International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday May 29, 2011
Purpose: To embrace the Tree of Life as a sign of God's gracious healing and a foretaste of God's abundant provision
Scripture Text: Revelation 22:1-9 (NRSV)
Revelation 22: 1-9
(1)Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb (2)through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (3)Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; (4)they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. (5)And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. (6)And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true, for the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.” (7)“See, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”(8)I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me; (9)but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your comrades the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!”
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
This is not only our last lesson from The Book of Revelation; it is also our last lesson for this quarter. All of this past 13 weeks we have been looking at Worship, for the next 13 weeks we will be looking at Community. Our upcoming lessons will be from Joshua, Judges, and Ruth.
This week as we conclude our study of Worship, we look at the ultimate in worship. From the time since man's fall in the Garden of Eden forward trough time, man has been restricted from seeing God face to face, but in today's text verse four, we shall see his face, and we will be identified as His possession by the seal of the Holy Spirit on all of those that have heard and believed. Imagine no longer worshiping symbols of God, or icons we have made to remind us of Him, but worshiping God face to face, all of the mystery of God will be gone and we will see Him, and seeing Him, we have no other inclination but to worship Him.
The first three verses of this text simply tell us that whatever the need, God will provide, all that we want, as well as all of the healing that we ever wanted is ours. And verse three assures us that unlike what happened in the Garden of Eden after man's fall, this time there will be no curses, like work for our food, or bearing children, all curses will be gone.
It appears that not only will this be a new earth and new heaven, but the entire solar system will change, no sun, moon or stars, or even electricity, for the glory of God will produce our light, without any darkness whatsoever and without a measure of time. Today we measure time by the rising and setting of the sun, and by the orbit of the earth around the sun. The new heaven and new earth will not have or need any measure of time.
What is the prophecy of this book? Christ is coming soon and our responsibility is to persevere, remain faithful, till that happens. As I stated in a previous lesson I believe the entire word of God as recorded in the Old and New Testaments to be a written record of what God wanted to say to the human race. I also view Jesus as the Incarnate Word of God, the ultimate revelation of God's nature, including especially His love. Thus I view the Bible as the written word of God about the Incarnate Word of God. And the book of Revelation is a revealing of Jesus Christ beyond the Incarnate Word, and beyond the resurrection, and it brings together both the Old Testament revelations and the New Testament's revelation of Jesus Christ, and shows Him restored not only to His original position, but, to an even more exalted position, because of His obedience.
Philippians 2:6-11 says, (6) “who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, (7)but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, (8)he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. (9)Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, (10) so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, (11)and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
We should never forget what we read in Revelation 1:1 this is “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” No secret codes or hidden meanings only a glimpse through a door left ajar, for John to see and record for all the Saints of God.