He refers to the angel in Rev. 21:9.
He refers to the angel in Rev. 21:9.
The river here, typified by the rivers in Gen. 2:10-14, Psa. 46:4, and Ezek. 47:5-9, signifies the abundance of life in its flow. It is one river, flowing to the four corners of the holy city, like the one river in Gen. 2:10-14, which parts into four heads. As indicated in John 7:38, this one river with its riches becomes many rivers in our experience of the different aspects of the riches of God's Spirit of life (Rom. 8:2; 15:30; 1 Thes. 1:6; 2 Thes. 2:13; Gal. 5:22-23).
The water of life is a symbol of God in Christ as the Spirit flowing Himself into His redeemed people to be their life and life supply. It is typified by the water that came out of the riven rock (Exo. 17:6; Num. 20:11) and symbolized by the water that flowed out of the pierced side of the Lord Jesus (John 19:34). Here, the water of life becomes a river, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb to supply and saturate the entire New Jerusalem. Thus this city is filled with the divine life that it may express God in His glory of life.
The water of life is bright as crystal, having no dimness or opaqueness. When this water of life flows in us, it purifies us and makes us as transparent as crystal.
The throne of God and of the Lamb, showing that there is one throne for both God and the Lamb, indicates that God and the Lamb are one — the Lamb-God, the redeeming God, God the Redeemer. In eternity the very God who sits on the throne is our redeeming God, from whose throne proceeds the river of water of life for our supply and satisfaction. This depicts how the Triune God — God, the Lamb, and the Spirit, who is symbolized by the water of life — dispenses Himself to His redeemed under His headship (implied in the authority of the throne) for eternity.
The street of the holy city is pure gold (Rev. 21:21). Gold symbolizes the divine nature. That the river of water of life proceeds "in the middle of its street" signifies that the divine life flows in the divine nature as the unique way for the daily life of God's redeemed people. Where the divine life flows, there the divine nature is as the holy way by which God's people walk and where the holy way of the divine nature is, there the divine life is flowing. The divine life and the divine nature as the holy way always go together. Thus, God's river of water of life is available along this divine way, and we enjoy the river by walking in this way of life.
That the one tree of life grows on the two sides of the river signifies that the tree of life is a vine that spreads and proceeds along the flow of the water of life for God's people to receive and enjoy. This tree fulfills for eternity what God intended from the beginning (Gen. 2:9). The tree of life was closed to man because of his fall (Gen. 3:22-24), but it was opened to the believers through the redemption of Christ (Heb. 10:19-20). Today the enjoyment of Christ as the tree of life is the believers' common portion (John 6:35, 57). In the millennial kingdom the enjoyment of Christ as the tree of life will be a dispensational reward to the overcoming believers (Rev. 2:7). Eventually, in the new heaven and new earth for eternity, the enjoyment of Christ as the tree of life will be the eternal portion of all God's redeemed (vv. 14, 19). Christ as the tree of life is the life supply available along the flow of the Spirit as the water of life. Where the Spirit flows, there the life supply of Christ is found. This is all in and with the divine nature as our holy way, signified by the street. This is the supply of the holy city, and this is the way the city is supplied.
The fruits of the tree of life will be the food of God's redeemed for eternity. They will be continually fresh, being produced every month, twelve fruits yearly. That the tree of life bears twelve fruits means that the fruit of the tree of life is rich and is sufficient for the carrying out of God's eternal administration.
Lit., according to each month.
Month indicates that in the new heaven and new earth the moon still will be there to divide the twelve months. The sun also will be there to separate day and night into periods of twelve hours each. While the number that represents the church is seven, signifying that God in His present dispensation is added to His creature, man, the number that represents the New Jerusalem is twelve, signifying that God in His eternal administration is mingled with His creature, man. In the New Jerusalem are the twelve foundations, inscribed with the names of the twelve apostles; the twelve gates, which are twelve pearls, inscribed with the names of the twelve tribes; and the twelve fruits of the tree of life. With regard to space, the city proper is twelve thousand stadia, one thousand times twelve, in each of its three dimensions, and its wall is one hundred forty-four cubits, twelve times twelve, in height. With regard to time, in the new heaven and new earth there are twelve months yearly, twelve hours daily, and twelve hours nightly.
