Jesus Christ the Great Restorer of lost Eden
Chapters 21 and 22
We have come to the end of our journey through the Revelation of Jesus Christ. The Great Controversy between Jesus Christ and His opponent Satan, the Devil has been clearly revealed to us. It is the controversy between the two seeds of Gen.3:15, how it started and how it will end.
In these last two chapters we will learn how all will be renewed and how lost Eden will be restored. We will learn that it will even be better than it was before. Also we will be challenged by a last appeal to choose rightly and by choice put ourselves on the side with God and Jesus Christ His only and one Son, our Lord and Saviour. The Bible may start with a very sad story and we may wonder who will win. But as we often do reading an interesting book, we go to the last chapter and want to know how it will end. If you are a new Bible reader go to the end and you will know and learn who will win and how that will happen. This will encourage you reading right through the Bible. God and those on His side will win. Be on the winning side.
We will get into it and go again verse by verse and step by step.
John starts again by writing “and I saw”. We read in Rev.1:2 that John “bare record of the Word of God and of the Testimony of Jesus Christ and of all the things that he saw.” Then in 22:8 he ends by writing “and I John saw these things and heard them.”
In between those two verses we have fourty times that John writes I saw. (Counted from Strong’s concordance).
Such an overwhelmingly stated fact of I saw should protect us from and prevent concluding John did not see what he wrote and that he made it up from his own mind.. What John saw is stated in a clearly written record for our spiritual edification and giving us knowledge of what we can expect will happen.
In three different ways John describes what he saw and will happen. First he saw a new heaven and a new earth. This is followed by what he writes next that the first heaven and the first earth will pass away. The third thing he writes is that there was no more sea. It is clear from this description that a complete change will take place. The current state of affairs with planet earth and its surrounding heaven will be restored to what it was before the tragic fall in Eden.
New heaven and a new earth do not have to mean a replacement of the planet but a renewal of what we see now. The heavens around planet earth have to be renewed and cleaned up of all the stuff man has placed in space. What surrounds planet earth may be called the first heaven. In 2Cor.12:2 we read about the third heaven, the place where God resides. In between the first and the third heaven we have what we call the universe, between God’s place and where we live.
The renewal of planet earth is needed from all what mankind through the ages has made of this planet as we see it today. It is all related to sin and the divine curse resting on it.
Gen.3:17, 18. On the new earth animal life also will be as it was before the fall in Eden.
Read Isa.11:6-9 and more in Isa.35; 65:17; 66:22, 23. Peter must have been thinking about these passages when he wrote 2Pet.3:15. The word new here in Rev.21:1 and 5 is from the Greek word kainos which means newly made, different from that which had been. (Bullinger) It replaces the former, better than it was before.
John also saw that there was no more sea. At present there is more water than land on planet earth. This is a result from the flood, when the waters from above and beneath covered the earth, Gen.7:10, 11. The foundations of the deep and the windows of heaven released an abundance of water and covered the earth. Gen.7:19, 20. No more sea takes us back to Eden before the fall when rivers were present, Gen.3:10-14. Scholars have speculated about these things but we better refrain from speculation for lack of detailed scriptural information, and by faith in God and His word we accept whatever information we have, and John recorded regarding what he saw. The present establishment of planet earth as a result from sin in Eden and sinful living for about 6000 years will be gone and something completely new will be in its place What we do know from the scriptures is sufficient to look for and prepare for as Peter writes in 2Pet.3:13, 15
In verse 1 John saw a new earthy and a new heaven. Now he sees something different. When we passed 20:9 we may have wondered where the beloved city may have come from, the city Satan and his armies imagine able to invade and to conquer. It’s the beloved Holy city of God with its saints as its residents. Here in 21:2 and further John sees more about this city and gets more information about the same. The city comes floating down from heaven from the place where God is. In the past that may have sounded as impossible. Today, in the 21st century people have built planes, double deck, for 600 and more passengers and getting it up in the air to fly from one end of the earth to the other. They are constructing a space station in space and people semi-permanently living in it The Creator-God who gave mankind that knowledge no doubt is able to do bigger things Himself letting a complete city descending down from heaven, 21:10.
It is understood that the place for the Holy city will be mount Olives from where Jesus ascended into heaven, Acts.1:9-12. We read in Zech. 14:4 that mount Olives will split open, shall cleave to the east and the west, and to the north and the south, thus creating an open spot or valley where never any foot has been placed. Reading further in Zech 14:5-9 it is clear the prophet makes references to the same event we read from John, Zechariah writes that the Lord shall come and all the saints with Him. The Lord shall be King over all the earth. Also that there shall be no sun as we read from John in Rev.21:23
Dr.Thiele in his notes quotes Ellen G.White as follows: Christ descends upon Mount of Olives, and as His feet touch the mounting it parts asunder, and becomes a vast plain. Then the New Jerusalem, in its dazzling splendour comes down out of heaven.” (Thiele p.290, EGW in Sp.of Pro.vol.4, P.477)
Another description we do find in the book Great Controversy, by E.G.White, page 662/3
Christ descends upon Mount Olives, whence, after His resurrection, He ascended and where angels repeated the promise of His return. Says the prophet: “The Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with Thee.”(Zech.14:5, 4, 9) “And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof…..,”and there shall be a very great valley.”…..”And the Lord shall be king over all the earth.” As the New Jerusalem, in its dazzling splendour, comes down from heaven, it rests upon the place purified and made ready to receive it, and Christ, with His people and angels, enters the holy city.”
