Summary: Jesus, the king of all creation, is with his people for eternity.
22 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
- “the angel” – has been giving John his tour of eternity since 21.9.
- “the river of the water of life” – This river flows from the spring of eternal life, which Jesus mentioned in 21.6 – “And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.” 2 thoughts: 1) The source of eternal life will never run dry. 2) It is not in short supply.
- Here we see Jesus’ promise to the woman at the well become a complete reality. John 4 – “7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.[b] The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
- “bright as crystal” – emphasizing purity/holiness.
- “from the throne of God and of the Lamb” – eternal life, is ours for the taking, solely by grace.
2 through 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.
- “the tree of life” – mentioned earlier in Rev. 2.7 as a reward to those who were victorious in the letter to the church of Ephesus. But this tree should immediately call us back to the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve chose to eat from a tree full of knowledge of both good and evil, Gen. 3. After the consequences of sin are listed in Gen. 3, God also said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.” John emphasizes that what was cursed in the garden, has now been fully redeemed by Christ. We’re not told exactly what the fruit is, but we do know that this tree represents an eternal state of God’s blessings on his people.
- “nations” – the gospel is and will be for all people. There is no room for racism within the gospel of Jesus.
- QUES: The Garden of Eden had it’s river and trees, but what did it not have? Hint: see next verse.
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.
- “the throne of God” – heaven is better than the Garden. The curse of sin separated us from God, but “no longer will there be anything accursed.”
- “his servants” – literally, slaves.
- “will worship him” – literally, serve. To preform religious rites of worship.
4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
- “They will see his face” – what a contrast to the warning given to Moses in Ex. 33 – “18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.” Today we experience glimpses of God through His Word, and His creation, and through Jesus. But because sin has been eradicated, in eternity, we will know Him more fully than we could ever imagine while here on earth. We will not struggle in our worship as the psalmist described in Psalm 42.
- “his name will be on their foreheads” – forehead markings are throughout the book, 7.3, 9.4, 13.16, 14.1,9, 17.5, 20.4, 22.4. In contrast to those who have received the mark of the beast (17.5), “The seal or name of God on someone authenticates that person as genuine, guarantees God’s protection, and is a token of his reward to the overcomers.” – Kendell H. Easley, Revelation, vol. 12, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 416.
5 And 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.
- There will be a complete in to sin and evil.
- John 1.4,5 – “In him was life,and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
- John3.16-21 – “16 “For God so loved the world,[i] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
6 And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”
- “trustworthy and true” – We might say, “Take it to the bank.” Two of God’s greatest, perhaps underrated attributes. How do we know John is writing the truth, or in a larger perspective, how do we know the Bible is true. Because God is trustworthy and true.
- As John closes out his book, we see this constant reminder of the impending return of Christ – “I am coming soon.” (3x + 2x = 5x)
7 “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
- The speaker changes from the angel in v. 6 to Jesus in v7.
- “blessed” – as used in the Sermon on the Mount with the beatitudes. Meaning, joy or happiness derived from a divine source. Walking by faith and living out faith is not without it’s challenges, but one thing is promised. Joy.
8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me,
- “heard and saw these things” – what John wrote, was not a figment of his own imagination, it is not fiction. He is simply offering a report. He is a messenger.
9 but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”
- “You must not do that!” – worship is for Christ alone. There is an “infinite gulf between God and that which he made, no matter how splendid.” – Easley.
10 And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.
- God is not a concealer, but a revealer of himself. The problem is that mankind often looks for Him in ways in which He has not revealed, like the mystical. No one wants to do the hard work of submitting themselves to His Word.
11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
- This verse highlights the need to live according to our faith. As in, there will be little time for change.
- APP: Our character is revealed in what we do.
12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.
- See notes on 20.12-13.
13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
- Repeated designations of Jesus…emphasizing is divinity, eternality, sovereignty, and authority.
- “Alpha and the Omega (1.8, 21.6)
- The First and the Last (1.17, 2.8)
- Beginning and the End (21.6)
14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.
- “wash” – literally, keep on washing. Faith is something we do every day. Believing is something that is continuous.
- “that they may enter the city by the gates” – the reward for washing is citizenship in heaven.
15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
- “Outside” – there are two eternal destinations, citizenship in heaven and outside of heaven in hell.
- The list here is representative for unclean, wicked living.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
- “I, Jesus” – Jesus, himself, provides witness that the revelation John received was true.
- “I am the root and the descendant of David” – the promised Messiah.
17 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.
- “The Spirit and the Bride say” – here we see the formula for successful conversion. It is both a work of the Spirit and of God’s people testifying to the gospel.
- Romans 10 – “14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
- 2 Cor. 4 – “5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants[c] for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
- “let the one who hears say…let the one who is thirsty come…” – we must recognize our need for the gospel and respond.
- “without price” – you cannot afford the gospel, it is good that it is free.
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,
19 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 is perhaps best understood as a personal warning from John to future scribes who may copy the book for distribution. But certainly includes us. We should not distort the message of this book – we shouldn’t make it more scary, nor more palatable. It is able to stand on it’s own.
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
- “grace of the Lord Jesus be with all” – our greatest need until we see Jesus face to face is grace.
“I am coming soon” Practical Application From Jesus’ Return:
- Don’t Worry.
- Decide Eternity Today.
- Contemplate Your Priorities.
- You Are Not Forgotten.
- God Keeps His Promises.