~ The Bible Begins and Ends with a Garden of Paradise ~
Eden ~ The word “Eden” has a root meaning of “garden” and contains the thought of “delight” (which is the plural of the word). With this in mind it is easy to see how the concept of Eden is that of a “garden of delight” or simply “paradise.” Eden is clearly a symbol of beauty, fruitfulness and God’s blessing (see Isaiah 51:3).
In a very real way the Bible as a whole is the story of Eden lost and Eden regained. This becomes clear by examining the first two chapters (Genesis 1-2) and the last two chapters (Revelation 21-22) of the Bible. These last two chapters picture a “river of the water of life” and “the tree of life”—once again picturing paradise.
The Beginning ~ “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’ And God said, ‘See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food;’ and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (1:26-31).
“This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (2:4-7). “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it” (2:15).
The Conclusion ~ “Now I [John] saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea” (Revelation 21:1). “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful’” (21:4-5). But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life”(21:27).
“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him” (22:1-3). “Then he said to me, ‘These words are faithful and true.’ And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place” (22:6). Jesus Christ said, “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (22:12-13). “Happy are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city” (22:14). “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (22:17). “He who testifies [Jesus Christ] to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” (Revelation 22:20-21—the last two verses of the Bible).
the key question: Will you be in the future Eden? Are you sure? If not, you can be!
~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW
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