Then we read that John saw the Holy City “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” The bride is the Holy City, the husband or bridegroom is Christ our Lord, the adornment of the city are the saints, the citizens of the Holy City.(see for more detail part VI under Rev.19:8, 9)
John states that he heard a great voice out of heaven. We have counted that John saw 40 times, but he also heard many times. In Rev.1:10 he heard a great voice behind him, which was the voice of Christ. At least 25 times we find that John writes I heard.
In this case it is not clearly indicated whose voice it is. We will not speculate. More important is what the voice says. A union between God and His people has taken place. The tabernacle, God’s dwelling place, and God Himself are together. The NEB reads Now at last God has his dwelling among men. He will dwell among them and they will be His people and God Himself will be with them.
The JB reads: Then I heard a loud voice call from the throne, you see this city? Here God lives among men. He will make His home among them; they shall be His people, and he will be their God.”
These readings give clear indication that God Himself will live or dwell on planet earth, where the Holy City will be placed. It will mean that the command centre of the universe will be on planet earth, moved from where it is at present. The earth now a place of rebellion, revolt and bloodshed, with sin practiced to its lowest degree, then the centre of the universe with God, its Creator as a permanent part of it. What a change that will be. Because of sin a fall down to its deepest imaginable level, but because of divine salvation and restoration elevated to a level never thought off.
That’s what John 3:16 is all about, God’s unique gift to mankind, and humans having the choice to accept or reject. Read also Rom.3:23-26. Then the Great Controversy is ended in a manner not thought off in a person’s wildest dream. Read 1Cor.2:9, but there is more to come.
In spite of all this glory there is still some weeping and crying. There will be loved ones who are not saved. God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. What a blessing and that God Himself will do this. No more death, pain or sorrow. Isa.25:8; 1Cor.15:55; Rev.7:17. Christ has conquered and is the sublime conqueror for all ages throughout eternity, Rev.1:18. Read Isa.33:24, no one will ever say I am sick. Read also Rom.8:18 the sufferings of the present time are no comparison with the glory which shall be revealed in us. We may also look upon it as a kind of a bad dream or what happened in a short space of time. It’s gone for ever and ever, never to be returned, Nah.1:9
John hears a voice from the throne, from the One who sits on the throne, God, 20:11. In verse 6 we will learn that it is Jesus, who also is God, John 1:1-3; Hebr.1:8.
It was Jesus who created the world to begin with, Col.1:16; Hebr.1:2. It will be Jesus again who will make all things new. John is told to write this down because these words are true and faithful. Jesus is at present already in the business of making things new, if we are willing to let Him take control of our lives. 2Cor.5:17; Eph.4:24. This He will do according to His new covenant of Jer.31:31-34; Hebr.8:10-12
It is not the first time that John is told to write. In Rev.1:11 write what you see; In Rev.2 and 3 seven times write, and now here in 21:5. Prophets in the past were commended to write in a book, Moses in Exod.17:14; Isaiah in Isa. 8:1; 30:8; Jeremiah in Jer. 36:2, 28; read also Eze.43:11; Hab.2:2. This is for our spiritual benefit, 2 Tim.3:16. We have noticed in Rev.1:3 that it will be a blessing to us when we read these written words. As we have read also it is stated that these words are true and faithful, 19:9; 22:6. The reason is that God is true and faithful, Rev.3:7, 14; 6:10; 15:3; 19:11. We do serve a true and faithful God, Lam.3:22, 23
And he said unto me ‘It is done’. What follows shows clearly that it is Jesus talking. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the End. We have learned that from 1:8, 11, and 17. Jesus our Lord, at the cross cried, it is finished, John 19:30, the work of giving himself as an atoning sacrifice was finished. Isa.53 fulfilled, and according to Titus 2:14 He gave Himself. Read also Phil.2:5-8. Now He declares it is done. More correct reading “it has occurred” or “it has happened” similar as in Rev.16:17 It’s all over and done, Christ fully unopposed in charge, Alpha and Omega. He is now the One who will lead and satisfy those who are athirst. When Christ was on earth in His human incarnation He satisfied those who came to Him, John 4:10; John 7:37 and read also Isa. 12:3; 55:1; Matt.5:6
Dr.Thiele quotes Ellen G.White from Great Controversy p.540: I will give unto him that athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. This promise is only to those that thirst. None but those who feel their need of the water of life, and seek it at the loss of all things else will be supplied.”
