Revelation 22:1-21 Part 12

REVELATION 22:1-21 Part 12



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.)



As I mentioned last Lord’s Day, I’m going to finish commenting on the text today, and I’m a bit “pensive” about it.  No, in fact, I’m in mourning.  I don’t want it to be over yet.

But for me, it’s been much like the guy who, when commenting about what he wanted his life to be like, said: “When I’m done, I want to be exhausted, and be able to say ‘whoa!  What a ride!’”

It has been that!  Now I can’t imagine what it would be like without it!

When we all decided to do this, it was sometime toward the end of 2006.  And the first introductory sermon was the first week in January 2007.  I remember we were all hoping that God would give me enough time to preach through it.

I’m very thankful that I’ve been given this much time, because I’ve learned so much!  It’s been far-and-away more than I ever expected!  And I’m thankful that you’ve been given to hear it.  I can’t think of anything that I would rather have done for you; and I’m sure there’s  nothing that would have served you better… especially if now you will hold the testimony of Jesus and keep His Commandments; and if you will now be bearers and messengers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  After all, you have heard it all – front-to-back, line-by-line, word-by-word, precept-upon-precept!  And mow you have an obligation; for if not you, then who?

After a couple of concluding messages in summation, we’ll take a short break for some much needed rest, and for translation and exegetical work and, God willing, begin the letter to the Churches in Rome sometime in the latter part of January or early February.


Now… here in our text, the messenger that was sent directly from the mouth of Jesus appears to John and utters the words of Jesus regarding His imminent Parousia.

We’ve just heard Jesus say to the Churches that He is the King of Kings Who was “spoken” by David and all the former prophets; and that He is that Morning Star – the dawning of a new day; for previously there was only darkness and the shadow of death.  But He will come quickly; and He will be light and life to all the world.

At that point, the end of what is our verse sixteen, He has completed the Revelation of all that was “about to be”.  And verse seventeen has to do with the anticipation of all that is about to be… at His Parousia.

From the beginning of this letter (which is our first three verses of chapter one) to the end of verse sixteen of chapter twenty-two, Jesus has revealed to John that it is the end of the age, and His Parousia is imminent.  It’s time for the fullness of all things written.  It is “near”; “I Am coming quickly!”  The entirety of the scroll makes that perfectly clear!

And now, at verse seventeen, the Spirit and the bride are to say “COME”!  And he who hears is to say “COME”!

Before, Jesus said to His disciples that no one knows when the end of the age will take place.  And, later, we heard that the blood of the “holy ones” cried out to God for revenge against those who had poured out that blood.  “When”, they said.  And the answer came to them that they had to wait a little while until some more of their brothers were persecuted and their blood poured out on the land.  And then would come the end.

And then we heard that every last one of the lost sheep of the house of Jacob were to be saved from the wrath to come; for the wrath of God was poured out on The Christ for all of His holy ones!  Only those “remaining in the land” were to suffer that wrath to come in the last days!

And we saw that all those who Jesus called to the wedding feast came.  And they were given the white robes of righteousness.  She was His “betrothed” who would become “one” in Him –His “bride” - at Pentecost when Holy Spirit descended from the heaven to rebirth all of His holy ones into the body of Christ.  And the “Second Adam” would have HIS bride with whom He would become “one”.  And she would be faithful and true (unlike the bride of the first Adam).

And Holy Spirit would abide IN her, and pray IN her, and direct her and connect her to the ONE Who betrothed her and came for her and called her and had died for her.

And now, at the conclusion of the Revelation, Jesus says to John that the Spirit and the bride say “Come!”

The One Who has made her alive in Christ, and Who prays in-her-and-for-her, and emboldens her, and excites her, and informs her, and invigorates her, and quickens her, and provokes her to bring forth the fruit of holiness and obedience, and reassures her, says “Come!”  And she says “Come”!  And anyone who hears is to say “Come”!

Having heard these things, the entire Church of Jesus Christ, prompted and aroused by His Spirit, will implore the Lord Jesus to “Come”!  No matter what the doubters and pseudoprophets and pseudoteachers were saying, the entire body of Christ was to shout a petition to the Lord and Master of heaven and earth, imploring Him to come; for He said He was coming quickly!


He who thirsts for the water of life, let him come; he who longs for it, let him take it freely; for at the Parousia of Jesus, there will flow a river of water of life into a world that was formerly cursed and covered in darkness, and was a wilderness filled with beasts of prey.

And all who are thirsty for that water – anticipate it, yearn for it, crave it – may take it freely and be messengers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ - looking forward to the day when all the earth would once again be a lush paradise to the glory of God; for Jesus had said it… promised it.  And it would be done.

