Yielding Its Fruit
“The angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb…also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month” (Rev. 22:1–2a).
When Adam sinned against God by eating from the forbidden tree (Gen. 3:6), the Lord punished him, sending him and Eve into exile from the garden and the tree of life (vv. 22–24). At that moment, Adam and all of those in him lost eternal life in a good land.
However, this curse was not pronounced without any hint of blessing. God promised that the seed of the woman would defeat the serpent (v. 15), providing hope that paradise would one day be regained. The rest of Scripture simply narrates how the Lord restores Eden.
John’s apocalyptic vision as recorded in the book of Revelation offers a glimpse of the consummation of our salvation. As described in 21:1–22:5, the final destiny of all those in Christ is not merely an ethereal existence in heaven; rather, the people of God will dwell forever in a new heavens and a new earth (Isa. 65:17–25). There will be a cosmic renewal of the physical universe, and we will live in a new Jerusalem that will descend from heaven to earth after the final judgment (Rev. 21:9–27).
Today’s passage tells us this new Jerusalem will be like Eden, only much better. No unclean thing will ever enter the city, telling us there will be no temptation or desire for evil (vv. 22–27). Trees of life will also be present, and we will have free access to them (22:2). The abundance of both trees and fruit indicates life in the restored creation will be far more bountiful than what Adam enjoyed in Eden. This is confirmed in verses 3–5, which affirm our worship of the Lord will be face-to-face in the brilliance of everlasting day. Nothing will obscure God’s glory or distract from our worshipful enjoyment of Him.
Finally, the river of life will flow from the throne of the Father and the Son (v. 1). John here alludes to Ezekiel 47:1–12 where the river flows from the eschatological, or final, temple. The apostle is telling us that we must not look for a physical building to be rebuilt in an earthly Jerusalem; instead, the true Temple of God is in Christ. All who approach the Father by this Temple will be granted the right to dwell in the new heavens and the new earth (Rev. 3:20–22).
The final destiny God has ordained for all of those in Christ Jesus is not an intangible, spiritual existence, but a resurrected, glorified life in a renewed creation. The earth will not be thrown away but will be restored. As believers, we are required to help make this a reality by the power of the Holy Spirit through obedience to the Great Commission. Thank the Lord that you will reign with Him in the new earth and do what you can to take care of His world even now.
Passages for Further Study
- Deut. 30
- Joel 3:17–21
- Zech. 14
- John 2:13–22; 7:37–39
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