Revelation 22 begins to repaint the picture of the Holy City because we have moved into the era of the millennial reign of Christ.
The Holy City is where a river begins to flow from under the throne of God and the Lamb. This river splits and grows in width and strength, flowing to the western and eastern seas. We see men fishing with their nets along the banks of these rivers, and we also find the trees of life. It is the leaves of these trees that bring healing to the nations. The street, or perhaps streets; Yes, it seems odd to hear terminology like this, but Scripture speaks of this street in the singular. How could a city 1500 miles square only have one street? The street(s) of the City are made of the purest gold, so much so that the gold seems to be translucent.
Revelation 22 verse 3 tells us there will no longer be any curse upon the earth.
What does that mean?
Because of the purposeful events that transpired between the cross to the throne, the curse was demolished.
If you cannot grasp the extent of the curse due to Adam’s treasonous act, then I suggest you take a moment and read what God said the effects would be.
“Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly, you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.” To the woman, He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain, you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.” Then to Adam, He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil, you will eat of it All the days of your life. “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”
(Genesis 3:13-19 NASB)
Here are some highlights of the passage above.
“I will put enmity (a perpetual hostility and animosity,) between you and the woman.”
A perpetual battle between humans and Satan
“between your seed and her seed.”
Her seed eventually became three things: all the descendants of the woman, as they would all be made in the image of Jesus; Israel – the Jews; and the Followers of Christ.
“He shall bruise you on the head,”
No one with common sense sees us walking through this earth without taking at least a bit of a beating from Satan and his cohorts. So let’s pretend that the sweet little old lady down the street who prays always does not go through battles; I can guarantee that she has been in pitched battles, but she is not going tell you, as you would not understand.
“ I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children.”
This statement would make no sense unless you have had children and it was pain-free.
“ Cursed is the ground because of you.”
You shall work it in toil, all the days of your life, and everyone after you. Some would say, Ah, but here is where you stumbled in your logic and explanation for we have machinery. Oh, you think. Have you ever worked in a production nursery or pig farm? Machinery only promotes mass production and waste products that someone else has to process. Nope, we are under a curse, and it is obvious.
“By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”
And then you die and are forgotten. Of course, some relatives will have fleeting moments of remembrance, but maybe you will be lucky, and others will forget how rude, crass, and angry you were.
Welcome to the curse and the disgusting evil, such as murdering babies in the name of false gods, that blossomed out of it, and this was merely the beginning of evil.
Demolished is an overwhelming and all-encompassing word, but we followers of Christ still go through tribulations. (When I say tribulations, I am NOT talking about the improperly labeled period we call the tribulation, but the things we must go through in our daily lives.)
But if that’s the case, why have we continued to live with sin, disease, and mental anguish?
Because Satan’s influence on earth extends to the end of the seven years of God’s wrath when Jesus comes back as the warring Messiah, and Satan gets locked away for a thousand years. Until the day he gets locked away, he is on a rampage to kill anything that looks like Christ.
It is easily assumed that the fallen angels are also locked away; that implies that the evil actions any human carries out would be solely based upon their memories, lusts, and desires, all of which are an aspect of their broken nature.
Why wouldn’t the curse’s damage be undone in everybody if there is no longer any curse?
Initially, the only thing that popped into my brain was that the church (those humans that make up the church) gets changed in the process of being caught up to Jesus. Without that Holy alteration, people approaching the millennial kingdom will be unchanged.
A second possible explanation may come from the many generalizations we find throughout the scriptures. An example of a broad-spectrum generalization happens when the “three Hebrew children” are about to be thrown into the fiery furnace because they refused to bow before Nebuchadnezzar’s statue. This command to bow was put forth for everyone, yet Daniel was nowhere to be found. Many have explained that this is a symbolic picture of how God saves us from the wrath that is to come, such as He did with Noah.
That change, associated with the rapture, removes the curse’s effects from our bodies and “seems” to remove the drive to sin. No one is being forced to accept the price that Jesus paid for us, but the change that will eventually free us from the curse only comes through an acceptance of Jesus Christ. Sadly, I do not see everyone entering the millennial kingdom, whether by transitioning from the time of wrath or those born during the thousand years, coming to accept Jesus, which will be a problem for them.
But how and why did that change, that alleviates the curse, happen?
- When you accepted Jesus Christ, the change initiated and signed you up for the wildest ride you could ever imagine.
- The change happens during the transition as we ascend into the clouds to meet Jesus. (Those arguing against this point believe we will stand before an angry God in judgment, known to many as the Bema seat.)
Both Revelations 21 and 22 tell us that no evil will be allowed into the kingdom, so it is clear that we cannot bring our brokenness and sin into the Holy City. That tells me that the change of the brokenness, which has tormented our souls, must happen between the earth and our meeting Christ in the air.
Are you beginning to grasp the power of the cross and the obedience of Jesus Christ?
Only those who are His are going up in the rapture; that will leave an incredible number of people who think they know Jesus behind. Many others will come to acknowledge Christ’s rule over their lives, but they will have to pay the violent price of martyrdom. Then, God will gather the martyred to Himself and brings them back to life at the beginning of the millennial reign, where they will rule over the earth with Christ. These people have been changed at some point, and I suspect this change occurred when they were martyred.
Now, what of the nations that are allowed to enter the millennial kingdom?
Know this, unchanged; they will NOT gain entrance into the Holy City.
Let’s continue with Revelation 22:6.
Revelation 22:6 NASB And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place.”
As I have migrated through the Revelation, a couple of voices have been echoing in my head; 1,) I look for you every day, and 2,) how much longer, Lord?
The realization that He said this to the Apostle John, these words I am telling you are (pistos and alēthinos) trustworthy and in complete opposition to any fictitious gods and the stories associated with them, stuns me.
Why would He have to say this?
Perhaps it is because, after even short periods, it becomes easy to drift away and lose hope?
I vividly remember the “brother” in Christ who tried to humiliate me and shut me up because I spoke freely of the coming of the Lord with enthusiasm and anticipation. This “brother” said, “you are just a firebrand, trying to stir things up. We have been waiting for the Lord for over two thousand years, and He is NOT coming back for at least forty more years.” Around this time frame, one of my pastors said something similar to me. I chose to keep my distance from these two, as they were trying to strip my hope away from me.
How would you perceive God telling you, “these things are faithful and true, and, they are things that must soon take place”?
Faithful – pistos = trustworthy, trusting, and sure.
True – alēthinos = Although it also means trustworthy, Thayer’s dictionary conveys that this is the complete “opposite to what is fictitious, counterfeit, imaginary, simulated or pretended.”
Show – deiknuō = to expose to the eyes; to give evidence or proof of a thing; to show by words or teach.
Bond-servants – doulos = A slave, bondman, man of servile condition. Metaphorically, one who gives himself up to the will of another.
Bond-servant was a term that the Apostle Paul used of himself.
To be honest, this gap between what God calls soon, and how I perceive the soon makes it difficult at times to explain. Just know that He is coming for those who are waiting for Him.
“keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.”
(Jude 1:21 NASB)
The gospel of Mark 15:43 records that Joseph of Arimathea was waiting for the kingdom of God. Luke’s gospel tells us this.
“Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. “Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks.”
(Luke 12:35-36 NASB)
If you search for the word waiting, you will find at least ten references, within context, that compel us to wait patiently. My dear Mother was waiting for Him. In her case, the Lord took her home through cancer. It is not my place to challenge how or when He will take us home, but I must tell you, I know in my spirit that I will soon hear the blast of the shofar.
Consider this idea of being a bond-servant (doulos.) God spoke to John in terms that not only John could understand, but so could anybody else. The fact that God speaks like this tells me that God is talking to the commoner. It is NOT that God excludes the proud; they do that to themselves.
Another thing about this verse that catches my attention is the word “must.” Look at what the verse says, “ to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place.”
When did the countdown timer start running?
When Israel became a nation. So the fig tree has fully leafed out, and Jesus said that when you see these things come to pass, know the time is at hand. Dear Lord, we get so stupid as we scream at each other, “NO MAN KNOWS THE DAY OR THE HOUR,” and yet Jesus tells us that when these signs come to pass, you know. The Apostle Paul informed us that we are NOT in the dark that we should not know, so obviously, we can know, AT LEAST THE SEASON, and folks, we are in the season.
Let me ask you a question, assuming you know baseball when the season begins, do you know who will play in the world series? NO, but by about 13 weeks into the season, you have a pretty good idea. Once the world series begins, how many games do they play? As few as four or many as seven. Why only four? Because one team could sweep the series in four games – as it is a best of seven series. The series has often gone to three and three, so you know that there will be one last game played. How many innings will they play in each game? A minimum of nine, but in tie games, they have gone on for hours, exhausting every potential pitcher in the dugout. So when the series begins, do we know when it will end? Absolutely and it will be spectacular, guaranteed.
Well, we are in the world series, so to speak, and every day, I am watching the teams (nations) rally for a position at the top as the managers move more players around the playing field.