RIVER OF LIFE

Rev.22:1,2 – Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, flowing with water clear as crystal, continuously pouring out from the throne of God and of the Lamb. The river was flowing in the middle of the street of the city, and on either side of the river was the Tree of Life, with its twelve kinds of ripe fruit according to each month of the year. The leaves of the Tree of Life are for the healing of the nations.

This is the final vision in the book of Revelation. You could say this is the closing of one chapter and the beginning of a whole new world. We see the Tree of Life in the beginning of the book of Genesis, we see it again in the closing chapter of Revelation. Jesus is the Beginning and the End, He has made all things new and our eternity with the Lord begins with this vision of the River of God. I want to make a few observations from these two verses of this unfolding new life. First, we see the River of Life. This immediately reminds us of a hot afternoon when Jesus was speaking a a Samaritan woman, “If you only knew who I am and the gift that God wants to give you—you’d ask me for a drink, and I would give to you living water.” This is the water of life that flows from Christ, this is the Spirit of God that awakens and satisfies our thirsty souls. Next, we see this River is as clear as crystal. As Matthew Henry said, “All the streams of earthly comfort are muddy; but these are clear, salutary, and refreshing, giving life, and preserving life, to those who drink of them.”

A closer look and you see the source of the River. This River flows from the throne and actually from Christ Himself. This awakens images of blood and water flowing from Christ on the cross. This cleansing flow is still washing whosoever will today. This River flows right in the middle of the city. This is the New Jerusalem, the Bride of Christ. This River is flowing through His church on earth today. Notice the fruit of this river, the Tree of Life. The fruit of this tree is healing for the nations. This is true for eternity, it is also true today. Make your home in the City of God close to the River. There you will find healing and wholeness for your whole being.

THE CELESTIAL CITY

Rev.22:5 – Night will be no more. They will never need the light of the sun or a lamp, because the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign as kings forever and ever!

The light in this beautiful city is a different kind of light. The light from the sun carries warmth, energy, light to see, and a healing nature but it is created and flows from a created object. The light in the New Jerusalem is similar containing all of the mentioned characteristics but is totally different. This light flows from Christ Himself, there will be no need for the sun in the New Jerusalem. This light in the New Jerusalem is more than light, it is the very life of God, it is the Spirit of God. This heavenly light will not only light up our world, it will light up our beings. This light will flow into us and flow out from us. We will be radiant, corporately a radiant bride. The glory of the Lord will be on full display shining out from this New Jerusalem. Here is how Jonathan Edwards describes the light of the celestial city.

“Everyone and everything there shall conspire to promote love, and promote the enjoyment of each other’s love. Heaven itself, the place of habitation, is a garden of pleasures, a heavenly paradise fitted in all respects for an abode of heavenly lovers, a place where they may have sweet society and perfect enjoyment of each other’s love. All things there, doubtless, remarkably show forth the beauty and loveliness of God and Christ, and have a luster of divine love upon them. The very light which shines in and fills that world is the light of love. It is beams of love; for it is the shining of the glory of the Lamb of God, that most wonderful influence of lamblike meekness and love which fills the heavenly Jerusalem with light. The glory which is about him who reigns in heaven is compared to the beautiful sight of the rainbow for its pleasantness and sweetness,”

Edwards describes this light as the love of God. We will be living in an environment totally immersed in the love of God. This love that attracted us to Christ and sustains us now will be our reward and our treasure in heaven. There will be streets of gold and incredible structures of unparalleled value all around us but it will not even concern us. Our focus and our joy will be the radiant light of love that floods our lives. Heaven is a world of love and this Celestial City is the very heart of all the action.

WHY HEAVEN IS HEAVEN ?

Rev. 22:1 – Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

It always amazes me to hear what people think about heaven. The only time you really hear about it is when someone dies. That’s when you get the set answer, “we know he/she is in a better place”. Really? Do you really believe that? Why would you say heaven is a better place? I know very few people who really want to go there, I mean go there now. If we really, really knew why heaven is heaven we would have to say like Paul, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord”. Why would Paul believe that? Would he really rather die than live on in this world? Jonathan Edwards may help us with this, check out this quote describing heaven.

