Perhaps this vision of a river
And of a tree of life,
Appears to you like a park in the city,
The book end to the Edenic garden
Shall we gather at the river?
How are your images of the fruit and leaves
‘for the healing of the nations’?
Don’t fall down in idolatry
Of the city,
or the angel –
These are signs,
invitations to participation,
Bread and roses now,
Not just pie in the sky when you die!
All the Johannine writing shares the tension:
I am, now – in the flesh,
Not safely relegated to the future conditionally
NJB River and Tree of Life
1 Then the angel showed me the river of life, rising from the throne of God and of the Lamb and flowing crystal-clear.
2 Down the middle of the city street, on either bank of the river were the trees of life, which bear twelve crops of fruit in a year, one in each month, and the leaves of which are the cure for the nations.
3 The curse of destruction will be abolished. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city; his servants will worship him,
4 they will see him face to face, and his name will be written on their foreheads.
5 And night will be abolished; they will not need lamplight or sunlight, because the Lord God will be shining on them. They will reign for ever and ever.
6 The angel said to me, 'All that you have written is sure and will come true: the Lord God who inspires the prophets has sent his angel to reveal to his servants what is soon to take place.
7 I am coming soon!' Blessed are those who keep the prophetic message of this book.
8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. When I had heard and seen them all, I knelt at the feet of the angel who had shown them to me, to worship him;
9 but he said, 'Do no such thing: I am your fellow-servant and the fellow-servant of your brothers the prophets and those who keep the message of this book. God alone you must worship.'
NSRV River and Tree of Life
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb
2through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
3Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him;
4they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
5And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign for ever and ever.
6 And he said to me, ‘These words are trustworthy and true, for the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.’
7 ‘See, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.’
8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me;
9but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow-servant with you and your comrades the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!’