Revelation 22 - The Coming King
During this fast season we are exploring - through what we read in a chapter a day of the Bible - who God is and what He is like.
1. Pray and read - preferably together
2. Pray and share
This closing chapter focuses on Jesus, the Coming King.
The river of life flows from the throne. It links with Jesus’ words in John 7:37-39. Anyone thirsty may come to Jesus and drink living water (spiritual life). Those who do find the same living water (the Holy Spirit) flowing like rivers out of their heart.
It also reminds us of Moses bringing out water in the desert, or the river that makes the city of God glad in Psalm 46. Throughout scripture water is one of the symbols of the Holy Spirit. We seek His presence more and more but the time will come when all His plans will be perfected and His presence is fully with us in the new heaven and new earth.
One key feature of the river is that it causes fruitfulness (verse 2). The tree of life bears fruit in all seasons. It is now available to us - it always was God’s intention that we should eat its fruit and live forever. But after sin entered the first creation mankind was excluded from the Garden in case sin became permanent (Genesis 3:22-23). In the new creation we are welcomed fully into His presence.
The leaves on the trees are for the healing of the nations. Sin caused dislocation and dysfunction. Instead of righteousness (‘right relationships’) there was independence, pride, causing broken relationships with God, with ourselves and with others. The nations have been raging ever since and Psalm 2 has a heavenly perspective on this. God’s promise is that the cities ruined and destroyed by warfare will be healed and made good places again. Communities that could not live together will do so. Every people group is included (see Rev 5:9 and 7:9).
The visions in Revelation are sometimes difficult to interpret but the overwhelming message is clear. Caesar (the Roman emperor, representing the world system) thinks he is in control but in fact he is nothing in front of Jesus, the King of Kings, who will come again as judge.
John is carried away by the visions and tempted to worship the angel. We can so easily think that miracles and supernatural happenings are what matters. We can so easily place too high a value on things, events, people or spiritual beings, when only God is to be worshipped.
The chapter draws the book to a close with warnings to pay attention to prophetic revelations, to repent and reform (verse 14) so that we can receive life. There is a sharp contrast between the righteous and unrighteous - surrender to King Jesus really matters!
As we yield to His kingship and follow the Holy Spirit we find the Spirit stirs up in us a longing for Jesus - in verse 17 both the Spirit and the Bride together say “Come!” It is not an idle hope but a longing. As we pray and live righteously, seeking His holiness in our lives, we hasten His return (2 Peter 3:11-13).
3. Pray and act
Come Lord Jesus. We long for your presence among us more and more by your Spirit, to transform us to be more like You and so to hasten your return!