Our salvation was made possible because of what Jesus Christ endured on our behalf.
Christ sweat. He toiled for our redemption. In fact, he sweat great drops of blood and agony over the curse that he would become for us. Luke 22 44. He suffered pain.
In fact, it's interesting when you consider the fact that they stripped him naked. The only thing he's wearing is a crown which represents the curse. A crown of what? Thorn. What Stephen described a moment ago, the suffering of Jesus on the cross was the means for our salvation. Jesus experienced the agony of a cruel death. In doing so, he made it possible for us to have eternal life with him in heaven. For the last several lessons, Stephen Davey has been taking us to Revelation 21 and shown us what heaven is like.
Today we conclude this series. At the end of Stephen's message, I'll tell you about a resource that we have that will help you know for certain that heaven is your future home. But now here's Stephen with a message called Paradise Regained. Look at verse two. In the middle of its street on either side of the river was the tree of life. Now stop a moment.
Doesn't that object sound familiar? The tree of life appeared. Perhaps you remember in Genesis chapter three where Adam and Eve because of their sin were barred from eating the fruit of this tree. God assigned cherubim with their flaming swords. As Adam and Eve are exiled, they are barred from reaching out for this fruit which would have brought them immortality in the midst of their sin. So it is in fact a gracious act of God's protection knowing atonement will come. But there are no cherubim here in Revelation chapter 22.
In Paradise Regained, there is an invitation to come. In fact, in Revelation chapter two verse seven, the Bible has already promised that the beloved will one day eat from the tree of life which is in the garden of God, the paradise of God. Now perhaps you've noticed John uses a singular word translated tree here in verse two. Greek scholars take this as a collective singular given the fact that John tells us in this verse, if you'll notice, that they are located on both sides of the river.
This is then a collective singular. It is one species of tree and yet there are many of them on either side, both sides of the river, lining as it were the river of life as it moves throughout the eternal city. You don't have then even a row of trees. What you have then with this fruit is effectively an orchard. But what an interesting tree. Would you notice that John describes it as that tree that bears in verse two 12 different kinds of fruit every single month. So not just one tree, not just a row of trees, not just an orchard, but trees in that orchard that are always bearing fruit and the fruit is always ripe. What kind of fruit will it be? Your favorite. I'm fairly confident.
Well, we don't know for sure. It could be peaches. It could be apples. It could be dates, plums. It could be figs. For you Floridians, it could be guava, banana. But 12 kinds every month.
In fact, as I studied men who did language work here, the Greek scholars, they're not unanimous in their understanding of this. It could be 12 different kinds each month. So you'd have 12 each year or perhaps it's 12 different fruit on each tree, which could give you the potential of 144 different fruit throughout the year. Each month.
That's right. We're going to have months, which imply years. Henry Morris, a believing scientist wrote this in his commentary. He said, the fact that months are identified indicates that the orbital and rotational motions of the earth will go on in the new creation as God established them in the very beginning and the moon likewise will continue orbiting around the earth. Now, we've already been told we don't need the moon or sun in the celestial city.
We aren't told they don't exist. The continuity between the old creation and the new would indicate sun and moon, even seasons orbiting moons and sun. Be that as it may.
Many things here are going to be remarkably different and unusual. Perhaps only this species of tree will symbolize eternal life. That seems to be the implication. And they're going to bear a crop of fresh fruit forever. And based on an earlier promise, we're going to be able to eat from the tree of life, which allows us then to know that we're going to have mouths to eat the fruit. We're going to have tongues and taste buds to savor the fruit and I would certainly hope we have teeth to chew the fruit. I don't ever want to use a juicer, do you? I don't want strained peaches. I want to bite into it.
I want to bite into that crisp apple. Now, John also tells us in verse 2 that the leaves of the tree of life are symbolic. They are for the healing of the nations. Now, the word for healing is the word theropia, which gives us our word therapy. Why would the nations, why would the peoples of the Father's house, why would that one new nation now that is assembled, why would they need healing if all evil and all sin has been eliminated? Well, John is not telling us that there would be illness in the new earth. In fact, he's actually emphasizing that this is the permanent condition of the beloved reflected in the presence of this evergreen, this species which bears fruit whose leaves never fall off. So the leaves of the tree symbolize the fact that now in the kingdom of heaven there is perpetual refreshment and the river of life and the trees would imply perpetual food for enjoyment, perpetual healing as it were.
There is no room for any disease ever here. This is literally therapy for the people, the redeemed of this new paradise regained. That word therapy is a comprehensive concept that incorporates healing that is mental, emotional, spiritual, physical.
It incorporates it all. The beloved will be in every way healed forever is what he said. Think of what that means emotionally. No more wounds. No more sorrow. No more haunting dreams or dashed hopes. No more regrets.
Think of what that means spiritually. No more failure. No more confusion. No more struggle with imperfections. No more wishing you could serve better, more faithfully. No more resisting. No more battling with the flesh and the world and the devil.
