Revelation: Chapter 22
The conclusion of this great book of the Bible is now at hand. As seen in the chronology of Revelation, John still continues to see things from the new heaven, new earth, and new Jerusalem until the end of Revelation 22:7. Thereafter, John's perspective is from the Isle of Patmos. The last two chapters only provide us with the beginning of all new things, with never a hint that there will ever be an end to the great things the Father has revealed to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. As written by the Apostle Paul, eye has not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him, 1Corinthians 2:9.
The end of Revelation 20:1-15 concludes the major chapter in God’s plan of redemption for mankind, and of His judgment. Revelation 21:1-27 and Revelation 22:1-21 reveals to us new beginnings with mankind on a new heaven, new earth, and a New Jerusalem. The great division between the past era and future eternity is the passing away of the heavens and earth, Matthew 24:35, 2Peter 3:3-7. This may have been initiated when fire came down from heaven to cease the final rebellion against God, Revelation 20:9. Revelation 21:1-27 and 22:1-5 provide a view of the eternal future for every person whose name is written in the Lamb’s book of life, a time that Christ looked forward to, Hebrews 12:2. The entire timeline from Adam to eternity future is expressed by Paul, 1Corinthians 15:21-28. John concludes this book that was written to the believing Israelites in the seven churches who were going through the tribulation, Revelation 22:6-21
When the end will come, the Lord will then hand over the kingdom to God the Father after the Lord destroyed all dominion, authority and power, 1Corinthians 15:22-28, where:
- The Lord must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet
- The last enemy to be destroyed is death, Revelation 20:14-15
- When the Lord has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to the Father who put everything under Him so that God may be all in all, Romans 11:36
|1-5||Life in the New Jerusalem|
|6-7||Words of the angel and of the Lord|
|8-11||John's response and other instructions|
|12-16||The words of the Lord|
|17-21||Last words, warnings, and conclusion|
It is evident from the bulk of information provided in Revelation 21, 22:1-5, that New Jerusalem is very important to the Lord. Just as the tabernacle and temples where God met Israel, were described in great detail in scripture, the same importance is given to New Jerusalem.
Revelation 22:1, the angel shows the Apostle John the river of life in the new Jerusalem. This river has some of the same characteristics as the one described in the book of Ezekiel during the millennial reign of the Lord, Ezekiel 47:1-11. The river of life originates from the throne of God and the Lamb, is clear as crystal and flows down the middle of the great street of the city. What differentiates this river with the river extending from Christ's millennial temple is that the New Jerusalem is the river of life, the millennial river is not that river.
The tree of life is seen on either side of the river of life in the New Jerusalem, Revelation 22:2. This is also in contrast to what Ezekiel observed in his visions of the millennial kingdom where the trees that lined the river that originated from the millennial temple were not the tree of life, but they will have healing powers, Ezekiel 47:12. The tree of life is the only tree observed by John within the new city. It also exhibits the special property of bearing 12 different crops of fruit, one type of fruit every month. The tree of life and its monthly cycle of fruit bearing serves as an eternal timepiece measuring the passing of months and years by the type of fruit it yields. Since there will be no night in the city and therefore no solar cycle to understand time, the tree of life will serve that function for eternity future.
The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. It is difficult to provide a definitive statement for the reason to have such things in the presence of the Lord. Within such a perfect setting that God will create for all those called by His name and the wonderful city that He has built for His bride, one can only draw upon other scripture to begin to understand the meaning of this verse. There are many passages concerning the healing of God to those who call upon His name and follow Him, which does not exist for the wicked, Isaiah 57:15-21. In a psalm, praises are lifted unto the Lord for His care for Jerusalem and Israel, which may be applied to future eternity where healing is offered to all. At the very beginning of the new heaven and earth, the permanent separation of the wicked from the righteous has occurred. Though we will occupy our new resurrected bodies and God promises to wipe away every tear, Revelation 21:4, the healing may be for the broken hearts from memories of loved ones lost for eternity, Psalm 147:1-7. It may be that the healing for the nations is for this very purpose. Solomon equated the tree of life to:
- Wisdom, Proverbs 3:18
- The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, Proverbs 11:30
- When what is hoped for comes to pass, Proverbs 13:12
Revelation 22:3, The Lord declares that there will be no more curse, and that the throne of God and of the Lamb will be within the new city and moved from where it is now, as had been revealed to Moses, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Daniel. The curse began with the fall of Adam in the garden of Eden, Genesis 3:14-19, and consisted of:
- The curse on the serpent, with the prophesy of Christ's work on the cross putting an end to Satan's rule, Genesis 3:14-15
- The curse on the woman, with increase pain in childbirth, the desire for her husband, and his rule over her, Genesis 3:16
- The curse on the man, the ground was cursed, that led to painful toil, thorns and thistles would grow in the fields, and sweat would be required to work for his food until his death, Genesis 3:17-19
- Adam and all mankind would then suffer physical death, after first suffering spiritual death because of disobedience, which is seen by clothing themselves to hide their nakedness and to hide from the Lord, Genesis 3:6-10
- Man was banished from the garden of Eden so that he could not eat of the tree of life, and remain in his sins for eternity, Genesis 3:22-
These curses have plagued all mankind since Adam, until the time in the future that God will make all things new and remove the curses. One can only wonder if Adam had not sinned, that the Bible would have been condensed from Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 and led directly to Revelation 21 and Revelation 22. All the intervening chapters deal with man's separation from God, and God's love for mankind. That love of God was demonstrated through His grace by the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ to provide a way for all mankind to be redeemed from sin. So now, not only is the throne of God and the Lamb within the new city, but we will be serving God there. We will not be lounging the time away as some have mentioned through jest or ignorance; we will be actively serving the Lord.
Revelation 22:4, we will all be able to see the face of God, and His name will be on our foreheads. Until this time, no one in the flesh is able to see the face of God and live, as Moses was told by the Lord, Exodus 33:15-23. Similarly, Paul wrote to the Corinthians that the earthly flesh is not able to share in eternal things, 1Corinthians 15:50. Now that we are in eternity future with the Lord, he will also have the name of God written on us, as well as the name of the city. Also, the new name of Jesus as was revealed to John in the letter to the church Philadelphia, Revelation 3:11-12. These things that are written upon us, are our authorities, identity (the children of God), the special privilege of approaching God on His throne (entering into the new city), and to whom we belong and who has Lordship over us (the new name of Christ). As we will be in His presence, all things will be known and clearly understood. The fullness of the relationship Jesus spoke of the night before His crucifixion, between the Father, Son, and His saints will be realized, John 14:19-21.
Revelation 22:5, John reports that there will be no more light from the current sources in our physical world today. Rather, because the Lord God will give the light, there will be no need for a lamp or the light from the sun. The sun and other stars across the universe may still exist, but just as the sunlight is brighter in the earth's sky than the light emitted by other celestial bodies, our sun's light makes them invisible to the naked eye. Likewise, God's light will be so much brighter, that it will mask out the light emitted by any other celestial body.
John also reports that we will reign with the Lord forever. In his epistles to the Corinthians, Paul wrote that we would judge angels as the reason for not taking disputes between brothers before a secular court, 1Corinthians 6:1-6. There is an implication that people will be occupying the earth and the new city in their resurrected bodies; the Old Testament saints, the church, the slain saints during the tribulation, and though not specified in scripture, the translation of the millennial saints. So in the future eternity, there will be order and some form of hierarchy in rulership, but the details of this new economy are not given.
Revelation 22:6-7, the angel now informs John the words he had been told are trustworthy and true. This is just what was described at the beginning of the book of Revelation, where the Father gave it to the Son to reveal the things that would take place. The Son then communicated this revelation to John through the angel, and John testified of the Word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, Revelation 1:1-2. Several other passages go on to talk about this testimony: such as John to the churches in Revelation 1:9, the Tribulation saints who were revealed with the opening of the fifth seal under the altar and were slain because of the word of God, and the testimony they maintained, Revelation 6:9, the war of the dragon against the Tribulation saints on earth because they kept the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, Revelation 12:17, and the vision John had of those who sat on thrones of judgment because they were beheaded for the testimony of Jesus Christ and for the word of God, Revelation 20:4.
In Revelation 22:7 the Lord announces that He is coming soon. Recall that the book of Revelation was addressed to the churches, Revelation 1:4-6. So the Lord is referring to His return for their encouragement, as well as a warning to those who are not believers in the Lord. To further this argument, consider the words of the Lord to the church at Pergamum to repent or He would come to them in judgment, Revelation 2:14-16. He also spoke to the church at Philadelphia to say that he was coming soon, and for them to hold on to what they have so that no would take away their crown, Revelation 3:11.
In Revelation 22:7 and Revelation 22:14 are the last of the seven blessings pronounced on the Tribulation Saints. All seven are shown in the table below.
|1||Revelation 1:3||Blessed are those who read, hear, and do what is written in this prophecy|
|2||Revelation 14:13||Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on|
|3||Revelation 16:15||Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes on him|
|4||Revelation 19:9||Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb|
|5||Revelation 20:6||Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection|
|6||Revelation 22:7||Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book|
|7||Revelation 22:7||Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have the right to the tree of life and go through the gates into the city|
Revelation 22:8-11, John responds to all that he has seen in these closing moments in this revelation of Jesus Christ by falling down before the angel to worship him. John was rebuked just as he was when he did the very same thing back in Revelation 19:10. The angel makes it perfectly clear that several characteristics that relate to both him to John. They both are:
- Fellow servants
- Brothers of the prophets
- Those who keep the words of this book
- An angel who tells John to direct his worship to God
The angel tells John to not seal up the words of this book, unlike what Daniel was told, Daniel 12:4, Daniel 12:8-10. The reason is that Daniel lived at a time before the crucifixion of Christ, and the attention was the first advent of Christ. After the cross, the attention is directed toward the second advent of Christ when He returns to this earth to establish His millennial kingdom. As written by the writer in the epistle to the Hebrews, God had spoken in various ways and times to the prophets before the cross, but had spoken through the Lord had spoken in these last days, Hebrews 1:1-2.