“There dwells God the Father, who is the Father of mercies, and so the Father of love, who so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. There dwells Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, the Prince of peace and love, who so loved the world that he shed his blood, and poured out his soul unto death for it. There dwells the Mediator, by whom all God’s love is expressed to the saints, by whom the fruits of it have been purchased, and through whom they are communicated, and through whom love is imparted to the hearts of all the church. There Christ dwells in both his natures, his human and divine, sitting with the Father in the same throne. There is the Holy Spirit, the spirit of divine love, in whom the very essence of God, as it were, all flows out or is breathed forth in love, and by whose immediate influence all holy love is shed abroad in the hearts of all the church. There in heaven this fountain of love, this eternal three in one, is set open without any obstacle to hinder access to it. There this glorious God is manifested and shines forth in full glory, in beams of love; there the fountain overflows in streams and rivers of love and delight, enough for all to drink at, and to swim in, yea, so as to overflow the world as it were with a deluge of love.”

Heaven is about the Lord. Heaven is the unveiling of God. Heaven is enjoying God. Heaven is heaven because we will finally feast for ourselves on true and lasting joy found in God Himself. Heaven is a world of love. Knowing Christ personally and enjoying Him is the prerequisite of heaven. In other words, know one will be there who didn’t want to be there. Its not just the alternative, it is life for evermore.

THE BRIGHT AND MORNING STAR

Rev.22:16 – “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

This is the very last name in the Bible attributed to Christ, needless to say, I don’t think that is an accident. Christ has appeared in these last days to bring light into our lives and to point us to the glorious day that is dawning on our world. We live in the last moments of the darkness, the glorious day is about to break in upon us. As I was beginning to prepare for my Revelation class I came upon several quotes about the bright morning star. This first one is by Albert Barnes.

“Its place—the first thing that arrests the eye in the morning—might serve to remind us that the Saviour should be the first object that should draw the eye and the heart on the return of each day.”

This connection of Jesus to the morning star reminds us to center ourselves every morning by turning our attention to Jesus. It is impossible to sustain your faith without a consistent, daily time with the Lord. Learn from the morning star and look to Jesus as we begin this new year. The next quote is from jonathan Edwards.

“And he is the fountain of that spiritual influence whereby this light is caused to shine into the heart: he is the luminary whence all this light shines into the heart. And therefore he himself is the daystar, or morning star, that rises in the heart.”

What else can you say, light flows into us as we look to the morning star Himself. Next is Adam Clarke.

“The bright and morning star. I am splendor and glory to my kingdom; as the morning star ushers in the sun, so shall I usher in the unclouded and eternal glories of the everlasting kingdom.”

Clarke says that the morning star is ushering in the glories of the eternal day. All we can say is come quickly Lord Jesus. The last quote is from Matthew Henry.

“He is the fountain of all light, the bright and the morning star, and as such has given to his churches this morning light of prophecy, to assure them of the light of that perfect day which is approaching.”

This light that flows from Jesus is the light of prophesy. As we gaze daily upon the morning star we can chart our course through the turbulence of our new year. The Lord is drawing this age to a close, whatever you plan to do, do it now.

BRIGHT MORNING STAR

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS- “O HOLY NIGHT DIVINE WHEN THE STARS WERE BRIGHTLY SHINING”

“I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star” Rev. 22:16

We’ve all felt it; the thick darkness of the night. When one was in their unrenewed state; they could look forever and feel the dark, disordered and the deluded. Night was a hopeless, lifeless, breathless blanket all meant to smother. But then the kindness of our savior appeared and dispelled the night! O night divine! For He is the morning star! The star that announces to the night that light is approaching! Christ comes to put to an end to our endless night! Our Aijeleth Shahar! (star of the morning in Ps.22) The morning star always shines brightest when the darkness is about to dissipate and the day is about to break. He comes as “the Sun of righteousness with healing in His wings”. He comes as the herald of the Dawn. He becomes our Star and our Sun in the spiritual sky. “He comes to usher in the unclouded and eternal glories of the everlasting kingdom.”

(Clark) O how divine the night becomes when the day star appears! Star shine in the darkness when there is no other light to cheer us and they serve to regulate our seasons. Christ becomes our guide in the storms of night! “He is the revelator of great unseen realities being the harbinger of the day!” (Gill) This star charts our course early as well as late all the days of our lives. It is the light to see with when we are faced with blindness, our guide when the way is hindered. “He will be the eternal pledge and joy of a life that will be for ever young, of energies that will accumulate without end, of a service before the throne that will always deepen in its ardor and its triumph, of discoveries in the knowledge of the Eternal which will carry the experience of the blessed from glory to glory in a succession that cannot close.”( Moule)

And if that isn’t enough He becomes a flood of light upon us. In the Bible Illustrator it says; “His lustre cannot now be withdrawn, nor can men refuse to open their eyes to its presence. He is the Morning Star of all humanity, the brightest light that has ever dawned upon the world — that guides us onwards to the eternal day. He abides a steady, ever-shining light. All others are flickering torches, throwing a momentary and misleading glare, then waning and dying out.” O NIGHT DIVINE!

