Its Internal Character
And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 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. (21:21b–22:2)
As if just seeing the magnificent capital city of heaven from a distance was not privilege enough, John’s angelic guide took him inside. As he entered the city, the apostle noted that the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. The streets in the New Jerusalem were made of the highest quality pure gold which, like everything else in the heavenly city, was transparent like glass. Translucent gold is not a material familiar to us on this earth. But everything there is transparent to let the light of God’s glory blaze unrestricted.
Once inside the city, the first thing John noted was that there was no temple in it. Up to this point, there has been a temple in heaven (cf. 7:15; 11:19; 14:15, 17; 15:5–8; 16:1, 17). But there will be no need for a temple in the new Jerusalem, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. Their blazing glory will fill the new heaven and the new earth, and there will be no need for anyone to go anywhere to worship God. Life will be worship and worship will be life. Believers will be constantly in His presence (cf. 21:3); there will never be a moment when they are not in perfect, holy communion with the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. Thus, there will be no need to go to a temple, cathedral, church, chapel, or any other house of worship. Believers will be the true worshipers God has always sought (John 4:23).
Returning to the theme of God’s brilliant, shining glory, John notes that the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The new heaven and the new earth will be radically different from the present earth, which is totally dependent on the sun and moon. They provide the cycles of light and darkness, and the moon causes the ocean tides. But in the new heaven and the new earth, they will be unnecessary. There will be no seas (21:1) and hence no tides. Nor will the sun and moon be needed to provide light, for the glory of God will illumine the New Jerusalem and its lamp will be the Lamb. Once again in Revelation, God the Father and the Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, share authority (cf. 3:21).
Commenting on the brilliant light emanating from the New Jerusalem, J. A. Seiss writes:
That shining is not from any material combustion,—not from any consumption of fuel that needs to be replaced as one supply burns out; for it is the uncreated light of Him who is light, dispensed by and through the Lamb as the everlasting Lamp, to the home, and hearts, and understandings of his glorified saints. When Paul and Silas lay wounded and bound in the inner dungeon of the prison of Philippi, they still had sacred light which enabled them to beguile the night-watches with happy songs. When Paul was on his way to Damascus, a light brighter than the sun at noon shone round about him, irradiating his whole being with new sights and understanding, and making his soul and body ever afterwards light in the Lord. When Moses came down from the mount of his communion with God, his face was so luminous that his brethren could not endure to look upon it. He was in such close fellowship with light that he became informed with light, and came to the camp as a very lamp of God, glowing with the glory of God. On the Mount of Transfiguration that same light streamed forth from all the body and raiment of the blessed Jesus. And with reference to the very time when this city comes into being and place, Isaiah says, “the moon shall be ashamed and the sun confounded,”—ashamed because of the out-beaming glory which then shall appear in the new Jerusalem, leaving no more need for them to shine in it, since the glory of God lights it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. (The Apocalypse [reprint, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1987], 499)
The reference to the nations … and the kings of the earth has led some to view this passage as a recapitulation of the millennial kingdom. But such an interpretation fails to do justice to the chronology of Revelation, particularly the repeated use of kai eidon to indicate chronological progression (see the discussion of 21:1 in chapter 18 of this volume). There will be living human beings in the Millennium (Isa. 65:20–23), but no physically alive people could possibly exist in an environment without sea (v. 1), sun, or moon (v. 23). Nations translates ethnos, which can also mean “people,” and is most frequently translated “Gentiles.” The idea is not that national identities will be preserved in the eternal state, but rather the opposite. People from every tongue, tribe, and nation—both Jews and Gentiles—will be united as God’s people. Every believer will be fully equal in the eternal capital city.
It may be that the truth that the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it offers further proof of the absolute equality in heaven. That phrase may indicate that there will be no social or class structure, that those who enter the city will surrender their earthly glory. Thus, everyone would be at the same level. Another possible interpretation is that this phrase refers to the believers living at the end of the Millennium. According to that view, the statement that the kings of the earth will bring their glory into the New Jerusalem refers to the translation of those believers before the uncreation of the present universe (see the discussion of 20:11 in chap. 17 of this volume).
