Revelation 22:1-21 Part 3

REVELATION 22:1-21 Part 3


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.)


As we’ve seen so many times before during the six years of preaching through this letter to the Churches of the first century, if one wishes to know the Revelation of Jesus Christ, he has to read the prophets of old (that’s Moses to Malachi).

When our Lord appeared to the apostle John (as recorded in chapter one of this letter), He said to John: “you must prophesy one last time”.  And so we have this prophetic letter.  John was the last prophet of God.  He was the last in a line of prophets dating back some sixteen hundred years… to Moses.

So there is a clear and distinct continuity in the prophetic Word from God through the prophets.  God’s Word is faithful and true, and it never changes.  And His perspective is the same from the beginning – all the way through the Scripture to the Revelation of Jesus Christ.  And the language is the same.

So, once again, the language that you see and hear in the Revelation of Jesus Christ is the language that you see and hear in all of the former prophets.  It’s one continuous prophetic Revelation from God… from His perspective and in His language.

Try as one might, one can’t know John’s letter to the Churches unless he knows the former prophets.  Otherwise, he just has to make it up as he goes along.  And, of course, that’s where all the bizarre, capricious and mythical interpretations of the Revelation of Jesus Christ come from!

John was a prophet (the last one) in the long line of prophets.  And the Word that He received from God (in about 65 or 66AD) contained the same content and the same language that all the others had received; and he received it (and sent it to the Churches) there at the end of the age (and all of which was prophesied by all the others – in their own times and in their own contexts).

The only distinction that occurs in the content and language of The Revelation is due to the imminence of the Parousia of the Christ at the end of the age.  As John received these things (directly from God) and wrote them to the Churches scattered abroad in the nations, all things prophesied were to come to pass “quickly”.  It was time!  Heretofore, the former prophets had prophesied hundreds of years in advance.

Even so, the things prophesied, and the language of prophecy, were the same!  So, all that John heard and was shown had been previously spoken by God directly through the mouths of the prophets of old.

And when our Lord appeared in Israel at the end of the age, in the fullness of the time, He came to seek and to save the lost sheep of the tribes of Jacob (His words – as previously prophesied).  She was the “daughter of Zion” that had been left in such terrible condition (Isaiah fifty five and fifty six – and many other places); for there were no “healers” among the idolatrous priests and elders and pharisees of Israel.  God had “heard” her cries of misery seven hundred years before Jesus came for her.

And when Jesus came, He healed her leprosy, and cast out her demons, and returned her sight and her hearing, and stopped her flow of blood, and straitened her limbs and caused the lame to walk (as it had been prophesied that He would do).

And when He called her, she came to the wedding festivities.  And He dressed her in the white robes of righteous virginity and gathered her to Himself as His Own.  And she was birthed out of that harlot nation before the wrath of God to come… all of it prophesied right there in the older prophets.

And what John is shown here in the last chapters of The Revelation of Jesus Christ is the New and holy Jerusalem that would be coming down from God upon the high mountain of the Kingdom of our Lord.

Jesus – Savior – had come (at the end of the age) to find the “daughter”… the chosen of God from the tribes of Jacob.  And just as a groom would do with his bride, He took her to Himself.

John saw them all earlier, you remember; and they were with Him, and they were robed with the white garments of righteousness.  For He had come for them (as promised); and He had found them; and He had healed them; and He had suffered and died for them.  And He had rescued them before the terrible wrath of God was poured out upon Jerusalem and the land of Israel at the end of the age.

He had saved them from the wrath shortly to come; and the entirety of the “Daughter of Zion” belonged to Him and was united to Him.  She constituted the fullness of the “holy ones” who God had kept for Himself.  And (take note again) they were “holy” because God had kept them for Himself from the beginning!

She was the “true Israel” promised to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob.  Before the termination of the harlot Jerusalem, true Israel’s Messiah came for her!

She wasn’t “holy” because of what she had done; she wasn’t righteous due to anything inherent in her… she was holy because God had chosen her and kept her!  And Jesus sought her out and took her to Himself and dressed her in righteousness… for she was raised from death unto life IN HIM.

