Revelation 22:1-21 Part 9

REVELATION 22:1-21 Part 9


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 holy 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.)


Popularly called “The Sermon On The Mount”, Jesus began teaching His disciples, saying:


3)      Blessed the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of the Heavens.

4)      Blessed the ones who are mourning, for they shall be comforted. 

5)      Blessed the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

6)      Blessed the hungering and thirsting after righteousness, for they shall be filled.

7)      Blessed the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

8)      Blessed the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

9)      Blessed the peacemakers, for they shall be called Sons of God.

10)  Blessed those who are enduring persecution on account of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of the Heavens.


Forty years later, in the text of Revelation chapter twenty-two, He speaks two more (what are often called) “beatitudes”.  The first one is found in verse seven.  It says:


‘Blessed the one keeping the words of the prophecies of this scroll.’


The second one is in verse fourteen:


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


The one in verse seven has to do with the scroll, the seals of which have just been loosed by the Lamb of God at the end of the age.  So the things written in it are now “imminent”.  And one who “keeps” them is blessed!

And the one in verse fourteen has to do with access to the tree of life and the new, and holy, Jerusalem wherein is the seat of God and the Lamb.  Just as with the first temple in the first Jerusalem, entrance into the new, and holy, tabernacle of God requires satisfaction by substitute sacrifice… and clean garments. 

So all who repent of sin, and hold the testimony of Jesus and keep His commandments, are blessed.  They have “washed their garments”; and they are privileged to eat the fruit of the tree of life that grows by the river of water of life; and the gates to the city and the seat of God and the Lamb are open to them.

Blessed the one keeping the words of the prophecies of this scroll; and blessed the ones who wash their garments!

You remember from the messages that Jesus sent to the Churches, as recorded in chapters two and three, there were those within some of those congregations who grumbled and debated (and even mocked), the prophecies regarding our Lord’s Parousia at the end of the age.

And there were others in the Churches who obviously had not repented from sin… and therefore had not “washed their garments”.  And so they were not privileged to eat the fruit of the tree of life; and they were not given access to the new tabernacle of God and the Lamb through the gates!

Our Lord, in those seven messages, warned those Churches about condoning and/or tolerating those things.  The Church was to be the earthy representation of the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and the tabernacle of God-With-Us!  And anyone who would not keep the words of the prophecies of this scroll was to be removed from the congregation!

And those who would not wash their garments (repenting from sin) were not blessed; they did not have the privilege of the fruit of the tree of life; they did not have entrance through the gates to the seat of God and the Lamb… and they were to be cast out from the congregations.  Otherwise, Jesus said, He would “visit” those Churches at His Parousia!

That meant “serious trouble”, of course.

The Churches were congregations of the firstfruits of the resurrection!  The Churches were congregations of “messengers” of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentile nations!

The Churches were visible, earthy representations of our God’s “abode” with us… from which flows the river of water of life to the world!

The Churches were to be the public worship of God in His new tabernacle with man. 

The Churches were to be congregations of servants of God and the Lamb in the new, and holy, Jerusalem.

The Churches were to be filled with judges and prophets and priests and kings in the new heaven and the new earth!  Members were to anticipate the imminent Parousia of Kurios Kuriwn – the King of Kings and Lord of Lords - and they were to know that all belonged to Him and therefore to them!!

The Churches were the “Body of Christ – The Head”.  Their members fed on the fruit of the tree of life; and they served God and the Lamb in His tabernacle!  From them – through them – flowed the river of water of life to the nations!

No one who mocked the coming Parousia of Christ was to be tolerated!  And the Churches were not to suffer the presence of anyone who had not turned from sin – thereby washing their garments!  How was one to serve God in His tabernacle having filthy garments?  How was anyone with filthy garments ever to be permitted through the gates?  Those seven original messages from Jesus to the Churches were stern warnings about all who were “without” (verse fifteen)… outside the new, and holy, Jerusalem!

He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.  He has kept them from the beginning; and He has many, many more from among the nations who He will keep to the end of all the years.

Blessed those who wash their garments; for the tree of life will be their privilege, and they may enter the city by the gates.  Without - “outside”, with no access through the gates to the abode of God with man, are the dogs,  sorcerers, fornicators, murderers, idolators, and all who love and practice falsehood!

Let’s take them one at a time again this morning.  And remember, this is our Lord’s instruction to the firstfruit of His resurrection (those who He came to seek and to save from the tribes of Jacob).  And it would be sent to them at the end of the age… just a short time before His Parousia.

These who He lists here in verse fifteen are the ones who have not washed their garments; therefore they cannot enter the new tabernacle (abode) of God with man.  And the first that He identifies are the “dogs”.


