Eden Regained… and More

Revelation 22:1-5

Should have figured out by now – Revelation not a source of data used to establish timeline, set dates. Does not enable us to know when to sell off assets, say goodbye to friends and family, gather on mountaintop and wait to see Jesus. That is task for other people. Lord Jesus said

“A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return.Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.'” (Luke 19:12-13)

Our task as people of God in these latter days between Jesus’ first and second advents – occupy, engage in business, be about Lord’s business each and every day he gives us. While we are about his business, Revelation encourages us:

Christ is with us in the church – walking among candlesticks, holding stars in his hands

Christ will enable his people to persevere, to overcome in midst of great tribulation

Christ will equip his people to be effective in his business – all we do his way in his strength will produce results he intends

Christ is preparing a glorious certain future for his people that goes beyond our ability to even imagine

God is irresistibly moving his Plan A forward to his appointed conclusion according to his timetable… and he wins!

Revelation informs us and assure us about God’s final purposes – no matter how bleak it might look, God will bring about his perfect plan. Just as important, understanding Revelation should increase our longing for God and the realization of his purpose.

Revelation increases longing two ways: giving glimpse of future glories, at same time showing how tarnished and temporary things associated with this world are. No wonder Paul, Col. 3:2Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” The best this world offers but a shadow of God’s true reality for us in next age. Yet gracious Heavenly Father does not require us to wait until then to enjoy small measure of what he is preparing for us. “God is so far in love with his children that he keeps not all their comforts for another world, but gives them a taste of the sweetness here.” Richard Sibbes

The Christian begins his life in heaven here on earth, praising and glorifying God by a holy and fruitful life. When appointed time comes to leave this life for next, will be greater change than going from dark tunnel into broad sunlight. Then, even greater transformation takes place – 1 Th. 4:16-17For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”

John weaves together imagery from number of places throughout Bible – account of Creation, Ezekiel’s temple, Jesus’ encounter with Samaritan woman. Strongest connections with first Paradise, Garden of Eden, yet with differences.

First a walled garden in land of Eden, God’s house / temple where Adam and Eve worshiped. Eternal house of God will be the church itself, redeemed people of God who fill new creation. First had an earthly character, final dwelling place of God with his people has heavenly spiritual character. Unlike first Garden, final new creation place of absolute incorruptibility. Eden will be regained… and more; healing will be complete; curse will be forever reversed; will be perfect intimacy between God and man; will be glories beyond description or imagination.

A. Eden plus (1)

like tabernacle, first Eden an image of the final Paradise

place where God put Adam (Gen. 2:15) with a purpose: to serve God… “tend and keep it”, under watchful and loving gaze, in God’s temple (priestly duties)

place of close fellowship and worship, albeit with boundaries – God and man conversed directly, God walked with man intimately

God planted a temple in Eden, not a farm, holy ground eventually guarded by angels; our final home, a city-temple extending to all of new creation, where God walks among his people forever

Eden’s river watered the orchard, from there divided into 4 that watered the earth

in eternal temple, see that source of “river of water of life” is God himself – “throne of God and of the Lamb”, perhaps true in Eden as well

this river flows in fullness throughout all the land, source of purity and life for all watered by it – endued with power not present in Eden’s river and its branches

easy to see in river of grace and life a picture of the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39) flowing through the heart of the glorified church

Jesus himself said “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'” Now this he said about the Spirit”

don’t think for minute we will be able to do everything for ourselves – will be just as dependent on God’s continual sustaining then as now

B. complete healing (2)

tree of life in first Eden – forbidden access

perhaps was very close to throne of God, like menorah – shaped like tree with branches, leaves, buds near Holy of Holies

eventually after Fall guarded like throne of God in heaven by cherubim he appointed – man in sin graciously kept from partaking

tree of life at Golgotha – limited access

sacrifice on that tree by only one in all of human history suited for task that procured life for all who come to him by faith

Gal. 3:13Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us” – turned the cross into tree of life so we could partake freely from eternal tree of life

tree of life in new earth – full access

street lined with them, a veritable forest of them, nourished by “river of water of life” – one of many different kinds as in Eden

surrounded now by incredible diversity… after the Curse – will be even grander then; yet “tree of life” is at center of all

tree represents complete fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham: “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law …so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles”, to the nations (Gal. 3:14)

C. curse reversed (3)

“no more curse” drives attention to before the Curse – Adam placed in Garden as representative of all his descendants

Rom. 5:12Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned”

because Adam failed test of obedience and sinned, Adam failed us all, we get credit for his sin and come under Curse

if that is where God left us, are then in totally hopeless state, no positive outlook for future – you say “not fair, I had no say”

last Adam has done what first Adam failed

God sent another Adam, son the Lord Jesus, tested in every point and passed perfectly – so “The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” (1 Cor. 15:45)

Jesus stands as representative of his people, through faith in Christ we get credit for his righteousness, Curse is lifted

only those who have saving faith in last Adam will be present

1 Cor. 15:22as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” Rom. 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” Eph. 1:10 God “in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth”

God dwelling without restriction among his people

is because God mercifully limits display of his presence, willingly veils himself that we are not consumed – is only for this life

when God keeps his promise: “God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” (2 Cor. 6:16)

D. perfect intimacy (4)

God’s people enjoying him without restriction

now we are no better than Moses – “no man shall see my face and life” (Ex. 33:20) – then we “will see his face in righteousness, be satisfied with his likeness” (Ps. 17:15)

“Face to face with Christ, my Savior, / Face to face—what will it be, / When with rapture I behold Him, / Jesus Christ who died for me? / Only faintly now I see Him, / With the darkened veil between, / But a blessèd day is coming, / When His glory shall be seen. / Face to face I shall behold Him, / Far beyond the starry sky; / Face to face in all His glory, / I shall see Him by and by!

bearing evidence of God’s never-ending ownership

image of God in which Adam was made, terribly fractured, defaced, distorted in the Fall – now that Image restored in perfection

not only glory of God from his own Being that illuminates new universe – also glory of God radiating from all who bear his image

his face will shine on his people eternally

are familiar with blessing Aaron was instructed to speak before children of Israel

Num. 6:24-27“The LORD bless you and keep you;The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”‘

now last verse of that instruction: ​”So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.” – will be everlasting blessing from God on his people

E. glories beyond description (5)

Dan. 12:3And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

will be a never-ending kingdom: Christ has “made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”, he will remain King of kings with “glory and dominion for ever and ever”

Lest you think this is all pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by, “They have the first-fruits of [these glories] even in this life; and if the communion of saints here be so delectable, how much more will it be in heaven! God’s children have a taste of that eternal Sabbath in heaven, by keeping a holy Sabbath to God here on earth; they have a taste of that eternal rest and peace which they shall enjoy hereafter, by the peace of conscience which they have here; and that heavenly joy which doth flow into the soul now, is but a taste of that eternal joy which we shall have our fill of one day.” Richard Sibbes

If we really believe that, how should we live?

live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives”Titus 2:12

“Fight the good fight of faith” against all enemies. 1 Tim. 6:12

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” Matt. 6:33 Every thought, word, deed maximizing our investment in heaven in power of God he supplies, increasing our desire for it “because it is a holy place and near to God”.

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