This is an encouragement to reach out for overcoming. Seven times in Rev.2 and 3 we read he that overcomes and what the reward will be, 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21 We must be over-comers in this life in order to wear the crown of victory in the life to come, 2Tim.4:7. 8. We will overcome through the blood of the Lamb. Rev.12:11. The Lamb of God has the power to take away our sin, John 1:29; to redeem us Eph.1:7; Col.1:14 and to give us the victory, 1 Cor.15:57. We also will inherit all things. Matt.5:5; Ps.37:11
But there is even more, I will be his God and he will be my son (that includes the females as well). The apostle Paul refers to this close relationship in 2Cor.6:16 quoting from Hos.2:19; Zech.8:8; 13:9. Read also John 1:12 and 1 John 3:1, 2
We are told who will not inherit the kingdom and are not inside the Holy City. They will find themselves in the lake of fire, which is the second death not eternally burning and burning. Thy will end up as Sodom and Gomorrah did, Jude 7. This burning will be till they have become ashes, Mal.4:1. This is the lake of fire referred to in Rev.14:10; 19:20; 20:14 In the Old Testament we find it in Isa.13:9 and Zeph.2:9 the sinners being destroyed, not kept alive in fire. We also read about it in 2 Pet.2:6 turned into ashes. According to Peter Sodom and Gomorrah was made an example to all who would live ungodly. That is the ones described here in Rev.20:8. The NASB translation reads: He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives there after.” These two cities are not burning anymore and in the same manner anyone who will not be found in the Holy City, but outside will burn in the lake of fire until turned into ashes as Sodom and Gomorrah. The Bible does not support in any shape or form hell fire which never stops burning. In Rev.22:7 we will read more about the people who will not enter the Holy City.
One of the angels holding the seven vials, involved in the seven plagues indicating we are here dealing with the end of times, comes to John and tells him, he will now be shown the bride, the Lamb’s wife. We have learned that the Lamb is Jesus Christ our Lord, who is also the bridegroom, the “male” marrying a “female”. Matt.25:1-13; read also Eph.5:23-27 about the Jesus-Church relationship compared to husband and wife relationship. However in Rev.20:9 the Bride is shown as being the Holy City and in the following verses all the beauty of that city is shown to John and described and in turn written down for our enlightenment to know what the Holy City will be like.. We have dealt with the question here before, regarding how the Holy City and the Church both are the bride of Christ. We like to add what Dr.Thiele is quoting from J.A Seiss: The heavenly city is Christ’s Bride not on account of what makes it a city, but on account of the sanctified and glorified ones who inhabit it. Without the saints, whose home residence it is, it would not be the Lamb’s wife…….You cannot have a living city without people inhabit it……..and whilst this Holy Jerusalem is the Bride and wife of Christ with reference to its holy occupants, it is still those occupants as disposed and arranged in that city. So that the city as a city, as well as its people as a people, even the whole taken together is embraced in what the angel calls ‘the Bride, the Lamb’s wife’”.(Thiele, p.292)
We cannot improve on this clear statement and leave it at that.
This is a repeat of what we have read in 21:2. Because we are told twice it confirms the surety of this event, the city descending out of heaven from God. A real city, from a real living God, from a real heaven coming down to a real earth and becoming a real dwelling place for real people, who will go to this city weekly on the Seventh-day Sabbath to worship a real God. Isa.66:23. Another good reason to start keeping the Seventh-day Sabbath holy here and now as it was Jesus’ custom when He was on earth, Luke 4:16, the day of which He has declared Himself to be Lord, Mark.2:28; Ex.20:8-11. The city is His city, the people in the city are His people, and the Seventh-day Sabbath for weekly worship is His day of which He is Lord. In a spiritual sense we have come to that city in the here and now already, Hebr.12:22, so in the here and now we have to keep holy the day which he has made holy right from the beginning, Gen.2:1, 2.
The city displays the glory of God like a jasper stone, Rev.4:3. A jasper stone is a precious stone, an opal. Here it is used to describe the beauty, the brilliance and greatness of God’s Holy City. We can now understand why it is also called a bride. As a bride is precious to the bridegroom, so this city is very precious to Christ the Bridegroom. As a bride adorns herself to the bridegroom so this city is adorned with the saints in it which Christ accepts as the adornment of His bride, the Holy City. Read again the here above quote from Dr.Thiele
The city has a wall with gates and angels guarding the gates with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. These names may well correspond with the names of Israel mentioned in Rev.7:4-8. The entrance to this city is not based on having our names written in the books of a denomination, but belonging to God’s true Israel. That is the Israel described by the apostle Paul in Rom.11:26 gentiles and those of old Israel who returned to faith in Christ, the Messiah and grafted into the good olive tree, Rom.11:24. They are the people who on earth already have come to their heavenly Jerusalem, Hebr.12:22. Now they have the privilege to enter the real city through real gates and being welcomed by real angels standing at the gate.
The city is founded on twelve foundations which have the names of the twelve apostles. Read Eph.2:20. This means that Old and New Testament are welded together in the one city of God. This makes it very unwise to disregard the Old Testament in favour of the New Testament, both belong together. They are the two witnesses of Rev.11:3, 4 and also the two olive trees and candlesticks. They do what Paul writes in 2 Tim.3:16
Twelve names of Israel and twelve names of the apostles means twelve times twelve makes 144 which reminds us of the figure 144000 in Revelation 7 We will meet the same figure further in Rev.21:17. Thus does not mean that only 144 000 people will reside in the city. We will learn from 21:24 that the nations which are saved will walk in the light of it. The saved ones, the overcomers in Christ, 21:7, those who have their names in the Lamb’s book of life, 21:27 they will be there.
The city, the gates and the wall, is being measured with a reed. In Rev.11:1 we noticed that the people of God’s temple were being measured with a reed. Now the city itself is measured as well. John may have been thinking of Ezekiel’s temple in Eze.40:3 and 48:31-34. This vision of Ezekiel would have been fulfilled if Old Testament Israel had been faithful after the 70 years exile in Babylon. What John saw will be reality in the end of ages when sin and sinners will be no more.