Then John adds another detail to his description of the New Jerusalem. Throughout the never-ending daytime of the eternal state (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed. In an ancient walled city, the gates were closed at nightfall to keep invaders, marauders, criminals, and other potentially dangerous individuals from entering the city under cover of darkness. That there will be no night in eternity, and the gates of the New Jerusalem will never need to be closed, depicts the city’s complete security. It will be a place of rest, safety, and refreshment, where God’s people will “rest from their labors” (14:13).
The kings will not be the only ones to surrender their earthly prestige and glory when they enter heaven. The glory and the honor of the nations will also dissolve, as it were, into the eternal worship of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Like the twenty-four elders, all who enter heaven “will cast their crowns before the throne” of God (4:10).
All in heaven will be perfectly holy. Thus, nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into the New Jerusalem (see the discussions of 21:7–8 in chap. 18 of this volume and 22:15 in chap. 21). The only ones there will be those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (For a discussion of the book of life, see 3:5; 13:8; and the comments on 20:12 in chap. 17 of this volume.)
John’s angelic tour guide next showed him a river of the water of life. With no sea in the eternal state (21:1), there could be no hydrologic cycle, and hence no rain to fill a river. Thus, the water of life is not water as we know it; it is a symbol of eternal life (cf. Isa. 12:3; John 4:13–14; 7:38). Like everything else in the New Jerusalem, the river was clear as crystal so it could reflect the glory of God. It cascaded down from the throne of God and of the Lamb in a dazzling, sparkling, never-ending stream. Its pure, unpolluted, unobstructed flow symbolizes the constant flow of everlasting life from God’s throne to God’s people.
The phrase in the middle of its street is best translated “in the middle of its path” and connected with the following phrase on either side of the river was the tree of life. The tree of life is the celestial counterpart to the tree of life in Eden (Gen. 2:9; 3:22–24), and this tree provides for those who are immortal. The tree of life was a familiar Jewish concept that expressed blessing (cf. 2:7; Prov. 3:18; 11:30; 13:12; 15:4), and the celestial tree symbolizes the blessing of eternal life. That the tree bears twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month emphasizes the infinite variety that will fill heaven. The use of the term month does not refer to time, since this is the eternal state and time is no more. It is an anthropomorphic expression of the joyous provision of eternity couched in the familiar terms of time.
Then John makes the intriguing observation that the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. At first glance, that seems confusing, since obviously there will be no illness or injury in heaven that would require healing. Therapeia (healing), however, does not imply illness. Perhaps a better way to translate it would be “life-giving,” “health-giving,” or “therapeutic.” The leaves of the tree can be likened to supernatural vitamins, since vitamins are taken not to treat illness, but to promote general health. Life in heaven will be fully energized, rich, and exciting.
The text does not say whether the saints will actually eat the leaves of the tree, though that is possible. Angels ate food with Abraham and Sarah (Gen. 18:1–8), as did the Lord Jesus Christ with His disciples after His resurrection (Luke 24:42–43; Acts 10:41). It is conceivable that the saints in heaven will eat, not out of necessity, but for enjoyment.
1 In the new city of God the pure water does not issue from the temple as in Ezekiel but comes from the throne of God, since this whole city is a Most Holy Place with God at its center. Life from God streams unceasingly through the new world.
The scene brings to mind the old hymn by Robert Lowry (1864): “Shall we gather at the river, / Where bright angel feet have trod; / With its crystal tide forever / Flowing by the throne of God?”
The throne of God (22:1, 3)
Our circumstances often make us wonder whether God is in control. There will be no such wondering in heaven. The new heaven and the new earth will have a throne, and it will be the throne of God.
A large part of human history consists of men and women hating that throne and trying to overturn it, but now the tides of time have washed up on the shore of eternity and the throne of God stands. God wins!
