34 – The Final Word.
The last two chapters of Revelation contain fantastic descriptions of the new heaven and the new earth as all we know today has passed away. In many ways, they are the same place, ‘where the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people and God Himself will be with them and be their God.’ Revelation 21:3 and Revelation 22:3. The city has matchless splendour and authority. There is a Throne but no Temple because ‘the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple’. There is a river flowing down the great street of the city and both sides have the tree of life bearing fruit every month. No longer will there be any curse. Then joy of joys all those with His name on their foreheads will see Him face to face. We won’t need light or the sun as He will be our Light and we will reign for ever and ever, Revelation 22:5.
Read Revelation 22:1-5
In the first six verses of this chapter, John’s vision of the glorious future for the people of God is completed with a brief description of the river of life, the tree of life, the throne of God and of the Lamb. With the river of life flowing from the throne, there is no uncleanness or pollution. This is the pure crystal ‘Water of Life,’ that is offered to all. It is the same living water, which Jesus told the Samaritan Woman about, in John 4:7-14. This is the fullness of eternal Life with Him, offered to all who allow Him to satisfy their thirst. The awesome words of Jesus have echoed down through the years: “Jesus stood, and He cried in a loud voice, If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink! He who believes in Me [who cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me] as the Scripture has said, From his innermost being shall flow [continuously] springs and rivers of living water. But He was speaking here of the Spirit …..” John 7:37-39. The Spirit of Christ has equipped us with all we need for life and godliness, so we must choose to walk everyday in His Power and Will, allowing Him to live His life through us. Once again, John shows the importance of coming to the Source, the Presence of God, later in the chapter Revelation 22:17. “Come! And let everyone come who is thirsty [who is painfully conscious of his need of those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, and strengthened]; and whoever [earnestly] desires to do it, let him come, take, appropriate, and drink the water of Life without cost.” Life in God’s city is characterised by purity, humility and prosperity, but all are linked directly to a right relationship with God’s Throne of Grace. No wonder Jesus was shouting, as He must have been quite overcome with a passion to see all people with His Father, in the new Home He was going to prepare for us who believe, John 14:1-3.
Let us notice the tree of life growing on each side of the river, in the centre of the great street in the city. This is a reminder of the Garden of Eden, where God planted two trees. These trees gave Adam and Eve the freedom to choose. One tree came with the reward of eternal life for choosing to obey and the other had sad consequences, which we know as ‘the Fall,’ when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God Genesis 2:9. (See the study in Real Women 02, to look at the relevance of eating from the ‘Tree of Life.’)
People often wonder if there will be eating in Heaven? The best thing to do with fruit is to eat it! Some may joke and say that it wouldn’t be Heaven if we couldn’t enjoy the pleasure of eating; but wonderfully, if we do eat it won’t be in gluttony, and we won’t have to watch our calories! The twelve varieties of fruit on the Tree of Life, which it produces every month, will have properties of healing in their leaves. The picture is one of abundant provision from God. There will be no sickness, for the leaves on this Tree of Life are healing agents for the nations.
“There shall be no more curse!” Remember in the Garden of Eden a curse was put upon all flesh when the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was eaten. This curse included suffering, death, pain in childbirth, the husband ruling over the wife. This curse was dealt with at the Cross, so we are no longer under the curse and we need to choose to walk in the victory Jesus paid and not to allow Satan to hold us in any bondage, which Jesus has broken, Galatians 3:13. All the redeemed shall be free to worship Him, Who sits on the Throne and the Lamb. Note we shall serve Him, so we are going to be active in Heaven, Revelation 22:3. We shall have occupations that we really enjoy and find fulfilling, and yet we shall never tire, as we are there because the curse is broken. What are you looking forward to doing, while serving the Lord Jesus Christ?
Read Revelation 22:6-10
The remainder of this chapter contains the grand conclusion of this most wonderful of books. Most people’s last words are valued and important and so we need to allow the Holy Spirit to burn these last words of His amazing book into our hearts. We focus on the faithful Word; the completed work of Christ and the final witness of the Spirit. John’s attention is again drawn towards the angel who wants to emphasise that sooner or later all that has been revealed will take place. These sayings are “faithful and true,” and we can depend on these writings as being authentic and not just the book of Revelation, but the whole Bible. The entire Word is God breathed, accurate and all the truths are preserved exactly how God wanted it done, as the Holy Spirit gave utterance, 2 Timothy 3:16. Men may mock and deny the authority of Scripture, but God declares His sayings are faithful and true and as Peter said: “…it is better to obey God rather than men,” Acts 5:29.
Jesus Himself states three times that He is coming quickly Revelation 22:7; Revelation 22:12-20, which refers to His coming in Judgement, as described throughout this book. This is a real challenge to holy living according to His Word, with the motivation that at any time Jesus could appear. There is also a reminder of the blessings for those who live His way, as written in the Bible. The happiest people on earth are those who are looking for the glorious appearing of the Lord Jesus in the air.
John is overcome with all he has seen and heard and again inadvertently falls down to worship the angel and receives another chiding! Jesus, is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last, the Root and Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star, and declares that He has sent His angel to testify of these things for the churches, Revelation 22:16. He is calling all people to worship the One True Living God and Him only. John’s action is a challenge to all of us, as we know how easy it is to displace God Himself, with people and things. The angel brings John back to the Word, which is exactly where we should come, every time we become distracted by worldly desires and standards. The angel is saying that this book is God’s final authority, so we need to allow it to bring us to His feet in worship. It is also important to remember that the One to worship is not a teacher of truth, or worship leader, but the One who is THE Truth. We can never afford to be guilty of preacher worship. A preacher’s main desire should be that we love and worship the Lord Jesus. Their responsibility is to always point us towards the one true God both in their actions and words.
We are to guard as a treasure, the things in the Book of Revelation, and to encourage as many as possible to study this amazing Love Story. We are so blessed in this modern technological age that we have so many tools to use, so that the Word can be ringing in our ears every moment we are awake. We can follow teachings from churches, individuals and ministries on the Internet, but there is nothing like the personal one-to-One with the living God, which is led by His Presence in us, the Holy Spirit. We cannot draw closer to Him beyond a certain stage if we don’t seek Him for ourselves. We must not expect the Word to be spoon fed into us and have a close, intimate, moment by moment walk with our precious Saviour
The angel who showed John the Holy City, stressed that the events described in this Book were soon to take place, so that John is to leave it open and not to seal it. It is the command of God that we seal nothing that is written in this Book. Instead, we are to let people know about the prophetic truths, because His coming is near. God is so very keen for us to focus on His Word. Visions and prophetic words have their place, but the Word of God is Living, it is accurate, authoritative and accessible. This is the final word on all issues of faith and morals.
Read Revelation 22:11-16
These next verses teach that what we are on earth determines what we will be when He comes again. If we have been corrupt here, then we will be corrupt in eternity. If we have been holy here, because of the Grace of God and the Blood of Jesus, we will be holy in eternity. Jesus on the Cross hung between two thieves, who had completely different outcomes, because of their heart-attitudes, and so it is today. We are all born into sin, but because of the finished work of Jesus Christ, we can be made new and fit for Heaven, providing that we put our faith into action by believing that Christ is the Son of God. The wicked that reject Him will continue in sin and at death, their final destination is fixed. The righteous are made holy by the work of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis, but their eternal future is sealed by the Blood of Christ.
Again He promises to come quickly, Revelation 22:12-15. This time when He comes, His rewards will be with Him. We are to work here in order that we may receive rewards from Him, at the judgment seat of Christ. This is just like the Father returning home after He has been away for weeks; He will bring presents as a reward for His children’s activities and patience.
“Blessed, happy and to be envied, are those who do His commandments,” this can be understood as those who ‘wash their robes,’ or exchange the perishable for the imperishable garments. The only way that we may have the authority and right to the Tree of Life is to wash our robes. This is claiming the finished work of Christ, as the Blood of the Lamb of God, Who cleans our spiritual robes and gives us the new imperishable ones. The finished work of Jesus opens our way into the City of God, so we can eat from the Tree of Life forever.
Those who are not in the City are described as ‘dogs,’ meaning the unclean ones. These are sorcerers – those who deal in witchcraft, fortune-telling and spiritism; murderers, whoremongers – those guilty of sexual sins, which are so prevalent in our day; idolaters – those who worship anything, or anyone, but the real God, our Lord Jesus Christ; and liars. There will be full knowledge of what might have been, knowing they are outside of God and His Kingdom. They will be cut off from all that is good, Light and Love Himself, to be totally alone with their memories, misery and regret.
Jesus sends His own angel to tell everything to the Churches where He wants Revelation to be taught. He declares that He is the “root and offspring of David.” How could Jesus be both? First, He is the root of David, in that all things were made by Him as God the Creator, and the Source. Then as a man, He is a descendant of David and will someday claim the throne of David as His own. Also He states that He is “the bright and morning star.” It is the brightest one of all, just before daybreak pointing to the coming of the day. Jesus is the Star, so He is prophesying to the coming of His day, as He comes for ‘His own.’ How we can thank God for the finished and completed work of Christ?
