Revelation 22:1-5

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

December 3, 1997


We are now in the place known as eternity.

:1 And he showed me

Remember that John is still being shown around the New Jerusalem by one of the seven angels with the bowls –

(Rev 21:9 KJV) And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.

Now we’re going to get a peek inside the city.

:1 a pure river of water of life

purekatharos – clean, pure; when used in a Levitical sense, something that doesn’t impart uncleanness

There are no definite articles (the word "the") in this phrase, so it’s not that we’d say that John is looking at "the water of life", but it almost seems that the picture is that of pure "life" flowing from God’s throne, flowing like a river of water.

It looks as if this river, whatever it actually is, is something we’ll be drinking from.

(Rev 22:17 KJV) 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.

:1 clear as crystal

(this is not the same phrase in Greek that was used in Rev. 21:11)

clearlampros – (from lampas – a torch, a lamp, the flame of which is fed with oil) – shining; brilliant; clear, transparent

It seems like it might be a little better to say that this river was "bright" as crystal, since the same word (lampros) is also found in these verses …

(Rev 22:16 KJV) 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.

(Acts 10:30 KJV) And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,

I kind of get the idea that this river is glowing.

:1 proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

Pure, glowing life, flowing like a river from the throne of God and Jesus.

What is this river?

1. It is a picture of eternal life.

It’s very similar to what Jesus said,

(John 4:13-14 KJV) Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: {14} But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

This river will actually dwell in eternity. It gives life. Eternally.

2. It is an eternal reminder that God is the source of all life.

It "comes out from" His throne. (lit.)

He is the source of all life.

(John 1:4 KJV) In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

(Acts 17:24-25 KJV) God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; {25} Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

(John 14:6 KJV) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

:1 river of the water of life

This is going to sound like two other passages you may stumble across some day...

Zechariah 14

Zec 14:4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

Zec 14:8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.

When the Lord comes back to stop Armageddon, He will step on the Mount of Olives, it will split in half, the people will escape through the new valley, and a river will come out from the city flowing west and east.

Ezekiel 47

Ezek 47:1 Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar.

Ezek 47:7-9 Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. {8} Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. {9} And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.

Ezek 47:12 And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.

Ezekiel is taken to the time of the millennium, after the Second Coming of Christ, and has been measuring the temple that will be built for that time period.

There will be a river flowing out from under the doorway of the temple, the same river that was started in Zech.14. Here we see the temple has been placed on top of it.

This river will flow into the "Dead Sea", and bring it back to life, creating a new fishing industry.

There will also be trees growing along its banks that bear fruit monthly and bring healing, which will sound a lot like Rev.22:2.

Even though both rivers have similarities, keep in mind that these are two different rivers.

One river will flow during the millennium, while the other flows for the rest of eternity.

:2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river

The picture seems to be that the river of life flows down the middle, with a street on each side of the river, with trees growing in the middle of the streets.

:2 was there the tree of life

The "tree of life" is found in 7 places in the Bible.

To start, we need to go way, way back in time, when the world was young, and God had just created everything...

Gen 2:8-9 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. {9} And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

God put man in charge of the garden, to take care of it, and simply gave man one commandment...

Gen 2:15-17 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. {16} And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: {17} But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

It was only the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that man was forbidden to eat. Man was allowed to eat from the tree of life. Apparently he never took the opportunity.

But we know how the story goes...and man blew it. Adam ate from the forbidden tree, and sin and death entered man. God was concerned that man might eat the fruit from the tree of life and end up living forever in his sin...

Gen 3:22-24 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: {23} Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. {24} So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Note: Eating from this tree results in living forever.

Question: What happened to the tree of life? What happened to Eden?

They were probably destroyed in the flood of Noah's time. Don't bother trying to find them now.

Man was banned from the tree of life...until he could be redeemed and cleansed from his sin.

How was man redeemed?

(Gal 3:13 KJV) Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Interesting that another tree comes into the picture. In a sense, the cross too is a tree of life.

The next time we see the tree of life, it is in a promise to the church of Ephesus:

(Rev 2:7 KJV) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Finally, when we see it in our passage, it is in the New Jerusalem, waiting to be harvested!!! As citizens of the New Jerusalem, we'll be making tree-of-life-fruit salads!!

(Rev 22:14 KJV) 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.

:2 which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month

The picture seems to be that this tree will bear fruit every month, not just once a year, but continually. It’s possible that every month might be a new fruit, or it could be just that each month a new crop of fruit appears.


Be a fruit tree.

Part of the reason this tree bears fruit like this is because of the river it’s planted by:

Psa 1:1-3 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. {2} But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. {3} 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.

The Tree of Life is planted by the River of Life, and bears fruit continually.

We can be planted by the river of God’s Word, letting it nourish us and pour it’s life into us, causing us to be fruitful.

And the fruit we bear can bring life to those around us! Cool!