The exact measurements are given. Length, breadth and height are equal, which means the city is a square. The NASB has a footnote regarding these measurements: Shaped foursquare like a cube the city is 1380 miles (2220 Kms) on each face including height with a wall 72 yd (66m.) thick. It has been calculated that even if only 25 percent of this space were used for dwellings, 20 billion people could have be accommodated spaciously”.
Other Bible commentaries give similar measurements in miles or kms. Bible scholars are not all of the same mind in regard to the point that each side is equal in measurement to the other. Some think more in terms of the circumference of the square and that the height is in proportion to the measurement given. If that is the case then may be not 20 billion people but about 5 billion would be able to reside in the city on their weekly worship visit according to Isa.66:23, from Sabbath to Sabbath. In Revelation 7:9 we have been told a great multitude will be saved and be standing before the throne of God and the Lamb. Counting if we could, from the time of Abel the first one who laid down his life for his faith in God, till the last one will be a great number no man will be able to number. The most important is to be there by grace and through faith in Christ Jesus our Lord, John 3:15-17; Eph.2:8-10; 2Pe.1:10-11 and don’t forget Hebr.12:22-24 that now already we must have come to that city, the heavenly Jerusalem.
From the measurements of the city John is taken to its substance, what it is made of so to speak. It is God’s design as the heavenly sanctuary where Jesus Christ as our High Priest now ministers for us, which the Lord has pitched and not man, Hebr.8:1, 2. The city is made of precious stones and gold. The names of twelve precious stones are mentioned. Notice again the number twelve, which is frequently mentioned in connection with the city. Twelve gates mentioned in 21:12 with twelve angels and twelve names of the twelve tribes of Israel, 21:14. Then twelve foundations with the twelve names of the apostles, and also in Rev.21:17 a hundred and forty four which is the sum of 12 x12 = 144.
Here in 21:18-20 twelve precious stones for the building and later in 21:21 twelve pearls for the twelve gates. Isaiah may have seen this when he wrote Isa.54:11, 12.
Dr.Maxwell draws a comparison between the stones of the Holy City and the stones in the breast plate of the high priest in the Old Testament, Exodus 28:15-21. This breast plate was also square and had twelve stones. Nine of these stones are the same as the stones of the Holy City, three are different. Dr.Maxwell writes as follows: The stones in the breastplate were laid in square; three stones in each of the four rows. Many of the stones in the breastplate and in the city foundations are the same. Unfortunately, experts tell us they cannot be certain of the modern identification or colour of some of these jewels. (GC vol II, page 532/3)
Each gate made of one pearl. Is that a reminder of Christ who is the pearl of great value, Matt.13:45, 46? We read from Ellen G.White, “Christ Himself is the pearl of great price. In Him is gathered all the glory of the Father, the fullness of the God head” (COL p.115) Read John 1:14; Col.2:9. It reminds us clearly that we will only enter the gates of the Holy City through Jesus Christ our Lord. No one else can secure for us entrance to the city of God. John 14:6; Acts 4:10-12; Hebr.10:19
The streets of the city are of pure gold as of transparent glass. The beauty of the city goes beyond human imagination. Be sure to be there and walk these streets of gold. It will be by the grace of God and through faith in Jesus Christ, the true Messiah, our Lord.
No temple in the city. The Lord God almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it They are the object of direct and immediate worship. The only reminder of the past is the wounds in the hands of Christ, Isa.49:16. We are graven in His hands for ever and that will remind us what our salvation has cost and at what a price we have been bought,
1Cor.6:20; 1Pe.1:18, 19. Some will be there who may not know and wonder about these wounds. Read about this in Zech.13:6. Not all saved have had the same amount of light, but all will be enlightened and hold accountable what they did with it, John 1:9. Our God is gracious, just and righteous. Rev.15:3; 16:5; 19:2 and Ps.96:13, and also what Paul writes in Romans 2:14 some gentiles doing by nature the things contained in the law.
No temple and also no need for the light of sun or moon. God and Christ are in the city and will shine brighter than sun or muon or stars. The glory of God will enlighten the city. God is light Himself, the father of lights, James 1:17. He is the One, who commanded in the beginning let there be light and there was light, Gen.1:2. When Christ was on earth He said of Himself I am the Light of the world, John 8:12. But sin has turned people away from God and worship what God has created, sun and moon. In the Holy City we will be worshipping Him who is the creator of sun and moon and the Holy City has no need of these heavenly objects. Let’s be sure already in the here and now we worship God, the creator and not what He has created or has a reference to His creation, like the day named after the sun by the Romans who worshipped on the first day of the week and called it Sunday. Practice and follow Rev.14:6, 7.
John writes in human terms talking about nations and kings who will bring glory to God because He has saved them and granted them entrance to this brilliant and glorious city Yes we can sing even today To God be the glory, great things he has done
But we can already now enjoy that light if we walk in it today, as John writes in his epistle 1John 1:7. But don’t let it be lip service because then we will be marked as a liar, ib.1:6
The city is a safe place to be, even by night gates are open. All danger is gone. The arch deceiver Satan also called Devil is no more. He will not be able to enter the city as he entered the Garden of Eden Old Jerusalem had to close its gates for the night to be protected against enemy intruders, but not the New Jerusalem, the Holy City of God, there are no intruders anymore. The leader of the intruders is brought to ashes in the sight of all, see Eze.28:18. The earth the Holy City is a safe place for ever and ever.