In Daniel as here in Revelation, Daniel and John are told that the unrighteous will remain unrighteous, and the righteous will remain righteous, Daniel 12:2-3, Revelation 22:11. Whether one appears before the judgment seat of Christ, or takes part in the second resurrection, all will go from that point into eternity with their eternal status permanently fixed. There is no opportunity for one in the lake of fire to improve their "condition" or be transferred to the presence of God. Human emotions for "man's concept of fairness" cannot be imposed on God's judgment to justify the argument that some level of penance would satisfy the requirement of God's law. Likewise, since there will be no sin in the new heaven and earth, and no one will lose their position before God and be thrown into the lake of fire. Just as it is written in Psalms 103:12, as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgression from us. This is the same separation between the wicked and righteous for eternity future.
Revelation 22:12-15, the Lord confirms that He is coming soon and He is bringing His reward to everyone according to their works, which is not to be confused with salvation. In this section He again affirms that He is the Alpha and Omega. The Lord is the one who began human activity in this world, and He will be the one who has finished the entire work to address the sin issue, and judge every person who was ever born into this world. Following the great white throne judgment, there is a permanent and unbreachable separation between the righteous believers in Jesus Christ, and the unrighteous, Revelation 20:11-15. Paul captures the essence of this in Philippians 2:5-11, where he writes that God has exalted the Lord Jesus Christ and that every man will knell before the Lord and confesses that He is Lord. When the Lord returns, He will bless those who believe on Him and are called by His name and they will have the right to the tree of life. This is the seventh of the seven blessings that are described in this book. Those whom He blessed are the ones who can enter into the new Jerusalem. Again, the Lord is confirming that outside of His eternal kingdom, and within the lake of fire, are dogs, sorcerers, whoremongers, murderers, idolaters, and those who are liars. As described in the previous paragraph, those who are thrown into the lake of fire will continue to live in that place under horrific conditions, and they will be permanently separated from God and His saints for all eternity future.
Revelation 22:16, the Lord is confirming that He sent the angel to give this testimony (Revelation) to the churches, which is the purpose for this book. The major prophecies that are called our include:
- Jesus is the root of David, in that He is the fulfillment of the prophesy concerning the lion of Judah, Genesis 49:8-10
- Jesus, as the offspring of David, fulfills the prophesies and promises to him, Ezekiel 21:25-27, Isaiah 11:1-5, Isaiah 11:10-11, Romans 15:8-12, and
- Jesus is bright morning star, from the oracle of Balaam, Numbers 24:15-17
Revelation 22:17, the Holy Spirit and the bride encourage all to come and partake of this great gift God has given to all mankind. Recall that this same encouragement was in the letters to all the churches where there was always a reference to "he who overcomes." The bride is the church, the body of Christ, as Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:23-24. The Holy Spirit was also promised to empower the church, John 16:5-15, Acts 1:4-8. This encouragement is reinforced to all who hear, or who thirst for the truth, to come and share in the free gift of the water of life, which is Jesus, John 4:7-14, John 4:25-26.
Revelation 22:18-19, a sober warning is given to not add or take away from the words of this book, or suffer dire consequences. The children of Israel were also given a similar warning prior to entering into the promised land, Deuteronomy 4:1-8 and were warned to remain steadfast in the Lord's ways once they settled into the land, and not become lax in living a life of righteousness, Deuteronomy 12:29-32. This is a complete and consistent warning to the church to likewise live on the strong foundation of the Lord's word, for the consequences for not heeding these warnings is to have their share of the tree of life and entrance into the holy city taken from them.
Revelation 22:20-21, the Lord Jesus Christ now testifies to these things through the angel to John, Revelation 1:1, that He is coming soon. Although almost two millennia have passed since the writing of the book of Revelation, the events described will begin rapidly and without deviation of any kind. This is the third repetition of the phrase, coming soon in this chapter, Revelation 22:7, and Revelation 22:12. This illustrates the desire and expectation of entering into this new creation with His church and all His saints, since the Lord is the Alpha and Omega.
The Apostle John inserts his amen, and earnest prayer for the Lord Jesus to come soon, which was also written by Paul to the Corinthians. Paul expressed his earnest expectation that the Lord would come soon, even in their day, written in the Aramaic, Maranatha, 1Corinthians 16:22. Paul's use of this term followed his attribution to non-believers as anathema (a person doomed to destruction). There are only two choices, to either believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and look forward to His coming, or be separated from Him for eternity, and therefore face an eternal doomed existence. The choice is yours.
John ends with the salutation to all God's people, Revelation 22:21.