THE ETERNITY OF GOD: THE NEW HEAVENS AND EARTH
AND THE NEW JERUSALEM
Revelation: 21:1-22 – 22:5
Key Word – Tree of Life
In our last study, we saw that the new heavens and earth will have a capital city, a city where the throne of God and of Christ are located.
NOTE: The city is being prepared in heaven and it is beyond description. This is an important fact seen in John 14. We will return to Revelation 22 and the seven PROVISIONS that are provided by God later in our study.
Previously we reviewed the pure river in the city, a river that has the very water of life (Revelation 22:1). Remember, the water of life flows from the throne of God and Christ: they are the source of all life that lives in the city. Also, there will be no life there, no person there, other than those who have drunk of the life that God and Christ give, that is eternal life.
NOTE: The river symbolizes the life that flows out from God and Christ. It will be now, and in the future, a constant reminder that Jesus Christ, God’s eternal Son is the living water who gives us life. (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 10:9-13). It is Jesus who does at least four things:
- Who QUENCHES our thirst for eternal life?
- Who SATISFIES our thirst for eternal life?
- Who FUFILLS our thirst for eternal life?
- Who COMPLETES our thirst for eternal life?
“Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee “living water.” (John 4:10)
See also verses that we had reviewed in our last study about “living water.” (John 4:14; John 7:37-38; Revelation 22:1-2; Revelation 22:17)
TODAY WE MOVE TO REVELATION 22:2 AND THE TREE OF LIFE IN THE CITY.
NOTE: Remember, the tree of life was also planted in the GARDEN OF EDEN (Genesis 2:9). As long as man remained sinless, he was allowed to eat of the tree; but as soon as he (Adam) sinned, he was not allowed to eat its fruit.
The fruit was the nourishment of life; it infused eternal life into Adam’s body. Or else, it symbolized the perfect and life-giving environment God had given Adam & Eve. Whatever the case, the tree of life is now in the heavenly Jerusalem.
Note two things that are said about it.
1. The tree of life bears twelve crops of fruit – one crop each month. In other words, the tree bears frut year-round. This symbolizes continuous fruit or continuous eternal life. There is not a time that the tree does not bear fruit. Therefore, the person who eats of the life is nourished by, its fruit eternally. In other words, the individual lives forever.
There is also another symbol here: bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit [God’s Spirit]. The person who eats of the tree of life, [accepts Christ as their personal Savior, John 3:16] that person will bear the Fruit of the Holy Spirit eternally.
It is exciting to have this truth because eternally we will have the characteristics of the Fruit of the Spirit active in our lives eternally.
Paul in Galatians explains these characterizes for us in Galatians 5:22-26 along with some other important principles to understand.
This is exciting for the true believer, a genuine believer, stands before God APPROVED AND ACCEPTABLE. Why? Because of Jesus:
- The true believer is embraced, loved by God because of Jesus.
- The true believer is looked after and cared for by God.
- The True believer is the recipient of eternal life.
- The true believer has the absolute assurance, by God, of eternal life. (Romans 10:9-13; Ephesians 1:10-14; John 3:16).
NOTE: The believer has not been accepted by God because he deserves it, not because he kept enough law as to win the approval of God (see Ephesians 2:8-9). The believer has been accepted by God because of Jesus Christ. And His completed work on the cross.
- Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty for man’s trransgressions of the law [sinned]. (Romans 3:23; John 3:16)
- Jesus died to free men from the law.
- Jesus died to free men from the judgment and condemnation of the law.
- Therefore, a saved person is under Jesus Christ, not the law.
- His faith honors God’s Son, and God loves His Son so much that He honors anyone who believes in His Son (John 3:16).
- He is there because of his faith in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 11:6; Ephesians 2:8-9).
- He honors the person by doing exactly what the person believes (Romans 10-9-13).
- Therefore, the man who believes that Jesus Christ makes him acceptable to God, becomes acceptable to God.
The point is this: since the believer has to approach God through Jesus Christ and not through the law, he is freed from the law and again He is under Jesus Christ, not the law. (Ephesians 1:3-13)
- Does this mean that the saved man has no restraints upon his life and behavior?
- In other words, does this mean that he is free to live like he wants?
- Does this mean that he is free to follow the desires and lusts of his flesh?
- Does this mean that he is free to seek the things of the world in violation of I John 2:15-17?
- Does this mean that he is free to give into the urges to look, think, touch, taste and do?
NOTE: The answer to the above is NO! A thousand times NO! The believer has been given God’s nature. So, he walks through life bearing God’s nature (2 Peter 1:4; Ephesians 4:24; I Peter 1:13-16; Colossians 3:10; I Corinthians 6:19-20).
FACT: God has absolutely nothing to do with sin. It is not within His nature to overlook or excuse any type of sin. In fact, ALL SIN is against God (Psalm 51:3-4). To participate in sin, any sin, makes one an enemy of God. For instance, the Scripture is clear that ALL liars will not be in heaven. In other words, all liars are an enemy of God and will NOT BE IN HEAVEN. Why? Because God hates lying (Revelation 21:8).