The honour and glory of the nations as mentioned in 21:24 will be brought into the city. We will sing Psalms of praise like Ps.96 and 98.
Once again we are reminded of the kind of people who will not be allowed to enter the Holy City. A further list of what we learned in 21:8. They are the same Paul lists in Gal.5:19-21. The text says in no wise which means not by any human effort or manner.
Only by the cleansing blood of Christ, by the grace of God and through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord, Eph.2:8-10; John 3:15-17; 1John 5:1-5. Then we are assured again that only such people which are written in the lamb’s book of life will enter in the Holy City.
Luke 10:20; Phil.4:13; Rev.13:8. Having our names in the book of life of the Lamb makes us a registered citizen of the Holy city. How we get our name there? We must be born twice. Our first birth is from the first Adam who was a sinner and makes us a citizen of this sinful world. When we are born from the seed of Christ, the second Adam, who was no sinner and never sinned, we have our name in His book of life and are registered citizens of the Holy City. Read Romans 5:12 that one man is Adam who sinned. By sin he became corrupt and so was his seed after him corrupt. We must be born a second time out of the incorruptible, 1Pe.1:23; John 3:1-7. We must become a new creature in Christ Jesus, 2Cor.5:17; Eph.4:24
We have reached the last chapter in our journey through the Revelation of Jesus Christ our Lord. John is still in the vision of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, and the inner sanctum of that city. He has been shown that there is no temple. There is no need for a temple and its atoning sanctuary services, the sin problem has been dealt with and sin is no more. God Himself is the temple for worship and the Lamb, Jesus Christ the light thereof, 21:23. We may ask the question, why is Jesus still mentioned as the Lamb?
The only reason we can give is to remind us what it has cost to deal with sin and sinners. and to eradicate the earth from sin and to cleanse repenting sinners from their sin.1Pet.1:18, 19 Jesus is now not the suffering Lamb of Isa. 53, but the Lamb which has conquered as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Rev.5:5.
John views a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb When Ezekiel was shown a new temple in vision he also saw a river and was asked to wade into that river deeper and deeper. The river became so deep that he had to swim.Eze.47:1-5 When the Lamb, Jesus Chris, was on earth as the Lamb of God, He offered life giving water to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. John.4:7-26. In John 7:37 Jesus offers Himself as the life giving water and to come to Him to drink of Him. Read also Ps. 46:4; Joel 3:18; Zech.14:8. In the Garden of Eden were rivers,
Gen. 2:.10. The river John saw in vision has the eternally life giving water.
As in the Garden of Eden there was a tree of life (Gen.2:9; 3:22-24), now John sees a tree of life as a part of the Holy City. John sees it in the midst of the street on either side of the river. The tree covers the river as a canopy. It was sin that separated us, Isa. 59:1, 2, but through Jesus Christ our Lord we have access to that river again. The way to the Father, to the Father’s throne and to the river flowing from that throne, is Jesus Christ, John 14:6. The tree Ezekiel saw in vision was also on this side and that side, Eze.47:12. There is one little difference, Ezekiel writes in plural, trees. But he explains that they are for meat that is for food. John writes in similar terms that the tree he sees is a monthly bearing fruit tree of life. Those who overcome will eat from that tree, Rev.2:7
The following is added regarding the leaves of the tree, the leaves will be for the healing of the nations. John is not told how the leaves will be used. Of the leaves of the tree Ezekiel saw, we are told whose leaf shall not fade……and the leaf thereof for medicine.
Eze.47:12. Ezekiel also is not told how this will happen. It is better not to speculate about matters for which we have no exact information. Deut.29:29 should always be kept in our mind.
We will say a little about the expression of healing. In our human understanding of the word “healing” it may sound there will be sickness, while we have learned from Isa. 33:24 that the inhabitant shall not say, ‘I am sick’. If there is no sickness why would healing be needed? The SDA Bible Commentary has the following to say about it:
Healing, Greek ‘therapeia’, service, healing, sometimes collectively, household attendants. There are four occurrences of the word in the NT, if.Matt.24:45; Luke 9:4; 12:42. In classical Greek therapeia has the various meanings of ‘service’, ‘nurture’, ‘care’. (SDABC Vol.7, 895)
We may conclude safely that this tree will serve us throughout eternity in preserving life. That’s why after the fall in Eden, Adam and Eve were removed from the tree in order to avoid that their sinful life would be preserved throughout eternity.Gen.3:22-24. It has been for our own good that the Lord removed them from this tree and revealed His plan of salvation/restoration which is His safe way to lead us back to the tree of life which is
through Jesus Chris our Lord.. In Him is life and through Him we will have life more abundantly, John 10:10.
There shall be no more curse. Because of sin the earth was cursed, Gen.3:17, 18. But when sin is done away with the curse will be lifted, all will be as it was before sin reigned. God and the Lamb will be with the people and the people, as servants will serve Him. They will be most happy to serve for ever and ever for reason of what they have received from God and the Lamb.
More blessings, they shall see His face and his name shall be in their foreheads.
