). Likewise, John’s invitation envisions a promise, especially for those immature believers who have given in to the temptations and fictions of the anti-Christian kingdom: the waters of eternal life, the gift of a gracious God, will flow over those believers who return to God.
Revelation 22:18-21 (NKJV)
For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.