Read Revelation 22:17-21
Now the whole of Scripture is being closed with a reference to the Holy Spirit, Who is the author of the Book. He is the complete inspiration to every written word and title. “Come!” This is one of the most powerful words in the Bible and really sums up the whole message of Jesus’ life. Here the Spirit and Bride are beckoning for Jesus to hurry and come back for His own. “The Spirit says come.” The Presence of God has been calling people to Jesus daily and He is thrilled and eager to see the marriage of the Lamb. The Bride says, “Come.” In Revelation 21:2 we find the Holy City is prepared as a bride. Not only does the Holy Spirit cry out for Jesus to come, but all Heaven is crying, “Come!” Let him who hears say, “Come!” We, too, are to join in the heavenly chorus and together with the Holy Spirit say, “Come, Lord Jesus!” Let every person within the sound of that call, all who are conscious of a deep thirst in their heart, respond while there is an opportunity. “Those who are painfully conscious of the need of those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, and strengthened,” Revelation 22:17 Amp.
Revelation 22:18-19 warns anyone about tampering with this Book. We had better be careful what we say about this Prophecy, for God will punish those who add or take away from it. The Lord will not have His Word tampered with. We see this in the story of Eve, as she added to God’s Word and subtracted from it, when she was challenged by the snake in Genesis 3:1-6. Her sin opened the door for the curse, which we all lived under, until we claimed all that Jesus redeemed for us. At the beginning of Revelation it has a promise for those who read the book and obey it, and it ends with a curse for those who try to change it in any way. So, should anyone add to these things, God will add to him the plagues written in the Book. Everything will be removed from any, who tamper with this Word. What an awesome challenge for any writer!
Christ’s last Word is again a reminder that He is coming quickly. “Surely” means “for a fact.” Jesus is coming quickly “for a fact.” We know by faith that He is coming and John says, “Amen.” He just couldn’t wait for Jesus to come! It seems such a long time to us, since these words were written and Jesus was saying He was coming quickly. It’s approximately two thousand years, but that is like two days to God, 2 Peter 3:8. At any moment now, He could rend the heavens and take all the saints home to Glory in the Rapture! And the Church shouts “Even so come, Lord Jesus!”
John had seen the whole prophetic panoramic future. He had seen the rapture, the Marriage of the Lamb, the Millennium, the New Jerusalem, and the many other wonderful things that God has prepared for those who love Jesus. He cried out, “Hurry up, Lord, and come!”
Jesus states, “Yes I am coming soon.” Isn’t it so like Jesus, not to answer the demands of our hearts for: “When Lord, when?” The Father alone knows the perfect time and until then, He stretches our faith by the reassurances He gives through the out-workings of His Holy Spirit, which encourages us to keep trusting Him.
“The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with God’s people, Amen.” How wonderful of God to finish His Book with His Grace!
Ephesians 3:16-21 Amp.
“16May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality].
17May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love,
18That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it];
19[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!
20Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]–
21To Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it).”
We can use this powerful prayer of Paul’s to pray daily for our entire family of brothers and sisters in Christ, as we look together to the most amazing time in His-Story. We need to also pray for those who have slipped away, or are not yet in His Kingdom, so as a result, will not be part of the Rapture. Is God’s mercy holding Jesus back just for our child?
We have covered so much in our study of Revelation and for each of us there will be different highlights as the Holy Spirit has revealed things personally to us. Consequently, this summary will be very generalised and it will reiterate what ‘Joy for Life’ is all about. The ‘Joy’ in our lives is that we are growing in our heart-relationship with Jesus Christ, rather than gaining a perfect head knowledge.
Jesus Christ is Lord of the Earth, and as the Creator and now the Redeemer, He has unfolded the scroll to reclaim the earth actively, Revelation 5:1-7; 6:1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12; 8:1. He is the chief Warrior en route to the greatest worldwide victory. He has called His own to evangelize His world, Revelation 6:1; 10:8-11; 11:1-6; 22:17; and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit enables His disciples to demonstrate His Love, His Life, His Grace, and His Fruit. He is executing justice and judgment toward the earth’s ultimate cleansing and renewal and will ultimately rule the Earth in righteousness, Revelation 19:11-20:6. He is the God of history and Judge of all humanity.
God is tireless in His continued dealings with Israel, as a people both spiritually and nationally. There are just two eternal truths – His Word and His People. Historically it looked as if His dealings with the Jews were suspended while the great harvest of the Gentiles was gathered in, Romans 11:25. Now over the past four generations He has evidenced His intent about realising His purpose for them, in a national sense. This has been phenomenally manifested in our time with the establishment of the Jewish State on 14 May, 1948. Israel is centrally located in the Middle East, providing stability in an increasingly volatile area. We have also seen in the news the enormous prosperity coming to the land. God is reaching to each Jew in a personal sense Revelation 7:1-8, and overseeing the ‘apple of His eye,’ according to His everlasting promises, Zechariah 2:8. The Ruach ha-Kodesh (Holy Spirit) is blowing upon and breathing life into the dry bones as Ezekiel prophesied, Ezekiel 37:4-6.
