‘Come, Lord Jesus!’: Revelation 22.1–5 (Day 366)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.

Pray

Pray

Lord, open my ears to hear what you have to say to me; open my heart to love your word, and open my mind to understand your truth.

Reflect

Daily reflection: Revelation 22

In the first few verses of chapter 22 John writes of the 'river of the water of life' flowing from the throne of God, down the street of the city, and of the 'tree of life' on either side of the river.

We shouldn't think of this as being a piece of prophetic photographic realism. For the river, John is drawing on Old Testament images, particularly Ezekiel 47.1–12, where God's river purifies the whole land and makes the Dead Sea fresh; there are also echoes of Jesus' words about 'streams of life-giving water' in John 7.38. In a Roman city the gutter down the middle of the street carried sewage; in the city of God, though, everything filthy is made clean. Ezekiel's vision has trees, plural, on either side of the river; in John's, it's just one: the tree of life, which we first hear of in Eden.

So this vision represents the closing of a circle. In the Genesis story, human beings are expelled from their garden. But at the end of the Bible they are restored to it. But it's not the same garden, as though we could go back to a state of child-like innocence: this is a garden city of Eden, in which human civilisation has 'the throne of God and of the lamb' at its heart. We are still waiting to see what that would look like; but as John prays at the end of his book: 'So be it. Come, Lord Jesus!'

Pray

Pray

God, help me to live in the hope of your glorious future. Cleanse my heart of everything that shouldn't be there, and let me live the abundant life Jesus promised.

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