“He showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On this side of the river and on that was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruits, yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will be no curse any more. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no night, and they need no lamp light; for the Lord God will illuminate them. They will reign forever and ever.”
This chapter is all about the heavenly kingdom. We have in these verses, the spectacle of the River of life, which comes from the throne of God. God is the author of all life physical life and spiritual life.
“The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
“So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”
1 Corinthians 15:45
God gives us our physical life and He gives some spiritual life, through the outworking of his Holy Spirit in the soul of the person. Life comes from the authority of God and at His command. We should treat it as a rich blessing and it is a sin to treat it as cheap and meaningless. Our life in Christ is priceless, as it comes from the source of sacrifice and such deep suffering. We have been given our spiritual lives at such cost and are so valuable to the Lord. Our Christians lives should be full of service and serving and a giving back of the life we owe the Lord Jesus.
The tree of life stands on the side of the river, bearing twelve kind of fruit, the fruit of the lives of the people of God. Their lives yield rich fruit every month, for the twelve months. The work of God in the life of every believer will be worked out according to His purposes and will bear rich fruit for Him. He will oversea and direct their lives so that they do bear fruit and that it will also be for eternity. The fruit they bear will be according to His will and for the increase of His kingdom that every kind of person will be there. The multiples of twelve are the integers of the 140,000 signifying the whole number of the people of God.
The fruit they bear is the spreading of the gospel, specifically its preaching and the fruit of that is the salvation of souls. This is the healing of the nations. The salvation of human souls is the only thing that stops this world from cascading down into spiritual penury and destruction. The gates of salvation are left open to welcome all those who will come to Jesus for their forgiveness and new life.
“…and you will swear, ‘As the LORD lives,’ in truth, in justice, and in righteousness. The nations will bless themselves in him, and they will glory in him.”
The curse on humanity has gone. The curse of sin is gone and the effects of it are now long forgotten and cast out of the human mind. Heaven is pure in every way and our minds are finally and freely redeemed. Our souls are set free from the second death and the curse of the law.
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us. For it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree,”
Humankind has been under a curse from God because of the sin in our souls and the fact that they are dead. The law of God condemns us and we are under the curse until the freedom in Christ sets us free from it. Only through Christ can we be set free from the curse, and in that heavenly city, the indwelling effects of sin will be gone and we will have complete liberty from it. Christ has redeemed us from this curse once for all and this is the heritage of the saints of God. The law was satisfied through the death for Jesus and the fact that He became a curse for our sake and took away our shame.
God’s eternal authority will rule over the city and all the promises made to his people will be fully carried out. The throne of God will take central place and so all will be peace and joy. This is true in our lives now as well, for when God is in His rightful place in our lives we can enjoy these blessings now. We will serve our Saviour in that heavenly place and will rejoice with Him in joy unspeakable. We don’t know what that service will be, but it will bring joy to His heart and ours.
His glorious name will be on our foreheads and we will be identified with Him and belong fully to Him. The Holy Spirit will indwell each heart and fill each life with His presence and holiness. All spiritual darkness and failure will be dispelled and the light of Christ will forever shine in our minds and souls. We will reign with Him forever and ever. This is what it means to be a child of God and a servant of Christ.
The river of life from the throne of God will nurture the tree of life, which yields the fruit of our spiritual lives in Christ and will heal the nations of the world with the coolness and freshness of its leaves. Spiritual life will attend the growth of this tree forever and ever. It is a perpetual picture of the work of God and the salvation of human souls for His glory, and the work of the Holy Spirit in that work.
“Blessed is the man who doesn’t walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD. On his law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree planted by the streams of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also does not wither. Whatever he does shall prosper.”