Morning Bible Study
We have crossed through the time-space continuum into the infinite. We have gone through the future events into a
time where there is a new heaven and earth.
of eternity is a city called the New Jerusalem.
John has been shown around the outside the New Jerusalem by an angel (Rev.
21:9). Now we will get a peek at what’s
inside the city.
22:1-5 The River
:1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding
from the throne of God and of the Lamb.
:1 proceeding from
the throne of God
When Jesus sets up His kingdom on earth and rules for a thousand years,
there will also be a river like this flowing from out of the Temple, which
itself is a picture of God’s throne:
(Eze 47:1 NKJV) Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was
water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east…
That river will flow during the Millennium, while the river we are looking
at today is forever.
Water of life
It would seem that this river contains the essence of what we call “life”.
This “life” seems very, very similar to God Himself, especially the person
of the Holy Spirit.
This is where
the Holy Spirit gets His first name, “Holy” (just kidding about the first
He is the “Holy” Spirit because He is holy, and His work
in us makes us “holy”.
One of main ideas behind the word “holy” is the idea of
“pure” or “clean”.
The word used here could mean “shiny”, but it can also mean “clear” or
You can hardly see this river. It’s like a real clean window…
the work of the Holy Spirit as being like wind:
(Jn 3:8 NKJV) The wind
blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it
comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
The work of the Holy Spirit is very real, like a clean
window, but you may not always “see” it unless you are born-again.
It comes from
the throne, the place where God reigns, where God rules
That’s not a coincidence.
Learning to experience the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is ALL
about allowing God to be on the “throne” of our lives.
It’s like letting Him be our pilot. It’s like letting Him drive the car.
“7 Year-Old takes car on
We are just like that 7 year old. We aren’t that good at “driving” our
lives. We too like to do “bad
things”. If we allow the Holy Spirit to
help us, let Him drive, we’ll do much better.
The work of the
Holy Spirit flows when I make Him “Lord”, when allow Him to help me make the
Don’t think that this “water of life” that comes from the throne is just
for eternity, or even the Millennium. This
work of the Holy Spirit is for us now as well.
(Re 22:17 NKJV) 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.
(Jn 7:37b–38 NKJV) …“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.”
We can get a taste of what it’s like have the river of
life flowing out of me. We just need to
be thirsty, ask, and believe. It’s that
It’s the life that lets Him be on the throne that
experiences this “river”.
: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.
:2 In the middle of its street
Apparently this river is flowing right down the middle of the main street
of New Jerusalem. There are trees
planted on both sides of the river.
:2 the tree of life
“tree of life” is found seven times in the Bible.
The Lord God
planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.
Then the Lord
God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16And the Lord
God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;
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”— 23So 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.
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having
become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who
hangs on a tree”),
“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.” ’
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.
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
created the Garden of Eden, the tree of life was planted there.
But when Adam sinned, God not only kicked man out of Eden, He kept man from
having access to the tree of life:
(Ge 3:22b–24 NKJV) …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.
Be careful of thinking that keeping man from the tree of life is about
punishing man. It’s about keeping man
from living forever in a state of sin.
God loves us so much that He kept us from eternal life until He would
redeem us and take away our sin.
In eternity, we will once more have access to the tree of life, to “eternal
:2 yielding its
fruit every month
This tree doesn’t just produce fruit during one season of the year, but
This reminds me of what David wrote,
(Ps 1:1–3 NKJV) —1 Blessed is
the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of
sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day
and night. 3 He shall be like a
tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
A key to living
a “fruitful” life, is learning to spend time in God’s Word.
Read it. Study
it. Think about it. Let it affect your life.
:3 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.
:3 there shall be
no more curse
curse – katanathema – curse
The word is built on the word “anathema”,
and then made more intense by adding “kata” to the beginning.
Anathema is something that has been doomed to
There will be no “cursed” things in the New Jerusalem because they will be
in the Lake of Fire.
Paul uses this word (anathema) like this:
(Ro 9:3 NKJV) For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my
countrymen according to the flesh,
Paul cared so much for lost people, that he wished he
could take their place in hell if he could do it.