Enjoy the Advent Season when all around us is His light!

THE PLACE WHERE THE SUN DOESN’T SHINE

And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.

This may come across as strange to you but one place the sun doesn’t shine is heaven. Now don’t take this the wrong way, heaven could never be a place of darkness. Actually it could be called the City of Light, the only place that never has shadows. No sun, no shadows, how is this even possible? The answer, if you haven’t guessed it yet, is that there is no need for a sun because Jesus Himself is the light of the city. After all, the natural sun is just a picture or image of the real light. The real light is Christ Himself, the light of the world. Heaven will not need a sun, or streetlights or lamps on the inside of any building. The light of heaven will penetrate every crack and crevice of every life. We will see the fulfillment of the last prophesy of the Old Testament, Mal.4:2 – “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall”. Here are some thoughts from R. C. Sproul on today’s verse.

“Revelation 21 and 22 describe the holy city coming down out of heaven. Strangely, it is described as a place where the sun does not shine. There are no candles nor moon nor artificial source of light. You would think that such a place would be bathed in perpetual darkness, but the author of Revelation tells us there is no need of sun or artificial light in heaven because the glory of God and the radiance of his Son bathe the holy city in light perpetually. The glow from the face of God—the manifestation of his glory—illuminates every inch of the kingdom of heaven. The light of the glory of God is never extinguished, which is why the apostle says “. . . to whom be glory forever.” The glory of God began in eternity and will continue for eternity. When we come into God’s presence to worship him, the only appropriate response is reverence, awe, humility, and submission. The contemporary church all too often displays a cavalier approach to worship. Many have no idea about the one they are dealing with, the one for whom the angels themselves have to cover their eyes when they sing of his glory.”

Heaven is going to be better than any of us could ever know. It is the City of Light. As we finish our journey on earth we must remember, this life is almost over; the real life is about to start.

THE DRINK THAT LASTS FOREVER

Rev.22:17 – 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.

The fact that humans get thirsty proves there must be something somewhere that will quench our thirst. Thirst is basic to being human and water is the basic substance that quenches that thirst. Is it possible that there is a spiritual parallel? I believe there is. The fact that our soul gets thirsty shows that there has to be something to quench our soul thirst. You may not identify the correct substance to satisfy your thirsting but our thirst for God is basic to our human condition. To those who meet Christ there is a taste of this living water but this taste is more of a tease than a completion. The times we encounter living water in this world points to something greater, a completion or fulfillment that awaits in the life to come. The world offers only substitutes, Christ offers a drink that is a foretaste of life to come. Here is how C.S. Lewis describes it.

“What would it be to taste at the fountainhead that stream of which even these lower reaches prove so intoxicating? Yet that, I believe, is what lies before us. The whole man is to drink joy from the fountain of joy. As St. Augustine said, the rapture of the saved soul will “flow over” into the glorified body. In the light of our present specialized and depraved appetites, we cannot imagine this torrens voluptatis, and I warn everyone most seriously not to try. But it must be mentioned, to drive out thoughts even more misleading—thoughts that what is saved is a mere ghost, or that the risen body lives in numb insensibility. The body was made for the Lord, and these dismal fancies are wide of the mark.”

I have to admit I have been quite surprised at the abundance and power these tastes often provide for sons and daughters in this world. I can only imagine the immensity of what these moments point to. To see Christ for myself and drink at His fountain in eternity is beyond my ability to comprehend. So the conflict still goes on inside of me, I thirst and drink and I am grateful. I know what I taste now is just a drop of the ocean of love that waits in His kingdom come.

HUMANS IN HEAVEN

niko-soikkeli-333391.jpg

Rev. 22:14 ¶ Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.

I think one of the things that will shock us the most is how beautiful and perfect all of the inhabitants of heaven will be. Every single one will radiate absolute perfection. There will be no hint of pride, no sense of lust, no jealousy or envy, no hidden agendas; actually we will finally be in the place where we truly love one another. In this life we only taste the edge of life like this. When we were born again the love of God was poured into our hearts. For those who are truly converted there are drastic changes that permit us to walk in love toward others we would not associate with in our former lives. Old people and young folks actually having beautiful relationships, people of various ethnic backgrounds loving one another, and the rich and the poor alike actually interacting having found a common ground in the love of God. In our best moments we see this love displayed in the church, God’s community on earth. With all of our flaws and imperfections even in our converted state we have to work hard at staying in the love of God, forgiving one another and submitting to the leadership the Lord has provided in His church. It’s not easy. We see through a mirror darkly but a better day is coming. Here is how Jonathan Edwards describes humans in heaven.

