Revelation Chapter 22: Yahuah's ("God's") endtimes prophetic word concludes - more details about life in New Jerusalem; final warning and blessing for the assemblies of Followers of Yahushua (Jesus)
22:1-5 And he showed me (a) a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of [Yahuah] and of the Lamb. (b) In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit (c) every month. The leaves of the tree were for (d) the healing of the nations. And there shall be (e) no more curse, but (f) the throne of [Yahuah] and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. (g) They shall see His face, and (h) His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord [Yahuah] gives them light. And they shall reign (i) forever and ever.
a. Life flows from the throne in New Jerusalem, where Yahuah the Father and Yahushua the Lamb, in perfect unity, both occupy the throne. Like the walls of jasper and the decorative stone of jasper in the walls’ foundation, the water of life is pure and bright, like a perfect diamond (the Greek word, lampros, translated “clear,” means “shining” or “bright”).
b. This sentence is awkwardly translated, and there is no consensus among commentators as to the exact image that it conveys. Perhaps the street is divided, with the river running down the middle and fruit trees on each side of the river. Apparently, the tree of life is one kind of tree, but many trees of life are planted along and on both sides of the river of life, each being sustained by the water of the river and each bearing twelve kinds of fruit each month. The important thing is that this is a miraculous, life-giving tree, the fruit of which all the redeemed in New Jerusalem may eat and live forever. (Adam and Eve neglected to eat of the tree of life in the Garden, choosing instead to eat the forbidden fruit, and brought death on themselves and the whole world –Genesis 2:9; 3:1-6). During the Millennium, people will still have a choice whether or not to partake of the Tree of Life in the midst of Paradise (New Jerusalem). Those who, like Adam and Eve, neglect it will be deceived by Satan when he is released from the abyss and be separated from Yahuah for all eternity (cf. 20:8, 10, 15).
c. Notice that although there is no day or night, or need for the light of the sun in New Jerusalem, each tree yields its fruit each month. That must be because the river of life and the trees are for the sustenance and the healing of the nations, which are outside New Jerusalem in the millennial kingdom, where day and night and months and seasons still exist (cf. Isaiah 66:23).
d. Another clue that this is during the Millennium is that the leaves are for the healing of the nations (healing is not necessary if there is no sickness). “Nations” (Greek: ethnos) refers to ethnic groups, especially to Gentiles, in the New Covenant Scriptures (e.g., Matthew 4:15). But in some instances it refers to physical Israel (e.g., Luke 7:5), the Followers of Yahushua (redeemed Gentiles and Yahudim (e.g., 1 Peter 2:9), or to all nations of the world (e.g., Acts 17:26). It is in reference to the non-glorified nations of the world that “nations” seems to be used here, because, during the Millennium, in the New Jerusalem, the Redeemed who were caught up in the Rapture will be glorified and have no need of healing, and it will be the non-glorified nations who inhabit the world outside New Jerusalem.
e. The basic curse that came on Adam and Eve was death (Genesis 3:3). There will be no death in New Jerusalem.
f. Only in New Jerusalem could the joy of serving Yehovah as slaves (Greek: duolos - “bondservants”) be identical to the joy of being his children, his Bride, his People, his priests, his kings, and being one with Him. The magnificence and ecstasy of who we are in the Lord will all come together in New Jerusalem!
g. Human beings have never been able to see the face of Yahuah. But in our glorified bodies, when we are like Him and in His presence, we will be able to see Him face to face (1 John 3:2).
h. His secret name will be on the foreheads of the Redeemed, eternally identifying them with Him. Perhaps, this name is transferred from the white stone given to them by the Lord (2:17) to their foreheads, and it is also with this name that the 144,000 are sealed (7:3-4; 14:1).
i. His servants, the Redeemed, shall, as promised (2 Timothy 2:12), reign with Him for all eternity. Over what they will reign - other worlds, heavenly creatures - only Yahuah knows and is not stated, because that is the end of the Revelation of the Lord as far as His Saints presently need to be concerned.
Revelation 22:6-9 Then (a) he said to me, "These words are faithful and true." (b) And the Lord [Yahuah] of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place. (c) "Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book." (d) Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. Then (e) he said to me, "See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship [Yahuah]."
a. This is apparently still the angel who had just given John a detailed look at the inside of New Jerusalem. He confirms what the Lord has personally told John: that the words of the Revelation are faithful and true (21:5).
b. John testifies that he had not just concocted out of his imagination the 40 + visions of the Revelation; an angel of the Lord showed them to him. This sentence is practically a quote of 1:1 which also states that the events revealed in the Revelation “must shortly take place.” Again, a sense of watchful urgency is intended to be conveyed because, although the events of the Revelation have not been fulfilled during the past 2,000 years, life and time on this earth are very short for any individual. None of us knows when we are going to be suddenly ushered into eternity.
c. This is the Lord Yahushua emphasizing the importance of always being watchful and ready for His second coming, which John, about 60 years before he wrote Revelation, had heard from Yahushua personally (Matthew 24:42, 44).
d. John writes his own words.
e. The angel speaks, telling John that he also is a servant of the Lord and is no more worthy of worship than is any prophet (prophesying is basically the angel’s function in giving John the Revelation).
