LINK: Revelation 22
The New Jerusalem
This chapter continues with a description of the New Jerusalem. In this city, there will be a river of the water of life that flows from the throne of God and the Lamb down the middle of the street in the city. The river of life flows and nourishes the tree of life. Remember that the tree of life is referred to in Genesis 3:22, 24, and it is promised, in Revelation 2:7, that the overcomers would "eat from the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God." The tree will bear leaves for the "healing of the nations." The Greek word for "healing," therapeian, can also mean "health-giving." So wonderful that the Bible begins and ends with the tree of life.
In this new place, there is no longer a curse (Zechariah 14:11). The saints will serve God and see His face (1 John 3:2), and His name will be on their foreheads (contrast this with the mark of the beast on the forehead). God's presence will also be their light.
Revelation 22:7 contains the theme of Revelation: "Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book" (1:7; 22:12, 20). We are not to add to it or take away from it, just keep it (22:18-19). This is the sixth of seven blessings in the book of Revelation:
1:3 - Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.
14:13 - And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’ ” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.”
16:15 - (“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.”)
19:9 - Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ ” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.”
20:6 - Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.
22:14 - Blessed are those who wash their robes (do His commandments), so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.
We are blessed and rewarded if we continue to walk in the ways of God (2 Corinthians 5:10-11) and judgment will come for those who practice sin.
The book of Revelation ends with a beautiful description of Jesus. He describes Himself as the Alpha and the Omega (the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet), the First and the Last, and the Beginning and the End because He is eternal (22:13. See also 1:4, 8, 17; 2:8; 21:6). He also describes Himself as the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star. Christ comes from David (Isaiah 11:1-5; Matthew 1:1-17), and He is coming again to bring a new day to the earth! He is the light of salvation to the entire world (Matthew 4:16; Isaiah 9:2).
All are invited by the Holy Spirit and the Bride (the church) to "Come! Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life." Jesus supplies that living water (John 4:10-15). He invites you to come.
Amen. Come Lord, Jesus.
It is hard to believe as I type this that we have finished this crazy journey that God first put on my heart in August 2004 and told me to start on Christmas Day of 2007. I had just lost my mother 18 days before, and, little did I know, I would also lose my brother, father-in-law, cousin, and a few friends between then and now. In addition, I severed my tendon, blew out my back so badly I had to type my posts from a horizontal position, and transitioned both my kids from full-time homeschool to full-time college. On top of all that, my husband has been through four job changes!
It has been a wild time, but reading, studying, meditating, and reflecting on God's Word day in and day out in the midst of the craziness of life has been what has grounded me. God has been the sane voice in an insane world. I can do nothing but say: HALLELUJAH!
I have never once regretted the decision to, basically, blog my Bible reading times rather than writing in a private journal. It has sharpened me. Even though it has been time consuming, I have never wanted to quit, and God always gave me the time to do it. We make time for what we are passionate about, and I am passionate about others reading and studying God's Word so that they might have an intimate knowledge of God through Jesus! I pray you have grown and taken steps toward deeper intimacy with Him through this journey. I sure have!
I thank all of you who have taken this commitment on, even if it is has not been for the whole journey. Baby steps are still steps! Thank you for your encouraging notes, emails, and face-to-face boosts too! Since this blog started on Christmas Day 2007 and as of May 27, 2015, it has had over 230,000 views (and counting) from people all over the world. This does not count the visits from friends on Facebook or the posts that are cut and pasted and sent to people in countries who block Blogger and Facebook. I pray you have all been blessed as you have read and studied God's Word, and it will bear fruit in your lives into eternity!
I also want to give a special thanks to Katrina and Becky who wrote many posts during the first cycle of the Bible Book Club (2007-2010) so that I would not have to do this seven days a week. It was a big relief when they stepped up and volunteered. I really appreciate their commitment to the Word of God and to seeing it read and studied. Becky is now busy leading a women's study at her church in Louisiana and Katrina just finished up a nursing degree after having married off two of her oldest children and had her first grandchild.
I also want to thank people who posted when I went on trips, especially my three week trip to Southeast Asia in 2008: Rachel B., Susanne B., Ellen Peters (Laura), and Cathi Von. You all did GREAT jobs! Thank you!
In this second cycle of the BBC, I have written all the posts that were written by others in the first cycle and that totaled 379 posts.
(In the third cycle of the BBC, I edited and transferred all the posts into a word processor.)
I have had butterflies in my stomach all day. Part of it was fear because I was writing on the final chapters of Revelation and part of it was the joy of anticipation because I was done with a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) that I set many years ago.
I want to go out and celebrate and do a big praise dance. Maybe I will. :) (When I completed the first cycle it was 2:37 am, and I couldn't go out and dance then!)
2015 Update: I am done editing all the posts, and I am sure there will be many more revisions in the future. One added stress producer that has come since I posted this last time was melanoma skin cancer (a disease that killed one of the friends I mentioned above). As I thought about my own mortality, I evaluated my priorities, and I knew that making the Bible Book Club a priority was a good use of my time here on earth. The melanoma ended up being Stage 0 and was removed, but I am thankful I did have an opportunity to evaluate my life. Sowing the Word of God in my heart and in the hearts of others is what I want to do to the end of my days!
CONGRATULATIONS! You deserve a big CYBER HUG! YOU DID IT!
This completes our study of The Scarlet Thread of Redemption that points to Jesus. Told ya' so! I hope you are doubly convinced of it now that You have read His Word!
It is fun because we just started going through The Scarlet Thread of Redemption with a group of 11 people for the next eight months. We just finished Genesis 3 last Sunday. How great to book end my week with Genesis 3:15 on one end and Revelation 22 on the other!
Tomorrow, take some time to reflect upon your journey with God through the pages of His Word. Let Him speak to You. He really does speak. We just need to listen.
And if you want to do some fun review, and make a Christmas project that will teach The Scarlet Thread of Redemption to your whole family, come joins me on November 1st when we make a Jesse Tree and review the BBC!
Also, if you want a fun December devotional, I have written Messiah Meditations (not just the words to the oratorio like I have done in the past but actual devotionals to go along with the words) that take you through The Scarlet Thread of Redemption and Handel's Messiah! I have hyperlinked the downloadable Word document above, and here is the online version: Messiah Online
Well, this story definitely has a happy ending. God wins! I pray you will always stay on His team!
Lord, my heart overflows with a good theme, and my tongue is the pen of a ready writer (Psalm 45:1) who wants to sing praises to You all the days of my life. Lord, be lifted up in our praises. Thank You for giving us the message of The Scarlet Thread of Redemption beginning in Genesis 3:15 all the way to Revelation 22. We eagerly await Your coming again. In the meantime, help us to tell people from every nation, people, tongue, and tribe about Your limitless love and grace. Amen. Come Lord Jesus, Come.
I'm pretty sure this song by Kutless is inspired by Revelation 22. I am a crying and worshiping and praising and dancing with God right now as I listen to it. :) Enjoy!