November 26, 2023 | Duane Roberts
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“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.”—Revelation 22:1–5 (NKJV)
At the end of a long and winding road of doubt, struggle, pain, and anything else encountered on our earthly sojourn, we finally come to this heavenly destination. Sequentially, this is the final chapter in the Bible and Scripture doesn’t really describe anything after this. But although this brings us to the end of God’s Word, it shows us the beginning of an everlasting condition. This is what Bible scholars have termed The Eternal State, which is to say that this is where God’s servants will dwell for all eternity . . . before His throne in heaven. Let’s see what we find there!
The first thing we see, “a pure river of water of life,” flowing from God’s throne. Symbolically, this river represents the life that comes from the very presence of God. If you asked the most educated or enlightened scientist where life comes from, you might be surprised by their answer. The fact is, although the natural processes of life can be observed and even initiated, man still doesn’t know how to isolate life, itself. We can’t capture or create it. Along with the rest of creation, mankind is left to witness and wonder at the miracle of life. But those who know the Author of Life can worship Him as the source of all that’s alive, in both time and eternity.
Next, on either side of the river’s banks there’s “the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits.” Whenever we see fruit referenced in the Bible, it’s linked to an aspect of satisfaction or joy. Who doesn’t know the delight of biting into a fresh piece of their favorite fruit? Think of the best fruit you’ve ever had from this fallen world and imagine what the fruit will be like in heaven! That’s the satisfying joy that will be found in the presence of God’s throne without end!
But we also see that as God’s servants are gathered around His throne, “His name shall be on their foreheads.” What’s that all about? By placing His name on His servant’s foreheads, the Lord is identifying them as His. A sense of identity and belonging is something all people crave (teams, fraternities, political parties, etc.). We inherently desire to be part of something greater than ourselves. At God’s throne, the greatest sense of belonging imaginable is found as God, Himself, grants it to all who serve Him.
Finally, God’s throne is a place where there’s “no night.” We all have something that comes to mind when we hear the word “darkness”—fear, hurt, danger, shame, etc. But the God’s throne is a place devoid of darkness. He is the eternal light that keeps darkness, and all that it has come to represent for us, away for all eternity. His presence is the light that will surround and secure us from anything that could ever harm us for all eternity!
The road is long and winding, but this is where we’re headed . . . a place of everlasting life, joy, belonging, and security.
Pause: What four things are described around God’s throne. Why are they important to know and remember?
Practice: Apply the reality of your future destination to whatever stage of your sojourn you’re at today. How does it change your perspective of your present trials?
Pray: Author of Life and all good things that You fill it with, open my eyes, mind, and heart so I can see the place my path is leading up to. Give me a greater sense of anticipation for where I’m headed. Amen.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.