Revelation 22:1-5

Sunday Morning Bible Study

July 29, 2012


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved?

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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.

The centerpiece 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 showeddeiknuo – to show, expose to the eyes

:1 purekatharos – clean, pure

:1 riverpotamos – a stream, a river; a torrent; floods

:1 lifezoe – life

:1 clearlampros – shining; brilliant; clear, transparent; splendid, magnificent

:1 crystalkrustallos – crystal, a kind of precious stone

:1 proceedingekporeuomai – to go forth, go out, depart; to come forth, to issue, to proceed

: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.

See also:

(Zec 14:4 NKJV) —4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south.
(Zec 14:8 NKJV) —8 And in that day it shall be— That living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, Half of them toward the eastern sea And half of them toward the western sea; In both summer and winter it shall occur.
(Eze 47:7–9 NKJV) —7 When I returned, there, along the bank of the river, were very many trees on one side and the other. 8 Then he said to me: “This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed. 9 And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes.
(Eze 47:12 NKJV) —12 Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine.”


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 name).

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 “transparent”.

You can hardly see this river.  It’s like a real clean window…

Play Windex commercial

Jesus described 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.

Play7 Year-Old takes car on Joyride” clip

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 right choices.
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.
Jesus said,
(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 simple.

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 middlemesos – middle; the midst; in the midst of, amongst

:2 streetplateia – a broad way, a street

:2 on either sideenteuthen … enteuthen – from this place, hence; on the one side and on the other, on each side

:2 treexulon – wood; as a beam from which any one is suspended, a gibbet, a cross; a tree

:2 lifezoe – life

:2 which borepoieo – to make; to do

:2 fruitkarpos – fruit; that which originates or comes from something, an effect, result

:2 monthmen – a month

:2 yieldingapodidomi – to deliver, to give away for one’s own profit what is one’s own, to sell

:2 leavesphullon – a leaf

: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

The phrase “tree of life” is found seven times in the Bible.

(Ge 2:8–9 NKJV) —8 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 the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
(Ge 2:15–17 NKJV) —15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
(Ge 3:22–24 NKJV) —22 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.
(Ga 3:13 NKJV) —13 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”),
(Re 2:7 NKJV) —7 “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.” ’
(Re 22:2 NKJV) —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.
(Re 22:14 NKJV) —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.

When God 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 life”.

:2 yielding its fruit every month

fruitkarpos – fruit; that which originates or comes from something, an effect, result

This tree doesn’t just produce fruit during one season of the year, but every month.

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.

:2 the healing of the nations

healingtherapeia (“therapy”) – service rendered by one to another; medical service: curing, healing

Some suggest 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.

: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

Literally, “And every curse there will not be”

cursekatanathema – 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 destruction.
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


True Maturity

John uses two distinct but similar words here:
servantsdoulos – a slave; a servant
shall servelatreuo – 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, prayers, etc.

(Mt 4:10 NKJV) —10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”

(Lk 2:37 NKJV) —37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.

(Ro 1:9 NKJV) —9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers,

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. 
Meyer once 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.”
The importance of humility. 
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.
True humility is about realizing just who you are in comparison to God.
When we see Him, we will realize just how important we are, and how important God is.

Don’t get me wrong – we are so important that God sent His Son to die for us.

But God is so much more bigger than we are.

:4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.

:4 they shall seehorao – to see with the eyes; to see with the mind, to perceive, know; to see, to look to

:4 faceprosopon – the face

:4 nameonoma – name

:4 foreheadsmetopon – the space between the eyes, the forehead

: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 nightnux – night

:5 needchreia – necessity, need

It’s not that there will be no lamps or sun, but that we will not have a “need” for them.

:5 lampluchnos – a lamp, candle, that is placed on a stand or candlestick

:5 lightphos – light

:5 gives them lightphotizo – to give light, to shine; to enlighten, light up, illumine

:5 they shall reignbasileuo – to be king, to exercise kingly power, to reign

:5 foreveraion … aion – for ever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity

:5 There shall be no night

We saw this in the last chapter, that there will be no need for the sun.

(Re 21:23 NKJV) —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.

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 His face


True satisfaction

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?
David wrote,

(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
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:
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 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.
(1 Co 13:12 NKJV) 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.


The Name

We’ve talked many times about how a person’s “name” often is a reflection of their character, of who they are.
God’s “name”, “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 fourth generation.”

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 good.

God’s justice is all about not letting wickedness go unpunished.

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 sin.
(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, to repentance.”

When we are in heaven, we will have “learned” what “mercy” means.

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?