A Study of Revelation

22:1* ¶ Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb,

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

Out of the throne of God and Christ flows the river of the water of life. This water of life symbolizes the gospel which was given to man by God. Water is the substance which our bodies must have in order to sustain physical life, and the gospel is the message from God which we must have in order to sustain our spiritual life. This river of water of life flows in the world today.

Notice something in verse 17:

17* The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

Everyone is invited to partake of the river of the water of life. It would be impossible to go to heaven to partake of it. It is obvious, then, that this is a reference to the fact that the “water of life” is located in our world today. It is in the church. Notice that. The water of life flows in the Lord’s church, and only the Lord’s church. It does not flow from the denominational world. It does not flow from the whore who rides the beast. It flows from the church of Christ. It is the duty of the Lord’s church to spread the gospel and make this water of life available to all mankind. It must flow from the church today. As long as we partake of this water of life, or remain faithful to God’s words, we have spiritual life. We will never die spiritually if we drink of the water of life that flows from the Lord’s church. If we drink of the water that flows from the dragon (Rev. 12:16) we will die spiritually.

This river of life is described as being pure and as clear as crystal. This is a reference to the infallibility of the Word of God. The gospel was given by the inspiration of the Spirit and is perfect in every way. Nothing is impure about it.

The prophet Zechariah prophesied about the power of the gospel:

Zech. 14:8
8 ¶ And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter.

This is a reference to the salvation that Christ brought by his death on the cross. The blood of Christ flowed in both directions from the cross. It saved those who were faithful to God under the law of Moses (“the eastern sea”) and those who life faithfully after him (the “western sea”). These waters of life flowed out from Jerusalem by Christ’s death and the preaching of the gospel. The gospel is our water of spiritual life, and anyone who partakes of it will be granted an entrance into the spiritual city of God, His church.

Jesus said:
John 4:14
“whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

2* in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

The “tree of life” takes us back to the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve had access to a tree of life which would have enabled them to live forever in their physical bodies (Gen. 2:9).

Today, we have access to the tree of life which will enable us to live spiritually forever. When an individual partakes of this spiritual water of life, he enters into God’s city where he has constant access to the spiritual tree of life. Jesus said:

John 14:6
6* Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

Christ is our spiritual tree of life. If we are faithful to him we will be able to live spiritually forever.

As we have consistently seen in our study of the book of Revelation there are a number of symbols used to describe Christ: the lamb, the Alpha and the Omega, the offspring of David, the morning star, and the tree of life. All of these symbols provide specific information about our Lord. By combining the meaning of these symbols, we can derive a more complete description of him.

The same is true concerning the church and the gospel in the book of Revelation. There are several symbols used to describe the church and the gospel which together give us a complete picture of the spiritual kingdom of God (the church) and the message (the gospel) which enables man to be a part of God’s spiritual kingdom.

The tree of life produces twelve kinds of fruits and yields fruit every month. The key to understanding this symbolism is understudying the number “12” is used to represent organized religion. To yield twelve kinds of fruit would mean to yield spiritual fruit. As people obey the gospel and enter into the spiritual city of God, this tree of life is yielding spiritual fruit. To yield fruit every months shows that this is a continual process. This is once again connected with the meaning of the number “12” because as we count time, twelve months make up one year, or a complete period of time.

Therefore, the basic meaning of this verse is that Christ, who is our spiritual tree of life, is continually yielding spiritual fruit. This is being accomplished today as Christians preach the gospel and convert those who would otherwise be lost in sin.

The leaves of this tree are for the healing of the nations. This is a reference to the healing power of the gospel. Consider Jesus’ words:

Mark 2:9-11
9 “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk’?
10 “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–He *said to the paralytic,
11 “I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.”

As one obeys the gospel he partakes of this tree of life and is healed of his sins. This is taking place in the church today as people obey the gospel. It would be impossible for this to take place in heaven.

An old Testament definition of this tree of life can be found in Ezekiel

Ezek. 47:12
12 “By the river on its bank, on one side and on the other, will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither and their fruit will not fail. They will bear every month because their water flows from the sanctuary, and their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing.”

3* There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him;

This verse points to the difference between the old law and the new. Those who lived under the old law of Moses were under a curse because the only way they could obtain righteousness in God’s sight was to live that law perfectly. Obviously, this was impossible for man. Therefore, Christ came to earth, lived the perfect life, and became the perfect sacrifice, so we would no longer be under the curse of the old law. Paul wrote:

Gal. 3:10, 11
10* For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.”
11* Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”

Today we are no longer under the curse of the old law. We are under a new law, the law of faith.

Gal. 3:23-26
23* But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.
24* Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.
25* But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
26* For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

“And the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it…” speaking of the spiritual reality that exists in the church today. Paul said:

2 Cor. 6:16
16* Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.

Christ is sitting now on his throne as he rules his spiritual kingdom. As the Lamb sits on His throne “His bond-servants will serve Him.”

True New Testament Christians serve him today as they do the things which he has commanded.

Rev. 7:15
15* “For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them.

Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
To order prints visit:
“Revelation Illustrated”

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