In a similar way that a groom takes unto himself a wife, and they become one flesh, so Jesus took the Daughter of Zion – true Israel – to Himself; and she was “united” to Him.  And therein – and only therein – is her righteousness.  And all the rest were put to the sword and inundated in fire.

And since the “daughter” is the true Israel; and since the first Israel and the first Jerusalem would pass away in God’s wrath; the Daughter of Zion would have a New – and holy – Jerusalem; a true Jerusalem… a chaste “wife” of the Lamb as opposed to the former betrothed harlot.

And John is shown what was about to be… it was the New and holy Jerusalem coming down from God atop the Kingdom mountain of Jesus Christ.  And she was adorned with the gold and the stones of the first paradise; the names of the apostles on her foundation stones; upon her gates of pearl were written the names of the tribes of Jacob.

The New Jerusalem would be the “abode” – the tabernacle – of God and the Lamb Who was sacrificed for her.  His tabernacle would be “with man”.


The first Israel and the first Jerusalem upon the first Mount Zion, rather than being the light of the world (as God had commanded her), had corrupted the entire earth with the wine of her fornication.  But the light of the New Israel and the New Jerusalem upon the New Mount Zion would dispense with the gross darkness over all the nations of the earth.

And a River of the Water of Life would flow from her; and a living tree would be food for the nations; and its leaves would be a “balm” for the health of the nations; for God has chosen many from the peoples and tribes and tongues of the earth.  And they, too, are written in the Lamb’s book of life from the beginning!  And ALL Israel – the true Israel – will be saved!

And there would no longer be a curse upon the earth; for the Lamb of God had poured out His blood for the sin of the world.  And God would abide with us!

From the “seat” of God and the Lamb would flow that crystal clear river of the water of life.  And I would call your attention once again to the prophetic Word through the prophet Ezekiel (for all of this had been written previously).  In chapter one, the prophet was caused to see the “seat” of Almighty God above His firmament in the heaven.  And the prophet described the firmament as a “crystal sea” separating the Creator/God from His cursed creation.

But here at the end of the prophetic Word, John is shown the crystal clear water of life flowing from the “seat” of God and the Lamb.  And there is no longer a crystal sea of separation between God and His creation; for God would abide “with us”.

This is “shortly to be”, John says to the Churches.  All of that which had been spoken by God through the prophets was ‘about to be”!  God would make His tabernacle “with man” – in His creation; for there would no longer be any curse!  The curse of God on His creation would shortly be gone, because the one sacrifice for the sin of the world had been made.  “For God SO loved the world that He gave His only Son….”

And John also saw that living tree bearing copious amounts of fruit to feed the nations, and the leaves of which are for the “healing” of the nations.  And you remember Moses’ description of the Garden of Eden, which is a clear prophetic Word of that which would be in the new “paradise” of God.  And in the Edenic garden was a “tree of life” which cursed and sinful man could never approach.

But here in the tabernacle of God with man, the tree of life would feed the nations, and its leaves would be a balm for their healing; and the tree would never die, nor its leaves wither; for there are multitudes from the nations and peoples and tribes and tongues of the world who belong to The Christ.  And God would be with us; for there would no longer be any curse.

There are “holy ones” in all the nations who God has loved from the beginning, and who He has kept for Himself, and for whom God has provided His Own sacrifice.

The River of Water of Life, crystal clear, would flow into the “sea” of humanity, and the sea would be healed; and the great multitude promised to Abraham will be raised up out of death unto life, united to Christ, and come under full influence of God the Spirit.

And they will thirst for that water; and it will be given to them freely.  And the River will flow hence ever wider and deeper into the wilderness places and the dry places where, formerly, there were the briars and thorns of the curse (Genesis chapter three).

And through all the years decreed, the nations that our Lord Jesus has inherited will be healed and fed from the “Living Tree”; and they will thrive and prosper and flourish; for they will increasingly be “at peace” with God.

