Revelation of Jesus Christ Chapter 22 denniscopp Verse 1 A river of water of life, or of living water. It is spoken with allusion to the rivers of paradise and to the tree of life. (Witham) Verse 2 For …More
Revelation of Jesus Christ Chapter 22

Verse 1

A river of water of life,
or of living water. It is spoken with allusion to the rivers of paradise and to the tree of life. (Witham)

Verse 2

For the healing of the nations,
or Gentiles, to signify the call of all Gentiles or nations to this heavenly happiness. (Witham)

Verse 4

They shall see his face.
Thus in a few words is expressed the happiness of the blessed in heaven; they shall see God, from which vision proceed love, joy, and everlasting praises of the divine Majesty. (Witham)

Verse 6

These words are most faithful.
Here begins the conclusion and close of all these revelations. --- The Lord God of the spirits of the prophets sent his Angel to shew, &c. and in the 16th verse it is said: I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify: from whence we may understand that Jesus, as to his person, is the same Lord God with the Father, though as man he is the root of the offspring of David, of the race of David, as the Messias was to be. (Witham)

Verse 7

Behold I come quickly.
Man’s life is short, and at his death he must give an account to God. All time is short, if compared with eternity. St. John (ver. 8) was again for casting himself at the feet of the Angel, though here it is not expressed whether it were to adore God, or whether it were by an inferior veneration to the Angel, often expressed by adoration. (Witham)

Verses 8-9

This is the second time the saint wishes to adore the Angel, but not with the supreme worship of latria, as he knew the object of his worship was only an Angel, and of course a mere creature; but the Angel, through respect for St. John, still refuses the proffered honour, (see Chap. xix. 10.) and to shew the holy society that was hereafter to exist between Angels and men, who were to compose but one and the same family. (Bible de Vence)

Verse 10

Seal not the words;
as not designed to be kept sealed or secret, but to be delivered to the faithful for their instruction, that they may be prepared to suffer persecutions; that their faith, hope, and charity may be enlivened and increased by a firm expectation of their happiness in the next world, after short sufferings in this. (Witham)

Verse 11

He that hurteth,
(by living in sins against God, himself, and his neighbours) let him hurt still; i.e. he shall be permitted; and he that is just, let him be justified still, and increase in virtues by God’s assistance. (Witham) --- It is not an exhortation or license to go on in sin, but an intimation that how far soever the wicked may proceed, their progress shall quickly end, and then they must expect to meet with proportionable punishments. (Challoner)

Verse 13

I am alpha and omega.
See Chap. i. 8. (Witham)

Verse 14

That they may have a right
or power to eat of the tree of life. A right grounded on the promises of God and his graces. (Witham)

Verse 15

are dogs; meaning unbelievers, and whosever loveth and maketh a lie, i.e. all the wicked, who have not walked in the ways of truth. (Witham)

Verse 17

And the Spirit and the bride say: Come
. This is, the Spirit of God, who moves us to love and praise him; and the bride, i.e. the Church, the spouse of Christ, which earnestly desires to be happy in the enjoyment of God: and every one that heareth these divine promises, let him with all the affections of his soul, with his whole heart, say: Come. He that thirsteth after justice, the Author and Fountain of all justice, let him come and be filled gratis by the bounty and liberality of our merciful God. (Witham)

Verses 18-19

John, testify and bear witness of all the truths contained in this revelation: If any man shall add to these things, he becomes guilty of sin, and makes himself liable to the punishments and plagues that are written in this book. (Witham)

Verses 20-21

He that giveth testimony of these things,
i.e. God, and Jesus Christ by an Angel, saith, surely, (or even so, or truly, these are certain truths) I come quickly, to reward the good and punish the evil. To which words St. John himself replieth with a zealous prayer and earnest desire, saying, Amen, let it be so. --- Come, Lord Jesus: come, and remain always in my soul by thy grace, and make me partaker of thy glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Witham) --- Conclusion. The Church in sighs and groans, and by the mouth of her children, solicits the coming of Jesus Christ, her divine Spouse. The fruit to be drawn from the perusal of this sacred book, is ardently to desire the kingdom of God, to sigh after the day of eternity, to feel the weight of the yoke of the present life, and the disgrace of our exile, and to live here below as strangers. Enkindle in me, O Lord, this desire; enable my poor soul to join with the beloved disciple in this prayer: Come Lord Jesus; that she may go and lose herself in Thee, who art her Centre, her God, her All.

Succession Arrangements of the Covenant Treaty Completed:
Chapter 22
The River of Life

Holy and Eternal God,
Our holy covenant in Christ Jesus fulfills all Your previous covenants. In the New and Eternal Covenant, You have called those of us who have washed our souls clean in the Blood of the Lamb to become citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem. We are grateful for Your mercy and the protection of the Holy Spirit from the powers of evil that threaten our covenant relationship with You. Help us to be ever vigilant in keeping our souls pure and holy so that we will be ready when You call us to the heavenly Jerusalem and our eternal joy in Your Divine Presence. We pray in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

+ + +

There is a river whose streams bring joy to God's city, it sanctifies the dwelling of the Most High. God is in the city, it cannot fall; at break of day God comes to its rescue. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms are tumbling, when he raises his voice, the earth crumbles away.
Psalms 46:4-7a

On the last day, the great day of the festival, Jesus stood and cried out: "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me! Let anyone who believes in me come and drink! As scripture says, From his heart shall flow streams of living water.'"
John 7:37-38

It is not ourselves that we are proclaiming, but Christ Jesus as the Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. It is God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," that has shone into our hearts to enlighten them with the knowledge of God's glory, the glory on the face of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:5-6

...and the peace of God, which is beyond our understanding, will guard your hearts and thoughts in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

The 6th century BC prophet Ezekiel received visions of the "River of Life" flowing from the future Temple of God fourteen years after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 587 BC in the Book of Ezekiel Chapters 40-47 that relate to Revelation Chapter 22:
In the twenty-fifth year of our captivity, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth day of the month, fourteen years from the capture of the city, the hand of Yahweh was on me. He carried me away: in divine visions, he carried me away to the land of Israel and put me down on a very high mountain, on the south of which there seemed to be built a city. He took me to it, and there I saw a man, whose appearance was like brass. He had a flax cord and a measuring rod in his hand and was standing in the gateway. The man said to me, "Son of man, look carefully, listen closely and pay attention to everything I show you, since you have been brought here only for me to show it to you, since you have been brought here only for me to show it to you. Tell the House of Israel everything that you see."
Ezekiel 40:1-4

He brought me back to the entrance of the Temple, where a stream flowed eastward from under the Temple threshold, for the Temple faced east. The water flowed from under the right side of the Temple, south of the altar [...] Along the river, on either bank, will grow every kind of fruit tree with leaves that never wither and fruit that never fails; they will bear new fruit every month, because this water comes from the sanctuary. And their fruit will be good to eat and the leaves medicinal.'"
Ezekiel 47:1, 12

Revelation Chapter 22

Revelation 22:1-8 ~ John's Vision of the River of Life

1 Then the angel showed me the River of Life, rising from the throne of God and of the Lamb and flowing crystal-clear. 2 Down the middle of the city street, on either bank of the river were trees [xulon = tree singular] of life, which bear twelve crops of fruit in a year, one in each month, and the leaves of which are the cure for the nations. The curse of destruction will be abolished. 3 The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city; his servants will worship him, 4 they will see him face to face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. 5 And night will be abolished; they will not need lamplight or sunlight, because the Lord God will be shining on them. They will reign forever and ever. 6 The angel said to me, "All that you have written is sure and will come true: the Lord God who inspires the prophets has sent his angel to reveal to his servants what is soon to take place. 7 I am coming soon!" Blessed are those who keep the prophetic message of this book. [...] = IBGE, vol. IV, page 700.

In 21:6B, John heard the voice of the One sitting on the heavenly throne proclaim: "I will give water from the well of life free to anybody who is thirsty," and now in 22:1-2, the angel shows John that lifegiving water.

Question: What positive image does water symbolize in the New Testament? See Jn 1:32-33, 4:10-14, 7:37-39, 19:34, 1 Cor 12:13; 1 Jn 5:8, and CCC 694, 1137, and 2652.
Answer: Water is a symbol for God the Holy Spirit.

The Catechism teaches that water is a symbol in the ministry of the Holy Spirit: "The symbolism of water signifies the Holy Spirit's action in Baptism since after the invocation of the Holy Spirit it becomes the efficacious sacramental sign of new birth: just as the gestation of our first birth took place in water, so the water of Baptism truly signifies that our birth into the divine life is given to us in the Holy Spirit. As by one Spirit, we were all baptized, so we are also made to drink of one Spirit. Thus, the Spirit is also personally the living water welling up from Christ crucified as its source and welling up in us to eternal life" (CCC 694).

