Revelation 22:1-21 Part 1

REVELATION 22:1-21 Part 1


1)      And it showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, going forth from the throne of God and the Lamb

2)      in midst of its streets, and the river flowing hence; and from there a tree of life producing twelve fruits each month, the tree rendering its fruit and its leaves into the healing of the nations;

3)      and there will no longer be any curse.  The throne of God and the Lamb will be in her, and His servants will serve Him;

4)      and they will see His countenance, His name on their foreheads;

5)      and there will be no night there, so they will have no need of a lamp or sunlight, for Kurios God will shine forth upon them; and they will reign into the ages of the ages.

6)      Then it said to me ‘these faithful and true words Kurios God of the spirits of the prophets sent His messenger to show His servants what is necessary to come to pass in quickness.

7)      Lo, I come quickly.  Blessed the one keeping the words of the prophecies of this scroll’.

8)      I, John, the one hearing and seeing these things, when I heard and saw I fell down to bow before the feet of the messenger that is showing me these things;

9)      and it said to me, ‘see not.  I am a fellow servant of you and your brothers the prophets and of those keeping the words of this scroll.  Bow to God’.

10)  And it said to me, ‘you may not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, for the time is near;

11)  the unrighteous be he yet unrighteous, the filthy be he yet defiled; the righteous be he yet work righteousness, the holy be he yet hallowed.

12)  Lo, I come quickly, My wages with Me, to recompence each as is his work.

13)  I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.

14)  Blessed those who wash their garments; for the tree of life will be their privilege, and they may enter the city by the gates.

15)  Without…. the dogs and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and all who love and practice falsehood.

16)  I, Jesus, sent My messenger to testify these things to you in the Churches.  I AM David’s root and offspring; the bright morning star.

17)  The Spirit and the bride say ‘come’; and he who hears say ‘come’.  He who thirsts let him come; he who longs, let him take to himself the water of life freely.

18)  I, I testify to all who hear the words of the prophecy of this scroll: if anyone impose upon them, God will impose upon him the plagues written in this scroll;

19)  and if anyone take away from the words of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and the holy city as written in this scroll.

20)  He Who testifies thus, says: ‘Yea, I come quickly’.  Amen, come Kurie Jesus!

21)  (The grace of Kuriou Jesus with all of the holy ones.)


Let’s set the context carefully here, for there is no break in the text of John’s letter to the Churches between chapters twenty-one and twenty-two.

As we’ve seen so many times over the last five years, when people just like you and me manipulate the text for some utilitarian purpose (like making it easier to find things), it does little else but confuse.  And we must not be confused here.

So, here’s the context, beginning at verse nine of the last chapter:


9)      Then one of the seven messengers that had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came and spoke with me saying, “here, I will show you the bride – the wife of The Lamb”.

10)  And it did bear me in spirit upon a great and high mountain and showed me the city – the holy Jerusalem coming down from the God of the heaven having her God’s glory….


The messenger that came to speak to John, beginning at verse nine of chapter twenty one, is still speaking to him about the New Jerusalem here in twenty two!  It is a message directly from the mouth of our Lord; and there is no interruption in the message from that point to the end of The Revelation.

This is one of the messengers that had the seven bowls of the seven last plagues upon Israel and the city of God at the end of the age.  And the subject of its message there in twenty one is still the subject here in twenty two.  The text here at verse one says: “and it showed me….”  It’s the same messenger; and it’s still showing John the New Jerusalem coming down from God.

So don’t let the break in chapters confuse you.

As John looked on, it was the end of the age; and the time was near.  In the final few years of Israel’s existence, the plagues to come were to be horrific.  And then she would be put to the sword; and she would be burned in the fiery wrath of God.  The first Jerusalem would no longer exist, and would pass from remembrance.

Then that messenger, having previously shown John the plagues shortly to come, takes him to the top of a great mountain and shows him the new, and holy, city – Jerusalem – coming down from the heaven having her God’s glory.

Remember…this is to happen “shortly”.  As John receives these things, the plagues are shortly to come; the destruction of the city and the nation was shortly to come; the binding of the serpent is shortly to come; and the “holy” city – God with Us – would come… the New Jerusalem!

