and John saw that it was the stream issuing from the throne that gave to the leaves of the tree the power of imparting health and life to the world.
The pure transparent stream of water of life issuing from the throne of the Deity is his Almighty power, or Spirit, by which He creates, regenerates, makes glorious, and subdues all things to Himself. "Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities; thine eye shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation; a tabernacle that shall not be taken down: but there the glorious Yahweh will be to us a place of rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby" (Isa. 33:20, 21). In this the place, the rivers, and the streams, stand for Yahweh and his power.
That the water of life represents the Spirit in all its relations and effects, is evident from the words of Jesus in John 7:37-39: "if any man thirst," saith he, "let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his body shall flow rivers of living water. This spake he," adds John, "of the Spirit which they that believe on him should receive; for Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus had not yet been glorified". A stream of this pure, transparent water of life was poured out upon the apostles on the Day of Pentecost. That, however, though great and marvellous in its effects, was only the earnest of what is yet to follow. It anointed them with knowledge, wisdom, and power; but it left them as it found them, subject to disease, sorrow, pain, and death. Now, people have so much Holy Spirit in them as they have of the words and ideas of the Deity understood, affectionately believed, and obeyed (John 6:63). But, when the time of the great Pentecostian outflow of Holy Spirit shall arrive, the assembled multitude of the approved convened before the judgment seat of Christ, will be filled, and covered over, and thoroughly saturated in all the atoms of their substance, with the flood of downpouring Spirit from unapproachable light; whereby they will be changed, and all that is in them of earthiness and mortality "swallowed up of life". Henceforth, the pure, transparent stream of living water is distributed through them as its channel to mankind, until the knowledge of Yahweh the fountain of living waters, shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea (Isa. 45:8).
2. The Wood of the Life
"In the midst of the Broadspace of the City, and on each side of the stream was a Wood of Life".
The Broadspace of the New Jerusalem is the four-square area within the Wall. We read of no rows of habitations dividing the intramural space into avenues, and streets, broad or narrow. The Broadspace is constituted of all "the wise" who shine as the brightness of the firmament; and of "the stars" who have turned many to righteousness (Dan. 12:3): in other words, of "the general assembly -- ecclesia of the Firstborns -- spirits of just ones who have been made perfect" (Heb. 12:23). To him, then, who believes the things concerning the kingdom of the Deity, and the name of Jesus Anointed," and has therefore been immersed (Acts 8:12), and thenceforth, "by a patient continuance in well-doing, seeks for glory, and honor, and incorruptibility" (Rom. 2:7): and thus overcomes the world -- "to him," saith the Spirit, "I will give to eat from the Wood of the Life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of the Deity" (ch. 2:7).
This passage taken in connection with ch. 22:2, shows, that the New Jerusalem is identical with "the Paradise of the Deity," in the corporate sense of the phrase. Every individual of the Bride adorned, upon whom hath been engraved "the Name of the City of the Deity, New Jerusalem," is therefore a constituent of His Paradise in the territorial Paradise of the Holy Land. Hence, in Cant. 4:12, "a Paradeisos, or Paradais, is my sister Spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon". In this Bridal Garden of the Deity is planted the evergreen, and aromatic, and fruitbearing, trees of the Wood of the Life that shall never end.
The reader will perceive that I have renderedulon zoes, which in the English Version, is expressed by the phrase, the Tree of Life, by the words a Wood of Life. The sound of this form of words is not so euphonious, but it is more in harmony with the mind of the Spirit, as will appear from what follows.
In the Apocalypse there are two Greek words,ulon anddendron, which are both rendered tree in the E.V., but incorrectly, as I believe. I cannot suppose, that the Spirit selected these two different words to express exactly the same idea; but the rather, because there was a distinction of ideas, which required different words to convey it. To translateulon by "tree," involves one in a difficulty from which there is no satisfactory extrication. Ifulon be rendered "tree", the difficulty is, how a tree can be at one and the same time on both sides of a river. The difficulty, however, vanishes in renderingulon by the word wood. A wood may be enteuthen kai enteuthen, "on this side and the other," or "on each side" of a river, and yet be one wood; a singular noun of multitude, or plurality, which harmonizes with the structure of other Apocalyptic symbols, which are formed upon the principle of many in one; as many sons of men in One Son of Man; many emperors in One Head of the Beast; many clerical orders in One False Prophet; and many dendra, or trees, in Oneulon, or Wood.
The word dendron, "a tree," occurs in Rev. 7:1, 3; 8:7; 9:4, and is so rendered there correctly enough; but in ch. 2:7; 22:2, 14, "tree," in the E.V. is, in the Greek,ulon; and in ch. 18:12, it is alsoulon twice, but in both instances rendered by the E.V. wood; as "thyine wood," and "precious wood".
It may be remarked, that while dendron, in the singular, only represents one tree, the wordulon, in the singular, may represent a plurality; as "they made their feet fast, eis toulon, in the stocks". In short, the matter of all trees is used symbolically for any number of individual trees -- one material, orulon, typical of a whole forest, or aggregation of dendra.
But, I need add no more here upon the wood of life, which is the Great Wood of the many choice trees of righteousness planted by Yahweh in his divine garden. By referring to pp. 208-218, of Vol. 1 of this work, the reader will find what might otherwise have been continued here. But, I do not wish him to be put to the necessity of paying twice for the same matter. If he possess the first volume he can refer to it, and read; which will save me time and labor, and himself expense.
