With this post we will conclude our discussion on the Book of Revelation and, in turn, conclude with the purpose of this blog…where do I go from here after all this time?
Rev 22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
Here again we have many images that are closely associated with what is known as the Eternal State. But like our discussion of the New Jerusalem I believe we will find things that are both future and present realities and also find no necessity to force this description into exclusively a future timing.
RIVER OF LIFE
It is impossible to ignore the similarity between the image of the river flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb and the picture of a similar river flowing from the Temple in Ezekiel 47.
Eze 47:1Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east…
We go on to discover that this river that started small at the threshold of the Temple grows to a mighty raging river, reaches the sea and covers the entire sea, making all the water it touches fresh and giving life to the vegetation and animals.
In the Ezekiel passage the water comes from the Temple and in revelation we are told the New Jerusalem (the Church) does not have a Temple but that the Father and the Lamb are the temple. this then shows the image in Ezekiel of the Temple find fulfillment in the Church through the river proceeding from God and the Lamb, the new Temple.
So, what are we to make of the water itself? Jesus uses an identical term in His own ministry that should give us some clues.
John 4:14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
This water of life pictures the spread of the Gospel being successful throughout it’s run. What it touches comes to life! This is not a future event, but the present, ongoing expanse of the Gospel.
John then borrows almost word for word from the image in Ezekiel when discussing the impact of the river on the trees and the leaves of those trees. In the Revelation passage the tree mentioned is the Tree of Life, but we are told that it’s leaves are used for the healing of the nations (peoples). Note the similar usage in Ezekiel.
Ez 47:12 And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”
John again borrows from an Old testament passage to reveal that the promises made to Israel find their ultimate fulfillment in Christ and His Church.
The discussion of the lack of things being accursed may directly tie to the finished work of Jesus Christ as He became accursed (as one who hangs from a tree) so that we would not be accursed. But with His work complete and His REVEALING in Heaven as King and Lord, the accursed work is finished once and for all (Hebrews).
We are then reminded that like how Satan marked his own on the foreheads, Jesus did as well. Again, there is no reason to take this marking literally as this Old testament concept was a popular theme and should be understood that way.
The image of Jesus being the light should not be confusing to even the cursory glance. Scripture is replete with the use of the image of light representing Christ. Here John visualizes the work of Christ and the Spirit in the individual and Church body member.
John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
The Christian no longer walks in darkness. He is always and forever surrounded by the light of Christ. I would hope a more detailed exposition would not be necessary.
The rest of this Chapter contains some final words to confirm the authenticity and importance of the book that I will take just a few moments to point out as they relate to out overall discussion.
Rev 22:7 “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
Here John bookend his epistle by reminding his audience that the events described within it’s pages are to take place “soon.” There is no reason to rehash this concept as the introductory thesis dealt with the question of soon ad nauseum!
Rev 22:10 And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near
This too was dealt with previous, but as a note of reminder this phrase to NOT seal up the prophecy reinforces the idea of the soon coming nature of the events described in the book. In fact, it is in stark contrast to Daniel being told to seal up his book for events were far off, despite the fact the events Daniel described began their fulfillment within a couple hundred years. Yet there are those who would continue to argue the events described as taking place “soon” in Revelation and worthy to not have the book sealed have yet to take place some two thousand years later!
Rev. 22:17-19 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
This points again to the present placement of these actions as the river the provides life (spiritual) would have no meaning in the Eternal State as those present would have already received the life giving spirit previously. This again is a present reality.
Rev 22:12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.
Note that His coming (which was soon) was for the purpose of judgment. This is not a coming to Rapture away His Church or even establish some earthly kingdom. It was to bring His recompense and judge His enemies and the enemies of His Bride.
Rev 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book,  and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
This may be one of the most misused, abused and misapplied passages in the entire book. It is been attempted by many to apply this to all of Scripture and to mean something that it quite possibly had no intention of meaning.
Most likely this was written to the scribes who would be responsible for transcribing the letter as it was passed around the Christian church community. Be careful! That’s what is being said. There is warning that is universal for all of Scripture to handle the words properly, graciously and humbly. Do not add or subtract to the word of God. That is universal, but the misapplication over the years has been staggering.
Most often it is used by proponents of a position against the opponents stating that to come to a different conclusion on the Book of revelation would require one to wither add or subtract to what was written. This common fallacy is quite unfortunate and damaging to the body that readily needs graciousness, humility and proper exegesis of difficult passages.
Rev. 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!  The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.