New Jerusalem in Revelation 22:1-5

“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. And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month.” (22:1-2)

Revelation 22:1-5 presents much about New Jerusalem—the throne, the river of water of life, the tree of life, and many blessings for all who are part of New Jerusalem. All the characteristics of New Jerusalem can be experienced today (to a lesser degree) in our Christian life. May we be those who seek the Lord Himself (not merely His doing good for us) and pursue with others to know Him in a deeper way.

New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:1-8
New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:9-20
New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:21-27

Here are the titles of recent posts and their links for 22:1-5.

New Jerusalem22:1, A River of Water of Life
22:1, New Jerusalem’s River from the Throne
22:1, New Jerusalem’s River Flows in its Street
22:1, The River is from the Throne
both Today and in New Jerusalem

22:2, The Tree of Life in New Jerusalem
22:2, Jesus is the Tree of Life in New Jerusalem
22:2, The Tree of Life is Here Today
and in New Jerusalem

22:2, The Tree for the Healing of the Nations

22:3, Christ Redeemed Us for New Jerusalem
22:3, New Jerusalem, the City of the Great King
22:3, We Serve God as Priests in New Jerusalem
22:3, We Serve as Priests in New Jerusalem

22:4, See His Face Now and in New Jerusalem
22:4, Follow the Lamb and Live to Him

22:5, New Jerusalem is Full of Light, No Night
22:5, The Lord God Shines in New Jerusalem
22:5, We Reign in Life Now and New Jerusalem

Many older posts about Revelation 22:1-2
Many older posts about Revelation 22:3-5

 

The Leaves for the Healing of the Nations

The river of water of life flows from the throne in New Jerusalem. “And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” (Rev. 22:2).

New JerusalemThe fruit of the tree of life is the life supply for God’s people who are constituted into New Jerusalem. The leaves of the tree are for the nations living around and outside New Jerusalem, who are not part of the city. There is a difference: Built Into or Living Around New Jerusalem.

The peoples of the nations around the city will have human life restored to the condition of Genesis 1–2, before sin entered. They will not have the divine, eternal life that the people constituted into the city possess, and they will not eat the fruit of the tree of life.

The leaves of the tree are for their healing. The fact that they need healing indicates some imperfection. In contrast, the people who are part of New Jerusalem have the perfect eternal life.

The nations around New Jerusalem are mentioned in Revelation 21:3, 24, 26, and 22:2. But God’s goal is New Jerusalem as His dwelling place, the place of His glory, and the bride, the wife of Jesus Christ. Let us align ourselves with this. Our first step is to repent of our past living and believe into Jesus Christ. Then we exercise to take Him as our life supply that we may live Him daily. This brings us to the goal, New Jerusalem.

The Tree of Life is Here Today and in New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem has “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. And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month (Rev. 22:1-2).

New JerusalemThe words tree of life appear only in Revelation. This tree with its fruits portrays Christ as our life supply for us to live a proper Christian life now, in the coming age, and in New Jerusalem. Jesus Christ is the reality of the tree of life.

In John 6 Jesus told everyone, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall by no means hunger.” We eat Him today as our bread of life, the fruit of the tree of life. This bread gives us eternal life and the supply to live this life daily. Jesus said, “he who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me.”

This eating is spiritual. Further speaking by Jesus in John 6: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” With an open heart and exercised spirit we touch the Spirit through the words of the Bible.

Revelation 22:14, speaking to us today, says “Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city.” We confess our sins that we may eat the bread of life, the tree of life, and enter into the present reality of New Jerusalem.

Jesus is the Tree of Life in New Jerusalem

In Revelation 22:1 New Jerusalem has the river of water of life coming from the throne of God and the Lamb. In 22:2 “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 on both sides of the river indicates that it is easily accessible. Jesus invites us to come: “Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall by no means hunger, and he who believes into Me shall by no means ever thirst” (John 6:35).

New JerusalemThe tree of life on both sides of the river is one unique tree. Its spreading indicates that it is a vine tree, portraying the Lord Jesus, who told us in John 15 that He is the true vine.

The tree of life produces twelve fruits. The number twelve speaks of eternal perfection. What the fruits are and the life they maintain in us is eternal and perfect.

The tree of life also produces fruit every month. The twelve months again speak of eternal perfection. The fruit every month shows the unlimited capacity and freshness of this tree; its fruit is not limited to a single season during the year.

We come to the Lord Jesus today to partake of Him as our daily bread, which has all the characteristics of the tree of life in New Jerusalem.

Graphic courtesy of pixabay.com.

The Tree of Life in New Jerusalem

New JerusalemDescribing New Jerusalem, Revelation 22:1 presents the river of life. Then verse 2 says, “And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life.” The river brings the tree to us. We drink the water of life and eat the fruit of life.