Question: What are some of the other symbols of the Holy Spirit in addition to water? See CCC 535, 555, 694, 695, 696, 697, 698, 699, 700, 701, 1295-96, 1137, and 2652.
Answer: Symbols of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament include: anointing, clouds, a dove, the finger of God, fire, hand, light, and the seal of the Holy Spirit.

There was no revelation to humanity of the ministry of God the Holy Spirit until the Incarnation of the Word in Mary (CCC 456, 484-86). For examples of the work of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, see:

In John 1:33, John the Baptist said: "I did not know him myself, but he who sent me to baptize with water had said to me, The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and rest is the one who is to baptize with the Holy Spirit.'"
In John 4:14, Jesus told the Samaritan woman: "no one who drinks the water that I shall give him will ever be thirsty again: the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water, welling up for eternal life."
As Jesus hung on the Cross in John 19:34, the Roman soldier went to see if Jesus was dead: and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance, and immediately there came out blood and water.
In 1 Corinthians 12:13, St. Paul wrote: We were baptized into one body in a single Spirit, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as free men, and we were all given the same Spirit to drink.

Question: Why does the River of Life flow crystal-clear? What was John told by the angel in Revelation 21:27?
Answer: When John saw the New Jerusalem, the angel told him: "Nothing unclean may come into it." God the Holy Spirit powers the River of Life that flows from the heavenly Temple of the New Jerusalem.

Question: Therefore, if the River of Life represents God the Holy Spirit, what mystery of Christian faith does John see in Revelation 22:1: Then the angel showed me the River of Life, rising from the throne of God and of the Lamb and flowing crystal-clear.
Answer: John saw the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity: The Holy Spirit [the River of Life], God [the Father], and the Lamb [God the Son] enthroned.

This passage also reveals a theological point debated for centuries among Eastern and Western Rite Catholics known as the Filioque clause of the Nicene-Constantinople Creed. The Latin tradition of the Creed confesses that God the Holy Spirit "proceeds from the Father and the Son [filioque]." Eastern Rite Catholics express the Father's character as the first origin of the Spirit by confessing the Spirit as He "who proceeds from the Father," and affirms that He comes from the Father but "through the Son." This passage, describing the River of Life (Holy Spirit) rising from "the throne of God and the Lamb," is one of the proof texts for Western Rite Catholics in support of the filioque clause because the River of Life flows from both the Father and the Son. Also, in Jesus' last homily to the disciples, He told them He would send the Holy Spirit, who He called the Paraclete. Jesus said to them: When the paraclete comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who issued from the Father, he will be my witness" (Jn 15:26, bold added for emphasis).

Belief in the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity as One Holy and Eternal God is central to Christian faith and separates Christians from non-Christians. The Catholic Church, for example, does not recognize Mormon baptism as legitimate Christian baptism because Mormons do not believe in the unity of the Trinity as One Holy and Eternal God. Instead, Mormons believe in a trinity of three different gods (see the Mormon reference History of the Church 6.474).

See CCC citations #232-267 for more information on the mystery of the Trinity:

CCC# 233: "Christians are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: not in their names, for there is only one God, the almighty Father, his only Son, and the Holy Spirit: the Most Holy Trinity" (bold added for emphasis).
CCC# 234: "The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is, therefore, the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the hierarchy of the truths of faith.' The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and means by which one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, reveals himself to men and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin.'"

2 on either bank of the river were trees [tree] of life
In Greek, the tree-of-Life reference is singular, not plural. The more accurate translation is: on each side of the River was Tree of Life. This reference points to the symbolic and sacramental nature of this passage.
Question: What is unique about the fruit of this forest of the Tree-of-Life, and what do the leaves symbolize? See Ps 1:3, 46:5, and Ez 47:1-12.
Answer: The leaves never wither (Ps 1:3), it bears continuously twelve months a year, and it heals (Ez 47:1-12 and Ps 46:5).

Remember, the symbolic imagery of the number 12 symbolizes the perfection of government and authority. The perpetual green of the leaves and the healing quality symbolizes the joy of eternal life, and the continuous bearing fruit symbolizes the eternal nature of the life of the redeemed.

There are two different Greek words used for the Cross of the crucifixion in the New Testament: stauros and xulon. The word stauros can refer either to the wood of the cross itself (considered the instrument of execution) or to the patibulum. The patibulum was the upper crosspiece to which the executioners nailed the victim's hands before nailing the cross-piece with the body to the upright tree. In this passage, the Greek word for "tree" is xulon, the word for "wood" or "tree" (as in a living tree) that appears in New Testament passages with references to the Cross of the crucifixion. For example, St. Peter told the Jewish crowd: "it was the God of our ancestors who raised up Jesus, whom you executed by hanging on a tree [xulon]" (Acts 5:30). Also, see xulon in Acts 10:39; 13:29; 1 Peter 2:24 and in Revelation seven times in 22:7; 6:13; 7:1; 9:4; 22:2 twice, and 14. It is, in fact, possible that Jesus' crucifixion was on a living tree in fulfillment of the Old Covenant curse on anyone who was "hanged on a tree" (see Dt 21:22-23; Josh 10:26-27). In Galatians 3:13, Paul saw Christ's crucifixion as a fulfillment of the Old Covenant curse in Deuteronomy.

St. Irenaeus (martyred circa AD 200) and other early Fathers of the Church saw the Cross as the definitive Tree-of-Life. They wrote that the Tree-of-Life in the Garden of Eden was only a promise of the true Tree-of-Life fulfilled in Christ's sacrifice for the sins of the world on the tree of the Cross. In this imagery, the previous seven Old Testament covenants of God with His people come full circle (see the chart on Yahweh's covenants). The first sign of God's covenant with Adam was the Tree-of-Life in the Garden of Eden that held the promise of eternal life. Now, in the last covenant with the New Adam, humanity is redeemed through the Cross which has become the covenant sign of God's abundant grace giving eternal life to redeemed humankind:
First Adam/Tree-of-Life = eternal life for Adam ==> Jesus the Second Adam/Tree-of-Life = the Cross, redeeming humanity to eternal life by Christ's blood atoning for the sin of Adam.

As the seventh vision continues, the Chalice Angel of 21:9 shows John the River of Life. John's vision is a parallel to the springs of water welling up out of the ground in the Garden of Eden to form a river which then parted into four streams that went out to water the earth (Gen 2:10-14). This image repeats Ezekiel's vision in Chapter 47 of the New Covenant Temple. Under the Law of the old Sinai Covenant, God required the covenant people to journey to the Temple in Jerusalem for the ritual cleansing of unintentional sin through animal sacrifice (there was no forgiveness for intentional sin; see Num 15:22-31). But the New Covenant promised that a mighty river of grace and life would spill forth to cleanse the whole earth like the river that flowed from in the Sanctuary of Eden (Gen 2:6, 10). Also, see Ezekiel 40:1-4 and 47:1-12.

Question: In Ezekiel's vision, from where does the water flow?
Answer: It flows eastwards from under the Temple's threshold and from under the right side of the Temple.

You will recall that from Jesus' pierced chest flowed out blood and water from the Cross (Jn 19:34), and after His Ascension, He is seated on the right hand of God the Father in Heaven (c.f., Acts 7:55-56; Heb 1:3),. The Old Covenant desert Tabernacle and the Jerusalem Temple were oriented to face the east. In front of the desert Sanctuary was large bronze laver or basin (Ex 30:17-21) called the "sea" in the Jerusalem Temple (1 Kng 7:23-28). The priests had to purify themselves with the "holy water" from the basin before entering the Sanctuary's Holy Place, and the covenant people had to ritually cleanse themselves in a ritual pool called a mikvah before entering the Temple for worship. Perhaps the bronze laver and the mikvah foreshadowed the purification flowing water from Jesus' pierced chest as well as the Holy Spirit's mission in the Sacrament of Baptism, and John's vision of the River of Life pouring out to purify the whole earth as the Holy Spirit renews creation.

Question: In Ezekiel's vision, there were enormous numbers of trees [xulon = singular] on each bank of the river (Ez 47:7-12). How does Ezekiel's vision compare to John's?
Answer: In John's vision, there was a Tree-of-Life [singular] lining the riverbanks indicating that Tree-of-Life is the unique gift of salvation.

Comparing John's vision of the Tree-of-Life with Adam's Tree-of-Life, we understand that God restored in superabundance the blessing Adam forfeited through sin. What we have gained in Christ is so much more than we lost through Adam. St Paul wrote to the Roman Christians: If death came to many through the offense of one man, how much greater an effect the grace of God has had, coming to so many and so plentifully as a free gift through the one man Jesus Christ! (Rom 5:15).

