“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.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, members of more than 5,300 branch churches
This is the 12th session of the ‘Heaven’ lecture series.
In the last session, I told you about the roads in heaven, and about the river of the water of life, that is the river of heavenly kingdom.
Today, I will talk to you about the scenes around the river of the water of life, and the happy life that we will enjoy on the riverside.
Even on this earth, we can see there have been metropolitan cities where there are big rivers.
We have Han river in Seoul, Korea. There is Yellow River in China, Potomac River in Washington D.C., and the Seine River in Paris.
Because water is a must for survival of men, sometimes people call the rivers running through cities ‘life line’ (or what other expressions are there?). Many times they also make parks on the riversides and people have leisure time there.
God the Father also made beautiful scenes on the riversides of the river of the water of life with many trees. He also made a place where His children can take a rest peacefully.
When I explain to you about these, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will be filled with the hope of heaven even more.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in the first part of today’s passage Revelation 22:2, it tells us the river of the water of life flows in the middle of the streets. From this, we can understand that there are roads on either side of the river of the water of life.
You already know that everything that God the Father has made has some kind of meaning in it.
There are also two reasons why there are roads on either side of the river.
The first reason is to let everybody easily find the place the throne of God is located from anywhere in the kingdom of heaven.
Because the river of the water of life flows out from God’s throne and runs through all places of heavenly kingdom, if you just follow the roads on either side of the river, you can reach the place where there is the throne of God.
Whether you are in paradise, or the 1st kingdom, 2nd kingdom, or the 3rd kingdom of heaven, if you just follow the roads on the sides of the river of the water of life, you will reach New Jerusalem.
The second reason why there are roads on the sides of the river of the water of life is to tell us that, just as we can reach the throne of God by following the river of life, we can reach heavenly kingdom by following the word of God, the water of life, in our life, and we can also reach the most beautiful place New Jerusalem.
In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
As He said, we have become God’s children by believing in Jesus Christ, and at the same time, we have gained the citizenship of heavenly kingdom.
But let’s think about one thing. When you go to another country, if you just get the visa and buy the airplane ticket, is it all? No, you actually have to get on board the airplane and go to your destination.
Likewise, even though we have been forgiven of our sins and gained the right of the children of God by believing in Jesus Christ, it’s not all.
We have to actually follow the word of the Lord Jesus, who is the way, truth, and life to heavenly kingdom, until our life ends on this earth.
Our eternal heavenly dwelling place will be decided according to how perfectly we have lived according to the word of God, the truth on this earth.
In the word of God that is the truth, there are very clear and easy to recognize signposts guiding us to the straight way to New Jerusalem, just like the traffic signposts of this world.
They are the words that tell us to do, not do, keep, or cast off certain things. Those who believe these words completely and obey them will be eligible to get to New Jerusalem, the best dwelling place in heaven, within a short period of time.
But some people just ignore these signposts telling us not to do or to cast off some things, and they get into accidents or get lost.
Also, if they just follow the words that tell them, ‘do’ or ‘keep’, they can just go straight to heavenly kingdom taking the highway, but they do not follow them but go to other ways, and thus wasting a lot of time.
But those who follow only the word of God, the truth, can very quickly reach the best heavenly dwelling place New Jerusalem.
I hope you will believe in this fact firmly, so that you will drive away all temptations that lead you to other ways, and you will only march forward standing on the word of God.
God places the roads on both sides of the river of the water of life to symbolize this kind of meaning for us; He designed it in such a way that we can reach New Jerusalem which houses God’s throne, only if we just follow the river of the water of life.
Brothers and sisters, the river of the water of life and the roads on its sides do not come in direct contact with each other but there is sand beach in between.
The sand here is not made from rocks like on this earth, but they are made of gold and silver.
As I told you before, in heaven there is no soil, and very tiny balls of gold and silver will make up the ground of heavenly kingdom. And on the sides of the river of the water of life are beaches of gold and silver sands.
Even on this earth, very fine sand feels very soft, and when you sit on it, it gives you a very comfortable feeling. And the sand of gold and silver on the riversides of the river of life give you much softer and more comfortable feelings than the finest sand on this earth.
Also, the sizes of sands vary, from such tiny ones that can be barely seen to quite thick ones.