She is the bride – the wife of the Lamb.

Replacing the first Jerusalem would come the “holy” Jerusalem.  It is the tabernacle of God in the heaven… coming down “into” His creation to abide with us.  And she is filled with the hundred and forty-four thousands who John has previously seen – with God in the heaven - robed in the white garments of righteousness.  The bride of Christ is “holy”!

She is the one who came to the wedding festivities when she was called; and she was “given” wedding garments fit for the King!  She is the “daughter of Zion” birthed from the prostitute.  She is the one who Jesus came to seek and to save; for she is the elect of the Father from the tribes of Jacob – the “true” Israel.  And because of His perfect sacrifice, she is dressed and adorned appropriately; and she is holy and perfect and beautiful and crowned with glory in all of her aspects.

John describes her perfections in detail there in chapter twenty one; and there’s nothing unclean in her.  Her foundations have the names of the apostles; and her gates have the names of the twelve tribes of Jacob.  And the gold and the stones of the first paradise adorn her!

John is shown her coming down from the heaven upon a great mountain – high and above all other mountains.

Jesus Christ, having saved The Father’s elect from the tribes of Jacob, the Lamb of God having been sacrificed for the sin of the world, and having received all authority in the heaven and on the earth, had ascended to the Right and received His inheritance: all the kingdoms and nations and peoples and tribes and tongues.  He became their King; and they then all belonged to Him.

His Kingdom is the great mountain over all the mountains and hills of the earth.  And the New Jerusalem comes down to the top of His Kingdom/mountain.

What John is shown here, at the soon-to-come Parousia of the Christ, is 1) an unholy harlot nation passing from existence, 2) an unholy city with its unholy temple passing from existence; and 3) an unholy mountain – Mount Zion – passing from existence.  And in place of these, a holy people and a holy city coming down on a holy mountain.

He has saved the Father’s elect from the tribes of Jacob; and now He will save the world!

What flowed from the first city on the first mountain (just like Babylon before it) was the wine of her fornication, and all the nations drank from it.  But from the new city on the new Kingdom/mountain would dawn a great light in the darkness; and would flow a River of the Water of Life to all the nations and tribes and tongues.

That’s what John sees here in verse one of our new chapter as he continues to describe what he’s being shown by this messenger.  And we’re reminded of the first prophetic Word of this River of Life; for when Moses was at the top of the Sinai mountain – in the presence of God in His holy tabernacle, he was told of the great river that flowed from Eden and broke into many parts to water all the earth.

And here we see the fullness of the Word of God to Moses; for what John is shown “about-to-be” is the mountain of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, atop of which is the New Jerusalem – the tabernacle of God-With-Us.  And from the “Seat” of God and the Lamb flows a River which will water every dry and wilderness place of the earth!

It is the seat of God and the Lamb, for the Lamb of God was sacrificed for the sin of the world!  The first heaven and earth, and the first paradise, were ruined by sin and cursed of God.  But as John looks on here, there was about to be a new heaven and a new earth and a new Jerusalem; and there would come to pass a paradise that cannot be ruined by sin; for Jesus Christ had given His body and poured out His blood for the sin of the world.

We’ve seen the Lamb of God “in midst” of the seat of God before, haven’t we?  Listen once again to what John has previously seen.  This is from chapter five:


1)      And I did see a scroll on the right of the One sitting on the throne

2)      having been written front and back having been sealed with seven seals.

3)      And I did see a mighty messenger announcing in a great sound, “Who worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?”

4)      And no one in the heaven or upon the earth or under the earth was enabled to open the scroll or to see it.

5)      And I was weeping greatly because no one worthy had been found to open the scroll or to see it.

6)      And one of the elders says to me, “Don’t be weeping!  Lo!  The Lion from the Judah tribe, the David Root, did overcome to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

7)      And in midst of the throne and of the four creatures and in midst of the elders I did see a lamb standing as slain, having seven horns and seven eyes which are the Spirits of God sending forth into all the earth.

8)      And He did come and He takes from the right of the One sitting upon the throne.

