Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 22:2

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.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Church;   Heaven;   Jesus Continued;   Medicine;   Readings, Select;   Righteousness;   River;   Symbols and Similitudes;   Types;   Vision;   Thompson Chain Reference - Degrees of Fruitfulness;   Disease, Spiritual;   Fruitfulness;   Future, the;   Healing;   Health-Disease;   Heaven;   Heavenly;   Home;   Life;   Living Water;   Spiritual;   Tree of Life;   Water;   Water of Life;   Wells;   The Topic Concordance - Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ;   Servants;   Tree of Life;   Truth;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Months;   Trees;   Types of Christ;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Trees;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Apocalyptic literature;   Disease;   Eschatology;   Evil;   Healing;   Heaven;   Mission;   Paradise;   Revelation, book of;   Temple;   Vision;   Water;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Drink;   Life;   New Jerusalem;   Prophet, Prophetess, Prophecy;   Water;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Obedience;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Heaven;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Tree of Life;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Adam (1);   Garden;   Manna;   Paradise;   Revelation of John, the;   Wilderness of the Wanderings;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Fall;   Fountain;   Gentiles;   Heaven;   Heavenly City, the;   Leaf, Leaves;   Number Systems and Number Symbolism;   Revelation, the Book of;   Tree of Life;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Life;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Fellowship (2);   Fig-Tree ;   Fruit;   Minister Ministry;   New Jerusalem;   Paradise;   River ;   River (2);   Sanctify, Sanctification;   Street;   Time;   Tree ;   Tree (2);   Tree of Life;   Type;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Medicine;   Revelation, the;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Christ;   Tree;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Eden;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Christ;   Leaf;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Either;   Filth;   Jerusalem, New;   Leaf;   Life;   Medicine;   Revelation of John:;   Tree of Life;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Adam;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Eden, Garden of;   Paradise;   Tree of Life;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for August 28;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

In the midst of the street of it - That is, of the city which was described in the preceding chapter.

The tree of life - An allusion to Genesis 2:9. As this tree of life is stated to be in the streets of the city, and on each side of the river, tree must here be an enallage of the singular for the plural number, trees of life, or trees which yielded fruit by which life was preserved. The account in Ezekiel is this: "And by the river, upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade - it shall bring forth new fruit, according to his months - and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine;" Ezekiel 47:12.

Twelve manner of fruits - Καρπους δωδεκα· Twelve fruits; that is, fruit twelve times in the year, as is immediately explained, yielded her fruit every month. As this was a great and spacious city, one fountain was not sufficient to provide water for it, therefore a river is mentioned; a great river, by which it was sufficiently watered. Some think that by this tree of life the Gospel is indicated; the twelve fruits are the twelve apostles; and the leaves are Gospel doctrines by which the nations - the Gentiles, are healed of the disease of sin. But this seems to be a fanciful interpretation.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-22.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

In the midst of the street of it - Prof. Stuart renders this, “between the street thereof and the river”; and says that “the writer conceives of the river as running through the whole city; then of streets parallel to it on either side; and then, on the banks of the river, between the water and the street, the whole stream is lined on either side with two rows of the tree of life.” The more common interpretation, however, is doubtless admissible, and would give a more beautiful image; that in the street, or streets of the city, as well as on the banks of the river, the tree of life was planted. It abounded everywhere. The city had not only a river passing through it, but it was pervaded by streets, and all those streets were lined and shaded with this tree. The idea in the mind of the writer is that of Eden or Paradise; but it is not the Eden of the book of Genesis, or the Oriental or Persian Paradise: it is a picture where all is combined, that in the view of the writer would constitute beauty, or contribute to happiness.

And on either side of the river - As well as in all the streets. The writer undoubtedly conceives of a single river running through the city - probably as meandering along - and that river lined on both sides with the tree of life. This gives great beauty to the imagery.

Was there the tree of life - Not a single tree, but it abounded everywhere - on the banks of the river, and in all the streets. It was the common tree in this blessed Paradise - of which all might partake, and which was everywhere the emblem of immortality. In this respect, this new Paradise stands in strong contrast with that in which Adam was placed at his creation, where there seems to have been a single tree that was designated as the tree of life, Genesis 3:22-23. In the future state of the blessed, that tree will abound, and all may freely partake of it; the emblem, the pledge of immortal life, will be constantly before the eyes, whatever part of the future abode may be traversed, and the inhabitants of that blessed world may constantly partake of it.

Which bare twelve manner of fruits - “Producing twelve fruit-harvests; not (as our version) twelve manner of fruits” (Prof. Stuart). The idea is not that there are twelve kinds of fruit on the same tree, for that is not implied in the language used by John. The literal rendering is, “producing twelve fruits” - ποιοῦν καρποὺς δώδεκα poioun karpous dōdekaThe word “manner” has been introduced by the translators without authority. The idea is, that the tree bore every month in the year, so that there were twelve fruit-harvests. It was not like a tree that bears but once a year, or in one season only, but it constantly bore fruit - it bore every month. The idea is that of abundance, not variety. The supply never fails; the tree is never barren. As there is but a single class of trees referred to, it might have been supposed, perhaps, that, according to the common method in which fruit is produced, there would be sometimes plenty and sometimes want; but the writer says that, though there is but one kind, yet the supply is ample. The tree is everywhere; it is constantly producing fruit.

And yielded her fruit every month - The word “and” is also supplied by the translators, and introduces an idea which is not in the original, as if there was not only a succession of harvests, which is in the text, but that each one differed from the former, which is not in the text. The proper translation is, “producing twelve fruits, yielding or rendering its fruit in each month.” Thus there is, indeed, a succession of fruit-crops, but it is the same kind of fruit. We are not to infer, however, that there will not be variety in the occupations and the joys of the heavenly state, for there can be no doubt that there will be ample diversity in the employments, and in the sources of happiness, in heaven; but the single thought expressed here is, that the means of life will be abundant: the trees of life will be everywhere, and they will be constantly yielding fruit.

And the leaves of the tree - Not only the fruit will contribute to give life, but even the leaves will be salutary. Everything about it will contribute to sustain life.

Were for the healing - That is, they contribute to impart life and health to those who had been diseased. We are not to suppose that there will be sickness, and a healing process in heaven, for that idea is expressly excluded in Revelation 21:4; but the meaning is, that the life and health of that blessed world will have been imparted by partaking of that tree; and the writer says that, in fact, it was owing to it that they who dwell there had been healed of their spiritual maladies, and had been made to live forever.

Of the nations - Of all the nations assembled there, Revelation 21:24. There is a close resemblance between the language used here by John and that used by Ezekiel Ezekiel 47:12, and it is not improbable that both these writers refer to the same thing. Compare also in the Apocrypha, 2 Esdras 2:12; 8:52-54.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-22.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Revelation 22:2

The tree of life.

The tree of life

As we gradually are being drawn nearer and nearer to the end, and the sentence of death which has been passed upon us becomes more imminent, have we yet tasted of the tree of life? Ah, we shall be asked before we enter paradise again, not what riches we have, not what knowledge, not what intelligence, but what life? whether our soul is alive unto God? Oh, when hundreds and hundreds are tasting of the tree of knowledge, when the world is so clever, so eager, so wicked, would that more tasted of the tree of life, of religion, of holiness I And the tree of life is accessible to all; multiplied it stands on each side of the river, in the wilderness, and in the promised land. There is an open church, and an open Bible, and open privileges for every one. And there is fruit to be found on that tree for all, not only for the good, but twelve manner of fruits: fruit for this hard, weary life, fruit for the tempted, fruit for the penitent, fruit for the occupied, fruit for every one. And for those who despise the fruit there are the leaves. Yes, the very outskirts of religion are blessed; yes, even to linger in these courts, to hear the voice of God speaking in the psalms, “To go with the multitude, and bring them forth into the house of God”; even in the scanty service, the cold devotion, the imperfect knowledge, there is a leaf from the tree of life; there may be healing in it. It was such a leaf from this tree that healed the fevered soul of St. Augustine, fluttering to his feet charged with power and virtue. Many an old wound has been healed over by the buried leaves of early training; many a chance word which has winged its way from the Bible, or some good book or sermon, has proved to be a leaf from the tree of life. Ah, yes, if you need healing, if you are full of wounds and bruises and putrefying sores, if you shrink from the fruit, still there is healing in the leaves. In the very outskirts of religion there is healing, but not satisfaction. Medicine is not food, but also food must sometimes be preceded by medicine. (Canon Newbolt.)

The tree of life

I. The tree of life bears fruit. “Twelve”--symbol of plenty. “Every month”--symbol of constancy. The tree of life is never without plenty of fruit. Every man can find in the Cross of Christ the particular blessing that will suit his need.

II. The tree of life is the purifier of the world. Does not the Cross of Christ heal the nations? Does it not turn evil into good, and change curses into blessings, and so maintain the balance of the moral world? We know how the story of the Cross, by its unselfish teachings, its spiritual influences, its pure precepts, its noble principles, has laid hold of nations, countries, and empires; how it has changed them gradually, powerfully, successfully; how it has lifted them up from superstition and corruption into the sweet light of culture and purity; how it has consolidated them and made them powers for good in God’s world.