This is also the throne of the Lamb. If the throne of God means that God wins, and that throne is also the throne of the Lamb, it means that the Lamb wins. To say that the Lamb wins is the same as saying that the cross of Christ wins, because that is the place where Jesus offered himself as the sacrifice for the sins of his people.
Those pastors who give little or no place to the cross of Christ in their preaching would do well to question the wisdom of minimizing that which will be given supremacy at the end of time.
The river of life (22:1)
A river with the name ‘life’ will be there (22:1). Life will be as characteristic of the new earth as death is of this earth. This river will proceed ‘from the throne of God and of the Lamb’. The saints in heaven will know that the eternal life they are enjoying there comes from God.
22:1–5 / The phrase, Then the angel showed me, seems to indicate John’s decision to add a separate “paradise tradition” into his vision of the new Jerusalem. The reasons for this are clearly theological: he thereby indicates that God’s redemption returns the new creation—the community of overcomers—to the Garden of Eden and to the creator’s intentions for humanity (Caird, Revelation, p. 280; Boring, Revelation, p. 218). These intentions, already indicated by the “new song” at the Lamb’s exaltation, are twofold (5:9–10): to create a people who can now serve God (22:3) and reign with God for ever (22:5). These intentions are fully realized at the Lamb’s return.
Fitting this passage into the chiastic patterning of John’s second vision of the new Jerusalem further illuminates his theological program. Before, God promised that “I will give (the one who overcomes) to drink … from the spring of the water of life” (21:6). John uses the paradise tradition to recall and expand upon this important biblical image of hope (Zech. 14:8; Ezek. 47:1–12), the water of life, in two important ways. First, John now locates the source of this water: it flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Rather than locating Christian hope in the promise of a restored city (Zech. 8; cf. Ps. 46:4) or temple (Ezek. 40–48) as the prophets did, John’s Gospel proclaims a person, Christ Jesus, through whom God has already fulfilled the promise of life (cf. John 7:37–9). Second, by placing the river (cf. Gen. 2:9–10) with the tree of life (cf. Rev. 2:7; Gen. 2:9; 3:21–22) and the crops of monthly fruit (cf. Gen. 3:3), John draws the reader back into the Garden of Eden as a place of promise, this time for the healing of the nations rather than for their curse (cf. Zech 14:11). In a sense, the images suggest this “Central Park” in the city of God not only regains Eden’s promise but actually improves upon it! After all, Adam and Eve were never allowed to eat the fruit on the “tree of life”; and they were dismissed from the garden, now guarded by angels, so they could not eat the tree’s fruit and live forever (cf. Gen. 3:22–23). The phrases, there will be no more night and the Lord God will give them light, are additional links to the creation story (Gen. 1:3–5). In fact, the “night/light” dualism marks out God’s work on the “first day” of the original creation. Perhaps here the negation of this dualism—there is no more night … or sun—functions as a final element of John’s inclusio. Especially if night is also used as a metaphor for evil, as it often is in Scripture, then John’s point seems to be that God’s new creation is a reversal of the old, cursed creation because there is nothing in it which might prompt God’s people to rebel against God and the Lamb. The new creation, then, is characterized not only by the absence of evil, but by the absence of human desire to rebel against God’s reign.
Eve and then Adam’s evil had been in seeking to acquire divine knowledge through illicit means. Now they bask in the presence of God; receiving God’s light, the community of overcomers can now see his face. Although we disagree with Caird’s conclusion that a community of martyrs (rather than a more inclusive community of faithful disciples; cf. 21:12, 14) occupies John’s new Jerusalem, we do agree that these idioms for divine presence reflect the intimate knowledge of God as a manifestation of the new covenant: God’s people “have also come to bear the impress of his nature on their lives (cf. 1 John 3:2; 2 Cor. 3:18; 1 Cor. 15:49)” (Revelation, pp. 280–81). Further, this more personal acquaintance with God reverses God’s curse of Cain, who was banished not only from the land but from God’s presence (cf. Gen. 4:10–14).
