The New Garden of Eden
As we have said already, Genesis and Revelation are appropriate bookends to the Bible. What we saw in Genesis is mirrored in Revelation, only now perfected. In the Eden of Genesis, a river flowed out to water the garden, where it divided into four parts. In the Eden of Revelation, a river that is bright as crystal, flows from the very throne of God and of the Lamb. In the Eden of Genesis, we noticed the tree of life. In the Eden of Revelation, we meet the same tree, now bearing abundant fruit every month, with leaves that “heal the nations.” We should see both the tree and the river as the means whereby the saints will be eternally refreshed. No longer shall we bear the burden of providing for ourselves; thus, heaven is called our rest (Hebrews 4:9). And healing is the very essence of salvation – in this case, the healing of body and soul. For it is the healing of the soul – its being remade into the image of Christ – that is the healing of the body. No longer burdened with our sinful selves, the old nature will finally be shed forever. The new nature will be the only nature we have. The image of God within us will be no longer shattered but completely restored. And as our broken bodies are the result of our sinful souls in this life, so our glorified bodies will be the result of our redeemed souls in the next.
And because we will be totally restored and redeemed, we will “see His face.” This is the promise of 1 John 3:2: “We shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” Jesus said the same: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). Moses’ request that he might see God’s glory will finally be realized (Exodus 33:18). And sense no mortal can see God and live, we know that we shall behold him because we will be made immortal (1 Corinthians 15:53) and transformed into people who can behold Him – and live. This is further illustrated in the passage, “His name will be on their foreheads.” It’s not just that God’s name will be stamped on us, but that His name will be an indelible mark within us. In other words, His character will be our character as we shall be changed to be like him. Our growth in grace will be complete, at least as it concerns our graduation into heaven.
“These words are trustworthy and true.” How many times have we heard these words? God wants us to know that this is our inheritance: a glorified state in which sin and disease and death are no longer our masters, but to be pure, sinless, spotless, healed, transformed, and to see His face forever. Pearly gates and golden streets are wonderful, but being with God forever – that is heaven itself.