9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
The famous garden that the great Creator created in which He placed Adam and Eve disappeared in Southern Iraq, which was originally called Sumer, approximately four thousand years ago. It is presumed that it was present and protected by the Cherubim of God until the great flood. Men were not allowed in this garden after the fall lest they would eat of the fruit of the Tree of Life in the midst of the garden and then live eternally in their depraved state. “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” Genesis 3:22-24.
If there is a theme in this last chapter of Revelation and last chapter of the Bible, it must be the return of this incredible garden near the city of New Jerusalem that is certainly at the center of God’s presence in the new heaven and the new earth. I have found that almost no attention has been given to this incredible truth. The original Garden of Eden had to have been the most magnificent garden ever created. Creating gardens has been a pastime and a joy of the rich and famous for millenniums. It seems to me that this lost centerpiece of human life has left a vacuum in the human family that has never found true satisfaction. This garden was so pristine and perfect that it invited the joy of fellowship between God and His choice creation. Because of its excellent beauty and the deep sense of the divine delight of the Creator, Satan chose it as his location of attack against God and man.
Even as Eve listened to Satan’s lie, the River of Life was splashing in the background. When she looked upon the tree of good and evil, she well may have held in her hands the fruit of the Tree of Life. Her deception and then Adam’s deception occurred within the reach of a life so perfect and full that the heart of a pure soul has never understood such foolishness. How could it have happened? The only possible answer is that our Creator gave this man He created absolute right of choice. He wanted love that had the right to choose to love because all other love is not really love. That day in the breathtaking garden, sorrow began that still rushes like a tsunami upon the whole of the human family and the created world. This great closing text reveals the final end of human misery and a total new beginning.
The Creator is going to move in with His redeemed family, the total curse will have been eliminated and we will actually see the Father face-to-face. While New Jerusalem will be the most magnificent creation of all eternity, the earth will have been recreated into the paradise of perfect bliss. It will be a worldwide garden and nothing of disease, weeds, undergrowth, or destroying insects will be present to mar the beauty. If you can imagine the city of New Jerusalem set within and upon this garden-like world and the beauty of both united to welcome all of His and the Lamb’s family, you are beginning to get the vision. We will be so identified with Him that His family appearance will be written upon each continent.
His entire cosmos will be filled with creative beauty. The only exception will be the Lake of Fire that will contain the wicked. The second death, the most dreadful indictment ever assigned, will have been finished and assigned to its victims and that multitude of the wicked will be cast into this eternal lake of brimstone. It will be in the vicinity of Babylon and large enough to contain every lost soul of all eternity. It will be possible for man to visit this site and forever remember the sacrifice of the Lamb that spared their souls that same fate.
Isaiah spoke of this dreadful place that would be visible forever. “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.” Isaiah 66:22-24. Babylon has been the devil’s capital since the day of Nimrod. He moved it to Rome nearly two thousand years ago, but only to deceive. The Antichrist will return this capital back to Babylon. Isaiah also spoke of this future judgment against Satan and clearly tied this location to Babylon. He saw, “That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased…Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us? Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee … How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” Isaiah14:4, 9-12, 15.
Hell will rise up out of the heart of the earth to be joined with the Lake of Fire and God will set a boundary around the ancient center of Satanism. It will become the final abode of Lucifer, the Antichrist, and the false prophet, along with his fallen angels and every wicked soul that rejected God’s offering of grace. Babylon will finally become the desolation promised by the prophets of old. God the Creator will reward the wicked at the very center from which wickedness has charmed the earth.
Anyone that doubts the Book of Revelation must deny some of the plainest speech in the Bible. After John has finished viewing the city of New Jerusalem in the midst of the new heaven and new earth, his host that had taken him on the tour, spoke great words of warning. This angel that later identified himself as a fellow servant of Jesus Christ said to John, “And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.” Revelation 22:6. The messenger continued his attention to John by prophesying of Christ and for Christ. “Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” Revelation 22:7.
1 John 3
1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is
Before we review the verses individually, we must understand the warning in this book that speaks so loudly. The church world is full of religious people and leaders that either deny or ignore this “Masterpiece of Truth.” The messenger to John, pronounced by the voice of Holy Ghost prophecy, that it is spiritual death to change or reject these words. “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 22:19. Jesus also said that the “Scripture cannot be broken.” John 10:35. It is time for the church and the church world to embrace this wonderful revelation within the Book of Revelation.
“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall 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; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” Revelation 22:1-5
These verses continue the subject of chapter twenty-one. This magnificent city of New Jerusalem is more than an ordinary city; it is the temple of God and Christ. This temple is united with the city of New Jerusalem, the home of Christ’s bride. God the Father is moving the heavenly temple within the New Jerusalem and uniting it all with His new creation. Our view of this eternal and glorious creation is certainly limited to human words and descriptions that remind us of the Biblical warning, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12. This is the grandest view ever revealed and from it we can catch a limited vision of our future. Living for anything but our lord Jesus Christ and His eternal plans is folly.
