About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Section - Chapter 22
first seven verses of chapter 22 could easily be placed in chapter 21.
As a matter of fact, many scholars feel it should have been place there
because it addresses the New Jerusalem as seen in Revelation 21.
verse 1 John sees the water of the
There is something else to consider when thinking
about oceans. In Genesis 2:5 and 6
we note that God had not sent rain to the earth.
Rain, in my opinion, did not take place until the flood of Noah's day.
Instead, of the Genesis account tells us that the ground was made wet for
plants to grow by streams that came up from the earth.
Oceans don’t appear to be a part of God's original creation and
therefore don't seem to be a part of God's new earth.
We also note that the river flows from the “throne of God and the Lamb”. The grammatical structure of this phrase tells us that we are seeing just one throne here, not two thrones. I will comment on this later.
river is like the sea of glass that we’ve seen earlier in that it is described
as being like crystal. Because of
this portrayal of the river, and because some think the sea of glass spoken of
earlier is a great multitude of the redeemed, so they think this river is not a
real river but is symbolic of the saints. If one understands the rest of this city is real and not symbolic, then to be
consistent, as I do, you must understand the river to be a real river.
John would have seen many blood filled rivers in these revelations but in
stark contrast this river is as pure as a river can be.
Before I leave the idea of rivers and seas, allow me to suggest, and I say suggest since I'm speculating, that there are no seas because seas are most likely a result of God's judgment on the earth as seen in the flood of Noah's day. There would not need to be any hint of any past judgment of God.
Jesus offers us. In John 7:39 Jesus
equates this living water with the Holy Spirit who would soon be given to the
believers. My point here is simple.
The river of life seen here in Revelation 22 might well have no resemblance to
the well water we drink today. It
may be of a whole new consistency, and, it might well have something to do with
the Holy Spirit. I'm not symbolizing
the river of life. I'm simply saying
that on the new earth, all things are new and different from what we have and
see today on the old earth. A river
as we know it today may not be this river as we see it on the new earth.
In verse 2 we see that on each side of the river stood the tree of life. This obviously doesn’t mean there is one tree on both sides of the river. The picture is of many trees on both sides of the river, and just maybe these trees are scattered throughout the world. We saw this tree in the Garden of Eden. After man fell they were not permitted to eat from the Tree of Life so that they would not live forever in the sinful state in which they found themselves in, but now in the New Jerusalem we are permitted to eat from this tree
notice that this tree bares fruit every month of the year.
We also notice the mentioning of twelve months.
Many have thought that there is no such thing as time in the next life,
but it appears that there might be a measurement of time, or at least a
measurement of time is given in human terms for John’s sake.
The point to be taken here is that the Tree of Life is constantly bearing
fruit. Most fruit trees grow
blossoms that have a nice fragrance, so it might just be possible that we’ll
smell this beautiful fragrance all the time.
there is fruit for us to eat, then it is clear that we will be eating in the
next life. My guess is that eating
will be more pleasurable than a necessity, although this is the Tree of Life
which might suggest that by eating we live forever.
not sure just what all we will eat on the new earth, whether it's just from the
tree of life or other trees and plants. I
suggest that we will be vegetarians when we live on the new earth.
2 also says that the “leaves are for the healing of the nations”.
Again, as we saw in the last chapter, there will be nations on the new
earth that are separate and distinct from the New Jerusalem.
There has been much debate over the centuries to who will live in these
nations. To be consistent with my
train of thought throughout this commentary, I believe Jews will live in the New
Jerusalem while Gentiles will live in these nations.
text states that the Tree of Life is meant to be for the healing of the nations.
I don't believe nations will have to be healed on the new earth.
The Greek word "therapeia" that is translated here as
"healing" can easily be understood in terms of care and to give
attention to. This suggests to me
that the Tree of Life is not to fix that which is broke but to maintain and care
for that which is not broke.
verse 3 we see that there are no more curses.
The specific curses spoken of here is the curse of Genesis 3 that God
placed on all of creation after Adam's disobedience.
this point I would like to insert an article entitled "Will We See
will help explain verses 3 and 4.
"I will see God in
my flesh. I will see Him myself; my eyes will look at Him (Job 19:26 -
27)." "I will see your
face in righteousness; when I awake … (Psalm 17:15)."
Job and David said they would see God.
Just because Job and David claimed they would see God does that mean they
God is invisible
(Colossians 1:15) because He is a spirit (John 4:24).
No man, except for Jesus, has ever seen God (John 6:46).
No one can stand in God's presence and live (Exodus 33:20) because He is
a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24, Hebrews 12:29).
The heavens and earth will go up in flames on the Day of God (2 Peter 3:7
Did Adam and Eve see God?
