What does Revelation 22:2 mean?
ESV: through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
NIV: down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
NASB: 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.
CSB: down the middle of the city's main street. The tree of life was on each side of the river, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree are for healing the nations,
NLT: It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.
KJV: 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.
Verse Commentary:
The river in New Jerusalem flows down the city's main street. It may divide and flow around the tree of life. Or perhaps a row of trees flanks the river on each side and produce twelve kinds of fruit, a different fruit each month. There is great meaning attached to the use of a tree: this evokes images of the garden of Eden, where God had originally placed mankind and a tree of life.

The leaves of this tree possess medicinal properties that benefit the nations. If this depiction includes part of the millennial reign of Christ, then earth's regenerate rulers likely shuttle to New Jerusalem to acquire these leaves and carry them back to earth. That would coordinate with the longevity which characterizes life in the millennium. Isaiah 65:20 indicates that a person who dies at age one hundred during the thousand-year reign is young.

Early in human history longer life spans were the norm (Genesis 5), but the advance of sin in the human race and the curse on mankind reduced the life expectancy. With the curse removed by Christ's victory and sin held in check, food will be nutritious, disease will be infrequent, and longevity will return. In eternity, of course, there will no longer be any death, at all (Revelation 20:14).
Verse Context:
Revelation 22:1–5 provides further details of New Jerusalem, which was introduced in the preceding chapter. Based on the language used, some interpreters debate whether New Jerusalem will exist during the thousand-year reign of Christ, providing sustenance for those who live on the earth; or, if it will only appear after the end of the millennium. Either way, in New Jerusalem eternal conditions exist in perfection and peace.
Chapter Summary:
John sees additional images of New Jerusalem. The city's depiction stands in contrast to the ruin experienced during the tribulation, and evokes comparisons to the garden of Eden from the book of Genesis. After this, John relates several commands and messages from Jesus Christ. Among these are a dire warning not to manipulate the words of this message. Revelation, along with the canon of Scripture, ends with a benediction and prayer for Jesus to return.
Chapter Context:
This passage completes the description of New Jerusalem. Earlier chapters in Revelation described the final judgments against sin and death. Genesis chapter 3 described humanity's loss of paradise; Revelation 22 describes paradise regained. Concluding remarks by Jesus begin in verse 6 and continue through verse 20. Verse 21 records the apostle John's benediction, which marks the end of the New Testament canon.
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
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