A Study of Revelation

Rev. 2:7
7* ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’

“He who has an ear” means more than just listening to the words. It means to understand the message and do the things which we are instructed to do. These
messages are from the “Spirit.” Eph. 6:17 describes the Word of God as the “sword of the Spirit.”

Now notice the promise: “To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.”

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Notice the promise, access to the tree of life which is in the paradise of God.

The symbolism represents the tree of life which stood in the midst of the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:9). As long as Adam and Eve were obedient to God in not eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they could eat of the fruit of the tree of life. As indicated by Gen 3:24, this tree of life could sustain their physical lives forever.

This is a likeness to the church. The church is our spiritual Garden of Eden and referred to here as the paradise of God. As long as children of God remain obedient to God’s commands, they remain in the spiritual Garden of Eden and have access to the spiritual tree of life. Christ is our spiritual tree of life, standing in the midst of the church, the paradise of God. If we are unfaithful God will remove us from that spiritual paradise and block our way to the tree of life. We must also be thankful that we have the opportunity to return if we repent and ask forgiveness, just as the prodigal son did (Lk. 15:11-32).

This is the symbolism of the book of Revelation. In verse 7 the tree of life is located in the paradise of God.
In Rev. 22:2 the tree of life is located in the holy city, therefore, we know that the paradise of God and the holy city are the same. The holy city symbolizes the church because Rev. 21:9 calls it “the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”

The “holy city” and the “paradise of God” are two different ways of describing the church of our Lord. When we “overcome” we conquer this world of sin and enter into the church, the holy city, the paradise of God, where we have access to our spiritual tree of life, Jesus Christ our Lord. If we remain faithful, we continue to have access to the spiritual tree of life, and finally, we will receive the crown of life or heaven (vs. 10). According to Rev. 22:19 , if we are disobedient, we can have our names removed from the book of life and from the holy city.

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A key to understanding the entire book of Revelation is the term “overcome”. Many assume that the term in Revelation is applied to the final victory of the faithful Christian after he receives his reward in eternity. While there is no doubt that we will finally “overcome” when Christ returns, the book of Revelation uses this term to talk about something that happens when we are obedient to the Gospel. When we study the book of Revelation we allow terms used in other places in the Bible to help us determine the meaning in the book of Revelation.

1 Jn. 5:3-5
3* For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
4* For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.
5* Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

To overcome the world is to separate oneself from a world of sin by becoming obedient to God’s commands. When we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, have faith in him, and are born again by baptism, we “overcome” this world of sin. We have our sins forgiven and enter into that holy city of God which is his church.

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In 1 John 4:3, those who do not believe that Jesus came to earth in a fleshly form are called the “antichrist.” Then, 1 Jn. 4:5 says they are “of the world.” This refers to their being outside of Christ or his church and living in a world of sin. In 1 Jn. 4:4 we read that those who are of God (Christians) have already “overcome them.”

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We must not forget that our obedience to the gospel must be continued. Rev. 2:10 reminds us:

Rev. 2:10 – Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Rev. 2:26 – “He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS”

Notice that the overcoming comes first, then the keeping of the deeds until the end.

This is what happens when we obey the gospel. We first “overcome” the world of sin by our obedience; then we serve God faithfully by doing his deeds for the remainder of our lives.

Notice this symbolism one more time. In verse 7 the tree of life is located in the paradise of God.

In Rev. 22:2 the tree of life is located in the holy city. Therefore, the paradise of God and the holy city are the same. The holy city symbolizes the church because Rev. 21:9 calls it “the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” The “Holy City” and the “Paradise of God” are two different ways of describing the church of our Lord. When we “overcome,” we conquer this world of sin and enter into the church, the holy city, the paradise of God, where we have access to our spiritual tree of life, Jesus Christ
our Lord. If we remain faithful, we continue to have access to the spiritual tree of life, and , finally, we will receive the crown of life or heaven (verse 10). According to Rev. 22:19, if we are disobedient, we can have our names removed from the book of life and from the holy city.

