Living Water Flowing Out unto Eternity!

John 7:38 records the Lord Jesus telling us, “He who believes into Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.” John explains in verse 39a, “But this He said concerning the Spirit, whom those who believed into Him were about to receive.” This promise is fulfilled now in our Christian life; since the resurrection of Jesus Christ, everyone who believes receives the Spirit who flows as living water.

In Revelation 22:1 the apostle John tells us “he [an angel] showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its [New Jerusalem’s] street.” This is the eternal fulfillment of John 7:38-39.

This post is the overflow of a recent morning’s singing of praise to the Triune God as the flowing eternal life. Verses 1 and 6 (below) speak of this flow unto and thru all eternity. This immediately reminded me of New Jerusalem and Revelation 22:1. Verse 7 (also below) speaks of our singing and ever praising the Triune God. This praising, like the flowing, is characteristic of New Jerusalem.

Hymn information: author Witness Lee, composer C. Hutcheson, words and music

New Jerusalem__O God, Thou art the source of life,
____Divine, and rich and free!
__As living water flowing out
____Unto eternity!

__The love of God, the grace of Christ,
____The Spirit’s flowing free,
__Enable us God’s wealth to share
____Thru all eternity.

__The Father, Son, and Spirit-one,
____So richly care for us;
__Thy love with one accord we sing
____And e’er would praise Thee thus.

The love of God, the grace of Christ, and the Spirit’s flowing free are with us to be appreciated by us both today (2 Cor. 13:14) and in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

God’s Flow Brings Us to New Jerusalem

New JerusalemRecent posts were about our Christian journey to be in spirit on a mountain to see New Jerusalem. One post mentioned John 19:34: when Jesus died on the cross, “one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.”

God’s flowing is unto eternity, unto New Jerusalem. This flowing, including John 19:34, is the subject of a song, which begins,
___A mighty flowing-out is God,
_____He flows throughout the ages.

This flow is to impart God into man so that man may have God’s life and become God’s expression which ultimately is New Jerusalem. We first see this flow in the garden of Eden. The song says,
___In the beginning we can see, God as a flowing river,
___The river to convey the tree, Himself as life deliver.

Although man sinned and was separated from God’s life, God came in Jesus to redeem and to impart His life.
___God flowed Himself into a man, The man we call Christ Jesus.
___He gave up His own life for man And God’s own life releases.
In John 10:10-11 He told us that in death He laid down His soul life for us that we may have eternal life abundantly.

Satan’s opposition backfired; Satan’s scheme failed:
___He [Satan] had Him crucified And cruelly pierced His side—
___But out came blood and water!
___The blood and water flowed from Him, In streams of pure salvation.
___The blood brings cleansing from all sin; Water, regeneration.

In resurrection the Spirit flowed, as promised in John 7:37-39.
___And now the Spirit flows, Brings God where’er He goes.
This flow enlivens all who receive and builds us together in the Body of Christ.

Ultimately, in New Jerusalem is the river of water of life and the tree of life (Rev. 22:1-2).
___And at the end the same, The river doth remain,
___God in the Lamb doth flow, The tree prevails to grow,
___And God flows on forever.

Photo courtesy of pdphoto.org.

We Are Receiving the Promise of the Spirit

New JerusalemThe prior post paralleled Galatians 3:13-14, “Christ redeemed us…that we might receive the promise of the Spirit” with the view of New Jerusalem in Revelation 22:1, “He showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.”

In Galatians 3:2, 14 we receive the Spirit and in 3:5 God is bountifully supplying the Spirit. We receive because He supplies. And His supplying is continuous (clearly indicated by the Greek verb). Therefore our receiving should be continuous, not once-for-all. This parallels New Jerusalem: a river of water of life is proceeding out of the throne. This river is flowing continually for our continual refreshment and supply eternally.

Our receiving is by faith (3:14), specifically the hearing of faith (3:2, 5). Whether we understand or not, we exercise our spirit of faith (2 Corinthians 4:13) to say amen to God’s word. Here is an invigorating song about saying Amen to God’s Word.

Our spirit of faith matches, in essence, the Spirit whom we are receiving. Three verses closely couple our human spirit with the divine Spirit:
• “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6b)
• “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit” (John 4:24)
• “The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16)
We need to exercise our human spirit to contact and receive the divine Spirit.