All of these things were prophesied through the prophets of old; and John is shown them at the end of the age as being imminent… shortly to come.  And he was to send this last prophecy to the Daughter of Zion – the elect of the tribes of Jacob – that had been scattered abroad in all the little Churches.

And through all the mighty things that God was about to do there at the end of the age, His people in the Churches were to hold the testimony of Jesus and keep His Commandments. 

“Don’t fear”, He said.  Anticipate it.  This is all of God; and it was all spoken before.  And now, as they received this letter from John, it is imminent.  And He wrote to them that God said: “I will be with you”.

What John is shown, and what he writes to the Churches here at the end of the letter, is “God-with-us”.  It is what is “about to be”.

The first Jerusalem in the first land of Israel was about to cease to exist – never again to be remembered.  And there would come a new – and holy – Jerusalem in which God and the Lamb would tabernacle with us (all previously prophesied).  And all His servants – the elect of the tribes of Jacob – would serve Him (end of verse three of your text).

This remnant of Israel who God had kept for Himself, the daughter of Zion, the ones who Jesus came to seek and to save of the tribes of Jacob, are the first-fruits of the resurrection.  They are the true Israel, beloved of God from the beginning.  He would be with them – and they with Him in the tabernacle of God with man.

Our Lord Jesus Christ had sought them out and found them; and He had saved them… healing them and raising them from death unto life in Him.  And He had gotten them all out of Israel before the wrath to come, that none of them would suffer that which was to come shortly upon the city of Jerusalem and the land.

As he wrote previously in this letter, John was shown them With God and the Lamb; and they are with Him in the New Jerusalem that John sees coming down from the heaven upon the great and high mountain of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.  She is the Royal City of God and the Lamb, filled with the Daughter of Zion – the elect of Jacob, the remnant of the tribes of Jacob.

And from them, from their preaching and teaching of the Gospel among the peoples of the world, would flow the Water of the River of Life from the seat of God and the Lamb.  And that River of Life would flow ever deeper and ever wider into every place on earth.  And there would be many “children” of the daughter.  And through all the years of our Lord’s decree, the nations and peoples and tribes and tongues of the earth would receive life from death in Christ Jesus.

He is the Inheritor of all the nations; He is their King.  Kings and rulers would acknowledge Him and bring their glory into the New Jerusalem; and all Israel shall be saved.  And the new “land of Israel” would be extended to the farthest reaches of the earth!

And at the end of all the years, the promise to Abraham of multitudes from the nations will have been fulfilled.  They are his “seed”.  And even the earth itself would reap all the benefits of peace with God; for there would be no more curse!

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.  By His one sacrifice, God is satisfied.  And His curse upon mankind and on the earth is no more (verse three).  And when He is finished with all His work, all of creation will shine with the glory of God the Father.

And at the day of judgment, all of those written in the Lamb’s book of life will have been kept by Him – even in death.  Even in death they are united to Him; and He will raise them from their graves.  They will NOT be judged according to their works at judgment day, for the judgment has already been poured out upon the Christ. And they will all enjoy the Presence of Almighty God for all eternity.


Now.  As we move on to verse four in the text, there’s a very important word here at the beginning… wisely translated correctly in the King James version, but incorrectly translated in many other English versions.

The word is “countenance”.  The incorrect English versions have it translated “face”.

The text says, “and they (i.e. His servants) shall see His countenance….”  John is still describing the new, and holy, Jerusalem coming down upon the great mountain of our Lord’s world-wide Kingdom.  It is the tabernacle of God with man.  And with Him are the hundred and forty-four thousands of God’s elect from the tribes of Jacob.  It is the “remnant” who God has kept for Himself.  It is the “daughter of Zion” who Jesus came to seek and to save.

They are all “with Him”; for they are all “in Christ”.  And they serve Him by glorifying Him – keeping His commandments and holding His testimony; for it is their preaching and teaching – as messengers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by which the water of life will flow into the nations! 

