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And he shewed me a pure river ( Revelation 22:1 )
You know it is going to be new, because these don't exist anymore here.
of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. And in the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bore twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month ( Revelation 22:1-66.22.2 ):
So, you have an interesting kind of a tree here. And of course, we have been fooling around genetically with trees and plants and we have been able to do a lot of interesting things with genetic manipulation of plants and trees. We have created different types of hybrids and different kinds of resistances and so forth.
In fact, they have created a tomato plant now in Israel at the Beersheba University, a tomato plant that you can irrigate with seawater. You don't get salty tomatoes. But who knows; maybe they will be able to develop that in time where the tomato would already be salted when you get it. But they are irrigating tomato plants now with Mediterranean Sea water. And they are doing a lot of things with the genetic codes. The new thing here is these new seedless flame grapes. And it's great what man has been able to do messing around with some of the genetic codes of some of the plants and trees.
When I was a kid we lived off of North Broadway Street here in Santa Ana, and we had a tree that had both Navel and Valencia oranges growing on it, as well as grapefruits and lemons. So, during part of the year we could pick the Valencia oranges, during the winter months pick the navel oranges, and in the meantime, eat the grapefruit and have lemonade. It was just a thing of grafting into the basic root system the various types of citrus fruits. And now you can buy some trees that have peaches and nectarines on them. It is interesting.
God is going to have a tree that has twelve different kinds of fruit and every month a fruit will be ripe. It is going to be a neat tree. I am such a fruit lover anyhow; I am going to see if I can get a few of those planted in my yard.
and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations ( Revelation 22:2 ).
So, there will be a medicinal value in the leaves of the tree.
And there shall be no more curse ( Revelation 22:3 ):
The earth, you remember, was cursed as a result of sin. "Cursed will be the ground; thorns and thistles will it bring forth. Cursed be man, by the sweat of his brow shall he earn his bread" Genesis 3:18-1.3.19 ), and so forth. There will be no more curse.
but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face ( Revelation 22:3-66.22.4 );
"Blessed are the pure in heart", Jesus said, "for they shall see God" ( Matthew 5:8 ). "They shall see His face",
and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, nor light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever ( Revelation 22:3-66.22.5 ).
Hard to believe; isn't it? That is why he immediately said,
And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true ( Revelation 22:6 ):
It sounds too good to be true. It sounds, wow! So the Lord affirms that these are true and faithful sayings. Again, the affirmation of the truth of what God is declaring for your skeptical mind that finds it hard to believe that God should do such a thing for us. For we are so unworthy and undeserving that we should reign forever and ever in His glorious New Kingdom and New World and new age. So, the Lord assures you these are true and faithful sayings.
and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold ( Revelation 22:6-66.22.7 ),
The Lord is talking here to John now.
I come quickly: blessed is he that keeps the sayings of the prophecy of this book. And I John saw these things, I heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me those things ( Revelation 22:7-66.22.8 ).
He did this a little earlier and the angel said to him to stand up. "Don't do that." But John is overwhelmed again; he is just wiped out, overwhelmed that the guy tells him that, so he falls down at his feet again to worship him
Then the angel said, Don't do that: for I am thy fellowservant, of the brethren the prophets, of those which keep the sayings of this book: worship God ( Revelation 22:9 ).
Again John making the mistake that man so often makes worshipping the instrument of God. "Don't do that. Worship God."
And he said unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand ( Revelation 22:10 ).
Now, you remember when he talked to Daniel, he said seal up those things and don't write them, for they are for the end. In the last days, knowledge will be increased. So, seal them up there will be a time that they will be understood, but they are not for you, Daniel. Now with John, he said, "don't seal the book. Leave it open, because things are going to start working out".
Now the interesting thing is that so many people look at Revelation as though it were a sealed book. "Oh, that is a sealed book. You don't want to get into that. No one can understand it." It is because they don't attempt to or they attempted to spiritualize the meanings, and if you do that it becomes meaningless. So, if you just read it and say "wow" and accept it as it is, not adding to it or taking away, you have no problem. It is only when you try to spiritualize everything in it, and give everything some kind of a weird meaning, that it becomes a difficult book to understand. "So don't seal the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand."