“Many men are amiable and worthy to be loved, but yet they are not without those things which are very disagreeable. But it is not so in heaven. There shall be no pollution or deformity of any kind seen in any one person or thing. Everyone is perfectly pure, all over lovely; everything shall be perfectly pleasant. That world is perfectly bright without darkness, perfectly clear without spot. There shall be none appearing with any defects, either natural or moral. There is nothing seen there which is sinful, nothing weak or foolish. Nothing shall appear to which nature is averse, nothing which shall offend the most delicate eye. There shall be no string out of tune to “cause any jar in the harmony of that world, no unpleasant note to cause any discord.”
Heaven is going to be better than we expect. Heaven is also closer than we know. The day is drawing close and Jesus told us we would know those who follow Jesus by their love for one another. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

“CLEAR AS CRYSTAL”

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS-

“Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” Rev. 22:1
I am sure many of us have heard the saying,“clear as crystal” which means transparent or perfectly clear. I believe that Christianity isn’t and shouldn’t be complicated. Christ came in the perfect fulness of time to redeem mankind. It doesn’t take long to figure out man needs redeeming! Man always complicates matters, but Christ comes with simplicity.

As a Christian, we need to be ever aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit which is likened to the river of His presence. So many believers fall way short in thinking our entrance to heaven is just a check mark that we did as a child in some spirited moment. There is a river of life flowing from the throne of heaven and yes it’s clear as crystal for all to see! It’s not the muddy Mississippi my friends or some bayou.

The River of the Holy Spirit keeps us free from all hypocrisy and variation. He keeps us real, sincere and pure as we learn to flow in him. To most of us, the idea of being holy seems so far fetched and it is, but again the pure river of life, clear as crystal keeps us from straying.

Let’s listen in as we read this commentary, “By this river is meant the everlasting love of God, which may be compared to a river for its largeness and abundance, its height and depth, its length and breadth; and for the large displays of it in this state, when its waters will increase, and be a broad river to swim in, and be unpassable; and for the streams of it in election, redemption, calling, justification, pardon, adoption, and eternal life, which make glad the city of God; and for the pleasure it yields, and the fruitfulness it gives to those who drink of it: it may be called a river “of water of life”, because in the present state of things it quickens such who are dead in trespasses and sins; revives the saints when dead and lifeless, supports their spirits, and is a cordial that preserves from fainting; it keeps and secures from dying the second death and is the spring and source of eternal life; and that itself will last and flow for ever, it is ever running water, it is everlasting love:”

Yes, there is a walk in Christ that is as clear as crystal, are you being changed by it?

“ALIVE IN THE RIVER” 

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS-

“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2In 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.” Rev. 22:1
One would have to be really numb to not notice how the world is changing right under our little noses. I feel the book of Revelations is upon us. Today in service as we sang “WE COME ALIVE IN THE RIVER,” I couldn’t help but think of the scripture in Revelations concerning the river that proceeds from the throne and the Lamb. Everything that touches this river comes alive. The leaves are for the healing of the nations-Jesus come heal this precious planet that we are on! Lord, we are so in need of Your healing! Christ always come in with a freshness to invigorate our worlds. We come alive in His River.

Enjoy the lyrics from Jesus Culture/Kim Walker
“There is a fountain that drowns sorrows

There is an ocean deeper than fear

The tide is rising, rising
There is a current stirring deep inside

It’s overflowing from the heart of God

The flood of heaven crashing over us

The tide is rising, rising
Bursting, bursting

Up from the ground

we feel it now

We come alive in the river
Break open prison doors

Set all the captives free

Spring up a well, spring up a well

Spring up the well in me

God is up to something big upon the earth and I refuse to sit here and watch the world destroy itself. I will allow the river of God to flow through my veins and burst forth its banks. He makes all things new!

Something is being created in you as I am writing this. The more you walk with God you will indeed “come alive in the river” and burst forth

within you! In the service, our worship leader sang this prophetic song,

“I declare to you new things from the presence of the Lord I declare to you new things that you’ve never seen before”

Grab ahold of God and come alone in his river!