III. The tree of life is our protection. (J. G. Davies.)

The tree of life

In the Authorised Version it is not easy to understand the statement that “in the midst of the street and on either side of the river was the tree of life”; but by dividing the sentence after the word “street,” as is done in the Revised Version, all is made easy to understand. You have the picture of the river of water of life running down in the midst of the street; then on each side of this central stream you have a row of trees; and these trees are all described as “the tree of life.” In the history of Genesis the tree of life appears to be spoken of as one single tree; it was an exotic there; only one specimen in the whole garden; but in the new paradise which St. John saw, it would seem to have grown abundantly; “on either side of the river” does not admit of the supposition of one single tree; the word tree must be generic; as we say that the apple-tree abounds in Devonshire, or that the vine flourishes in France, meaning that Devonshire is a land of apple-trees, and France of vines. Hence I have spoken of a row of trees on each side of the river; there could not be less than one row, there might be several. Next observe what is said about the “twelve manner of fruits.” Those of you who have visited countries where the orange-tree grows will understand the description at once: you will remember to have seen the ripe oranges, the small green fruit, and perhaps the blossom, all flourishing together: “three manner of fruits.” Multiply this by a process of heavenly arithmetic, and you have St. John’s picture of the tree of life bearing fruit in twelve different degrees of maturity; the number twelve corresponding to the months of the year. So that the tree has ripe fruit all the year round; no long winter of sterility; no anxious spring with tender leaves and delicate blossoms, and fears concerning east winds and late frosts; no calm decay of autumn, after the fruit has been gathered and is gone; not this, but perpetual sunshine above, perpetual supply to the roots of living water below, and so a perpetual bearing of fruit for the support of human souls. Putting Genesis and Revelation together, I think we may draw the conclusion that in some sense the tree of life is ever necessary to the human soul. You find it in paradise, you find it in heaven; it flourishes in the first creation of God, it flourishes still more abundantly in that new creation which St. John saw in his vision. We may safely conclude that if in two such different creations the tree of life was a prominent feature of God’s work, it cannot be absent from any intermediate dispensation, or at all events that it is ill with the world, when access to the tree of life is forbidden. May it not be said that if access to the tree of life is that which man lost when, in his wilfulness, he determined to eat of that other tree, then a renewed access to the tree of life is just that which Christ has gained for humanity by His Incarnation, by His Cross and Passion, by His precious death and burial, by His glorious Resurrection and Ascension, and by the coming of the Holy Ghost? May we not say that the vision of the tree of life, which St. John saw in all its heavenly luxuriance and completeness, is the true consummation of all that God does for human souls upon earth by the means of grace, which for Christ’s sake He supplies? There is one other view of the subject which I should like to bring before you. It is scarcely possible to speak of the tree of life without thinking of the antithesis of the tree of knowledge. I observe that one of our publishers has adopted as his colophon a picture of two trees bound together by a scroll which carries the legend, “Arbor Scientiae, Arbor Vitae” (The Tree of Knowledge, the Tree of Life). If it be meant by this that there should be alliance and harmony between human knowledge and that knowledge which is life eternal, I think the motto is a good one and true. But it must be an alliance and harmony, not an identification or a confusion of one with the other. “Knowledge is power,” according to a well-known aphorism, but knowledge is not life. And therefore it is impossible to think upon the tree of life without thinking upon that other tree; the tree of knowledge bears fruit which is beautiful to the eye and good for food, and in man’s present condition the fruit is not forbidden, but it cannot take the place of the fruit of the tree of life; he who eats of it will hunger again; he who eats of the fruit of the tree of life will hunger no more, but will have part in the eternal life of God. (Bp. Harvey Goodwin.)

A tree

Look at this tree in three aspects.

I. As centrally rooted--“In the midst of the street of it.” Christianity is a life well rooted and well guarded--an incorruptible seed, that “liveth and abideth for ever.”

II. It is essentially vital. It is “the tree of life.” Life of all kinds, even vegetable and animal, is, say men of science, inextinguishable. This is true of this spiritual life--this life of Christianity in the soul.

III. It is marvellously fruitful--“Which bare twelve manner of fruits.” How abundantly fertile is living Christianity in the soul! What new thoughts, affections, resolves, are constantly evolved.

IV. It is always seasonable; yielding its fruit every month. The fruits of living Christianity in the soul are always seasonable.

V. It is universally healing--“The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” (D. Thomas, D. D.)

Twelve manner of fruits.--

The tree of life shaking his fruits and leaves among the nations

I. Speak a little of Christ under the notion of the tree of life.

1. Some general remarks concerning this blessed tree here spoken of.

2. Why He is called, in a way of eminency, “the tree of life.”

3. What sort of life springs out of this tree of life.

4. A few properties or qualities of this life that springs out of the tree of life.

II. The situation of this tree in the city of God.

1. The city spoken of is none other than the Church of God.

2. This city has streets in it. By the street, I understand the ordinances of Divine appointment, especially these of a public nature.

3. Notice here, that there is a river, which is said to run through the midst of the city, and in the streets of it, according to what we have (Psalms 46:4). By this river, the whole city of God, all true believers, are refreshed, supplied, fructified, cleansed, and quickened.

4. Christ, the tree of life, is on each side of the river, and in the midst of the street of it.

III. The fertility or fruitfulness of this tree of life; it bears twelve manner of fruits, and yields fruit every month.

1. Some of the fruits of the tree of life.

(a) It is by His death that an angry God is atoned and reconciled.

(b) The debt-bond that justice had against us is torn; the hand-writing that was contrary to us is cancelled (Colossians 2:14).

(c) Everlasting righteousness is brought in when it was quite out of the world.

(d) By His death the covenant is confirmed with many (Daniel 9:27).

(a) The quickening and raising up of the soul that was dead in sin is a fruit of the resurrection of the tree of life.

(b) Another fruit of His resurrection is the discharging of our debt that we were owing to Divine justice.

(c) Another fruit of the tree of life in His resurrection is the reviving of our hopes of recovering the lost inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-4).

(d) Our victory over sin and death is secured.

(a) The leading captivity captive (Ephesians 4:8).

(b) The conferring of ministerial gifts upon men, yea, the very office of the ministry and ordinances of the gospel for the edification of His mystical body (Ephesians 4:8).

(c) The downpouring of the Spirit in a more plentiful measure than under the Old Testament dispensation. Of this Christ Himself speaks (John 16:7).

(d) The preparing of heavenly mansions for us, where we may be with Him for ever, is a fruit of the exaltation of Christ (John 14:3). The head being above, the body shall follow.

(a) Freedom from, and strength against, temptation (Luke 22:31-32).

(b) Boldness and confidence toward God, and acceptance at His throne (Hebrews 4:16).

(c) Through Christ’s intercession we have a ready answer unto all challenges and accusations that are brought in against us.

(d) The assurance of the effectual application of all the benefits of His purchase and legacies of His testament is a fruit of His intercession.

(e) The hearing of our prayers, the acceptance of our persons and weak services, is another fruit of His intercession.

2. Some of the months wherein He yields fruit to the souls of His people.

(a) There is the spring month, or time of conversion, or effectual calling; the tree of life yields fruit then to the soul.

(b) There is the pleasant summer month of manifestations and discoveries of the Divine glory of the Lord’s countenance.

(c) There is the pleasant and sweet summer month of access to God in duties and ordinances.

(d) There is the pleasant month or season of remarkable deliverances that the Lord works for His people either from spiritual or temporal enemies.

(e) There is the pleasant month of the renewed or lively actings of faith upon the Lord Jesus Christ or on the covenant and promises.

(f) There is the month of a lively love to the lovely Jesus. This is a pleasant summer month in which the soul feeds liberally on the fruit of the tree of life.

(a) There is the sharp, piercing winter month of conviction, reproofs, and challenges from the Lord.

(b) There is the dark and weary winter month of desertion.

(c) There is the weary winter month of the prevalency of indwelling corruption, when the soul is crying, “Iniquities prevail against me: O wretched man that I am,” etc.

(d) There is the heartless winter month of deadness, dulness, and barrenness. This is another melancholy, weary month.

(e) There is the stormy month of inward and outward trouble.

(f) There is the melancholy and gloomy month of death.

IV. The medicinal quality of the tree of life; his very leaves are for the healing of the nations.

1. Whom are we to understand by the nations? I answer, All that ever sprung of Adam, every creature endued with a reasonable soul, whether of Jew or Gentile.

2. What diseases do the nations labour under which make them need the healing leaves of this blessed tree to be brought unto them? Answer in general, ever since the fall of Adam the whole nations of the earth have been just like a great hospital of diseased persons overrun with a loathsome leprosy. And if you still ask me What is to be understood by the diseases of the nations? In a word, it is just the disease of a depraved nature venting itself in all manner of sin and wickedness (Ephesians 2:1-8; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Romans 1:21-22).

3. What are we to understand by the leaves that are for the healing of the nations? The expression imports that everything in Christ is useful and beneficial. I conceive that by the leaves of the tree, which have a healing virtue upon the nations, we are in a particular manner to understand the doctrines, promises, histories of His holy Word, by which the knowledge of Christ and faith in Christ is wrought among the nations of the earth (Psalms 72:20).

4. How doth it appear that this tree and the leaves of it are for the healing of the nations.

V. The application.

1. The first use shall be in a few inferences rom the whole.

2. The second use of this doctrine shall be by way of trial and examination.

3. The third use of this doctrine shall be of exhortation.

(a) Consider what life is to be had by coming to this tree of life; a life of justification, sanctification, consolation, and of eternal glory; a Divine life, a royal life, a heavenly life, a growing life, an immortal life; all which I spoke to in the doctrinal part.

(b) Consider what an excellent defence thou shalt find under the shadow of this tree. Here thou shalt find a defence--

(i.)

Against the wrath of an angry God, who is a consuming fire.

(ii.) Against the rage of Satan.

(iii.) From the fury of men.

(c) Consider the excellent qualities of the fruit of the tree of life.

(i.)

It is pleasant fruit, sweet to the taste (Song of Solomon 2:3).

(ii.)

It is profitable fruit; it “cheereth the heart of God and man.”

(iii.)

It is plentiful fruit. Come and eat thy fill, even to satiety; nothing will be missed, the tree is laden.

(iv.)

There is variety of fruits in this tree. Some fruit-trees they hear plenty of one kind of fruits; but here is the excellency of this tree, that it has twelve manner of fruits--fruits of all sorts--adapted to the necessity of the soul.

(v.)

The fruits of the tree of life are permanent and perennial, always continuing; for it brings forth fruit every month, every season.

(vi.)

It is nourishing fruit. By the fruit of this tree the soul is made to grow, and “go from strength to strength, until it appear before the Lord in Zion.”

(d) Take a view of the leaves of the tree, and let this invite you to come to it in a way of believing.

(i.) Art thou a blind sinner? Well, here is a leaf of the tree suited unto thy disease (Psalms 146:8; Revelation 3:18).

(ii.) Art thou deaf that thou cannot hear the voice of God in His Word or rod? Well, here is a leaf of the tree of life for healing thy disease (Isaiah 35:5).

(iii.) Art thou a lame sinner that cannot walk in the Lord’s way? Here is a leaf for thee (Isaiah 35:6).

(iv.) Art thou a dumb sinner that thou cannot speak a word in the matters of God, cannot pray, nor praise? Well, here is a leaf for thy disease (Isaiah 35:6).

(e) Consider that as the tree of life is calculate to thy necessity, so it is ordained for thy use and for the use of every sinner that will make use of it by faith (John 3:14-16). He is given to us (Isaiah 9:6).

(f) Consider that this tree is accessible; for He is in the midst of the street. And though He be highly exalted and lifted up above the heavens, yet His boughs stoop and bend down to the very ground that the hand of faith may reach His fruits and leaves (Romans 10:6-8).

(g) You are not only invited but commanded to eat the fruit and apply the leaves of the tree by faith. This is the very work of God which He requires of you--“This is His commandment, that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ.”

(h) You will die except you eat of the fruit of the tree of life (John 8:24). (R. Erskine.)

Leaves … for the healing of the nations.--

Healing leaves

I. In reference to heaven.

1. The heavenly city is described as having an abundance of all manner of delights.

2. As everything good is present, our text hints that nothing ill is there.

3. It is in heaven, according to our text, again, that there grows the tree which is not only health to heaven, but which brings healing to the nations here below.

II. In reference to ourselves below.

1. All the nations are sick. All the nations need healing, our own among them. Do not iniquities abound? Go to the West End and see its fashionable sin, or to the East End and see its more open wickedness. And all individuals in every nation want healing. The evil is in our nature from the very beginning.

2. There is but one cure for the nations--the leaves of the tree.

3. Jesus is pictured here as a blessed tree whose leaves heal the nations. Now the point of the text is this, that the very leaves are healing, from which I gather that the least thing about Christ is healing. The least fragment of this sovereign remedy has omnipotence in it. We may also learn that the humblest and most timid faith in Jesus Christ will save. Pluck a leaf of this tree by thy poor trembling faith and it shall make thee whole. Beloved, after we have been saved from our sin by faith in Jesus Christ it is very wonderful how everything about Christ will help to cleanse. Study His example; it will exercise a curative power over you. You will be ashamed to be selfish, you will be ashamed to be idle, you will be ashamed to be proud when you see what Jesus was. If we take His precepts, and I hope we prize them as highly as we do His doctrines, there is not a command of our Lord but what possesses a sacred power, by the application of the Holy Spirit, to cure some fault or other of our character. Do thou as He bids thee, and thou shalt be made whole. His least words are better than the best of others.

4. Then, too, this medicine heals all sorts of diseases. The text puts it, “The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” It does not say of this or that malady, but teaches us that the medicine is universal in its curative power. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Healing leaves

I. The disease of the nations.

1. It is universal; affects the whole race.

2. It is deep rooted. Not a surface disease; not an accidental, but a constitutional disease.

3. It exposes man to the displeasure of God.

4. It is the source of all the misery and wretchedness of man.

II. The remedy supplied iii the application of the remedy. (W. D. Ingham.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Revelation 22:2". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/revelation-22.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

In the midst of the street of it,.... That is, of the city described in the preceding chapter, which shows that this vision belongs to that, and is a continuation of it, and which street was all of pure gold, Revelation 21:21

and on either side of the river was there the tree of life; not that it stood either in the midst of the street of the city, which being a pavement of gold, a tree could not well stand there; nor on both sides of the river, which is impossible, unless the tree of life is put for many trees of the same kind, as in Ezekiel's vision, to which the allusion is; and so some were on one side of the river, and some on the other, as there; see Ezekiel 47:7 or unless it can be thought that such a solution of the difficulty is sufficient, that the root of it was on one side, and the branches grew over to the other; though the words may be better rendered, and the difficulty will be removed, and the sense be clear, "between the street of it", the city, "and the river, on this side, and on that side"; that is, the street on one side, and the river on the other, was the tree of life; compare with this John 19:18. So the Jews sayF5Yalkut Simeoni, par. 1. fol. 7. 1. , that the tree of life is in the midst of paradise, and its body covers all the garden; and that there is in it five hundred thousand different tastes; and that there is no likeness and smell like it. By the tree of life is meant not the Gospel, nor godliness, nor eternal life, nor any other of the divine Persons, but Christ, who is the author of life, natural, spiritual, and eternal; See Gill on Revelation 2:7 and its situation between the street of the city, where the saints commune and converse together, and the river of God's everlasting love, which in this state will appear in its fulness and glory, shows that Christ will be seen and enjoyed by all in the most delightful and comfortable manner that can be wished for:

which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month; not one sort of fruit one month, and another sort another month, and so on, but twelve sorts every month; which is expressive of the fruits and spiritual blessings of grace from Christ, enjoyed by saints in the present state, and of that variety of happiness and pleasures to be had in this glorious state, and of the continuance of them; they being always ever fresh and new, and will be always sufficient for the twelve tribes of the true Israel of God, and for all that have embraced the doctrine of the twelve apostles of the Lamb; whose drink in this state will be the everlasting love of God, and whose food will be the fruit of the tree of life; both which they shall enjoy in great abundance:

and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations; not for the curing of diseases, or repairing of health; which in the present state of things is done by the application of the blood of Christ for the pardon of sin, which is a healing of diseases, and by the discoveries of the love of God; through the ministration of the Gospel, and the doctrines of it, which might be thought to be signified by leaves; for there will be no disease either of body or mind in this state; besides, the nations that will walk in the light of this city will be saved perfectly and completely, Revelation 21:4 but these leaves will be for the preserving and continuing the health of the people of God in this state, as the tree of life in Eden's garden was for the preservation of the health and life of Adam, had he continued in a state of innocence; and it denotes that everything in Christ will contribute to the comfort, health, and happiness of the saints. The Jews interpret the passage in Ezekiel 47:12 to which this refers, of future time, or the world to comeF6Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 19. 1. ; and speak of various trees and herbs of great fragrancy and medicinal virtues, which grow quite round on the sides of a laver that stands in paradiseF7Sepher Avodah Hakkodesh, fol. 46. 1. .

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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-22.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

The harmonious unity of Scripture is herein exhibited. The Fathers compared it to a ring, an unbroken circle, returning into itself. Between the events of Genesis and those at the close of the Apocalypse, at least six thousand or seven thousand years intervene; and between Moses the first writer and John the last about one thousand five hundred years. How striking it is that, as in the beginning we found Adam and Eve, his bride, in innocence m Paradise, then tempted by the serpent, and driven from the tree of life, and from the pleasant waters of Eden, yet not without a promise of a Redeemer who should crush the serpent; so at the close, the old serpent cast out for ever by the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, who appears with His Bride, the Church, in a better Paradise, and amidst better waters (Revelation 22:1): the tree of life also is there with all its healing properties, not guarded with a flaming sword, but open to all who overcome (Revelation 2:7), and there is no more curse.

street of it — that is, of the city.

on either side of the river — Alford translates, “In the midst of the street of it (the city) and of the river, on one side and on the other” (for the second Greek, “{(enteuthen},” A, B, and Syriac read, {(ekeithen}: the sense is the same; compare Greek, John 19:18); thus the trees were on each side in the middle of the space between the street and the river. But from Ezekiel 47:7, I prefer English Version. The antitype exceeds the type: in the first Paradise was only one tree of life; now there are “very many trees at the bank of the river, on the one side and on the other.” To make good sense, supposing there to be but one tree, we should either, as Mede, suppose that the Greek for street is a plain washed on both sides by the river (as the first Paradise was washed on one side by the Tigris, on the other by the Euphrates), and that in the midst of the plain, which itself is in the midst of the river‘s branches, stood the tree: in which case we may translate, “In the midst of the street (plain) itself, and of the river (having two branches flowing) on this and on that side, was there the tree of life.” Or else with Durham suppose, the tree was in the midst of the river, and extending its branches to both banks. But compare Ezekiel 47:12, the millennial type of the final Paradise; which shows that there are several trees of the one kind, all termed “the tree of life.” Death reigns now because of sin; even in the millennial earth sin, and therefore death, though much limited, shall not altogether cease. But in the final and heavenly city on earth, sin and death shall utterly cease.