Even thought Adam heard God's voice prior to the fall (Genesis 2:16 - 17)
and Adam and Eve heard His voice after the fall (Genesis 3:8), the text is
silent when it comes to them seeing God, and we can't base our thinking on
Will we see God in the
future? Revelation 22:3 and 4 may
shed some light on this but that depends partly on how you view God's nature.
"The throne of God and the Lamb shall be in it (New Jerusalem) and
His servants shall serve Him. And
they shall see His face … (NIV)."
According to the
grammatical structure of this verse the general consensus is that there is one
throne that is shared by both God and the Lamb, who is Jesus.
This is a departure from the present reality where both God and Jesus
have their own throne. Jesus now
rules from the right hand of God (Acts 2:13, Romans 8:64).
To put it another way, He shares the responsibility of ruling from a
place of authority alongside of God. I
say it this way because the term "right hand" as it pertains to ruling
in first century culture was a symbolic term that spoke of one ruling alongside
another. It didn't necessarily
mean that one ruled at the literal right hand of another.
Right now, Jesus rules alongside of God.
"throne" is translated from the Greek word "thronos", which
can either mean a literal seat someone sits on or a place where rule emanates,
whether it's a throne, a room, a building, or a city.
The throne spoken of in Revelation 22:3 might be the central location of
rule in the New Jerusalem. It might
not be a literal chair that God and Jesus attempt to squeeze into.
Of course, how you understand this depends on if you believe God and
Jesus are two separate and distinct personalities.
Not all Christians hold to that view.
Revelation 22:3 states
that the servants will serve "Him".
Verse 4 says that the servants will see "His face".
The words "Him" and "His" are singular pronouns, not
plural pronouns. We're talking about
serving one person and seeing one face, even though there are two personalities
mentioned ruling alongside each other. Whose
face are the servants seeing?
We know that if we see
Jesus we see God the Father (John 14:9) because Jesus and the Father are one
(John 10:30). Jesus is the visible
image of God (Colossians 1:15) and the exact representation of God's being
(Hebrews 1:3). Maybe Job, David, and
you and I will see Jesus and seeing Jesus we see God.
On the other hand Jesus said that the pure in heart shall see God
(Matthew 5:8). He didn't say the
pure in heart shall see Me or see God in Me.
The Greek word "horao" is translated into English as
"see" in this verse. This
word doesn't necessarily have to mean seeing with one's physical eyes.
It can also suggest "perceiving", as in "I perceive God's
face to be here." Will we see
God or simply perceive His presence?
When you and I visit the
New Jerusalem we will have the same physical form Jesus has, whatever that may
be (1 John 3:2). Maybe with this new
physical form we will have the ability to see God as He is.
Will Job, David, you, and I ever see God? I know we will see Jesus, but God, well, I'm still not sure.
I now return to my
4 also states that we
will all have new names in the next life. In
verse 4 the name of God will be on our foreheads.
Whether each of us will have a different name of God or the same name is
not clearly stated.
5 tells us that we won’t need light bulbs or the sun any more.
God Himself will be the light. There
won’t be any such thing as night. In
Scripture night is seen as evil. Night
is dark and darkness is related to sin. Jesus
said that people couldn’t work in the night. He also said that people sin in
the night. There will be some kind
of radiant light that emanates from the throne of God.
I suggest that this light will not be unbearable but will be gentle to
our eyes that will cause a soft light to be seen around the new earth.
Also in verse 5 we see the saints reigning with God for ever and ever. So part of our job, or our service will be to reign with God. Who we reign over or what is not totally understood. It might be possible that this reigning is the reigning that was mandated by God to Adam. Adam was supposed to rule over the creation as seen in Genesis 1:28.
verse 6 an angel told John that what he had seen in the great vision was true,
And that “the Lord God of the spirit of the prophets” has proclaimed these
things that “must soon take place”. The
question thus arises, “what does soon mean”?
It’s been about nineteen hundred years since John received this
prophecy and it hasn’t taken place yet, that is, if you’re a Prophetic
Futurist. Those who hold to the
Historic view point sees these things taking place for the last two thousand
years so they don’t have any problem with the word “soon”.
Prophetic Futurists point to the verb tense of “soon take place” in the
Greek and say that “soon” doesn’t mean “soon as in time”, but “soon
as in when these things come, they will come soon, or quick, with little
delay”. When thinking of Jesus coming quickly instead of soon
there are a couple of things we need to consider. The Greek preposition
"en" is translated as "soon" here. Any preposition
needs another word to make a thought complete. In this case "en" is
linked to the word "come". To translate "en" as soon,
at least in my thinking, is a bit presumptuous. I understand the reasoning
for the translation. "En" must be understood in relation to the
word "come" and in the minds of many, "en" has to do with
time. That being said, if John wanted to suggest that Jesus' coming was
soon to take place, he could have used the Greek work "tachos", or,
any form of this word, to make the point that Jesus' coming is very soon.