Moses asked to see God, but was told nobody can see God and live, Ex.33:19, 20. But in the day of restoration that restriction also will be lifted, they shall see his face. The name of God will be on their foreheads. A name change was promised in Rev.3:12 and John had seen earlier the one hundred and fourty four thousand on Mount Sion having the Father’s name in their foreheads, 14:1.
This is a repeat of 21:23 and a confirmation of Isa.60:20. We have an additional statement that they shall reign for ever and ever. From sinners in the old earth they have been elevated to kings and priests, Rev.1:6; 5:10. The deepest fallen human in sin and evil, who repents and accepts John 3:16 will be a king in God’s kingdom of glory.
From this verse onward we enter into the final part of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. It starts with a divine declaration these sayings are faithful and true. In Rev.19:9 we have read a similar statement; these are the true sayings of God. This should take away from our mind all glimmer of doubt. The Psalmist wrote in his time already Thy word is true from the beginning, Ps.119:160
Then follows what we have already been told in the beginning that the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. 1:1. In God’s realm is no time as we know it. Our time measured against eternity is only a whimper, a shadow passing by quickly. So it will be looked upon when we will be in the eternity.
Because of the previous statement or comment on 22:6 we can understand why we read here behold I come quickly. (3:11) God speaks from his throne and from his point of view for our encouragement if we are willing to accept this by faith in God. After that follows a blessing, one of the seven beatitudes of the Revelation. In the beginning a blessing when we read or listen to the words of this book. Now a blessing when we keep its sayings, its message. To keep is in the same sense as keeping his commandments which means to do, to practice. Not to neglect or lay it aside and not paying any notice to it. Read also Titus 2:11-15
Again as before John becomes overwhelmed and falls down in an act of worship before the angel who has shown him all these things. Daniel had the same experience, read in Dan.10:11-18. John is not taken over by fear and anxiety but gasps in great awe, praise, honour and feels compelled to worship. We have read this before in Rev.19:10. We should feel the same after we have gone through this Revelation of Jesus Christ. We must not be gripped by fear, but by praise, honour and glory to God. Sin will be overcome; Satan the origin of sin is defeated and will be destroyed. Eden so brutally disturbed will be restored.
As we saw in 19:10 the angel refuses to accept worship from John. Again the angel tells John I am thy fellowservant, and adds a different qualification then in 19:10
And of them which keep the sayings of this book. The angel declares he is a fellow servant of prophets like John and according to 19:10 to those that have the testimony of Jesus. Then the angel adds as he did in 19:10 worship God. Angels are for our benefit and service, read Hebr.1:14 but we must keep the sayings of this book, the Testimony of Jesus, the word of God. To worship God is in harmony with the first angel’s message of Rev.14:6, 7. This is the great challenge of this last book of the Bible, worship God, the creator, or God’s opponent also called Anti-Christ, the one who likes to take the place of God and Christ. The sign of true service is to remember the Seventh-day Sabbath, God’s memorial to His creation and restoration in Christ Jesus our Lord, Ex.20:8-11; Ex.31:17; Gen.2:1, 2, and Hebr.4:9 where we find the Sabbath to be the sign of true rest in God. Jesus invites us to come to Him and receives the rest He offers freely in Matt.11:28-30. God will bless you with His rest and peace of mind when you take the step to Him and respond to His invitation.
What the angel says here is very important. John is told not to seal this book, because time is short or at hand. NASB reads time is near, and the NEB for the hour of fulfilment is near. The Greek word for “time” used here is kairos which relates to events not to chronological time. We studied the end of ”chronos” time in 10:6. The events, the “kairos” of this book are near to be fulfilled. Daniel was told to seal his book to the time of the end, Dan.12:4. The prophetic messages of the book John wrote, are not sealed but open, to be understood, to be explained, to be preached, to be accepted and to practice accordingly. It is an apocalypse, a revelation and that of Jesus Christ.
The angel continues with a very, very serious statement. When sin was introduced on planet earth through the fall in the Garden of Eden, transgression of Adam and Eve, the Lord did not destroy them immediately.Gen.3:15. A time of probation was granted in which the divine plan of salvation would be revealed through the incarnation, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as we find it in John 3:15-17; Phil.2:5-8 and especially in this wonderful last book of the Bible. Also a time was granted in which the Devil, Satan could show what he is really like. When Satan was defeated at the cross from there on the devil knew his days were numbered, Rev.12:12; 1Pet.5:8. God has set a cut off time beyond that point no more salvation, the temple will be closed, Rev.15:8 and the plagues will be poured out over planet earth. What the angel states here in 22:11 applies to that time. The unjust remains unjust and the filthy stays filthy. But the righteous remains righteous and the holy ones will go on being holy. It will be seen clearly who serves God and who does not. Mal.3:18 may well be applied to this time, but it would be a very good thing for all of us to show clearly to the community where we live, that now already we are on God’s side and serve Him and Him only, as Joshua challenged the people in Josh.24:15
Ellen G.White wrote in “Signs of the Times April 23, 1894 the following: Do you want heaven? Then will you show the line of demarcation between you and the world and hear the last words of approbation ‘Well done, good and faith servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things enter thou into the glory of thy Lord’”
There will be only two groups, the faithful and unfaithful. It will not be a matter of belonging to a certain denomination. The Great Controversy is not between different.
