I said I would look further at the role of the scriptures, knowing how to interpret them, church history and the importance of being rooted in His family as aids to discernment. I will start by looking at two other river passages that I think connect to the river of Psalm 46. This passage can address the first two points above. The best commentary on scripture, is in fact the scriptures. As someone has said, ‘The scriptures can shed a lot of light on our commentaries.’ We need to look at context, history and parallel or related passages to help us in discerning focus and purpose.
So look at the connection in the scriptures regarding the river of life in the two passages below.
1 Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar. 2 He brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me around on the outside to the outer gateway that faces east; and there was water, running out on the right side. 3 And when the man went out to the east with the line in his hand, he measured one thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the water came up to my ankles. 4 Again he measured one thousand and brought me through the waters; the water came up to my knees. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through; the water came up to my waist. 5 Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross; for the water was too deep, water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed. Ezekiel 47:1-5 (NKJV)
1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. 4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. 5 There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever. Revelation 22:1-5 (NKJV)
The encounters of Ezekiel and John, both vivid visions, describe His river, one flowing from the temple (OT) and one flowing from the throne (NT). It would be a bit of stretch to say these were different heavenly rivers. Rather it is scripturally safer to say they are the same river viewed from different vantage points in both history and geography. We can see that His river brings life and healing and increases in depth as it moves out from His throne. This increase is similar to Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s vision referring to an increasing everlasting kingdom (Daniel 2:44-45) and Isaiah’s of the Messiah’s government and authority that shall continue to increase in the earth (Is. 9:6-7).
These references to His river can connect back to the river of Psalm 46, which is also not a natural river. However, where else do we find an explicit reference to His river that speaks clearly to our calling.
37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:37-39 (NKJV)
Our invitation is to drink deeply of Jesus so His river of life flows through us in increasing measure and changes the environment around us.
In my next post I will look at one of the key creeds in church history as a discernment tool.