Key Verse: “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”
THE SYMBOLIC “TREE of life,” which would have permitted the perfect man Adam and his offspring to live forever, is first mentioned in the book of Genesis. (Gen. 2:9; 3:22) In our Key Verse there is a tree of life from which those who do God’s commandments have a “right to” partake. Other Bible translations, such as the Rotherham Emphasized Bible, render the phrase “they that do his commandments” as “they who are washing their robes.” “Doing” or “washing” both imply a conscious effort on the part of the individual to prove oneself faithful to the requirements of the kingdom arrangement and thus allow them the right to the tree of life.—Matt. 25:34-40
Those not willing to do or wash will be “without,” John says. That is, by their lack of action they will be out of harmony with the kingdom arrangement. Such ones who refuse to reform themselves during the kingdom will not be permitted to continue to live.—Rev. 22:15; Matt. 25:41-46
Revelation 22:16 gives a clear confirmation that Jesus is the one who gives this message. Jesus is “the root.” “Root” signifies the origin or source of life. By being the origin of the purchase of Adam and the whole human race, Jesus can give life to humanity. According to the flesh, our Lord Jesus was, through his mother, the son or “offspring” of David. By virtue of the willing sacrifice of his undefiled life, he has become the “root” of David.
When and how did Christ become David’s “root,” or source of life? It is by the same means and at the same time that he became David’s Lord—by his death and subsequent resurrection on the third day. (Rev. 1:5; Acts 10:36,40) Paul states, “Christ both died, and rose, … that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.”—Rom. 14:9
In the kingdom, the Spirit and the bride will say “Come” to each one when they are raised from the dead. (Rev. 22:17) Each person will be invited to willingly enter into the kingdom arrangement and choose to obey God’s principles. No one will be forced or coerced. Those who “hear” and “thirst” for this new righteous order refer to the many people and nations who will be obedient in the kingdom. These, too, will have the privilege to say “Come,” inviting and encouraging others to join them in following the Lord.—Isa. 2:3; Micah 4:2
At that time, God’s heavenly representatives, Jesus and the bride class, “will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications.”—Zech. 12:10
John concludes his recording of the revelation given to him, stating, “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely [Greek: nai, meaning a strong affirmation] I come quickly.” Then John adds, “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”—Rev. 22:20
John must have realized, from the many things which were revealed to him in signs and symbols, that it would be a long period of time before the kingdom of God would be established on Earth. However, Jesus’ last message to John was, “Surely, I come quickly.” How true this is for each of us. Like John, we have only our present lifetime to transform our heart and mind into the likeness of Christ, and if faithful, to be with the Lord in glory.