Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Revelation 22:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Pure river of water of life - This is evidently a reference to the garden of paradise, and the river by which it was watered; and there is also a reference to the account, Ezekiel 47:7-12. Water of life, as we have seen before, generally signifies spring or running water; here it may signify incessant communications of happiness proceeding from God.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And he showed me a pure river of water of life - In the New Jerusalem; the happy abode of the redeemed. The phrase “water of life,” means living or running water, like a spring or fountain, as contrasted with a stagnant pool. See the notes on John 4:14. The allusion here is doubtless to the first Eden, where a river watered the garden (Genesis 2:10, seq.), and as this is a description of Eden recovered, or Paradise regained, it was natural to introduce a river of water also, yet in such a way as to accord with the general description of that future abode of the redeemed. It does not spring up, therefore, from the ground, but flows from the throne of God and the Lamb. Perhaps, also, the writer had in his eye the description in Ezekiel 47:1-12, where a stream issues from under the temple, and is parted in different directions.

Clear as crystal - See the notes on Revelation 4:6.

Proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb - Flowing from the foot of the throne. Compare Revelation 4:6. This idea is strictly in accordance with Oriental imagery. In the East, fountains and running streams constituted an essential part of the image of enjoyment and prosperity (see the notes on Isaiah 35:6), and such fountains were common in the courts of Oriental houses. Here, the river is an emblem of peace, happiness, plenty; and the essential thought in its flowing from the throne is, that all the happiness of heaven proceeds from God.

Uriah Smith
Daniel and the Revelation, 716

Verse 1

THE angel continues to show John the wonderful things of the city of God. In the midst of the street of the city was the tree of life.DAR 716.2

The Broad Street. — Although the word street is here used in the singular number, with the definite article the before it, it is not to be supposed that there is but one street in the city; for there are twelve gates, and there must of course be a street leading to each gate. But the street here spoken of is the street by way of distinction; it is the main street, or, as the original word signifies, the broad way, the great avenue.DAR 716.3

The River of Life. — The tree of life is in the midst of this street; but the tree of life is on either side of the river of life; hence the river of life is also in the midst of the street of the city. This river proceeds from the throne of God. The picture thus presented before the mind is this: The glorious throne of God at the head of this broad way, or avenue; out of that throne the river of life, flowing lengthwise through the center of the street; and the tree of life growing on either side, forming a high and magnificent arch over that majestic stream, and spreading its life-bearing branches far away on either hand. How broad this broad street is, we have no means of determining; but it will be at once perceived that a city three hundred and seventy-five miles from side to side in either direction, would be able to devote quite an ample space to its great avenue.DAR 716.4

A very natural conception of the arrangement of the streets of the city would be that shown in the accompanying diagram; namely, the throne in the center, and a grand avenue in which is the river of life and the tree of life extending out in four directions to the wall of the city on all of its four sides. This would give all corresponding parts of the city equal access to the grand avenue. It would also furnish opportunity for one magnificent gate in the center of each side of the city, opening upon the grand avenue. The length of each of these four branches of the avenue (depending of course on how much space is allotted to the throne) would be at least some one hundred and eighty miles. It may be said that this is carrying speculation a degree too far. Perhaps it is. But it is assumed that those who hope soon to enter into that city, will not be averse to a little innocent speculation in that direction.DAR 717.1

The Tree of Life. — But how can the tree of life be but one tree, and still be on either side of the river? 1. It is evident that there is but one tree of life. From Genesis to Revelation it is spoken of as but one — the tree of life. 2. To be at once on both sides of the river, it must have more than one trunk, in which case it must be united at the top or in its upper branches, in order to form but one tree. John, caught away in the Spirit, and presented with a minute view of this wonderful object, says that it was on either side of the river. Another who has been privileged to behold in vision the marvelous glories of the heavenly land, has borne similar testimony: “We all marched in, and felt that we had a perfect right in the city. Here we saw the tree of life and the throne of God. Out of the throne came a pure river of water, and on either side of the river was the tree of life. At first I thought I saw two trees. I looked again, and saw that they were united at the top in one tree. So it was the tree of life on either side of the river of life; its branches bowed to the place where we stood; and the fruit was glorious, which looked like gold mixed with silver.” — Experience and Views, pp. 12, 13. And why should such a tree be looked upon as unnatural or impossible, since we have an illustration of it here upon earth? The banyan tree of India is of precisely the same nature in this respect. Of this tree the Encyclopedia Americana thus speaks: “The ficus Indica (Indian fig, or banyan tree) has been celebrated from antiquity from its letting its branches drop and take root in the earth, which in their turn become trunks, and give out other branches, a single tree thus forming a little forest.” In just this way the tree of life could extend and support itself.DAR 717.2

The tree of life bears twelve kinds of fruit, and yields its fruit every month. This fact throws light upon the declaration in Isaiah 66:23, that all flesh shall come up “from one new moon to another” to worship before the Lord of hosts. The words new moon should be rendered month. The Hebrew has ?????? (hhodesh), the second definition of which Gesenius gives as “a month.” The Septuagint has ???? ?? ????? (m?na ek m?nos), “from month to month.” The redeemed come up to the holy city from month to month to partake of the fruit of the tree of life. Its leaves are for the healing of the nations; literally, the service of the nations. This cannot be understood as implying that any will enter the city in a diseased or deformed condition to need healing; for then the conclusion would follow that there will always be persons there in that condition, as we have no reason to understand that the service of the leaves, whatever it is, will not be perpetual, like the use of the fruit; but the idea of disease and deformity in the immortal state is contrary to the express declarations of other scriptures.DAR 718.1

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
All streams of earthly comfort are muddy; but these are clear, and refreshing. They give life, and preserve life, to those who drink of them, and thus they will flow for evermore. These point to the quickening and sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit, as given to sinners through Christ. The Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Son, applies this salvation to our souls by his new-creating love and power. The trees of life are fed by the pure waters of the river that comes from the throne of God. The presence of God in heaven, is the health and happiness of the saints. This tree was an emblem of Christ, and of all the blessings of his salvation; and the leaves for the healing of the nations, mean that his favour and presence supply all good to the inhabitants of that blessed world. The devil has no power there; he cannot draw the saints from serving God, nor can he disturb them in the service of God. God and the Lamb are here spoken of as one. Service there shall be not only freedom, but honour and dominion. There will be no night; no affliction or dejection, no pause in service or enjoyment: no diversions or pleasures or man's inventing will there be wanted. How different all this from gross and merely human views of heavenly happiness, even those which refer to pleasures of the mind!
Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW), 948

This is represented as the pardoning blood, inseparably connected with the resurrection and life of our Redeemer, illustrated by the ever-flowing stream that proceeds from the throne of God, the water of the river of life (Letter 87, 1894). 7BC 948.1

1 (Romans 8:34; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 2:18; 7:25; 9:24; see EGW on John 17:5, 24). Fenced From Satan's Attacks—“If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.” How careful is the Lord Jesus to give no occasion for a soul to despair. How He fences about the soul from Satan's fierce attacks. If through manifold temptations we are surprised or deceived into sin, He does not turn from us and leave us to perish. No, no, that is not our Saviour. Christ prayed for us. He was tempted in all points like as we are; and having been tempted, He knows how to succor those who are tempted. 7BC 948.2

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Ellen G. White
Sons and Daughters of God, 226

We also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Romans 5:11. SD 226.1

Thank God that He who spilled His blood for us, lives to plead it, lives to make intercession for every soul who receives Him. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.... We need to keep ever before us the efficacy of the blood of Jesus. That life-cleansing, life-sustaining blood, appropriated by living faith, is our hope. We need to grow in appreciation of its inestimable value, for it speaks for us only as we by faith claim its virtue, keeping the conscience clean and at peace with God. This is represented as the pardoning blood, inseparably connected with the resurrection and life of our Redeemer, illustrated by the ever-flowing stream that proceeds from the throne of God, the water of the river of life.15Letter 87, 1894. SD 226.2

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 217.2

We do not want to drink of the turbid streams of the valley. We do not want the corrupted sophistry of infidelity. Because many are so ready to give in to doubt and questioning, infidels are made bold. God help us that we may drink of the pure streams that flow from beneath the throne of God. We can drink, and continue to drink. And, if you thirst for knowledge, there is plenty of it here.... TDG 217.2

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