Healing of Nations

Q. Why is the tree of life in Rev 22:2 for the healing of nations? Didn’t Rev 21:4 say there will no longer be any death or pain?

A. Although the words “sickness”, “illness” or “disease” are not in Rev 21:4, the implication is that they will no longer be present in heaven:
Rev 21:4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.

So if there is no sickness or illness, why is there need for healing?
Rev 22:2 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.

“Healing” translates the Greek word therapeia, which means:
• service rendered by one to another; care or attention;
• medical service, from which we get the English word “therapy”; cure;
• household service.

Taking the context of heaven into consideration, healing in Rev 22:2 should mean “for the service of”, which is so translated in:
Disciples’ Literal NTin the middle of its wide-road. And on this side and on that side of the river is a tree of life producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the service of the nations.
Young’s Literal Translationin the midst of its broad place, and of the river on this side and on that, [is] a tree of life, yielding twelve fruits, in each several month rendering its fruits, and the leaves of the tree [are] for the service of the nations;
The understanding is one of health-giving, not curing of disease.

What will we Do in Heaven?

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Q. It seems that God’s project for mankind at the present moment is to save as many lost souls as possible according to His plan, and He is engaging men in His divine plan as we witness to non-believers and share with them the gospel. When the end times finally come and we meet God face to face, we will live in His presence forever. Does the bible give any glimpse on what He has destined for us to do next other than worshiping, praising and enjoying a wonderful heaven?

A. Yes it does. Cynics think it will be very boring in heaven since they don’t sing or play the harp, but they are wrong. The Bible does not give us a full picture of what we will do in heaven, but there are snippets:

First, we will be surprised:
To borrow from Eph 3:20, heaven will be beyond all that we ask or think.

Second, for those who have been faithful in witnessing, the fruits of their labor will welcome them into heaven:
Lk 16:9 And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.
And of course you will see all your family and friends who belong to Christ.

Third, besides worshipping and praising God, we will celebrate:
Mt 8:11 I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;
• Rev 19:7, 9 Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” … Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.”

Fourth, we will learn. All those unanswered questions we have, the things we don’t understand, we will know and comprehend fully. We won’t be omniscient and know everything, which is God’s attribute, but we will continue to learn and know more and more:
1 Co 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
• Eph 3:18-19 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Fifth, we will serve:
Rev 22:3 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;

Serve in what way? The Bible does not give details, but one assignment will be to judge angels. And our responsibility will be proportionate to our faithfulness on earth:
1 Co 6:3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?
• Mt 25:21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ (Also v 23)
• Lk 19:17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.’ (Also v 19)

Some commentators hypothesize that we will be assigned to develop other galaxies since it seemed such a waste to create such a vast universe with millions of galaxies and countless stars and unpopulated planets. But that would be pure speculation as the Bible is silent on the subject.

People in Heaven Know What’s on Earth?

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Q. My beloved husband passed away last year in an accident. My pastor’s wife comforts me by saying that he is still with me in spirit. Is that true?

A. It is very hard to lose a loved one, and your pastor’s wife is very kind in trying to console you. However, I think she has gone beyond what the Bible said. I believe people in heaven know what’s happening on earth, but are not physically with us here. My opinion is based on the following:

Lk 15:10 In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
The text did not say the angels rejoiced, but “there is joy in the presence of the angels”. Who are those who rejoiced in heaven? I believe they are the people of God, since the four living creatures and elders were not mentioned specifically. I don’t know how much they know, but as a minimum they know when one sinner repents on earth, and rejoice.

Lk 16:23 In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.
If the rich man in Hades can see Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom, and Abraham answered his cries, it is not unreasonable to assume that Christians in heaven knows something about what’s happening on earth.

Lk 16:26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.
There is a chasm between Hades and Abraham’s bosom, so that no one can cross from either side to the other. I infer from this that there is a similar barrier between heaven, earth, and hell, so that no one can cross over without special permission. That’s why I believe your husband’s spirit is in heaven and not beside you.

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Rev 6:9-10 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
Those who had been slain because of the word are martyrs, and they knew that the Lord had not yet judged and avenged their blood. So God’s people in heaven know at least when sinners repent, and also whether God had executed justice on earth to avenge them.

They may not know everything, but are not ignorant of earth’s events. I don’t know how much they know about the mess we’re in, but even if they did it won’t affect their joy because they’ll be seeing things from a holy perspective. The Bible does not give us much detail about what folks in heaven know, but enough for me to formulate the above hypothesis. For sure you will meet your loved ones again, and God will wipe away every tear from your eyes (Rev 7:17, 21:4). In that you can be comforted.