This Spirit is flowing, and being received by us, as pictured by the river of water of life in New Jerusalem. Lord, keep me receiving the Spirit by the hearing of faith every day as a foretaste of the river New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Government.

 

We Receive the Promise of the Spirit

New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the consummation of every positive person, action, symbol, and thing in the Bible. Galatians 3:13-14 says,

Christ has redeemed us out of the curse of the law, having become a curse on our behalf; because it is written, “Cursed is every one hanging on a tree;” in order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

I came to these verses in my daily Bible reading two days ago. As I mused on them, my attention went to “Christ redeemed us…that we might receive the promise of the Spirit.” This reminded me of what the angel showed John in Revelation 22:1:

He showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.

The Christ who redeemed us by dying on the cross, the Christ spoken of in Galatians 3:13, is the Lamb on the throne in New Jerusalem. The water which flowed from His pierced side on the cross (John 19:34) portrays the Spirit we receive (Galatians 3:14) and this Spirit is also portrayed by the river of water of life flowing through New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1).

God purposed, man fell, Christ redeemed, the Spirit comes; this is our foretaste of New Jerusalem. Praise our wonderful Triune God.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Forest Service.

Come, Drink a River Pure and Clear

New Jerusalem

Here is the first verse of a song that I appreciate (all the words, music, testimonies). The writer and many I know who sing this song heartily experience some spiritual reality of New Jerusalem.

Drink! A river pure and clear that’s flowing from the throne;
Eat! The tree of life with fruits abundant, richly grown;
Look! No need of lamp nor sun nor moon to keep it bright, for
__Here there is no night!

The four lines above reflect four phrases in Revelation 21–22 about New Jerusalem.

And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street. (22:1)
And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month. (22:2)
The city has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it, for the glory of God illumined it. (21:23)
There will be no night there. (21:25)

The chorus of the song is Revelation 22:17:

Do come, oh, do come,
Says Spirit and the Bride:
Do come, oh, do come,
Let him that heareth, cry.
Do come, oh, do come,
Let him who thirsts and will
__Take freely the water of life!

The key to entering experiences portrayed in this song is “come.” In John 7:37-39 Jesus says, “Come to Me and drink.” In John 4:10 Jesus tells us to ask Him and He will give us a drink. Come to Jesus and simply tell Him, Lord, I am one who thirsts and I want to take the water. I open to You. Please give me living water to drink. Every day we can come and ask Jesus for living water.

A related post by Tom at Holding to Truth in Love:
Speak to Christ the Rock to Drink the Spirit as the Water of Life!

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

What is the First Commandment?

eat the tree of lifeFrom the garden of Eden to New Jerusalem, eating the tree of life is significant. Genesis 2:9 tells us, “out of the ground Jehovah God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, as well as the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Many people are familiar with the ten commandments in Exodus 20. However, the first command that God gave to man was about man’s eating. Genesis 2:16-17 says,

“And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may eat freely, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, of it you shall not eat; for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

God’s desire is that we of the tree of life and His command is that we not eat of the alternative. As seen in the prior post, Jesus is the reality of the tree of life. He is the real life and life supply in the universe. God’s desire is that we take Jesus as our daily food.

What keeps us from the tree of life might be our idea that the Christian life is a life of doing good. According to this idea, I obey the teachings of Jesus and follow His example to be kind and to help people. However, this is not the central revelation of the Bible. Jesus Himself said “He who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me” (John 6:57). His desire is that we eat Him to live Him. “Christ lives in me”—to live out through me all the good He wants to accomplish, and “to me to live is Christ”—my life is Him, not my doing good in my self and by my own effort (Galatians 2:20 and Philippians 1:21).

We are not against good, but we are against good that originates in our human self. “No one is good except One—God” (Mark 10:18). Our aspiration is the good that is Christ living in us and through us. For this we need to eat Him every day. This eating is portrayed by the tree of life in the garden of Eden and in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Eating the Tree of Life Eternally

tree of lifeRevelation 22:2 declares, “And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month…” The tree of life with fruit every month indicates that eating will be important in New Jerusalem.

We eat in order to be supplied for living. In John 6:57 our Lord Jesus told us, “He who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me.” He is “the life” (John 14:6) and He is “the true vine” (John 15:1), so He is the reality of the tree of life. He is not a tall tree, but He is like a vine, so accessible to us.

In the Bible, the reality of eating is eating Jesus. In John 6 there are many plain words about this, especially verses 51 to 58. Besides these words, in the Bible there are many types of, and indirect references to, eating Jesus. With this post we begin looking at eating through the Bible since all this eating points to our eternal eating of the tree of life in New Jerusalem.