9)      And when He did take the scroll, the four creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each having a lyre and golden bowls filling with incense which are the prayers of the holy ones,

10)  and singing new songs, saying, “Worthy are You to take the scroll and open its seals, for You were slain, and You did buy for God in Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

11)  and You did make them a kingdom, and priests for our God, and they will reign upon the earth.


It’s exactly what was revealed to John the baptizer when he first saw Jesus coming toward him.  He said, “lo, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world”.

It was prophesied to Isaiah before, in chapter fifty-three:


6)      All, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and YAHVEH has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

7)      He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he opened not his mouth; as a lamb led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.

8)      By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who among them considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due?


So, what John is shown here in verse one is the “Seat” – the throne – of Almighty God above His tabernacle in the heaven coming down from the heaven to abide “with us”.  And “in midst” of the seat is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.

And from the seat of Almighty God and the Lamb, the River of water of life flows amidst the streets of the New Jerusalem and, hence, into all the world.  It’s not a flood of wrath (as with the first Jerusalem), but a flood of life that ever widens and ever deepens, and that waters the dry and wilderness places of all the earth.

This is what John is shown about to be!

The God Who spoke and all creation came to be; the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob Who kept the seed of the woman for Himself out of all depraved and cursed humanity; the God Who, in the fullness of the time brought forth a sacrificial Lamb for Himself; the God who had been remote and separated from a cursed humanity and a cursed earth, would abide with us – tabernacle with us; for His Lamb had taken away the sin of the world.

The Lamb had become sin!  And He had satisfied the wrath of God toward cursed humanity and toward a cursed earth.  As the beginning of verse three says, “and there would no longer be any curse”!

You see, because of the love of God for His elect people and for His creation, He provided a sacrifice to Himself – the depth and height and breadth of which “satisfied” the curse of God.

So thorough, so profound, so unconditional, so exhaustive was the payment for sin and the satisfaction that it provided, that there was no longer any curse; and our holy God would now tabernacle with us!

No longer remote and above the firmament of His cursed creation, He would be “with us”!  And over the course of all the decreed years (the curse having been satisfied), the One with all authority in the heaven and on the earth would complete the Edenic restoration of the entire creation.

We’ll get to the tree of life here in verse two in a few minutes.  But before that, there is something here that is of supreme interest to us who reside in the New – and holy – Jerusalem, and who gather for public worship on the first day of the week.

It isn’t something that’s mentioned by John, but is nonetheless “conspicuous” in his description of all that he is shown.  Hear once again one verse from the passage that I read earlier from chapter five:


“And in midst of the throne and of the four creatures and in midst of the elders I did see a lamb standing as slain, having seven horns and seven eyes which are the Spirits of God sending forth into all the earth.”


That’s the passage in which John is shown the Lamb of God, the only One worthy to open the scroll having to do with the last days at the end of the age… the scroll that had been sealed to the prophet Daniel until the fullness of the time.

John’s description of God’s Lamb (there in chapter five) included the seven horns and the seven eyes which are the Spirits of God sending forth into all the earth.

The seven horns are indicative of the full and complete authority given to the risen and ascended Lamb of God.  And the seven eyes are the full and complete work of Holy Spirit proceeding into all the world from God and from the Lamb in midst of the throne.

Also around the Lamb, John had seen the four mighty creatures at the four corners of the mercy seat beneath the throne of God.  And there were all the twenty four elder-creatures.

And what is so striking to me here in chapters twenty-one and twenty-two (and it should be to you as well), is the prominent and conspicuous “absence” of these creatures as John described the new Jerusalem – the tabernacle of God-With-us!

Also, significantly absent here in the description of the new tabernacle of God, is all the sounds that John had heard previously from the tabernacle in the heaven!

There were wonderful harmonic sounds being emitted from the very existence of the tabernacle itself – as harping strings.

But also there were mighty shouts, and sounds of great thunders, and flashing lights as lightnings, and trumpeting, and crashing as the sound of cymbals, and fire and brimstone being poured out of chalices, and choruses of praise to Almighty God for His faithful justice and righteousness!