While John does not tell us from what the nations are healed, the many allusions to the former Eden lead the reader to assume that God’s merciful healing which takes place in the paradise of the new Jerusalem constitutes God’s restoration of all that is lost in humanity’s fall. Not only immortality is regained, but a nourishing relationship with God and the Lamb as well. Moreover, in recalling that Cain’s murder of Abel was the ultimate offense against a human relationship, even as Eve and Adam’s rebellion was the ultimate offense against their covenant with God, the interpreter recognizes that both the divine and human dimensions of relationship are now restored in the paradise of God. The eschatological community of overcomers is recognized by their righted relationship with God and with each other.
In this regard, let me make a concluding point about the closing refrain in John’s portrait of paradise, And they will reign for ever and ever. According to the creation story, the ultimate value to which God gave human life is indicated by God’s decision to “let (humanity) rule … over all the creatures” (Gen. 1:26). In that story, of course, humanity’s evil is defined in part as the corruption of their reign over God’s creation. In fact, God’s restoration of the covenant with Noah (cf. Gen. 9:8–17) seeks to reestablish humanity’s rule over creation (cf. Gen. 9:1–7). Against this biblical backdrop, then, the interpreter of Revelation recalls that John’s idea of eternal life includes the establishment of the believing community’s rule over the new creation (1:6; 5:10; cf. 1 Pet. 2:5, 9–10).
The Third Revelation: God’s World Renewed (22:1–5)
Reminiscences of the rest of the Bible are now coming thick and fast. The springing of the water of life was foreseen by three of the prophets of Israel, Joel before the exile (3:18), Ezekiel during it (47:1–9), and Zechariah after it (14:8). The miraculous river flows, in fact, through the length of Scripture. It nourishes the godly life of the Old Testament saints (Ps. 1:1–3; Je. 17:7, 8), and is explained by our Lord as the life-giving Spirit who is to be received only from him (Jn. 4:14; 7:37–39). Ezekiel’s vision, indeed, resembles John’s in some detail, and includes tree as well as river: ‘On the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing’ (47:12).
But the most significant parallel is with the opening chapters of Genesis. This tie-rod, running from end to end of the sixty-six books, shows that the third Revelation of heaven here in Scene 8 is a summary of the biblical doctrine of creation. The heading given to it at the end of Scene 7 was: ‘ “The former things have passed away … Behold, I make all things new” ’ (21:4, 5). It concerns what Christ called ‘the new world’ (Mt. 19:28), literally ‘the new genesis’. The first chapter of the Bible describes how God made the world; the last one shows how he will remake it. The creation as it was, and as it will be, is an immense organism alive with the life of God, for the stream flows ‘from the throne of God and of the Lamb’, and thence ‘through the middle of the street of the city’. Notice here that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, and the Son’s power not only creates but also sustains the whole thing: ‘He is before all things, and in him all things hold together’ (Col. 1:17). Thus the rivers and trees of Genesis reappear as living water and continual fruitfulness (verses 1, 2).
Two elements have been added to the pristine simplicity of the Genesis picture by the experience of human history. Instead of a garden only, there is now the developed structure of a garden city: Eve, ‘the mother of all living’ (Gn. 3:20), has in the plan of God become the ancestress of a great society of nations. The other difference is that the plans of Satan have been maturing also. A curse has come upon the human race, and the nations need healing. That is why the original creation has had to be remade.
But with the curse removed by Christ, the new creation will eventually be what it was meant to be: the throne at the centre of all, and the people of God seeing him, serving him, sealed by his name, and reigning with him in everlasting day.
Closing Scene—Jesus Among His People Forever (22:1–5)
SUPPORTING IDEA: In Jesus’ eternal presence, the final state of redeemed humanity with the river and Tree of life will greatly surpass the garden of Eden in splendor.
