Wednesday, May 11, 2005

A garden and a city

I think it is significant in the scriptures that man starts out in a garden but he ends in a city. I'm sure Eden was a beautiful place. The Tree of Life was there as well as the infamous Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil. Here man could live or he could fall. We all know the story; Adam chose the fall. But where the first Adam failed, the second Adam has redeemed us from the fall. What is interesting though, is that we aren't going back to the garden. No, something much better is in store for us!
Rev 21:9-11 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;

I don't really mean to make an application of this because I don't know that I fully understand it. Maybe it is meant to be that way too though, for Heaven will be much greater than our wildest imaginations. What I want to notice is that many of the things present in the garden are present in the New Jerusalem, but in greater, more perfect form.

Genesis 3 tells us that God was walking in the Garden with Adam and Eve. No doubt, this was probably a frequent thing. God's presence would have been a great blessing and the way the Abrahamic covenant has the promise of God himself being the exceedingly great reward, I would guess he was present a lot in the Garden. Take note then of Revelation 21:22-23: “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” God himself is in the New Jerusalem. And his presence seems to be there in much greater glory because he lights the place with nothing but his own glory.

Notice also that the Tree of Life is again in the New Jerusalem. The description of it gives you the impression that it is larger though. It bears fruit every month and the tree is on either side of the river proceeding from the throne of God. It is also relevant to notice that there is no Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God himself will preserve his chosen people there. There will be no more curse and no more sin! Oh, I do long for that day.

One last observation: there is no night in the New Jerusalem. In the garden there was both night and day in its usual cycle. My guess is that night symbolizes darkness of understanding or spiritual wickedness or something of that sort. Either way, night is considered worse than the day because those who do evil do it at night and they are unwilling to come into the light. The fact that there is no night in the New Jerusalem would seem to show that there is no wickedness nor even an opportunity for it. There is also a much better understanding of God's Word there as well.

I'm floored when I read those passages together. It gives me hope that believers will end in a great city that God has prepared for them. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”


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