The River and Tree of Life
And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal,
proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there
the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit
every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the
nations. Rev. 22:1-2
The angel continues to show John the wonderful things of the city of God.
In the midst of the street of the city was the tree of life.
The Broad Street.--Although the word "street" is here used in the singular
number with the definite article "the" before it, it is not supposed that
there is but one street in the city, for there are twelve gates, and there
must of course be a street leading to each gate. But the street here spoken
of is the street by way of distinction, the main street, or as the original
word signifies, the broad way, the great avenue.
The River of Life.--The tree of life is in the midst of this street, but is
on either side of the river of life. Therefore the river of life is also in
the midst of the street of the city. This river proceeds from the throne of
God. The picture thus presented before the mind is this: The glorious
throne of God at the head of the broad way, or avenue; out of that throne
the river of life, flowing lengthwise through the center of the street; and
the tree of life growing on either side, forming a high and magnificent
arch over that majestic stream, and spreading its life-bearing branches far
away on either side. How wide this broad street is, we have no means of
determining, but it will be at once perceived that a city three hundred
seventy-five miles square, would have an ample space for its great avenue.
The Tree of Life.--But how can the tree of life be but one tree, and still
be on either side of the river? It is evident that there is but one tree of
life. From Genesis to Revelation it is spoken of as but one--the tree of life.
To be at once on both sides of the river, it must have more than one trunk,
in which case it would be united above in order to form but one tree.
John, caught away in the Spirit, and presented with a minute view of
this wonderful object, says that it was on either side of the river.
The tree of life bears twelve kinds of fruit, and yields it fruit every
month. This fact throws light upon the declaration in Isaiah 66: 23, that
all flesh shall come up "from one moon to another" to worship before the
Lord of hosts.
The redeemed come up to the holy city from month to month to partake of
the fruit of the tree of life. Its leaves are for the healing of the nations,
--literally, the service of the nations. This cannot be understood as implying
that any will enter the city in a diseased or deformed condition to need
healing; for then the conclusion would follow that there will always be
persons there in that condition, as we have no reason to understand that
the service of the leaves, whatever it is, will not be perpetual, like the use
of the fruit. But the idea of disease and deformity in the immortal state is
contrary to the express declarations of Scripture. "The inhabitant shall not
say, I am sick." Isaiah 33: 24.