The River of the Water of Life
"In Revelation we see that the Church is the Bride, and the Church glorified is symbolized by the heavenly Jerusalem and the river of the water of life. . . . There can be no doubt that the two rivers (Ezek. 47:1-8; Rev. 22:1) are identical. And since the Church is not yet complete, and has, therefore, not yet been glorified, the river of life has not yet proceeded from the glorified Church, and hence the whole matter must be future. –The same thought is in this lesson as Ezekiel gives it. He first sees the Temple and then beholds the glory of the Lord entering the Temple through the eastern gate, and that gate closed after the Lord. This represents the closing of the door at the end of this age, as our Lord portrayed it in the parable of the ten virgins. The door will be shut, the glory of the Lord will have entered the Temple. It is subsequent to this shutting of the door that the prophet is shown the issuing of the water from under the threshold. The lesson, therefore, is clear and explicit to the effect that not until the glory of the Lord shall have entered his Temple, not until the church shall be glorified, not until that door shall be forever shut, will the water of life issue forth.
"The stream (Ezek. 47) is shown as rapidly increasing. Issuing as a rivulet it speedily becomes ankle deep, a little further along waist deep and a little further beyond a man's depth to ford. Thus is indicated the rapid increase of the blessings of the Lord as soon as his time shall have come; but, as we have heretofore pointed out, there is no such river of life now, our Master himself being authority for this in his statement respecting his disciples, saying, The water I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up to everlasting life. Ours is not an invitation to drink of a river of life, but an invitation to have a well-spring of water of life started in our hearts by the impartation of the Holy Spirit. As already pointed out it will be after the river of the water of life flows from the glorified Church that the Spirit and the Bride will say to the world of mankind, Come. Then whosoever will may come, whereas now no man can come except the Father which sent me draw him.– (R3624:6)
" . . . under the symbol river . . . the blessing of the Lord is to be through the spread of the truth to mankind during the Millennial age. It will proceed from the City of God–the glorified Church–and results in the complete blotting out of the curse and the restoring of mankind to communion with God." (R501:4)
"He offers the water of life–the refreshing hope of life through faith in him as the Redeemer, which hope would be like a perennial well-spring continually rising up in her heart. (John 4:14) So it is now; but by and by when the hopes of the believing Church are realized and God's kingdom is fully established, these wells will flow together, and a mighty river of the water of life will come forth from underneath the throne of God for the refreshment of all who will partake of it. (Rev. 22:1)" (R1703:1)
" . . . the rivers of living waters flowing from Jerusalem, during this Millennial Day of the reestablishment of Jehovah's feet upon his footstool (Zech. 14:8, 9), reminds us of the corresponding testimony of Ezekiel (47:1-12), and of John's Revelation (22:1, 2) which, under this same symbol of living waters proceeding from the throne of the Millennial Kingdom, show us the restitution blessings under the symbols of waters of life, to which whosoever will may come and drink freely." (D655)
"It would not at all surprise us if in the beginning of the Millennial age, not only the nation of Israel would receive the blessing of the Lord lost at the beginning of this Gospel age and become his representative people in the world–the church having been taken from the world, glorified spirit-beings, but neither would it surprise us if, in the Lord's providence, some miracle were wrought by which the Dead Sea would become connected with the Mediterranean, possibly refreshed also by some such river as is here described by Ezekiel, a picture of the symbolical river of life flowing from the New Jerusalem. But however interested we might be in the thought of such a literal fulfillment of prophecy, our interest is still greater in the fulfillment of it as a symbol in accord with the river of Revelation. From this symbolical standpoint the Dead Sea represents the dead world, and the coming of life-giving waters would represent the resurrection power of the Lord and the church exercised amongst men during the Millennial age. As the Apostle expresses it, it would mean, for the Gentiles, life from the dead.
"But while it is refreshing and exhilarating to look down into the future and think of the blessings to come, it is important that we draw practical lessons and apply them to ourselves, and see to it that we do all in our power to make our calling and our election sure, that we may be of that New Jerusalem class, the bride glorified, from whom the river of the water of life will issue. There is no doubt that it will be accomplished, because the Word of the Lord has spoken it. The whole question for us is whether we or others will be the Lord's ministers, servants, honored agents in causing the blessing of the Lord to fill the whole earth. The more we love the glorious prospects set before us in the Word, the more we will strive for present participation in the sufferings of Christ, in laying down our lives for the brethren, and for future participation in the glories of Christ, in the blessing of all the families of the earth." (R3625:5)