22:1–2. After the opening prologue (1:1–8), John received his first vision. In that first scene he saw the risen Lord walking among the lampstands (churches) during the present age (1:9–20). Now we come at last to the final scene of John’s final vision. It perfectly balances the opening scene, for it shows the reigning Lord present with his people throughout all eternity.
John’s “tour guide” is still the angel that had been with him from the beginning of this vision (21:9). At the heart of the New Jerusalem he saw the river of the water of life, no doubt flowing from “the spring of the water of life” (21:6) that gushed from the throne of God. In Eden a life-giving river had nourished the garden (Gen. 2:10); now a life-giving river nourishes New Jerusalem. Another Old Testament river parallels this. Ezekiel prophesied a river flowing from the temple of a restored earthly Jerusalem down to the Dead Sea and bringing abundant life to that most barren spot in the world (Ezek. 47:1–12).
The essential meaning of this river is found in Jesus’ declaration to the woman at the well of Sychar: “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). The river, flowing as it does from God’s throne, can only portray that eternal life is entirely due to God’s gracious gift.
The water is as clear as crystal, indicating its absolute purity. Earlier John had seen a mysterious crystal-clear sea near the throne of God (4:6). Now, there is no more sea, only a great river symbolically providing abundant eternal life.
The exact city architecture that John described is unclear. Does the great street of the city divide so that it reaches each of the twelve gates (21:21)? Does the river flow down the middle of the streets like a great canal, branching into subcanals like Venice? Or is it better to understand the river as beside the street? Is the tree of life one single great plant, or should we take “tree” collectively in the sense of “orchard,” with individual plants standing on each side of the river? We are unable to answer these questions, so we should not speculate.
We should, however, take a closer look at this wonderful Tree of Life. Here is the only vegetation specifically mentioned as part of the eternal state, and a feature that deliberately reminds us of the garden of Eden (see “Deeper Discoveries” in chapter 2). In Revelation 2:7, Christ had pledged, “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” Here is the fulfillment. This symbolizes the complete undoing of the curse in the garden.
After the Fall, God had declared that mankind “must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever” (Gen. 3:22). Now the curse is gone, so the overcomers may eat once more. Just as drinking from the water of life symbolizes everlasting life, so eating the fruit symbolizes all the divine blessings of the eternal state. In Ezekiel’s vision, the life-giving river had an amazing, unimaginable impact on “fruit trees of all kinds,” and “every month they will bear,” and “their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing” (Ezek. 47:12). In Revelation, this is fulfilled by the Tree of Life. Its fantastic abilities first are bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. This symbolizes blessings unending, for, of course, there can be no literal months in heaven since the moon exists no more (21:23). All the redeemed citizens will take nourishment from these fruits.
Second, the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. As in chapter 21, so here we find the nations present. The picture is of a vast, glorious city making a worldwide impact. Disease or sickness will not be present in heaven, so no healing will be required. The meaning is that all will enjoy full, wholesome, robust health. Just as the death of Christ made possible the water of eternal life (spiritually), so his death also provides the leaves that completely remove all the consequences of sin forever (physically). Here is the final reference to the nations in Revelation.
22:3–4. The garden of Eden had its river and its tree, but it did not contain the throne of God and of the Lamb. For this reason the city surpasses the original paradise. The throne equally belongs to the Father and the Son—God and the Lamb. Further, the garden had been the place where the curse entered (Gen. 3:14, 17). Now, the city is the place where no longer will there be any more curse. Here at last is the seventh and greatest of the seven things that will no longer exist in eternity (sea, death, mourning, crying, pain, and night are the others; 21:1, 4, 25). Where the curse has been banished, only blessing remains. Three of the greatest specific blessings of eternity now follow.
His servants will serve him. The word servants can be rendered “slaves,” and the verb serve usually means religious worship. Eternity will never be boring. We cannot imagine exactly what it will mean for us to serve and worship God throughout eternity or even that he would desire such. The implication, however, is of great activity, not passive lethargy. In this life, his servants truly served him, though sometimes halfheartedly and often with incomplete obedience. In eternity this will change to perfect service. The first blessing is faultless active usefulness.