FACT: Believers are not to cave into the lusts of the flesh (see Galatians 5:16), he is to walk bearing the fruit of God’s nature, that is, the fruit of God’s Spirit:
- The believer is to WALK [LIVE] bearing God’s nature (Galatians 5:11-23).
- The believer is to WALK [LIVE] bearing a crucified flesh (v. 24).
- The believer is to walk [LIVE] consistently with his position in Christ (v. 25).
- The believer is to walk [LIVE] free from selfishness, super-spirituality and envy (v. 26).
NOTE: Galatians 5:22-23 – Key Words, Holy Spirit – Believer, Walk, [live].
FACT: The believer is to walk [live] bearing God’s nature, that is, the fruit of God’s Spirit. The word “fruit” is singular, not plural.
NOTE: The Holy Spirit has only ONE FRUIT. It is broken down into a list of traits in the Scripture, in order to help the believer, understand His nature as a Christian.
NOTE: However, the Holy Spirit has only one nature, and one fruit. Therefore, when He lives within a person, all these traits are present. The true believer does not experience and bear just some of them, the Spirit of God produces them all in the life of an obedient believer.
Let’s dig a little further:
- There is the fruit of LOVE (agape). Agape love is the love of the mind, of the reason, of the will. It is the love that does so several things:
- True love loves regardless of feelings – whether a person feels like loving or not.
- True love loves a person even if the person does not deserve to be loved.
- True love loves the person who is utterly unworthly of being loved.
NOW NOTICE AT LEAST FOUR SIGNIFICANT POINTS ABOUT AGAPE LOVE. Unfortunately, we will not have radio time sufficient to cover all of the fruit of the Spirit. However, you may go to our web site for an in depth study of this area. All are important but love, Joy and peace seems to be areas that a lot of Christians have trouble with, so we will emphasize those three areas in this study. Note four things:
1. Selfless or agape love is the love of God, the very love possessed by God Hinself. It is the love demonstrated at the Cross of Christ. In fact, according to I John 3:16. the believer should be willing to lay down his life for the brethren.
Further, God’s love is demonstrated in His love for the ungodly [the unsaved].
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6)
*It is the love of God for UNWORTHY SINNERS. That is so amazing.
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
*It is the love of God for undeserving enemies.
“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:10)
2. Selfless or agape love is a gift from God. It can be experienced only if a person knows God personally – only if a person has received the love of God, that is, Christ Jesus into his heart and life. Agape love has to be shed abroad (poured out, flooded, spread about) by the Spirit of God within the heart of a person.
Note: God’s love which is shed abroad in the heart of the believer which is the driving factor of God’s command in Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8.
“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit [Spirit] which is given to us.” (Romans 5:5)
3. Selfless or agape love is the greatest thing in all of life according to the Lord Jesus Christ.
“And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)
4. Selfless or agape love is the greatest possession and gift in human life according to the Scripture. (I Corinthians 13:1-13)
“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity [love]. (I Corinthians 13:13)
Note: There is also the fruit of the Spirit of JOY (CHARA). This is an inner gladness; a deep-seated pleasure. It is a depth of assurance and confidence that ignites a cheerful heart. It is a cheerful heart that leads to a cheerful behavior. (Please go to Philippians 1:4 for a further discussion)
Fact: There is the fruit of PEACE (eirene): it means to bind together, to join, to weave together. It means that a person is bound, woven and joined together with himself and with God and others.
The Hebrew word is shalom.
- It means freedom from trouble and much more.
- It means experiencing the highest good.
- It means enjoying the very best possible.
- It means possessing all the inner good possible.
- It means wholeness and soundness.
- It means prosperity in the widest sense.
- It means prosperity in the spiritual sense of having a soul that blossoms and flourishes. (see Ephesians 2:14-15)
a. There is peace of the world. This is a peace of escapism, of abiding trouble, of refusing to face things of unreality. It is peace that is sought through pleasure, satisfaction, contentment, the absence of trouble, positive thinking, or the denial problems.
b. There is the peace of Christ and of God.
*The peace of God is first, a bosom peace, a peace deep within the heart of an individual. It is a tranquility of mind, a composure and an restfulness that is undisturbed by circumstances and situations. It is more than feelings—even more than attitude and thought.
*The peace of God is, second, the peace of conquest (John 16:33). It is the peace that is independent of conditions and environment; the peace which no sorrow, danger, suffering, or experience can take away.
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
*The peace of God is, third, the peace of assurance (Romans 8;28). It is the peace of unquestionable confidence; the peace with a sure knowledge that one’s life is in the hands of God and that all things will work out for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
*The peace of God is, fourth, the peace of intimacy with God (Philippians 4:6-7). It is the peace of the highest good. It is the peace that settles the mind, strengthens the will, and establishes the heart.
There is much more that could be said about the fruit of the Spirit, but radio time is gone and so in our next study, we will continue with our study in Revelation 22 and the New Heavens and the new earth. Have a week blessed by God because your obedience to His Word…which is eternal truth.