No matter how much you roll and play and run on it, there will be no dust getting on to your clothes. Of course, the sand will never go into your eyes and harm you.
In the latter part of today’s passage Revelation 22:2 says, “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.”
As said, there are trees of life on either side of the river. The fruits of these trees are so big, and there are twelve kinds of fruits.
It’s not that one tree will bear all twelve kinds of fruits at one time, but there are twelve different kinds of trees of life.
It says, the trees of life will bear twelve kinds of fruits, yielding its fruit every month. And what does this mean? On this earth, different fruits are born in different seasons, and does it mean even in heaven twelve different kinds of trees of life will bear different fruit respectively each month?
No, it doesn’t mean that. It just means those fruits will never disappear, hanging on the trees always. It is just the expression to let us easily understand this point.
We say we have delicious fruits every season, for example, strawberries in spring, watermelons and musk melons in summer, and apples and pears in autumn. By saying this, we mean there are always something good fruits in each season, though the kinds of fruits are different.
The plants on this earth bear some fruits in their seasons, but soon wither. But it’s not so with the plants in heaven.
Their leaves are always green, and they can bloom flowers all the time, and they can always bear fruits. Therefore, on the trees of life on the riverside of the river of the water of life are always born their fruits.
If anybody takes the fruit from one of these trees, the fruit is regenerated immediately on that spot. We won’t have to wait for the next season or next year to come.
The Bible said ‘yielding its fruit every month’ meaning that there are always twelve different kinds of fruits on the trees of life.
In heaven, there are trees that bear fruit in every dwelling place, and because these fruits that are born on the tree of life, we call them fruit of life.
The twelve different kinds of fruits of life all have different light, size, shape, and taste. I introduced one of them to you in the lecture series on Genesis. It was the fruit of the tree of life that was placed at the center of the Garden of Eden, where the first man Adam and Eve lived.
Genesis 2:9 says, “Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil had the most numbers of leaves and fruits. The sizes of these fruits are about as big as melon of this earth.
The sizes of the fruit of life and the fruit of knowledge of good and evil are about the same, but the shape and colors are distinctively different from each other.
The fruit of life has the shape that is like apple, and is a little reddish. It’s not completely red but reddish, giving out beautiful light. But the fruit of the tree of the knowledge is similar to peaches in shape, and is pinkish in color.
This tree of life in the second heaven and the tree of life in the heavenly kingdom are the same kind of tree of life, but the fruit born are a little different in color.
Even on this earth, the color of the same apple under the light and that of the same apple without light look different. In the same way, though they are the same fruit, because of the difference in the space between the third heaven and second heaven, the colors look different.
Brothers and sisters, everything that is provided by God in heaven has meaning in it.
The river of the water of life symbolizes the word of God that gives us life. Likewise, the trees of life on the sides of the river of the water of life have meanings, too.
What kind of meaning do the trees of life carry, that are on the riverside of the river of life? First of all, we can see that the Bible likens God’s children who live by His word ‘trees planted by the water’.
Psalm 1:2-3 says, “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.
 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.”
And also, Jeremiah 17:7-8 also says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord And whose trust is the Lord.
 “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.”
Likewise, the trees of life on the sides of the river of the water of life symbolize God’s children who have reached the kingdom of heaven by taking the water of life, namely God’s word.
Then, why does it say there are twelve kinds of fruits that are born on these trees? This has two meanings, and the first meaning of the number 12 is ‘all nations’.
We can see in the Bible that through the twelve sons of Israel, the twelve tribes of Israel were formed, and through this, God’s kingdom was formed in all nations.
Also, through the twelve disciples of the Lord, the gospel was preached to all nations, and people from all nations can be saved and go into heavenly kingdom.
God placed the twelve different kinds of trees of life on the riverside of the river of the water of life in order to show the meaning that anybody from any nation can become heavenly citizens only if they believe in Jesus Christ and take the word of God as spiritual food.
The second meaning of the number 12 is that it is the number of light. It tells us that to those people who lived by the word, which is light, God gives eternal life. The trees planted by the water will put their roots to the river to draw water from there and keep their lives. In the same way those children of light who live by God’s word will receive eternal life from God.
