(The Faith Forum Series – Batch 5)
In Revelation 22:1-2, John relayed what he saw of what was to come in the future, as had been revealed to him by the glorified Lord Jesus, through his angel.
Previously, in Revelation 20, he spoke of how he saw the dead, small and great, who had been raised back to life for judgment, be judged according to what they had done while alive and that whoever was not found to have been written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. This was also where the devil, the beast and the false prophet that promoted the devil’s wicked agenda were also cast, along with death and hell.
That having been done, in the next chapter (21), John spoke of the provision that was made for those who knew and lived for the Lord while alive and were saved, stating in verses 1-2 and 22-24:
- “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband...And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.”
This holy city was for those whose names were written in the Lamb’s book of life and therefore were saved from eternal destruction (Revelation 21:27).
In chapter 22, John continued on describing what he saw in this holy city, stating:
- “And he shewed me a pure RIVER of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the RIVER, was there THE TREE OF LIFE, which BARE TWELVE MANNER OF FRUITS, and YIELDED HER FRUIT EVERY MONTH: and the LEAVES OF THE TREE WERE FOR THE HEALING of the nations.”
There was therefore a river (referred to as ‘…a pure river of water of LIFE’, a tree (referred to as ‘..the tree of LIFE’) which was positioned by the river, fruits which the tree of life bore in their season (which was every month) and leaves that were for healing.
We know that the tree of life was positioned by the river, as the scripture states that “…on either side of the river was there the tree of life.” Given that trees take in water for survival, in my view, it appears that the tree (which was rightly positioned) was being nourished or sustained by the water from the river, resulting in it baring fruit in the set season, which was every month and its leaves, which were for healing, to grow and shoot forth.
What is remarkable to note is that the river of life which apparently provided nourishing to the tree of life, which in turn, brought forth twelve types of fruit and leaves for healing, came from, as in started or proceeded out of, the throne of God and of the Lamb (which is the Lord Jesus Christ).
This is significant. For, it highlights that God the Lord is the very source from which life emanated. The leaves and the fruit were dependent on the sustenance of the tree and the tree on the river and the river came from the Lord. In other words, the fruit that was borne came from the tree of life and so did the leaves which were for the healing of the nations. In turn, the tree of life bore the fruit and grew the leaves because it was apparently being nourished and sustained by the river where it was positioned and the river proceeded out of or came from the throne of God.
God is therefore the start, the source and the origin of all that pertains to life. It was due to him that the tree was able to subsist and to bear fruit and to grow leaves with healing properties. All of this goodness abundance came from him.
This is why Jesus, who is God the Son, urged those who believed on him in John 15:4-6, to stay close to him and not never depart. He told them:
- “Abide in ME, and I in you. As THE BRANCH CANNOT BEAR FRUIT OF ITSELF, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in ME. I AM THE VINE, ye are the branches: HE THAT ABIDETH IN ME, AND I IN HIM, THE SAME BRINGETH FORTH MUCH FRUIT: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is WITHERED; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”
When one abides and delights in the Lord Jesus Christ, the vine and the very one from whom life emanates, he will be like the person described in Psalm 1:1-3, who will be sure to bloom. For, he has positioned himself and is therefore sustained, by HE which is the very source and fountain of life, the Lord. The scripture states:
- “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And HE SHALL BE LIKE A TREE PLANTED BY THE RIVERS OF WATER, that BRINGETH FORTH HIS FRUIT IN HIS SEASON; HIS LEAF ALSO SHALL NOT WITHER; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
Of the Lord’s ability (as the very source of life) to preserve, sustain, nourish and satisfy, in Psalm 36:5-8, the Psalmist stated:
- “Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O Lord, thou preservest man and beast. How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. They shall be ABUNDANTLY SATISFIED with the FATNESS of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the RIVER of THY pleasures. For with THEE is the FOUNTAIN OF LIFE: in thy light shall we see light.”
In Joel 3:18, a beautiful picture of the abundance that is to be found in the Lord is also depicted, similar to that in Revelation 22:1-2, where it refers to rivers flowing with waters and a FOUNTAIN which begins or comes from the house of the Lord.
The scripture states:
- “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the RIVERS of Judah shall flow with waters, and a FOUNTAIN shall come forth out of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim.”
That God is the FOUNTAIN or endless ‘water’ source of everything that pertains to fruit, healing, abundance and life (both natural and spiritual) is also clear in other scriptures from the Word of God.
In Revelation 21:5-6 for example, it states:
- “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the FOUNTAIN OF THE WATER OF LIFE freely.”
Notably, it is the one that sat upon the throne (God the Lord) that stated, that HE would satisfy the one that is thirsty and therefore parched or dry, from the fountain of the water of life and without cost. The Lord could make this claim because he himself was the fountain of life. He himself was the one from which abundant life dwelled and originated.
Hence the reason that Jesus, who is Lord and the very source and origin of life, stated in John 10:10, that he came to earth to give abundant life. He stated, “…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
In Jeremiah 2:11-13, the Lord, knowing that he was the very source of life and that everything done outside of abiding in him was bound to fail, lamented on the destructive and foolish path that the children of Israel had taken, where they had forsaken him in pursuit of abundant life elsewhere, particularly seeking help from other nations like Egypt and Assyria.
Of course, they failed and their lives were characterized by sterility, stagnancy, oppression and a whole host of problems, as a result. Through his Prophet Jeremiah, the Lord, in referring to the tragedy of the choice that his people had made, referred to himself as the fountain of living waters. He stated:
- “Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the Lord. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken ME THE FOUNTAIN OF LIVING WATERS, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
As a result of Israel’s decision, they withered. Instead of drinking from the fountain of life, which was the Lord, they tried to drink from the waters of the river of Sihor in Egypt and the waters of the river in Assyria but were left with nothing but dissatisfaction and unquenched thirst. By ‘drink’, it means to partake of, to consume, to feed on and to therefore embrace.
Of the trouble, oppression, attacks and sterility they encountered in the aftermath, God stated:
- “The young lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant. Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes have broken the crown of thy head. Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, when he led thee by the way?
- And now what hast thou to do in the way of EGYPT, to drink the waters of Sihor? or what hast thou to do in the way of ASSYRIA, to drink the waters of the river? Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts.
- For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot. Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?“
In Isaiah 30:1-16, in commenting on the futility of Israel’s choice to forsake the Lord, the fountain of life and to instead seek refuge or shelter in Egypt, Isaiah the Prophet spoke on behalf of God, stating:
- “WOE to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!
- Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion. For his princes were at Zoan, and his ambassadors came to Hanes. They were all ashamed of a people that could not profit them, nor be an help nor profit, but a shame, and also a reproach.
- The burden of the beasts of the south: into the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come the young and old lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, they will carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses, and their treasures upon the bunches of camels, to a people that shall not profit them. For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose: THEREFORE HAVE I CRIED CONCERNING THIS, THEIR STRENGTH IS TO SIT STILL.
- Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.
- Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon: Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant. And he shall break it as the breaking of the potters’ vessel that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water withal out of the pit.
- For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; IN RETURNING AND REST SHALL YE BE SAVED; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: AND YE WOULD NOT. BUT YE SAID, NO; for we will flee upon horses; therefore shall ye flee: and, We will ride upon the swift; therefore shall they that pursue you be swift.”
Similarly, 2 Chronicles 28:16-21, records the futility of the efforts made by King Ahaz who reigned over Judah, where he sought help, not from the Lord who was the fountain of life and therefore, all powerful, all wise and able to protect, provide and succour but from Assyria, an ungodly nation.
Instead of Assyria helping him as he had hoped though, it only served to distress and weaken the people of Judah. Sadly, King Ahaz took what was precious out of the house of the Lord and gave it to Assyria (maybe as payment) but Judah never received the strengthening that King Ahaz had hoped Assyria would give. For, Assyria took from them but then did not hold up its end of the bargain and only undermined them.