They are the firstfruits of the resurrection – the beginning of the Church of our Lord in the nations.  They have been raised from death unto life IN HIM; they belong to Him, and it is they to whom this letter from John was sent at the end of the age.  And the things that he wrote to them were to happen shortly; for the time was near!

“And they shall see His countenance… (verse four).  The countenance of Almighty God-with-us and the Lamb.”

It’s this word “countenance” – and no other word – that is the right translation here; and it’s very powerful when seen a rightly.  So I’m going to take you through a few of the many instances in which this word is used in the Scripture.

The first three were written by God’s first prophet – Moses, who had been in God’s tabernacle atop Mount Sinai for forty days and nights, receiving the Word of God.  And he then wrote all that he had heard, which now forms the first five books of the Bible.

In his first book – The Genesis, at chapter four – he writes God’s spoken Word to Cain in which God first uses the word “countenance”.   Listen to it:


3)      And in the passing of time it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto YAHVEH.

4)      And Abel, he brought of the firstlings of his flock and the fat thereof. And YAHVEH had regard unto Abel and to his offering;

5)      but unto Cain and his offering he had no regard.  And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.

6)      And YAHVEH said unto Cain, Why are you angry? and why is your countenance fallen?


The second instance in which the word is used in God’s Word is also in The Genesis – this time in chapter thirty one.  And remember, Moses heard these things directly from God, after the Exodus, while on Mount Sinai for forty days and forty nights.  The scene itself occurred seven or eight hundred years previously!

Jacob, the son of Isaac and the grandson of Abraham, and the father of the twelve tribes of Israel, had been sent back to Haran and the tribe of Abraham to get a wife.  And in the process, he ended up with both daughters of Laban… a man who was deceived by his own sons as to Jacob’s intent!  And this passage of Scripture comes right after that deception.  Here it is, at the beginning of chapter thirty-one:


2)      And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.

3)      ………

4)      And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock,

5)      and said unto them, I see your father's countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father has been with me.


As you can hear from just these two Genesis events, the word “countenance” has much more to do with attitude and demeanor than does the word “face”.  And that has to be brought forward to verse four of our text.  “Face” is the word that appears in the popular translations of John’s Revelation.  It is a word that is randomly chosen rather than following the continuous Revelation of the prophetic word.  And when that happens, the verse becomes unintelligible.  Continuity disappears.  And when the continuity disappears and the text become unintelligible, a preacher has no idea what to do with it!  So he makes something up.

Now, the third instance in which this word is used is also in Moses… this time at the end of the fourth book – the book of Numbers.  The scene there is somewhere close to the end of the forty years in the desert.  And Aaron, having been chosen of God as the first high priest of Israel, was instructed to bless “the children of Israel”… the ones who have been separated out!

And God told Aaron to bless them by saying: “and YAHVEH will lift His countenance upon you and give you peace”.

The appointed high priest of Israel, in prophetic representation of the coming High Priest Jesus Christ, blesses the future children of Israel who have been separated out (which the word “holy” means); for God will lift His countenance upon them.  His attitude and demeanor will be “with regard” for them!

There are many of these thereafter in the early historical books.  But next I want you to hear a couple of examples from the psalmist.  The first being from Psalm ten:


2)      The wicked in his pride preys upon the poor.  So let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.

3)      The wicked boasts of his heart's desire, and blesses the covetous who YAHVEH abhors.

4)      The wicked, by the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God.  God is in none of his thoughts.


Then, listen to the Psalmist in Psalm eighty as he prophesies the ultimate destruction of “the vineyard” –Israel - at the appearance of God’s strong Right Hand – the Word of God made flesh.  And the prophecy of the “branch” of the vine that was to be preserved:


14)  Return, we beseech You, O God of Hosts.  Look from the heaven, and see, and visit this vine,

15)  the vineyard which Your Right Hand has planted….. the branch that You made strong for Yourself.

16)  It (i.e. the vineyard) is burned with fire, it is cut down.  They perish at the rebuke of Your countenance.

17)  But let Your hand be upon the Man of Your Right Hand, upon the Son of Man Who You made strong for Yourself.