Finally, this Book is a Love Story; it is a book of hope! It is the Book ‘of and about’ Jesus Christ and we have seen that He has been at the beginning of Creation and at the Fall, when God the Father, in His great Love for all mankind, put His Salvation plan into action. He wants none to perish and so He sent His only Son to enable us to have a way back to Him. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End [the Eternal One],” Revelation 22:13 Amp.
We have discovered the perfect storybook ending. Good has triumphed over the powers of evil and Love has overcome hatred. What an encouragement to Christ’s followers of every generation, to believe and accept His Word, by putting the Word into action in our daily lives and to keep on persevering and trusting, even in trying times! This victorious conclusion is no fairy tale, but testimony to the power of God’s Sovereignty over all of His creation. We will have witnessed the extremes from the full force of God’s anger against sin, to the great eternal reward for all the faithful, who have persevered through adversity to victory!
Have you ever thought of the Bible as a scroll being opened in a time line to reveal a very lengthy piece of parchment? Or perhaps visualised in your mind’s eye, all 66 books individually bound and sitting on a library shelf, sandwiched in a row between Genesis on the left, and Revelation at the far right end? And again, perhaps you’ve never thought of them in this way at all!
However, if we continue the imagery, there’s a surprise ending! The straight ‘row’ or ‘time line’ of individual books, which comprise God’s complete Word, and ‘user-manual for life,’ now comes full circle! Jesus said: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” the “Beginning and the End,” so isn’t He in fact effectively taking that imaginary row of 66 books and transforming them, by joining both ends to make a circle; one without end?
As a groom gives his bride a wedding ring to show the outward promise of their spiritual union, so Jesus Christ gives His Bride, the Believers, a glorious Eternity ring, which is His-Story, His promise from the Beginning to the End! What Love, what amazing Grace and Mercy! Hallelujah! Come Lord Jesus! Amen!
As a member of His Living Church, His Body, Jesus calls us today:
1. To ever live in faithful anticipation of Jesus’ return Revelation 2:25; 3:11; 16:15; Revelation 22:7, 12, 20.
2. To stand firm when experiencing apparent defeat, being confident of ultimate victory, Revelation 13:7-10; Revelation 14:9-13; Revelation 19:1-10.
3. To faithful intercessory prayer and constant praise-filled worship, Revelation 5:8-10.
4. To hear the Spirit’s voice, to know the Father’s Word, and to walk the Saviour’s pathway of obedience, Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26-29; Revelation 3:5, 6; Revelation 3:12-18, 21, 22.
5. To anticipate an eternal destiny of joy and purpose with Christ, Revelation 19:1-10; Revelation 20:4-6; Revelation 21:1-22:4.
May God, our Holy Creator, give to each of us the Grace to take full advantage of every precious opportunity extended to all, to find refuge from the coming wrath of Almighty God, in the mercy and love of Jesus His Son.
As a believer in the complete work of Christ we look forward to:
1. A place prepared for us John 14:2-3
2. A place unlimited by physical properties John 20:19, 26; 1 Corinthians 15:35-49
3. We will be like Jesus 1 John 3:2
4. We will have new bodies 1 Corinthians 15
5. Our experience will be wonderful 1 Corinthians 2:9
6. A new environment Revelation 21:1
7. A new experience of God’s presence Revelation 21:3; 1 Corinthians 13:12
8. New emotions Revelation 21:4
9. There will be no more death Revelation 21:4
To Him who died for all, belongs all praise and tribute, all devotion and esteem, to the eternal Glory of His Father and ours, Who is Blessed forevermore.
34. Revelation 22 – The Final Word – Challenge Questions
1. *Read the Notes and the Bible Verses referred to in them. Highlight the points that ‘speak’ to you and be prepared to share with your group.
2. *How do you see heaven? Where are you in the picture? (Revelation 4)
3. Are you sure of the Grace of God and do you see it as sufficient for all things?
4. *What are the highlights of your study of Revelation?
5. *Can you see anything happening in the world that is directly prophesied in Revelation?
6. *Can you see anything happening in the universal Church that is spoken about in Revelation?
7. What have you seen of the character of God in your study of Revelation? Has this helped you to get a more truthful picture of Him?
8. *Sum up how you have drawn closer to God through your study at this time, Ephesians 3:19.
9. Try to summarise Revelation in one sentence.