Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life . . . . On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month.
The Bible story began in a garden and now, at the end of the Bible story, this paradise is restored. But notice that there is no “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” in God’s new garden city. Evil can no longer be known there. This garden is free not only from the presence of evil, but even from its possibility.
In the new garden, God’s people have access to the Tree of Life, which bears twelve different crops of fruit, ready to pick every month. The variety of fruit speaks of the riches of life, continually replenished in the presence of God.
The pleasures of God’s new garden city will surpass anything Adam knew in the Garden of Eden. You will taste fruits Adam never tasted and enjoy pleasures Adam never knew.
His servants will serve him . . . . They will reign for ever and ever.(Revelation 22:3, 5)
In the first garden, Adam served God by ruling or reigning over the animal kingdom. He stood in authority over them. But when the serpent came, he did not maintain his rule.
But now God’s people are restored to a position of serving and reigning. Thankfully, this does not mean that we will all have jobs in government administration!
“You will taste fruits Adam never tasted and enjoy pleasures Adam never knew.”
When God speaks about us reigning, He is telling us that life will be ordered and brought under your control. You will no longer be subject to the tyranny of time, piles of paperwork, and all that goes with it. You will no longer be swept away by unpredictable tides of emotion, deceptions of the mind, or impulses of the will. You will no longer endure dysfunctional relationships, and you will no longer be subject to danger or death.
Your life will be ordered, your work fulfilled, and your relationships whole. Life itself will be brought under your control, and you will be free to fulfill all the purposes of God.
The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face.
God’s presence in this city is its greatest blessing. In the Garden of Eden, God came down as a visitor and made Himself known. He did not impose Himself on the man and the woman, but gave them the opportunity of choosing a relationship of faith and obedience with Him.
But now God has gathered a vast community of people who have come to love Him freely. So God is no longer a visitor. His throne comes down into the city so that God’s people may live in His presence and enjoy Him forever. “Now the dwelling of God is with men” (21:3).
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”
John saw twelve gates into God’s garden city. There were three on each side, indicating that people would come from the north, south, east, and west into it (21:12–13).
John saw an angel at each gate (21:12). At the beginning of the Bible story, the cherubim and a flaming sword guard- ed the entrance to the Tree of Life. But there is no flaming sword now. Jesus Christ has come, and the sword of God’s judgment has been broken on Him. Now the angels stand by the gates, not to forbid entrance but to provide a welcome for all who will come.
The Lord Jesus Christ has opened up the way to everlasting life for you. He offers all this to you, but you must come! Enter, by repentance and faith, into what Jesus has opened up for you. Come and receive the life that He offers to you. Come to Him, because His people will enter into this marvelous city.
The Spirit and the bride invite you to come (22:17). The bride is the church. If you have not yet come to faith in Jesus Christ, it is more than likely that there is a Christian somewhere who has been praying and longing that you will do so. It is my privilege to speak for the bride and invite you to come.
The Holy Spirit also says, “Come.” God wants you to be part of this, and He invites you. Do not stand at a distance from the priceless gift He offers to you. Come!
I’m grateful that my wife, Karen, enjoys putting photograph albums together. They are a wonderful record of our lives. We all experience life in different places at different moments of time. When I look through the photograph album, I remember, “Yes, I was there then.”
If you have come to Christ, the moment will come when you will know yourself to be there. And when you are there, you will be there forever.
by Colin S. Smith
If you’re just beginning to explore the rewards of Bible study, here is the perfect introduction! Colin S. Smith has drawn from all four...
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