The River and the Tree of Life
Ezekiel 47:12; Revelation 22:1-2
Evangelist Jabez Park’s sermon from Shiloh's Lord’s Day Service on February 24, 2019
Visions of waters
It is Christ Jesus who leads us to quiet waters (Psa 23). Ezekiel and John had visions and saw that from the “temple” and from the “throne of God” rivers of living water flowing out and abroad. In Ezekiel’s visions and prophecies, we can see a summary and conclusion of the 66 books of the Bible. The revelations seen by John are speaking about the last days. At the end of Ezekiel as well as at the end of the Book of Revelation we see this message about the temple and the waters that flow out from the throne of God. These waters go out and expand, and there is life that comes forth from these waters.
Water that flows from the temple
Ezekiel has this vision of the temple and he’s being led by the angel of God and from the threshold of the temple, water flows (Ezek 47:1-2). The water flowed toward the east, and every thousand cubits the water grew and expanded and became deeper; first at the level of the ankles, the knees, the waist, and finally after another thousand cubits the water is so deep that it could not be crossed (Eze 47:3-5). Correspondently in the Book of Revelation, John saw the river of life clear as crystal coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb (Rev 22:1-2). When we compare both Ezekiel’s and John’s visions, Ezekiel refers to the temple of God as the “house” (Eze 47:1) while John refers to the temple as the “throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev 22:1).
True worship through the Word
When we hear the word temple, we automatically think of a place of worship. Jesus spoke with a Samaritan woman, and they had a conversation about where the proper place of worship is (John 4:19-20). Samaritans believed that the proper place of worship and blessings was at Mount Gerizim according to their Pentateuch (Deut 11:29). Jews, however, believed that the proper place of worship was in Jerusalem where Solomon built the temple (1 Kgs 8:27-30). Jesus responded to the Samaritan woman and said; “An hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father, but true worshipers will worship the Father in “spirit and truth;” for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers (John 4:21, 23-25). Thus we have to worship according to the Word of God which is Jesus Christ (John 1:1, 14). For the Word that He speaks to us is spirit and are life (John 6:63). The Word of God is the truth that makes us holy (John 17:17). Therefore, the one thing that binds the “spirit” and “truth” together is the Word of God. Through Jesus, we know the Father, and in knowing the Father, we have eternal life (John 17:3). To sum it all up, in order to gain eternal life we have to know the Word. For this is true worship.
The flowing water
Jesus is our shepherd and He guides us toward waters so that as His sheep we will drink. Today Jesus is saying; “Come to Me and drink the water that I will give you and inside of you will flow rivers of living water (John 4:14; 7:37-38). We are cleansed and purified by the washing of water with the Word (Eph 5:25-26). This is why we have to watch over our hearts for from it flow springs of life (Prov 4:23). God commanded Adam and Eve to watch over the Garden of Eden and to keep it and to cultivate it (Gen 2:15). However, Adam and Eve lost the garden because they gave into sin and ate from the tree of knowledge and were cast out. Since that fall, through Jesus Christ, our restoration is taking place. We are able to meet God again and through Jesus who is the Word made flesh we are able to partake of the living waters again. Therefore God is commanding in His Word; “Watch over your heart from which flows river of living water.”
Tree of Life
The tree of life is planted by the water and Ezekiel saw on either side of the bank trees growing (Ezek 47:12). Likewise, John looked at either side of the water, and he saw the tree of life (Rev 22:1-2). Therefore we also need to be planted by the waters. God says those who follow after and obey His Word are like trees planted by the water for they are blessed and do not partake in sin for their delight is in the Word of God and their fruit is bountiful (Psa 1:1-3). Generally speaking, you have a few months out of the year to harvest any particular fruit, but in both Ezekiel and Revelation, there are 12 kinds of fruit every month year-round. That means you will be able to partake of this spiritual fruit year-round. Thus we are to bear fruit by preaching the Word of God in and out of season to those who are seeking Him (2 Tim 4:2). This is the vision of Ezekiel and John.
Conclusion: Ezekiel saw many trees on either side bearing fruit (Ezek 47:12). However, in John’s vision, he saw a river in the middle of the street and on either side of the river was the “tree of life” meaning only one tree, singular, no matter where you looked. Thus, Ezekiel saw many trees and John saw only one tree. John saw only one tree because in the many trees on either side, he saw the same Word of God that was being proclaimed by the people of God. Therefore, although the people of God represent many different nations, inside of us, we believe in the same God and believe in the same Word that gives life.
The Bible says that the first man, Adam became a living soul; however the last Adam became a life-giving spirit (1 Cor 15:45). That life-giving spirit which is Jesus Christ needs to be inside of us through the Word. Let us share the gospel of eternal life that we have in Jesus.