When we compare Revelation 22:2 with Ezekiel 47:12, we see that there are similarities as well as differences. However, in both passages, the Tree-of-Life is continuously bearing fruit in a never-ending supply of life that Christ promised the faithful in Revelation 2:7 when He said: "those who prove victorious I will feed from the tree of life set in God's paradise." Ezekiel's vision is of the promise and John's of the fulfillment.

Question: In both passages, how will the Tree-of-Life transform the whole world? Answer: The Cross, as the true Tree-of-Life, heals the nations redeemed by the blood of Christ because they follow the light of the Gospel of salvation.

Question: Is this a blessing reserved only for eternity?
Answer: No. The Tree-of-Life is sustaining believers now who receive Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist, and its effects continue into eternity.

Question: In His earthly ministry, Jesus promised the gift of "living water." What were the circumstances under which He gave that promise? See John 4:1-14 and 7:37-39. You will recall in Scripture that a bridegroom courts a bride at a well, and covenant marriage is one of the reoccurring symbols of Yahweh in covenant with His obedient people. Many early Church Fathers (especially in the Eastern Rite) believe the Annunciation took place at a well in Nazareth, which can be visited in Nazareth today.
Answer: He made the promise of "living water" when He talked to the woman of Samaria as Christ the Bridegroom courting Samaria the Bride. Then, later, during the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, He promised "whoever believes in Me" would receive "rivers of living water."

Please turn to John 7:37-39, where Jesus was attending the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. It is also called the Feast of Shelters, or in Hebrew, Sukkoth (sukkoth is the plural of sukka, which in Hebrew means booth'). This Feast was one of the three pilgrim feasts when God required every man of the Covenant (13 years or older) to present himself before at the altar of the Temple in Jerusalem. The Feast of Tabernacles followed five days after the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), celebrated on the 10th day of the seventh month. In the observance of the Feast of Atonement, the sacrifices atoned for the collective sin of Israel and restored her covenant relationship with Yahweh. In the next annual feast, the Feast of Tabernacles/Shelters, the sanctified nation kept a holy feast of harvest joy in communion with Yahweh, the Almighty God of His covenant people. Please refer to the chart on the Seven Sacred Annual Feasts of the Old Covenant in the handout for this lesson.

The description of the Feast Of Tabernacles appears in Leviticus 23:33-44, Numbers 29:12-38, in the writings of the Jewish historians Philo and Josephus, and many passages of the Jewish Mishnah as the "holiest and greatest" of all the Holy Feasts (Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 8.4.1). It was the seventh feast celebrated in the seventh month that ended the liturgical year and celebrated seven days beginning on the 15th day of the 7th month until the 21st. The seventh day was followed by an "octave" on the 22nd in a Sacred Assembly of Israel, making the entire feast an eight-day celebration. It was also one of the three "pilgrim feasts" where every man of the covenant must appear before God's holy altar at the Jerusalem Temple (Dt 16:16).

The feast celebrated God taking possession of the desert Tabernacle at Mt. Sinai (Ex 40:34-35) when His covenant people dwelled in booths in the wilderness. However, the feast also pointed to the Final Harvest of souls into Yahweh's "storehouse" in the completion of Israel's mission and the gathering of all nations into the Lord's holy and eternal covenant. The Feast of Tabernacles symbolized God's Final Harvest in the last harvest for the year that included gathering the grapes from the vineyards. During the feast, seventy bulls were sacrificed to Yahweh, representing the symbolic number of the seventy Gentile nations (Gen 10).

On each of the seven days of the feast, there was the Ceremony of the Outpouring of Water" (Mishnah, Sukkah, 4.1C, 4:9), considered of such importance that the people also called the festival the "House of Outpouring" (Mishnah, Sukkah 5.1). The High Priest led a procession from the Temple to the Pool of Siloam. In his Gospel, John tells us the name of the pool in Hebrew means "one who has been sent" (Jn 9:7).1 In their right hands, the people carried the Lulab, branches of willow and myrtle tied together with a palm-branch between them, fulfilling the command concerning the feast in Leviticus 23:40 (perhaps these three branches foreshadowed the Trinity). In their left hands, each worshipper carried the Ethrog, a species of citron, the so-called "Paradise-apple," representing the "fruit of the forbidden tree" (Mishnah, Sukkah, 3.8-9.) When the procession reached the Pool of Siloam, the Priest filled a golden pitcher from the healing waters of the pool (see Jn 9:7-11). The procession returned to the Temple, timing their arrival as the priests were laying the pieces of the Tamid lamb and the other sacrifices on the Altar of Burnt Offerings. A trumpet then sounded three blasts, announcing the arrival of the High Priest as he entered through the "Water-gate" named from this ceremony.

The High Priest carrying the water would pass into the Court of the Priests (location of the altar of sacrifice), where another priest joined him who held the golden flagon of wine for the worship service's drink-offering. The two priests then ascended the ramp of the altar, where there were two silver funnels with narrow openings leading down to the base of the altar. One priest poured the wine at the eastern side, and at the same time, the High Priest poured the water into the western opening of the altar. Immediately, after "the pouring ceremony," the Levitical chorus and the people sang/chanted the great Hallel Psalms 113-118, (Mishnah, Sukkah, 4:8) to the accompaniment of the flute. As the Levitical choir intoned the first line of each Psalm, the people repeated it, while to each of the following lines, they responded with "Halleluyah!" [Praise God Yahweh!]. When they came to Psalm 118, the assembly not only repeated the first line, Give thanks to the LORD [Yahweh] for He is good, for his faithful love endures forever, but they also responded with We beg you, LORD [Yahweh], save us, we beg you, LORD [Yahweh] give us victory! (Ps 118:25).2 Then again, at the close of the psalm, the assembly called out, Give thanks to the LORD [Yahweh] for he is good, for his faithful love endures forever. As they repeated these lines, they also shook the Lulabh towards the altar.

Read Psalm 118. His last day in Jerusalem before the Last Supper, in the Parable of the Wicked Tenants (Mt 21:33-46), Jesus quoted Psalm 118:22 and identified it as fulfilled in Him. Jesus said, "The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone" (Mt 21:42) and added this warning, "I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit" (Mt 21:43). Then, look at the prophetic importance of Psalm 118:25b, Blessed in the name of Yahweh is he who is coming! (Jesus quoted this verse to the people in Mt 23:39). The liturgical readings and the prescribed sacrifices followed the chanting of the Hallel Psalms (Edersheim, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, pages 213-222; Mishnah, Sukkah: 1:1-5:8). You might take a few minutes to reflect on the prophetic symbolism of this feast that pointed to the coming of the Messiah.

The celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles not only looked back to the time of the Exodus when God began to "tabernacle" with His Covenant people, but it also pointed to the future and the promise of the "outpouring" of God's Spirit upon His people. The water symbolism was also in the readings for the liturgy of this feast which included the Torah readings from Exodus 17:1-7 and from Numbers 20:7-11 when God sustained the children of Israel in the wilderness by the miraculous water that flowed from "the Rock" (see the document "Christ is the Rock" from handouts 1 and 2 for Exodus Lesson 9). More than any other Holy Feast, the priests, and the people regarded the Feast of Tabernacles as a thanksgiving that pointed to the future (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, p. 577). Please keep this information in mind as you reflect on when Jesus attended the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem in John Chapter 7.

There is a connection to what Jesus announced in John 7:37-39 and the liturgical readings concerning the miracles of water from the rock for the Feast of Tabernacles from Exodus 17:1-7 and Numbers 20:1-13 (also see what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4). On the last day of the festival and the pouring-out ceremony, Jesus declared in the Temple: "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me! Let anyone who believes in me come and drink! As Scripture says, "From his heart shall flow streams of living water," He was telling the assembly of the Old Covenant Church that the "living water," that the "pouring-out ceremony" prefigured, will come from Him. He is "the Rock" who gives living water welling up for eternal life!

Twice a day at the Temple's liturgical worship services, the congregation sang the Song of Witness that God commanded Moses and Joshua to teach the Children of Israel in Deuteronomy 32:1-44.
Question: How would Jesus' statement identifying Himself the "living water" connect with that song and the festival's liturgical readings about the miracle of water from the rock during the Exodus liberation?
Answer: The people and the priests would have understood that Jesus was stating that He is Yahweh, the Rock of salvation!

Does this understanding of the liturgy of the Feast of Tabernacles help you to see the chief priests' outrage and their desire to kill Jesus? In 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, St. Paul writes that Christ was the "Rock" from which God's Covenant people received life-giving water. He is the Rock that sustained the children of Israel in the wilderness, and He is also the Rock of Deuteronomy 32:4, 15, 18, 30, and 31, in the Song of Witness sung at twice a day at the morning and evening (our afternoon) liturgical worship services, which five times identified Yahweh as The Rock!