The word of God is our spiritual food. Jeremiah said to the Lord, “Your words were found and I ate them, and Your word became to me the gladness and joy of my heart” (15:16). And in Matthew 4:4 the Lord Jesus likened the words of God to bread. We will be eating this spiritual food for eternity in New Jerusalem.

The flow of the Spirit, the river of life, brings this food, the tree of life, to us. A good way to receive the food brought by the river is to pray with the words of the Bible. Ephesians 6:17-18 exhorts us to receive “the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God, by means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit.”

We have the Bible, the printed word of God. We also have the Spirit, the living word of God. Jesus said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” (John 6:63). To receive the word of the Bible by the Spirit is the present experience of Revelation 22:1-2’s description of New Jerusalem.

More: Pray-Reading the Word

Photo courtesy of pexels.com.

A City of Life, without Miracles

New JerusalemNew Jerusalem is a city of life, a city in resurrection. From the throne at its center flows a river of water of life and beside the river grows the tree of life yielding its fruit every month. This life is the supply for every member of this city.

Miracles are of power, not of life. They are sometimes called works of power in the New Testament. These works might be done by a believer mature in the divine life, or by an immature believer. An example: the Corinthians did not lack in any gift (1 Cor. 1:7) but were babes in Christ (3:1), very immature in divine the life. Also love, which is of life, is contrasted with gifts and power in 1 Corinthians 13.

There are many miracles in the Gospels and Acts, but the Epistles which follow them turn the emphasis to growth in life for the manifestation of virtues of the Christian life. Paul speaks of growth in 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, Ephesians 4:13-16, Colossians 1:6, 10 and 2:19, 2 Thessalonians 1:3, and other verses, some of which include full grown. Peter speaks of growth in 1 Peter 2:2 and 2 Peter 3:18. John, in his epistles, speaks much about a life lived in righteousness, truth, and love.

The emphasis on Christ as our life, our growth in this life, and our living out its virtues prepares us for New Jerusalem. The city is full of life and manifests the life that Jesus manifested to us through His incarnation.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

No Miracles in the New Creation

New JerusalemThe sources of all the problems in the old creation are eliminated by the time of Revelation 20. The new heaven and new earth, which appear in verse 21:1, will be without sin and death, without sicknesses, and without demons. There will be no need of miracles to remove problems of any kind in New Jerusalem.

Within New Jerusalem there is “the tree of life…yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” (Rev. 22:2).

These nations are not New Jerusalem but are peoples living around the city for eternity. These peoples are not regenerated; they have a human life restored to the condition of the garden of Eden in Genesis 1–2. Here is a word about their healing:

Because in eternity there will be both the believers and the nations, the tree of life has two functions….The fruit of the tree of life will be a supply to the sons of God, to those born of God. But “the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” (Rev. 22:2b). Hence, the leaves of the tree of life will not supply the nations but will heal them, keeping them alive for eternity.*

Neither New Jerusalem nor the new creation will have any need of casting out demons, cleaning leprosy, or raising the dead. The nations will receive healing from the tree of life, a matter of life, not of miraculous power.

* An excerpt from The Conclusion of the New Testament by Witness Lee, message 188, online section 4

No Sweat, No Thorns, in New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is the lovely center of the new creation, blessed with the presence of God and the Lamb, full of God’s glory, and supplied by the river of life and tree of life.

Due to the rebellion of Satan and the fall of man, the old creation was corrupted. and man was separated from God. To us, this would be very discouraging. However, to God, this is a big opportunity to display His unlimited wisdom. Out of all the corruption God will bring forth a new, perfect creation with New Jerusalem as His eternal dwelling.

One characteristic of the old creation that will not be in the new creation nor in New Jerusalem is sweat. The origin of sweat is 1) Satan’s deceiving man, 2) man’s taking of the tree of knowledge, and 3) God’s curse on fallen man, all recorded in Genesis 3. Verses 17-19 say, “Because you [Adam]…have eaten of the tree concerning which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it; cursed is the ground because of you….And thorns and thistles it will bring forth for you,…by the sweat of your face you will eat bread…”

New JerusalemThe sweat here indicates the need of human effort, separated from God’s blessing, to supply the essentials for human living. Man was shut out from the garden of Eden, which contained “every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food” and had to expend his own sweat-producing energy.

The curse of Genesis 3 also includes thorns. But, Revelation 22:3, describing New Jerusalem, says, “there will no longer be a curse.”

Because New Jerusalem will be filled with God and His blessings and no curse, there will be no need for man’s effort and no sweat. Also, without the curse, there will be no thorns in New Jerusalem.

 

“And…And” Points to New Jerusalem

Many verses in Revelation 19—20 begin “And” linking praises, judgments, the marriage of the Lamb, His victories, and the kingdom with “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth….And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem” at the start of chapter 21.

New JerusalemThe way to see New Jerusalem is in 21:10: “And he [an angel] carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem.” And couples this with the angels having the last plagues (v. 9), indicating that the plagues are a base for brining in New Jerusalem.