The leaves of the tree of life are for the healing of the nations. In the Bible, leaves are a symbol of man's deeds (Gen. 3:7). The leaves of the tree of life symbolize the deeds of Christ. The regenerated believers eat the fruit of the tree of life, receiving Christ as their inward life and life supply, that they may enjoy the divine life for eternity, whereas the restored nations are healed by the leaves of the tree of life, taking the deeds of Christ as their outward guide and regulation, that they may live the human life forever.
Or, anything accursed.
The throne of God and of the Lamb is one of the blessings that God's redeemed will enjoy in eternity. They will no longer suffer any curse; the throne of God and of the Lamb will be their eternal portion.
The Greek word denotes serving as priests. To serve God and the Lamb also will be a blessing to God's redeemed in eternity.
Him, like His in v. 4, refers to God and the Lamb; God and the Lamb are one in eternity.
To see the face of God and of the Lamb and to have His name on their foreheads also will be blessings of the Triune God enjoyed by God's redeemed in eternity.
See note Rev. 21:252b.
The light of a lamp is made by man, and the light of the sun is created by God.
To be shined upon by the Lord God will be another blessing to God's redeemed in eternity.
To reign forever will be the final blessing to God's redeemed in eternity.
He refers to the angel in Rev. 21:9.
In this book the Lord God is the God of the spirits of the prophets. This indicates that all the prophecies in this book are inspired by the very God who inspired the spirits of the prophets in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. It also indicates that these prophecies are related to those in the Old Testament and the New Testament, all of which were spoken by the prophets in their spirit, which was under the inspiration of God. Hence, to comprehend these prophecies, we too need to be in our spirit under God's anointing.
"I come quickly" is the Lord's warning. If we heed this warning, we will be blessed; otherwise, we will forfeit the blessing.
Daniel's prophecies were sealed because they were given long before the time of the end, whereas the prophecies of this book should not be sealed, for the time is near.
In the age of this book, whatever one is, whether unrighteous or righteous, whether filthy or holy, is a serious matter. To be righteous is to walk outwardly according to the righteous ways of God, whereas to be holy is to live inwardly according to the holy nature of God. In the age of this book we must walk and live in this way that we may receive the reward; otherwise, we will be condemned as unrighteous and filthy and will receive punishment at the Lord's coming back (v. 12).
The Lord repeats His warning, "I come quickly," so that we will consider His reward, to be rendered at His coming back.
This is the Lord's declaration at the close of this book; it corresponds with what God declared in the opening of this book (Rev. 1:8). This indicates that the Lord Jesus is the very God.
The Lord Jesus is not only the First but also the Beginning, and not only the Last but also the End. The First indicates that none is before Him, and the Last that none is after Him; whereas the Beginning indicates that He is the origination of all things, and the End that He is the consummation of all things. Hence, the indication here is not only that there is nothing before or after the Lord Jesus but also that there is no origination or consummation without Him.
This verse can be considered a promise of the enjoyment of the tree of life, which is Christ with all the riches of life; and the second half of v. 17 can be considered a call to take the water of life, which is the life- giving Spirit. Thus this book ends in a promise and a call, both of which are for eating and drinking the all-inclusive Christ as the life-giving Spirit.
The robes here symbolize the conduct of the believers. To wash their robes is to keep their conduct clean through the washing of the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:14; 1 John 1:7). This gives them the right to participate in the tree of life and to enter into the city. Both the tree of life and the city will be an enjoyment to them in eternity.
Lit., their authority will be over the tree of life and they may enter...
cf. Gen. 3:24
After being created, man was put before the tree of life (Gen. 2:8-9), indicating that he was privileged to partake of it. But because of the fall of man, the way to the tree of life was closed to man by God's glory, holiness, and righteousness (Gen. 3:24). Through Christ's redemption, which fulfilled all the requirements of God's glory, holiness, and righteousness, the way to the tree of life was opened again to believers (Heb. 10:19-20). Hence, those who wash their robes in the redeeming blood of Christ have the right to enjoy the tree of life as their eternal portion in the holy city, the Paradise of God, in eternity (Rev. 2:7).
To enter by the gates into the city is to enter the New Jerusalem, as a realm of God's eternal blessing, by regeneration through the death-overcoming and life-imparting Christ. (See note Rev. 21:212.)
Outside means outside the city, where the lake of fire, which holds all the sinners who have perished, will be located. (See note Rev. 21:82c.)
Lit., upon, or, over.
The testimony of this book was made by the Lord Jesus for the churches. Hence, to comprehend and keep this testimony, we need to be in the churches and for the churches.
