by Thomas Bass | Les Feldick
We trust you will get your Bible and follow the Scriptures with us, as we don’t like to impart anything as man’s idea, mine or anyone else’s. We hope we show everything from the Scripture. Most of these things are just as plain as they can be. There has been only one time in over twenty years of teaching that someone told me, “Well, that’s your interpretation.” But that dear brother after staying away from class for about three weeks, came back, and has been one of my best students. I still kid him about it. So I do very little interpreting. I just show you what the Scripture says. I don’t lift it out and say, “Well this doesn’t mean what it says, it means this and this.” Too many times, interpretation does that. Our problem is that most of us read these things and really don’t look at what it plainly says. Another point I like to make is this: It’s just as important to“realize what the Book does not say.” And that is just as important as seeing what it does say.
Now let’s finish the Book of Revelation. We’ve come to Chapter 22. This will wind up our study in Revelation. As we came through the Old Testament, we finished the Book of Daniel, and we were ready to move on into the New Testament in Matthew. But we had so many that wanted us to go ahead and study the end-times that we skipped Matthew and the Gospel, Acts, and Paul’s letters and went to Revelation. But after this lesson I hope we will be ready to begin in the Book of Matthew. So let’s finish Chapter 22.
“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,” Evidently, there will be much the same geographical structure even on the new earth as we have on this one. In other words, I think Jerusalem will be the center of that new earth, and Jerusalem will be the abode of this tremendous new city. Out of this same area will come this river of water of life.
“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.” Now let’s look at verse 2 more closely.
“In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life (the last time the tree of life was mentioned was back in Genesis. I told you then that the tree of life was going to pass off the scene because mankind can’t have access to it, lest he would live forever in the sinful state. But we would pick it up again in Revelation. Well, here it is in this glorious city. Not only do we have the river of water of life, but also the tree of life), which bare twelve manner of fruits (for eating. We will enjoy eating in our new body. Luke recorded that Christ ate fish and honeycomb in His new resurrected body, and Paul tells us that our new body will be like Christ’s resurrected body. And this fruit will enhance our eternalness),and yielded her fruit (what’s the next two words?) every month (that throws a curve at me, because the word `month’ indicates time. Maybe some great theologian has the answer to this. Anyway, here in eternity we have a time factor of a month. Whether it’s a thirty-day month I don’t know, but this tree of life is going to bring forth a different fruit every month):and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” It’s unfortunate that the King James used the word `healing,’ because for healing one would need to be sick. And we know that there will be no sickness there. But the true meaning of the Greek work as I can gather is `therapeutic.’ In other words,“It’s like an apple a day that keeps the doctor away”
So eating the leaves will be a therapeutic thing for the citizens of this eternal home. Adam couldn’t eat of this tree or he would have lived forever. That is the whole concept of this tree of life, even here. Now we are going to eat of it because it will enhance our eternalness, which is what God wants, and what we would want. We also have the word `nations‘ at the end of that verse. I’ve always maintained that this Book is a nationalistic Book. We pride ourselves in America for being the melting pot of the nations. But that’s not what God intended. God intended the nations to be kept in their particular slots. And I think this is carried all the way through the Kingdom, as now we see nations as we come into eternity.
Go to II Samuel Chapter 7. Here we have the clearest indication of this Kingdom promised to the Nation of Israel. Since nations are listed in Revelation Chapter 22, it tells me the Nation of Israel will continue to enjoy her place of permanence, as she did during the millennium. In the millennium, or the thousand-year rule Israel will be the greatest nation, as in Deuteronomy Chapter 28. They will not be the tail, but the head. In II Samuel Chapter 7, Nathan speaks to David, but it’s the Lord speaking through the prophet!
II Samuel 7:12
“And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers (David would die), I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels (or innermost being), and I will establish his (Solomon’s) kingdom.” Who is going to establish it? God is!
II Samuel 7:13-16
“He (Solomon) shall build an house for my name (and you know he did), and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom (how long?) for ever.” Not for a thousand years, but for ever.
“I will be his father, and he shall be my son (that speaks not only of Solomon, but the nation as a whole). If he (or the nation) commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men.” And He has certainly done that. But in verse 15 we have the flip side.
“But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house (the house of David. That royal family that would begin with David to the Messiah, the Christ Himself)and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.”
That is why more and more I feel the whole millennium economy will go right on into the eternal state. Come back to Revelation Chapter 22. We’re going to have the nations as we saw in verse 2:
“And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it (as we saw in the previous Chapter. God is going to be in the very center of this whole operation); and his servants (the believers from the ages)shall serve him:”
“And they shall see his face;…”
I know it’s hard for us to put a face on God, and I don’t think we should even try. God is eternal, He’s Spirit. Christ The God-Man is in Heaven at the Father’s right hand, but even so, I do not believe that we should try to picture Him in the flesh. God is so beyond anything that we can put together. But here when we finally get into His presence we will truly see Him face to face, and He will know us personally and we will have quality time with Him.
