Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 22:2
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AR 933. Verse 2. In the midst of the street of it and of the river, on this side and on that, was the tree of life bearing twelve fruits, signifies that in the inmosts of the truths of doctrine and thence of life in the church is the Lord in His Divine love, from Whom all the goods which man does apparently as of himself, flow forth. By "in the midst" is signified in the in most, and thence in all things around (n. 44, 383). By "street" is signified the truth of doctrine of the church (n. 501, 917). By "the river" is signified Divine truth in abundance (n. 409, 932). "On this side and on that" signifies on the right and on the left; and truth on the right is what is in clearness, and on the left what is in obscurity; for the south in heaven, by which truth in clearness is signified, is to the right; and the north, by which is signified truth in obscurity, is to the left (n. 901) By "the tree of life" is signified the Lord as to the Divine love (n. 89). By "fruits" are signified the goods of love and charity, which are called good works; which are treated of in the following article. By "twelve" are signified all, and it is said of the goods and truths of the church (n. 348). From these things collected into one sense, it follows that by "in the midst of the street and of the river, on this side and on that, was the tree of life bearing twelve fruits," is signified that in the inmosts of the truths of doctrine and of life in the New Church is the Lord in His Divine love, from Whom all the goods which a man does apparently as of himself, flow forth. This takes place with those who go to the Lord immediately, and shun evils because they are sins; thus who will be in the Lord’s New Church, which is the New Jerusalem. For they who do not go immediately to the Lord, knot be conjoined to Him, and thus neither to the Father, and hence cannot be in the love which is from the Divine; for the looking to Him conjoins, not a mere intellectual looking, but an intellectual looking from the affection of the will; and affection of the will is not given, unless man keeps His commandments; wherefore the Lord says:--

He that doeth My commandments, he it is that loveth me; and I will come unto him, and make an abode with him (John 14:21-24).

It is said, in the inmosts of the truths of doctrine and thence of life in the New Church, because in spiritual things all things are and all things proceed from the inmost, as from fire and light in the centre to the circumferences; or as from the sun, which is also in the centre, heat and light flow into the universe; it takes place thus in the least things as in the greatest. Because the inmost of all truth is signified, it is therefore said, "in the midst of the street and of the river," and not on both sides of the river, although this is meant. That from the Lord, when He is in the inmost, all the goods of love and charity are and proceed, is manifest from the words of the Lord Himself in John:--

Jesus said, as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, so neither can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the Vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without Me ye cannot do anything (John 15:4-6).

AR 934. That "fruits" signify the goods which man does from love or charity, is known indeed without confirmation from the Word; for the reader understands nothing else by "fruits" in the Word. The reason why the goods of love or charity are meant by "fruits" is because man is compared to a tree, and is also called a tree (n. 89, 400). That "fruits" signify the goods of love or charity, which are called in common speech good works, may be evident from these passages:--

The axe is laid unto the root of the tree; every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be hewn down, and cast into the fire (Matt. 3:10; 7:16-20).

Either make the tree good and the fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt and the fruit corrupt; the tree is known from the fruit (Matt. 12:33; Luke 6:43, 44).

Every branch that beareth not fruit shall be taken away, but everyone that beareth fruit shall be pruned, that it may bring forth more fruit; be that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit (John 15:2-8).

Make fruits worthy of repentance (Matt. 3:8).

That which was sowed in the good ground is he that heareth the Word, and attendeth, and beareth fruit (Matt. 13:23).

Jesus said to the disciples, I have chosen you, that ye should bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain (John 15:16).

A certain man had a fig-tree planted in his vineyard: he came seeking fruit on it, and found none; he saith to the vinedresser, Cut it down, why maketh it the earth unfruitful? (Luke 13:6-9.)

A man, a householder, let out his vineyard to husbandmen, to receive the fruits of it; but they killed the servants sent to them, and at length his son; he therefore will let out the vineyard to others, who will render him the fruits in their seasons. So the kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits of it (Matt. 21:33-35, 38, 39, 41, 43).