The scripture states:
- “At that time did king Ahaz send unto the kings of Assyria to help him. For again the Edomites had come and smitten Judah, and carried away captives. The Philistines also had invaded the cities of the low country, and of the south of Judah, and had taken Bethshemesh, and Ajalon, and Gederoth, and Shocho with the villages thereof, and Timnah with the villages thereof, Gimzo also and the villages thereof: and they dwelt there. For the Lord brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel; for he made Judah naked, and transgressed sore against the Lord. And Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria came unto him, and distressed him, but strengthened him not. For Ahaz took away a portion out of the house of the Lord, and out of the house of the king, and of the princes, and gave it unto the king of Assyria: but he helped him not.”
Egypt and Assyria are characteristic of the world and the ungodly world’s system and therefore, the same outcome of SURE DEMISE awaits those who foolishly and pridefully turn away from the Lord and the sound doctrine that is in his Word, in pursuit of the world’s way and system. The world and all that is in the world, never keep their end of the bargain. The world will dupe you by presenting itself as beautiful, then take from you, use you and finally, spit you out and discard you.
Many have forsaken the Lord and embraced the world’s system, in the hope that they will somehow advance themselves and attain success in life. However, all that awaited them and that continues to await any person who takes a similar path in life is WOE, disappointment, heartbreak and betrayal, sterility, stagnancy, wilting and withering. While their pockets may be fat or life may seem pleasurable for a season, all they eventually find that they inherit is trouble, sorrow, dissatisfaction, unhappiness, depression, oppression, ridicule, attacks, grief and a lifetime of regret. Alas, they have sown to the wind and when it is all over, have nothing of significance or worthwhile to show.
As Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived summed it up, “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2)
This is the portion of any person that forsakes the fountain of life, which is God and puts confidence in something else or somebody else, whether that be an ungodly man of the world, riches, promotion, popularity, self-comfort, influence, the world’s so-called idea of ‘freedom’ or anything else.
The world claims to sell ‘freedom’ but all it leads you into is captivity, dryness and sterility. God on the other hand is and has always been the fountain of life. Anything outside of him and away from him will therefore not thrive but is sure to wither.
In Hosea 14, although his people had turned from him and instead embraced ungodliness which could not profit them, due to the love that he still had for them, through his Prophet, the Lord urged them to return to him. He told them that he was like a green fir tree, the one from whom their fruit would be found. If they returned with a repentant heart, he promised that he would forgive them, heal them and restore them, even as a withered plant, which is close to dying is restored, when given water.
Through his Prophet Hosea, the Lord stated:
- “O israel, RETURN UNTO THE LORD THY GOD; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. Take with you words, and TURN TO THE LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips. Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy.
- I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the DEW unto Israel: he shall GROW AS THE LILY, and CAST FORTH HIS ROOTS as Lebanon. His BRANCHES shall spread, and his beauty shall be as THE OLIVE TREE, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall REVIVE as the corn, and GROW AS THE VINE: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.
- Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I AM LIKE A GREEN FIR TREE. FROM ME IS THY FRUIT FOUND.
- Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.”
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be interesting, informative, beneficial or edifying, you may also be interested in reading the following:
- Note 23 – ‘Jesus -The Source of Success’
- Note 189 – ‘How To Have Good Success’
- Note 212 – ‘What Are You Most Passionate About?’
Also, under the ‘SINGLE Daughters’ page:
- Note 96 – ‘Are You A Christian? Here’s How To Experience The ‘Good’ Life’
- Note 200 – ‘The Paradoxical Principles To Successful Living – God’s Manual’
- Note 212 – ‘Are You Chasing After Success?’
- Note 229 – ‘I Want To Be Blessed!’
- Note 241 – ‘Come Away…To Jesus’
- Note 275 – ‘How God Wants Us To Treat With Our Idols’
Additionally, under the ‘COURTING OR ENGAGED’ page:
- Note 12 – ‘How Are You Going To Get Ahead Without The Head?’
- Note 20 – ‘Is Your Relationship Foundation Strong?’
(Written on 7th March, 2022)