John is now allowed to view one of the most breathtaking aspects of this city and the new world. The River of Life and The Tree of Life, is second only to the Father and the Lamb as the heartthrob of this city. It is our substance of eternal life. While Adam and Eve were created to be eternal, the River of Life and the Tree of Life were the source of that eternal life. So, it is in this eternal picture again as it was in the beginning. We will live forever and the provision of that life is flowing directly out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. Our eternal life is not resident in His created family but in Himself and the Lamb of God. While this river is a literal river and this tree is a literal tree, the substance of both the river and tree is divine life, His divine life provided for His family.
This river will flow throughout this great and marvelous city and throughout the new earth. The original river in Eden divided into four streams and flowed far and wide to provide life for all of Adam and Eve’s family. This river flowing from the throne of God shall certainly do no less but will be the joy of the whole universe. On either bank of this river will be the Tree of Life. The Bible is not speaking of one tree, but of one variety of multiple trees bearing multiple fruits. This tree will bare twelve manners of fruit and the fruit will be yielded and renewed monthly. Everywhere the river flows, the tree will line its banks and satisfy every eternal soul with life everlasting. The leaves of the tree will be filled with renewable nutrients that provide perfect substance for our glorified bodies.
The curse of sin is finished and the glorified saints will have perfect fellowship with their God and Father. It will be the joy of the earth to serve the Great Creator and His Son and to worship Him forever. The care of our mansions and the breathtaking gardens that fill the landscape will fill every saint with unfailing pleasure. Fellowship with other saints, viewing a dazzling world of exquisite beauty, and worshipping with the angels and great prophets will never allow for one moment of boredom.
There will never be a sunset. Artificial light will not be needed because this new world will be flooded with the light of the Lord God Himself. It will be a world bathed in the glory of the Eternity and filled with His presence forever and ever.
“AND HE SAID UNTO ME, THESE SAYINGS ARE FAITHFUL AND TRUE: AND THE LORD GOD OF THE HOLY PROPHETS SENT HIS ANGEL TO SHEW UNTO HIS SERVANTS THE THINGS WHICH MUST SHORTLY BE DONE. BEHOLD I COME QUICKLY: BLESSED IS HE THAT KEEPETH THE SAYINGS OF THE PROPHECY OF THIS BOOK. AND I JOHN SAW THESE THINGS, AND HEARD THEM. AND WHEN I HAD HEARD AND SEEN, I FELL DOWN TO WORSHIP BEFORE THE FEET OF THE ANGEL WHICH SHEWED ME THESE THINGS. THEN SAITH HE UNTO ME, SEE THOU DO IT NOT: FOR I AM THY FELLOWSERVANT, AND OF THY BRETHEN THE PROPHETS, AND OF THEM WICH KEEP THE SAYINGS OF THIS BOOK: WORSHIP GOD.” Revelation 22:6-9.
The fact that this angel of God, charged with delivering this message of Jesus Christ, would interrupt this great revelation to emphasize the truthfulness of this great masterpiece is thrilling. This messenger is not speaking for himself but by direct inspiration. These words are the words of God. Everything in this book is perfect, “faithful, and true” and cannot be denied or changed. The angel plainly says, “The Lord God of the holy prophets sent (me) his angel to show unto His servants the things which must surely come to pass.” This book is either literal or all of Christianity is in trouble.
2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
The great statement that I have already quoted in the beginning of this chapter is a post-stated warning that carries the student or reader back to chapter four where the saints were caught up to the throne before the Great Tribulation. This is given to readers and students of this book so we do not wait to suffer through the great Antichrist period. Let’s read that warning again. “Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” Revelation 22:7. The Lord did this very same thing in Matthew chapter twenty-four when He painted the picture of the dark Tribulation but ended with a route of escape. No believer has to endure the coming hell on earth. The Lord said the exact same thing to the church of Philadelphia, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Revelation 3:10. When John could get his breath from what he had seen and heard, he fell down in front of this angel or messenger to worship. This walking tour of the city, plus the words of proof for all he had seen, left him in a rapturous mood. But the angel was more than an angel. He was a servant of the Lord, a fellow servant, a glorified saint, actually an elder participant in the grand events of God’s kingdom. This certainly suggests that the saints of God in Heaven are not there to picnic, but to worship and participate. This servant of God was quick to confirm that he was one “of them which keeps the saying of this Book.” He adds, “Worship God.”
“AND HE SAITH UNTO ME, SEAL NOT 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, I COME QUICKLY; AND MY REWARD IS WITH ME, TO GIVE EVERY MAN ACCORDING AS HIS WORK SHALL BE” Revelation 22:10-12.
