1 And he shewed <to> me a pure <stream> of water of life, clear as crystal, <flowing> out <from> the throne of <the Deity> and of the Lamb.
In the things communicated to Ezekiel by the Spirit of Christ, he saw much that he could not discern, or penetrate to the bottom of, from a lack, common to all the prophets, of what Paul terms "spiritual understanding", in Col. 1:9.
They prophesied of the grace and truth to come through Jesus Christ, and inquired and searched diligently to find out, if possible, what the Spirit signified by the things they were commanded to write; but they were informed, that it was not for their special information that what they saw and heard was made known to them; but that they ministered as prophets the things they wrote concerning
"the sufferings of the Christ, and the glory that should follow, "
for the use of those to whom the Gospel of the Kingdom should afterwards be preached by the apostles and the bride; into which things the angels desire to look (John 1:17; 1 Pet. 1:10,12).
Among the things pertaining to "the glory that should follow," Ezekiel, Joel, and Zechariah, saw living waters flowing out from Jerusalem. Ezekiel saw the exact locality of the fountain from which they issued. It was, he says, at the south side of the Altar, and from under it they came.
From thence, they made their way under the threshold of the front, or east, gate of the temple. They continued their outflow eastward: and were measured by the angel from the brink 4000 cubits, or four separate measurements, representative of a square. He was informed, that after a certain distance the streams flowed in two channels; one towards the Dead Sea, into which it is discharged with healing effect upon its waters; so that it teems with finny tribes, as the fish of the Great Sea; while the other half of the stream flows into the hinder, or Mediterranean, sea.
These things are all stated with such geographical and practical particularity as to make it evident that these healing waters are as literally rivers of waters as the Hudson or the Thames.
We can see, how that Jerusalem can become the centre of navigation and commerce, as well as the metropolis and capital of the world.
By the waters flowing between the rent divisions of the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4) into the Jordan and with it into the Dead Sea, and thence by an old channel into the Red Sea, a water communication will be established with Hindostan, China, Australia, California, and the islands and shores of the Pacific generally; and by the branch flowing into the Mediterranean, with Europe, and the north and south Atlantic coasts of North and South America.
This gives Jerusalem a position highly favorable for a geographical centre of government and religion; and for the easy access of Hindoos, Chinese, Japanese, Americans, and Europeans, when they shall go up from year to year to worship the King, Yahweh Tz'vaoth, to be instructed in His ways, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles (Isa. 2:3; Zech. 14:16).
But the Eternal Power has a higher and grander purpose to be accomplished than that of geographical changes in the physique of Palestine, and filling the Dead Sea with fish. It is evident that more is signified in what was revealed to Ezekiel than this. The waters he saw came out of a holy place inaccessible to flesh and blood, and had healing properties. There must therefore be flowing with them a stream of healing power.
Pour all the waters of the Hudson and the Amazon into the Dead Sea, and they would not heal it any more than the Jordan has been able to heal it, though emptying itself therein, ever since the days of Lot. Hence, the waters Ezekiel saw must be regarded in the light of the visible containing the invisible, whose existence is discerned by the supernatural and unwonted effects attributed to the visible stream. In other words, there is deep spiritual significance underlying all that Ezekiel saw, which was Apocalyptically exhibited to John in the present chapter.
Ezekiel saw and described the temple which Zechariah says, far off peoples shall come and build (ch. 6:15); and Isaiah testifies shall be called a house of prayer for all the people, and upon the altar of which, the rams of Nebaioth shall find acceptance (ch. 56:7; 60:7).
This is a temple in Jerusalem, as literal and visible as Solomon's, when she becomes the residence of the Great King, and the capital of his dominion. But in the New and Holy Jerusalem,
"John saw no temple therein; because YAHWEH ELOHIM, all-powerful, and the Lamb are the temple of it".
The Eternal Spirit embodied in the Saints are the temple in the highest sense; and the Most Holy Priesthood, the Seed of Zadok, who minister unto the Invisible Deity in the House of Prayer for all people.
