Friday 18 November 2011

Questions on Revelation 22

Here are some interesting questions I recently got from some friends going through Revelation Chapter 22 followed by my thoughts below.

1. River of life
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.
Revelation 22:1

Question: Why is the sea symbolising opposition gone but there is now a river? And why are both compared to crystal?

1.    There is no more sea in the new heavens and the new earth (Revelation 21:1)
2.    In Revelation 4:6, the sea is “glassy” like crystal;
In Revelation 22:1 the river is “bright” like crystal
3.    The first symbolises movement. Glass was imperfect in the ancient world - shimmering
4.    The second talks about light (literally, the river is a “lamp” like crystal) - there is light coming from this river of life flowing from the throne
5.    The reason for the similarity is to highlight the stark contrast - Opposition and death has been replaced with sustaining life flowing from God.
6.    (It is also worth looking at Genesis 2:10-14 where the four rivers flow out from Eden bringing life and blessing.)

2. The time is near
Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.
Revelation 22:11

Questions: Why is the time near? Why do the vile continue to do vile things?

1.    This is a direct reference and fulfilment to Daniel’s prophecy in Chapter 12
2.    At the end of Daniel’s visions, he is told to seal up the book until the time of the end (see Daniel 12:4 and 9)
3.    “Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand.” Daniel 12:10
4.    Notice, the reason for their evil actions is ignorance of God’s will - "none of the wicked shall understand".

5.    In Revelation however, John is told not to seal up the words of the prophecy (verse 10) for the time is near. Daniel 12:10 is being fulfilled
6.    And when Jesus came proclaiming the secrets of the kingdom (Matthew 13:11) he said, “He who has ears, let him hear!”
7.    The fulfilment of this is the gospel. The full plan of God is now revealed through the cross.
8.    Either we will hear and respond to the gospel in repentance and trust
9.    Or we will be hardened by the gospel and continue to do evil

3. The bride
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 desires take the water of life without price.
Revelation 22:17

Question: Who is the bride?

1.    The new Jerusalem in Revelation 21:2
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
(see also Revelation 21:9)
2.    The bride represents the church.
3.    All marriage is a parable of Jesus and his church, according to Ephesians 5:
4.    Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her... This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
Ephesians 5:25,32
5.    Here in Revelation it is not Jesus speaking but us, calling out to Jesus to return. “Come”.
6.    Meaning: one of the signs of a genuine believer in Jesus is the expectation of his return and a deep longing for God’s full presence in his/her life.

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