Chapter 22 (“It Is Done” says God)
Having carried his description of Satan’s destiny and the resurrection of unbelievers to their conclusions in chapter 20, John now returns to the beginning of the Millennium to describe the new home of the Church in chapter 21 and the new Heaven and Earth in chapter 22 [Jack Kelly; https://gracethrufaith.com/the-book-of-revelation/revelation-21-22/#more-314].
We should keep in mind that when discussing the harlot, the Great City of Babylon and the dragon [in some senses], we are discussing political, economic, and religious institutions; each distinct. There are three different positions from which to study these three involved factors. Each of the three is connected to one another one way or another but each of these three institutions has their individual destructions; i.e. the kings and rulers; the great wealth and economies through Babylon, the merchants and those made wealthy because of her; the false prophet and false religious institution.
EXAMPLE: In chapter 17 we have the religious aspect of these three institutions: the harlot, Great City of Babylon (by name only) and the multi-horned/headed dragon. In chapter 18 we probably have the political and economic factors. Babylon is not only a false religious system but one of political impact and economies.
In a very real sense, chapter 20 sets the stage for the binding of Satan, the thousand year millennial reign of God and His son Jesus, the New Jerusalem and the eventual new heaven and new earth. We also find the Great White Throne judgment of those who have died in the past “since the creation of earth.”
Verse 1-5 in Revelation 22 is distinct as is Ezekiel 47:1-12 but similar in context. Chapter 21 is also a distinct point in time. We can find the WHEN by reading verses within each reference. All are end time issues. The Ezekiel passage is the millennial reign as is Revelation 20 from the binding of Satan to his release and judgment. Revelation 21:1 explains this is the New Earth and New Heaven “for the old [first] heaven and earth are passed away” [Revelation 20:11].
John is instructed to write out what he has seen and heard. Do not keep it a secret [Revelation 21:5b]. Daniel was told to NOT write all that he had seen and heard for it was for another time in history yet to be played out. This is probably what Daniel also saw in Old Testament time. The Apostle Paul is post crucifixion and New Testament.
It is likely that Revelation 22:2, which talks about twelve manners of fruit cannot be the new Heaven and Earth. Why? Eternity by definition means there is no longer “time.” As one person (originator unknown) put it some time ago… eternity is the total absence of time. There is also no longer a need to heal nations after the Great White Throne judgment at the end of the Millennial Kingdom. We don’t know if such will still exist after the white throne judgment.
Revelation 22:5 skips ahead in its own time capsule; “..and there shall be no more night.” This suggests that since there is no distinction between a day time hour and a night time hour; there must no longer be anything called TIME. Although much of Revelation is sequential or “at the same time” reports by John, he sometimes follows a given topic through to its end before returning to the concurrent or chronological events.
A most likely scenario is that twelve manner of fruits [22:2] is during the Millennial Reign itself. We do not understand what is on the other side of the wall dividing current earth and heavens and when eternity, which by default means time does not exist, begins. We do know from chapter 21 that tears are no longer, there is no more death or sorrow, hell and hades are cast into the lake of Fire…
In a simple way, chapter 22 of Revelation is God putting his stamp of finality on his initial plan for man from the creation of earth, that is, the Garden of Eden. John is told a second time, now by an angel in 22:9 & 10 that he is not to keep this information and prophecies to himself. We read in the verses following 9 & 10 that the world will continue to be as it has since the fall of Adam and Eve up to the point of Jesus Christ and God’s “living amongst us” [21:3].
When Christ does return the second time he will bring his rewards with him. This is a point needing clarification. The Greek for the word reward (misthos) can mean a good thing or a bad thing; i.e. everyone’s JUST reward for what s/he has done during his or her life on earth [v12]. God again points out that He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last [v13].
In verse 14 we must go back to the only other times the Tree of Life is mentioned: Genesis 2:9; 3:22; 3:24 and once again in Revelation 22:14. We begin in the bible with the Tree of Life and no one being able to pick its fruit and eat of it to that restriction being removed in Revelation 22. “Those who do his commandments have right to the tree of life.” In some way of thinking, God will re-institute the Garden of Eden without the ability of Satan to again interfere of influence whose occupying it.
With verse 16 it is not John talking. It is Jesus himself authenticating the truths and correctness of the Book of Revelation. Jesus is declaring his position as a descendant of King David per his physical birth and right to the throne. He also has another right that is found in John 1…
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2 He was in the beginning with God.
Joh 1:3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Joh 1:4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
Joh 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Jesus is the word; Jesus is God.
Can we lose our salvation? This is addressed in a backhanded way in the one of the final verses of the bible; i.e. 22:19…
“…if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”
One can only take away something that the losing individual originally had, right?
Jstark (M.M., Th.D. Rev.; ordained unaffiliated)