Ezekiel saw the Dead Sea in two states - without any living soul in it; and afterwards teeming with life of every kind. John saw the same thing in its spiritual significance - the sea of nations dead in trespasses and sins; and the same sea full of nations walking in the light of the New Jerusalem. Ezekiel saw that it was the stream effluent from under the altar that gave life and health to the Dead Sea; and John saw that it was the stream issuing from the throne that gave to the leaves of the tree the power of imparting health and life to the world.
The pure transparent stream of water of life issuing from the throne of the Deity is his Almighty power, or Spirit, by which He creates, regenerates, makes glorious, and subdues all things to Himself.
"Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities; thine eye shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation; a tabernacle that shall not be taken down: but there the glorious YAHWEH will be to us a place of rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby" (Isa. 33:20,21).
In this the place, the rivers, and the streams, stand for YAHWEH and His power. That the water of life represents the Spirit in all its relations and effects, is evident from the words of Jesus in John 7:37-39:
"if any man thirst," saith he, "let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his body shall flow rivers of living water. This spake he," adds John, "of the Spirit which they that believe on him should receive; for Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus had not yet been glorified".
A stream of this pure, transparent water of life was poured out upon the apostles on the Day of Pentecost. That, however, though great and marvellous in its effects, was only the earnest of what is yet to follow. It anointed them with knowledge, wisdom, and power; but it left them as it found them, subject to disease, sorrow, pain, and death.
Now, people have so much Holy Spirit in them as they have of the words and ideas of the Deity understood, affectionately believed, and obeyed (John 6:63). But, when the time of the great Pentecostian outflow of Holy Spirit shall arrive, the assembled multitude of the approved convened before the judgment seat of Christ, will be filled, and covered over, and thoroughly saturated in all the atoms of their substance, with the flood of downpouring Spirit from unapproachable light; whereby they will be changed, and all that is in them of earthiness and mortality
"swallowed up of life".
Henceforth, the pure, transparent stream of living water is distributed through them as its channel to mankind, until the knowledge of YAHWEH the fountain of living waters, shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea (Isa.45:8)
The vision of Zlon' s waters flowing out of Jerusalem to heal the Dead Sea were seen by Joel, Zechariah and EzekieI as well as John, In Ezk.47, these living waters are seen flowing down the south side of the Harel or hill of God, from underneath the great Altar.
They then flow from underneath the thresholds and deepen eastwards eventually pouring through the cleft in the Mount of Olives into the Dead Sea and healing this, a parable of the Truth going forth from Zion and healing the nations (ls.66.19 'sounders of the bow,' Pslm 68.11, Is.52.7, Rev. 14.6, Is.2.3).
Another branch appears to flow southwards, as well as the one flowing north into the Mediterranean and the seven oceans. The southern fork flows into the Red Sea along the Aravah Valley. These life giving waters energised by the Spirit, bring fertility and create Jerusalem a centre of worship, navigation and commerce in the Age to Come, as well as constituting Jerusalem a geographically favourable centre of government, the metropolis and capital of the world connecting with the Far East, Hindustan, China, Australia, the Pacific, as well as the Atlantic provinces to the West.
All nations will be able to go up from year to year to keep the Feast of Tabernacles (Zech.14.16). Thus this river of Zion is no ordinary river but a river with healing properties to purge the earth of all man's pollution and corruption that are destroying the planet and its living things that God has created to beautify the earth with an abundance of life.
The literal Temple seen by Ezekiel in all its glory as an ample and most majestic and magnifical edifice, will be "a house of prayer for all nations", far off peoples shall come and build (Zech.6.15), and the sacrifices of nations shall be offered there (ls.66.7, Is.60.7), on the great altar, in the city of the Great King, beautiful for situation on the sides of the north, the joy of the whole earth (Pslm 48, Pslm 122), all its wonderful towers and gates and pillars and arches, its great courts and palaces and mighty walls, foursquare and a circle.
But in the Apocalyptic Temple which is the Bride, Yahweh Elohim and the Lamb are the Temple (Gk naos = nave) or dwelling place of Deity. They constitute the Most Holy Priesthood, the Seed of Zadok, who minister to the Invisible Deity, the Most High Ail as the Melchizadek Priesthood, an everlasting immortal priesthood (Ezk.44.155,16, Rev.21.22).
The nations once dead in trespasses and sins, now walk in the light of it, paralleling the literal Dead Sea seen by Ezekiel in two states - dead, and then living, with innumerable fish .. Thus John sees the pure waters healing the nations, imparting health and life to the world (ls.33,20,21).
The peaceful rivers and streams of Zion stand for Yahweh and his power quenching the peoples of the earth who come up to worship with living water (Jhn 7). These streams of living spirit power were poured out on Christ, then the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, and finally on the saints before the judgement Seat of Christ, if approved, when they shall shine forth as the sun in his strength, as the principal channel of pure transparent living water to mankind, until the knowledge of Yahweh the fountain of living waters covers the earth as the waters the sea (ls,45.8, Hbk.2.14).
Bro Richard Lister -
The Apocalyptic Messenger,
2 In the midst of <its broad space>, and on <each> side of the <stream>, was <a wood> of life, < producing> twelve fruits, < through one month, yielding its separate fruit:>: and the leaves of the <wood> were for the healing of the nations.
The Wood of the Life
The Broadspace of the New Jerusalem is the four-square area within the Wall. We read of no rows of habitations dividing the intramural space into avenues, and streets, broad or narrow. The Broadspace is constituted of all "the wise" who shine as the brightness of the firmament; and of "the stars" who have turned many to righteousness (Dan. 12:3): in other words, of
"the general assembly - ecclesia of the Firstborns - spirits of just ones who have been made perfect" (Heb. 12:23).
To him...who ... overcomes the world - "to him," saith the Spirit,
"I will give to eat from the Wood of the Life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of the Deity" (ch. 2:7).
This passage taken in connection with ch. 22:2, shows, that the New Jerusalem is identical with "the Paradise of the Deity," in the corporate sense of the phrase. Every individual of the Bride adorned, upon whom hath been engraved
"the Name of the City of the Deity, New Jerusalem,"
is therefore a constituent of His Paradise in the territorial Paradise of the Holy Land. Hence, in Cant. 4:12,
"a Paradeisos, or Paradais, is my sister Spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon".
...The reader will perceive that I have rendered xulon zoes, which in the English Version, is expressed by the phrase, the Tree of Life, by the words a Wood of Life. The sound of this form of words is not so euphonious, but it is more in harmony with the mind of the Spirit, as will appear from what follows.
In the Apocalypse there are two Greek words, xulon and dendron, which are both rendered tree in the C.V., but incorrectly, as I believe. I cannot suppose, that the Spirit selected these two different words to express exactly the same idea; but the rather, because there was a distinction of ideas, which required different words to convey it.
To translate xulon by "tree," involves one in a difficulty from which there is no satisfactory extrication. If xulon be rendered "tree", the difficulty is, how a tree can be at one and the same time on both sides of a river. The difficulty, however, vanishes in rendering xulon by the word wood.
A wood may be enteuthen kai enteuthen, "on this side and the other," or "on each side" of a river, and yet be one wood; a singular noun of multitude, or plurality, which harmonizes with the structure of other Apocalyptic symbols, which are formed upon the principle of many in one; as many sons of men in One Son of Man; many emperors in One Head of the Beast; many clerical orders in One False Prophet; and many dendra, or trees, in One xulon, or Wood
....- one material, or xulon, typical of a whole forest, or aggregation of dendra...many choice trees of righteousness planted by YAHWEH in his divine garden.
The Leaves of the Wood
"And THE LEAVES of the Wood were for the healing of the nations".
The wood produced fruit and leaves. A tree without fruit may be very beautiful to look at, but would not be life-sustaining; and a tree without leaves would be dead, or in the winter of its existence.
A wood of trees producing fruit every month, or all the year round; and covered with beautiful unfading leaves: or in the words of Solomon,
"an orchard of pomegranates with pleasant fruits; cypress with spikenard, and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices"
- is a soul-inspiring symbol of the out-flowing, fragrant, genial, and happifying, influences of the New Jerusalem Paradise in the healing principles brought to bear upon the nations in its administration of the affairs of the subjected world.
The leaves of a tree are the lungs, or breathing organs, of the tree or plant. The Wood of life, vitalized by the living water of the Spirit, symbolizing the incorruptible and immortal, and most holy hosts of the new heavens, in the aggregate; the Leaves of the Wood, like the Eyes of the Four Living Ones, are the individual saints in particular; in other words, each particular leaf is a saint-constituent of the Divine institution, through which the Spirit breathes when and where He pleases.
When the earnest of the spirit was shed forth, the Spirit breathed upon the 3000 Pentecostians through the apostles, the leaf-bearing and fruitbearing branches of the true vine. The report of the wonderful works of the Deity they heard in their own tongues (Acts 2:8,11), was the breathing of the Spirit, which by the doctrine enumerated healed them of their ignorance and moral degradation.
"He breathes where he pleases".
He breathed in Jerusalem of old; he will breathe thence anew; not upon a few thousand Jews only, and through twelve men of Israel; but through "a great multitude which no man can number," upon all the millennial nations of the earth; so that as a consequence,
"the knowledge of the glory of YAHWEH shall fill the earth, as the waters cover the sea".
Then shall the healed nations confess, saying,
"Surely, our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit".
That a leaf, when used metaphorically in scripture, signifies a person, will appear from the following texts. Job, in his reasoning with the Deity concerning his hapless condition, says,
"Wherefore holdest thou me for thine enemy? Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro?"
Again; Isaiah addressing the transgressors in Israel who practised idolatrous rites in gardens, and under Druidical Oaks therein, saith to them collectively,
"Ye shall be ashamed of the oaks ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens ye have chosen. For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a Garden that hath no water".
In this, Israel, apostate in church and state, is likened to a withered oak, and a parched up garden; a similitude the very opposite to that of the New Jerusalem Paradise, where, as we have seen, the Divine Government of their nation is likened to a Wood of
"every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food;"
and to a well-watered garden. The dried leaves of Israel's withered oak have done nothing for the nations, which are unhealed to this day; and will so remain for ever, unless their olive tree do
"blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit".
To eat of the wood of life is to become one of its trees, or one of the leaves of it; and to partake constitutionally, therefore, of that nourishment which rises from the root through the stem and branches thereof.
This life-sustaining and invigorating principle is the pure stream issuing from the throne, and maintains it in everlasting freshness and beauty. David, speaking of the blessed of the Father, says,
"He shall be like a tree planted by rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not fade: and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper".
Human Government is a blasted and withering oak, but the New Jerusalem Evergreen of the kingdom when grown is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. The birds of the heaven are the chiefs of the nations, whose subjects seek its fruit from one new moon to another, ministered to them by its Healing Leaves for their salvation.
Blessedness and saving health is promised unto all nations. The leaves of the wood are the medicine of their cure. Naturally, there are powerful medicinal properties in leaves: but none so powerful and efficacious as in the Leaves of the Wood for the healing of the nations.
Only think, what a wonderful enlightening, purging, and healing property there must be in leaves that can cure ignorant and bigoted papists, protestants, Mohammedans, Hindoos, and such like, of all their superstitions and abominations, clothe them in a right mind, and cause them to say in their convalescence,
"Come, and let us go up to the mountain of YAHWEH, to the House of the Elohim of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways"
- He who is the Life of the Wood and Water of Paradise. He will then produce, or reveal knowledge, pertaining to "his ways," which knowledge will be exhibited in "the law", and in "the word" that are to go forth from Zion and Jerusalem.