At His coming back Christ will be the rising sun to His people generally (Mal. 4:2) but the morning star to His watching lovers particularly. The latter will be a reward to the overcomers (Rev. 2:28). Christ's being the Root and Offspring of David is related to Israel and the kingdom, whereas Christ's being the bright morning star is related to the church and the rapture. The morning star appears before the darkest hour, prior to the dawn. The great tribulation will be this darkest time, after which the day of the kingdom will dawn. In the kingdom the Lord will appear publicly to His people as the sun, but before the great tribulation He will appear privately to His overcomers as the morning star.
In chs. 2 and 3 it was the Spirit speaking to the churches; here, at the end of the book, it is the Spirit and the bride, the church, speaking together as one. This indicates that the church's experience of the Spirit has improved to the extent that she has become one with the Spirit, who is the ultimate consummation of the Triune God.
The entire revelation of the Bible shows us the love story of a universal couple. That is, the sovereign Lord, who created the universe and all things, the Triune God — the Father, the Son, and the Spirit — who went through the processes of incarnation, human living, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, and who ultimately became the life-giving Spirit, is joined in marriage to the created, redeemed, regenerated, transformed, and glorified tripartite man — composed of spirit, soul, and body — who ultimately constitutes the church, the expression of God. In the eternity that is without end, by the divine, eternal, and surpassingly glorious life, they will live a life that is the mingling of God and man as one spirit, a life that is superexcellent and that overflows with blessings and joy.
"Come!" is the response of the Spirit and the bride to the Lord's word in v. 16 and to His repeated warning in vv. 7, 12. It expresses the desire for the Lord's coming. Whoever hears this response also should say, "Come!" thus expressing a joint desire for the Lord's coming. All believers who love the Lord's appearing (2 Tim. 4:8) should express such a joint desire.
The Spirit and the bride, on one hand, desire that the Lord will come, and, on the other hand, yearn that the thirsty sinner also will come to take the water of life for his satisfaction. When we have a sincere desire for the Lord's coming, we also have an earnest concern for the sinner's salvation.
See note Rev. 22:141a.
The main items of the plagues unveiled in this book are the three woes of the great tribulation, and the second death, that is, the perishing of the whole man — spirit, soul, and body — in the lake of fire. The outstanding features of the blessing revealed in this book are the tree of life and the holy city. Whether one will suffer the plagues or share in the blessing depends on how one deals with the prophecy of this book. We should not add to the prophecy, nor should we take away anything from it. We must receive it as it is written.
See note Rev. 22:182c.
This is the third time in this chapter that the Lord warns us that He is coming quickly.
This is the apostle John's prayer and his response to the Lord's warning. It is also the last prayer in the Bible. After hearing this book, we should all pray such a prayer and have such a response — "Come, Lord Jesus!" The entire Bible concludes with the desire for the Lord's coming expressed as a prayer.
After seeing all the visions and hearing all the prophecies in this book, we still need the Lord's grace. Only the grace of the Lord Jesus can enable us to live and walk according to these visions and prophecies. Not only this book but also the entire Bible closes with this grace, the grace that enables us to experience the all-inclusive Christ and participate in the Triune God that we may become His eternal corporate expression for the fulfillment of His eternal purpose, that He and we may enjoy absolute satisfaction and complete rest mutually for eternity.
Some ancient authorities add, Christ.
Some ancient authorities omit, the saints. Amen.
The New Jerusalem, the last major item revealed in this book, is not only the conclusion of the entire Bible but also the ultimate consummation of all the important items revealed in the Bible. The Triune God, the Triune God's economy, Christ's redemption, God's salvation, the believers, the church, and the kingdom are all consummated in the New Jerusalem as the consummating item. Thus, to say that the New Jerusalem is a physical city is not logical; it does not correspond with this book's principle of using signs for the revelation of the mysterious things. According to the entire revelation of the complete Bible, the New Jerusalem, the conclusion of the complete Bible, is a divine mingling of the processed Triune God with the redeemed and transformed tripartite man, a mingling of divinity with humanity, issuing in a universal, corporate, mysterious person. This person is:
1) The wife of the Lamb (Rev. 21:9);
4) The ultimate consummation of God's eternal economy and God's divine accomplishments.
Speaking the Truth in Love
This is how denominations are formed.
The main direction is to come out of the system; it cannot change.
"I began to realize that our practices have differed and deviated from our vision. Our vision was the same, our teaching was mostly the same, the truth is always the same, but our practice has really differed."