Question: In John 7:38, Jesus says, speaking of Himself: "As scripture says, From his heart shall flow streams of living water.'" To what Old Testament Scripture passage was Jesus referring? See Ez 47:1-2, and in Revelation 21:22, we learned that God and the Lamb were the Temple.
Jesus' reference was to Ezekiel's vision in 47:1-2. He was identifying Himself as the Temple prophesied by the prophet Ezekiel from which the Holy Spirit's waters of eternal life will flow from the "heart" of God and the Lamb to heal the world.

Jesus' message from John's Gospel was a shocking revelation to the Old Covenant Church assembled for the sacred feast. They would have understood precisely what he was saying: He is God who gives salvation and eternal life.

Remembering the purpose of this final annual pilgrim feast, do you see the connection between the Feast of Tabernacles that celebrated the fruit harvest and the vision that John is experiencing in Revelation Chapter 22? John saw the Feast of Tabernacles fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as the Gospel of salvation flows out to redeem the Gentile nations of the world (represented by the 70 bulls sacrificed for those nations during the feast). In Christ's Resurrection, the great harvest of souls has begun, bringing the redeemed into the heavenly assembly. Jesus was the "firstfruits" of the great harvest that followed!

God's plan of salvation for the Church as a Covenant people and all humanity was in the Old Covenant system of the Seven Sacred Annual Feasts (see the handout of the chart on the Seven Annual Old Covenant Feasts and their fulfillment in the New Covenant in Christ.In the Old Covenant annual feasts, the people celebrated the first harvest on the Feast of Firstfruits (barley harvest) on the day after the Sabbath of the Holy Week of Unleavened Bread (Lev 23:9-14). Then the Feast of Pentecost (Weeks/Shavuot) completed the grain harvest with the harvest of the wheat fifty days later as the ancients counted. Each of these feasts foreshadowed the passion and resurrection of Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost:

Passover was the last legitimate Old Covenant sacrifice, and that night, that because the Jewish Friday at sundown, was the sacred meal of the Passover victim on the first night of Unleavened Bread and Jesus' Last Supper and the gift of the Eucharist.
Friday of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was the trial and crucifixion of Christ.
The Feast of Firstfruits on the day after the Saturday Sabbath was the resurrection of Christ as the "firstfruits" of the harvest of souls into heaven (1 Cor 15:23).
The Feast of Pentecost, fifty days after the Feast of Firstfruits was the outpouring of God the Holy Spirit upon the New Covenant Church.3

According to the Sinai Covenant, when the "firstfruits" received God's blessing, the entire harvest was blessed! Fifty days after the Feast of Firstfruits celebrated the firstfruits of the barley harvest that became Jesus' Resurrection from the dead, came the Feast of Pentecost and the harvest of the firstfruits of the wheat harvest (Lev 23:15-21). In AD 30, fifty days after Jesus' Resurrection from the dead and ten days after His Ascension (as the ancients counted), God the Holy Spirit came to fill and indwell the New Covenant Church waiting in the Upper Room in Jerusalem on the very morning of that pilgrim feast! Each of these Old Covenant harvest feasts assured the people if the offering made to Yahweh was holy, then the whole harvest was consecrated to God.

In the same way, the offering of Jesus as the firstfruits of the harvest of souls followed by the firstfruits of the Church, those gathered in the Upper Room, assured that the entire harvest of souls into heaven would be holy! The Old Covenant spring harvest feasts of Firstfruits and Pentecost, when God blessed the firstfruits of the grain harvests, foreshadowed the Resurrection of Christ and the birth of the New Covenant Church. Christ's Resurrection was on the Feast of Firstfruits and God the Holy Spirit came to the Church on the Feast of Pentecost, thereby sanctifying the entire harvest of souls into heaven.

Between the fourth and fifth annual feasts came the "long summer harvest." At the end of the ligurgical cycle of the annual feasts came the feasts of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), Atonement (Yom Kippur), and Tabernacles/Shelters (Sukkot) in the early fall. (See the chart of the Civil and Liturgical Calendar).

If Jesus fulfilled the first four feasts in His First Advent, then will He fulfill the last three in His Second Advent? Is it possible that the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) will be the fulfillment of His Second Coming? Saint Paul wrote: At the signal given by the voice of the Archangel and the trumpet of God, the Lord himself will come down from heaven; those who have died in Christ will be the first to rise, and only after that shall we who remain alive be taken up in the clouds, together with them, to meet the Lord in the air (1Thess 4:16-17). Will the next feast in the cycle, the Feast of Atonement (Yom Kippur), be fulfilled in the Final Judgment? And will the last feast, the Feast of Tabernacles, be the creation of the Tabernacle of the new Heaven and earth in the New Jerusalem that we see in Revelation Chapter 22 when the fruit of righteous souls fill the Temple/storehouse of God and the Lamb?

John's vision of the New Jerusalem in Revelation Chapters 21-22 fulfills the Feast of Tabernacles. We have seen the layers of fulfillment in John's vision and historically in the promised fulfillment of this feast that began with the outpouring of God the Holy Spirit at the second Great Pentecost in May of AD 30. On the Feast of Pentecost, God's Spirit came in tongues of fire to fill and indwelled Jesus' disciples in the Upper Room. Then they began to carry the Gospel message out to all the nations, calling them back into the family of God (prefigured in the sacrifice of the seventy bulls at the Old Covenant feast and the outpouring of the water at the altar symbolizing the Spirit of Yahweh flowing out to the nations). John's vision of the River of Life (God the Holy Spirit) and the fruitful Tree-of-life (eternal life) will finally be realized, in all its fullness, in the heavenly liturgy of the Feast of Tabernacles. At that time, the family of God, comprised of all the faithful of humanity, is finally united in the Most Holy Trinity.

3 The curse of destruction will be abolished. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city; his servants will worship him, 4 they will see him face to face, and his name will be written on their foreheads."
The "curse of destruction" that "will be abolished" refers to the curse-judgments for disobedience and apostasy from the covenant; see Deuteronomy 28:15-68. Revelation 22:3 is the fulfillment of a prophecy by the post-exile prophet Zechariah whose prophetic ministry began in 520 BC. The Book of the Zechariah is one of the most important prophetic books giving detailed Messianic references fulfilled in the life of Jesus the Messiah (see our study on Zechariah).

In Zechariah 9:9, he foretells Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Then Zechariah gives the prophecy of Christ's passion, writing: As for you, because of the blood of your covenant, I have released your prisoners from the pit (Zec 9:11). In 13:1, he writes: When that day comes, a fountain will be opened for the House of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to wash sin and impurity away. Then in Chapter 12, Zechariah prophesizes the Last Battle and the splendor of the New Jerusalem and makes the prophetic promise in verse 11: People will make their homes there, the curse of destruction will be lifted; Jerusalem will be safe to live in.

Question: But how was the curse removed? See Galatians 3:13-14.
Answer: Jesus took the curse of the Law upon Himself to save us. St. Paul wrote: Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by being cursed for our sake since scripture says: Anyone hanged is accursed,' so that the blessing of Abraham might come to the gentiles in Christ Jesus, and so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Question: Revelation 22:4 calls the citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem who carry the name of the Lamb what significant title?
Answer: They are His "servants."

This expression is primarily used to describe prophets in Scripture (for example in the Book of Revelation see 1:1; 10:7; 11:18; 15:3; 19:2, 5; 11:6, 9). Now, all Yahweh's people are prophets because He has put His Spirit upon them. It is as Moses prayed in Numbers 11:29, If only all Yahweh's people were prophets, and Yahweh had given them his Spirit!

Question: Why do His servants see His face? St Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:18, And all of us with our unveiled faces like mirrors reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the image that we reflect in brighter and brighter glory; this is the working of the Lord who is the Spirit.
Answer: There is no longer any veil of separation between Yahweh and His children as there was in the Old Covenant.

Like the prophet Moses who saw God face to face and whose face reflected God's luminous glory (Exodus 34:29), we too shall see Him face to face in perfect communion. That the citizens of the New Jerusalem carry His name is to say that they reflect the glory of God because they bear the image of the glorified Christ. They have His name written on their foreheads that is a symbolic reference to the Old Covenant priesthood. Since they are now a royal priesthood, like the priests of old who wore the sacerdotal plate bearing the name of Yahweh, His servants, the "Overcomers," are now sealed with His name and serve Him in His Temple!

5 And night will be abolished; they will not need lamplight or sunlight, because the Lord God will be shining on them. They will reign forever and ever.
In the winter of circa AD 58, St. Paul wrote to the Church in Rome: The Night is almost gone, and the Day is at hand. Let us, therefore, lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light (Rom 13:12). The Age of the Old Covenant was the time of the world's "night" that Paul wrote about in his letter to the Roman church.