The countenance of the wicked is that his attitude and demeanor is set against God.  He has no regard for Him.

But the countenance of God, His attitude and regard, toward the branch – or the shoot – of the vine that He planted in Israel is one of delight.  His countenance is toward the Branch; it is one of delight, for it is His Strong Right Hand Who has saved it.  And IN HIM is peace with God.

Here in Isaiah is an instance of the use of the word that is especially enlightening.  Listen from chapter three of his prophecy:


8)      For Jerusalem will be ruined, and Judah is fallen; because their speech and their works are against YAHVEH, defying His glorious presence.

9)      Their countenance bears witness against them; they declare their sin as Sodom, they don’t hide it. Woe unto their soul! for they have brought evil on themselves.

10)  But (YAHVEH says to Isaiah) say of the holy ones, that it shall be well with them; they shall eat the fruit of their deeds.

11)  Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him; for what his hands have dealt shall be dealt unto him.


Isaiah’s prophecy begins with God’s judgment upon the world’s prostitute – Jerusalem and the land of Israel.  This wicked people has a “countenance” about them that is defiant of the glorious presence of Almighty God!  And they will be thoroughly dealt with according to their words and their works.

But, as had been spoken by Moses and by the psalmist, God’s countenance would be toward His “holy ones” who He kept for Himself.  And they would have peace with God.  And they would eat the fruit of their works.

One last instance and we’ll stop.  This is the preaching of the apostle Peter at Pentecost 30AD, fifty days after the crucifixion of the Lamb of God.  In his preaching he quotes King David who speaks the words of the coming Christ of God concerning His crucifixion and resurrection.  And in these prophetic words of King David, it is Jesus Who speaks.  And our Lord Jesus refers to the countenance of God toward Him.  Listen to Peter’s preaching:


22)  Men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by mighty deeds and wonders and signs, which God did by Him among you, as you know;

23)  He, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands you have crucified and slain,

24)  Who God has raised up, having loosed the pains of death because it was not possible that he should be held by it.

25)  For David spoke concerning him (and here’s what David said, some nine hundred years before our Lord’s birth…he quotes what Jesus would say): “I foresaw YAHVEH always before me, for he is at my right, that I should not be moved.

26)  Therefore heart will rejoice, and my tongue will be glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope,

27)  Because You will not leave my soul in hades, neither will You suffer Your Holy One to see corruption.

28)  You will known to me the way of life; You shall make me full of joy by Your countenance.


There was the apostle Peter speaking to Jews from all over the world who were gathered in Jerusalem for the celebrations of Passover and Pentecost.  And he quotes from David – long dead – who spoke the very words of Jesus concerning His foreordained crucifixion and resurrection for the sin of the world!  And He spoke of Jesus’ joy and delight in seeing His Father’s countenance!

And that’s the very word that we see here in our text at verse four: “… and they shall see His countenance….”

Not only the firstfruits of the resurrection; but also all of the multitude who belong to Him from the nations would see His countenance; for He would regard them; His attitude and demeanor would be toward them; and He would delight in them, and they would “see” it!  He would be “with” them.

They would all belong to the Christ – the Savior of the World; they would be In Him.  And His Father’s countenance would always be toward The Son and all for whom He had been sacrificed.

The Father would always delight in them; and they would delight in the Presence and countenance of God for all eternity.


All of this is what John is shown, and what he writes to the Churches, just before the Parousia of our Lord at the end of the age.  There would be no more curse; and God would abide with us.

And since our Lord gave His body and poured out His blood for our sin, we who belong to Him are recipients of peace with God.  It’s a gift… a gift of life in Him.  Our having been raised up from death unto life in Christ, the Father’s countenance is no longer turned away from us in disgust; but He is turned toward us with love and grace and affection and pleasure.  And we are given to “see” it.

The benediction of Moses upon the children of Israel has been fulfilled in us who are the children of the firstfruits:  “May the Lord lift His countenance upon you… and give you peace.”

Next time we’ll continue in verse four – and beyond.