Part 10. The new heaven and the new earth (21:1—22:21)
10.3. Eden restored (22:1-5)
10.4. Epilogue (22:6-21)
† PICTURE: John sees more details of New Jerusalem. Then Jesus concludes the revelation to John by affirming what is recorded is true and that He will come again soon.
22:1 The garden of Eden is now restored to mankind. The river of the water of life symbolizes the abundant life that God now gives to His people and immortality.
22:2 The tree of life here is an allusion to the tree of life in the garden of Eden. The fruits are 12 crops in succession, not 12 kinds of fruit. It signifies abundant supply.
The leaves of the tree are described as having the power of healing. But since there is no more sickness, then what is the use? It may mean:  “health-giving”, not for correcting ills which do not exist,  the complete absence of physical and spiritual want.
“The nations” emphasizes the different nationalities of the redeemed community.
22:3 “Curse” is not the act of cursing but “accursed thing”. Nothing will be under the curse of sin.
22:4 In the OT, no one can see the face of God. Now, there is nothing between God and His people. God’s name on the foreheads of believers symbolizes God’s ownership and likeness to God.
22:5 There will be one continuous day. While all the saints will reign, it is not said that they will reign over anyone. It simply describes a blessed and exalted state of sharing in royalty.
22:6 The last passage (vv.6-21) of Revelation contains 2 major themes: the authenticity of the book as a divine revelation, and the imminence of the end.
The angel attests the genuineness of the entire revelation. The source of the revelation is the Lord who is described as “the God of the spirits of the prophets.” The spirits (plural) are the natural faculties of the prophets (both OT and NT prophets), raised and inspired by the Holy Spirit.
22:7 The following passage includes different speakers: v.7 Christ, v.8 John, vv.9-11 the angel, vv.12-13 Christ, vv.14-15 John, v.16 Christ, v.17a the Holy Spirit and the church, vv.17b-19 John, v.20a Christ, vv.20b-21 John.
Those who observes the words in this book (the prophecy) will be blessed.
22:8 John now attests that he has actually heard and seen all the things that are recorded in the book. His writing is not the result of any flight of imagination. Then, John repeated the error that he committed in Rev 19:10 by falling before the angel to worship him for his role as revealer and interpreter of God’s revelation.
22:9 Just as before, John is prevented from carrying out his intention by the angel who says a very similar line as 19:10. The message is clear: angels are not to be worshipped.
22:10 The angel tells John not to seal up the prophecy. The reason for this new instruction is that the end is imminent (see 1:1 for explanation of the meaning of imminence).
22:11 The end is so close that there is no longer time to alter the character and habits of people. Those who do wrong will continue to do wrong. The time arrives when change is impossible because character has already been determined by a lifetime of habitual action. The deliberate choice of each man has fixed his unalterable fate.
22:12 Christ declares that the distribution of rewards is on the basis of works (Jer 17:10; Ro 2:6; 1Pe 1:17). The Greek word (misthos) has the idea of “wages”. How a person lives his life provides the ultimate indication of what that person really believes.
22:13 In 1:8 and 21:6, God identified Himself as the Alpha and the Omega. Now the risen Christ applies the title to Himself, clearly identifying Himself as God.
22:14 Those who wash their robes in this life will be blessed. The word “washed” is in present tense, suggesting continuous washing. While living in the present world, we need to ask for God’s pardon of our sins everyday.
22:15 Again, John warns that 6 classes of people will not be able to enter the eternal city. Five of the 6 classes are already found in Rev 21:8. The only class not found in that verse is “dogs” which is used in the Bible to describe various kinds of impure and malicious persons. The word “outside” does not mean wicked people will be living outside the heavenly city. It means exclusion, that is, totally excluded from eternal life.
22:16 The plural “you” indicates that the prophecy is intended not only for John but for the entire church. The bright Morning Star symbolizes that it is the morning of eternity.
22:17 It is likely that all invitations are for non-believers inviting them to take the free gift of eternal life, beginning with the Holy Spirit and the church inviting the world to come.
22:18 The severe warning is for those who heard the book being read. They are warned against wilful distortion of the message in this book. Those who do so will be under severe judgment in the form of plagues. In severe cases, it may even endanger their salvation.
22:19 John is claiming that the prophecy is equal to that of the OT.
22:20 John representing the whole church says: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. “Amen” is the transliteration of a Hebrew or Aramaic participle meaning “confirming”. “Come, Lord Jesus” is the earliest confession of the church. It is the equivalent of the transliterated Aramaic in 1Co 16:22, maranatha.
22:21 The book ends with a common benediction of NT times.
The book serves to assure the Christians that God is sovereign and His eternal plan for mankind will certainly be accomplished. During the interim, there will be hostility and opposition against God. But the human world system (Great Babylon) will eventually fall. Those who hold fast their faith, even in the face of persecutions, will enjoy eternal life in New Jerusalem in the presence of God. All believers are encouraged to remain faithful to their trust and wait expectantly for the return of Christ.
† After recording the authentication of the prophecy recorded in Revelation by the angel and by Jesus, John warns those who tries to add or delete the prophecy of serious consequences. While the warning here applies originally to Revelation and to the 7 churches, it is generally true for the whole Bible and for all believers. We must respect the authority of the Bible, God’s Word for us. To do the opposite will bring disaster.
† Readers of novels often want to know the ending by turning to the last page of the novel. Someone uses this analogy in a truthful saying: “While struggling with evil in this life, I turn to the last page of the Bible and alas, we won!”