Hear what the psalmist says, at Psalm twenty-two.  And you’ll recognize the very words of Jesus at His crucifixion – prophesied a thousand years before.  The Psalmist says:


14)  I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.

15)  My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; and You have brought me into the dust of death.

16)  For many dogs have compassed me.  The assembly of the wicked have enclosed me; they pierced my hands and my feet.

17)  I can count all my bones: they look and gloat over me.

18)  They part my garments among them, and cast lots for my vesture.


He called them “dogs”.  The  assembly; the council.  The priests and elders and pharisees encircled Him.  Wicked men.  Feral dogs.

Listen to what God said through the prophet Isaiah, as recorded in chapter fifty-six:


4)      For thus says YAHVEH unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;

5)      Even unto them will I give in my house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.

6)      Also the sons of the stranger that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keeps the sabbath from polluting it, and takes hold of my covenant;

7)      Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their offerings and sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.

8)      The Lord God, Who gathers the outcasts of Israel says, Yet will I gather others to him, besides those that are now gathered unto him.

9)      All you beasts of the field, come to devour, yea, all you beasts in the forest.

10)  His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs that can’t bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.

11)  Yea, they are greedy dogs that can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand; they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.

12)  Come, say they, I will get wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow shall be just as this day, and much more abundant.


The shepherds of Israel – the watchmen of Israel – are “dumb dogs” that only sleep and eat and drink.  The prophetic Word had been spoken, yet all they can think of is sleeping and eating and drinking tomorrow… and even more abundantly than today!

Here’s the apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippian Churches – chapter three:


1)      Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write these same things to you, to me indeed is no trouble, but it is protection for you.

2)      Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the concision:

3)      for we are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, and glory in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh….


The ones who Paul describes as “dogs” are those of the “concision” … the circumcised who put all their hope and confidence in their heritage.  That’s what he meant by “the flesh”.  But Paul tells the Churches that they are the true ones of the “circumcision”; for they glory in Christ Jesus and worship by the Spirit of God.

The dogs are “judaists” – the assembly of whom had encircled Him and tortured Him and crucified Him.  Rabid dogs who would then pursue and persecute and kill those who He came to seek out and to save.  None of them would have entrance into the tabernacle of God-with-us.

Now.  The second in the list of those “without” (i.e. outside) are “sorcerers” (verse fifteen).  The Greek word used is “pharmakoi”.  You can hear the root of our English words “pharmacist” and “pharmaceutical”.   This Greek word is used here to include such practices as witchcraft, soothsaying, magic; fortune-tellers, enchanters and diviners.

And since this word is used to include all of the above, there’s no way to avoid the use of “mixtures” or “potions” or “substances” that enhance the experience of the craft.


Paul uses the word in the list of the works of the flesh, found in Galatians chapter five.  He wrote:


19)  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20)  idolatry, (pharmakoi) sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties,

21)  envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.


Also hear what God said through the prophet Nahum at chapter three:


4)      because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the well-favored harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that sells to nations through her whoredoms, and to families through her witchcrafts.

5)       Behold, I am against you, says YAHVEH of Hosts, and I will uncover your skirts over your face; and I will show the nations your nakedness, and the kingdoms your shame.

6)      And I will cast abominable filth upon you, and make you vile, and will set you as a gazing-stock.


Israel, in all her harlotry with the nations, had many practitioners of sorcery, witchcraft, soothsaying, necromancy, divination, and enchantments (all subsumed under this word “pharmakoi”).

It wasn’t that long ago that we heard these same things from Revelation twenty-one.  Hear them again:


1)      Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, (the first heaven and the first earth went away, and the sea is no more),

2)      and the new holy city Jerusalem coming out of the heaven from God having been made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

3)      Then I heard a great sound from the seat saying “Lo, The tabernacle of God with man.”  He will tabernacle with them, they will be His people, God Himself will be with them;

4)      and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, the death will be no more, neither sorrow nor crying nor pain will be any more, for the firsts passed away.

5)      Then the One sitting upon the seat said: “Lo, I make everything new!”  And He says, “write; for these words are sure and true”;

6)      He said to me, “they are come to pass.  I, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, will freely give from the source of the water of life to him who thirsts;

7)      and the one overcoming will inherit these things, and I will be  God to him and he will be My son.

8)      But burning in the lake of fire and brimstone is the allotment of all the fearful and unfaithful and the corrupted and murderers and fornicators and sorcerers and idolaters and all the liars.”


And listen to what God afore had said to Micah at chapter five of his prophecy:


10)  And it shall come to pass in that day, says YAHVEH, that I will cut off your horses out of your midst, and will destroy your chariots:

11)  and I will cut off the cities of your land, and will throw down all your strongholds.

