|The New Jerusalem's Blessings,
Chapter 22 Verses 1-5 (NASB)
The last part of this verse makes a clear reference to God, the Father, and the Lamb, Jesus Christ the Son. We haven't seen much of the Holy Spirit since Their blazing descriptions in the beginning (Revelation 1:4 and Revelation 4:5). But the Holy Trinity remains in tact forever and ever too. Here we most likely see the Holy Spirit in the form of this RIVER of THE WATER of LIFE. This may seem strange at first, but John in another letter he wrote, says that there are three entities who bear witness: the Spirit, the Water, and the Blood (1 John 5:6-8-12). Previously we have indicated that water is the container of spirits. Good WATER like this WATER of LIFE contains good Spirit(s). Bad water contains evil spirit(s) (e.g. Revelation 9:13-14-21, Revelation 12:10-15-17, and Revelation 16:4-7,12-16).
Jesus makes a point about 'living WATER' flowing from the innermost being of the Holy Spirit in John 7:37-38-39-52. From Old Testament Levitical writings (Leviticus 17:10-16), we understand the relationship between blood and LIFE physically. In this verse, we find the blood not red, but rather
There is a discussion among scholars whether STREET is singular or plural. Keith Harris in "The Unveiling" points out that the Greek for STREET has been translated in plural form in other portions of scripture (Matthew 6:5, 12:19; Luke 10:10, 13:26, and 14:21; and Acts 5:15).
Likewise, TREE may be translated from the Greek as plural such as "clubs" in Matthew 26:47 and 26:55; Mark 14:43 and 14:48; and Luke 22:52; as "stocks" in Acts 16:24. Even as we refer to a tree type, say oak for example, we know there are many different kinds of oak trees growing. Compare this verse with Ezekiel's vision in Ezekiel 47:1-12-12.
This TREE of LIFE is the new earth's equivalent of the old earth's TREE of LIFE (Genesis 2:4-9-14 and Genesis 3:22-24). Its fruit probably is not for nourishment (i.e. if new earth residents didn't eat they would die. That can't be because it violates Revelation 21:4 and 22:5). Rather it is more like spiritual vitamins. If we use Galatians 5:22-23 for example, one gets a spiritual dose of "love" for a month. Recall that we have made a link between the Holy Spirit and the RIVER (previous verse), and this could be considered an extension of the work of the Holy Spirit much like water flows up through the trunk into the FRUIT and LEAVES.
The use of MONTH has caused some difficulty to explain because MONTHS on the old earth are timed by the moon. Since the new earth won't have any night or a need for the sun, one wonders whether there is an equivalent MOON in the new heaven and new earth system? We cannot say for sure, but given how precise an eternal God is during the tribulation period (e.g. Revelation 9:5 or Revelation 11:9) on the old earth, one must assume that there is a way to denote time on the new earth. Those intervals must be based upon Jesus' time (verse 13); we just don't know how long He will make a MONTH of time between the Beginning and the End.
By the way, it should not be surprising that the FRUIT and LEAVES are edible. That is what is promised to the Ephesus' overcomers (Revelation 2:7).
Interestingly, this may be what Zechariah was talking about in Zechariah 14:1-11-21. Being His bondservant in this verse is like the "no longer a Canaanite in the house of the Lord" expression in Zechariah. The spiritual process of becoming a bondservant is like that given by Paul in his letter to the Galatians (Galatians 3). We have put on Christ like a coat over the CURSED man inside. But having put on the coat which is Christ, we become "one in Christ Jesus". This oneness allows us to SERVE Him, God, in a priestly manner (Revelation 1:6) with the LAMB as High Priest (Hebrews 9:11-14-14).
Some Christians have a difficult time with the concept of heaven. They view it as a "boring" place meaning "what can we possibly do forever and ever?". In this verse, it is shown that there are infinite ways we will SERVE an infinite God. Our minds have no way of conceiving the ways we will SERVE Him (by bringing the GLORY and HONOR to the THRONE for starters - Revelation 21:26).
On this present earth because of the CURSE (previous verse), we cannot see God's face and live. However, when we get to the new Jerusalem, we already are living the new eternal life, death has been abolished (Revelation 20:14), and we finally shall SEE HIS FACE.
When face to face, one can communicate openly. Apparently Adam and Eve had long walks together with God in the Garden of Eden just talking to each other (Genesis 2:15-25, 3:8-13). But after Adam and Eve sinned, they only "heard" the sound of the Lord God. Their direct face to face encounters with God abruptly ceased. Their sin got in the way of an open relationship with their Creator and God (1 John 3:1-2-10). Likewise, if you don't have an open relationship with God, consider what unconfessed sin(s) are standing in the way.
To SEE HIS FACE, one must be "pure in heart" (Matthew 5:1-8-12). Even the knowledge of evil (or good for that matter) is erased (Genesis 3:22-22-24). The new earth, new heaven, and new Jerusalem are not based on "good" but rather on GLORY and HONOR (Revelation 21:26).
As with the rest of the Revelation, this, too, has both physical and spiritual meanings. Physically, this verse doesn't say that the present solar system is taken away. The present solar system just isn't needed anymore or may be so dim in comparison to the illumination of the presence of the Lord God. Perhaps we are seeing the full meaning of Jesus' words in John 8:12-20. It also is clear from Jesus' words, that there is a translation to the 'light of life' that will take place. In this verse, here in Revelation, we are shown the 'light of (eternal) life'.
Furthermore, from a spiritual viewpoint, light is the absence of darkness. It is an exercise for the reader to determine what it really means to have darkness removed. Hints are given in Matthew 22:1-13-14, Luke 1:67-79, John 3:16-19-21, Acts 26:1-18-23, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, Ephesians 5:1-8-20, 1 John 1:5-10, and 1 John 2:7-9-11.
With continual light, one could work forever, but in Hebrews 4:9-10, there is an indication that when we reach THE CITY, we will enter into our REST even as God has entered into His REST. Contrast this with those who are in the lake of fire (Revelation 14:11) or as Jesus referred to it, 'outer darkness' (Matthew 8:5-12-13, Matthew 22:1-13-14, and Matthew 25:14-30. 'Outer darkness' is where non-performing servants are assigned (see verse 3). This place is so horrible that there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. That is a sign of no REST but rather constant turmoil. Every evil and ugly thought and deed is contending with the next evil thought and deed. If you think road rage is bad, try lake of fire rage! This makes me wonder how the cowardly will fare (Revelation 21:8)?
from the NEW
AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation, 1960,
1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 Used by
References to the Revelation of Jesus Christ are in bold italics. All other references are in bold only