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. And, behold [again the Lord is talking], I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be ( Revelation 22:11-66.22.12 ).
Now, as a child of God I will not be judged for my sins; that has all been covered by Jesus Christ. As a child of God the gift of eternal life is just that, it is God's gift to me. I can't earn it. I do not deserve it. It is a gift of God. "By grace you are saved through faith and that not of yourself it is a gift of God; not of works lest any man should boast"( Ephesians 2:8-49.2.9 ). However, God is going to reward me according to the works that I do. There will be degrees of rewards in heaven.
Now, as far as eternal life, that is God's gift. I can't deserve that or earn it. I don't deserve it. It is God's gift to me by faith in Jesus Christ, faith alone. That is the only basis upon which this gift is predicated and God gave me the faith to believe. However, now that I believe I want to serve God and I offer myself to God to serve Him, and the works that I do for God, I will be rewarded for them, those works that are done out of a pure motivation.
Now, there are a lot of works that people do that there will be no reward. If your work is just for a big show to just be known among people, and they say, "Oh, man he's just a holy Joe." And you do things to give them that kind of a feeling, you learn to close your eyes at the proper time and fold your hands and you learn to talk in such a way that it sort of oozes of righteousness and spirituality, so that people they can just talk to you and know that you walk close to God. That kind of stuff is junky and there is no reward for that.
Jesus said, "Take heed that you do not your righteousness before men to be seen of men, because then you have your reward"( Matthew 6:1 ). So, when you pray don't go out on the street corner and do a big thing so that everyone goes by and says, "What is happening? "Oh, he's a spiritual man." "Go in your closet, shut the door and talk to your Father who sees in secret and He will reward you openly" ( Matthew 6:6 ). When you give don't make a big to-do over it; don't play the Halleluia chorus and do cartwheels. Learn to do things without drawing attention to yourself. "Let your light so shine before men that when they see your good works they glorify your Father which is in heaven"( Matthew 5:16 ), because we will be rewarded according to those works that have right motivation.
Now, Jesus said, "If we do our works to be seen of men then we have our reward now." So, be careful about that. There is a real danger, subtle danger there.
"So, I'm coming quickly. My rewards are with Me and I'm going to reward every man according to his work."
You remember the one who received the five talents? How he brought them and said, "Lord you gave me five and I increased them and I now have ten." "Good job. I am going to make you ruler over ten cities. Enter into the joy of the Lord." "Lord you gave me four talents and I went out and used them and I have eight." All right, good work, make you ruler over eight cities." "Hey, Lord, I know you are an austere man. You like to reap where you didn't sow and so forth. So I knew how you were about the money that You distributed, so I took the money and buried it and here it is, Lord. So I dug it up and got it out of the napkin and it's all preserved. You can have it back again." Not so good. No reward. "I'm coming quickly. My reward is with Me."
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last ( Revelation 22:13 ).
Now, these words were declared of God the Father in chapter one. Here Jesus is talking to John and He is declaring the same thing.
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city ( Revelation 22:14 ).
Jesus said, "I am the door to the sheepfold."
For without are dogs, drug abusers, whoremongers, murderers, idolaters, and whosoever loves and makes a lie. I Jesus have sent my angel to testify unto you these things in the churches ( Revelation 22:15-66.22.16 ).
So, this is for the churches. The Lord sent it for the churches.
I am the root and offspring of David, and the bright and the morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come ( Revelation 22:16-66.22.17 ).
God's invitation to you to come and to share in the glories of His eternal kingdom.
And let him that heareth say, Come. [Come Lord Jesus and establish Your kingdom.] Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely ( Revelation 22:17 ).
It is open and available. Help yourself.
For I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book ( Revelation 22:18-66.22.19 ).
