Friday, November 18, 2016

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday November 20, 2016

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(We can have the privilege of serving GOD forever)
(Revelation 22:1-7)

   Here in Revelation 22, the Apostle John is given a few more details by the angel, in his vision concerning the New Jerusalem. Here the angelic tour moves from the exterior of the Holy City to the interior, a place where only those who believe in CHRIST will ever be able to go. In verses 1-2, the first thing that John is shown in the city is the vision of a “River of the waters of Life” that will flow out from the thrones of GOD and the LAMB, CHRIST JESUS. It will be a pure river of waters that will symbolize GOD’s OWN holiness and purity.
    Here in this passage we are presented with a scene that is reminiscent of many of the visions of the Old Testament prophets such as Ezekiel (Ezekiel 47), and Zechariah (Zechariah 14:8), and Joel (Joel 3:18), however, those visions were referencing a literal river that will flow out of the Temple in the Old Jerusalem, and are instead, visions of the coming Millennial Kingdom, the time of CHRIST JESUS’ rule here on earth. The river, here in Revelation 22, is a part of the “New Jerusalem” on the “New earth” that GOD will create after the thousand-year reign of CHRIST on the “old earth”, and after the final defeat of satan at Armageddon.
    John’s vision shows the river coursing its way down the center of the main street of the New Jerusalem. On each side of the river will be a “tree of life” bearing “12 crops of fruit each year, a fresh crop every month. The leaves of those trees will be used as medicine to heal all the nations of the new earth, of all manner of sickness. Each person who enters into the Kingdom of GOD, will be healed, because there can be no curse of illness of any kind in Heaven. Therefore, this River of Life stands as a symbol of the abundant life GOD will provide for all of HIS people who reside there, and it will be theirs for the taking, not only to heal them, but also, to quench their hunger and thirst.
    “The Trees of Life” that are mentioned here in verse 2, is a concept that is already familiar to the Apostle John from his knowledge of the Garden of Eden, and, from the writings of the prophet Ezekiel. In the age to come, the LORD will create trees that will naturally promote life and healing perpetually through a variety of miraculous fruit and foliage. These fruit will not be forbidden to any of the residents of the New Jerusalem, nor will they be restricted to only the use of the Jews, but rather, the benefits of those trees will be available to people of all national origins who reside in the city.   
    And so, in this scene, naturally there will be no person in Heaven who doesn’t know GOD on a personal level, and all who exists will worship the FATHER and the SON. They will see HIS face for the very first time, and HIS name will be written on their foreheads (thoughts of GOD will be on their minds constantly). Nights will cease to exist, and there will be no need for the sun, the moon, or even lamps, because the LORD HIMSELF will shine on everyone. When we are living in eternity, ways of measuring time, such as hours, days, nights, weeks, months, and years, become totally irrelevant and insignificant to our existence (Vs.3-5).
   After reading this passage we should now more clearly understand what JESUS tried to convey to us way back in the Gospel account of the Apostle John (John 6:53-58) where HE states:

 “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the “flesh” (which can be likened to the fruit of the tree in this passage) of the SON of MAN and drink HIS “blood” (which can be likened to the living waters of the river in this passage), you cannot have eternal life within you.  But anyone who eats MY flesh and drinks MY blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day. For MY flesh is true food, and MY blood is true drink. Anyone who eats MY flesh and drinks MY blood remains in ME, and I in him. I live because of the LIVING FATHER who sent ME; in the same way, anyone who feeds on ME will live because of ME. I AM the true bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will not die as your ancestors did (even though they ate the manna) but will live forever.” (NLT)
In verse 7 we find the sixth of the seven beatitudes that are found in the book of Revelation (the others are 1:3, 14:13, 16:15, 19:9, 20:6, and 22:14), which states, “Blessed are those who obey the prophesy written in this scroll”. The coming of CHRIST JESUS is always “soon”, in the minds of those who believe in HIM. A special blessing is added to those who obey and heed to the prophecies in this, the book of Revelation, as well as the whole of Scripture itself. Indeed, we don’t really love JESUS unless we are willing to obey HIM, and to take on HIS task that HE started in the world when HE resided here physically. We must be willing to take up our own cross, by moving away from sinful behavior, and into unknown righteousness where JESUS resides right now.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

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