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 - Revelation 22:1

I see three possibilities for what is being spoken of here regarding from where the river of the water of life is flowing:

  1. Flowing from the throne of God and (from the throne) of the Lamb

  2. Flowing from the throne (s) of God and of the Lamb

  3. Flowing from the throne (together) of God and the Lamb

How many thrones/seats are spoken of here?

  • 1
    This question highlights the fact that God is Spirit and the Lamb (Jesus Christ) is manifested substantially in physical form. Spirit does not 'sit' on a physical throne. But God, manifested in the Person of the Son, does sit on the throne. I assume that you are seeking answers that intelligently convey this feature of the question. (Up-voted +1.)
    – Nigel J
    Feb 25 '21 at 11:31

In that particular verse, there is one throne that is identified with God and the Lamb. This can be easily established by comparing the Greek word in Rev.22:1 with a previous occasion when more than one throne is stated, and the plural - thrones - is used.

In Rev. 4:2 John states that he saw "a throne" in heaven (thronos), and he describes the glorious appearance of God on that one throne, which is also called "the throne" (thronou). Then, in verse 4 he speaks of thrones in the plural - 24 of them, no less, round about the one throne of God. An elder sat on each throne. Although some translations say those 24 elders were sitting on 24 'seats', it is the plural Greek for thrones that is used. It is a slightly different word to that for "a throne" singular, and it is also slightly different to "the throne" in 22:1.

The 24 elders are then said to have crowns of gold on their heads, which they cast before God on his throne. Crowns of gold on the heads of those who just sit on 'seats', or crowns of gold on the heads of those who sit on thrones? 'Thronos' is the word used to depict those 24 thrones surrounding "a throne", which is the throne of God. And in Rev.5:9-10 they are called 'kings and priests' who 'will reign on the earth'. Thrones are for kings, therefore those symbolic 24 elders are seen by John, in vision, as seated on 24 thrones surrounding the one throne of God in heaven.

The throne of God is always stated to be in the singular. It is his throne of glory, and God says he will share his glory with no-one (Isaiah 42:8 & 48:11). Yet, in the midst of that one throne, and also occupying that one throne is the living Lamb that had once been slain - the glorified Son of God - Rev.5:6 & 7:17. Therefore, it should come as no surprise when Rev.22:1 is read, to read that the Son of God is equally identified with God's throne.

The word for 'throne' (thronos) occurs 38 times in the book of the Revelation (Young's Analytical Concordance, p985) so a study of each occurrence would be beneficial. The verse you ask about deals with God's throne of Glory - one throne - which is also 'merged' (as it were) with the glorious Lamb of God in the center of that throne, and the seven-fold Spirit of God surrounds that one, all-glorious throne (Rev.4:5).

Conclusion: If Rev.22:1 was saying that, at that juncture, God has his throne and Christ has his throne (two thrones), it would have read, "...proceeding out of the throne of God and the throne of the Lamb". But it does not, therefore your first 'possibility' is ruled out.

If that verse was saying there was more than one throne involved, it would have used the same Greek terminology as employed in Rev. 4:4, where 24 thrones are mentioned. It does not, so your second 'possibility' is ruled out.

Therefore, the river of life in Rev.22:1 has to proceed from the one (singular) throne of God and of the Lamb. That is not just a 'possibility'; other verses in Revelation dealing with that throne of glory have already shown that the Lamb is in the midst of God's throne, which is surrounded by the seven-fold Spirit of God.

  • I have one follow-up question/possibility that has just occurred to me while reading your answer. Sometimes, in ancient graphic representations of thrones, a raised dais is seen with three seats. The center seat is for the Sovereign, the seat to the right is for the heir apparent or the prime minister, and the seat to the left is for the wife or a counselor. These 3 seats upon the dais are referred to collectively as "the Throne". Is there anything, hermeneutically speaking, that makes this interpretation impossible? Dec 22 '21 at 19:26
  • 1
    @Mike Borden When it comes to Christians interpreting biblical statements about God's throne, the only reference that is appropriate is what the Bible states. With a triple-seated throne on earth, the King is always elevated above the two seated at his sides, or the central throne is bigger and more glorious. Not so with the depiction of the throne of God in heaven! As my answer mentions, Rev. 4:2 says "a throne" which is then called "the throne". And The Lamb is in the centre of that throne, with the 7-fold Spirit of God surrounding that throne. I wouldn't deviate from that myself.
    – Anne
    Dec 23 '21 at 11:16

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 - Revelation 22:1

θρόνου (thronou)
Noun - Genitive Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 2362: From thrao; a stately seat; by implication, power or a potentate.

Literally, there is only one throne, singular. Metaphorically, there is only one power of God and Lamb, together as a singular unit.

International Standard Version

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal. It was flowing from the throne of God and the lamb.

This is part of the oneness mystery in the Godhead.

Moreover, that metaphor of shared power extends to even us.

Revelation 3:21

To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.

Now the imagery looks crowded so I prefer the metaphorical interpretation. Spiritually speaking, however, it is literally spiritually true. it is a spiritual reality.

This is to fulfill the prayer by Jesus in John 17:

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

How many thrones are in view in Revelation 22:1?

Exactly one singular throne of power.

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