3. The Leaves of the Wood
"And the Leaves of the Wood were for the healing of the nations".
The wood produced fruit and leaves. A tree without fruit may be very beautiful to look at, but would not be life-sustaining; and a tree without leaves would be dead, or in the winter of its existence. A wood of trees producing fruit every month, or all the year round; and covered with beautiful unfading leaves: or in the words of Solomon, "an orchard of pomegranates with pleasant fruits; cypress with spikenard, and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices" -- is a soul-inspiring symbol of the outflowing, fragrant, genial, and happifying, influences of the New Jerusalem Paradise in the healing principles brought to bear upon the nations in its administration of the affairs of the subjected world.
The leaves of a tree are the lungs, or breathing organs, of the tree or plant. The Wood of life, vitalized by the living water of the Spirit, symbolizing the incorruptible and immortal, and most holy hosts of the new heavens, in the aggregate; the Leaves of the Wood, like the Eyes of the Four Living Ones, are the individual saints in particular; in other words, each particular leaf is a saint-constituent of the Divine institution, through which the Spirit breathes when and where He pleases. When the earnest of the spirit was shed forth, the Spirit breathed upon the 3000 Pentecostians through the apostles, the leaf-bearing and fruitbearing branches of the true vine. The report of the wonderful works of the Deity they heard in their own tongues (Acts 2:8, 11), was the breathing of the Spirit, which by the doctrine enumerated healed them of their ignorance and moral degradation. "He breathes where he pleases". He breathed in Jerusalem of old; he will breathe thence anew; not upon a few thousand Jews only, and through twelve men of Israel; but through "a great multitude which no man can number," upon all the millennial nations of the earth; so that as a consequence, "the knowledge of the glory of Yahweh shall fill the earth, as the waters cover the sea". Then shall the healed nations confess, saying, "Surely, our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit".
That a leaf, when used metaphorically in scripture, signifies a person, will appear from the following texts. Job, in his reasoning with the Deity concerning his hapless condition, says, "Wherefore holdest thou me for thine enemy? Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro?" Again; Isaiah addressing the transgressors in Israel who practised idolatrous rites in gardens, and under Druidical Oaks therein, saith to them collectively, "Ye shall be ashamed of the oaks ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens ye have chosen. For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a Garden that hath no water". In this, Israel, apostate in church and state, is likened to a withered oak, and a parched up garden; a similitude the very opposite to that of the New Jerusalem Paradise, where, as we have seen, the Divine Government of their nation is likened to a Wood of "every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food;" and to a well-watered garden. The dried leaves of Israel's withered oak have done nothing for the nations, which are unhealed to this day; and will so remain for ever, unless their olive tree do "blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit".
The kingdom of men under the Chaldean dynasty of Nebuchadnezzar is thus likened to "a tree in the midst of the earth, whose altitude was great. The tree grew and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth: the leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and on it meat for all; the beasts of the field have shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs of it, and all flesh was fed of it". In showing what this signified, Daniel told the king that it represented his power which had "grown and become strong; for," saith he, "thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth". The tree was hewn down. Its fall represented the king's fall from the throne. The fair leaves of the tree shaken off, were the nobles and dignitaries of the kingdom detached from all political connection with Nebuchadnezzar during the seven years of his insanity.
To eat of the wood of life is to become one of its trees, or one of the leaves of it; and to partake constitutionally, therefore, of that nourishment which rises from the root through the stem and branches thereof. This life-sustaining and invigorating principle is the pure stream issuing from the throne, and maintains it in everlasting freshness and beauty. David, speaking of the blessed of the Father, says, "He shall be like a tree planted by rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not fade: and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper". Human Government is a blasted and withering oak, but the New Jerusalem Evergreen of the kingdom when grown is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. The birds of the heaven are the chiefs of the nations, whose subjects seek its fruit from one new moon to another, ministered to them by its Healing Leaves for their salvation.
Blessedness and saving health is promised unto all nations. The leaves of the wood are the medicine of their cure. Naturally, there are powerful medicinal properties in leaves: but none so powerful and efficacious as in the Leaves of the Wood for the healing of the nations. Only think, what a wonderful enlightening, purging, and healing property there must be in leaves that can cure ignorant and bigoted papists, protestants, Mohammedans, Hindoos, and such like, of all their superstitions and abominations, clothe them in a right mind, and cause them to say in their convalescence, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, to the House of the Elohim of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways" -- He who is the Life of the Wood and Water of Paradise. He will then produce, or reveal knowledge, pertaining to "his ways," which knowledge will be exhibited in "the law", and in "the word" that are to go forth from Zion and Jerusalem. The law and the word of the Spirit will issue from the throne through the Healing Leaves at duly appointed times, or "from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another" (Isa. 66:23). The "twelve fruits of the wood of life" are the knowledge of good tending to life, being made known, and fed upon, in all the year. Fruit is any thing produced. It is not produced to all the world at once; that is, in a single month: but at every new moon of the year's twelve shall strangers present themselves in Jerusalem for instruction, and "from one Sabbath to another". The living water through the wood produces the healing knowledge, the leaves yield it to the nations, according to the administrative institutions