They will see his face. One of the truths embedded almost from the beginning of biblical revelation is that no human can see God face-to-face. Moses’ experience with the Lord was the model: “You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live” (Exod. 33:20). Further, the Lord said to Moses, “You will see my back; but my face must not be seen” (Exod. 33:23). In the Christian era, God’s face is glimpsed through Christ. Sometimes, however, the way seems dark, and God’s face has appeared hidden even to the greatest of saints. In eternity with the curse removed, all God’s servants will see him face-to-face. Again, we cannot begin to imagine what this means, only that it surpasses the most wonderful spiritual experience of God that anyone in this life can have. The second blessing is immediate divine presence.
His name will be on their foreheads. Throughout Revelation, foreheads with a sign or a mark have figured prominently (7:3; 9:4; 13:16; 14:1, 9; 17:5; 20:4; 22:4). The only group so far specifically noted with the name of God on their foreheads were the 144,000 followers of the Lamb (14:1). To bear God’s name was a privilege, but it also provided protection. Although interpreters have often differed about the meaning of the 144,000, all agree that in the present text all the redeemed throughout eternity are in view. The seal or name of God on someone authenticates that person as genuine, guarantees God’s protection, and is a token of his reward to the overcomers. The third blessing is eternally guaranteed reward.
22:5. This verse concludes the vision at the highest possible level. It repeats and summarizes the teaching of Revelation 21:22–24. No more night pictures the complete end of all the darkness that sin and evil brought. This can happen only because of the direct personal presence of the Lord God who will give them light. Just as Jesus is the “Light of the World” during the present age (John 8:12; 9:5), so in eternity he is the everlasting light. So neither the light of a lamp (to illumine the night) or the light of the sun (to illumine the day) can add anything to the light of God’s presence.
The concluding promise is that the city’s citizens will reign for ever and ever. Exactly what this means is not clear, but it is evidently part of their service to God. One of the promises Christ made to the overcomers early in Revelation was that they will share his rule (2:27; 5:10). In Revelation 11:15, “The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.’ ” The final words of the last vision of Revelation show this as fully accomplished—but he fulfills it by sharing his rule with his servants.
1. And he showed me the river of the water of life, sparkling like crystal. It proceeds from the throne of God and the Lamb.
The pronoun he alludes to the angel (21:9) who has the task of revealing to John the holy city. Central to the city is the throne that is depicted as the source of life. The throne belonging to God and the Lamb is the source of the river that supplies the water of life. But the emphasis is not so much on the river or the water as on the word life. Jesus offered the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well living water (John 4:10–11; 7:38), that is, water whose very essence is life. The angel tells John that there is a river with an abundance of that life-giving water originating in the throne of God and the Lamb and flowing from it. This water of life signifies a steady stream of blessings to all the saints. Recording a heavenly anthem, John had written, “Because the Lamb at the center of the throne will shepherd them, and he will lead them to springs of living water” (Rev. 7:17; compare 21:6; 22:17).
Also the prophets portrayed a river flowing from the temple in Jerusalem. Ezekiel depicts a river flowing from the temple that became “deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross” (47:5), which was a source of life to trees and fish (47:7–9). Zechariah writes, “On that day living water will flow out of Jerusalem” (14:8). Likewise, at the dawn of human history, “a river watering the garden flowed from Eden” (Gen. 2:10).
Sparkling clear water surges forth not from the temple but from the throne—there is no temple in the holy city. The stream initiates from the throne of both God and the Lamb. In the throne room the Lamb stands in or at the center of the throne (5:6; 7:17), but in the last of his seven letters Jesus invites the Laodiceans to sit with him on his Father’s throne (3:21). That is, Father and Son as two divine persons occupy the same throne. John avoids designating Jesus as God in order not to leave the impression that he is teaching the existence of two Gods. The Father and the Son are one (John 14:20; 17:22).