With the First Advent of Jesus the Messiah, His Resurrection and the tearing of the curtain that separated the Temple's Holy Place from the Holy of Holies (Mt 27:51), and the end of the Old Covenant (with the destruction of the Temple in AD 70), the Holy Place was fully opened with no barrier between humans and God. We received the "Age of Light" when Christ established His Church as His Kingdom of the New Covenant Israel at Pentecost. It is through the New Covenant that Jesus Christ gives the healing waters of redemption and the light of salvation to the world.

But what is the difference between the reign of God and the Lamb in Chapter 22 and the thousand-year/millennium reign of Chapter 20? Even though the Catholic Church does not support a literal thousand-year reign mentioned in Chapter 20, it is clear that, although symbolic as a "perfect" order of time (10 x 10 x 10), the millennium reign is for a certain time, not an infinite time. At the END of time, however, the royal priesthood shall reign not just for a "millennium," but for eternity. It is what the prophet Daniel wrote about in Daniel 7:27 concerning the "everlasting kingdom." It is also the "eternal life" as opposed to the "eternal punishment" that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 25:45-46, when He said: "In truth, I tell you, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me. And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the upright to eternal life."

6 The angel said to me, "All that you have written is sure and will come true: the Lord God who inspires the prophets has sent his angel to reveal to his servants what is soon to take place. 7 I am coming soon!" Blessed are those who keep the prophetic message of this book.
The seventh Chalice angel is still John's angelic companion. In this passage, the seventh angel recounts the central message of this book by testifying that the words (and the visions) John received are both sure, or trustworthy, and will come true; in other words, they cannot fail to come to fulfillment.

the Lord God who inspires the prophets
The Old Testament prophets had privileged access to God. Now, all God's New Covenant people are prophets. They have, as baptized believers, ascended with Christ in the celebration of the Eucharist and, united with their heavenly brethren, take part in divine worship.

what is soon to take place. 7 I am coming soon! Blessed are those who keep the prophetic message of this book
Is the seventh angel Christ or is he speaking on behalf of Christ? It is difficult to know the answer to this question, but we have seen Christ represented several times in this book as a heavenly messenger.

In any event, the angel is repeating the theme of this prophecy: the imminent coming of Jesus Christ!
Question: Would you care to guess how many times the Greek word erchonai, meaning "come" or "coming" referring to Jesus, appears in the Book of Revelation?
Answer: Seven times is a good guess, but it is not the correct guess because it appears seven times in Chapter 22 alone (22:7, 12, 17 three times, 20 twice)!

The word "seven" appears to express the immediacy of Christ's "coming" in Revelation 1:7; 2:5, 16; 3:11; 16:15; 22:7, 12, and 20, which is eight times! But this announcement is not the imminent coming of Christ in His Second Advent but the promise of His imminent "coming," His Parousia, as the King in Judgment on Old Covenant apostate Israel in answer to the cry of the saints and martyrs. Do not take the warning of His judgment lightly. It precedes the sixth Beatitude which repeats the promise of the first Beatitude in Revelation 1:3, "Blessed is anyone who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed those who hear them, if they treasure the content, because the Time is near." The other expression of immediacy, "The time is near (or close)," repeats five times in Revelation 1:1; 1:3; 1:4; 1:9; and 22:11. Blessed are those who keep the prophetic message of this book is the sixth Beatitude in the Book of Revelation.

Revelation 20:8-15 ~ John's Testimony
8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. When I had heard and seen them all, I knelt at the feet of the angel who had shown them to me, to worship him; 9 but he said, "Do no such thing: I am your fellow-servant and the fellow-servant of your brothers the prophets and those who keep the message of this book. God alone you must worship." 10 This, too, he said to me, "Do not keep the prophecies in this book a secret, because the Time is close. 11 Meanwhile, let the sinner continue sinning, and the unclean continue to be unclean; let the upright continue in his uprightness, and those who are holy continue to be holy. 12 Look, I am coming soon, and my reward is with me, to repay everyone as their deeds deserve. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. 14 Blessed are those who will have washed their robes clean, so that they will have the right to feed on the tree of life and can come through the gates into the city. 15 Others must stay outside: dogs, fortune-tellers, and the sexually immoral, murderers, idolaters, and every one of false speech and false life."

The angel is not Christ because he places himself as equal in status to John.
Question: How many times has John identified himself by name in this prophecy? Hint: it is not seven times.
Answer: Five times: Revelation 1:1 twice; 1:4; 1:9; 22:8. Five is the number of grace and power.

For the fifth time, John identifies himself as the one who "heard and saw."
Question: Verse 8 repeats what earlier experience? What are the similarities? See Revelation 19:9-10.
Answer: In Revelation 19:9, an angel gave the fourth Beatitude, and then John fell at the feet of the angle only to be told that his action of prostrating himself was inappropriate.

In 19:9, we mentioned that to fall or prostrate oneself before an angel or a human of superior status was not unusual in the Bible. Once again, the heavenly messenger is emphasizing now that redeemed man has access to the presence of God, he has become a "fellow-servant" with the angels. He also reminds John that as a member of the heavenly council, he, like the angels, can worship God face to face.

10 This too he said to me, "Do not keep the prophecies in this book a secret, because the time is close. 11 Meanwhile, let the sinner continue sinning, and the unclean continue to be unclean; let the upright continue in his uprightness, and those who are holy continue to be holy."
Question: Compare the angel's command to John to make known the prophecies revealed to him with Daniel's order in Daniel 12:4 concerning a prophetic message as well as John's instructions in Revelation 10:4-5 when he was told not to write down the words from the seven claps of thunder. Why was Daniel command (in the 6th century BC) to conceal the "words" of his prophecy and to "seal up the scroll" until the end of time?
Answer: In Daniel chapter 12, a divine messenger told Daniel to seal up a prophecy revealed to him because it concerned the distant future. However, John's prophetic visions involved the imminent future; therefore, John must write down everything that he has seen and heard. The only part John cannot make known is the message of the seven thunders, which suggests it is most likely a prophecy of the distant future concerning Christ's Second Advent.

The secrecy of the seven thunders is another indication that most of the action in this book took place within John's lifetime and impacted his generation. Verse 11 gives us a time reference. The angel cannot be referring to the future time of the new Heaven and Earth when everything in creation is reconciled to God because, at that time, there is no sin. This reference must be to the time when humanity must make a choice: to be for Christ or against Him. It must be the Age of the Church from John's time progressing through history, and is the prelude to judgment spoken by the prophet Ezekiel spoke of when every person must make a choice: He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse (Ez 3:27).

12 Look, I am coming soon, and my reward is with me, to repay everyone as their deeds deserve.
Verse 12 is another promise of the imminence of Jesus' coming judgment on Israel. It repeats what Jesus spoke of in Matthew 16:27-28 when He said, For the Son of man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will reward each one according to his behavior. In truth, I tell you there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming with his kingdom." Once again, we are back in John's time with the imminent destruction of the Old Covenant and the establishment of the New Covenant Church.

13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."
As He did in establishing previous covenants (c.f., with Noah, Abraham, and with the Children of Israel in the Sinai Covenant), God swears an oath Himself as the Lord of history and the sovereign keeper of the covenant with the statement: "I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." Alpha and omega are the first and last letters in the Greek alphabet. These titles appeared previously in Revelation:

Alpha and Omega

Revelation 1:8; 21:6; 22:13

First and the Last

Revelation 1:8; 1:17; 2:8; 22:13

Beginning and the End

Revelation 21:6; 22:13

In Revelation 22:14-15, the angel says: 14 "Blessed are those who will have washed their robes clean, so that they will have the right to feed on the tree of life and can come through the gates into the city. 15 Others must stay outside: dogs, fortune-tellers, and the sexually immoral, murderers, idolaters, and every one of false speech and false life."
It is the seventh Beatitude in the Book of Revelation. The New American and the Revised Standard translations read: "Blessed are those who wash." In any event, the use of the present participle in Greek emphasizes the ongoing and continual duty in the obedience of faith.

Jesus also gave seven beatitudes in His Sermon on the Mount Discourse in Matthew 5:1-10 with a summary in verses 11-12; however, angels announce the Revelation Beatitudes:

"Blessed is anyone who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed those who hear them, if they treasure the content, because the Time is near" (Rev 1:3).
"Blessed are those who die in the Lord! Blessed indeed, the Spirit says; now they can rest forever after their work, since their good deeds go with them" (Rev 14:13).
"Blessed is anyone who has kept watch, and has kept his clothes on, so that he does not go out naked and expose his shame" (Rev 16:15).
"Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb," and he added, "These words of God are true" (Rev 19:9).
"Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection; the second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and reign with him for a thousand years" (Rev 20:6).
"Blessed are those who keep the prophetic message of this book" (Rev 22:7).
"Blessed are those who will have washed their robes clean, so that they will have the right to feed on the tree of life and can come through the gates into the city. Others must stay outside: dogs, fortune-tellers, and the sexually immoral, murderers, idolaters, and every one of false speech and false life" (Rev 22:14).

