“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11).
“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 22:1-5).
There is a pure river there, filled with the water of life, clear as crystal. This river flows from the throne of God, which is also the throne of the Lamb. Comparing this passage with the something that the Lord says in the Gospel of John, we see that this river is the Holy Spirit, flowing not only from the throne of God, but also from the hearts of all believers.
“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified)” (John 7:37–39).
This makes good sense because the holy city Jerusalem is a symbol of that great body of believers.
This particular vision that John passes on to us draws on at least three Old Testament prophets.
“And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be” (Zech. 14:8).
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord, And shall water the valley of Shittim” (Joel 3:18).
In the form of the vision that Ezekiel gives us, this living water flows out of the Temple, over the threshold, and gets deeper and deeper as it goes (Eze. 47:1-5).
The tree of life lines both sides of the river, indicating that the tree of life is a kind of tree. There are multiple trees. This kind of tree is able to produce a different crop of a different kind of fruit on a monthly basis. Not only so, but the leaves of these trees are of use in healing the nations. Ezekiel had seen the same glorious reality.
“Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other” (Eze. 47:7).
“And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine” (Eze. 47:12).
As this glorious city advances toward the culmination of her blessing, which would be the final day of resurrection, we see at that point that the curse that had been laid on our world at the beginning (Gen. 3:15ff) is finally undone. There shall be “no more curse.” The reason that there is no longer any curse is because the throne of God, the throne of the Lamb, is in it. God’s servants will serve Him truly.
We see that this would appear to indicate the full number of the elect. These are the servants of God who are privileged to “see His face.” “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8).
In addition to this, His name is on their forehead. This in turn helps us identify the 144,000 as a symbol of all the elect, all the saved—for this is what was said earlier about them earlier: “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads” (Rev. 14:1). And earlier than that, in chapter 7, after John had heard the number of 144,000 (Rev. 7:4), he then looked and saw a multitude that no one could count (Rev. 7:9). He heard the number, and then saw the innumerable multitude.
John then repeats what was said in the previous chapter. There is no night there—there is constant light coming from the Lord God. There is no artificial light needed there either. And the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem shall reign forever and ever.