Thursday, November 11, 2010

Revelation 22:1-2

Verse 1-2 “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 the midst of the street of it, 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.”

There is no temple to house God’s throne. It seems from the following verses that there is a garden in the midst of this city in which God’s and the Lamb’s throne are located. Notice that the way it is stated, it appears there is only one throne. We know that the Lamb sits at the right hand of God, so this must be a large throne on which both sit. From out of the throne (presumably underneath) proceeds a river. This is river which contains the essence of life, is pure, and clear as crystal. It is living water which brings life. From the midst of the flow of the river, from one shore to the other shore grows the tree of life. It must be huge. This tree has been off limits since Adam and Eve sinned and were banned from the garden. It (or another like it) existed in the garden of Eden, but nobody could enter that garden (after the fall) due to the cherubim guarding its gate and the flaming sword guarding the tree of life. This was so that man would not eat of it and be forced to live eternally in a sinful body. Death is actually God’s blessing, as we are released from the sinful body to exchange it for a perfect one. Gen. 3:24 “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” The tree of life was destroyed during Noah’s flood, as was the Garden of Eden, which is why we do not have Cherubim and a flaming sword found anywhere in Israel today. This tree in New Jerusalem produces twelve (note God’s use of the number twelve - twelve tribes, twelve disciples, etc.) fruits. It gives a new crop of fruit every month. This may be a different fruit every month and there may still be twelve months a year, or it may be that once a month it produces all twelve fruits afresh. It does not clearly say which it is. One of the promises to the church of Ephesus was that overcomers would eat from this tree of life. The leaves are used medicinally for healing. Which brings up a question which we will address momentarily.

During the millennium, there will be a similar river flowing out from the threshold of the temple which will do the same thing as this river. Ez. 47:1-12. “Afterward, he brought me again unto the door of the house, and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward; for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under, from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward, and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side. And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over; for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river. Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country and go down into the desert, and go into the sea, which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass that everything that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live; and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. But the miry places thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt. And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary; and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.”

The millennial river has not one tree which produces twelve fruits (which is why we know this refers to the millennium and not the eternal state), but fruit trees grow on both sides of the river and they constantly produce fruit rather than go dormant, for the leaf does not fade. The fruit cannot be consumed, which means it produces so much that it cannot all be harvested. It says that it will bring forth new fruit according to its months. Whether this means that the trees will bring forth so much fruit when each particular fruit is in season (for instance apples are ripe in the fall), so that the fruit will last until the next time it is seasonal for it to be ripe, or whether like the tree of life they will produce on a monthly basis, it is not precisely clear. One would think, though, that for the fruit to not be consumed, it would probably mean that they will produce monthly. That would supply an inordinate amount of food.

The leaves of these trees are used medicinally for healing people, which is part of the reason people will not be ill nor die during the millennium. They will be healed by these leaves, and the vapor canopy over the earth will slow the aging processes as it did before the flood.

Getting back to the tree of life in eternity, the fact that the leaves are also used for the healing of the nations as they were during the millennium forces us to ask a question. The bodies that Adam and Eve had were originally meant to last forever, but we know that they can die. So what was going to keep them alive? It would appear that the leaves of the tree of life that existed then were to be used for the same purpose as the tree in the future, for healing. If they partook of the tree of life, I do not think that it was a once and for all change in a person’s body that allowed them to live forever like a magic elixir, but that when they were ill or hurt, the leaves would cure them. They may also have rejuvenated the body so that aging would not have been a problem. Without illness and without aging, they would have lived forever in the bodies they had, which were perfect at the start. Now we see that the leaves of this tree are to be used for healing, which means that someone has bodies that can be hurt, possibly get ill, and age. It does not seem that our resurrected bodies will have this problem, as they are supposed to be incorruptible. It does not say, however, that those who have lived through the millennium are going to receive the glorified bodies that those who have died before have received. Are they going to live out eternity in their present bodies, using the leaves for injury and aging just as Adam and Eve would have used them had they not sinned? Their bodies were originally intended to live forever when God created them. It would seem by deduction that this is possibly the case, as it does not seem likely that the resurrected bodies would have need of healing and anti-aging elixirs. This would explain why in eternity there are nations who will walk in the light of New Jerusalem rather than live in New Jerusalem. There will still be nations, as not everybody is the bride of Christ and a resident of New Jerusalem. Israel will always exist as a nation, and apparently so will other nations. They will be populated by the people who lived through the millennium and are allowed to enter eternity. It would seem that maybe these people get judged at the Great White Throne Judgment also, but their names are written in the Book of Life, which is why God opens it there as well as the books of works from which He judges the unsaved dead. All the unsaved will be dead, including those who did live through the millennium, as they went up against God at the second Gog/Magog war and were devoured by the fire God sent. This is the second resurrection, however those who were not a part of this rebellion did not die, so if they are judged at this time, they are not part of the dead being judged, they are the living whose names are in the Book of Life.

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