Reading Revelation 22:1-6
In AD 70 the earthly Jerusalem was destroyed at the hands of the Romans. In Chapters 21 and 22 we are given a view of the new, everlasting, true Jerusalem, of which the earthly one was but a dim reflection. Here, in the new Jerusalem, God lives with his people, and because God is present there is no curse, we are free. No longer will we choose to sin, but instead we will see sin for what it is. Death.
If Eve, when she looked at the forbidden fruit in the garden, had seen that by taking the fruit she and Adam would be expelled from the garden, that her son would be killed by his brother, that great granddaughters would be raped and great great granddaughters would be tortured and horrifically killed in a place called Auschwitz, she would not have eaten it. God’s word to her husband was not enough. Instead she trusted her self and the word of Satan, she saw the fruit to be “good for food and pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom” (Genesis 3:6) and she ate it. Here in the new Jerusalem there will be no curse. We will see clearly. It will be perfect. Paradise.
The potential to reject God’s word (that God placed in the soul of humanity when he created us in his own image) will at last be gone. That cancer of disbelief and rebellion that eats away at us will be gone forever. “We do not yet know what we will be”, John says, “when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is”. (1 John 3:2). We will be safe. Paradise.
Here are the waters of life (1), and here once again is the tree of life (2), available to all who believe. Its fruit will be for the healing of the nations. Where there once was war, now peace reigns forever. Paradise.
C.S. Lewis concludes his Narnia stories with these words after Aslan asks Lucy why she doesn’t look as happy as he thought she might even though she is in heaven,
“Lucy said, ‘We’re so afraid of being sent away, Aslan. And you have sent us back into our own world so often.’
‘No fear of that,’ said Aslan. ‘Have you not guessed?’
Their hearts leapt, and a wild hope rose within them.
‘There was a real railway accident,’ said Aslan softly. ‘Your father and mother and all of you are- as you used to call it in the Shadowlands- dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning’. And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” (C.S. Lewis The Last Battle)
“According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18)
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 (Revelation 22:3)
Father, thank you for the promise of the new heavens and the new earth. Paradise. It is beyond our wildest dreams and richest imaginations. No eye has seen nor ear heard all the things that you have stored up for those who trust you. Help me to keep following you-to keep going. I pray that your kingdom may come on earth as it is right now in heaven. Father give me strength to work for that goal: your kingdom on earth, all the days of my life. In your strength,I will. In Jesus name. Amen.
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