Everywhere the river would flow, the tree of life would produce its fruit; and the leaves would be for healing and restoration of the world.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is life from death for all who belong to Him – to all who are written in His book of life.  And from those who are raised up to life springs forth the fruit of the Spirit and the balm and healing and restoration of the earth.

And what “newborn” in Christ would not long for that water?  What babe in Christ, having heard the Revelation of Jesus Christ, would not thirst for that water, that he might be the bearer and the messenger of life?  Desiring it, he may take it freely!  There’s no “cost” to him; it’s a gift!  And the emphasis isn’t on the gift – which gift, and how to use it; the emphasis is on the word “free”!  A gift is free; it’s at no cost!  And one who thirsts for it and desires it may have it!  He may take it without cost, and be a bearer and messenger of life in Christ Jesus.


Then John hears these words from Jesus – verse eighteen:

“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….”

Because Moses had said something similar to Jesus’ words here, then most translations have used those words here at verse eighteen.  Moses said, in Deuteronomy chapter four:


1)      And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes – the laws that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that YAHVEH, the God of your fathers, is giving you.

2)      You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of YAHVEH your God that I command you.

3)      Your eyes have seen what YAHVEH did at Baal-peor, for YAHVEH your God destroyed from among you all who followed the Baal.

4)      But you who held fast to YAHVEH your God are all alive today.

5)      See, I have taught you statutes - laws, as YAHVEH my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

6)      Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’

7)      For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as YAHVEH our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?

8)      And what great nation is there, that has statutes - laws so righteous as  this law that I set before you today?


Because Moses said it like that; and because verse nineteen says “take away” from these words, then it’s assumed that verse eighteen ought to say: if anyone “adds to” these words, God will “add to him” the plagues.  “Add to”, and “take away” are opposites; and it just “fits”!  So, it must be the case that John meant “add to” here in eighteen.

That sounds reasonable; and it is certainly true that this is a deliberately “final word” from Jesus; and the Revelation of our Lord is one continuous Word that is unchanging from beginning to end… from Moses to John.

Therefore no one should “add” anything to what our Lord has revealed to John.  There is truth there, you see.  It “sounds” right; and it IS true!  We shouldn’t add anything to it.

However, that’s not what the text says!  And neither does the context support what the common translations say.  The context is clearly the pseudoprophets and pseudoteachers and the jezebels and the baalams who (as Jesus had prophesied) were pursuing and persecuting the Lord’s people and doing everything they could to subvert the Churches and cause doubt and unrest regarding Jesus’ imminent Parousia (chapters two and three)!

The word that Jesus does use here (and that John writes to the Churches) has to do with a hostile environment toward the true and certain and faithful Word of God!

The prophetic Word, from Moses to John, is one continuous Word.  And the Word of God is His Strong Right Arm!  And HE was made flesh and dwelt among us!  HE is the One Who spoke to the prophets of old; and HE is the One speaking to John.  And HIS Word is faithful and true.

And an “imposition” toward that Word – to “impose” upon it – means to censor it, to depreciate it, to bring it into disfavor, to aggressively re-interpret it, to dissent from it, or otherwise impugn its integrity and perfections!

The sense of the word that Jesus uses here has to do with “aggression”; and He doesn’t make any distinction between the act itself and the intent!  Words and deeds that cause doubt or bring ill-repute to the prophetic Word are acts of aggression.  They are an “attack” upon the prophetic Word!  They “impose” upon it!

And if anyone “impose” upon it, God will impose upon Him all of the plagues written in this scroll!  You see, it is the WORD of God – His Strong Right Arm.  And HE is the One Who gave Himself for His people!  And acts of aggression toward Him will elicit acts of aggression from God!  And all of the plagues in the scroll will be his reward!

And the context has to do with judaists who have insinuated themselves into the Churches and are contending against the truth and faithfulness of the prophetic Word!

The “fullness” of all of the written Word – The Lord Jesus Christ – says He’s “coming quickly”.  And there will be “active aggression” against all who have “imposed” upon the words of this scroll; for He will impose upon them all the plagues written in this scroll!

Not only will there come the plagues and the final end upon all remaining in the land; but the Churches are not to suffer the presence of any pseudoprophets and teachers, or any jezebels or balaams.  There were some of them in the Churches!!  And their presence there, and the suffering they caused, was to the end that those who belonged to the Lord were manifest!!


I want you to listen to the apostle Peter in his “rant” against all who “impose upon the words of prophecy” by their words and their deeds… written to the Churches shortly before John’s Revelation was sent to them:

He wrote:

12)  …but these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will utterly perish in their destruction,

13)  receiving the reward of unrighteousness. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you.

14)  They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady persons. They have hearts trained in covetousness. Accursed children!

