Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
As the Book of Revelation closes we are brought full circle back to Paradise and more. The total restoration of the situation that existed before the fall. But more, for now the Tree of Life is available for all, as death has been defeated in the death and resurrection of the Lamb whose presence is at the centre of this new creation.
It is salutary to remember that only two people ever knew Paradise – The Garden of Eden. No child was ever born there and the way to it was closed to guard the way to the Tree of Life. That barring of the way to the Tree of Life was an act of grace and mercy from the God of grace and mercy, for had it been possible for anyone to have gone back and eaten they would have lived for ever in the state of sin and rebellion with no way out.
All, since that fateful day, have been born sinners (a very unpalatable truth in our me-centred age) but have had held out to them the way of salvation. In the OT it was through the ritual of sacrifice but since the Cross it is full and free salvation with the assurance of Paradise again as described in the verses above.
In our dark and broken world the prospect that is revealed to John may seem only a dream but it is more, far more! Everything that God promised has taken place or will do so, so what is set before us here is what we look forward to with absolute certainty and it is a glorious picture.
The river of the water of life – flowing from the throne of God
The tree of life – no longer barred but free to feast upon
The healing of the nations
Nothing accursed within its boundaries
God’s throne and the throne of the Lamb in the midst
Seeing God’s face
No need for lamp or sun for God will be the light for ever.
As we enter a New Year, which will be another year of difficulty, trial and brokenness, along with much to bless and cherish as well. Do not fear, for a glorious future awaits God’s faithful people – Those who have come out of great tribulation and who washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Revelation 7.14.
In the light of such a future and such promises –
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will look strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace.
And anticipate a wonderful year of walking with him.