But John mentions none of these things in His description of the New Jerusalem as our God tabernacles with us!  They’re all missing!  The creatures, the sights and the sounds; the chariots of God as He rode over the wings of the four creatures; the rushing sounds like a great wind, the pillars of smoke and pillars of fire, the cloud of glory hiding His Presence and filling his man-made tabernacles – all of the creatures and sights and sounds of the heavenly tabernacle are absent here in John’s description of the New Jerusalem – the tabernacle of God with man!

And what occurs to me as John is allowed to see what is “about to be”, is that none of these things would any longer be needed!

What John is shown is a new – and holy – Jerusalem; and God would tabernacle with us; for there would no longer be any curse!  The throne – the very “seat” of Almighty God is with us, and the Lamb of God in midst of the seat.

And from the seat of God and the Lamb flows the river of the water of life into all the nations and tribes and tongues of the earth.  It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And proceeding from God and the Lamb is the full work of God the Spirit in rebirthing His people from death unto life.

No longer is it appropriate to have the twenty-four creatures praising God in His heavenly tabernacle; for the Church – the Redeemed of the Lamb – gathers on the first day of the week in public to give praise and honor to our God and to sing a new song!  It is no longer sung by creatures that don’t participate in the salvation wrought on our behalf; but it is the singing of praise by the Redeemed!  And we do so in public because this all belongs to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  It’s His by inheritance.  And He is “with” us!

There is no longer any need for the roaring and the thunders and the lightnings and the trumpeting and the glory cloud.  There’s no longer any need for the four creatures that called up the four horses of the Revelation, or that called up the four great beasts of God’s history, or that dealt with the deception of the serpent of old, or that – from the four corners of the earth – called up the four winds at the end of the age, and that held back the waters of the Euphrates so the armies of the world would gather at the valley of Megiddo!

Their four faces and four wings and their many eyes are no longer needed; for the Lamb slain – with seven horns and seven eyes is in midst of the seat of God.  And from Him goes forth the full influence of God the Spirit into all the earth.

And the Gospel of Jesus Christ flows as a river of living water into all the dark and wilderness places; and up springs light and life.  The New Jerusalem – the tabernacle of God with us – has no need for any of those things.  Restitution has been made!  And restoration is in progress!  Our God is with us!  And there is no more curse.

And restitution and restoration are also implied from what else John sees coming forth from the seat of God and the Lamb – and from the River of the water of life.  John was also shown the tree of life; or the translation might also be “the living wood”.

This view of the New Jerusalem and the seat of God and the Lamb is both complex and profound.  And it is so from the beginning; for it refers to so many things and so many prophecies and so many events all through the Scripture.  For example, the psalmist speaks of man-made idols that have no life!

He wrote:


5)      They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:

6)      They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:

7)      They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.

8)      They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusts in them.


In this case (regarding the tree of life), living wood is contrasted with that which is lifeless!  The wooden idol can’t see, it can’t hear, it can’t speak, it can’t smell; for it is a man-made idol that has no life.  So why should it be worshipped as if it could impart or provide life?

The prophetic Scriptures are full of the Word of God to Israel and Jerusalem regarding its idolatry.  There was even a “tree of life” in the garden at the beginning.  It was prophetic of that which John was shown here in the New Jerusalem.

And there, in the garden, Adam and his wife refused to be satisfied with the “paradise” that God had made; and they refused to see the paradise that would be!  Preferring self-idolatry, they became cursed and lifeless as a man-made idol; and they were expelled from paradise.

And then, all through Israel’s history we read of her man-made idols as she built them in gardens, and under great trees, and on the tops of hills, and on their roofs, and at every crossroad.  And along with the warnings of the coming wrath of God, she was sent the clear words of God through the prophets of a coming paradise in God’s Anointed One… a paradise in which that “tree of life” would be restored to His people.  And there would be “restoration” of the cursed earth – one in which all the nations would rejoice in light and life and increasing prosperity.

The curse of God upon all His created realm – and the satisfaction of that curse – was also prophesied in the curse of the law.  For God said “cursed is the one who hangs on a tree”.