He did not use that word here, albeit, he did use it in Revelation 22:6, 7, 12,
and 20. My point is simple. At least in this verse, you can't build
any case on when the events of Revelation take place based on our English word
"soon". I maintain that you're standing on shaky ground when you
attempt to build any case on a simple preposition.
7 takes us away from the chronology of the visions found in Revelation.
We're now back in the day in which John lives.
verse 7 we see Jesus Himself speaking to John. This must have been mind blowing
for John. I can't imagine how John
must have felt. He's seen all of
these visions and now Jesus is talking to Him face to face.
I said in the last section, some scholars say because of
7 says, "I, John" was the one who saw these things.
The pronoun "I" before his name makes this emphatic.
Beyond any doubt, John says I saw these visions.
John is bearing witness to what he saw, and what he saw was real, not a
figment of his imagination.
verses 8 through 10 we see that John is once again overwhelmed to the point he
falls down to worship the angel who has been speaking to him.
John has done this before, and every time the angel tells him to get up
and stop worshipping him for he is a fellow servant.
The point seems to be with John that all that he is seeing is just way
too overwhelming and he simply loses his strength and sensibilities
and worships the messenger. We’d
probably do the same.
verse 9 the angel tells John that he too is a servant of God, just like the
prophets and all those who keep the words of this book.
The angel specifies the prophets. I
believe these are the Old Testament prophets.
The angels do not include the apostles.
I believe the reason for this is because the book of Revelation is
specifically directed to those Jews who are living during the tribulation.
This does not mean that we today can't benefit from keeping this book
because we can.
verse 10 the angel tells John not to seal up the prophecies of this book because
the time is short. Even if one disagrees with the idea of the verb tenses
concerning the word “soon” as seen in verse 7, we should realize that God
and the spiritual world’s concept of time is probably quite different than
ours. Short to them may not be short
to us, and probably isn’t.
clearly is told to broadcast what he has seen and proclaim to everyone, thus we
see the importance of not avoiding this book of the Bible, even though it may be
hard to understand. Many lay
Revelation aside because they feel they won’t understand it.
Others lay it aside because they feel it is too futuristic and we need to
think about today and not the realities of the next life. But both of these ways
of thinking are wrong. The angel
tells John to proclaim what he has just seen.
would suggest that if John was told to proclaim the contents of the book of
Revelation, we should as well, especially so as this age draws to an end.
you recall in Daniel 12, Daniel was told to seal up the contents of this vision,
but here, John is told to unseal the contents of the visions.
We are in the age in which we need to proclaim the unsealed truths found
in the book of Revelation.
angel in verse 11 says something that may appear to be strange.
He tells John to let the vile and unrighteous continue to be vile and
unrighteous. Is this condoning sin?
Shouldn’t we be confronting the vile and the unrighteous to give their
lives to Jesus? There may be
different ways of thinking about this verse, but I think what the angel is
saying here is that the time is short. Don’t
waist your time on those who refuse over and over again to repent.
If they want to be vile, just let them be vile and move on to someone
else to share Jesus with.
angel further says that those who are holy and righteous should continue to be
holy and righteous. Don’t give up.
Keep the faith until the end because you’re almost there.
verse 12 Jesus is seen speaking to John again.
Jesus says that He is bringing his reward with Him and He will reward
everyone for the things they have done in their lifetime.
This verse might apply to the Great White Throne judgement where we see
the books opened and people being punished according to what they did in their
lives. Yet on the other hand this
might also be in reference to the saints. These
words might suggest that Christians will also be rewarded in a positive way for
the good things they have done as well. I
believe there are sufficient Scriptures that show that we will be judged for our
good works and we will be rewarded for what we do.
Some of our good works will be burned as with fire as wood and hay are
burned in the fire. The Apostle Paul
speaks to this in 1 Corinthians 3:10 to 16.
If our works survive the fire, we will be rewarded for them.
speaks to His divinity in verse 13. One
of the basic doctrines of Christianity is the Deity of Christ.
This means that Jesus is in fact God in human flesh while on earth, and,
in superhuman glorified flesh, as we see Him here.
If you don't believe that Jesus is God, then that undermines every other
teaching of the Bible.
verse 14 we see that those “who have washed their robes” are blessed.
As I've said earlier, the words "washed their robes" is an Old
Testament style phrase.
New Testament Christians don't wash their robes.
Jesus has washed our robes with the shedding of His blood on the cross.
The washing of robes might to the Jews living during the tribulation. They
have washed their robes by keeping the faith during the worst time in human
many, if not most, this washing led them to their death by the anti-Christ.
On the other hand, all who will live on the new earth will have had their
robes washed white and clean.
15 speaks of those who are outside. The
text calls them dogs. They are
sinners. A brief list of their sins
are stated. These sinners can't be
just outside the gates of the New Jerusalem.