12)  And I will cut off all witchcrafts out of your hand; and you shall have no more soothsayers;

13)  and I will cut off your graven images and thy pillars out of the midst of you; and you shall no more worship the work of your hands;

14)  and I will pluck up your Asherim out of the midst of you; and I will destroy your cities.


Our Lord said that He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.  All things work according to His will.  Nothing IS except it has been called into being; and no person can discern the future other than what has been prophesied; for no man can know the mind of God except by His Word.  There IS no future other than His will and intent.

Sorcery is a practice (or practices) of the flesh, according to Paul… works of those who put confidence in their own heritage.  It is purely and simply an act of man to be “as God”.  Diviners and enchanters and soothsayers seek to be “other” than man-under-God… pronouncing blessings and curses of their own.  They wish to BE divinity; and these practices are of the grossest idolatry.

And I would be remiss in my duties if I were to omit some cautionary words regarding the elixers and medicants and substances of the pharmakoi (the sorcerers); for they (we call them “drugs”), they are everywhere to be found, and easy to obtain.  And anyone who wishes to be something that they’re not, can do so.

Opiates and stimulants and depressants may be helpful in certain circumstances.  But if there are those who would rather be what the potion causes them to be, then they may easily join the ranks of spiritualists and diviners and fortune-tellers and witches; for these “pharmakoi” (sorcerers) love the drug-induced enhancements of their craft!  They love becoming what they want to be rather than what they are.

So just beware!  The relationship between sorcery and image-changing substances and potions is a close one.  You never want to “deaden” an “awareness” of our Sovereign God and Life in Christ Jesus.  We are to “know” ourselves vis a vie our Creator/Savior/God.  So anything “ingested” that interrupts or alters that knowledge can be said to be of the nature of sorcery.

Next, Jesus says that fornicators are “without” – outside the new tabernacle of God.  They have no entrance through the gates.  Let’s read a little.  This is from the prophet Ezekiel 16:


13)  Thus were you decked with gold and silver; and your raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; you did eat fine flour, and honey, and oil.  And you were exceedingly beautiful, and you did prosper into a kingdom.

14)  And your renown went forth among the heathen for you beauty; for it was perfect through My comeliness, which I had put upon you, said YAHVEH God.

15)  But you did trust in your own beauty, and played the harlot because of your renown, and poured out your fornications on every one that passed by; his it was.


This passage in Ezekiel is the pre-eminent text in Scripture regarding Israel’s defilement.  It is sixty-two verses of condemnation from God.  It is written in the most strident and descriptive language.

I read only those three verses for you, because they are the ones at which point God made it clear that it was His beauty – His glory – that He had put upon Jerusalem and the land.

But it was that beauty – His beauty – that Israel had displayed in order to commit all kinds of fornications with the nations of the world!  At one point in this chapter, God said to Israel that she wasn’t even a “normal” harlot; for harlots get paid!  But Israel paid the nations of the world in her fornications!

This is the same language as we find in the other prophets – including here in the Revelation; for Israel defiled the whole world with the wine of her fornications.

I won’t read any more for the sake of time.  But I do want to make the distinction for you between the sin of adultery and the much broader term that’s revealed here by our Lord: “fornication”; for (as He said to John) fornicators will remain “outside” the new, and holy, Jerusalem in which is the seat of God and the Lamb.

The Greek word translated “fornication” in English is Porneia.  The word translated “adultery” is another word entirely; and it has to do with the marriage bond.

Adultery is one of the sins against God included in porneia – fornication.  Porneia not only includes adultery, but it is also descriptive of many other sins perpetrated against God and man by depraved mankind.

As the sound of the Greek word itself suggests, it would include all sins of a sexual nature.  But it is even broader than that, as the texts of the prophets indicate; for Israel’s fornication with the nations included receiving and incorporating their idols!  And it would also include “defacing” the image of God in man!

This Greek word is closely identified with the Hebrew term translated “unclean thing”.  And even though the focus of the word has to do with sins of a sexual nature, all of those things which make people unclean to be in the Presence of Almighty God would be subsumed by the term “porneia”.

The sexual focus of the term would include not only sexual sins during the bond of marriage; but it also includes all sexual sins outside the bond of marriage!

Because of the holy nature of marriage, and because the union of one man and one woman in marriage images and prophesies the union that exists between our Lord and His redeemed people, sexual contact of any kind before – or outside – the bond of marriage is fornication.  And that includes the incitement of, and flirtation with, sexual sin.  God’s Law forbids it.  The image of His Son and His salvation of His people that exists in the marriage union is not to be desecrated.  God loves that union; and He detests and loathes anything that profanes it and defiles it.

Therefore sexual sin before that union exists is profane; it’s “porneia” – fornication.