How much do we care about lost people?
:3 His servants
shall serve Him
John uses two distinct but similar words here:
– doulos – a slave; a servant
– latreuo – to serve for hire; to
render religious service, to worship; to perform sacred services
This is the word used to describe the priests who “serve”
in the Temple, performing their religious duties like offering sacrifices,
We are going to
“serve” God forever.
It’s probably not a bad idea that we learn what that’s all about now.
Don’t chafe at the idea of being a “servant” of God.
The secret of maturity as a Christian is realizing that this is the best
goal, learning how to “serve” Him better.
James and John like the idea of one day “reigning” with Christ in His
kingdom. But they misunderstood what
that looked like.
They had the idea that it was all about rankings, golden
chairs, and being in the spotlight of eternity.
(Mk 10:42–45 NKJV) —42 But Jesus
called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are
considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones
exercise authority over them. 43 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever
desires to become great
among you shall be your servant.
44 And whoever of you
desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be
served, but to serve,
and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Being a servant is not the worst thing that can happen to
you. It’s the best.
F. B. Meyer was
a pastor whose church was down the street from Charles Spurgeon’s huge Metropolitan
Tabernacle. Meyer used to struggle with
jealousy over Spurgeon’s ministry.
said: “I used to think that God’s gifts
were on shelves one above the other; and that the taller we grew in Christian
character the easier we could reach them. I now find
that God’s gifts are on shelves one beneath the other. It is not a question of growing taller but of
stooping lower; that we have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts.”
You can’t learn what it means to be a “servant” without learning humility.
Humility is not about thinking you are a lowly jerk. It’s realizing that God is the truly awesome one,
and He loves you.
:4 They shall see His
face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.
:5 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.
:5 There shall be no night
We saw this in the last chapter, that there will be no need for the sun.
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.
This doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be a sun, but only that God’s
light will be the light that drives everything.
:4 They shall see
There is something very sweet about this.
When you get on
the phone with a loved one that you haven’t seen in a while, you say, “I can
hardly wait to see your face”, not “your ankles...”
What does it take to satisfy you?
(Ps 17:15 NKJV) As for me, I will see Your face in
righteousness; I shall be satisfied
when I awake in Your likeness.
There is a part of us that is only satisfied when we’re
with the Lord.
We will one day see His face.
(Is 25:9 NKJV) And it will be said in that day: “Behold, this is our God;
We have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the Lord; We have waited for Him; We will
be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”
The Sailor and the Lady
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
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:
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
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 us, 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.
For now we see in a
mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know
just as I also am known.
:4 His name shall
be on their foreheads
Those who worship the antichrist will have his mark on their foreheads.
We will have God’s name on ours.
We’ve talked many times about how a person’s “name” often is a reflection
of their character, of who they are.
“Yahweh” is all about who He is.
Having God’s name on our foreheads not only labels us as belonging to Him,
but it shows everyone what we are all about.
Moses got a
lesson first hand of what God’s name was all about:
(Ex 34:5–7 NKJV) —5 Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood
with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed,
“The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious,
longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving
iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of
the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the
I want to focus on two aspects of God’s name found here –
mercy and justice.
God’s mercy is all about being gracious, patient, and
God’s justice is all about not letting wickedness go
In eternity, we will have truly learned what it means to be merciful.
One of the things that Jesus was accused of by the Pharisees was being a
“friend of sinners”. They took this to
mean that Jesus was “easy” on sin, that He was somehow approving of people’s
(Mt 9:12–13 NKJV) —12
When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well
have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means:
‘I desire mercy
and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners,
When we are in heaven, we will have “learned” what “mercy”
Mercy reaches out to sinners. Mercy reaches out to those who need help.
In eternity, you will be grateful to that person who
reached out to you as a sinner, and shared the gospel with you.
We will be in heaven, not because we deserve to be there, not because the
Great Judge decided that our good deeds outweighed our bad deeds, but because God worked through His perfect justice by paying for our sins.
He sent His Son to do our prison term for us.
Have you asked Him to pay for your sins?