In the midst of the street of it
That is, of the city described in the preceding chapter, which shows that this vision belongs to that, and is a continuation of it, and which street was all of pure gold, ( Revelation 21:21 )
and on either side of the river was there the tree of life;
not that it stood either in the midst of the street of the city, which being a pavement of gold, a tree could not well stand there; nor on both sides of the river, which is impossible, unless the tree of life is put for many trees of the same kind, as in Ezekiel's vision, to which the allusion is; and so some were on one side of the river, and some on the other, as there; see ( Ezekiel 47:7 Ezekiel 47:12 ) or unless it can be thought that such a solution of the difficulty is sufficient, that the root of it was on one side, and the branches grew over to the other; though the words may be better rendered, and the difficulty will be removed, and the sense be clear, "between the street of it", the city, "and the river, on this side, and on that side"; that is, the street on one side, and the river on the other, was the tree of life; compare with this ( John 19:18 ) . So the Jews say F5, that the tree of life is in the midst of paradise, and its body covers all the garden; and that there is in it five hundred thousand different tastes; and that there is no likeness and smell like it. By the tree of life is meant not the Gospel, nor godliness, nor eternal life, nor any other of the divine Persons, but Christ, who is the author of life, natural, spiritual, and eternal; (See Gill on Revelation 2:7) and its situation between the street of the city, where the saints commune and converse together, and the river of God's everlasting love, which in this state will appear in its fulness and glory, shows that Christ will be seen and enjoyed by all in the most delightful and comfortable manner that can be wished for:
which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month;
not one sort of fruit one month, and another sort another month, and so on, but twelve sorts every month; which is expressive of the fruits and spiritual blessings of grace from Christ, enjoyed by saints in the present state, and of that variety of happiness and pleasures to be had in this glorious state, and of the continuance of them; they being always ever fresh and new, and will be always sufficient for the twelve tribes of the true Israel of God, and for all that have embraced the doctrine of the twelve apostles of the Lamb; whose drink in this state will be the everlasting love of God, and whose food will be the fruit of the tree of life; both which they shall enjoy in great abundance:
and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations;
not for the curing of diseases, or repairing of health; which in the present state of things is done by the application of the blood of Christ for the pardon of sin, which is a healing of diseases, and by the discoveries of the love of God; through the ministration of the Gospel, and the doctrines of it, which might be thought to be signified by leaves; for there will be no disease either of body or mind in this state; besides, the nations that will walk in the light of this city will be saved perfectly and completely, ( Revelation 21:4 Revelation 21:24 ) but these leaves will be for the preserving and continuing the health of the people of God in this state, as the tree of life in Eden's garden was for the preservation of the health and life of Adam, had he continued in a state of innocence; and it denotes that everything in Christ will contribute to the comfort, health, and happiness of the saints. The Jews interpret the passage in ( Ezekiel 47:12 ) to which this refers, of future time, or the world to come F6; and speak of various trees and herbs of great fragrancy and medicinal virtues, which grow quite round on the sides of a laver that stands in paradise F7.
F5 Yalkut Simeoni, par. 1. fol. 7. 1.
F6 Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 19. 1.
F7 Sepher Avodah Hakkodesh, fol. 46. 1.