The description of the city in 21:11-23 has multiple ands because the city is one whole entity. Verses 21:24-26 each begin And, showing that the nations around New Jerusalem are coupled to it although not integral parts of it.

But Revelation 21 is not complete; 22 begins ” And he showed me a river of water of life…” Then 22:2: “And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life…” The description of the city in 21:11-23 is not complete without the life supply flowing from the throne brining us the tree of life with its fruits. The outcome of this life supply is described in 22:3-5, each of which begins “And.”

After the description of life in New Jerusalem we read, “And he [the angel] said to me, These words are faithful and true…” (v. 6). Then the Lord speaks “And behold, I come quickly.” (v. 7). The Lord’s second coming is not separate from New Jerusalem but rather is tied to it.

A few more verses begin with And, then Revelation concludes, ” The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.”

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Created for the Glory of New Jerusalem

In Isaiah 43 God speaks of gathering His scattered people, “Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created, formed, and even made for My glory” (v. 7).

The words create, form, and make all appear in Genesis 1–2 (e.g. 1:1, 26; 2:4, 7-8). The declaration in Isaiah 43:7 shows us that all God’s work from the beginning of creation has a goal—His glory. God created us not merely to live a good human life. God put man in the garden of Eden with the tree of life. This is a picture of God wanting to be life to us.

New JerusalemThis picture in Genesis 2 is before sin, before death, before the curse, before rebellion against God. God being life to us is not a reaction to these negatives. God wants His life to be received by us, to be in us for His glory.

The tree of life is also in New Jerusalem. Christ has become life to all His believers and is our life eternally. This life operates in us to transform us and build us together to be His corporate Body in this age and to be the city of New Jerusalem in eternity.

This is “for God’s glory.” New Jerusalem “has the glory of God” (Rev. 21:11). The glory of God illuminates New Jerusalem (21:23). And, because the city is like clear, transparent glass (21:11, 18, 21), God’s illuminating glory will shine out through the city.

In these verses we see three steps. First, God created, formed, and made us. Second, God in Christ became life to us. Third, the result is God’s glory. These three steps cover the entire Bible, from creation to New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem: Eternal Holy of Holies (6)

The Old Testament temple is a picture of the New Testament reality. The picture is composed of three sections—the outer court, the holy place, and the holy of holies. in contrast, New Jerusalem is solely the holy of holies without an outer court or holy place. What changed?

The outer court is the location of the bronze altar and the laver. The bronze altar is for sacrifices. In New Jerusalem there will be neither sin nor sins, so we will have no need of those sacrifices. We will be absolute with God, fully at peace with Him, and nourished by Him in the holy of holies, so no need of the other offerings.

New JerusalemThe laver is for the priests to wash away worldly and earthly defilement. Before New Jerusalem appears the world will have been judged and the old earth will be replaced by the new earth. Hence, the sources of defilement are gone and there will be no defilements for the laver to wash away.

The holy place contains the bread table, the lampstand, and the golden altar. In New Jerusalem we have the tree of life for nourishment. In New Jerusalem the Lord God as the light in the Lamb as the lamp will shine upon us (Rev. 22:5, 21:23). Therefore, there is no need of any other lamp.

In the holy of holies the budding rod shows our acceptance by God, which is more profound and inward than the satisfying fragrance from the bronze and golden altars. Again, this shows New Jerusalem has no need for what is outside the holy of holies.

In New Jerusalem we will be fully one with the Triune God in life and reality so we will have no need for anything outside this eternal holy of holies.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

New Jerusalem: Eternal Holy of Holies

The Old Testament shadows were necessary until the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Reality came in His incarnation and reality was made available to us in His resurrection. In this reality we have no need of a physical temple but He and we together are the living temple. And New Jerusalem is the ultimate temple in the Bible.

We have no need for a physical temple, but that temple, the shadow, shows us much about the present living temple. In addition to the materials and shape, the contents of the physical temple are important. Since the entire New Jerusalem is the holy of holies, we will look only at the physical holy of holies to get a picture of New Jerusalem.

New JerusalemHebrews 9:4 says the Holy of Holies contains “the ark of the covenant covered about everywhere with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna and Aaron’s rod that budded and the tablets of the covenant.”

The ark was made of wood, overlayed inside and outside with gold. This portrays Jesus Christ as the man (wood) mingled with God (gold). Everything is in Him.

This ark is “of the covenant.” This covenant is a definite promise, a commitment by God. Everything portrayed by the ark is guaranteed by God. Thank Him!

The golden pot with manna is the eternal life supply in New Jerusalem. This is the same manna that fell around Israel’s camp, but its location indicates a much deeper, inner experience* of this life supply.This corresponds to eating the fruit of the tree of life in New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:2).

*This footnote, from the ministry of Witness Lee, presents the experiences of Christ as seen in all three parts of the tabernacle.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

%d bloggers like this: