Revelation 22:1–5 (NKJV)

After John recounts the light of the city and the streets of gold in the New Jerusalem, his attention turns to the river of life and the trees of life.

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.

Revelation 22:1-2

The narrator moves from the previous features of the city to a discussion of some particular features in the city that are closely related, a river and trees. The river is pure, flowing with water of life that is completely clear, like a crystal. Everything described in the New Jerusalem is of the best quality, the utmost purity, the highest level of perfection, including the water in this river. Some scholars see the river of life as being a sign of God’s blessing. There is a connection to the river described in Eden, and is also an allusion to the river of living water described in Ezekiel 47. The river in Ezekiel is one that also initiates from the throne of God and provides great fruitfulness and fertility. The river that runs from Eden brings life to its basin as well. Water for hydration is one of the primary needs of plant life in order to thrive and bear fruit. This river of life proceeds from the throne of God and the Lamb, signifying yet again that God is the source of all things good in the New Jerusalem.

A further look at the river shows it running parallel with the main street of the New Jerusalem. On either side of the river was the tree of life. Although this wording signifies a singular tree, the wording in the original language hints that this could be a collective term describing numerous trees along the river banks. These trees are described as producing twelve types of fruit, and then the wording alludes to “each tree,” suggesting that this was a line of trees going down each side of the street. If so, this was a veritable orchard of trees bearing fruit and producing each and every month of the year. While time will not be measured in heaven as it is on earth, the implication is that the producing of fruit will be perpetual. The hopeful statement of the healing power of the leaves of the tree is a bit unclear. “Healing of the nations” is somewhat nebulous, not making it clear who the “nations” are. Perhaps it refers to the nations saved by the Lamb and now in a perfect place with no sickness. Perhaps it refers to Gentiles who were formerly not part of the blessed nation of Israel. Either way, there will be no more sickness or death in this New Jerusalem.

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 22:3-5

Another great benefit of living in the New Jerusalem is the fact that the curse shall be broken. The Adamic curse (or covenant) stated that Adam would work by the sweat of his brow and that Eve would long for her husband all her days and have great pain in childbirth. They also would eventually die. However, Jesus’ death and resurrection brought life, and eventual freedom from the curse of death. The throne of the Lamb will be in the New Jerusalem, and all His servants will serve Him. They shall see His face, signifying the fact that in their new bodies they can stand in the presence of God, and His name will be found on their foreheads, in contrast to the mark of the beast on the damned of the Tribulation period. Again, John records the fact that there will be no night, and the sun nor any lamp will be necessary, for the Lord God gives the city light. They all shall reign with the Lamb forever, He as king and them as His grateful servants. Be on the right side!

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