Does Revelation 22:1-2 refer to one or two Trees of Life since the tree is on either side of the water of life?
The Bible refers to some amazing things that we have never seen such as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the tree of life, living water, and the water of life. So when we read about these in the Bible, we are naturally curious about them. This article is about the tree of life, or does the Bible teach there are two trees? That is, does Revelation 22:2 refer to one or two Trees of Life?
The tree of life is mentioned only 11 times in the Bible. The passages that Christians most often remember are Genesis 2:9, Genesis 3:22, and 24. Then it is mentioned in Proverbs 3:18; 11:30; 13:12; 15:4. In the New Testament, the Tree of Life is mentioned 4 times in Revelation 2:7 and Revelation 22:2, 14, and 19.
Our interest is in Revelation 22:1-2 which says,
Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 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. Revelation 22:1-2 (NASB)
Scripture only refers to one tree of life. So, we usually assume there is only one tree of life, unless later we discover there are more. A careful reading of Revelation 22:2 reveals the tree of life was so large that it was wider than the river. For the phrase “on either side” is translated from four Greek words, kai enteunthen kai ekeithen, which literally mean “and from here and from there.” That is, a literal translation would be “And from here and from there in the river was the tree of life.”
This suggests the tree of life spans the width of the river of life. Maybe the water flows through the roots of the tree while the roots are holding the base of the tree above the flowing water. Maybe the river of the water of life flows out from the base of the tree of life? It is also possible the branches of the tree extended beyond the width of the river of life. While we do not know how the tree will extend the width of the river, there is no other evidence for us to believe there will be more than one tree. Heaven is going to be an interesting place.
I will close with something very practical. Proverbs 11:30 says,
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
And he who is wise wins souls. Proverbs 11:30 (NASB)
That is, the fruit is what righteousness grows and both together are symbolically called a tree of life. Believers are to be, figuratively speaking, trees of life. I hope you are! When we are, that pleases and gives honor to our God. We can give Him glory by being righteous.
Suggested Links:Why is there a tree of life in Revelation. 22:2-3?
Is Jesus like the Tree of Life?
Did God tell Eve not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil?
Meaning of Jesus Cursing The Fig Tree