Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”
“And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”
And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
Understanding And Applying the Text
John gives us a detailed picture of the New Jerusalem. It is the final dwelling place of the saints. It fulfills God’s promise of His appearing in glory and reigning in His heavenly court. The central figure and the central blessing of the city are God Himself and the Lamb. The vision is the climax to all earlier revelations. It completes God’s purpose. That purpose is to bring all things under Christ (Ephesians 1:10). The character of the imagery requires that we do not attempt a rigid interruption.
In this last chapter, we see a reflection back to the Garden of Eden. The New Jerusalem provides the things we long for, the things we dream of. There we have intimacy between God and with His people. There God’s blessing abounds. This chapter stresses that more than in any of the other chapters or visions. Here what was broken is restored. Here, there is true communion between God and man.
Revelation informs us and assures us of God’s final purpose. But it also causes us to long for it. The certainty of God’s purpose comforts us. It is a comfort during times of temptation and persecution.
The city has a river flowing through the middle. It contains life-giving water. The water supply flows from God. This imagery is common in scripture. Genesis 2:10–14; Psalms 46:4; Ezekiel 47:1–12; Joel 3:18; John 4:10–14; 7:37–39.
The tree of life is on both sides of the river. After the fall, God barred a man from the tree of life. (Genesis 3:22-24) But here God restores that access.
The book concludes with promise, exhortation, and confirmation. This drives home the message of John’s visions. It stirs up hope for Christ coming again.
God told John not to seal up the book. This is in contrast to Daniel’s scroll. God told Daniel to seal his revelation until the end. (Daniel 12:4) God told John not to seal his revelation because the time is near.
Verse 11 appears to be very laissez-faire. “Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.” This is to complete the great commission. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19:20) We are to make disciples not converts. Converting people is God’s job. We are not to worry about it. Those who are evil will be evil. Those who are holy will be holy. We are to teach and baptize. Let God worry about changing hearts.
God banishes all the evildoers from the city. This is not only to punish them but to protect the city from contamination.
There is a stern warning against adding or subtracting to John’s visions. This is consistent with the rest of the scripture. God prohibits corrupting His word. It is not the work of men. (Deuteronomy 4:2 12:32)
The whole of Revelation stirs our longing and prayers for Christ’s coming. It creates a longing within us to see for God’s purposes accomplished Revelation ends on this note. Come, Lord Jesus Come. That is our plea and our prayer.