Revelation 22:1-5

Sunday Morning Bible Study

July 15, 2001


We should all be concerned about the future because we will have to spend the rest of our lives there.

Charles Franklin Kettering (1876–1958)

:1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

John is being shown around by one of the seven bowl angels (Rev. 21:9)

water of life

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 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.

clear lampros – shining; brilliant; clear, transparent; splendid, magnificent; I kind of get the idea that this river is glowing.

What is this river?

It is a picture of eternal life.

The river is of life.  The river never stops.  The river is eternal.

crystalkrustallos – crystal, a kind of precious stone


True life comes from God

He is the source real life. It “comes out from” His throne.
(John 1:4 KJV) In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
Early in His ministry, Jesus stopped outside of a little town in Samaria and met a woman at a well.  As He talked to her, He asked her if she would give him a drink from the well.  She was blown away that Jesus, a Jew, would be talking to a lowly woman from Samaria.
(John 4:10-14 KJV)  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. {11} The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?

Jesus is talking about things spiritually, but the woman thinks He is talking about some kind of water from a fountain.

{12} Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? {13} 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.

Jesus went on to challenge the woman about how she found fulfillment in life.  She was a woman who had been married five times.  She had been looking to men for her fulfillment.  Jesus is hinting here that the things that she was looking to for fulfillment, like water from a well, wouldn’t satisfy.  Only the living water that He offers would satisfy forever.

You too have needs.  You have surface needs but you also have a deep, deep inner need.  What are you trying to fill it with?  Only Jesus can satisfy.

:2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life

tree of life – This is the same tree that was found in the Garden of Eden.

(Gen 2:8-9 KJV)  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 KJV)  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 KJV)  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.

Man was banned from the tree of life...until something could be done to take away man’s sin.  How could man be rescued?

(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.  Jesus paid the price for our sins by taking the punishment that we deserve.  Our sins were nailed to the cross with Jesus.

When we come to God and ask Him to forgive us, He cleanses us because Jesus has paid for our sins.  We become an “overcomer” because we conquer the effects that sin has on us.  And because we have been forgiven, we are allowed to eat from the tree of life and live forever.

Jesus promised 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.

Will you be able to eat from the “tree of life”?  You will if you have asked Jesus to pay for your sins.

:2  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.

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.

healingtherapeia – service rendered by one to another; curing, healing

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.  Could it be that we’ll be able to eat as much Krispy Kreme Donuts as we want as long as we use these leaves?  J

:3 And there shall be no more curse:

cursekatanathema (kata + anathema) – curse

Literally, “and every curse shall be no more

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.

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

(1 Cor 16:22 KJV)  If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema …
A person who is anathema will not be in the New Jerusalem.
Those who do not love the Lord Jesus will not be in the New Jerusalem.


A burden for the lost.

This word 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.

Paul wanted to do everything he could to make sure that lost people found their way to heaven.
As wonderful as this passage is about heaven, the truth is that there will be some people that you and I know that will not be there.
What can I do?
Pray – pray for them to know Jesus.  Pray for their heart to be softened.  Pray for you to have boldness.
Live – get serious about your own walk with Jesus.  Let them see Jesus in how you live.
Speak – tell them about Jesus.  Tell them what Jesus has done for you.  Tell them how they can know Jesus.
Invite – bring them to church, bring them to an outreach.  Maybe you aren’t too good at words, let someone else to the talking.
Feed – take them materials, find good books and tapes for them, encourage them to read the Bible.

:3  and his servants shall serve him:

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

shall servelatreuo – to serve for hire; to render religious service, to worship


Practice heavenly serving

It was Jesus’ last night with His disciples.  He knew that He would soon go to the cross.
(Luke 22:20-27 KJV)  Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. {21} But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. {22} And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! {23} And they began to inquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing.
Jesus had never told the disciples who it was that was going to betray Him.  Judas wasn’t the apostle wearing the black leather jacket.  Nobody had a clue that Judas was the betrayer.  In fact, Matthew records (Mat. 26:22) that the disciples all asked, “Is it me?”
{24} And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.
Somehow the disciples moved from wondering if they were each the betrayer into arguing over who was the greatest.  Perhaps John said, “Is it I?”   And Peter answered, “You sure look like a traitor to ME!”  Maybe James replied, “Well who are you?”  And Peter replied, “Hey pal, I’m the ROCK!”
{25} And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. {26} But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. {27} For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.
Jesus was trying to tell the guys that being the most mature means being the most like a servant.
Maturity in the Lord doesn’t mean that you grow to the place where others can do what you order.  Maturity in the Lord means that you grow up to serve others.
Fish and Chips
Lost on a rainy night, a nun stumbled across a monastery and requests shelter there. Fortunately, she’s just in time for dinner and was treated to the best fish and chips she had ever tasted. After dinner, she went into the kitchen to thank the chefs. She was met by two of the Brothers. The first one says, “Hello, I am brother Michael, and this is Brother Charles.” “I’m very pleased to meet you,” replies the nun. “I just wanted to thank you for a wonderful dinner. The fish and chips were the best I’ve ever had. Out of curiosity, who cooked what?” Brother Charles replied, “Well, I’m the fish friar.” She turned to the other Brother and says “then you must be....?” “Yes, I’m afraid I’m the chip monk.”
You see the attitude problem with the disciples even after Jesus was raised from the dead.  Jesus gave Peter a hint about how Peter was going to die, and it didn’t sound too thrilling to Peter:
(John 21:18-22 KJV)  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. {19} This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