22:10-15 (a) And he said to me, "Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. (b) He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still. And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last." (c) Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
a. This verse seems to confirm that the Revelation is Yahuah’s final Word to His People - the completion of the prophecy He gave to Daniel over 500 years earlier. The purpose of the Revelation is not to hide anything, but to reveal everything that will happen at the End of the Age. The angel continues, telling John not to seal up the Revelation - the opposite of what the angel (perhaps the same angel) told Daniel (Daniel 12:9). Why? “. . . for the time is at hand.” What? Has it not been almost 2,000 years since the Revelation was written? Yes, but the events foretold in the Revelation began to be fulfilled immediately with the persecution of the true Followers of Yahushua and the Yahudim ("Jews") by Rome and the Roman Catholic Church (a precursor to the Babylon of Chapters 17 and 18); the dispersion of the Yahudim throughout the “wilderness of the world” in 135 AD; the continued attempts of the beast to destroy Yahuah’s people the Yahudim and the Followers of Yahushua down through the centuries; the continual increase of wars, rumors of wars, and natural disasters; and the general increase of lawlessness and following after the god of this world. All these trends and others that are prophesied in the Revelation will culminate during the Final Seven Years. But it was not just a psychological gimmick to keep the members of the assemblies of Believers in Yahushua on their toes that the angel told John that “the time is at hand.” The time was at hand for all the end-of-the-age prophecies to begin to be fulfilled, and it still is at hand for them to be fulfilled, closer than ever. Remember, a thousand years is as one day on Yahuah’s mural of history (2 Peter 3:8). So, from Heaven’s point of view, time, in comparison to eternity, is very short. And that - the eternal perspective - is what the Father in Heaven wants his children to have. And so Yahushua, to those who understand the brevity of this present life on the earth, declaring that He is Yahuah as He did at the beginning of His Revelation (1:8), repeats again that He is coming quickly. Time is short (cf. 1:1).
b. “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still,” is just a way of saying that for those who refuse to repent and be changed by the Lord, when the end does come and He returns, it will be too late to be saved and to change their ways.
c. Again, it is emphasized that we will be judged according to our works, not just because we say with our mouths that Yahushua is Lord (cf. Matthew 7:21). Only those who keep His commandments as manifestations of their faith (cf. James 2:26) will be allowed to enter New Jerusalem. And again, this implies that New Jerusalem will exist on the earth during the Millennium, because there will be those in the nations outside the city who are not allowed to enter the city (cf. 21:27).
22:16-21 (a) "I, [Yahushua], have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the [assemblies]. (b) I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star." (c) And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. (d) For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, [Yahuah] will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, [Yahuah] shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (e) He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming quickly." Amen. Even so, come, Lord [Yahushua]! (f) The grace of our Lord [Yahushua the Messiah] be with you all. Amen.
a. Yahushua makes His closing statement, reaffirming that it is through His angel (not John’s imagination) that His Revelation is given, and that it is actually His angel who is testifying, making sure the assemblies get the message.
b. Then, He affirms that He is God the Son, Israel’s Messiah. He is, amazingly, both the root (creator/ancestor) and the offspring (descendant) of David (cf. Micah 5:2; John 8:58; Matthew 1:1). “Root and offspring of David” strikes a familiar chord with Jews, whereas “morning star” in referring to the true Messiah is a New Covenant Scriptures term (2 Peter 1:19; Revelation 2:28). This once again indicates that the Revelation was written for both the Yahudim ("Jews") and the Followers of Yahushua.
c. It is both the Holy Spirit and the Body of Believers in Yahushua who invite the unsaved to come to the Lord for eternal life. And when they are saved, they also are exhorted to spread the Gospel message.
d. The Revelation being the final Word of prophecy regarding the End of the Age, there is a solemn warning, involving eternal consequences, not to change it.
e. Finally, reinforcing the sense of urgent expectation began in 1:1, John repeats the Lord’s affirmation that He is coming quickly, and adds his emphatic agreement with, “Amen [so be it]. Even so [according to what You say], come, Lord [Yahushua]!”
f. And he closes the Revelation of the Lord with a blessing for the assemblies and a final “Amen.”
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