Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT (Revelation Chapter 22)

Revelation 22:1-2, “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 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”

I love rivers.  Always have.  I can vaguely remember my first times fishing and trying to keep up with my Dad on the trail as we made our way to the creek.  Inevitably my fishing pole would get tangled up in the brush and he would have to stop and rescue me.  On one occasion I fell into a river necessitating a more urgent kind of rescue.  We spent a lot of weekend days fishing in my growing up years.  Dad would patiently stay put in one place—and catch fish--while I ran from hole to hole anxious to see what was “around the river bend.”  I’ve hiked a lot of river banks and have swam, boated, fished, and enjoyed rivers large and small. 

The Bible speaks of rivers.  There was a river in Eden which watered the garden (Cf. Genesis 2:10).  But that paradise was lost to man in sin.  The Promised Land lay on the other side of the Jordan River.  God miraculously stopped the river allowing His people to pass (Cf. Joshua 3).  Idolatrous Israel languished in spiritual drought.  So God spoke to His people through the prophet Jeremiah, “My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13).  God likened Himself to a perpetual life-giving stream.  Jesus did too, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:38; Cf. Revelation 21:6).  He spoke thus of the Spirit (Cf. John 7:39).  The life of God in the soul of a man is said to be like a river flowing out of one’s heart.

The New Jerusalem will have a river.  You can trace most rivers to their source.  The headwaters of the nearby Columbia lie far north in British Columbia.  The Metolius River in Central Oregon springs up from ground from some undetermined birthplace.  But the river “of the water of life” will flow “from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Revelation 22:1).  Some rivers are crystal clear.  Their multi-colored rock and boulder-strewn bottoms are beautifully magnified by the cascading currents.  The river in New Jerusalem will be “bright as crystal” and obviously majestic to behold (Cf. Revelation 22:1).  The river in Eden watered the garden and the trees, the heavenly river will do the same.  “On either side of the river” will stand “the tree of life, with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit for each month” (Revelation 22:2).  “The leaves of the tree (will be) for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2). 

Heaven will have a river.  It will flow from God Himself.  There are lovely rivers on earth, but the beauty of the river of heaven will far surpass them all.  It’s good to live by a river.  That’s why so many cities are located alongside them.  The heavenly city will have a heavenly river that will supply the water of life to its heavenly citizens.

A beautiful river runs through heavenly Jerusalem.  Are you going to have a place there on that river one day?  Riverfront property is even now availed to us in Christ.  He invites us to come to Him and drink.  We were all created to love a river.  And we will ever remain thirsty souls lest we drink of the living water He alone can supply (Cf. John 4:13-15). 

The earth will give way and the mountains will be moved into the heart of the sea (Cf. Psalm 46:2).  History will run its course and this present world will perish.  But “there is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High” (Psalm 46:4).  There will be much rejoicing along that heavenly stream.  I love rivers.  Apparently—and more importantly--God does too. 

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