Revelation 22:1-5: Paradise!
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. NIV
Matthew Henry points out that the image of the glorious and ultimate future switches from a city to a paradise. Paradise lost will one day become paradise more than restored!
‘The heavenly state which was before described as a city, and called the new Jerusalem, is here described as a paradise, alluding to the earthly paradise which was lost by the sin of the first Adam; here is another paradise restored by the second Adam. A paradise in a city, or a whole city in a paradise! In the first paradise there were only two persons to behold the beauty and taste the pleasures of it; but in this second paradise whole cities and nations shall find abundant delight and satisfaction.’
As we read through these verses we are transported back to the first two chapters of the Bible. We hear a number of echoes from the Garden of Eden. But here there is no serpent; no more ‘’curse’’ (3), and as with the first paradise, the central feature is intimate fellowship with God Himself.
I read recently about two men who visited a monk called Elias. One of them said about him that his ‘eyes so eradiated the experience he talked about’. He repeatedly said, ‘The Lord is good, so good to me’, and he spoke about the sun and the clouds, the rain and the winds, the wheat and the weeds, the heat and the cold, all as great gifts of the Lord to bring him into a closer, more intimate, relationship with Him. ‘’Isn’t the rain beautiful?’’ He said. Why do we keep resisting rain? Why do we only want the sun when we should be willing to be soaked by the rain? The Lord wants to soak us with his grace and love. Isn’t it marvellous when we can feel the Lord in so many ways and get to know him better and better! He lets us experience his presence even now in all that surrounds us. Imagine how it must be when we can see him face to face!’’ ‘
PRAYER: O Lord, it is beyond my natural ability to imagine what it will be like to see you in all your glory, but I thank you I have that hope because of the merits of Jesus. Even now, I pray that I may increasingly reflect your glory, that people may meet you in me.