Jesus had just told Peter that he would become a prisoner and be put to death.

{20} Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? {21} Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? {22} Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.

Peter’s reply was a lot like ours when we think that we’re getting a bad deal from the Lord.  We want to know if God is being fair and ruining someone else’s life as much as He’s ruining ours.  But Jesus simply replies, “Hey, it’s none of your business what happens to someone else, you just focus on following Me!”

Do you serve or do you expect to be served?
If you’ve been a Christian for a little while, there ought to be a point in your life where you give more to others than you receive.  Even if you’re just a “chip monk”.

There is a point as a Christian where you can only grow so far until you start giving out, when you start serving others.  You will start plateau in your Christian walk and aren’t going to go much further until you serve.


:4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.

they shall seeoptanomai – to look at, behold

faceprosopon – the face

his name shall be in their foreheads – the 144,000 have the seal of God, which is the name of God, on their foreheads (Rev. 7:3; 14:1). Those who worship the antichrist will have the mark of the beast on their right hand and their foreheads (Rev. 13:16).


True satisfaction is in Him.

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

The Sailor and the Lady
John Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened his Army uniform, and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station. He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn’t, the girl with the rose. His interest in her had begun thirteen months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book, but with the notes penciled in the margin. The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind.
In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner’s name, Miss Hollis Maynell. With time and effort he located her address. She lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to correspond. The next day he was shipped overseas for service in World War II. During the next year and one month the two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A romance was budding. Blanchard requested a photograph, but she refused. She felt that if he really cared, it wouldn’t matter what she looked like. When the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their first meeting - 7:00 PM at the Grand Central Station in New York.
“You’ll recognize me,” she wrote, “by the red rose I’ll be wearing on my lapel.” So at 7:00 he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he’d never seen.  I’ll let Mr. Blanchard tell you what happened next:
A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim. Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears; her eyes were blue as flowers. Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in her pale green suit she was like springtime come alive. I started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a rose. As I moved, a small, provocative smile curved her lips. “Going my way, sailor?” she murmured.
Almost uncontrollably I made one step closer to her, and then I saw Hollis Maynell. She was standing almost directly behind the girl. A woman well past 40, she had graying hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than plump, her thick-ankled feet thrust into low-heeled shoes. The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away. I felt as though I was split in two, so keen was my desire to follow her, and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned me and upheld my own.
And there she stood. Her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible, her gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle. I did not hesitate. My fingers gripped the small worn blue leather copy of the book that was to identify me to her.
This would not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had been and must ever be grateful. I squared my shoulders and saluted and held out the book to the woman, even though while I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment. “I’m Lieutenant John Blanchard, and you must be Miss Maynell. I am so glad you could meet me; may I take you to dinner?”
The woman’s face broadened into a tolerant smile. “I don’t know what this is about, son,” she answered, “but the young lady in the green suit who just went by, she begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said if you were to ask me out to dinner, I should go and tell you that she is waiting for you in the big restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test!”
For years now we have grown to know more and more about our God through the letters He’s written to us. The more we read His love letters, the more we fall in love with Him. Yet there will be a day when we won’t just know Him by His letters, we will SEE Him face to face.  And I guarantee you, we will not be disappointed.  The best part of heaven will be seeing God’s face.
(1 Cor 13:12 KJV) For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

:5 And there shall be no night there


Night’s almost over

I think that sometimes the middle of the night can be the worst part of life.  Sometimes you’re the one that’s sick.  Sometimes it’s a little one with a fever.  Our lives are like a bad night waiting for the dawn.
I have hope in the future. The Bible speaks about bodies being glorified. I know the meaning of that now. It's the time after my death here when I, the quadriplegic, will be on my feet dancing.

-- Joni Eareckson Tada, quoted by John R. W. Stott, "The Up-to-the-Minute Relevance of the Resurrection," Preaching Today, Tape No. 79.

Keep going.  Work until morning.