Therefore, the twelve different kinds of fruits of various shapes and colors on the trees of life symbolize the fruits of life, the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and the fruit of righteousness, which are born when the believers live in the light, the word of God.
Now, what does it spiritually mean by saying, “and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”
In order for a tree to bear a fruit, it first has to grow up. Its branches should grow, and they should produce leaves, and they also have to bloom the flowers.
Until the tree is grown up, it has to absorb nutrients and water from its roots, but for the tree to bear a fruit, it must have the leaves.
It’s because the outcome of photosynthesis collectively becomes the fruit of the tree. If you understand this principle of nature, you can understand more easily what it means by saying “and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” ‘Healing’ means recovering from a very serious disease.
Originally, all people from all nations had momentary physical life, but in fact they were same as dead, because they would have to fall into death because of sins.
But if they believe in Jesus Christ, the curse that dictates the wages of sin is death is broken, and they can receive an eternal life and be healed. The tree absorbs water from the tree and receives the sunshine on the top to make the nutrients on the leaves. This way, the tree keeps its life and bears the fruit.
Likewise, the believers from all nations will gain eternal life, and their faith will grow up, and they will bear spiritual fruits through the word of God which is like the spiritual water and sunshine. Saying “and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations,” means this. These leaves of the tree of life are of dark green color. They have the luster on them, and they are much bigger and wider than leaves of this earth.
They do not wither even with the passing of time. They give out green lights forever, and they are placed on the branches of the tree of life in a regular pattern. The trees of life have these leaves and also the fruits of life. When you see these trees on the sides of the river of the water of life, how beautiful it would be!
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, God once showed me in a vision the scene of the river of the water of life.
On either side of the river were so many benches decorated with gold and various jewels, and God’s children were sitting on them, having pleasant conversations.
And when God’s children had a desire to eat some fruits of the tree of life in their heart, the ministering angels immediately understood the heart of their master and brought the fruits of life in a flower basket. Of course, not everyone can have personally ministering angels in heavenly kingdom, but it was the scene that God showed me.
Just imagine you will sit on the benches on the riverside of the river of the water of life with your dear ones, looking at the river of the water of life giving out splendid lights, or walking along the road by the trees of life, and talk about everything that you couldn’t on this earth.
Don’t you become happy just by the thought of it?
Also, you will not just look at the river of the water of life, but you can go into and swim.
Even those who do not know how to swim on this earth will be able to freely swim in different styles, like free style, breaststroke, backstroke, or butterfly stroke.
Moreover, because you won’t have any problem with breathing, you can stay in water for a long time like fish, without any equipment. When we go into the water to swim, the fish receive us with so much joy and they may even follow us.
To swim on this earth, we have change into swimming suit, and after the swimming, we have to wash our hair and body, and have to change into new clothes again. There are so many things to do.
But in heaven, the clothes do not absorb the water, so after swimming, the water drops will just roll down of the clothes, and we won’t have to change the clothes.
So, when you want to swim, you can just enjoy swimming in the clothes you are wearing at the moment.
Do you all go into this heavenly kingdom which is filled with happiness and joy? Yes, let’s all go together. I hope we will all go into New Jerusalem, the most beautiful place and the place with the most magnitude of happiness among all heavenly dwelling places.
In the next session, I will tell you about the animals and plants of the heavenly kingdom.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in this session, I told you about the scene around the river of the water of life, and the life we will enjoy there.
I also explained the meaning of placing the roads on either side of the river. It is to let us easily reach New Jerusalem, which houses God’s throne, just by following the roads along the river of the water of life.
Also, it is to let us understand the fact that the way to go into New Jerusalem is only to follow and live by the word of God, which is the water of eternal life.
But sometimes, the way to heaven, and especially the way to better heavenly dwelling place or New Jerusalem seem to be narrow and difficult. On the contrary, you may feel the way of unbelievers are taking wide and easy ways at comfort.
But our Lord Jesus wants us to take the way to gain life, rather than a way that looks better in physical sense.
He said in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
Even though it may seem that the way you are taking is narrow and difficult, please certainly believe that our Lord is waiting at the end of this road.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will more ardently march toward New Jerusalem with this faith and greater hope for heavenly kingdom!