1 And he showed me a bright as crystal1 river of water of life2 running down3 from the throne of God and of the lamb 2 in the middle of her main street4. And on both sides5 of the river, there was the tree of life6 producing twelve fruits7. It gave its fruit throughout each month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 And every curse ceased8.9 And the throne of God and the lamb be in her, and his slaves will serve him 4 and will see his face10 and his name will be on their foreheads11. 5 And there will be no more night12 and they will have no need of lamp light or sunlight, because the Lord God will give light to them. And they will reign forever13.
Adam and Eve attempted to hide their shame with a leaf once they saw the nakedness of disobedience, no longer clothed by the righteousness of God. The leaves of the tree of life bring healing and restoration. There is no room for darkness, for it has been cast out of this city. The light of God will be bright in every corner.
The throne of God and the Lamb is said to be "in her", . This calls to mind that Israel is depicted as the wife of God, and the Church isdepicted as the Bride of Christ. Here we see one city referred to as "her". What God has joined together will remain.
We are a new creation. We are now prepared to meet our maker face to face. We can enter this city because we are His and He is ours. The people in this city have a name written on their foreheads. They have the mind and Spirit of of God. God has bestowed this on each believer, beginning at the moment of coming to Christ. The believer begins a walk with God which grows in the presence of the Holy Spirit. We share the same name, and it is His name. We are slaves in the sense there is no one else we answer to or worship. We are sons and daughters of God, for our Father is Almighty God Himself. We are told that when we see Jesus we will truly see, and we will be like Him.
Praise be to God
1 “Bright as crystal” may mean that the river was “sparkling” as running water does in sunlight.
2 Beale* sees the river flowing out from the throne as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. (Pg. 1104).
This could symbolize the living waters that Jesus spoke of to the woman at the well. The source of life flows from God and will never dry up. We will not thirst because it refreshes with eternal life. We see one throne here for there is one God.
3 ἐκπορευόμενον (running down)
Greek: “going out”.
4 In Ezekiel 47, the water flowed from the temple, here it flows from the throne of God.
The heart of the city, the center of town, is usually its main street. It connects and facilitates the flow of traffic and commerce. Access to God and His people in view. The way is straight and there is full access to God.
5 ἐντεῦθεν καὶ ἐκεῖθεν (on both sides)
Greek: “from here and from there”.
The river flows through the tree of life, just as life and access to the Father only come through Jesus, the Lamb of God. Just as there was one tree whose fruit would result in death, there was one tree of life.
6 ξύλον ζωῆς (the tree of life)
There is debate over if there was just one tree or many trees. The main background seems to come from two OT passages: Genesis 3:22 where the tree of life is found in the Garden of Eden, and in Ezekiel 47:12 where fruit grows on both sides of the river and gives their fruit will bear every month and the fruit and leaves are for healing. Osborne*** see multiple “trees of life” on both sides of the river. (Pgs. 771-772) as does Beale* (Pg. 1106) who says that the singular “tree” is a collective singular.
7 Due to how the Greek language was written, there are two different ways verses 1 and 2a can be translated. Remember, there was no punctuation, word separations, or verses and chapters at the time that John composed the book. Option one is how I have translated it above. Here is option two:
1 And he showed me a bright as crystal river of water of life running down from the throne of God and of the lamb. 2 In the middle of her main street and on both sides of the river, there was the tree of life producing twelve fruits.
Mounce** says if option 1 is used, then trees are lined up on both sides of the river. If option 2, then the trees are between the main street and the river. (Pg. 387).
The twelve fruits indicate God's provision through this tree, which is full and sufficient. The fruit of the tree is watered by the Holy Spirit. Here we glimpse the mystery of the Triune God. Repeatedly God said He was the one God, and there were no other gods. When asked by Moses who he would say sent him to Israel, God identified Himself as "I AM". Jesus said the same thing, except when Jesus said it He not referring to the one Who sent Him, but He Himself.
8 οὐκ ἔσται ἔτι (ceased)
Greek: “will not be any longer”. An echo of Zechariah 14:11.
9 “Every curse” here probably means the curse of death that came upon people as a result of the fall in the Garden of Eden.
10 Moses was not able to see God’s face and live (Exodus 33:20). Here, believers will finally be able to see God, face to face.
12 or “there will not be night any longer”.
13 εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων (forever)
Greek: “into the ages of ages”.
NT = New Testament
OT = Old Testament
ESV = English Standard Version
NASB = New American Standard Bible
NIV = New International Version
KJV = King James Version
TR = Textus Receptus (A late Byzantine Greek text of the NT. A
predecessor of the TR was used in the translation of the KJV)
LXX = Septuagint (Greek translation of the OT)
The Greek New Testament with Greek-English Dictionary B. Aland (Editor), K. Aland (Editor), J. Karavidopoulos (Editor), B. M. Metzger (Editor), C. M. Martini (Editor)
(BDAG) A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd Edition Walter Bauer (Author), Frederick William Danker (Editor)
A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament Bruce M. Metzger
(Kittel) Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (VOLUMES 1-10) Gerhard Kittel (Editor), Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Translator)
*The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Mich.).) G. K. Beale
**The Book of Revelation (The New International Commentary on the New Testament) Robert H. Mounce
***Revelation (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) Grant R. Osborne
+Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics Daniel B. Wallace
++An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek C. F. D. Moule
+++Biblical Greek (Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblici) Maximilian Zerwick
A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament Max Zerwick (Author), Mary Grosvenor (Author)