yielded her fruit every monthGreek, “according to each month”; each month had its own proper fruit, just as different seasons are now marked by their own productions; only that then, unlike now, there shall be no season without its fruit, and there shall be an endless variety, answering to twelve, the number symbolical of the world-wide Church (compare Note, see on Revelation 12:1; see on Revelation 21:14). Archbishop Whatley thinks that the tree of life was among the trees of which Adam freely ate (Genesis 2:9, Genesis 2:16, Genesis 2:17), and that his continuance in immortality was dependent on his continuing to eat of this tree; having forfeited it, he became liable to death; but still the effects of having eaten of it for a time showed themselves in the longevity of the patriarchs. God could undoubte)dly endue a tree with special medicinal powers. But Genesis 3):22 seems to imply, man had not yet taken of the tree, and that if he had, he would have lived for ever, which in his then fallen state would have been the greatest curse.

leaves  …  for  …  healing — (Ezekiel 47:9, Ezekiel 47:12). The leaves shall be the health-giving preventive securing the redeemed against, not healing them of, sicknesses, while “the fruit shall be for meat.” In the millennium described in Ezekiel 47:1-23 and Revelation 20:1-15, the Church shall give the Gospel-tree to the nations outside Israel and the Church, and so shall heal their spiritual malady; but in the final and perfect new Jerusalem here described, the state of all is eternally fixed, and no saving process goes on any longer (compare Revelation 22:11). Alford utterly mistakes in speaking of “nations outside,” and “dwelling on the renewed earth, organized under kings, and saved by the influences of the heavenly city” (!) Compare Revelation 21:2, Revelation 21:10-27; the “nations” mentioned (Revelation 21:24) are those which have long before, namely, in the millennium (Revelation 11:15), become the Lord‘s and His Christ‘s.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-22.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

In the midst of the street thereof (εν μεσωι της πλατειας αυτηςen mesōi tēs plateias autēs). Connected probably with the river in Revelation 22:1, though many connect it with Revelation 22:2. Only one street mentioned here as in Revelation 21:21.

On this side of the river and on that (του ποταμου εντευτεν και εκειτενtou potamou enteuthen kai ekeithen). ΕντευτενEnteuthen occurs as a preposition in Daniel 12:5 (Theodoret) and may be so here (post-positive), purely adverbial in John 19:18.

The tree of life (χυλον ζωηςxulon zōēs). For the metaphor see Genesis 1:11. and Revelation 2:7; Revelation 22:14. ΧυλονXulon is used for a green tree in Luke 23:31; Ezekiel 47:12.

Bearing (ποιουνpoioun). Neuter active participle of ποιεωpoieō (making, producing, as in Matthew 7:17). Some MSS. have ποιωνpoiōn (masculine), though χυλονxulon is neuter.

Twelve manner of fruits (καρπους δωδεκαkarpous dōdeka). “Twelve fruits.”

Yielding (αποδιδουνapodidoun). Neuter active participle of αποδιδωμιapodidōmi to give back, but some MSS. have αποδιδουςapodidous (masculine) like ποιωνpoiōn the healing of the nations (εις τεραπειαν των ετνωνeis therapeian tōn ethnōn). Spiritual healing, of course, as leaves (πυλλαphulla) are often used for obtaining medicines. Here again the problem occurs whether this picture is heaven before the judgment or afterwards. Charles distinguishes sharply between the Heavenly City for the millennial reign and the New Jerusalem that descends from heaven after the judgment. Charles rearranges these chapters to suit his theory. But chronology is precarious here.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-22.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

In the midst of the street thereof

Some connect these words with the preceding. So Rev.

On either side ( ἐντεῦθεν καὶ ἐντεῦθεν )

For the latter ἐντεῦθεν read ἐκεῖθεν , as render, as Rev., on this side and on that.

Tree ( ξύλον )

See on Luke 23:31, and see on Revelation 2:7.

Twelve manner of fruits ( καρποὺς δώδεκα )

Lit., twelve fruits. Some render crops or harvests of fruit. On these two verses compare Ezekiel 47:1-12; Joel 3:18; Zechariah 14:8.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-22.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

In the midst of the street — Here is the paradise of God, mentioned, Revelation 2:7.

Is the tree of life — Not one tree only, but many.

Every month — That is, in inexpressible abundance. The variety, likewise, as well as the abundance of the fruits of the Spirit, may be intimated thereby.

And the leaves are for the healing of the nations — For the continuing their health, not the restoring it; for no sickness is there.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-22.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Of it; of the city described in the Revelation 21:1-29.--The tree of life; that tree of which man had been deprived when he first entered upon his career of transgression. (Genesis 3:22.)

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-22.html. 1878.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 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.

Ver. 2. In the midst of the street of it] In medio foro eius, where all may easily come by it; not kept with a strong guard, as the apples of Alcinous, Hesperides, &c.

Twelve manner of fruits] Heaven’s happinesses are so many that they cannot be numbered, so great that they cannot be measured, so copious that they cannot be defined, so precious that they cannot be valued.

Every month] Like the lemon tree, which ever and anon sendeth forth new lemons as soon as the former are fallen down with ripeness.

And the leaves] No want of anything either for food or medicine. Ita balbutit nobiscum Deus. So God speaks obscurely with us.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-22.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Note here, 1. That as there was a river and a tree of life in the terrestrial paradise, so in allusion thereunto both are said to be in the heavenly paradise; behold here a tree of such vast proportion and extent, that its branches extend to both sides, that all may receive benefit by it; who can this agree with but Jesus Christ, who is called a tree of life, because from him we have our natural, our spiritual, and our eternal life? from this tree do bud forth all the fruits of grace and comfort, and that for all seasons and conditions.

In Christ, 1. Our souls have all necessaries for food and physic. Its leaves are for healing, as well as its fruits for food.

2. All variety of fruits, called here twelve manner of fruits, that is, variety of graces, and comforts of all sorts.

3. In him are these fruits at all times: this tree bears fruit every month, winter fruits as well as summer fruits, even in the black month of sickness and death.

Christ is continually distributing of his divine fulness to the satisfaction of his people; he is all in all, in the enjoyment of mercy; he is all in all, in the want of mercy; he is all, in order to his people's salvation; and he is all in their glorification.

Quest. But will there be any need either of food or physic in heaven? if not, what need of the fruits of this tree for food, or of its leaves for healing?

Ans. We cannot suppose that in the heavenly state there will be any want either of meat or medicines, any hunger that shall require food, or any sickness to stand in need of physic; but as food and physic are the instrumental means of the preservation of natural life, without which it will certainly and suddenly decay; In like manner of our Lord Jesus Christ doth not only give spiritual life unto his people, but he is the conserving cause of it, he doth maintain, and will preserve it, without the least decay, to all eternity: thus are the leaves of this tree for the healing of the nations.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-22.html. 1700-1703.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 2531

THE TREE OF LIFE

Revelation 22:2. 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.

THE Scripture represents divine truth to us in terms accommodated to our low and carnal apprehensions. We know nothing on earth so attractive to the eye as pompous palaces, fraught with exquisite workmanship of every kind, and especially of rare and precious stones, and enlivened with the gayest scenes which art and nature can produce. On this account St. John adopts these images to convey to our minds an idea of all that is great and glorious in heaven; having described which as a city unparalleled for beauty, he proceeds to tell us of a river, clear as crystal, that waters it; and of a tree of most wonderful qualities that adorns it.

It is our intention to shew,

I. What we are to understand by the tree of life—

It should seem that the tree mentioned in the text alludes to the tree of life which was created by God in Paradise—

[Some have thought that St. John alludes to the trees which are mentioned in Ezekiel’s vision [Note: Ezekiel 47:12. Dr. Kennicott’s Dissertation on this subject is extremely ingenious; but one of his strongest objections to the Author’s view of it seems wholly obviated by the explanation of Genesis 3:22-24, given in this Discourse. The Author does not judge it necessary to assign all his reasons for differing from such great authority, though he did not think it expedient wholly to omit them.]: and it must be confessed that there is a striking coincidence of expression in the two passages: but the river of which Ezekiel speaks, and the trees growing on either side of it, represent the Gospel, producing life and fruitfulness wherever it flows: whereas the tree, mentioned in the text, is expressly called “the tree of life;” and is spoken of as growing in the midst of Paradise. Now this is the exact description given us of the tree of life which was formed in Eden [Note: Genesis 2:9.]: to that therefore we rather suppose the reference to be made; and this idea is confirmed by various other passages, which we shall have occasion to notice.]

In this view Christ himself is intended under this figurative representation—

[The tree of life in Paradise may be considered as typical of Christ. It was a pledge to Adam, that, if he continued obedient to the end of the time appointed for his probation, he should live for ever. And the reason of his being driven afterwards from that tree by cherubims with fiery swords, was, that he might be compelled to seek those other means of acceptance which God had ordained, and which were shadowed forth by the tree of life [Note: Genesis 3:22-24.]. As God in later ages destroyed Jerusalem, that his people might not be able to offer their former sacrifices, and might thereby be shut up, as it were, to that great Sacrifice which the others typified; so God dealt with our first parents in the instance alluded to. Christ is to fallen man, what the tree of life was to man in innocence; he is, under the covenant of grace, what that was under the covenant of works; that ensured life to obedience, and Christ secures it to faith in his name. He is God’s pledge to us, that, if we believe on him, we shall be saved [Note: John 11:24-25.]: yea, even to those that are in heaven he must be considered as the pledge of their everlasting stability, since it is of his fruit that they eat [Note: Revelation 2:7.], and their life is altogether bound up in him [Note: Colossians 3:4. Ephesians 1:10.].]

That all may be persuaded to pluck the fruits of this tree, we proceed to shew,

II. Its transcendent excellence—

It is not in beauty only that this tree excels, but in usefulness. It surpasses all others,

1. In its fruits—

[So abundant are its fruits, that all in heaven, and all on earth, may eat of them; yea, if there were as many worlds as there have been, or ever shall be, individuals in the world, there would be sufficient for them all. But its fruits are also various: other trees, however fruitful, bear but one kind of fruit; but this bears “twelve manner of fruits:” whatever is suited to our different appetites, is to be derived from him: pardon, peace, love, joy, holiness, and whatever else a devout soul longeth after, it is all to be found in him, and to be enjoyed through him. Besides, it has this surprising quality, that its fruitfulness is continual: “In every month” we may behold him laden with fruit, as well in the depths of winter, as in the midst of summer; in seasons of the deepest adversity, as well as under the sunshine of prosperity: there never is a moment wherein we shall meet with such a disappointment as Christ experienced [Note: Matthew 21:19.]: we may at all times go and “sit under his shadow, and find his fruit sweet unto our taste.”]

2. In its leaves—

[The leaves of other fruit-trees are, for the most part, worthless: but those of this tree are medicinal, and of most astonishing virtue; they are designed on purpose “for the healing of the nations.” There is no wound, however deadly, but the application of a leaf from this tree will heal it instantly. As a sight of the brazen serpent cured the wounded Israelites, and a touch of our Lord’s garment the diseased woman [Note: Numbers 21:8-9 and Matthew 9:20-22.], so will the efficacy of these leaves be made apparent, whensoever they are applied. Nor is it one single wound that they will cure, but the whole soul, however infected in every part: as the tree, cast into the waters of Marah, healed the fountain itself, and rendered all its streams salubrious [Note: Exodus 15:25.], so will a single leaf of this tree restore the most diseased soul to purity and peace. To every believer God will surely make known himself by that name which he has assumed for our encouragement, “I am the Lord that healeth thee [Note: Exodus 15:26.].”]

From hence we may learn,

1. What use we should make of Christ now—

[We cannot but feel, if we be not altogether “past feeling,” that we stand in need of a Saviour. And behold, what a glorious salvation God has raised up for us! Should we not then apply to this Saviour? Has the Sun of Righteousness arisen with healing in his beams [Note: Malachi 4:2.], and shall we not go forth to his light? Is there balm in Gilead, is an almighty Physician there [Note: Jeremiah 8:22.], and shall we not seek the healing of our wounds? Shall the tree of life be accessible to us at all times, yea, shall the flaming sword be driving us to it instead of from it, and we not go to apply its leaves and eat of its fruit? Let us, whether dying of the wounds of sin, or agonizing through the fiery darts of temptation, go to Christ without delay; for surely virtue shall come forth from him, and heal us all [Note: Luke 6:19.]. If he submitted to suffer for us that he might “heal us by his stripes [Note: Isaiah 53:5.],” and reconcile us to God by his death, “much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life [Note: Romans 5:10.].” We may consider him as God’s pledge to us, that, where he is, there shall also his servants be; and that, because he liveth, we shall live also [Note: John 14:19.].]

2. What enjoyment we shall have of Christ hereafter—

[The words immediately following the text further confirm the sense given to the text itself. Sin entered into Paradise, and a tremendous curse followed it: but into heaven no sin, and therefore “no curse shall ever come:” nothing shall invade the peace, nothing disturb the security, of those who inhabit that glorious city: while the tree of life continues there, all that eat of its fruits are kept from a possibility of falling. O blessed state! All feasting upon the glories of Jesus; and eternity the duration of their bliss! May we all arrive at that Paradise of God, and unite with all the choir of heaven in singing, “Salvation to God and to the Lamb for ever and ever.”]

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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/revelation-22.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 22:2. ἐντεῦθεν καὶ ἐντεῦθεν) ἔνθεν καὶ ἔνθεν, Ezekiel 47:7; Ezekiel 47:12, adverbially; but here ἐντεῦθεν, as in other places ἐνταῦθα, is a preposition.(239)ἀποδιδοῦν) for ἀπόδιδον, as διδόω for δίδω΄ι.— εἰς θεραπείαν) לִתְרוּפָה, Ezekiel 47:12, where the LXX. have εἰς ὑγιείαν. θεραπεία implies an inceptive signification: and yet there will be nothing of the character of disease. Comp. Ezekiel 47:9. Hence the difficulty of the question concerning the salvation of the nations may be explained.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-22.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life: trees, especially fruit trees, and those laden with fruit, and variety of fruit, and such as, instead of being prejudicial to life, are wholesome, and give life, are very beautiful, especially in or near a city. The city in Ezekiel’s vision, Ezekiel 47:7, is thus described. This expression further shows the infinite pleasure and soul satisfaction the saints shall have in heaven. But we are further told here, that the tree here was the tree of life; a manifest allusion to a tree so called in old Paradise, Genesis 2:9; and who can this agree to, but Christ?

Which bare twelve manner of fruits; in whom all fulness dwelt, the fulness of the Godhead, and who was anointed, and received the Spirit without measure.

And yielded her fruit every month; and is daily distributing of his fulness to his people.

And the leaves of the trees were for the healing of the nations; and in whom there is nothing useless, but what tends either to the life or healing of his people out of all nations.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-22.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

древо жизни Символ вечной жизни и непрерывного благословения (см. пояснение к Быт. 2:9). Древо, приносящее 12 плодов, по одному каждый месяц, является символом изобилия и разнообразия в небесах. Выражением «для исцеления» переведено греческое слово «целебный». Так или иначе листья обогащают небесную жизнь, делая ее более полной и радостной.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-22.html.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

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.

There can be no doubt, but that Jesus himself is the Tree of Life. He is in the midst of the street, for he is the Center of everything that is blessed. He is the middle Person of the Godhead in his divine nature. And he is the Mediator between God and man in his human nature. And he is in the midst of the street in standing up to mediate in his Church between a living God and dying sinners, while his people are unregenerated, and dead in trespasses and sins. He is also on either side of the river, for he is with the spirits of just men made perfect; and He is with his redeemed, here below, which have not yet passed the river Jordan, the river of death. He is, as his type Joseph represented him, a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well, whose branches run over the wall, Genesis 49:22.

But, Reader! look at Jesus as the Tree of Life. Yea, let you and I beg of God the Holy Ghost, that we may not only look at him, but that he will lead us now by faith, before the Lord calls us home in reality, to go and sit down in this paradise of God, under Jesus, the Tree of Life. Jesus is suited both for shelter and for food. Be hath everything in him, that can answer all our wants. Like some rich tree, in the midst of a desert, so is Christ, in the desert of this world, a luxuriant Tree, whose branches shelter us from the heat, or storm, and at the same time will yield us fruit, to refresh us. And he is the Tree of Life, for there is life in no other, and his people have no life but in him. He saith himself, because I live ye shall live also, John 14:19. And as he first gives life, so he preserves it. He is an Ever-green. Yea, this scripture saith, that he beareth twelve manner of fruits, and yieldeth fruit every month; and even the very leaves have a medicinal healing quality in them. Reader! can your heart be insensible to these things? Jesus is the Tree a Life. He is so, to both Churches. Here on earth, and there in heaven; being on either side the river. He bears twelve manner of fruits, that is, all variety, he hath pardon, mercy, peace, grace, love, strength, comfort, deliverance in temptations, recoveries in back - slidings, helps in times of need, preparation for ordinances, and blessings in the use of them. And every month, yea, every day, the Lord brings them forth. And even the very leaves of providence shall have a somewhat in them to heal. Oh! thou dear Lord give me to sit down, day by day, under thee, as the Tree of Life; and ere long, sure I am, I shall sit down, to rise no more, under all thy wide-spreading branches of all fullness, in thy paradise forever!

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Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/revelation-22.html. 1828.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

in the midst of the street thereof. And on this side of the river and on that was the tree of life, bearing twelve manner of fruits, yielding its fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

In the midst of the street ... "This may be taken, not as the end of the first sentence, but as the beginning of the second."[11] As a matter of fact, the phrase may be applied: (1) to the river of life; (2) the throne of God; or (3) the tree of life. It does not make the slightest difference which view is taken. No literal description of heaven is here intended. These are symbols, not literal thrones, rivers, streets, and trees. Note too that "street" is not a reference to one street but to all streets. See comment under Revelation 21:21.

The tree of life ... This is not one tree, but stands either for many trees of one variety, or even many varieties of trees.[12] "The tree of life is apparently used collectively to include a number of trees."[13] "Tree seems intended to be understood generically of that whole class of trees."[14] We still use this idiom, for example, when we remark that, "The date palm grows in southern California." Lenski correctly observed that all these terms: avenue, river, and wood (tree) are comprehensive and collective."[15]

But what does it mean? The tree of life has the same inherent meaning as the "river of life." Those who have access to it will enjoy all the rights, blessings, and privileges of eternal life. The words of Ezekiel 47:12 are used here almost verbatim. The account in Genesis shows that Adam and Eve's expulsion from Eden deprived them of access to the tree of life; but in heaven redeemed mankind shall have this privilege restored. Could this be some literal tree with visible fruit? We believe it to be a beautiful symbol of a far greater reality.

Bearing twelve manner of fruits ... every month ... This should take care of any notion that this is a literal tree.

Leaves ... for the healing of the nations ... Here, too, literalism is impossible. "Healing, of course, implies disease;" but, "That will be one of the things that will be unknown in heaven."[16]

As throughout the vision, John uses present terminology to describe future conditions. In a spiritual sense, the leaves of the tree of life, in this present age, are the healing of the nations. The realities of the word of God always bless and honor the peoples who receive and obey it. What our world needs now is to catch a new vision of the realities of the Christian gospel; and, if it should happen, "the leaves of the tree of life" would indeed be the healing of the nations.

[11] William Barclay, The Revelation of John (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1976), p. 221.

[12] John Wesley, Notes on the New Testament (London: Epworth Press, n.d.), in loco.

[13] Martin Rist, The Interpreter's Bible, Vol. XI1 (New York-Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1957), p. 542.

[14] A. Plummer, The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 22, Revelation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1950), p. 545.

[15] R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John's Revelation (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Augsburg Publishing House, 1943), p. 650.

[16] John T. Hinds, op. cit., p. 308.

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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-22.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

John also saw the tree of life. Several commentators take the reference to the "tree" (singular) as generic. They believe that John really saw many trees. [Note: E.g, Thomas, Revelation 8-22, p484).] I think it is better to interpret the reference as one tree since this is the normal meaning of the singular noun. When Adam and Eve fell, they lost their access to the tree of life in the Garden of Eden (cf. Genesis 2:9; Genesis 3:22-24). In the eternal city the residents will have access to the tree of life there.

The description of this tree"s location is debatable, but perhaps John saw the river dividing and flowing on both sides of it. A tree surrounded by water is the epitome of a fruitful tree (cf. Psalm 1:3; Jeremiah 17:8; Ezekiel 19:10; Ezekiel 47:12). This tree was perpetually rather than seasonally in fruit; it produced a new crop of fruit each month of the year. Evidently the new creation will not have a lunar calendar, since there will be no moon ( Revelation 21:23), but another type of calendar will define months. Most fruit trees in the old creation bear fruit only a few months each year at most. In contrast, God"s blessing of fruitfulness will mark life in the new earth. The tree of life in the Garden of Eden could perpetuate life forever ( Genesis 3:22; Genesis 3:24). Evidently that will be the function of this tree in the new earth as well, to sustain immortality. "Healing" really means "health-giving" (Gr. therapeian). Since there will be no death in the new earth these leaves will evidently promote wellbeing. [Note: For an amillennial study of the symbolism used in Genesis 2-3and Revelation 21:9-22:5, as ancient cosmography used the figures of a garden, a city, and a mountain, see Ken Olles and Warren Gage, "The City of God and the Cities of Men."] They will provide healing from the conditions of the old creation as the wiping away of tears removed the sorrows of the old creation (cf. Revelation 21:4; Ezekiel 47:12). The nations are groups of people in the new creation viewed according to their old creation divisions (cf. Revelation 21:24).

"It seems possible therefore to understand participation in the tree of life as a regular experience of fellowshipping with God, i.e, eating of this monthly fruit." [Note: Dillow, p474.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-22.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 22:2. In the midst of the street of it. These words are best connected with the words immediately preceding, and they thus describe the course of the river. We are again, as in chap. Revelation 21:21, to understand the word ‘street’ genetically, so that the picture presented to us is that of a clear stream flowing down the middle of each street of the city, bordered with trees on either side. Yet these trees are one tree.

And on either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve harvests of fruits, yielding her fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. The idea of the ‘tree of life’ is no doubt taken from Genesis 2:9. It grows on either side of the river, nourished by its waters and shading its banks. Interpreters differ as to the meaning of the second clause of the verse, some preferring the rendering given above, others that of the Authorised Version, ‘twelve manner of fruits.’ A good sense may be obtained from the latter interpretation, which will point us to the variety, ever new, of the enjoyments provided for the inhabitants of the city. But the former interpretation appears to be preferable. It is almost demanded by the third clause of the verse, ‘yielding her fruit every month,’ which carries our thoughts much more to the same fruit produced every month than to twelve successive varieties of fruit. Besides this, the general idea of the passage is rather that of continuous nourishment than of variety of blessings. Finally, the thought has direct reference to that upon which the believer lives, and this is always one and the same: ‘Christ’ liveth in us (comp. chap. Revelation 2:7). It is unnecessary to say that the number twelve is not to be understood literally. The supply of fruit, at once for the nourishment and the delectation of the saints, never fails.—In the last clause of the verse it. Is not implied that any inhabitants of the new earth stand in need of healing. For the same reason it is impossible to think that ‘the nations’ here spoken of have yet to be converted. They have already entered that better world to which the old world has given place. That they are ‘healed’ can signify no more than this, that they are kept in constant soundness of health by what is there administered to them. As we must persevere throughout eternity in faith, so also shall we persevere in health (comp. on John 20:31). ‘The nations’ we have already seen to be full partakers of all the blessings of the city (chap. Revelation 21:24). They include Jewish as well as Gentile Christians, and the importance of both classes, not the inferiority of either, is the leading thought

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-22.html. 1879-90.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

For the healing of the nations, or Gentiles, to signify the call of all Gentiles or nations to this heavenly happiness. (Witham)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-22.html. 1859.

A Study of the Prophetic Book of Holy Scriptures

6. THE NEW TREE OF LIFE .

Revelation 22:2.

"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."

The streets are to be lined with trees, as are also the banks of a wonderful river. These trees are not mere shade trees, but beautiful Fruit Trees, called the "TREE OF LIFE," that bear Twelve Kinds of Fruit, a different kind each month. The fruit of these trees is for Overcomers Only.

"To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the "Tree of Life" which is in the midst of the Paradise of God." Revelation 2:7.

The leaves of the trees are for the Healing of the Nations that shall occupy the New Earth. Not that there will be any sickness, but to preserve them in health, as Adam would have been preserved in health if he had eaten of the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3:22-24.

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Larkin, Clarence. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". A Study of the Prophetic Book of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/clr/revelation-22.html.

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

On earth, man also needs food and medicine to maintain a healthful existence. God will provide for all of our basic needs in abundance. Much as we might say the magnolia grows in the South, indicating the presence of many magnolias, the tree of life grows on both sides of the river of life beside the streets of heaven. Everything man lost because of Adam"s sin in the garden of Eden will be restored in heaven"s garden. Literally, it could be said these trees will yield fruit twelve times, or once each month.

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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghc/revelation-22.html. 2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

In. App-104.

tree. Greek. xulon. Here, verses: Revelation 22:14, Revelation 22:19, Revelation 22:7, and Luke 23:31, the only occs. of the word as used of living wood.

which bare = bearing.

and yielded = yielding.

every month. Literally according to (App-104.) each month.

for. App-104.

healing. In Ezekiel 47:12 is the Divine provision for preserving and restoring health. Here, the fruits are for the enjoyment of the citizens of the new Jerusalem, and the "leaves" for the healing (health and "haleness") of the nations. For the former things having "passed away", there will be no sickness there (Revelation 21:4).

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-22.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

The unity of Scripture is, say the Fathers, a ring, an unbroken circle, returning into itself. Between the events of Genesis and those of the Apocalypse, at least 6,000 or 7,000 years intervene; and between Moses, the first writer, and John, the last, about 1,500 years. As at the beginning, man and his wife are presented in innocence in Eden, so at the close, the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, appears with His Bride, the Church, in a better paradise, amidst better waters (Revelation 22:1).

Street of it - of the city.

On either side of the river. [For the second enteuthen (Greek #1782), A B, Coptic, Syriac, read, ekeithen (Greek #1564).] The sense is the same: cf. Greek, John 19:18. The tress were on each side, in the middle of the space between the street and the river. The antitype exceeds the type: in the first paradise was only one tree; now there are 'very many trees at the bank of the river, on one side and the other.' Supposing but one tree, we should either, as Mede, suppose that [ plateia (Greek #4113)] street is a plain washed on both sides by the river (as the first paradise was washed on one side by the Tigris, on the other by the Euphrates), and that in the midst of the plain, which itself is in the midst of the river's branches, stood the tree. 'In the midst of the street (plain) itself, and of the river (having two branches, flowing on this and on that side), was there the tree of life.' Or else (Durham), the tree was in the midst of the river, and extending its branches to both banks. But cf. Ezekiel 47:12, the millennial type, which shows several trees of one kind, all termed "the tree of life." Death reigns now because of sin: even in the millennial earth, sin, and therefore death, though limited, shall not altogether cease. But in the final heavenly city on earth, sin and death utterly cease.

Yielded her fruit every month - `according to each mouth:' each month had its proper fruit; as different seasons now marked have their own productions: only then, unlike now, there shall be no season without its fruit-an endless variety, answering to twelve, symbolical of the worldwide Church (notes, Revelation 12:1; Revelation 21:14). Dr. Whately thought the tree of life was among those of which Adam freely ate (Genesis 2:9; Genesis 2:16-17), and that his continuance in immortality was dependent on his continuing to eat of it: having forfeited it, he became liable to death; still, the effects of having eaten of it for a time appeared in the longevity of the patriarchs. God could undoubtedly endue a tree with medicinal powers. But Genesis 3:22 implies, man had not yet taken of the tree, and that if he had, be would have lived forever, which, in his fallen state, would have been the greatest curse.

Leaves ... for the healing - (Ezekiel 47:9; Ezekiel 47:12.) The leaves shall be health-giving, not healing, but securing them against sicknesses; while 'the fruit shall be for meat.' In the millennium (Ezekiel 47:1-23, and Revelation 20:1-15), the Church shall give the Gospel-tree to the nations outside Israel and the Church: so shall heal their spiritual malady; but in the final, perfect new Jerusalem here, the state of all is eternally fixed: no saving process goes on any longer (cf. Revelation 22:11; Revelation 22:15). The "nations" (Revelation 21:24) are those which long before-namely, in the millennium (Revelation 11:15) - became the Lord's.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-22.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(2) In the midst of the street of it . . .—Or rather, In the midst of the street of it, and of the river, on one side and on the other (was) a tree of life, yielding twelve fruits, according to each month giving its fruit; and the leaves of the tree are for healing of the nations. The hunger as well as the thirst of the spirit is to be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). The tree of life, as well as the river of life, is to be found in the new and better Eden (Genesis 2:9; Genesis 3:22). The vision of Ezekiel is exactly parallel to the present: “On the border of the river there was wood very much, on both sides: every kind of tree; its leaf withers not, and its fruit ceases not; all months does it ripen; its fruit serves for food, and its leaf for healing” (Ezekiel 47:7-12). The twelve manner of fruit: The recurrence of the number—twelve—is to be noticed, for here, too, as well as in the foundations and gates of the city, we have variety allied with unity. Diverse and seasonable fruits, and yet one tree of life. Thus does the Almighty wisdom feed His people with food convenient for them (Proverbs 30:8), though, in one sense there is but one food for all (John 6:31); for true divine wisdom is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her (Proverbs 3:18). That wisdom is not the mere knowledge of things (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil has no place in new Eden); but it is rather the knowledge of life which makes the knowledge of things available to the highest good. (Comp. 1 Corinthians 1:22-24; 1 Corinthians 1:30; James 3:17; Proverbs 8)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-22.html. 1905.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

(2) The tree of life--22:2.

The word tree in the text is in singular number, but it must of necessity be considered collectively for the verse reads: On either side of the river was there the tree of life. The phrase either side means each side, as in the crucifixion of Christ (John 20:18) with the thieves, "on either side one." It was evidently the collective use of the word tree, as it was of the street also of the great and grand city, described a streetway, or a passage system; otherwise there was a vision of traffic congestion in the New Jerusalem!

The tree of life was envisioned as bordering the banks of the river of life--on either side of it--affording to all inhabitants the source of perpetual spiritual blessings. It is not uncommon for a species of tree peculiar to a certain geography to be described in the singular term, but referring to its collective growth. The balsam tree of Gilead was not one tree but rather a kind that flourished in Gilead. So the reference to the tree of life on each side of the river of life was not intended to limit the picture to one tree, but rather to make known its kind--it was the tree of life, to be found only in the New Jerusalem. Its fruit was life-giving, and its balm was soul-healing. The concept adds to the force of these figures and enlarges the range of their truths.

The tree of life was further described as bearing twelve manner of fruits and its yield was every month. The numeral twelve in its use in chapter twenty-one was applied to the apostles, which must also be true here, to symbolize that apostolic teaching, or doctrine, was the allsufficient source of spiritual sustenance. The yielding of the fruit every month, or the whole twelve months of the year, indicated that there were no seasons in this fruit-bearing, no unyielding intervals--the spiritual supply was perrennial and perpetual.

The spiritual vision was extended in the description: the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. As there will be no imperfections in heaven, and consequently no need of healing there, here is another proof that this whole vision was the symbolic description of the church in the state of triumph and victory over the persecutions.

The healing of the nations meant the source of salvation for all of every tongue or clime or race of man. The prophet Jeremiah used a similar figure (Jeremiah 8:22) in reference to Israel: "Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?" The substance of the vision was that in the New Jerusalem, the church of the Redeemer and of the redeemed, there was an all-provident tree which produced the fruit of all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3), and which was the remedy for every ill or want (1 John 1:7; John 2:1-25 : l-2) That balsam tree that grew only in the choice land of Gilead, which produced the balm known as balsamodendron Gileadense, was the similar and appropriate symbol of spiritual healing in the message of the prophet Jeremiah to the nation of Israel. This balm was highly esteemed for its healing properties (Ezekiel 27:17), and was once an important article of merchandise among the eastern people. The language of Jeremiah (chapter 8:22; 46:11;51:8) cannot be exceeded in eloquence and tenderness in the expression of disappointment that "the daughter of Zion," the chosen people of God, should remain spiritually wounded and diseased, when there was healing balm of unfailing remedy within their reach. There could have been no finer figure of divine grace than the leaves of the tree for the healing of the nations in the delineations of the New Jerusalem.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-22.html. 1966.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
the midst
1; 21:21; Ezekiel 47:1,12
the tree of life
14; 2:7; Genesis 2:9; 3:22-24; Proverbs 3:18
healing
21:24; Psalms 147:3; Isaiah 6:10; 57:18,19; Jeremiah 17:14; Ezekiel 47:8-11; Hosea 14:4; Malachi 4:2; Luke 4:18; 1 Peter 2:24
Reciprocal: Exodus 15:27 - Elim;  Deuteronomy 33:14 - moon;  2 Kings 2:21 - I have healed;  Psalm 1:3 - tree;  Proverbs 12:18 - but;  Proverbs 13:12 - a tree;  Song of Solomon 2:3 - his fruit;  Isaiah 33:24 - the inhabitant;  Jeremiah 30:17 - For I;  Ezekiel 47:7 - many;  Joel 3:18 - and a;  Zechariah 14:8 - living;  Matthew 13:15 - and I;  Matthew 19:28 - the twelve;  Luke 20:36 - can;  John 4:10 - living;  2 Timothy 1:10 - and hath;  Revelation 22:19 - out of the book of life

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-22.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

2. — "Producing twelve fruits." This is the last instance of the employment of the governmental and administrative numeral — twelve. The saints of the heavenly city eat of its fruits — so rich and abundant that the tree yields them monthly — whilst the leaves are for the healing and blessing of the nations. We eat its fruit; they use its leaves for healing. The millennial nations are dependent on the city above for light, for government, and for healing. All this has its counterpart in that remarkable chapter, Ezekiel 47:1-23, "The fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine" (v. 12). Both the scene above (Revelation 22:1-21) and the scene below (Ezekiel 47:1-23) are millennial, and both exist at the same time, but the blessing of the former infinitely transcends that of the latter. The tree of life sustains; the river of life gladdens.

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". "Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sor/revelation-22.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

In the midst of the street of it means the street of the city, and the river of life flowed down the center of the street. This description will give us no difliculty if we will think of the "divided highways" that grace our country in many places. Let us think of a river flowing from an inexhaustible fountain and proceeding on through a beautiful city. On each bank is a row of fruit trees that serve a double purpose, namely, furnish ornamentation for the crystal stream, and ‘a source of food for those who are walking upon the section of the "divided highway" that one may be using. To clarify the description we think of it in this manner. First is a section of the street, next a row of trees, next the river, next another row of trees and then the other section of the street. Tree of life. This tree is promised to all who overcome the contests of life ( Revelation 2:7). The phraseology is based on the tree of life that was in the garden of Eden. It will be well for us again to remember we are still in a book of symbols, where the Lord is giving us a picture of Heaven in as strong terms as our human mind can grasp. The tree is spoken of in the singular number because there was but one in the garden. But the varieties are not limited to one, because this tree is pictured in connection with spiritual things. Here we have another instance of the numeral that has been so prominent throughout this book. That is twelve which is a multiple of four (the four creatures), and the number each of the two organized systems of salvation that God has given the world. The special significance of the twelve here is to show the fruit-bearing season is continuous and perennial, but a different kind of fruit will be produced each month, so that no occasion will exist for longing after a change; there will be one coming each month. Many kinds of fruit trees not only produce fruit, but also their leaves have medicinal value in them. Thus we are told that the leaves of this tree have healing qualities. Not that any citizens will become sick, but it is on the same principle of wiping away all tears ( Revelation 21:4). The leaves of ths tree will heal the people by keeping them in such a condition that sickness will be impossible.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-22.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 22:2

Revelation 22:2 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.

By

the tree of life

we are to understand the Lord Jesus Christ, from whom all our spiritual fruit is found, { Hosea 14:5-8}

which bare twelve manner of fruits

that Isaiah, all the fruits of the spirit, { Galatians 5:22-23}

and yieldeth her fruit every month

continually.

And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations

{as Malachi 4:2-3; Ezekiel 47:12; Hosea 14:4-5}

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-22.html.

D.S. Clark's Commentary on Revelation

V:2. On either side of the river the tree of life. The word tree is used generically, — many trees of the species, on either side of the river. In Eden there was a "tree of life" from which man was excluded for his sin, a cherubim and a flaming sword guarding the way to it. Here in the last chapter of the Scriptures, when the story of redemption is completed, and the last act in the drama staged, we come again to that tree of life. Thus Genesis is linked with Revelation, and Eden with heaven, and the unity of the Biblical story disclosed.