The law and the word of the Spirit will issue from the throne through the Healing Leaves at duly appointed times, or
"from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another" (Isa. 66:23).
The "twelve fruits of the wood of life" are the knowledge of good tending to life, being made known, and fed upon, in all the year.
Fruit is any thing produced. It is not produced to all the world at once; that is, in a single month: but at every new moon of the year's twelve shall strangers present themselves in Jerusalem for instruction, and "from one Sabbath to another". The living water through the wood produces the healing knowledge, the leaves yield it to the nations, according to the administrative institutions of the new Mi!lennial constitution and order of things.
The street (broad space) of the city Bro Thomas sees as the congregation of the saints, or
"the general assembly of the Firstborns'' (Hb.12.23).
They constitute the avenue of Yahweh's blessings in the Kingdom Age. They are those who denied the flesh, repudiated every evil way, guarded the Truth, and having overcome, are granted to eat of the Tree of Life which is in the Paradise of God to become fragrant trees of righteousness in the garden of God (Rev.2.7, Song 4.12). ."
In the midst of the street of the City, and on each side of the stream was a Wood (Xulon) of Life.
Thus although Ezekiel sees a literal orchard of fruitful trees by the waters of Zion, with wonderful leaves for the healing of the sick, John sees a figurative or symbolic wood (xulon) of life (not a dendron, singular tree); speaking of a multitude or plurality of trees of righteousness in the paradise of God (Pslm.1.3, Is.61.3, Song 4.12-15), who produce fruit and have curative leaves.
The apostles were the fruit bearing and leaf bearing branches of the true vine (John 15), who enlightened, fructified and healed by the spirit breathing apostles on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), three thousand gathered from all nations, an earnest of John's vision on the Isle of Patmos, when "a multitude that no man can number" (Rev.7.9) shall be breathed on by the Spirit and become majestic and stately trees purifying the whole earth and filling it with Yahweh's glory.
So the true brethren of Christ are fruit bearing, and adorned with purifying leaves, not dead, boasting of empty works, giving nothing forth but barren statements that produce nothing spiritual, and help no one spiritually, except to blow up themselves as some sort of paragon of outward righteousness, or Christadelphian in the dead or dry tree state, like Israel of old (18.1.30)
"For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water."
Here is a dried up garden with dead trees, a picture of the ecclesial company at the time of the end, with nothing to say. Barren and lifeless, yet full of pious works. Israel in this state could do nothing for the nations, neither anciently in its apostate state seen by Isaiah, or now regathered in unbelief of the Messiahship of Jesus. But the day will come when Jacob shall "take root" and
"Israel shall blossom and bud, and shall fill the world with fruit" (ls.27.6).
Bro Thomas says that leaves are the-breathing organs of a tree (like the lungs of a man), they are unfading in this case (Pslm. 1.3), and symbolise the incorruptible and immortal most holy hosts of the new heavens who breath out purifying life upon the nations, and by the same token purge the nations of corrupt exhalations of Mohammedanism, Hinduism, papalism and protestantism, humanism, hedonism.
They correspond with the eyes of the Cherubim, each individual saint being thus a purifying leaf or an eagle piercing eye (manifesting divine intelligence, filled with the light of the Word) (Mtt 6:22,23).
Trees are also symbols of nations (Dan.4, Ezk.31.3,8,9), and the glory of Christ's Kingdom is so depicted (Mtt.13 .32). The unfading leaves of the Kingdom tree are the saints who teach and rule.
''Ye shall shall know them by their fruits''.