Now we get a warning on top of a warning. This Elder of the Lord (Let’s call him that for the rest of this discussion.) plainly tells John that this book is an ironclad truth that cannot be put aside. The Book of Revelation has been on the shelf all the way back to the beginning of the dark ages. Too few of God’s saints have dared to dig into this Masterpiece. The hour has come that no believer can dare wait to keep these great truths. The Elder says something that is hair-raising. “Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.” If it were at hand then, what would that Elder say today? This book is a “Revelation, an unveiling,” not a “concealing or a hidden thing.”
The Elder then declares a warning that leaves no one innocent. “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still.” Righteousness is not just a legalistic standing or a positional standing, but a literal transformation. We will be what we are now in our heart and present lifestyle when we stand before the Great Judge unless, if needed, you allow grace to transform you.
The declaration that follows the warning is exciting. The Lord to whom we relate is perfect in His sovereign being and every fact of eternity is totally open before Him. When He comes, every saint of God will be rewarded. The reward is based on one thing alone – obedience to Him in our works. We will be rewarded and every reward will be individually determined. We will get what our surrender and devotion to Him merits. The new heaven, the new earth, the New Jerusalem, and the Garden of Eden will not be a place of identical saints and rewards, but every person will be special. Every mansion will be different and every garden will be unique.
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 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. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” Revelation 22:13-16
These closing truths of this great book are really breathtaking. Easy Christianity is the product of apostasy. That certainly never existed in the Bible. The Elder is clearly caught up in the language and the message of our God and His Son. Right in the middle of these closing words, the Spirit takes this elder’s lips and he proclaims the voice of the Sovereign One, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” Then, as God continued to speak, He said, “Blessed are they that do his commandments.” The promises are more than worthy of our total commitments. Every saint will enjoy the Tree of Life and have the right to either live in the city of His Bride or visit and enjoy the city.
As I said in the opening of this chapter, the Lake of Fire will be on earth for eternity and will be visible to be visited. The warning, “For without are dogs,” makes it clear that the judgment will forever be in the conscience of every saint. To forget the consequence of sin and its judgment would be unthinkable. The sacrifice of the Son of God will be an eternal matter and we will never forget to worship our Savior. The glorified saints will possess in themselves the redemption of the Cross and the glory of our new bodies will forever testify to the triumph of Calvary. This is why the Lord Jesus Christ is called the “Lamb” right down to the very last chapter.
Jesus Christ gave this book to John through an array of angels and elders and for the church. It belongs to every church and every saint. It is our last “Will and Testament” and was always meant to bless and embolden the followers of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord said, “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” What a love letter this is straight from the Lord Himself. If you live in and obey this book, the world will appear exactly as it is, a fading kingdom soon to be judged and renewed in righteousness just for the Bride of Christ and the saints of God.
1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
The harvest of the precious fruits of the earth is never far from the heart of God. Right in the heart of Revelation, from chapter one to this transcending close of chapter twenty-two, “there is a rainbow above the throne.” It never gets so dark that something special does not appear to show the mercy extended to lost souls. This next statement is remarkable. “The Holy Spirit says, Come.” The heart of the Holy Ghost office is the wooing of the unsaved. “Let him that heareth” shows the obligation of every recipient of grace. No one can know of salvation without the obligation of telling it to others. “Let him that is athirst come” is a call that never ends until the last soul is saved or judged. “Whosoever will” is the invitation of Holy Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. No one has the right to tell even one soul that there is no hope. “Whosoever will” is the theme of the Bible.
“For I testify unto every man that heareth 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 22:18-19.
The Word of God is forever settled in Heaven. Before one word was ever given to any man to write, the Bible was complete. The Word of God is a heavenly book that has been given to the earthly church. The command has always been not to change or eliminate what the Spirit has given. He first warns us not to add to His revelations. We are warned that to add will be to receive the plagues written in this book. He then warns not to “take away” from the book. This warning comes with stated results. If we “take away” His words, He will take away our name from His Book of Life. These are awesome warnings.
“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Revelation 22:20-21.
The parting words of our Lord as He closes His dialogue with John were beautiful. The Elder speaks, “He which testifieth these things saith,” and then the Elder gives the final words of the Lord, “Surely I come quickly.” The Elder added, “Amen.” I think John then added by inspiration, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Maybe it was John that spoke the “Amen,” also. Either way this is a wonderful close to a heavenly vision. John then says to all the church that read these supernatural words, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”
This chapter is a highlight of this great Masterpiece. To see the Garden of Eden reappear for the first time since Genesis chapter three is beautiful. Of course, it could not appear until redemption was complete. The entrance of sin had broken the great fellowship that men had with God. The Father’s love demanded that a shadow of fellowship be restored, but the fellowship was always conducted with blood as its doorway. From the garden when coats were made by God the Father to this final revelation where a Lamb slain walks in every sentence, blood alone has been the Father’s carefully laid plan. Now redemption is finished and God and His family are going to live together forever.