The New Jerusalem
The final chapter of the Revelation continues the description of the New Jerusalem, which will contain the Tree of Life. In this account, we learn that the Tree of Life will be fed by the River of Life that flows from the Throne of God. This is in contrast to the River of Fire that will flow from God’s Throne on the Day of Judgment.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. Rev. 22:1-5
From the above description, we learn that are life in eternity will not be spent in the clouds of Heaven, but on a new earthly Paradise known as the Holy City of Jerusalem. The Throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city and there will no longer be any curse.
In the description of the New Jerusalem, we read for the first time that God’s people will see His face, as opposed to the previous events of the Last Days when the Lord will appear in judgment, clouds, and fire.
Following the description of the New Jerusalem and the New Heaven and Earth, the rest of this chapter contains the final instructions given to John and repeats the themes contained in the beginning of the Book, including John’s testimony that he received the Revelation from God.
The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.” “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.” I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!” Rev. 22:6-9
In these verses, the mention of the things that must soon take place and the promise that the Lord is coming soon are the same instructions found in Revelation Chapter 1. In that Chapter, John was told to write down what he had seen (the vision of the Lord), what was now (the Letters to the Seven Churches), and what would take place later (the future events of the Last Days). Accordingly, in the above verses, the things that must soon take place refers to the generations that will experience the events found in the Letters to the Seven Churches, which are still occurring now and that will soon be followed by the coming of the Lord and the final events the Last Days, which will take place over a relatively short period of time.
After hearing these words, John was given further instructions concerning the words of the prophecy.
Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near. Rev. 22:10
As we read earlier, when a scroll is sealed, it means that the contents are for a future time and are not yet meant to be understood. An open scroll, on the other hand, is meant to be read and understood now. The fact that John was told not to seal up the words of the prophecy tells us that he Book of the Revelation is meant to be read and understood by God’s people today! As a book that is meant to be understood, all who hear the words of the Revelation are invited to take from the free gift of the water of life.
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. Rev. 22:16-17
The water of life is in contrast to the fire of the Second Death, which is reserved for those who practice magic arts, the cowardly, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” Rev. 22:14-15
The last instruction given to John is a warning to those who would tamper with the Revelation to not add or take away from the words of the prophecy.
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll. Rev. 20:18-19
After given the above warning, the Revelation ends with a promise from the Lord to those who will experience the final events of the Last Days that He is coming soon.
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen. Rev. 22: 20-21
Order of Events of the Last Days
1. Wars, Rumors of Wars, Earthquakes, and Famines (Seals 1-4)
2. The Martyrs Pray for Judgment and Revenge (5th. Seal) – The 144,000 are sealed
– 1/3 of earth is burned up in world-wide drought (1st. Trumpet)
– 1/3 of sea turns to blood, Satan’s kingdom defeated (2nd. Trumpet)
– 1/3 of waters are poisoned, Satan cast out (3rd. Trumpet)
– 1/3 of Israel is struck, the Attack on Jerusalem (4th. Trumpet)
3. The Great Tribulation – the full number of God’s people are killed
– The Plague of Locusts (5th. Trumpet)
– The Plague of Fire, Smoke, and Sulfur (6th. Trumpet)
– The Seven Bowls of God’s Wrath (Bowls 1 – 5)
– The kings and generals are gathered at Armageddon (6th Bowl)
4. 4. The Great Earthquake and Severe Hailstorm – the Battle of Armageddon (6th. Seal, 7th. Trumpet, 7th. Bowl)
5. Silence in Heaven – the enemies of God are defeated (7th. Seal)
6. The 1,000 Year Reign of Christ
– God’s people reign as priests
7. The Return of Christ
– The Battle of Gog and Magog
– The dead are resurrected, and the living are caught up
– Heaven and Earth are Destroyed by Fire
8. The Day of Judgment
9. The New Heaven and Earth
– the New Jerusalem comes down from Heaven