15)  Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing,

16)  but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet's madness.

17)  These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.

18)  For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who have barely escaped from those who live in error.

19)  They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For of whom one is overcome, of the same he is brought into bondage.

20)  For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.

21)  For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.

22)  What the true proverb says, happens to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”


Here in our text, Jesus says to John that anyone who imposes upon the words of this scroll are already condemned; and they will receive the reward of their unrighteousness.  For God will impose upon him the plagues written in this scroll.

And the Churches that suffer their presence among those who belong to Jesus Christ will receive a “visit” from Him at His Parousia.  And their “lampstand” will be removed from them.  No longer would they be allowed to be a “light” to the world of the salvation wrought in Christ Jesus the Lord.

And these are serious words to Churches now – nearly two thousand years later.  For there is little light – if any at all – coming from many of them as they suffer the pseudoprophets and the jezebels and the balaams among them, and as they are moved along with every wind of doctrine, and as they “impose” upon the prophetic Word.

Now here’s verse nineteen:


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.


We just read this a couple of minutes ago from the apostle Peter:


“For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.

For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.”


Now, before we comment on that, we need to hear from the writer of the letter to the Hebrews, at chapter ten.  Listen carefully now… this is really important to our understanding of what Jesus said to the Churches here at the end of the Revelation:


19)  Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus

20)  by a new and living way He has opened for us through the curtain (that is, His flesh),

21)  and since we have a great high priest over the house of God,

22)  let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.

23)  Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

24)  And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works,

25)  not staying away from our worship assemblies, as some do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

26)  For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,

27)  but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire about to consume the adversaries.

28)  If anyone disregards Moses’ law, he dies without mercy, based on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

29)  How much worse punishment do you think one will deserve who has trampled on the Son of God, regarded as profane the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

30)  For we know the One who has said, Vengeance belongs to Me, I will repay, and again, The Lord will judge His people.

31)  It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!

32)  Remember the earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured such a hard struggle with sufferings.

 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to taunts and afflictions, and at other times you were companions of those who were treated that way.

33)  For you had compassion on the prisoners and accepted with joy the confiscation of your possessions, knowing that you yourselves have a better and enduring possession.

34)  So don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.

35)  For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised.

36)  For yet in a very little while, the Coming One will come and not delay.

37)  But My righteous one will live by faith; but if one draws back, I have no pleasure in him.

38)  But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who faith and have life.


And, once again, the words of Jesus to John here in verse nineteen:


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.


There are two things that are important to our understanding of this warning from Jesus. 

The first one is this: both the letter to the Hebrews (i.e. the Jews), and the letter from Peter, clearly state that the day of His “coming” is imminent.  Therefore the continuity is established with the final prophecy of John to the Churches.  All three reveal the same thing.

If anyone in the Churches “take away” from, or remove, or cut off the words of this scroll of prophecy, his part in the tree of life, and his part in the new, and holy, city of Jerusalem, will be taken away, or removed, or cut off.

Obviously it is those in the Churches who retain their antagonism toward the Word of Prophecy, and who continue in their words and deeds of unrighteousness that are the ones who were “taking away” from the words of the scroll of prophecy, and who would be cut off from their part of the tree of life and the new holy city.

The second important point to remember here is that God’s covenant was made with all members of the tribes of Jacob!  They all were to be circumcised; and they all were to be participants in the annual passover feast in which their salvation was prophesied!  And they all received the promises of blessing from God should they anticipate the Savior of the World and obey God’s Law.  And, too, they all received the warning of God’s wrath should they not be faithful.

All members of the tribes of Jacob had “part” in the covenant; all members of the tribes of Jacob had part in the promises of God; all of them had part in the sacrificial Lamb of God; all of them had part in the tree of life in the promised land; all of them had part in the city of Jerusalem in which would be the man-made tabernacle of God.

And in our text, Jesus says that, by their words and deeds of unrighteousness, those who take away from the words of the prophecy of this scroll, their part in the tree of life and the holy city would be taken away, or cut off!

This final Word of Prophecy from our Lord Jesus was written to Jews.  They were all members of the twelve tribes of Jacob who were rescued from Israel before the Parousia of Jesus Christ and the pouring out of the wrath of God upon the land.

Included in the rescue were not only the elect remnant of Jacob (the Daughter of Zion), but obviously there were members of the covenant who were not of the hundred and forty four thousand “holy ones” who Jesus came to seek and to save.

And in addition to those, there were many (Jesus Himself prophesied this to His disciples) there were many judaists who pursued and persecuted and slandered and tried the ones who belonged to the Christ; and they caused them great suffering.

Before our Lord’s Parousia, it wasn’t Romanists who persecuted the Church, you see; it was judaists!

