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. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
And he said to me, "These words are trustworthy and true, for the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place."
"See, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."
I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me; but he said to me, "You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your comrades the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!
Comments: Again John is speaking what he envisions the reign of Christ to be. The loss of the 10 tribes in 722 BC to the Assyrian Empire had been catastrophic to the Jewish people. In all the hopes of the Messiah, the hoped-for king would restore the glory of the Davidic kingdom of all of Israel. This longing of for a re-energized nation was as much of the hope for Christ’s return as the reign of God on earth. The symbol of the tree of life with its 12 fruits is a reminder that the twelve tribes will be gathered back into the Jewish people.
Often the doom and gloom of Judgment is all many Christian think about when they think about the return of Christ. But certainly John did not think that way. He understood that a reunited Israel was a sign of God’s promise and fidelity to the Hebrew people. It was to be a joyous time even though it might be tumultuous.
Hope is at the center of the Christian’s relationship with God in Christ. It is holy to hope for a time in which God is claims our total attention. We may not worship anything but God. But so often we allow family, activities, careers to get between God and our primary attention in life. If daily we can place our hopes and dreams at the feet of God and worship him alone God’s radiance will be seen in us just as surely as God’s name was written upon our foreheads.
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