Question: How do we become one of those who wash their robes clean? Where have you seen a similar statement about "robes" before? See Revelation 7:13-14.
Answer: In Revelation 7:13-14, John writes, "One of the elders then spoke and asked me, Who are these people, dressed in white robes, and where have they come from?' I answered him, You can tell me, sir.' Then he said, These are the people who have been through the great trial; they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb.'" We wash our robes (souls) clean in the Blood of Christ. His blood washes away our sins and cleanses us unto righteousness.

Question: What two privileges does this give them, and where have you seen these promises elsewhere in the book? See Revelation 2:7 and 3:13.
Answer: #1 The promise to feed on the Tree-of-Life and #2 to enter the gates of the City.

These promises in Revelation 2:7 and 3:13 are to those who persevere. The phrase to enter to gates of the City is reminiscent of the restrictions of the old Sinai Covenant, where that forbade Gentiles to enter the Temple proper under pain of death. Now, with the revelation of the "Mystery of Christ" (see Eph 3:1-9), Gentiles have entrance to the covenant with Yahweh. And finally, Christ fulfills the covenant blessing promised to Abraham that all nations of the earth would receive a blessing through him as the ancestor of the Redeemer-Messiah (Gen 12:3; Acts 3:25; Gal 3:8; and also see Revelation 21:24-26).

Question: Does the gift of eternal salvation come about through a one-time profession of faith, say, for example, in adult baptism? Is that all that is required by God? Notice the present participle in verse 14 and see 1 John 2:3-6.
Answer: No. The use of the present participle in this passage in Revelation 22:14 and John's teaching in 1 John 2:3-6 indicates that God requires a continuing life of repentance and obedience of faith, demonstrated through acts of mercy and love.

Question: What is "the city " where the righteous will enter in verse 14?
Answer: It is the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21:9

Verse 15, gives a seven-fold list of those excluded from the blessing:
The first category is "dogs." Scripture regards wild dogs as unclean scavengers. The Jews referred to Gentiles in general as "dogs" (see Mk 7:26-28 and Mt 7:6). St. Paul even applied the term "dogs" to the false Jews who betrayed the covenant by rejecting Christ in Philippians 3:2 and had, therefore, become like unbelieving Gentiles.
(The rest of the list repeats Revelation 21:8, 27):
Fortune tellers: those who use the occult to tell the future
Sexually immoral
Everyone of false speech
Everyone of false life

Revelation 22:16-22 ~ Epilogue: Come Lord Jesus!
16 I, Jesus, have sent my angel to attest these things to you for the sake of the churches. I am the sprig from the root of David and the bright star of the morning. 17 The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come!" Let everyone who listens answer, "Come!" Then let all who are thirsty come: all who want it may have the water of life, and have it free. 18 This is my solemn attestation for all who hear the prophecies in this book: if anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him every plague mentioned in the book; 19 if anyone cuts anything out of the prophecies in this book, God will cut off his share of the Tree-of-Life and of the Holy City, which are described in the book. 20 The one who attests these things says: I am indeed coming soon. Amen; come, Lord Jesus. 21 May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all. Amen

The word "you" is plural in verse 16. Jesus' message is for the entire Church as symbolized by the seven churches in Asia Minor. I am the spring from the root of David in verse 16 is also translated I am the root and the offspring of David.
Question: What does Jesus mean by His statement in 16B? See Rev 5:5, Is 11:10, Mt 1:1, and Rom 15:12.
Answer: Jesus is a direct descendant of the Yahweh's anointed servant, King David, to whom He promised an eternal covenant and a dynasty that would rule forever. Jesus is both the source (the root) and the culmination of the Davidic line.

Jesus' reference to the bright star of the morning, or as other translations read, the bright Morning Star is linked to Numbers 24:17, Revelation 2:28, and 2 Peter 1:19. God caused Balaam to foretell a "star" rising from Jacob-Israel, a reference to a future king, usually understood to be David, but also David's heir, Jesus. The reference to the "Morning Star" helps us understand Jesus' statement to those who prove victorious in the church of Thyatira when He promised them: And I will give such a person the Morning Star. Jesus is the Morning Star. St. Peter described Jesus the same way when he wrote: So we have confirmation of the words of the prophets; and you will be right to pay attention to it as to a lamp for lighting a way through the dark, until the dawn comes and the Morning Star rises in your minds [hearts = in Greek].

17 The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come!" Let everyone who listens answer, "Come!" Then let all who are thirsty come: all who want it may have the water of life, and have it free. 18 This is my solemn attestation for all who hear the prophecies in this book: 19 if anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him every plague mentioned in the book; 19 if anyone cuts anything out of the prophecies in this book, God will cut off his share of the Tree-of-Life and of the Holy City, which are described in the book.

The Greek word translated "free" in verse 17 is dorean [do-reh-an'], which means "gratuitously, without cost, freely, or free gift" (Thayer's Greek Dictionary). The New American Bible reads: "let all who desire it accept the gift of life-giving water." Look at the beautiful symbolism in verses 17-18: The Holy Spirit and the Church (the Bride) call for Christ to come in salvation and judgment! The call reminds us again that John's entire prophecy is set in the heavenly liturgy as, in response to the Spirit and the Bride, the assembly of saints and angels call out, "Let everyone who listens answer, Come!' And then Christ makes His invitation to come to Him and, for eternity, drink from the cup of salvation that only He can offer.
Question: What is the price of the salvation He offers?
Answer: There is no cost; it is free.

Question: Why is salvation a gift?
Answer: It is free because Christ paid the price of our salvation on the altar of the Cross.

He justifies us and reconciles us as a gift by His grace. In his letter to the Roman Christians, St. Paul wrote: No distinction is made: all have sinned and lack God's glory, and all are justified by the free gift of his grace through being set free in Christ. God appointed him as a sacrifice for reconciliation through faith by the shedding of his blood (Rom 3:23-24).

18 This is my solemn attestation for all who hear the prophecies in this book: if anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him every plague mentioned in the book; 19 if anyone cuts anything out of the prophecies in this book, God will cut off his share of the Tree-of-Life and of the Holy City, which are described in the book.
For many Christians, these are the most solemn and terrifying words of the prophecy, and every teacher of Scripture should tremble at this warning. These words embrace and conclude all of Sacred Scripture. These words of Christ speak with the same authority that Moses recorded when God declared, concerning the Word of the Law in Deuteronomy 4:2, You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish anything from it. These are words that should also make every Bible translator tremble! From the Law of Moses to the prophecies of the Book of Revelation, "words" were to be written down by God's holy prophets, but the truth of the revelation of Holy Scripture is that it is One unchanging Word, Jesus Christ. Now, with the end of John's visions, the conclusion of Scripture is announced: adding or removing words is forbidden. These are the Last words of the unchanging Word.

20 The one who attests these things says: I am indeed coming soon. Amen; come, Lord Jesus. 21 May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all. Amen
The one who attests to these things is John.
Question: How many times as Chapter 22 emphasized the imminence of Christ's coming?
Answer: Three times in Revelation 22:7, 22:12, and 22:20.

As we discussed in Revelation 3:14, the familiar Hebrew word, "Amen" (emen), is an acrostic formed from the Hebrew phrase "God is a trustworthy king." We use the word as an oath declaring our belief that God is the Trustworthy King and, at the same time, it calls down upon oneself the curses of the covenant if one fell away from the oath we take as believers in Christ through the Sacraments. Did you know that the Latin word sacramentum, from which we get our word "sacrament," means "oath"? Our "Amen" is our solemn recognition that we would have no grace except for the fact that Jesus Christ is our "Amen," our Trustworthy King who underwent the Curse for us by sacrificing Himself on the Cross for our sins. So in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist, when the Church calls out the Great Amen in one voice, we should call out with such force that all the earth should tremble! Amen! Halleluyah! [literally in Hebrew = "praise God Yahweh!"] Christ is King!

"Come, Lord Jesus" in verse 20 is a liturgical refrain similar to the Aramaic expression, Marana tha, "Our Lord, Come!" in 1 Corinthians 16:22. It was a prayer the Christian congregations in the 1st century shouted out for the promised coming (Parousia) of Christ in glory. The cry Marana tha, "O Lord, Come!" (rendered "Come, Lord" in our NJB translation) reflects the cry of the saints under the heavenly altar in Revelation 6:9-10, and the plea of the saints down through Salvation History. It represents our yearning for the Second Advent of Christ. However, the phrase also calls for the justice Christ brings as He continually "comes" in judgment throughout history, just as He came in judgment on Old Covenant Israel and held them accountable for the blood of the prophets they shed (foretold by Jesus in Mt 23:33-39). We also have evidence from the Didache, the first catechism of the Church (written some time between AD 50-120) that the cry, Maranatha, "Come, Lord," was part of the liturgy of the Eucharist of the early Church when the faithful would cry out Marana tha during the Consecration of the Host. This Aramaic phrase (you will recall that Aramaic was the language of the Jews at the time of Christ) has two translations depending on the division of the letters: maran atha means "the Lord is coming," while marana tha means "O, Lord, Come!"