Genesis 2:9 tells us, “out of the ground Jehovah God caused to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, as well as the tree of life in the middle of the garden…” The tree of life was in the middle because that is God’s focal point.

Remember that in Genesis 1–2 there was no sin. Mankind now has the problem of sin but we also have the redemption accomplished by Jesus. This redemption opens the door for us to be brought back to God’s purpose. God’s purpose then (and now) is expressed in Genesis 1:26, “God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them have dominion…” God desires that men eat the tree of life in order to live Christ and thereby express God and represent God. Eventually New Jerusalem will be the fullest expression and representation of God.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Take Freely the Water of Life

New JerusalemRecent posts have looked at the river of life through the Old Testament, with support from a few New Testament verses. This series included more than I expected when it began. Thank the Lord for the riches in His Word.

Here are the posts in order, each with one Bible phrase that was a highlight to me. The first word of each line has a link to that post.

❉  Genesis 2:10 “a river went forth from Eden to water the garden.”
  Exodus 17:6 “strike the rock, and water will come out of it so that the people may drink.”
  Numbers 20:8 “speak to the rock before their eyes, so that it yields its water.”
  Psalm 78:15-16 God “split rocks in the wilderness and gave them abundant drink, as from the depths.”
  Psalm 36:8-9 “You [God] cause them [sons of men] to drink of the river of Your pleasures.”
  Psalm 46:4 “There is a river whose streams gladden the city of God.”
❉  One drink, many streams
  Isaiah 12:2-4 “draw water with rejoicing from the springs of salvation.”
  Isaiah 55:1 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters.”
  Jeremiah 2:13 Our God “is the fountain of living waters.”
  Avoid broken cisterns
  Ezekiel 47:1 “water flowed down below the south side of the house, on the south of the altar.”
  Ezekiel 47:3-5 “the water had risen, enough water to swim in, a river that could not be crossed.”
❉  Ezekiel 47:9 “everything shall live wherever the river comes.”
  Zechariah 14:8 “in that day living waters will go forth from Jerusalem.”

The reality of all these verses today is the Spirit (John 7:37-39; 1 Cor. 12:13). Heed the invitation in Revelation 22:17, “let him who wills take the water of life freely.” There will be more flowing in the coming age and the most abundant flow from the throne in New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1-2), but come to Jesus and drink now. Here is a song in which Revelation 22:17 is the chorus; sing and draw water with rejoicing (Isaiah 12).

Related posts by Tom at Holding To Truth:
Come and Drink the Living Waters
Speak to Christ the Rock to Drink the Spirit as the Water of Life
Have You Applied the Blood, Are You Drinking the Water of Life
Plus a related post by Stefan at A God-Man in Christ:
The River of Water of Life: God Reaching Man

Photo by Dr. James P. McVey, courtesy of U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA Sea Grant Program.

Living Waters Go Forth

New JerusalemThis post concludes our Old Testament journey along the river of life. In the New Testament this life is the Spirit for us to drink (John 7:37-39). Eventually we arrive at the river of water of life in New Jerusalem.

When the Lord Jesus ascended, “while they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him away from their sight” (Acts 1:9). In Acts 1:12 we learn that His ascension was from the Mount of Olives.

When the Lord Jesus returns to stand on earth, His return will be to the place from which He ascended. Zechariah 14:4 says, “His feet will stand in that day on the Mount of Olives.” Zechariah 14:8 declares, “in that day living waters will go forth from Jerusalem.” This promise is like the blessing in Ezekiel 47, “everything shall live wherever the river comes.”

We look forward to that day with eagerness but let’s not wait passively. Remember the invitation in Revelation 22:17, “let him who wills take the water of life freely.” And remember Jesus’ cry in John 7:37-38, “If anyone thirsts, come to Me and drink….out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.”

We drink not only for our satisfaction but also for the flow of living waters to other people. This flow from our innermost being now will expand to a much greater distribution of living waters from Jerusalem when the Lord returns and to the ultimate flowing from the throne in New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Have Life Abundantly

New JerusalemVerses from the beginning to the end of the Bible present the flow of living water. In this post we continue looking at the river in Ezekiel 47 (prior posts + +). Verse 47:5 tells us “the water had risen, enough water to swim in, a river that could not be crossed.”