“And there shall be no night there (evidently, we won’t need to sleep); 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. 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.’”
Remember we are much closer to it now than John was about 1900 years ago. Now in verse 7, the Lord Jesus speaks to John and says:
“Behold, I come quickly (I know the first human impression is “But it’s already been a long time.” But to God it’s only been a snap of the finger): blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book,” And to think that multitudes shun it!
I think it is so sad when people say,“Well, I never read the Book of Revelation.” I had a person tell me the other day that his pastor had said, “I wouldn’t touch that Book with a ten foot pole.” Well, why not? It is part and parcel of the Word of God. Granted it takes a lot of study, but it’s so thrilling that all of the prophetic things we can see are coming just as sure as day follows night.
“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 brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.’ And he saith unto me, `Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book (don’t shut it up): 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 (those who are doomed are not going to be changed): 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.” This reverts back to the earthly experience of every believer. Activities of our daily life as believers will go with us into the eternal state. God won’t forget. In verse 13, Jesus says:
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”
I know that for most of you here there is no problem with this. You know that Christ was in eternity past to eternity future. But many people don’t understand this. I’ve even had some in my class with the idea that Christ somehow came on the scene at Bethlehem. Nothing could be further from the truth. He is eternal! He never stopped being God! I’ve had questions like this; “How and when did Christ come on the scene?” He’s always been and will be forever. We see Him coming on the scene in Genesis Chapter 1 in creation. The New Testament makes it plain that the Son called everything into being. He is manifested all the way through the Old Testament. Then in the New Testament we have the invisible Person of the Godhead become flesh. He became visible. When did Christ show His Deity? When He was born? After He was 12 years old? After He was thirty? When? My own idea is that He never stopped being God. He was just as much God in the womb as He was all the way to His ascension. He never stopped being God. It was under control of course. I’m sure when the baby Jesus was playing with the kids on the block, He didn’t exert His Deity. He didn’t lord it over other kids. Even as a child he was still able to be completely in control of the whole situation. He acted like an ordinary child, except He did not sin, because He had no sin nature. Even in His earthly ministry that carried on. I’ve always emphasized He never let His Deity over-take His humanity under circumstances that would have benefited Him. He always kept them separate. When He was Deity, He was Deity. When He was man, He was man.
“Blessed are they that do his commandments (this doesn’t necessarily mean the ten. Although they are valid as far as they go. Once we are out from under the Law and come under Grace, every instruction of God becomes a commandment. So, when the Apostle Paul writes, “Pray without ceasing. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you,” these things that God has put into words have become commandments), that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Those pearly gates. Verse 15 has thrown a curve at a lot of people. They say, “Why is this verse in here?”
“For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” This statement is in the previous Chapter. I think what is implied here is that none of these are going be in this eternal state.
“I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches (do you realize that word has been absent in Revelation since Chapter 3. Why? The Church hasn’t been around while the Tribulation was going on. The Church had no part in it. But here in eternity, the Church again becomes prominent, and is part of the overall eternal economy). I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” There are seven distinct “I Am’s” in the Old Testament, with regard to God and the Nation of Israel.
When Abraham was about to offer Isaac on the altar, what was caught in the thicket? A ram. So Abraham took the ram and used it as the sacrifice and he named the place Jehovah-jireh, “The LORD will provide.” Another one is Jehovah-tsidkenu, “The LORD our Righteousness.” The very first verse of Psalms 23 is what? Jehovah-roi, “I Am your Shepherd.” Another one is Jehovah-shalom, “the LORD our Peace.” Then we have Jehovah-ropheka, “The LORD healeth.” Then we find, Jehovah-Nissi, “The LORD my Banner.” And the last one is Jehovah-shammah, “The LORD is present.”
In the Gospel of John, there are again seven I AM’s. “I AM the good shepherd…” “I AM the resurrection and the life…” “I Am the bread of life…” “I Am the light of this world…” I Am the true vine…” I Am the the way, the truth, and the life…” I Am the door of the sheep…”
Here in Revelation we come up with what I like to call the eighth “I AM.” You remember as we came up through Scripture that God’s number seven is that which completes. So number eight follows that which is completed. In other words, “New Beginning.” Now isn’t it interesting that this eighth “I AM” of the New Testament is,“I am the bright and morning star.”When do you see the morning star? Just at the end of darkness and the beginning of a new day. And that is exactly what you have here. At the close of human history, and at the beginning of the eternal day we have the “I Am” as the bright and morning Star. You see how everything fits so beautifully all through Scripture. Now verse 17 and following:
“And the Spirit and the bride say, `Come, And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will (salvation is not limited to a few), let him take the water of life freely. 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. 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.”