21 May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all!"
The cry Maranatha was for Jesus' return and the judgment rendered against the enemies of His Church when He came at the Second Advent. However, the prayer in verse 21 is a plea for grace for all the faithful saints.

A question many people ask about the Bible is, "What value is there today in a book written centuries ago to people who lived as contemporaries of the different authors of the books of the Bible?" St. Paul answered this question when he stated a fundamental principle of Biblical interpretation relevant to all generations. St. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All scripture is inspired by God and useful for refuting error, for guiding people's lives and teaching them to be upright. This is how someone who is dedicated to God becomes fully equipped and ready for any good work." In other words, God's judgment on Old Covenant Israel for her disobedience and rebellion can happen to us if we do not persevere in faith and works of mercy. Paul addressed this danger in Romans 11:20-23 when he wrote: they through their unbelief were broken off, and you are established through your faith. So it is not pride that you should have, but fear; if God did not spare the natural branches, he might not spare you either. Remember God's severity as well as his goodness: his severity to those who fell, and his goodness to you as long as you persevere in it; if not, you too will be cut off." The message is if the first man and woman and the Covenant Church of Israel can "be broken" off from the branch of the Tree-of-Life, then, so can we.

What is the impact of John's visions beyond AD 70? How can we apply the prophecies of his visions to the Church in the present age? Although Jesus' message to John is for the Church of the 1st-century AD, the message resonates down through the centuries to us.

The Old Covenant Church was good and holy for its time; however, the purpose of the corporate covenant God made with Israel at Mount Sinai was to prepare humanity for the coming of the Redeemer-Messiah and His eternal covenant prophesied by the prophets (i.e., Jer 31:31-34; 32:39-41; 50:5). God established the sacrificial system after the fall of Adam and a set liturgy of worship in the Sinai Covenant. He did this to teach us about sacrifice and grace so we would understand the sacrifice the Redeemer-Messiah would offer on the Cross for the sins of the world and the grace of God that would extend to us through His sacrifice. In Jesus' passion and resurrection, the Old Covenant came to fulfillment, and the New Covenant in Christ took its place. As good and holy as the Old Covenant was, it could not compare to the best and the holiest offered to us in the New and eternal Covenant (see Jesus' teaching in the Parable of the Old and New Wineskins in Mt 9:17). When what was good and holy in the Old Covenant keeps humanity from the best and the holiest that God has to offer in the New, then it is working in opposition to God and becomes the enemy of God's plan for humanity. That is why the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and its animal sacrifices became necessary. Instead of being God's true prophet to the world, Jerusalem and the Temple had become the False Prophet and the False Bride in denying Christ as the Messiah.

The Old Covenant ended with the sacrifice of Jesus on the altar of the Cross: "It is finished" or "It is fulfilled/accomplished" were His last words in John 19:30. Jesus established the New Covenant with His resurrection from the dead. Yet God, in His grace, gave forty-years for the Jews to come into the New Covenant. From AD 30, with Christ's resurrection and the second great Pentecost when God the Holy Spirit descended in fire and took possession of the Church, to the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 was forty years. It was similar to the period of grace He gave the children of Israel to live under the Sinai Covenant in their forty years from the first great Pentecost, when God came down in fire on Mt. Sinai, to the time they took possession of the Promised Land. The Old Covenant ended in AD 70 with the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the end of the Old Covenant sacrificial system, which had become meaningless with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross. At that moment, the New Covenant was finally complete, just as stated in the New Testament Letter to the Hebrews: as long as the old tent stands, the way into the Holy Place is not opened up (Heb 9:8; bold added for emphasis).

The Temple in Jerusalem was God's dwelling place with His covenant people, but now, in the New Covenant in Jesus Christ, our bodies became the Temple because God dwells in us! St. Paul writes beautifully about our present condition, as the tabernacle of the Lord, our bodies as God's "tent" and the promise of a more perfect, heavenly sanctuary in 2 Corinthians Chapters 4 and 5. In 2 Corinthians 5:1 he wrote: For we are well aware that when the tent that houses us on earth is folded up, there is a house for us from God, not made by human hands but everlasting, in the heavens. Paul contrasts this earthly body, our present Temple, with the heavenly Temple. But there is still the promise of the Second Advent of Christ and the Final Judgment!

The Old Covenant, in one sense, corresponds to the whole age of this earth. Although it ended with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, it doesn't ultimately end until the Second Advent of Christ and the end of the world as we know it. The macro Temple of the universe will end with fire just as Jerusalem and the earthly Temple ended with fire in AD 70, and a new Heaven and Earth will replace it. Referring to that event, St. Peter wrote: First of all, do not forget that in the final days there will come sarcastic scoffers whose life is ruled by their passions. "What has happened to the promise of his coming?" they will say, "Since our Fathers died everything has gone on just as it has since the beginning of creation!" They deliberately ignore the fact that long ago there were the heavens and the earth, formed out of water and through water by the Word of God, and that it was through these same factors that the world of those days was destroyed by the floodwaters. It is the same Word which is preserving the present heavens and earth for fire, keeping them till the Day of Judgment and of the destruction of sinners. But there is one thing, my dear friends, that you must never forget: that with the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not being slow in carrying out his promises, as some people think he is; rather is he being patient with you, wanting nobody to be lost, and everybody to be brought to repentance. The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then with a roar the sky will vanish, the elements will catch fire and melt away, the earth and all that it contains will be burned up (2 Peter 3:3-10).

The fate of Jerusalem in AD 70 serves as a prelude to the destruction of the cosmos in the Final Judgment at the end of time. The Lord came in AD 70 in judgment on the Old Covenant Church. He also comes in judgment to each of us at the end of our lives when our earthly bodies, our New Covenant Temples (2 Cor 4:16) perish, and He will come at the end of time in judgment of the whole Church.

Our word "tribulation" comes from the Latin word "tribulum," which was an instrument used to separate the wheat from the chaff in the threshing process. According to God's command, Solomon built the Jerusalem Temple on an ancient threshing floor where laborers separated the useless chaff from the good grain (1 Chron 21:15, 18, 21, 22, 28; 2 Chron 3:1). The mission of the New Covenant Church is also to labor to separate the "wheat" from the "chaff" of humanity. We can make a comparison between the Tent of the original Tabernacle (that traveled with the Children of Israel) versus the Temple in Jerusalem (built by Solomon) and our present "Tent" (our earthly bodies) versus the Eternal Tabernacle in Heaven.

Old Covenant
Tabernacle/Tent in the wilderness ==> Temple in Jerusalem

New Covenant
Tabernacle/Tent of our earthly bodies==> God's heavenly Tabernacle

Concerning God's presence with His covenant people, the Old Testament divides into two parts. From the time of ratification of the Sinai Covenant until the time of David's son Solomon, God dwelled in the earthly Tabernacle, the "Tent" God instructed Moses to make (Ex 25:8-9). But from the time of King Solomon, when he built the glorious Temple in Jerusalem, God took possession of the Holy of Holies in the Temple to become His dwelling place among His covenant people (1 Kng 8:10-13). In a sense, the original Tabernacle of the "Tent" corresponds to our earthly body while the Temple in Jerusalem was a prototype of our heavenly bodies. For 1,000 years, the Temple in Jerusalem foreshadowed and prefigured the New Covenant Christ came to establish. Once the Temple in Jerusalem was built, what purpose was there for the Old Tabernacle? None. It fulfilled its purpose. In the same way, once Christ defeated sin and death and God the Holy Spirit filled and indwelled every baptized believer, what purpose does the Temple in Jerusalem serve? In the same sense, once we die, what good is our earthly "Tent;" instead, we have the promise of the heavenly Tabernacle where we will be in the presence of our God.

In Chapter 5 of his second letter to the Christians at Corinth, St. Paul wrote: 5:1 For we are well aware that when the tent that houses us on earth is folded up, there is a house for us from God, not made by human hands, but everlasting, in the heavens. 2 And in this earthly state we do indeed groan, 3 longing to put on our heavenly home over the present one; if indeed we are to be found clothed rather than stripped bare. 4 Yes indeed, in this present tent, we groan under the burden, not that we want to be stripped of our covering, but because we want to be covered with a second garment on top, so that what is mortal in us may be swallowed up by life. 5 It is God who designed us for this very purpose, and he has given us the Spirit as a pledge. 6 We are always full of confidence, then, realizing that as long as we are at home in the body we are exiled from the Lord; 7 guided by faith and not yet by sight 8 and long instead to be exiled from the body and to be at home with the Lord. 9 And so whether at home or exiled, we make it our ambition to please him. 10 For at the judgment seat of Christ, we are all to be seen for what we are, so that each so us may receive what he has deserved in the body, matched to whatever he has done, good or bad (see 2 Corinthians 5:1-10). The last chapters of Revelation address the events of the future transformation, so let us discuss the heavenly Tabernacle and the message of Revelation for the Church today and in the years to come.

