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
Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 209

It is important that we should have intermediate schools and academies. To us has been committed a great work—the work of proclaiming the third angel's message to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. We have but few missionaries. From home and abroad are coming many urgent calls for workers. Young men and women, the middle-aged, and in fact all who are able to engage in the Master's service, should be putting their minds to the stretch in an effort to prepare to meet these calls. From the light God has given me, I know that we do not use the faculties of the mind half as diligently as we should in an effort to fit ourselves for greater usefulness. If we consecrate mind and body to God's service, obeying His law, He will give us sanctified moral power for every undertaking. CT 209.1

Every man and woman in our ranks, whether a parent or not, ought to be intensely interested in the Lord's vineyard. We cannot afford to allow our children to drift away into the world and to fall under the control of the enemy. Let us come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Let us do all in our power to make our schools a blessing to our youth. Teachers and students, you can do much to bring this about by wearing the yoke of Christ, daily learning of Him His meekness and lowliness. Those who are not directly connected with the school can help to make it a blessing by giving it their hearty support. Thus we shall all be “laborers together with God,” and receive the reward of the faithful, even an entrance into the school above. CT 210.1

Read in context »
Ellen G. White
Education, 302

“To him that overcometh,” Christ says, “will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” Revelation 2:7. The giving of the tree of life in Eden was conditional, and it was finally withdrawn. But the gifts of the future life are absolute and eternal. Ed 302.1

The prophet beholds the “river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” “And on this side of the river and on that was the tree of life.” “And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 22:1; 22:2, R.V.; 21:4. Ed 302.2

Restored to His presence, man will again, as at the beginning, be taught of God: “My people shall know My name: ... they shall know in that day that I am He that doth speak: behold, it is I.” Isaiah 52:6. Ed 302.4

“The tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Revelation 21:3. Ed 302.5

Read in context »
Ellen G. White
Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 541.1
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