Revelation 22:1-3 – The Throne of God and the Lamb

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POSTED 11 FEBRUARY, 2018

reproduced from Salvation on the Line, Volume II

“Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him.”

Varied approaches are witnessed among Revelation examiners with how to approach the language employed, describing the Eternal State. When it is said, “Then the angel showed me a river of the water of life—bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Revelation 22:1, TLV), connections have been made with the statement of Ezekiel 47:9, describing the Millennial Temple: “It will come about that every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes, will live. And there will be very many fish, for these waters go there and the others become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.” Connections have also been made with the declaration of Yeshua in John 7:37: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.” Differing vantage points can also be present with what it said regarding the tree of life, the fruit, and the leaves of the tree (Revelation 22:2). Suffice it to say, the paradise of Eden which was lost (Genesis 2:9; 3:22), has now been restored.

The condition of the Eternal State is asserted by Revelation 22:3a to be one where “There will no longer be any curse” or “Nothing accursed will be found there any more” (NRSV). God the Father and Yeshua the Lamb are present, kai ho douloi autou latreusousin autō, “and the slaves of him will serve him” (Revelation 22:3b, Brown and Comfort).[1] A less common verb involving veneration, latreuō, is employed. Thayer details that “in the N. T. [it means] to render religious service or homage, to worship,” often being the equivalent of the “Hebrew [avad].”[2] The RSV/NRSV/ESV notably does render latreuō as “worship” in Revelation 22:3b, but what is perhaps more important is recognizing how the singular pronoun “Him” (autō) has to be taken as a reference to both the Father and the Son. Beale confirms, “That ‘they will serve him’ like does not refer only to God or only to the Lamb. The two are conceived so much as a unity that the singular pronoun can refer to both.”[3]

The presence of God the Father and Yeshua the Lamb being served—or even worshipped—in the Eternal State, cannot go unnoticed in any evaluation of the nature of the Messiah. Noting Ezekiel 48:35, “The city shall be 18,000 cubits round about; and the name of the city from that day shall be, ‘The LORD is there,’” ADONAI shammah, Morris states what is obviously present: “Where God and the Lamb rule there is no accursed thing.”[4] Beasley-Murray indicates that it is not only the sovereign rule of God proper which is acknowledged, but also that of the Lamb: “God and the Lamb dwell there in manifest glory and sovereignty, his will is everywhere acknowledged, and therefore only blessing is known within the city.”[5] Osborne, though, most directly asserts how “this service of worship will be eternal and complete, for it is worship of God and the Lamb who fulfilled the temple imagery and made salvation in its fullest sense possible.”[6] With God the Father and Yeshua the Lamb both served or worshipped together, in the Eternal State—would the latter be legitimately expected to be venerated or honored in such a way, unless the Messiah were integrated into the Divine Identity? While it is true that Yeshua is hardly served independently of the Father, would we expect a supernatural yet ultimately created being or entity to be given such a position in the future Kingdom of Heaven?


NOTES

[1] Brown and Comfort, 911.

[2] Thayer, 372.

[3] Beale, 1113.

[4] Morris, Revelation, 249.

[5] Beasley-Murray, Revelation, 332.

[6] Osborne, Revelation, 774.