There is an often repeated a maxim relevant to the study of ancient texts: "A text without a context is only a pretext." The warning for students of the Bible is this: if we do not study Sacred Scripture in light of the context in which it was written, and interpret Scripture in the light of God the Holy Spirit and the living tradition of the Church, then we can twist it to mean anything we want. The mark of the Beast can become an embedded computer chip, the Harlot city can become the Roman Catholic Church, and the angels coming from the four corners of the earth can mean that the world is flat. The interpretation then comes from the commentator's imagination. We must base the interpretation of Scripture on context, original language, customs of the times, the Tradition of the Church, and in perfect agreement with other passages in Sacred Scripture (reference CCC # 110-113)

God is the author of the Book of Revelation and the entire Bible (CCC#105). These sacred books teach the truth of God without error (CCC# 107) through human writers who were inspired by God the Holy Spirit (CCC# 101-106). The answer to the question about the relevance of the Bible to people today is that Sacred Scripture is a continuing lesson for the Church of all ages from Mount Sinai to Vatican Hill. Salvation is a lifetime journey for every individual Christian as well as a journey through history for God's Church. But if we persevere as individuals and as a Covenant people, if we are faithful, if we continue in the mission of the Gospel, then the promises of the New Covenant are ours! We will bathe in the River of eternal Life, eat from the Tree-of-Life, and with confidence, we can call out "Maranatha, Come Lord!"

Do you realize that you have received a blessing from Christ for persevering in the study of this holy book? Do you remember the blessing that Jesus gave in Revelation 1:3? It applies to you: Blessed is anyone who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed those who hear them, if they treasure the content, because the Time is near. Blessed is ___________who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed is __________who hears them! This blessing is yours. Put your name in this verse and claim it!

It has been two thousand years since the First Advent of the Savior. To some, this seems a long time, but when placed in the context of human history, it is a relatively short time, only a moment in the cosmos. St. Paul understood this when he wrote to the faith community of the Church in Rome: Besides, you know the time has come; the moment is here for you to stop sleeping and wake up, because by now our salvation is nearer than when we first began to believe. The night is nearly over, daylight is on the way; so let us throw off everything that belongs to the darkness and equip ourselves for the light (Rom 13:11-12). Those of us living in the "moment" before the promised return of Jesus Christ must be vigilant and prepare for His Second Advent.

St. Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem (AD 315-386) wrote on the twofold coming of the Christ:
"We do not preach only one coming of Christ, but a second as well, much more glorious than the first. The first coming was marked by patience; the second will bring the crown of a divine kingdom. In general, what relates to our Lord Jesus Christ has two aspects. There is a birth from God before the ages, and a birth from the virgin at the fullness of time. There is a hidden coming. Like that of rain on fleece, and a coming before all eyes, still in the future" (St Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Instruction, # 1).

Read Acts 4:12, 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, Hebrews 6:4-8, and CCC# 432.
Question: Was it possible to revive the Old Covenant after the destruction of Jerusalem? Is there a separate means of salvation for the Jews under the Old Covenant? See Acts 12:4.
Answer: No. It is impossible to have the covenant of eternal salvation without Jesus Christ. St. Peter told the Jewish Sanhedrin, Only in him is there salvation; for of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved (Acts 12:4).

The fathers of the Old Covenant Church worshiped Christ under the signs and seals of the "age to come" (1 Cor 10:1-4). Now that that "age to come" has arrived, salvation is only with Christ and His New Covenant Kingdom of the Church. St. Cyril quoted in his Catechetical Instruction #1 & 2 (Mt 21:8; Mk 11:9; Lk 19:38; Jn 12:13; and Ps 118:25); #3 (Mal 3:1); #4 (Mal 3:2-3); #5 (Titus 2:13); #6 (The Apostles Creed):

"At the first coming, he was wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. At his second coming, he will be clothed in light as in a garment. In the first coming, he endured the cross, despising the shame; in the second coming, he will be in glory, escorted by an army of angels. We look then beyond the first coming and await the second. At the first coming, we said: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'1 At the second we shall say it again; we shall go out with the angels to meet the Lord and cry out in adoration: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord" (St Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Instruction, # 2)
"The Savior will not come to be judged again, but to judge those by whom he was judged. At his own judgment, he was silent; then he will address those who committed the outrages against him when they crucified him and will remind them: You did these things, and I was silent.' His first coming was to fulfill his plan of love, to teach men by gentle persuasion. This time, whether men like it or not, they will be subjects of his kingdom by necessity. Malachi the prophet speaks of the two comings. And the Lord whom you seek will come suddenly to his temple'3: that is one coming. Again, he says of another coming: Look, the Lord Almighty will come, and who will endure the Day of his entry, or who will stand in his sight? Because he comes like a refiner's fire, a fuller's herb, and he will sit refining and cleansing" (St Cyril of Jerusalem: Catechetical Instruction, #s 3 and 4).
"These two comings are also referred to by Paul in writing to Titus: The grace of God the Savior has appeared to all men, instructing us to put aside impiety and worldly desires and live temperately, uprightly, and religiously in this present age, waiting for the joyful hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" (St Cyril of Jerusalem: Catechetical Instruction, #5).
Notice how he speaks of a first coming for which he gives thanks, and a second, the one we still await. That is why the faith we profess has been handed on to you in these words: He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.'
Our Lord Jesus Christ will, therefore, come from heaven. He will come at the end of the world, in glory, at the last day. For there will be an end to this world, and the created world will be made new" (St Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Instruction, #6).

Catechism of the Catholic Church on the inerrancy of Sacred Scripture:
CCC# 105: "God is the author of Sacred Scripture. The divinely revealed realities, which are contained and presented in the text of Sacred Scripture have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. For holy Mother church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author and have been handed on as such to the Church herself."

CCC# 107: "The inspired books teach the truth. Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures."

God bless you as you continue to grow closer to our Lord through the Study of Sacred Scripture! Please take the time to read St. Ephraim's advice on the study of Scripture.

1. The Hebrew name of the purification pool of Siloam was Shiloh and makes a connection to Jacob-Israel's prophecy for his son Judah in Genesis 49:8-12. The literal translation of 49:10 is: "The scepter shall not pass from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and the peoples render him obedience." With John's translation of the word Shiloh/Siloam, the phrase reads: "The scepter shall not pass from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until the one sent comes," which is likely a reference to Jesus as the "one sent."

2. God's Divine Name, Yahweh, was only pronounced in the Temple during liturgical worship. Some translations substitute the Divine Name with the word LORD in all capital letters.

3. Rabbinic Judaism changed the date of Firstfruits so that it would not coincide with Christ's resurrection. They now identify the time for Firstfruits as the 16th of Nisan in contradiction of Leviticus 23:9-14. The Karaites and Samaritans are the only Jews who continue to observe Firstfruits as a feast within the seven-day celebration of Unleavened Bread. They also celebrate the Feast of Pentecost fifty days later (as the ancients counted) with both festivals falling on the first day of the week, Sunday (A History of The Jewish People in the Time Jesus, page 37; The Second Jewish Book of Why, page 38). The Temple hierarchy altered the dates sometime after Jesus' Resurrection. Flavius Josephus, a former Temple priest, recorded his recollection of the celebration of Pentecost on the first day of the week. His testimony means that Firstfruits also had to fall on the first day of the week (Sunday) fifty days earlier. Josephus wrote: And truly he did not speak falsely in saying so; for the festival, which we call Pentecost, did then fall out to be the next day to the Sabbath (Antiquities of the Jews 13.9.3 [252]; emphasis added). Most Rabbinic Jews do not recognize Firstfruits even though Leviticus 23:14 designated it a "perpetual feast," the only one of the seven annual fests to receive this designation other than Pentecost (Lev 23:21). Christians continue to celebrate Firstfruits as a perpetual feast on Easter Sunday and Pentecost fifty days later.

Catechism references for this lesson (* indicated Scripture quoted or paraphrased in the citation):
Revelation 22:1 (CCC 1137), 22:1-2 (CCC 694, 1137, 2652); 22:4 (CCC 1023*); 22:5 (1029); 22:15 (CCC 1470*); 22:16 (437*, 528*); 22:17 (CCC 524*, 671, 694*, 757*, 796*, 1130, 2550*, 2853); 22:20 (CCC 451, 671, 673*, 1130, 1403, 2853); 22:21 (CCC 1061*)

See the chart on the Seven Sacred Feasts of the Old Covenant in the handout for this lesson.