They can't be living in the nations on the new earth.
They are outside of all that is new.
They are in the Lake
You will remember that there was a garbage dump just
outside the city of
You will remember that there was a garbage dump just
outside the city of
again in verse 16 Jesus speaks to John. The
text reads, "I Jesus…" Again,
the pronoun "I" before the name Jesus gives emphasis to the fact that
it is Jesus who is speaking, not an angel.
As a matter of fact Jesus tells John that He has sent His angel to tell
John this message so he can pass it along to the churches.
The book of Revelation is canonized into the Holy Bible and so this
message has been passed down to the church throughout the age, and we should not
close the book by avoiding it. It is
God’s will that we seriously study the pages of the book of Revelation.
the word "church" in this verse. I
commented on the word "church" back in chapters 2 and 3.
The word "church" is translated from the Greek word
"ekklesia", which simply means a group of people called out of a
larger group of people for a specific purpose.
The problem with translating "ekklesia" here as church is that
in our modern times we get the wrong idea what of what is being meant.
Our concept of church today is not the concept the New Testament teaches.
I believe a good rendering of "ekklesia" would be "the
community of God's people", not the church.
This makes all the difference in the world when understanding how
"ekklesia" is meant to be understood in Revelation.
Once translating "ekklesia" as the
community of God's people here, we then need to know who God's people are.
I believe in this verse the word "ekklesia" refers to all of
God's people, both Jews and Gentiles. Even
though I believe there still will be a distinction between Jew and Gentile on
the new earth, there will only be one group that is called the ekklesia, or, the
community of God.
in verse 16 we see Jesus calls Himself the “Root and Offspring of David”.
This is Messianic and Jewish language.
Here we are at the very end of the Bible and we still see references to Israel, and rightly so since this book is directed to
17 says, “The Spirit and the Bride say come”.
I believe the Spirit is the Holy Spirit.
He is in the lives of God's people, whoever they are and whatever age in
which they live. The Holy Spirit
says "come Lord Jesus'.
believe, as I've said before, the bride is in reference to Jews, not Christians
living in our present age. In New
Testament terms, Christians in the age of grace, otherwise known as the church
age, is the Body of Christ, not the Bride of Christ. Israelis throughout the Old
Testament were known to be God's wife. This
is especially clear in the book of Hosea where we learn that God divorced His
wife Israel, but, we also learn the He will remarry her, and that He does, as seen earlier
that being said, there is nothing wrong with Christians right now saying,
"Come Lord Jesus". This
should be the prayer of all God's people of all ages.
Note that the text says that both the Spirit and the Bride say come. If the Bride refers to Jews, then who are the Jews inviting to come. Those invited would have to be Gentiles. Exodus 19:6 states that Israel was meant to be God's priest to the Gentile nations. With this in mind, the word "come" is quite appropriate. Part of Israel's priestly job would be to call the nations to come to God.
17 is also an invitation for anyone who is thirsty to
verses 18 and 19 Jesus gives a very stern warning.
No one is to add or take away from this book of prophecy.
We should thus be extremely careful how we interpret this book.
I certainly don't claim to have all the answers to all of the questions
that arise when we read Revelation. I
do not pretend to have the full truth, and, I certainly don't want to add or
take away from God's word found in this book.
should know that this specific warning is for the book of Revelation, not the
whole Bible. That being said, we
must not add or take away from the rest of the Bible as well.
It is one very sacred book.
verse 20 Jesus confirms the fact that He is coming soon.
John responds by saying, amen, come soon Lord Jesus”.
Book of Revelation ends, as does the book of the whole Bible with these words,
"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with God’s people. Amen".
We are God’s people, that is, those of us who have received the grace
of our Lord Jesus Christ. If not for
His grace we’d all end up in the
words are specifically appropriate for the Jews living at the end of this age
and into the tribulation. As
Zechariah predicted in Zechariah 12:10 and following, God will pour out a spirit
of grace on His people Israel, and here we have an illusion to that right here at the close of the Bible.
note in this last sentence that Jesus is “our” Lord Jesus Christ.
He has given Himself to us and so He is ours.
We also note that Jesus’ title of Lord is first, then comes His name
Jesus, and then comes His other title Christ.
Jesus is first Lord, and because He is Lord, He can become our Christ or
Saviour. We should also note
that because Jesus is both Lord and Christ as Peter said on the Day of
Pentecost, that He is both Lord and Christ to us.
We can’t have Jesus as our Christ without Him being our Lord.
The gospel message that some preach that says, “make Jesus your Saviour
or Christ, and then at some future point make Him your Lord” is not New
Testament thinking. When you come to
Jesus for the first time, you let Him into your life as both your Lord and your
you have read all that I've said in this commentary, I hope it has helped you in
your search through Biblical prophecy. May
Jesus give you the understanding in all things.