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Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Revelation 22:2. In the midst of the street of it, and on both sides[Note: The expression ἐ νταῦ θαν καὶ ἐ ντεῦ θεν occurs in the whole of the New Testament only here and in John 19:18, and by that parallel alone is strongly confirmed in opposition to the other certainly well supported reading ἐ ντεῦ θεν και ἐ κεῖ θεν. In regard to the origin of the latter, Bengel says briefly and well: Ex opinione elegantiae Hebraismo praeferendae. The ἐ ντεῦ θεν και ἐ ντεῦ θεν does not occur in Greek authors, but frequently in the LXX., comp. Numbers 22:24; Daniel 12:5. We can entertain the less doubt of its originality, since it corresponds exactly to מוה ומוה of the fundamental passage in Ezekiel. From that passage also there can be no doubt that we must render: and on both sides of the river.] of the river, the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, and brought forth its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree for the healing of the heathen. Besides thirst the Lord's people are in this life also liable to hunger (comp. Matthew 5:6; Revelation 7:16). Hence life or salvation is here represented as the fruit of a tree, as in the preceding verse it had been imaged by water. That the tree should be called the tree of life, because the participation of its fruit imparts life, appears from a comparison of Genesis 3:22, "And now, lest he should stretch forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live for ever." There can be no doubt that allusion is here made to this paradisiacal tree of life from ch. Revelation 2:7, "He that overcometh, to him will I give to eat of the tree of life, that is in the paradise of my God." Bengel: "A sure way is laid open in the holy city to that tree of life, which Adam was debarred from touching." It is also referred to in Ezekiel 47:7, "When I turned back, behold on the border of the river there was wood very much, on both sides;" and Ezekiel 47:12, "And by the river on its banks at either side grew every kind of tree of eatable fruit; its leaf withers not, and its fruit ceases not; all months does it ripen; for its waters come out of the sanctuary. And its fruit serves for food, and its leaf for healing." By an unseasonable comparison of Psalms 1:3, Jeremiah 17:8, several have there wished to understand by the trees the righteous; in which also there lies at bottom the erroneous supposition, that by the waters are denoted the outpouring of the Spirit, which can only come into view as a part in the whole of life or salvation, certainly for Ezekiel a very important part, since his prospect still comprehended the militant church, in which healing grace is of peculiar moment. If we fail to perceive that the tree in Ezekiel is the tree of life, we violently tear his prophecy from its connection with Genesis 2:9, Genesis 3:22, on the one hand, and with the passage before us on the other.

The variety of the trees in Ezekiel and here on both sides of the river seems to present an important deviation from the representation given in Genesis, where only one tree of life is spoken of. But this latter point admits of some doubt. It is said "the tree of life which is in the midst of the garden;" and at any rate it had conjoined with it as a type "every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food," which the Lord is said, in the immediately preceding context, to have made to spring out of the earth, and which we can suppose, according to Genesis 2:10, to have grown on the banks of the river. We must still think of these trees as trees of life in the more general sense, the tree of life only as such in the highest degree. Farther, in Ezekiel the tree of life stands only on both sides of the river; here it stands also in the middle of the street. But from the connection in which the tree of life stands with the water of life, we can scarcely think that by this is meant a second quite separate position. We are rather to suppose that the river flows through the street, and that the tree of life stands on both sides of the stream.

The tree yielding new fruits every month simply indicates, that in the new Jerusalem the enjoyment of life shall be without interruption; otherwise than in the present world, where death is constantly breaking in anew with violence upon life. We are not to think of different kinds of fruits. Luther has put improperly twelve sorts for twelve.

It is not said that the leaves of the tree shall serve for the healing of the heathen; but the power is only attributed to them generally, of producing healing, without intimating whether this was to take place first in the new Jerusalem, or should have begun to do so here. We must understand this latter to be the case. It is only in respect to the present state of things that it could be said, "he healed them who had need of healing," (Luke 9:11). Healing implies disease. But this belongs only to the present life. They alone enter into the glory of heaven, who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. But the new Jerusalem comes down from heaven, ch. Revelation 21:2. Into its gates they only enter who have made themselves ready, who are arrayed in pure and white clothing (ch. Revelation 19:7-8, comp. Revelation 21:2). Nor beyond the confines of the new Jerusalem is there any other resting place but the lake of fire; so that the remark of Bengel, "This might throw some light on the question, how it shall fare in eternity with the heathen, who have not received the gospel," is to be entirely rejected. No intermediate state is to be thought of as possible, whore all the circumstances are of a fixed character, and no room is left for change. We can the less conceive of a dwelling of the heathen outside Jerusalem, since it is within this that the tree of life stands. To bring the enjoyment of the leaves within this present life is also the more natural, since in ch. Revelation 2:7, which points to the future world, it is only the eating of the fruit that is spoken of. One point only comes into consideration in respect to the leaves, that they are inferior to the fruit, and regard is not had to the power of healing corporeal disease, which resides in many natural leaves. The fruit is nobler than the leaves; if, then, the leaves are so sanatory, how efficacious must be the fruit! The powers of life, which descend from the Jerusalem above on this poor earth for the healing of wretched sinners, are a foretaste of the surpassing blessedness, which may be expected in the new Jerusalem by the just made perfect.

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Bibliographical Information
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-22.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

2.On either (each)

side of the riverThe river cleaves the street lengthwise into two long strips; so that there is a breadth of street on each side of the stream. On both the banks of the river, the tree of life grows in rows, extending in line between street and river.

Twelve manner of fruits—Rather, twelve fruitages, or (as Stuart) fruit-harvests. The idea is not that there were different species of fruits, but successive crops.

The twelve tribal nations of the celestial earth have a salubrious clime and a lofty, luminous capital, with a gate for each tribe into it, labeled with the tribal name. On what immortal fruit do these immortals live? The tree of life furnishes twelve fruit-harvests a year, a harvest for each tribe. Here is a beautiful coincidence between the natural and symbolic twelve.

But are the river and the tree confined to the capital? And must the nations, each one, pay an annual visit to the capital to obtain its harvest, just as the old Jews paid their annual visit to old Jerusalem at the Passover? And is it at these visits that the kings and nations (Revelation 21:24; Revelation 21:26) bring their glory and honour into it? Or does the river flow into all parts of the earth, refreshing the nations with renewed immortality? The former seems to be the view indicated by most of the statements. At the same time, this presents a pleasing idea of movement, and of perpetual reverence to the resident King. And, as the fruit of the tree is the ambrosia, and the river furnishes the nectar, so the very leaves of the tree are a medicine, warding off every decay, disease, or lesion. So the tree of life in the original Eden was the source of Adam’s immortality, exclusion from which was exposure to certainty of decay, disease, and death.

Genesis 3:22-24. Here, then, is paradise restored. The resurrectional immortality—the immortality of body with soul—seems conditioned on the tree and river of life, the source of which is God’s own throne.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-22.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

(“street,” or “boulevard”) collective and generic (cf.James 5:6) like . Take with what precedes, and begin a fresh sentence with (W. H.), being governed by (from Revelation 22:1). The river, which is the all-pervading feature, is lined with the trees of life. The writer retains the traditional singular of Genesis 2:9, combining it with the representation of Ezekiel (yet note sing, in Ezekiel 47:12); he thus gains symbolic impressiveness at the expense of pictorial coherence. Ramsay (C. B. P. ii. 453) observes, however, that the waters of the Marsyas were “probably drawn off to flow through the streets of Apameia; this practice is still a favourite one in Asia Minor, e.g., at Denizli”.— . , the poetic imagination soars over the prosaic objection that months are impossible without a moon (Revelation 21:22).— , . . . To eat of the tree of life was, in the popular religious phraseology of the age, to possess immortality. In En. 24., 25., where the prophet sees a wonderful, fragrant tree, Michael explains that it must stand untouched till the day of Judgment ( ). “Then the righteous and the holy shall have it given them; it shall be as food for the elect unto life.” So in contemporary Judaism; e.g., 4 Esd. 7:53 and 8:52 (“For unto you is paradise set open, the tree of life is planted, the time to come is prepared, a city is builded and rest is established,”) as already in Test. Levi. 18, where the messianic high-priest is to “open the gates of paradise and remove the sword drawn against Adam, and permit the saints to eat of the tree of life”. For the association of God’s city and God’s garden, cf. Apoc. Bar. iv.: for the notion of healing, Apoc. Mos. vi., Jub. x. 12 f., and the Iranian idea that (Brandt, 434 f.) the tree of many seeds had curative properties. John is therefore using the realistic and archaic language of Jewish piety to delineate the bliss of Christians in a future state where all the original glories and privileges of God’s life with man are to be restored. The Christian heaven is to possess everything which Judaism claimed and craved for itself. Cf. the Christian addition to 4 Ezra 2:12; Ezra 2:34-35; Ezra 2:38 f.; also the famous hymn to Osiris (E. B. D., ch. 183: “I have come into the city of God—the region which existed in primaeval time—with my soul, to dwell in this land.’ The God thereof is most holy. His land draweth unto itself every other land. And doth he not say, the happiness thereof is a care to me?”).

 

 

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 22:2". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-22.html. 1897-1910.