AR 935. Yielding its fruit every month, signifies that the Lord produces good with man according to every state of truth with him. By "a month" is signified the state of man‘s life as to truth, as will be shown presently. By "yielding fruit" is signified to produce goods: that "fruits" are the goods of love and charity was shown just above (n. 934); and because the Lord produces them with man essentially, though the man does them as of himself, and thus apparently, as was said above (n. 934), it is evident that it is signified that the Lord produces them from the inmost, when He is there. But it shall be told how it is to be understood, that the Lord produces the goods of charity with a man according to the state of truth with Him. He who believes that a man does good that is acceptable to the Lord, which is called spiritual good, unless there are truths from the Word in Him, is much deceived. Goods without truths are not goods, and truths without goods are not truths with man, although in themselves they may be truths: for good without truth is like the voluntary of man without the understanding, which voluntary is not human, but is like a beast’s, or like that of a carved image which an artificer causes to operate. But the voluntary together with the intellectual be. comes human according to the state of the understanding by which it exists. For the state of life of every man is such that his will cannot do anything except through the understanding, nor can the understanding think anything except from the will. It is similar with good and truth, since good is of the will, and truth is of the understanding. It is manifest from this, that the good which the Lord produces with man is according to the state of the truth with him from which is his understanding. That this is signified by "the tree of life yielding its fruit every month," is because the state of truth with man is signified by month. That states of life are signified by all times, which are hours, days, weeks, months, years, ages, may be seen (n. 476, 562). That states of life as to truths, are signified by "months," is because the times determined by the moon are meant by "months," and truth of the understanding and of faith is signified by "the moon" (n. 332, 413, 414, 919). Similar things are meant by months in these passages:--

Blessed of Jehovah is the land of Joseph for the precious things of the produce of the sun, and for the precious things of the produce of the months (Deut. 33:13, 14).

It shall come to pass that from month to month, and from sabbath to sabbath, all flesh shall come to bow themselves down before Jehovah (Isa. 66:23).

On account of the signification of "month," which is that of the moon:

They made sacrifices at the beginning of every month or of the new moon (Num. 29:1-6; Isa. 1:14).

And then also they sounded with the trumpets (Num. 10:10; Ps. 81:3).

And it was commanded that they should observe the month Abib, in which they celebrated the Passover (Exod. 12:2; Deut. 16:1).

States of truth are signified by "months," and in the opposite sense states of falsity with man, in (Apocalypse 9:5, 10, 15; 11:2; 13:5). The same is signified by month (Ezek. 47:12).

AR 936. And the leaves of the tree were for the medicine of the nations, signifies rational truths therefrom, by which they who are in evils and thence in falsities are led to think soundly, and to live becomingly. By "the leaves of the tree" are signified rational truths, of which below. By "the nations" are signified those who are in goods and thence in truths, and in the opposite sense those who are in evils and thence in falsities (n. 483); here they who are in evils and thence in falsities, because it is said, "for their medicine," and they who are in evils and thence in falsities cannot be healed by the Word, because they do not read it; but if they have sound judgment, they can be healed by rational truths. Things similar to those in this verse are signified by these words in Ezekiel:--

Behold, waters went forth from under the threshold from which was a river, upon whose bank on this side and on that were very many trees for food, whose leaf falleth not, nor is consumed; it is renewed every month, whence its fruit is for food, and its leaf for medicine (Ezekiel 47:1, 7, 12).

There also the New Church is treated of. That rational truths are signified by "leaves," is because by "a tree" is signified man (n. 83, 400); and then by all the parts of a tree are signified corresponding things in man; as by the branches, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds. By "the branches" man‘s sensual and natural truths are signified; by "the leaves" his rational truths; by "the flowers" the first spiritual truths in the rational; by "the fruits" the goods of love and charity; and by "the seeds" are signified the last and the first things of man. That rational truths are signified by "the leaves," is clearly manifest from the things seen in the spiritual world; for trees appear there also, with leaves and fruits: there are there gardens and paradises from them. With those who are in the goods of love and at the same time in the truths of wisdom there appear fruitbearing trees, luxuriant with beautiful leaves, but with those who are in the truths of some wisdom, and speak from reason, and are not in the goods of love, there appear trees full of leaves, but without fruits; but with those with whom there are neither goods nor the truths of wisdom, there do not appear trees, unless stripped of their leaves, as in the time of winter in the world. A man not rational is nothing else but such a tree. Rational truths are those which proximately receive spiritual truths, for the rational of man is the first receptacle of spiritual truths: for the perception of truth in some form is in man’s rational, which the man himself does not see in thought, as he does the things which are beneath the rational in the lower thought, which conjoins itself with the external sight. Rational truths are also signified by "leaves" (Gen. 3:7; 8:11; Isa. 34:4; Jer. 8:13; 17:8; Ezek. 47:12; Dan. 4:12, 14; Ps. 1:3; Lev. 26:36; Matt. 21:19; 24:32; Mark 13:28). But their signification is according to the species of the trees. The leaves of the olive and the vine signify rational truths from celestial and spiritual light; the leaves of the fig rational truths from natural light; and the leaves of the fir, the poplar, the oak, the pine, rational truths from sensual light. The leaves of these strike terror in the spiritual world, when they are shaken by a strong wind; these are meant in (Lev. 26:36; Job 13:25). But it is not so with the leaves of the former.

REVELATION 22:2    previous  -  next  -  text  -  summary  -  Revelation  -  Full Page

Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info