Friday, May 27, 2011

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday May 29, 2011

(Worshipping GOD face to face)
(Revelation 22)

In Revelation 22 the Apostle John is given a few more facts by an angel of GOD in his vision concerning the “New Jerusalem”. In this passage, John is shown the “river of the water of life” which will flow from the “Throne of GOD and the LAMB”. Here we see that, out of the throne, will flow a pure river of waters that will be symbolic of GOD and JESUS’ holiness and purity.
This reference of the river here in this passage should not be confused with that of the vision of the prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel 47, nor, with that of the prophet Zechariah in Zechariah 14:8. Those rivers are literal rivers flowing out of the temple of Jerusalem in a future scene from CHRIST’s millennial rule, here on earth. The river here in John’s vision is a part of the new Jerusalem, on the new earth, that GOD will ultimately create after the millennial time of CHRIST’s rule, and, the final defeat of satan. It will course its way down the center of the main street in the new city, and on each side of it will be a “Tree of Life” that will bear 12 crops of fruit each year, one crop per month. Its leaves will have healing power, and will be used to cure all manner of sickness upon entry into the new kingdom of Heaven, where there can be no curse or illness of any kind.
All who exists will worship the FATHER and the SON, and GOD’s face will be seen by everyone for the very first time. GOD’s name will also be written on every forehead. In that time, night will cease to exist, and by day, there will be no need for the sun, because the LORD GOD will shine on everyone.
In verse 7, we find comprised, the sixth of the seven “beatitudes” that are found in this book of Revelations. The others can be found in chapter 1, verse 3, 14:13, 16:15, 19:9, 20:6, and 22:14. “Blessed are those who obey the prophecy written in this scroll” is the one seen here. The coming of CHRIST JESUS is always “soon”, in the minds of those who believe in HIM. A special blessing is added to the lives of those who obey, and heed to the prophecy of the book of Revelation, as well as the entire scripture itself. Indeed, one does not really love JESUS unless they are willing to obey HIM, take on HIS task, and, take up their own cross.
In Daniel 12:9, the prophet is instructed to seal up his prophecy until the time of the end. However, here in Revelation 22, verse 10, the Apostle John is instructed to do the opposite. Here he is told “not” to seal up the prophetic words that he has written, but rather, let them be made available to all who wish to know and hear.
In the exhortation that follows in verse 11, “let those who are doing wrong continue to do wrong” should not be taken as a condoning of evil by the LORD. The point of this passage does not serve to condone evil, but rather, it serves to point out the fact, that, if people do not heed the prophecies found here in the book of Revelation, they are only left with the choice of continuing on in their own wickedness. But, by contrast, those who do right will likely continue to do right, as GOD apparently expects no earth-shattering changes in the behavior of man, whether it be good, or evil, in the last days.
In verse 12, a promise of reward and punishment is declared by CHRIST JESUS upon HIS second coming. The ALPHA AND OMEGA will bring with HIM, both, rewards for the saints who have benefited HIS cause, and punishment for those who have hindered it.
In verse 14 we see the last of the seven beatitudes of this book of Revelation, “Blessed are those who wash their robes so that they can enter in through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the “Tree of Life”. This is a phrase that simply describes the righteous, and their acts of obedience to the LORD’s commandments. They all started out “guilty”, but, through their acceptance of CHRIST JESUS, they are washed clean by HIS blood. Contrastingly, those who are described in verse 11 are the ones who refused to give up their acts of immorality, and are thus, forever characterized by their evil ways and practices.
In closing this study of the Apostle John’s revelation from CHRIST, I leave you with this thought.
The HOLY SPIRIT of GOD, and the bride (the true Christian Church) say, come! (v. 17) But unfortunately, the lure of this world, and satan, says the same. The HOLY SPIRIT within us will always seek to compel us toward CHRIST. However, the “sin nature” within us, will always try and tug us back toward the world. That battle that wages on inside of each of us, between “the reason to do right”, and “the passion to want to do wrong”, will continue, long after we accept the gift of salvation. However, through our strength in CHRIST, we can ultimately overcome the gravitational pull of this world, just as CHRIST did, and find our place in “the ultimate happy ending” that has been prepared for us by GOD, since the foundation of this world. That place that John, Luke, Paul, and other New Testament writers call, in the Greek, “paradeisos” (par-ad-i-sos), but we call, “The Kingdom of Heaven”.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

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