Revelation 22

This devotional is written by Matt Coombs.

Revelation 22

Eden restored
22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

John and the angel

6 The angel said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.’

7 ‘Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.’

8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. 9 But he said to me, ‘Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!’

10 Then he told me, ‘Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near. 11 Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.’

Epilogue: invitation and warning

12 ‘Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

14 ‘Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practise magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practises falsehood.

16 ‘I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.’

17 The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: if anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.

20 He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.


In this final chapter, we see more of John’s picture of the new heavens - a city. Genesis 1 starts in a garden, and Revelation 22 ends in a city. A garden by its nature is full of plants, a city, however, is full of people - full of images of God. But John’s picture is also a garden city. It’s not a city of pollution, it’s a city with a river of crystal. The city of God doesn’t have the aggression of a city. It has all the good and none of the bad. The language of revelation is symbolic, but it’s symbolic of something true. God’s vision for where things are perfect is in the city where humans flourish.

Heaven is full of people, full of flourishing people made in the image of God. But they aren’t just future people, they are present people. In Philippians, Paul describes us as being citizens of heaven right now as we eagerly await our Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20).

This is the already of God’s kingdom, it isn’t where we fly off to when we die. It’s already here because Jesus is already here. He says it’s in your grasp and you reach out by acknowledging that Jesus is Lord and King of the Kingdom.

In the now and the not yet of this coming kingdom, we pray to God knowing ahead of time we have been given access to the Father.

4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.

In Exodus, the high priest would wear a headpiece with the Lord’s name upon his forehead. He, and he alone, was allowed access to the holy of holies. But now the Lamb has won there is no dividing line between God and humanity. We all can enter the holy of holies and see his face.

And they [we] will reign for ever and ever (5).

We can also hold onto hope on this side of heaven knowing that whatever we are going through God is in control, he is triumphant and his victory is ours to share in. We are to rule and reign over the new creation. rulers. Ruling is what Adam and Eve were meant to do at the start (Genesis 1:26). This means to represent God on the earth, to be his emissaries. Everything outside of Eden was chaotic and void, humanity was to go out and create with God. They had seen the wonder and beauty of Eden - now go! That ungodliness is all around us - but he calls us to do this. When we preach, heal the sick, and set the captives free - we reign. There is the goodness we were created to bring.

We are to build the city of heaven right here, right now.

As a citizen of heaven right now, where do you want to pray for God’s kingdom to come, and where do you want to work for God’s kingdom until he returns.

Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

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