Revelation 22:2 has been identified as a scripture that prophetically defines, at least in part, the call of the Canadian Church to serve the nations.
"THE LEAVES OF THE TREE WERE FOR THE HEALING OF THE NATIONS"
This scripture identifies our primary national gift/calling and it opens a window into the promise of spiritual abundance that the Canadian Church has received from the Lord. In this moment, in the drama of the nations, we need to see this promise clearly so we can be activated into this unique gifting and calling. It’s a moment we don’t want to miss.
In order to really function in this calling however, we need to understand it. We need to believe for what God is truly giving us, we can’t afford to just run with assumptions. If we’ve misunderstood and jumped to conclusions, even if we are fervent, prayerful and sacrificial, we end up asking amiss, (Jas 4:3), and this can cost us dearly. It is often misunderstanding what God has promised that leads to disillusionment and “hope differed” (Prov 13:12).
In the last blog post when we looked carefully at Ps 72:8 and considered its context, in the same way, it’s also important that we understand the context of our Revelation 22:2 promise.
Where is it? What’s happening? What does this same image communicate in other passages of scripture? Let’s dig in! We find our promise is right at the end of the book of Revelation, in the midst of the description of the New Jerusalem where the tree of life gives forth its fruit every month. You might remember the tree of life, we first encounter it in Genesis as a type (a symbol) of Christ. It’s eating from this tree that gives Adam and Eve life, and it’s this tree that they are separated from when they sin. The tree of life can also be a symbol of the cross, where Jesus’ saving and redeeming work provides —in exchange for our lives diseased by sin— His incorruptible life. But it’s not just a personal redemption, here in Revelation at the restoration of all things, the tree of life is providing the nations with fruit for feasting and leaves for healing.
How we long for this day!
So if the tree itself is a symbol of Jesus and the cross, where does Canada come in?
How then could this be a promise for the Church in Canada?
A SPECIAL GRACE FOR HEALING
First of all, this is a promise that the Church in Canada has a special grace for healing, as a part of our spiritual DNA. Healing of hearts, bodies, relationships, spirits, and more! This means when we see God moving in our nation, in big or even smaller ways, we can expect to see a strong theme of healing. It’s a spiritual gift from God that has, and will continue to, manifest in the Canadian Church.
This means we can and should knock, seek and ask in prayer for healing to flow from every church, every network and denomination, and from the life of every believer! Receive a bigger vision of healing than just physical healing-- but let’s keep contending for the sick and injured to be healed!
AND TO THE NATIONS
Secondly, this gift of healing is also a responsibility, a call to minister the leaves of the tree of life, (the leaves of Jesus’ gospel) to broken hearts and lives from around the world that have come to Canada.
As well, we take these leaves into nations as we are sent out. It’s both. Caring for the nations as they come, and carrying Jesus, as His servants, to the nations. What an honour and what a joy!
But with both of these applications, (healing as our spiritual DNA, and our call to carry healing to the nations) -- it must never become about us. That can sour the gift.
IT'S NOT ABOUT US
The Canadian Church cannot be exalted in this story, we must decrease in our national ego and our national self-life, to make more room for Jesus’ glory to increase. Remember Paul, who called himself the “Hebrew of Hebrews”(Phil 3:5), then went on to declare that what ever was gain for him (he included his Jewishness in this listing) he counted as rubbish for the sake of knowing Christ (Phil 3:8).
Being Canadian is wonderful, but Canadians, or even Canadian values and culture won’t ultimately heal anyone. It is only Jesus, His grace and power. We may be the vessel at times, but we are merely jars of clay, not the glory that the jar contains. That glory is the presence of God. We may have a rosy view of all things Canadian and see kingdom values in our desire for peace and our cultural politeness, but don’t let that turn to a form of national self-righteousness, where we subtly believe we merit God’s gifts to us.
If Paul considered being Jewish was of no value, how can we assert that being Canadian somehow makes us worthy? Let’s, like Paul, always make sure it’s Jesus who is glorified, honoured and proclaimed in every opportunity we have to minister. It’s Jesus the world needs, not Canada.
A PROPHETIC MOMENT
With hopefully a clearer vision of what our gift looks like, let’s notice that we are in a moment right now where the Church in Canada has an invitation to bring Jesus’ healing to nations. The world’s eyes are on Iran and because of the tragic loss of life in the recently downed Ukrainian flight 752 there is a sudden awareness of the link between Canada and Iran. We can’t let this moment get lost in the noise of international turmoil, it’s a strategic place where the Canadian Church can step in with Jesus’ healing.
How? Consider these ways:
CARRYING THE GOSPEL MEANS IT CONFRONTS US TOO!
As we pursue an activation of our gift: bringing healing to the nations that comes from Jesus’s life and redemption, (not just Canadian niceness or peacefulness) we can expect that carrying the gospel will confront our hearts as well.
We simply can’t function in this gift if we are anti-immigration or biased against other ethnic groups that have moved to Canada. I’m not advocating for open borders, but as Christians, those that are coming to Canada legally need to find the warmth of the Church’s generous embrace and welcome. “Welcome the stranger” — it’s a part of the gospel. If this is not fully our heart, we need to repent and realign ourselves with the call to authentically love our neighbours.
The two major prophetic promises God has given our nation are phenomenal! If we believe them, live into them, contend for their fullness we will find our true national destiny and our hearts will overflow with the goodness of God.
Read the other two posts in this series: Removing our Cataracts, Seeing His Dominion.