Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Revelation 22, is it yet in the future?

Dear in Christ,

A vast majority of Christians are brainwashed and intimidated into believing that they cannot understand anything about the book of Revelation. I am no scholar. I present the book of Revelation the way I started thinking about it. There is no mumbo jumbo stuff here. This is a simple and logical analysis.

Here is the popular understanding Revelation chapters 20-22.


It is popularly believed that some time in future:
  • Jesus would come down from heavens and would imprison Satan and would reign on earth (with saints) for a 1,000 years.
  • Earth would be restored to the paradise-like (Edenic) conditions.
  • Satan, and all the enemies of God would be destroyed in the lake of fire.
  • The New Jerusalem would come down from heaven and probably, would be placed atop the present day Jerusalem.
  • Then there would be the tree of life and river of living waters.


Unhealed nations to exist even after earth becoming paradise-like‽ Are you kidding me?



Approximate representation of the Tree of Life and the River of Life
(image sourced from the internet)

Please read with me the first two verses of Revelation 22. (the comments in brackets are mine.)

Rev 22:1 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.
Rev 22:2 In the midst of the street of it [city, New Jerusalem], 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

According to Jesus, it is the sick that require a physician: 

Mar 2:17 They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick.

By the same standards, if the nations are healed during the so-called 1,000 years reign and the earth has become paradise-like where is the necessity for the leaves of the tree of life to heal the nations? In other words, does not the presence of the leaves that is meant for healing the nations prove that nations are still in the need of healing?


Another major issue:


Reading further into the chapter we encounter another issue which proves that the popular understanding of Revelation 22 does not add up.

Rev 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
Rev 22:14 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

Are we not told that the earth would be made paradise-like in (after) the 1000 years and the evil people would be judged and cast into the lake of fire? Then how come these evildoers are still there, just outside the city gates?

Have you noticed the words "enter in through the gates into the city"? The fact that the city has gates implies that it is meant to let people in and out of the city. 
Also note that the gates of the city won't be closed at all.

Rev 21:25 and its gates will never be shut by day - and there will be no night there.

If the popular understanding of Revelation 22 is right, how paradise-like it would be to have these evildoers just outside the city gates, with the gates of the city always open? How different it would be from "the present evil world"? (Gal 1:4)

We are not told that there would be Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life - as it was when Adam and Eve where evicted from Eden. (Gen 3:34).


On to answers...


Let me make it clear that I don't have all the answers; but I think, by the grace of God, I have some answers that are simple, scriptural and logical. Let us start with: 


The river of life. 


Rev 22:1 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.


In our study of Revelation 21 we see that the shape of the New Jerusalem is that of a cube that has a length, breadth and height of 12,000 furlongs each. (Rev 21:16). It is not obvious whether this river flows within the city or without.

Let us see another passage where Jesus talks about the rivers of living waters.


Joh 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly [heart, bosom] shall flow rivers of living water.

The source of the rivers of living water is YOUR heart, my friend. It has to flow NOW; not after the death and resurrection and the so-called "end of the world" and 1,000 years.

Water is required for quenching thirst and for cleansing. It is from the heart of those who are within the city the rivers flow. So, they have no reason to be thirsty. 


Again,

Rev 21:27 But nothing unclean will ever enter itnor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Since no unclean thing would ever enter the city, there is no need for cleansing anyone who is within the city. 

Whereas,

Rev 22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. [ESV]

[Please note that I have quoted from ESV, because KJV is contextually and logically wrong here; though it won't affect the truth of the matter presented here.]

The talk here is of those who are outside the gates (all kinds of evildoers) entering in through the gates, after having washed their robes. There is no need for anyone who is already within the gates to enter through the gates. It is pointless to think that those who are in the New Jerusalem will wander outside, despite the strong warning that there are evildoers outside the gates (Rev 22:15).


The throne of God and of the Lamb



Unlike the popular understanding of Revelation 22, the throne of God and the Lamb is NOT in heaven. As we have seen earlier, the river of life proceeds from the throne of God and the Lamb. The location of the throne is right here on earth:


Rev 21:2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Rev 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with manHe will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.

New Jerusalem comes down from heaven, and the dwelling place of God is with man, down here on earth. Assume that the throne of God remains in heaven and the river has to flow from it, will it not be a waterfall from heaven to earth, crossing galaxies and constellations?




One may argue that the proceedings of Rev 21 and 22 are to take place after the present earth and heaven are replaced by the new earth and the new heaven (Rev 20:11; 21:1). That is a self-defeating argument, because, if the evildoers (Rev 22:15) are to continue to exist even in the new earth, what is that God accomplished by removing the old heaven and old earth?


Without getting into a prolonged discussion, it is safe to say that God dwells in His temple.

Rev 21:22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it

Suddenly, God has become the temple! Now, this God-turned-temple is the one that sits on the throne! Isn't it amazing?

Friend, if one is familiar with the scriptures, things become simpler. God does not need a temple building, because you are the temple of God. And you do not need a temple because you are the temple.


1Cor 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

The unambiguous statement that there is no temple in God's arrangement of things proves beyond doubt those Christians who earnestly desire for the temple in Ezekiel's vision to be constructed are misguided, blinded and ignorant.


Tree of Life


Many do interpret the tree of life as Christ. Christ is the lamb from whose throne the river proceeds and the tree of life is situated on either side of the river. So, tree of life is different from Christ.

It is neither you, the one who is within the city, because Jesus says:

Rev 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

You are the overcomer and you are the one fed from the tree of life. As we will see from further study, fulfilled promises could be the tree of life.

Pro 13:12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.


Once you realize that God and Christ has fulfilled all the promises ("it is finished"), you are at peace, you enter into God's Sabbath rest (Hebrews 3 & 4) and you are real overcomers.

Conclusion.


  • The existence of nations that are not healed proves that the scenario narrated in Rev 22 is not something that will take place somewhere in the remote future, after the earth becomes paradise-like condition during the so-called 1000 year reign.
  • The fact that there are evildoers just outside the city gates prove that this is not happening in heaven or anywhere else.
  • Jesus said the rivers of living water proceeds from the bosom of those who believe in Him - which connects the throne of God and the Lamb to the heart of the believer.
  • Many use Rev 21 & 22 to prove that sinners and evildoers are lost and they have no place in heaven. But there is nothing in these chapters to prove that the talk is about heaven  - on the contrary, it is about New Jerusalem that comes down from heaven to earth.
  • Evildoers and sinners are allowed to enter into the city after washing their robes, the presence of gates that will never be closed indicates this provision.
  • This chapter is not about the eternal destiny of human race. Some folks refer to Rev 22:15 and claim that sinners are totally lost and cast off. No, they always are given the option of entering the city, after washing their robes.



Hope that this helps you in thinking in a new, logical and scriptural way. If the healing of the nations have to happen, the rivers of life has to flow out from your heart. Live a life that radiates Christ and nations will come to your light. You are the blessing that God wants to pass on to the world.

In Christ,