When our Lord was nailed to the cross and was hung there until His death, He suffered the full and devastating curse of God on mankind and on His creation.  The curse of God’s Law-word was laid on Him; and He became sin – and He died with it, suffering complete rejection and separation from God, and enduring His perfect wrath and justice.

But having been raised up out of death, having made satisfaction for sin and the curse, and having ascended to the Right of The Father, John is now shown the “soon-to-come” Parousia of Jesus Christ, at which time the tabernacle of God would abide with us.

And the tree of life – “living wood” - found in the first paradise would again blossom to the healing and restoration of the earth and all nations and peoples.

Moses spoke of Him; the Law-word of God revealed Him; King David – whose Root and Offspring was the Christ – was given perfect insight of Him as he wrote in the Psalm:


1)      Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.

2)      But his delight is in the law of YAHVEH; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

3)      And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper.


And again the Psalmist from Psalm 92:

12)  The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: they will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

13)  Planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the courts of our God.

14)  and they will bring forth fruit in old age; they shall remain fresh and flourishing,

15)  showing that YAHVEH is upright.  He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.


And once more, from Psalm 96:

11)  Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice.  Let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof;

12)  Let the field exult, and all that is therein; then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy

13)  before YAHVEH; for he comes, He comes to judge the earth: He will judge the earth with righteousness, and the peoples with His truth.


Listen to Isaiah as these things are prophesied to the remnant of Israel.  Chapter forty one:

18)  I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.

19)  In the wilderness I will put the cedar, the acacia, and the myrtle, and the olive tree; I will set in the desert the fir-tree, the pine, and the box-tree together,

20)  that they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the Right Hand of YAHVEH has done this; the Holy One of Israel has created it.


And lastly, in Daniel chapter four we have the mighty vision of the new heaven and the new earth at the coming of the King of Kings at the end of the age.

The vision was given to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and interpreted by Daniel.  And it drove the king to insanity; because he was not to be the king over all the earth.  Another was to be King!  Here’s the place where he describes to Daniel what was shown to him:


10)  Thus were the visions of my head upon my bed.  I saw, and, behold, a tree in midst of the earth; and the height thereof was great.

11)  The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached into heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth.

12)  The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit much, and in it was food for all.  The beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the birds of the heavens dwelt in the branches thereof, and all flesh was fed from it.


This was the vision of the first beast of world history who, at the deception of the satan, defeated Jerusalem and all Israel, and brought its people and its goods into captivity in Babylon.  And he then went back and completely destroyed the wall and the city and the temple and laid the entire land to waste… leaving it a barren wilderness.  It was all an attempt, by the serpent, to cut off the Seed of the woman to be born in Israel.

And this satanically motivated king of all the world was shown the True King of the world to come; and he was driven insane by rage and jealousy.  And he became a beast that grew claws and hair over his entire body; and he grazed in the field like the beast that he was.

But the vision shown to him, and interpreted by Daniel, was a  kingdom with a great tree in midst of the earth, under which all the animals took their shelter, and the birds made their nests in its branches; and all the earth flourished and was fed and nurtured by its fruit and its leaves.

And it’s exactly what John is shown at the soon-to-come Parousia of the King of Kings.

The “living wood” – the coming tree of life, was shown to the first beast of history!  The tree of life in the first Paradise was prophetic of the tree of life in the new, and holy, Jerusalem – Paradise restored in Jesus Christ; for our God would “tabernacle”, abide, with us.

And the tree of life would produce a perfect “twelve” fruit every month to feed the nations – equal to all the perfections of the new city of God; and its leaves the “balm” of all the nations of the earth.

As YAHVEH said to Ezekiel, recorded in chapter seventeen, the very “roots” of the first Jerusalem and the land would be pulled up; and the fruits of the tree withered; and the fresh, springing leaves would be dried up.  And no strong arm or many people could raise it up again from its roots.

But God and the Lamb would be in the New Jerusalem.  And there would be a “lively wood” – a “living tree”; and all the nations would feed on it and be healed.

This is what John saw that was about to be.  And there’s so much more.  We’ll continue it next time.