Revelation 22:2 Commentary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
2. In the midst … of the river ] The picture is, almost certainly, that the river runs along the broad high-street or piazza (see on Rev 11:8, Rev 21:21, and note that, if the mountain be pyramidal, the “street” is cruciform), and rows or plantations, all of the one tree, stand along the banks on either side. But the exact construction and punctuation is not quite certain: that assumed in the A. V. is not very likely. Either we may punctuate as the Revised Version, connecting “in the midst of the street thereof” with the preceding sentence, or else we should probably translate, “Midway between the street of it and the river, on this side and on that:” i.e. there is a “street” or boulevard on each side of the river, and parted from the river by a sort of quay, in the midst of which is a row of the trees. It can hardly be meant that there is a single plant of the tree, as in the old Paradise (Gen 2:9), for how could one tree grow “on this side and on that of the river?” and the words would hardly bear the sense “in the midst of the street thereof and of the river, with them running on this side and on that of it.” It would be awkward to represent the tree as growing in the midst of the river: and though there is a difference between this Paradise and the old in the multiplication of the tree, it is all, as it should be, in favour of the new.
every month ] Yet there can hardly be months and years when there is no moon nor sun. It is not, however, certain that this is the case here: see on Rev 21:23. But the real meaning is, that the fruit is always in season, and never cloys.
and the leaves … healing ] Eze 47:12.
the nations ] Those outside the city: see on Rev 21:24. This is perhaps the only passage in Scripture which suggests that, even after the Day of Judgement, there may be a process of purification for those whom that Day finds in a state of salvation, but imperfectly sanctified. But though it cannot be denied that this passage suggests this, it would be very rash to say that it proves it. It is quite possible that it is only at their first admission to the new earth that “the nations” have any need of “healing.” Surely no one can doubt, that this need will be felt by almost all, perhaps by all, who are saved at the last. Even if they were what we rightly account to be saints on earth they need a “healing” of their surviving sins before they are fit for heaven. They may receive this at the moment of death, as most Protestants suppose, or between death and judgement, as (in different forms) was supposed by some of the fathers and by the modern Roman Church. But apparently the oldest belief was that the work would be done at the moment of Judgement; see Comm. on 1Co 3:13-15: and this passage is quite in harmony with that view.
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The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a biblical commentary set published in parts by Cambridge University Press from 1882 onwards. Anglican bishop John Perowne was the general editor. The first section published was written by theologian Thomas Kelly Cheyne and covered the Book of Micah.
Perowne exercised limited editorial control over the writers of individual commentaries: his aim was "to leave each contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment".