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Monday, December 31 2012
In the last study, John walked us down heaven's street and introduced to where we would spend eternity; no greater "incentive" to gear us to live right and be there forever! In this study, John describes the last bit of heaven and brings us to the end of his visions, drawing us back into time and the reality that face us.
"1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, 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."
Pure River of water of life echoes the promise of Christ to the woman at the well of John 4. Living water has benefits for those that drink it. They will never thirst again!
(i) Proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb: This water supply is supernaturally supplied, which ensures the eternal or continuing nature of not only the supply of water, but the quality as well.
(ii) And on either side of the river, was there the tree of life: This statement is difficult to comprehend because one tree cannot be on two sides of a river. My opinion is that the tree is in the midst of the river and it extends its branches and leaves to both sides of the river.
(iii) Which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: 12 types of fruit are produced on the tree each and every month
"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: 4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; . Implies that because the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, there will be no more curse.
(i) And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light:
The Lord God becomes the light of the Holy City
"And he said unto me, these sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book."
Behold, I come quickly: Jesus says He comes quickly and some have misunderstood this to mean that He will come back in the generation it was spoken. The word in Greek actually means that He is coming suddenly. The angel was sent to show His servants (the Church) the things that must shortly be done. This prophecy actually started with the seven churches of John's time. It continues to be mostly about the Church age on earth until the Church is completed at the marriage in Heaven. Then the focus is in Israel.
"And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. 9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God."
You would think that John would have got the message when the other angel rebuked him for falling to worship him. It should be apparent that angels appear as if they were Gods to men, as does Satan. In any case, it is clear that angels are not to be worshiped and righteous ones do not even want to be worshiped.
"And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand."
Again, we are told this book is a prophecy. John is told not to seal it because the future things written in it started with the letters to the seven churches in Asia. Some of these things written to the seven churches actually did begin in John's lifetime. The book of Revelation is written to those who are in spiritual light. The passages for those in the light cannot be sealed. The book is only sealed to those who live in spiritual darkness.
"He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be."
This verse literarily brings the revelation to an end and returns us back to the now. It indicates that the giving of this prophecy will not change the hearts of all the people.
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city"
When Jesus comes suddenly all the judgments and rewards written in this book will take place because He is Almighty God the Creator of all things. He is the beginner and finisher of all things. The eternal commandments are fulfilled in loving God and loving our neighbor as ourselves. Keeping these two commandments fulfill all the other commandments of God. Those who do so will be allowed access to the tree of life in the Holy City so they can eat of it and have spiritual life forever. The truth of the matter is - you cannot love God if you reject His Son and you cannot in truth love your neighbor without the Spirit that is given by the Son. Therefore, keeping the commandments can only be fulfilled by the Spirit of Jesus Christ in you.
"For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. 16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. 17 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.
These are left out of the Holy City; they will not have access to the tree of life. They will be in an eternal state of death (separation from God).
Jesus is the one who sent the angel to John to tell the Church about these things. He says he came from the lineage of David and that He is the bright and morning star (the light of the world the first light to shine that indicates that the night is over). The verse is directed at those that are thirsty. We are told the water of life is given freely to all that are thirsty for Him (Jesus). The words and whosoever will seems to indicate that mankind has free will of choice to come to Jesus to be saved or not.
"For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."
God takes the prophetic message He gave to John seriously. Any who add to the words of this prophecy will receive the plagues written in this book and those that take away the words of this prophecy will be cast into the Lake of Fire.
"He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."
The final words of the book tell us that Jesus will come suddenly. We should all be watching and waiting for His return. The time set by the Father for the bride to be completed is getting very short. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
Friday, December 28 2012
The study of Rev. 20:1-3 last week put a seal to the fact that the devil is way below the status of the Almighty God. Just one Angel was able to bind and cast him into the bottomless pit for 1000 years. Satan is not and will never be God's rival. We studied the millennial reign of Christ and His saints and the white throne judgement. We concluded with the warning that our works will be tested and eternal damnation awaits those who will not receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour. We are to be out there prayerfully reconciling the world back to God.
This week, as we study chapter 21 of the book of Revelation, let us take note of the phrase "and I saw". This book is a documentation of visions that were given to John and we can also have access to God's visions for our days. More importantly, we are introduced to where we would spend eternity; there is no greater "incentive" to gear us to live right and be there forever!
Verses 1-5 "All Things Made New"
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful."
A new heaven and a new earth: The new heaven and earth is not simply the old renovated but an act of new creation. It was mentioned in Isa.65:17; 66:22-24. Peter, in 2 Pet.3:10-13, also described the dissolving of the old heaven and earth. Paul also made mention of the heavenly Jerusalem in Gal.4:22-26 and Heb.12:22-24.
The New Jerusalem: (Also see Rev.3:12) was described as the Holy City prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.
Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men: Despite the self existing ability of God, He, in His love, longs to dwell among us in order to have fellowship with us and to bless us with His personal care. This ought to touch our hearts and cause us to draw near to Him.
Verse 6 "It is Done!"
6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
The Lord was the Alpha in creating a perfect world. Here He has fulfilled His work as the Omega bringing an end to sin and evil.
Verse 7-8 "Rewards for good and evil"
7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; The Greek indicates habitual or continual victory over sin. If this is a problem for us, we may ask for strength and put it to work in our lives (2Cor.12:9)
He shall be my son: We may now be children of God but then, in a special way will we be His sons and daughters! With the curse of evil gone we will be able to see Him face to face!
But the fearful: Fearful or "cowards" - Those who fear the temporary consequences of following Christ, telling the truth.
Verse 9-21 "The Great City Described"
9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
Having the glory of God
The great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God also had the glory of God.
John had an idea of some of the names of the precious stones used to construct the foundations of the city. Sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, sardius, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprasus, jacinth, amethyst. But for the others, he must have used the best words he knew to describe the glory of the place. "Unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; Pure gold, transparent glass!"
The twelve gates
"And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several [individual] gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass." (Verse 21). Today large perfect pearls are highly prized. In our verse each gate is an individual pearl. Amazing!
The Golden Street
We often hear of heaven as having golden streets, but the text says "street," singular. We will see the street of heaven again in Chapter 22. "And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it [the city], and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life"
Verse 22-27 "A Perfect Place"
22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.27 And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
No temple therein: No sin, no need for a temple; why? Because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. At this point it is clear that no more sinners will ever claim restoration through the blood of the sacrificed Lamb, that phase of the temple services will end. Will we still need our Lord? Absolutely. In Him we will still live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). He and the Father will ever be our joy.
Interestingly, there were twelve gates of the celestial City (Verse12); the twelve kinds of precious stone of the celestial City (Verses 19-20), twelve foundations, the twelve names of the apostles.
The Symbolism of 12 in the Bible;
Twelve is the number of what is completed, which forms a whole, a perfect and harmonious unit. In the ancient civilizations, like Oriental and Judaic, it corresponds to the plenitude (the quality or state of being full), the completion and the integrality of a thing, The number "12" represents: "The Government of God being established." it is also a number attributed to the government of the world. It represents the months per year, tribes of Israel, and the twelve apostles of the Jesus Christ. Also, there were 12 fruits in the tree of life that we shall all eat! Rev 22:2
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai