Many people, including myself have asked the question, “What do the leaves which are for the healing of the Nations mean in Revelation 22:2”?
I have studied the various scriptures which can be associated with this vision and arrived at the answers in this study. I do not claim to be 100 percent accurate as I am not a learned theologian, but with prayer and study I submit my findings.
In Rev. 22:2, John is shown a vision of a river with the tree of life planted on each side and bearing 12 manners of fruit, producing a different fruit each month, and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the Nations.
You have a river ---You have trees---You have leaves Now, what do these symbols mean?
If we look in John 4:14 we see that Jesus is telling the woman at the well, that the water he gives is a well of water springing into eternal life. But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. So could the river in Johns vision be this well? Let’s go to Zechariah 14:8
8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. Jesus speaks to the woman at the well about a well of water offering eternal life; we then look at Zechariah 14:8 and we find another reference to living waters flowing from Jerusalem. By reading these two scriptures we can see they have a common bond in reference to the Living Waters, so there must be a connection. Remember what Revelation 22:2 had to say. 2. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manners of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Now we see three references to Waters, but, there is still another text that may give us a better understanding of the Living Waters. We find this text in Ezekiel 47:1-13.
We find Ezekiel is being shown a vision of the Temple, (in the New Jerusalem) where God will reside with his people for ever. The first thing Ezekiel sees are the water issuing from under the threshold of the Temple door, and near the altar on the south side. The guide in the vision then begins measuring 1000 cubit lengths and at each length the water becomes a little deeper; ankle deep, knee deep, loin deep and then it was impassable. Ezekiel was also shown these waters as a river with many trees lining each side which bare 12 kinds of fruit and bore a fruit each month, and leaves which would never fade. I won’t get into the four measurements which the guide was making, but will save it for a future lesson. Are Zechariah, John, Ezekiel and Jesus speaking of the same thing? Zechariah said living waters would flow from Jerusalem, Ezekiel saw the living waters in his vision flowing from the Temple of God, John also saw nearly the identical vision in Revelation 22:2, Jesus told the woman at the well of the Living Waters which offered eternal life. So now we have 4 different references to the River of Life.
If we look at Ezekiel 47:8-9, we see the waters are flowing into the valleys and deserts, and wherever they flow all things are healed. The Greek word for healing is therapeia ( there-ape-I'-ah ) which means to cure. The waters then are as Jesus said, Living Waters which cure and grant eternal health and life. Now, if the water is living water, healing everything it touches, then we see the trees along the banks which would, through their root system, tap into this life giving force, thereby passing it on to its fruit and leaves which would make the leaves a sort of medicine to the peoples and nations. Now we need to back up to the beginning and see if there is another clue to these visions and sayings.
We need to go back to Genesis 2:9-10 9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the TREE OF LIFE also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 10 And a RIVER went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
Looking at these 2 verses we see (1)..Tree of Life , (2)..A river flowing from the Garden of Eden to water it. Now if we look at the ending we see the beginning since the tree of life and the river of life are in both places, and water is flowing out from both places to give its life giving properties. Let me see if I can put all this together and reach an explanation for the healing leaves of the tree of life.
Some commentators allude to the trees as being the saints and the fruit the word of God, which they are preaching to the multitudes prior to the second coming of Jesus; others are saying John is describing the raptured Christians living in Jerusalem during the 1000 year period following the rapture. I disagree with both of these theories, but will not debate them at this point for lack of space and time. When God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to tend it and to worship him, he gave them the tree of life to eat from, which would have given them eternal life had they not rebelled and sinned against God.
There was a river flowing out of Eden, which watered and gave life to all of God’s creation. The climate was perfect, there was no death, violence, dangerous carnivorous animals, (animals were vegetarian, see (Genesis 1:30) sickness, or diseases in this world which God had created. The tree of Life and the river flowing from Eden were to sustain all of God’s creation for eternity, but humankind being humankind believed the grass was greener on the other side.
Reflecting on Eden, couldn’t we conclude that the river flowing from Eden, and the River flowing from the Temple in Ezekiel 47:1, the river in Revelation 22:2 with the trees lining the river which runs through the city, and the tree of Life in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2:9, be one and the same, giving life sustaining substance to God’s people in the beginning and the end. Now let’s take a look at the leaf of these trees which Ezekiel, and John describes as healing the Nations.
What is a leaf and what is its purpose? A leaf is a sort of reservoir and conduit for life giving properties to the tree and its fruits. A leaf with its surface area captures the sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide and through photosynthesis converts these into oxygen and sugar to feed the tree. This energy and nutrients are fed to the tree, which in turn passes these nutrients to the fruit and on to the one which consumes the fruits. Leaves begin to fade and drop off the trees in autumn due to the lack of sunlight as the days become shorter. In the New Jerusalem there will be no need for sunlight as Jesus’s Glory will give the light as shown in Revelation 21:23, therefore the leaves will never FADE or drop as the light from the Lamb will never dim. 23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
Let’s review some of the texts and see if we can arrive at a possible answer.
John 4:14 …. the water that I shall give him he shall never thirst….
Zechariah 14:8 … that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem,
Revelatiion 22:1-2 1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 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..
Ezekiel 47:12 And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade,…. and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the LEAF thereof for MEDICINE
Revelation 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof
We know that water is the essence of life and we must consume a certain amount daily in order to survive, so we can surmise that the river and the water spoken of in these verses are the same and possess a divinely created miraculous healing and sustaining ability of which we can’t imagine. I believe the river of water in the New Jerusalem, as well as the river which ran out from Eden has the same properties. If they have the same life sustaining properties, then it stands to reason that the trees lining the river will get their sustenance from this water as well as from the leaves which will absorb the Light of Glory from the Lamb as indicated in Revelation 21:23. This being the case then, is it not possible that the leaves, by absorbing the Light of the Lamb, and the roots absorbing the life sustaining force of the river, channeling it to the fruit of the trees, which in turn transfers all of this to the nations consuming the fruit, be the medicine for healing the Nations as described in Revelation 22:2? I base this on the fact that Jesus did eat after his resurrection; also the Angels who visited Abraham ate solid food.
In the Old Testament, angels ate when Abraham entertained them (Genesis 18:8). Jesus ate after He rose from the dead (Luke 24:41-43). We will also eat as indicated in Isaiah 65:21. 21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.
We know from scientific fact, and studies that a balanced and healthy diet has a direct relationship to the disposition of the mentality of the human brain. Those that stay on a junk food or unhealthy diet tend to become, and stay angry, disgruntled, lower intelligence and creating conflict when conflict is not necessary. On the other hand those on a well-balanced healthy diet tend to be level headed, of higher intellectual ability, and morally stronger, avoiding and or settling disputes in a rational and just way. Then the miraculous eternal life giving nutrients from the Tree of Life would be a perfectly balanced diet for Gods people, as God makes all things perfect.
In conclusion it would appear that the leaves through their conversion of Gods light, and the water from the river of life, heals the nations by its medicinal properties being passed onto the fruit of the trees. I am not saying I’m correct in my assessment of this vision which John saw of the tree of life and the healing of the Nation’s properties of the leaves, but, I request others to diligently study this and possibly enhance on this study, or show me to be totally wrong. I am merely seeking the truth without any sugarcoating or left field analysis not being Biblically based. Rev.11/19/12 Copyright 2012 All Rights Reserved Paul L. Taylor
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