:2 and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Apparently, the fruit won’t be the only thing used on the tree, but the leaves as well.

healingtherapeia – medical service, healing. We get our word "therapeutic" from this.

It is felt that this should better be translated "the leaves of the tree were for the good-health of the nations".

It’s not that the nations are going to get sick in eternity, but that the leaves promote good health.

nationsethnos – a tribe, nation, people group

The phrase "the nations" is found 306 times in the Old Testament, and it is used exclusively (as far as I could tell) of Gentile nations, those nations that were not Israel. (ie, Gen.22:18; Ps.2:8; 67:4; Is.14:12)

In the New Testament, the Greek word used here (ethnos) is found 163 times. Most of the time it is in the plural (ie "nations") and when it is, it refers to those nations distinct from Israel, the Gentiles. It is translated "Gentiles" 93 times. (ie, Mat.6:32; Rom.3:29; 11:11)

Could the idea of the healing of the nations refers to the final wall of separation between Jew and Gentile coming down? That finally we are all God's people with no distinction?

:3 And there shall be no more curse

This could be talking about the curse that has been on humankind since Adam (Gen. 3), but I wonder if there’s more to it than just that.

cursekatanathema (kata + anathema) – curse

anathema is used to express a great curse or condemnation on a person, such as –

1Co 16:22 If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.

Ga 1:8-9 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be (anathema) accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed (anathema).

Now we can see how great a curse the anathema is, that a person who is anathema will not be in the New Jerusalem.


A burden for the lost.

This also shows us how great a love Paul had for his own Jewish countrymen –

Ro 9:3 For I could wish that myself were accursed (anathema) from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

Not that we could actually make ourselves accursed for another person’s sake, but this is still a pretty strong statement.

What kind of a burden do you have for the lost?

:3 but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it

As we saw last week, the point is that God will be with us.

Christmas time – Immanuel means "God with us". Jesus was God with us, in eternity, it will also be God the Father is literally with us.

:3 and his servants shall serve him:

servantsdoulos – a slave, servant; a term often used to describe us ("well done good and faithful servant")


Start practicing – be a servant!

Luke 17:7-10 But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? {8} And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? {9} Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. {10} So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

It is nice for us to learn to say "thank you" for those who serve, but in reality, the attitude of a true doulos is to obey, whether or not we are thanked (ouch!).

servelatreuo – to serve for hire; in the NT, to render religious service like a priest would give in his worship

We can practice this as well! It’s our worship that we offer to Him!

(Heb 13:15-16 KJV) By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. {16} But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Even as the Levitical priests would offer up a burnt offering to the Lord, we can offer up sacrifices of praise and good deeds to Him.

:4 And they shall see his face

This is the absolute ultimate.

Even in our own personal relationships, we like to see the other person’s face. When you get on the phone with a loved one, you say, "I can hardly wait to see your face", not "your ankles...".

This was the desire of Moses' heart, to see God's face.

(Exo 33:18-20 NLT) Then Moses had one more request. "Please let me see your glorious presence," he said. {19} The LORD replied, "I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, 'the LORD,' to you. I will show kindness to anyone I choose, and I will show mercy to anyone I choose. {20} But you may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live."

To think that even Moses wasn’t able to see God’s face, and yet in eternity we will be "face to face" with God. Wow!


True satisfaction is in Him.

What does it take to satisfy you?

David wrote,

(Psa 17:15 KJV) As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

There ought to be a part of us that is only satisfied when we’re with the Lord.

:4 and his name shall be in their foreheads.

There’s kind of a play on words here in the Greek, we might put it this way, "they shall see His before-face, and His name shall be upon their middle-face" (prosopon … metopon)

Earlier we read of the 144,000 witnesses that they got to have God's name written on their foreheads:

(Rev 14:1 KJV) And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.

Also, to the church of Philadelphia Jesus promises:

(Rev 3:12 KJV) Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

So we too will have God's name written on our foreheads.


You belong to God.

Why do you put your name on something?

To show that is belongs to you. (ie - your Bible)

Like my sons and their jackets, with their names on the tags.

You belong to God, and you are safe with Him.

(John 10:27-29 KJV) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: {28} And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. {29} My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

:5 And there shall be no night there …

We saw this back in Rev.21:23.

Again, it may not indicate that there will actually be no sun or moon, only that there is no need for them since God lights up the whole city.

:5 and they shall reign for ever and ever.

Again we saw Jesus make a promise to the church of Laodicea:

(Rev 3:21 KJV) To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

During the Millennium, we will reign with Christ for a thousand years, but here, it’s forever.

What will we be ruling over?

Who knows???? The Bible doesn't make that part clear.


God always keeps His promises.

Have you noticed how many of these things happening were promised earlier?

Rev.2-3 are written for us in our present age. They are for our instruction. But the promises also will be fulfilled. Try comparing Rev.2-3 with Rev.21-22 sometime and look for all the things promised and fulfilled.