Needless to say, there were some in the Churches who were covenantal members of the tribes of Jacob who were not of the elect Daughter of Zion, who were not among the hundred and forty four thousands who Jesus came to seek and to save.  There were those who were already in the nations; and there were those who came out of the land with our Lord’s elect!

And their words and deeds proved their intent to “take away” from the words of prophecy, to deny the Christ of God was the promised Messiah, to rail against His imminent Parousia, and to subvert the Churches with their high-sounding words and lascivious lifestyles!

They were deceivers and pseudoteachers in the Churches who participated in the assemblies; they feasted with them; they received all the benefits of the congregations of Christ’s holy ones; they gained knowledge of God from the preaching and teaching and from the letters of the apostles, and from this last prophetic Word from John.

But as the letter to the Hebrews said, it would be better for them had they not received all of these benefits; for their latter state was worse than it would have been had they not been among the Lord’s holy ones!

As Jesus said to John here in verses eighteen and nineteen, their covenantal “part” in the tree of life and the holy city (all promised to them by Moses) would be taken away from them, and they would be “rewarded” for their works with all the plagues in this scroll.

Then in verse twenty John writes the final Words from Jesus at the close of the prophecy.  The Spirit and the bride say “Come!”.  And here He says “Yes”, I come quickly”.  And John adds his own prayer to the others: “Come, Kurie Jesus”.

There’s some serious doubt as to whether verse twenty-one is in the original text; so I’ve included it but put it in parentheses.  However, it is very appropriate (if it is, indeed, original); for, in the light of Jesus’ warnings to the Churches in chapters two and three, and due to the presence of these deceivers in the Churches who imposed upon the Word of prophecy, a prayer to our Lord for His grace toward these Churches is pertinent and warranted.


Now, just as a “postscript”, let’s spend our last couple of minutes reflecting on the “tree of life” that grows up from the river of water of life.  We haven’t yet spoken about the “fruit” that it would continually bear for the nations in the new heaven and the new earth at the Parousia of the Christ.

What is that fruit?

Judaists “part” in the tree of life would be taken away from them; so they, obviously, would have no fruit.  But the fruit would be plentiful, every month, for the Gentile nations of the earth.  For as the river of water of life flowed into tribes and tongues and peoples, there would be that tree of life springing up from it; and there would be fruit; inevitably there would be fruit.

There are numbers of passages having to do with the fruit in the Gospels.  We’ve dealt with lots of them in the past.   And it is also true in the letters of the apostles, some of which differentiate between the fruit borne of an “evil” tree and that of a “good” tree.

We’ve also noted, from the psalmist, that one who obeys God’s Law-word is like a tree planted by the river of water that brings forth fruit every season.

And there are many others.

But that passage that many call the premiere passage concerning the Spirit’s fruit was written by Paul to all the Churches in Galatia some years before the Revelation to John.

Here it is from Galatians five:


22)  But the Spirit’s fruit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23)  meekness, self-control; there is no law against these!

24)  And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its vices and lusts.

25)  If we are alive by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.


Just a few things here… first, the Spirit’s fruit is as a result of the rebirth from death unto life – dying to sin and death, being made alive in Christ.  By the work of Holy Spirit we are made new creations in Him; and there’s this wonderful connection to Him in which we are freed from our former heritage in Adam.

Secondly, since there is no law against the Spirit’s fruit, we no longer come under the condemnation of the law against fornication, uncleanness, murder, drunkenness, gluttony, idolatry, sorcery, envy, strife, divisions, etc., all of  which Paul wrote just before he wrote the Spirit’s fruit!

Thirdly, all of us who are born of the Spirit in Christ Jesus have crucified the old adamic flesh with its vices and passions and lusts.  And it’s no different for us than it was for the firstfruit of the resurrection!  And since we are alive by the Spirit, we are to walk by the Spirit in the Spirit’s fruit – just like Paul told our Lord’s “holy ones” in the first century Churches!  The fruit of the “old man” is put to death; and the new creation in Christ exhibits the Spirit’s fruit!

And, lastly, the Spirit’s fruit is ubiquitous!  All who are re-born into Christ - we all bear the fruit that is borne of the Spirit!  We crucify the fruit (or works) of the flesh!  We put them to death!  But the Spirit’s fruit is the nature and character of the Christ.  And it is manifest – evident - in all who belong to Him!

And we shall know them by their fruit.


With this, we have completed the preaching of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.  As I said, we’ll have a few Sundays in summation during which we’ll touch on a few topics of interest… and we’ll be done.

My earnest prayer for each of us is that we will manifest the Spirit’s fruit by holding the testimony of Jesus and keeping His Commandments, and that we will all be bearers and messengers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.