religious communities. Even the last battle or war which the dragon, Satan or devil, will be waging is not in particular to a denomination, but against those who keep the commandments of God and have the Testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev.12:17) which is the Spirit of prophecy (19:10) If the question is raised in which religious group can we find these people who keep the commandments of God and have the Testimony of Jesus the clear categorical answer is, Seventh-day Adventist people. But salvation is not based upon having your name on the church registry of the SDA church. Individually you have to show by God’s grace and through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph.2:8-10) that you keep the commandments of God and that you have in practice the Testimony of Jesus, and that you endure in this as Jesus says in Matt.24:13 He that shall endure unto the end the same shall be saved. Endure means keeping on to keep on and in time of danger and temptation show the spirit of Esther If I perish, I perish (4:16) but I will be faithful and be found faithful on the right side with God. Even in time of severe conflict, read Rev.3:10, 11
Jesus takes over and speaks: Behold I come quickly as stated in 22:7 and 3:11. We mentioned already that such statements are from heaven’s point of view. For us it may look like as lasting long, from heaven’s point of view it is quickly. Also Satan views it as short, 12:12. He knows what it means to live in eternity.
Then Jesus ads and my reward is with me to give every man (also woman) according as his work shall be. Rev.2:23; Isa.40:10; 59:18. Jesus is not introducing righteousness by works. Eternal life is God’s gift by grace, Rom.6:23; John 3:16; 1John 5:11, 12. But there will be a reward for those who have been faithful followers of Christ, Matt.25:31-46. Paul refers to this in 2Cor.5:9-11 and we read in Eph.2:10 that we have been created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Read also Titus 2:11-15 what the life will be of those who are looking for His glorious appearing, and in 2Pet.3:11-14.
Following Christ Jesus must not be a matter of lip service, Matt.7:21-23. Words and practice must harmonise, not be in conflict with each other. In living a righteous life the mindset must not be to do these things in order to reach heaven, but doing this because we have found salvation in Christ and serve Him because we love Him, He has saved us.
The mindset must be because we are saved not to be saved. We keep His commandments because we love Him
He loved us first and gave Himself for us, Rom.5:6, 8, and 10. The keeping of His commandments is not a burden but a joy, 1John5:13; John 14:15; 15:10; 1John 2:3;
If we say one thing and do the opposite we will be counted as liars, 1John 2:4 and liars will not inherit the kingdom of God, Rev.21:8; 22:15.
Jesus affirms what He stated in 1:11, 17 He is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end. Isa.48:12. The end phase of the revelation reveals the same as in its beginning.
This verse speaks about a blessing for such people who do keep the commandments of God. The blessing is that they will have right to the tree of life and will be allowed to enter through the gates into the city Does this mean salvation by works and not because of grace? That would mean that God is leading us against what He has told us in the plan of salvation. We deny that this text teaches salvation by works.
But there is another problem. Some translations leave the commandment keeping phrase out completely and give the reading as follows: Blessed are those who wash their robe.
You will find this in NASB; RSV; NRSV; NEB and others. However the NKJV has still the same as the KJV. Modern translations have used a different Greek manuscript than is used by the KJV or NKJV. We will not enter into the technical complex of this point.
These two different versions should not cause any problem or suggest a biblical contradiction. Those who have washed their sin soiled robes in the blood of Christ as
we are invited to do by the word of Isaiah in 1:18 are changed people, from disobedience
to obedience: Just turn to Isaiah 1:18 scarlet sins will become white as snow and if they were like crimson they will become like wool. But people forget to read the next verse which says (1:19) if ye be willing and obedient ye shall eat of the good of the land. The good of the land being the tree of life John writes about in Rev.14:12. Washing first which means, grace first and then follows the life of obedience to God’s commandments.
When Israel was delivered from Egyptian slavery they first had to be placed under the blood of the lamb, which again means God’s grace. Then followed Sinai where they were introduced to God’s commandments. Even the Ten Commandments itself do start with that introduction: I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, Ex.20:2. In the New Testament we read the same. What we were and what we have become through Christ our Lord, read Eph.2:1-10
This spiritual new creation has as object the doing of good works, Col.1:10; or as Peter writes it unto obedience and in obedience. 1Pet.1:2; 2:22
The woman who was brought to Jesus caught in an immoral act received grace from Jesus but was told, go home and sin no more John 9:11. To sin no more means live in obedience, not in sin because sin is the transgression of the law, 1John 3:4, but it must be done in faith of Jesus, if that is not the case then that also is sin, Rom.14:23 whatsoever is not of faith is sin.. Read also 1John 2:1 and 1Cor.15:34.
The following quotations from a few Bible commentaries may be helpful and affirm what we have said. Blessed introduces the last of the seven beatitudes in Revelation (see 22:7;1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6) Since the tree of life is literal but is also viewed figurative (see Prov.3:18; 11:30; 13:12; 15:4) it suggests a quality of life involving an intimate fellowship with Jesus Christ based upon a persevering obedience. This may be a fulfilment of Christ’s provision of life and more abundant life ( see John 10:10) Since no one can enter…………..into the city unless their name is written in the Lamb’s book of life (21:27) this beatitude is speaking of those justified by faith, who express that faith in obedience (see Eph.2:8-10) The obedient overcomer is promised the reward of entering through the gates of the city, possibly a privilege reserved for those who share in the Lord’s victory procession. (The Nelson Study Bible, NUBR)
The following is from ‘Believer’s Bible Commentary’ NUBR on Rev.22:14 this verse may read ‘blessed are those who do his commandments or blessed are those who wash their robes’ (margin) Neither reading teaches salvation by works but rather works as the fruit and proof of salvation. Only true believers have access to the tree of life and to the eternal city.”