A good tree bringeth forth good fruit, a corrupt tree bringeth forth corrupt fruit, and is cast out and burnt (Mtt. 7 .15-19). The trees of Zion yield fruit every month, that is twelve months, and are continuously producing buds, flowers, fruits of spiritual development in their probation, so-that in the Kingdom Age they shed forth the fruit for the fructifying of the peoples and nations that come to worship round the year to praise Yahweh and learn of his ways (ls.2.3).
Bro Richard Lister -
The Apocalyptic Messenger,
3 And there shall no more <be any> curse: but the throne of <the Deity> and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
No More Curse
"And there shall NO MORE BE ANY CURSE: but the throne of the Deity and of the Lamb shall be in it".
The conclusion of the whole matter is that there shall be no more any curse upon the earth and upon them who inhabit it.
The Eternal Wisdom and Power did not create the world that it might be forever under a curse. A curse is only an incidental occurrence, or casualty, in the Divine purpose; which was to erect a splendid habitation here fit for Him to reside in; surrounded by neighbours, all of whom should be intelligent, wise, faithful, and affectionate, sons with whom He could freely associate and enjoy life.
This was His ultimate purpose in Creation as He has revealed it in this wonderful prophecy given to the Anointed Jesus; and by him communicated to the servants of the Deity, through his beloved disciple in Patmos.
What is a week's curse of seven thousand years compared with an eternity of blessedness to follow? The curse of this Millennary Week is a mere incident in the situation, turned to good account by the wisdom of Him who imposed it. The occasion of the curse was the transgression of the Divine law by the "very good" nature formed in and of the dust of the ground.
"Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return".
So long, then, as the Sin-Nature continues to inhabit the earth there must be sorrow, toil, and death; for the sentence pronounced upon the sinning nature declares the continuance of the curse to be in all the days of its life.
To abolish the curse, then, is equivalent to the abolition of the nature cursed with sorrow, toil, disease, and death. This abolition is the consummation of all things, by which is introduced an entirely new creation; the basis of which is a nature that neither has nor can transgress -that is, the Divine Nature.
All that comes out of the ground is cursed, and unclean; so that even the body of Jesus, and the bodies of the approved saints, in resurrection, require to be justified, rectified, purged, or perfected, by all-absorbing Spirit: which makes every atom of their substance instinct with incorruption and life; in other words, transforms it into Spirit.
In such a removal of curse and uncleanness, a higher nature is developed, which is so clean and pure, that when it is indicated, it is represented by "fine linen, pure and bright," or "white," and
"pure gold, transparent as crystal".
How infinitely inferior to this is the nature cursed! And is it to be doubted for a moment by any reasonable mind, that the transition from the accursed sin-nature, to the pure bright, golden and crystal-like, or Divine-Nature, is truly an ascent to the Father, who is Spirit?
The new nature is the fine gold, precious stones, and pearls of the Holy City, developed in the "swallowing up" of the curse; so that, in relation to the saints, "there shall no more be any curse". When they are transformed into the New-Jerusalem by the energeia (Phil. 3:21) or inworking power, that "descends from the Deity out of heaven," there is to them entire freedom from everything pertaining to the curse.
But this is not the case with the nations subjected to their iron, but righteous and blessed rule. These are under treatment for their accursed maladies, which are being healed by the medicine administered by the Saints - the Royal and Divine College of Infallible Physicians.
Their medicinal treatment progresses in all the thousand years; at the end of which the curative process will be consummated in the destruction of all offending matter; and the abolition of sorrow, pain, and death; so that thenceforth "there shall be no more any curse" known in all the earth.
"The Leaves of the Wood are for the healing of the nations," who walk in the light of the New Jerusalem - for the taking away of the curse. The healing is not done all at once. They are therefore styled, ta ethne ton sozomenon, the nations of them being saved; not, who have been saved, but, who are undergoing the healing process in the prospective removal of the curse.
20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
May the Sun of Righteousness soon arise and dispel the shades of darkness that everywhere intercept the light of heaven, and doom the millions to misery and death!
The Ambassador of the Coming Age, Dec 1867.