Wednesday, February 10, 2010

#Revelation 22> Things Which Shall Be Hereafter> New Jerusalem, Eternal State ( #Prophecy )

3. The things which shall be hereafter (4-22)
     E. New Jerusalem/The Eternal State (21b - 22) 
 
In this chapter, John sees a final vision of the inside of New Jerusalem, and receives a final exhortation from Christ.

First, John saw inside New Jerusalem. From the throne of God and the Lamb, a pure river of water of life will flow. It will be clear as crystal. Evidently, this will flow down the middle of the main street, which leads to God's throne. Although there is a sense in which Christ will surrender the kingdom to God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24), He will, nevertheless, sit on a throne in the eternal state.

On "either side of the river", there will be the tree of life, which will bare twelve fruits. There has been some wonder over how the tree will be on either side of the river. Some suggest that the river splits around the tree. Others think this may refer to a group of trees on either side.

The leaves will be for the "healing of the nations". "Healing", here, is the word from which we get the word "therapy". Though there will be no sickness, sorrow, or death, the fruit and leaves of this tree seem to contribute to the physical well being of saints. In contrast to the present earth, which bears thorns and thistles, and groans in travail (Genesis, Romans 8) and death, "there shall be no more curse" in the eternal state.

Perhaps the greatest feature of New Jerusalem, will be the presence of both God and the Lamb. The servants of the Lamb will serve Him, "and they shall see his face; and his name [shall be] in their foreheads". The glory of God's presence will eliminate the need for the light of the sun, or candle, as it will light new Jerusalem, and put an end to night. In New Jerusalem, the saints will reign for ever and ever in the presence of God and the Lamb.

The angel who showed the vision told John, "These sayings are faithful and true". The events described in the book of Revelation "must shortly be done". This seems to refer not only to the fact that it would not be long until the events begin, but also, that once they do, they would occur rapidly. Again, Christ said He would come quickly, and pronounced a blessing on those who keep the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

At this revelation, John fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed it. The angel told him not to do this, because he was a "fellow servant". Rather, he told John to "worship God". In contrast to the visions of Daniel, which contain many of the prophecies unfolded in Revelation, and which Daniel was told to "seal", John was told not to seal the sayings of the prophecy of this book. This means that God intends for his servants to understand what Revelation means, "for the time is at hand".

After this description of the inside of New Jerusalem, Christ gave one final series of exhortations. First, He said, "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still" (v11).

This statement seems to refer the fact that Christ's return (and this would be "quickly"--v12), would freeze men's chances to be changed with regard to their eternal state. Christ is coming to reward every man according as his work shall be. This is not to be confused with a doctrine of salvation by merit, but rather, seems to view the fruit of the lives God saves versus those He does not. From this viewpoint, God will reward the righteous with eternal blessings, but the unrighteous with eternal damnation. A major focus of the book is to exhort those who do not yet trust Christ as Savior to do so while there is still a chance.

Christ again says He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. This is a fitting title, as the book of Revelation brings to completion, that which Christ began in Genesis, and reveals His eternal deity. 
 
Those who do Christ's commandments are described as "blessed", as they are also the ones who have right to the tree of life, and to enter through the gates of New Jerusalem. This blessing becomes apparent, when one considers the fate of those who do not have this right. They are "without", separated from God in eternal damnation, and are described as "dogs, sorcerers, whoremongers, murderers, idolaters", and liars". Jesus then endorsed the angel who testified these things "in the churches". This is the first time, since chapter three, that the word "church" has occurred. Throughout the tribulation, those who become saved are referred to as "saint", or some other generic term.

Jesus describes Himself as the "root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star". As eternal God, Jesus is the root of David (cf. Psalm 110:1, Matthew 22:44ff). As his son, He is David's offspring, and thus, both God and man. This seems to fit with the name "Jesus"(savior of his people), here, as such a work required that God become a man.

The title "morning star" (cf. Numbers 24:17), occurs only here, and in Revelation 2:28, where a "morning star" is promised to those who "overcome". This immediately followed the promise that the overcomer will receive power to rule over the nations, which would be ruled "with a rod of iron", and "broken to shivers", as Christ had received of His Father. The title "morning star", may refer to Christ's coming in glory, when He will complete His judgment on earth, and reign through
eternity.

The Spirit and the bride (church) invite those who hear the book of Revelation, and who thirst for eternal life to "Come". Any who rely on Christ (the Lamb who died for the sins of the world, and rose) as Savior, will be satisfied by the water of eternal life (cf. John 7:37-38).

John gives a final warning that anyone who adds to the words of the prophecy of this book will have its plagues added to him, and that anyone who takes away from them will have his part of the book of life, holy city, and eternal blessings taken away. This does not mean that someone who is saved can be lost, because the eternal security of the believer is taught in such passages as Romans 8. Rather it seems to indicate that those who would tamper with the contents of God's Word are not saved, and thus would suffer the loss of eternal blessing and the plagues described in Revelation. 
 
Jesus then stated, "Surely I come quickly", and John replied "Amen [so be it]. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with you all. Amen."


Bibliography

* KJV
* NIV
* NAS
* Online Bible
* The Ryrie Study Bible, Charles C. Ryrie, The Moody Bible
Institute of Chicago, 1978.
* New Testament Survey, Robert G. Gromacki, Baber Book House,
Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1984.
* Unger's Bible Handbook, Merrill F. Unger, Moody Press,
Chicago, 1980.
* The Bible Knowledge Commentary, John F. Walvoord, Roy B.
Zuck, Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 60187, 1986.
* The Revelation of Jesus Christ, John F. Walvoord, Moody
Press, Chicago, 1966.
* The Bible Exposition Commentary, Warren W. Wiersbe, Victor
Books, 1994.
* Things to Come, J. Dwight Pentecost, Zondervan Publishing
House, 1994.
* Chafer's Systematic Theology, Vol. 4, Lewis Sperry Chafer,
Dallas Theological Seminary, 1980.

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