THE RIVER OF WATER OF LIFE AND THE TREE OF LIFE
We have yet to see what God will show us at the end. Verses 22:1-2 say, "And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street. And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations." Here we are reminded of verse 2:7, which says, "To him who overcomes, to him I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God." The tree of life is planted in the Paradise of God. Since the tree of life is in the city, this tells us that the New Jerusalem is the Paradise of God.
Recalling the book of Genesis, God created man as a type of Christ and the woman as a type of the church he desired to obtain in Genesis 2. God then put them, husband and wife, in the garden of Eden. Thus we have the man, the woman, and the garden. Then in Genesis 3 the serpent came in and they fell; as a result, God drove them out of the garden. In Revelation 21, whom do we see in the New Jerusalem? There is the Lamb, the One whom Adam typified in Genesis 2; He is wholly for God. There is also the wife of the Lamb, who was typified by Eve in Genesis 2; she is wholly for Christ. The New Jerusalem is the wife of the Lamb and is also the Paradise of God. In Genesis 2 there were three entities—Adam, Eve, and the garden. But in Revelation 21 and 22 there are only two—the Lamb and the city. The city is the bride and also the Paradise; the woman and the Paradise have become one. The woman in Genesis could be driven away, while the woman at the end of Revelation can no longer be driven out.
Some people may worry and ask, "What will happen in eternity? What if the devil should come in again—then what would we do?" We can answer that it is impossible for this to happen again, because in eternity God Himself will dwell in the holy city. Praise God! He set up a garden in Genesis, a garden which had no wall and which was not guarded well. Therefore, the serpent and sin could enter. But God finally obtains a city for the sake of protection. It is impossible for this city to be ever involved in a fall. The woman and Paradise have been so joined that nothing can ever separate them again. Henceforth, this woman cannot be driven out by any means.
Verse 22:1 speaks of a river of water of life being in the middle of the street of the city. In Genesis there were four rivers, two of which have always oppressed the children of God. Babylon was built upon the river Pison, and Nineveh upon the river Hiddekel. God’s children have always been persecuted by these two rivers. But in the New Jerusalem there is only one river—the river of water of life. This river gives life and joy to man. Psalm 46:4 says: "There is a river whose streams gladden the city of God,/The holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High." This river especially gives gladness to God. The water of this river proceeds "out of the throne of God and of the Lamb." The throne is singular because God and the Lamb are sitting on one throne. This means that the reign of Christ is the reign of God.
Verse 2 says, "And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month." Once again the number twelve is used. What does it mean that the tree bears twelve kinds of fruits and yields its fruit every month? This is a way of saying that everything is satisfied, and that this satisfaction is for eternity. Every month there is life. In eternity we will continue to know Christ and continue to receive the life of the Lord without any interruption—there will not be a month when there is no fruit. This means that there will be no regression. Today we see something which is very sad—that which the Scripture shows as the evaluation of man. Men from twenty years of age to sixty years of age were given a certain valuation, but the value was lowered for those over sixty years of age (Lev. 27:3, 7). This is going backward, but in eternity there will be no going backward. There will be new life and new fruit every month.
(The Glorious Church, Chapter 5, by Watchman Nee)