This river portrays God’s desire to be life to man abundantly. In John 10:10 the Lord Jesus told us, “I have come that they may have life and may have it abundantly.” Eventually, through God being life to His children, all of creation will be blessed.

Ezekiel 47 presents some of this blessing to the creation.
• “there were very many trees on the bank of the river” (v. 7)
• “this water flows out…when it flows into the sea, the water of the sea is healed (v. 8, 9)
• “every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes shall live” (v. 9)
• “there will be very many fish, when this water comes there” (v. 9)
• “everything shall live wherever the river comes” (v. 9)
• “on the banks on both sides of the river will grow all kinds of trees for food” (v. 12)
• the trees “will bring forth new fruit every month, because the water for them flows out of the sanctuary. And their fruit shall be for food, and their leaves for healing.” (v. 12)

Like Ezekiel 47, Romans 8:18-21 speaks of the creation being blessed through the children of God; verse 21 says, “the creation itself will also be freed from the slavery of corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” As children of God, let us drink from this river and pray for its increasing flow to all the earth. This flow will eventually bring us to the river in New Jerusalem at the center of the new creation.

A song based on Ezekiel 47:1-2 is here.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Living Water Rises by “Measuring”

In our journey along the river of life from Eden (Genesis 2:10) to New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1-2), we are now in Ezekiel 47. Verses 3 to 5 present four measurings—”He measured a thousand cubits.” After each the water rose—“water that was to the ankles….water that was to the knees…. water that was to the loins….the water had risen, enough water to swim in, a river that could not be crossed.”

New JerusalemIf we want to enjoy a flow that is deeper, we need to be measured, that is, tested, examined, judged, and taken over by the Lord. Our motives, our intentions, our aims, our goals, our desires—all must be judged. Everything we possess and everything we are involved in must be judged. This will deepen the flow within us.

As we are judged by the Lord, we need to make a thorough confession. We need to allow the Lord to be our Judge and let Him bring us into His light and expose us. Then we should say to Him, “Lord, all that You have judged is now Yours. I ask You, Lord, to take me over, to take full possession of me.”

We may think that we have been fully taken over by the Lord, but after a period of time we will realize that we still have some reservation. Then we will be tested and judged again, and after this we will have a further consecration to the Lord, saying, “Lord, take this and possess it.”…Even after a number of years, we still may have not been fully possessed by the Lord, and thus we will again need to be measured, tested, judged, and possessed by Him.*

The deepening of the water went through four stages, showing us that one time of being judged and possessed by the Lord is sufficient. Rather, it is better that we often open to the Lord in prayer, asking Him to measure, test, judge, and possess anything in us that hinders His flowing.

The deepening of the water is not only for our enjoyment. It also satisfies God’s desire to spread life everywhere. Lord, measure me so that living water can flow more freely to everyone around me.

* These paragraphs are from Life-Study of Ezekiel, chapter 26, section 3. The Life-Study volumes are published and © by LSM; they may be read by selecting in this list.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Everything Shall Live

New JerusalemAs we continue our journey along the river of life from Eden (Genesis 2:10) to New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1-2), we come to Ezekiel 47. Verse 9 includes a wonderful promise—“everything shall live wherever the river comes.”

Ezekiel 47:1 says “Then He [the Lord] brought me [Ezekiel] back to the entrance of the house, and there was water flowing out from under the threshold of the house to the east (for the house faced east); and the water flowed down below the south side of the house, on the south of the altar.”

Let’s look at the house, the east, and the altar.

The water flows from the house. Today we are “the house of God, which is the church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:15). If we live an isolated, individual Christian life, little water will flow. But if we are gathering, praying, rejoicing, singing, and growing with one another the water will flow more.

In Ezekiel 43:2 the glory comes from the east. The house faces east and the flow goes east. This indicates that both the house and the flow are related to God’s glory. If we care for God’s glory and forsake self glory, the flow will increase.

The altar is for offerings. In the New Testament Christ is the reality of all the Old Testament offerings (e.g., Ephesians 5:2). As we appreciate His offering, we are drawn to consecrate ourselves (e.g. Romans 12:1), and thus we experience being one with Him on the altar. As a result, the living water flows a little more.

New Jerusalem is the consummation of the house, the east, and the altar. It is the enlargement of God’s house, full of God’s glory, and based on Christ’s offering of Himself to God. Hence New Jerusalem has the eternal flow of living water.

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