I cannot imagine the audacity of man to mess around with the book of Revelation with a warning like that, or to try to read something into or read something out of it. I can't imagine such audacity. That is why I take the book literally even though I may not understand all of it. I take it literally and I teach it literally, because I don't want to be guilty of adding to or taking away. I'd rather be wrong in my literal interpretation of the book than to be wrong and add to the book by spiritualizing, or take away from it by spiritualizing.
In other words, this book is not to be messed with, just to be believed and practiced. "Blessed are they that read, hear and practice the words of this prophecy, putting them into practice in their lives." So, that is what it is for, to be read and heard and put into practice, not to be argued with, or disputed over or whatever.
He which testifies these things saith, Surely I come quickly. So be it. Even so, come, Lord Jesus ( Revelation 22:20 ).
Well, that was almost nineteen hundred years ago that He said, "Behold, I come quickly." But Lord it has been nineteen hundred years. Peter said, "In the last days there will be scoffers that will come along and saying where is the promise of His coming? Since our fathers have fallen asleep everything has gone on as it was from the beginning"( 2 Peter 3:3 ). "You know, God stepped out." Foolishness. Jesus is coming again, foolishness. Where is the promise? Things are just going to go on and on and on. There is not going to be any interruption in history.
But Peter said, "God isn't slack concerning His promises," that is the promise of the coming, "as some men count slackness." But he said, "You need to consider that one day is as a thousand years to the Lord and a thousand years is as one day"( 2 Peter 3:8 ). We say it has almost been almost two thousand years. Well, the Lord says, "It has only been a couple days. Guess we better get back." "Behold, I come quickly."
How, quickly is He coming for you? We don't know; do we? But I do believe that the time of the return of Jesus Christ is very, very near. There is an indication in Hosea that for two days Israel will be as dead, but in the third day God will revive them and they will live before him. Again a thousand years to a day and a day to a thousand years. For two thousand years Israel was like dead, but now they have revived. The prophecy of Hosea is fulfilled. And so I do believe that the day of the Lord is at hand. And I, with John, would respond, "Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus."
Oh, how my heart yearns for the Lord to come and the establishing of His kingdom. How I desire to see the New World, the new age with Jesus reigning as King and Lord.
John's final parting words and the closing words of the Bible. How appropriate.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. So be it. ( Revelation 22:21 )
Isn't that beautiful? What a glorious way to end this glorious book. Just the bequest of God's grace or the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ upon you. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ rest or be upon or be with all of you. "So be it."
Shall we pray.
Lord we thank you for Your grace and by grace we will be able to participate in the glorious inheritance of the saints in light. Thank you, Lord, that you have delivered us from the power of darkness, taken the rebellion out of our hearts, and given us a heart of love, a heart of commitment, a heart of faith. Lord we want to serve You because we love You. And we thank you Lord for that hope that You have given to us of the New World, the new age where righteousness shall reign and Jesus shall reign where here the sun doth her successive journeys run. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus. Amen.
You didn't think I could do it, did you? Neither did I. Praise the Lord for His Word, a lamp unto our feet, a light unto our path, a power in our lives to keep us from sin. Life itself, "For the entrance of thy word giveth life." How we need to walk in the light of God's Word.
I'm sort of excited about the possibility of starting all over again, getting back into Genesis where it all began and see how the Lord works from the beginning to the end. Now we've closed things out. We've entered on into the eons of the eternity, the future. The sun has disappeared, dissipated, gone. And in the ages to come God is now revealing to us the exceeding richness of His love and mercy towards us in Christ, on out forever and ever with our Lord. So we'll go back now and retrace the rebellion of man from the beginning; its effect upon man, mankind and God's patient dealing in love, longsuffering as He draws forth His plan and draws man to His plan that ultimately we might share with Him that eternity in His kingdom of love and grace.
So may the Lord be with you and may the Lord bless you and may He prepare your heart as we prepare to start through once more. I really believe this will be the last time. Our glorious adventure learning of Him. "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Revelation 22". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
Second Sunday after Epiphany