Then we have the SDABC, vol.VII, page 897: The two clauses are very similar in the Greek and it is easy to see how a scribe my have mistaken the one clause for the other, although it is impossible to know certainly which was the original reading.”
There are no original NT manuscripts available; we do depend on different Greek manuscripts from scribes. The SDABC continues: “In actual fact both readings suit the context and are in harmony with John’s teachings elsewhere. On the subject of keeping the commandments see Rev.12:17; 14:12; ef. John 14:15, 21; 15:10; 1John 2:3-6. On the subject of washing robes see Rev.7:14.
Nobody who has washed his/her robes in the cleansing blood of Christ will deliberately go back to a life of sin and transgressing God’s commandments, 1John 3:4. By faith in Christ such a person will be faithful to Christ’s commandments because it is only by faith in Christ we will and can obey, Rom.14:23 Obedience is a part of the Christian walk with God and of sanctification which is also by faith, Acts 26:18; Col.1:10.
It is a summing up of those who will have no entry into the Holy City, but left outside. Notice also those who love and make a lie. This is in harmony what John wrote in 1 John 2:4 He that saith I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him.” This may be a very hard statement, but the truth is some times very clear and outspoken. The people inside the Holy City belong to Christ, have accepted His grace, are covered by His robe of righteousness and by faith are obedient to His will. Read Jer.23:6; Matt.22:1-13.
Again Jesus takes over and speaks directly. He confirms what we have read in the beginning, Rev.1:1 and 2 that by sending an angel all these things should be testified to the churches. The Revelation is not from a human source or the product of a human corrupt mind. It is from God sent by an angel and unto his servant John who in turn had to pass it on to the churches. But there is more, Jesus declares Himself to be the root and offspring of David. This is a very interesting statement and may refer to Isa.11:1-10 where we are told that the Messiah would come out of the stem of David or as it read in verse 10 a root of Jesse. The Greek word used here is riza and according to my Greek-Dutch dictionary can also be explained as origin. This means the wortle or root out of which something grows. In Rev.5:5 we read also that Christ is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David. Jesus Christ is David’s Creator, for by Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, Col.1:16; John 1:1-3. But at the same time in Christ humanity, by incarnation and birth from Mary Christ is also the offspring from David or the genos (in Greek) posterity of David. He is called the Son of David, Matt.12:23; 21:9, 15; 22:42, 45; Mark 12:35; John 7:42
By Jesus own statement here in 22:16 Jesus declares to be David’s Creator (the root or genos) but also His offspring, because as David was from the tribe of Judah so was Christ. Gen.49:10; Micah 5:2 Christ’s birthplace was also in Judah
Finally Jesus declares to be the bright and morning star. He is the great and shining light that came into the world to bring and give light John 1:9; 8:12. With Him a new day, a new morning dawned over this world bringing salvation, hope and security.
The final words of the Revelation of Jesus Christ are strong compelling words of invitation to come to Jesus, to accept His grace and water of life. The Spirit, God, and the Bride which is the Holy City say come. The Holy City without inhabitants is like an empty shell, it likes to be adorned, 21:2. Her adornment is to have the saints as residents within her walls. Saints are those who have accepted Christ, 1Cor.2.1, 2
While on earth Jesus made strong calls to come to Him, Matt.11:28-30; John 7:37. The offer is free whosoever will, as in John 3:16. Are you one of them reading this at this moment? Do not refuse the call, come as you are and He will not let you remain as you are, He will give you a new life, make you a new creation in Christ, 2Cor.5:17; Eph.4:24.
These two verses issue a severe warning not to temper with the word of God, nothing to add and nothing to subtract. Those who do will suffer the plagues mentioned in this book. He will have no place in the book of life or the Holy City. God is sacred, His word is sacred. God is unchangeable, His word is unchangeable. Read the following James 1:17; Hebr.13:8 but also Deut.4:2; 12:32; Psalms 89:34; Prov.30:6; Isa.40:8; 1Pet.1:24, 25. All these scripture references confirm what is written here in Rev.22:18, 19.
Again a word from Jesus surely I come quickly. What was stated in 22:7 is re-confirmed as one of the last words of Jesus to impress upon our minds the shortness of time and that it is today we have to surrender our lives to Christ and accept Him as Saviour and Lord, the only true Messiah.
The response and most likely of John is Amen. Even so come, Lord Jesus. Is this your response after you have gone through the study of this most wonderful and revealing Bible book, the Revelation of Jesus Christ? May it be so and you will be blessed. You may be in trouble of all sorts, in sickness of all kind but take your refuge to Jesus and your future is secured. Jesus told Martha who was in great distress over the death of her brother Lazarus, that even if we die we shall yet live, because Jesus is the life and the resurrection, John 11:25 so put your faith and trust in Jesus.
The revelation ends with the apostolic blessing the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, Amen. That includes you and all who are reading these words.
Rom.16:20; 1Cor.16:23; 2Cor.13:14; Eph.6:24; 1Thess.5:28; 2Thess.3:18
Pastor Jan T Knopper
Edited September 2010
Revisited September 2013