And while I’m here, let me just remind you of the English words that are associated with the Greek word “porneia”.    Involvement with pornographic material is a sexual sin.  It is fornication.   Pornography is destructive of the union of one man and one woman; and it defiles a future union of one man and one woman.  The union of Christ and His redeemed people is an undefiled union.  Therefore the “image” of that union – marriage – is to be undefiled.

Just a few words here about “murderers”

When condemning the defilement of Israel, God speaks the prophetic Word concerning a band of priests who would conspire to murder – not unlike a band of robbers.  It is the priests of Israel on the night in which Jesus was delivered up to be mocked and tortured and crucified.   That’s the prophetic Word through Hosea in chapter six!

Murder is conspiring – lying in wait – to kill, for the one to be murdered is deemed dispensable in whatever cause.  Israel was so despicable and so defiled, that the priests of the temple themselves would commit murderous acts in order to benefit themselves. 

Striking and torturing and demeaning and defacing and killing the image of God are murderous acts… all condemned in God’s Law.

And murderers are “without”, John hears; they have no access to the seat of God and the Lamb through the gates of the New Jerusalem.

And neither do “idolators”.  The Commandment of God, spoken to Moses at Sinai, was “you shall have no other gods before Me” (that is, “before My face”).  But Israel, from the time of its being freed from bondage until the time of the Parousia of the Christ, was an idolatrous people.  And there would be many here at the end of the age as our Lord’s Parousia was imminent.

But there is only One God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  No other (so-called) god can see, hear, speak, create, respond, love, give, free, or save… for all others are MAN-MADE, or MAN-CONCEIVED!  There’s only one.  All others are idols.

And no idolator will ever be allowed access through the gates of the New Jerusalem.

And the same is true of those who “love and practice falsehood” (end of verse fifteen).

When Jesus spoke to John in the last days (as recorded here in this verse), He was referring to pseudoprophets!  Israel had her own prophets!  Just like the Gentile nations, she always did!  And they didn’t say what God said; and they said what God didn’t say!  And as the end of the age drew near, they became much more active.

Jesus had warned His disciples about them.  He said: “Beware of the false prophets who will come in sheep’s clothing!  Underneath they are ravening wolves”.

Later on He said (Matthew twenty-four): “many false prophets will arise and deceive many”.

In his first letter to the Churches, the apostle John wrote:  “beloved, don’t believe every spirit; but try the spirits whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the nations.”

Why had these pseudoprophets and teachers gone out into the nations?  It was to pursue and persecute and deceive those who had departed Israel and formed the Churches of Jesus Christ in advance of His Parousia!  And, like wolves in sheep’s clothing, they would work their way into the congregations and deceive them and seduce them with their great arguments and high-sounding philosophies.

The first seven messages from Jesus to the Churches (recorded in chapters two and three) warned the Churches that these must be excluded from the congregations!

And I just can’t help making the connection with our own Churches and seminaries, because many are saying what God didn’t say; and they’re not saying what God said!  Because they’ve made a confession of faith, they’re free to say and do whatever they want!

But what about their garments!

Man must “wash his garments” before he is permitted entrance to the Presence of God and the Lamb in His holy tabernacle.  Those whose garments are filthy have no entrance to the seat of God and the Lamb!  That’s exactly what John hears Jesus say here in the Revelation!

Our God abides with us in the new and holy Jerusalem.  But “without” – outside – are the dogs and the sorcerers and the fornicators and the murderers and the idolaters and all who love and practice falsehood.

Without the works of repentance and faithfulness, there has been no rebirth into Christ.  Clean garments are the evidence of the gift of righteousness from our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lastly, hear the Word of God spoken directly to the prophet Isaiah at chapter sixty-six.  God says to Isaiah that He knows the works and the thoughts of His idolatrous nation.  And the day is coming when He will bring the Gentile nations to Himself.  Listen to it:


18)  For I know their works and their thoughts.  It shall come that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and they shall see my glory.

19)  I will set a sign among them (i.e. Israel), and I will send the ones who escape from them unto the nations, … and to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame nor have seen my glory; and they will declare my glory among the Gentiles.

20)  And they shall bring all of your brethren for an offering unto YAHVEH from all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says YAHVEH, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of YAHVEH.

21)  And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, says YAHVEH;

22)  For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, says YAHVEH, so shall your seed and your name remain.

23)  And it will come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, says YAHVEH.


This world belongs to Jesus Christ; therefore it belongs to us!  It WILL bring glory to God.  So wash your garments. ‘Blessed those who wash their garments; for the tree of life will be their privilege, and they may enter the city by the gates.’

 Put away the works of the pornoi and the pharmakoi and murderers and idolators and pseudoprophets and teachers.  Say what God said; and don’t say what God didn’t say.  Do the works of righteousness and faithfulness, and make your election sure.