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Here is the pattern we see in the Bible. God created a paradise for man to live in eternally, but man sinned, so he provided a savior through Noah to save man from his sins, not to atone for sins, but to preserve man.

1 Pet. 3:20,21
20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.
21* ¶ Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you–not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience–through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

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What Noah’s Ark was physically to the family of Noah the church is Spiritually to all who obey him. We will be saved from the fire that will destroy the world and transferred into heaven in the Kingdom (1 Cor. 15:24).

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There is only one safe place to exist in this world of sin, that is in the church of our Lord were we have salvation. All outside of the church are lost in sin. They are in terrible bondage to sin.

YOU DECIDE

Do you believe in Him?

JOH 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

JOH 8:24 “I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.”

MAR 16:16 ” He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

Are you willing to turn from you sins?

LUK 13:5 “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

ACT 17:30 “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent,

Are you willing to confess Him?

ROM 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved;
ROM 10:10 for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

Are you willing to obey Him in Baptism to receive Forgiveness?

MAR 16:16 ” He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved”

1PE 3:21 And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you–not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience–through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

HEB 5:9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,

 

Revelation Churches

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Revelation 4:1-11
4:1* ¶ After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.”
2* Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.
3* And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance.
4* Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads.
5* Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God;
6* and before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind.
7* The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle.
8* ¶ And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.”
9* And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever,
10* the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11* “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”

This is quite a scene, isn’t it? Let’s go back to verse two and start to unravel this image

Rev. 4:2
2* Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne.

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

The first vision John saw was God sitting on his heavenly throne. We know this was God sitting on the throne because verse 8 states that those who were giving praise were directing it to the Lord God Almighty.

A throne is always recognized as being symbolic of the great power and authority of a King. God’s throne is set in heaven indicating his total power and authority. No earthly throne can come close to matching the power of this heavenly throne. God’s throne has already been set. It exists today as described in chapter four and we must put our trust in this throne rather than some earthly throne.

3* And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance.

This is a description of God and His throne using symbolic language. We are told that looking at God was like looking at a jasper stone and a sardius stone. These two stones were part of the breastplate that the High Priests wore. It may be impossible to know for certain exactly what the stones represent, but it is thought that the Jasper stone was a green stone, like an emerald, and the sardidus was a red agate stone. They were certainly prized for their value, and that’s at least part of what we are to see here, something of beauty and value, and the colors seem to be red and green because of the use of the term “emerald rainbow.” Since we are not given any specific definition of the rainbow, we need to compare what the Old Testament tells us about the symbolic meaning of the rainbow. In Gen. 9:8-17, Just after God had destroyed the earth with water, he made a covenant with Noah promising him that the earth would never again be destroyed by water.

Gen. 9:10-11
10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth.
11 “I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.”

Now look at verse 13

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Now with that in mind, let’s look at the throne one more time:

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

If we apply this meaning to the rainbow around the throne, this rainbow would also be a token of a covenant which God made with his people.

The final covenant which God made with his people is the law of Christ or the New Testament. Therefore this rainbow around the throne of God should remind all men that he has made a covenant with us, and rewarded us with eternal life if we are obedient to that covenant. The covenant God made with Noah has never been broken; neither will this covenant he has made with Christians. The emerald rainbow is our token.

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This rainbow is described as looking like an emerald. There are at least two reasons for this. First, this would signify the tremendous value of God’s covenant with man, and second, an emerald is green. This rainbow would appear green. The color green is used in Rev. 9:4 to describe those people who have spiritual life. This symbolism was taken from nature. Almost any plant which is alive and growing must be green because the green coloring substance, chlorophyll, is necessary for a plant to sustain its physical life. If we adapt this to our spiritual life, green would be the color of those who are living and growing spiritually as in Rev. 9:4.

This enables us to conclude that the rainbow is green because it is a token to remind us of the spiritual life-giving covenant which God made with man.

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