THE RIVER OF LIFE FLOWING OUT
OF THE THRONE OF GOD AND OF THE LAMB
Revelation 22:1 says that the river of life flows out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. There is one throne, but how can two persons sit on one throne? You may say that the Bible tells us that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God. So it must be that God is sitting at the left and Jesus is sitting at the right. But actually there is not one throne for two persons. Revelation 21 tells us that Christ is the lamp (v. 23), and we know that God is the light (1 John 1:5). The light is within the lamp. On the throne there is not only God but also the Lamb. God as the light is within the Lamb as the lamp. He is the Lamb-God, which means that He is the redeeming God.
Genesis 1 does not say that in the beginning God and the Lamb created the heaven and the earth. It simply says, "In the beginning God..." But at the end of the Bible there are God and the Lamb. There is God plus something. In the beginning is God, but at the end is God plus the Lamb. Now He is not only God but also the Lamb-God.
Out of God who is in Christ, out of the redeeming God, flows the river of water of life. The river of life is simply the flowing of life, just as the current of electricity is the flowing of electricity. The river of life is life flowing. Thus, the river of life is God in Christ as the Spirit flowing. It is the flowing of God. Life is simply the Triune God flowing into us, through us, and out of us.
The pictures presented in the Bible, especially in Genesis and Revelation, are very meaningful. Revelation shows us that God as the light is in the Lamb as the lamp. Out of the throne of the Lamb-God flows the river of life. This signifies that God in Christ as the Spirit—the Triune God— flows out to be received by us. We receive Him by drinking Him. When you drink of Him, He will flow into you. When you cooperate with Him some more, He will flow through you and out of you as the Spirit. John 7 tells us that what we drink and what flows out of us is the Spirit, who is God Himself (vv. 37-39). Thus, life is God in three persons flowing into us, through us, and out of us.
HOW GOD FLOWS
Now we need to consider how God flows. The Bible shows us that God flows mainly in two steps. First, He flowed by being incarnated. He was in eternity in the heavens, dwelling in unapproachable light (1 Tim. 6:16), but one day He became incarnated. He came down to the earth to dwell among people. In this incarnated One, there was life and light.
Incarnation was the first step that God took to flow out. But this first step merely brought Him to the earth among people. He still could not get into us. Thus, He had to take a second step, the step of resurrection. The first step was incarnation, and the second step was resurrection. In order to be resurrected, He had to suffer death. By death He was brought into resurrection, and through resurrection He finished the second step of His flowing. By the first step, He was incarnated to be a man with the flesh. By the second step, He was transformed, changed in form, into the Spirit of life. In resurrection He is now the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45b). Now He is not merely able to be on this earth among human beings, but He is also able to enter into us, His believers.
(The Experience of Christ as Life for the Building Up of the Church, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)