Think of what this means physically. We can more easily understand this. John informs us that the presence of this tree is God's way of saying forever there is no possibility of ever any illness again of any kind. Joni Erikson Tada, a quadriplegic, many of you are familiar with her ministry, told of speaking to a class of mentally handicapped Christians. They thought it was great when she said she was going to get a new body, but when she added pointing to them and you are going to get new minds, they broke out into applause. They understood something of their limitation and their frustration and heaven for them offered unique healing.
Joni went on and wrote a little bit more of her testimony. She said, I can still hardly believe it that I with shriveled bent fingers, gnarled knees, no feeling from the shoulders down will one day have a new body, light, bright, clothed in righteousness, powerful and dazzling. She asks, can you imagine the hope this gives someone like me or someone who is cerebral palsied, brain injured or who has multiple sclerosis?
Imagine the hope this gives to someone struggling with manic depression. No other religion, no other philosophy literally promises new bodies, new hearts, new emotions and new minds. Only in the gospel of Christ do hurting people find such incredible promise.
Beloved, this tree is going to symbolize the fact that all of the hurts of humanity are forever healed, forever healed. The truth is we've never known, we have never known one moment of this. On your best day, your best hour, your best minute, you've never experienced all of this.
That first breath you took in the delivery room or in the back seat if your dad didn't drive fast enough or wherever, that was pierced, followed up quickly by a cry, the shock of your entrance into the world. And ever since that time till the day you die, you will never experience one moment of perfect peace, of perfect health, perfect security, perfect freedom, perfect satisfaction and certainly not perfect sinlessness but you will experience it here as paradise is regained. You see there's a river of life flowing forever.
There's a tree of life, an orchard flourishing with fruit forever. Thirdly, John sees for us that there is a curse finished forever. In verse 3 he reminds us again, we've already looked at this, but he wants us to know it again. So he says it again, there will no longer be any curse.
How? For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it and his bondservants will serve him. Now this is powerful, the unity and equality of God the Father and God the Son is expressed here. They occupy the same throne and equality. The place of primary dominion, primary authority, primary sovereignty is jointly held, perhaps expressed with a river symbolizing the Holy Spirit.
We're not sure. But to the utter delight of the redeemed, we're going to discover that he delegates the right to rule to us as well. But it's interesting to me as I was reading this, of all of the titles, we would expect the Father to be referenced with the term or title God. But Jesus Christ, God the Son, there are a lot of titles we could use for him here as he speaks of the splendor of heaven. And yet he's called, notice again, the Lamb. The Lamb.
And I wondered, but then as I studied it, it easily came to fit perfectly this context. The curse, he says, is gone forever. How? By virtue of Christ who became for us a curse. The curse in the Garden of Eden and all those things that came as a result of it are atoned for in the life of the believer by the Lamb of God.
So it fits perfectly. In fact, if you think about this, the curse in the Garden of Eden brought at least four things into being that had not existed before they sinned. Sorrow, pain, toil, and death.
And think of how Christ dealt with each of them. He was a man of what? Sorrows.
Acquainted with what? Grief. He carried our griefs and our sorrows away. Isaiah 53, 3, and 4. Christ sweat. He toiled for our redemption. In fact, he sweat great drops of blood and agony over the curse that he would become for us.
Luke 22, 44. He suffered pain. The pain of existence and certainly the pain of crucifixion.
In fact, it's interesting when you consider the fact that they stripped him naked. The only thing he's wearing is a crown which represents the curse. A crown of what?
Thorns. He suffered not only the sorrow of tears and strong crying, Hebrews 5, 7, but he suffered death. Death so that we could be given life. And so it fits. We have here the lamb. And in this scene of great joy and great glory, we're reminded that we're there because he came here. The glory of heaven is ours because of the curse shattering, curse destroying work of Christ's atonement as the one who came to die for our sins. When I started this sermon, the outline I had developed for this particular point had the word forgotten. The curse is forgotten forever.
But the more I studied it, the more I needed to change that word to the word finished. It occurred to me that John's description here is once again intended to remind us of the cross. We are to remember, which will remind us of the curse. But in our glorified perspective, we will glory in his grace and his atoning work. It won't bring regret.
It will bring great joy. For we will see the lamb slain on our behalf. And you remember when Jesus Christ rose from the dead? He appeared to the disciples and the missing disciple, we call him doubting Thomas. Aren't you glad that there was a doubting disciple?
Because we all can identify, can't we? But he said, this thing's pretty much wrapped up for me unless I can see the one you say has resurrected and see his wounds. And so you remember in John chapter 27, Christ in his glory but condescending humility appeared again at the upper room and he said to Thomas, see here, my hands and feet.
In other words, inspect me. This lets us know that Jesus Christ retained for all of eternity, the scars of his atoning work in his hands and feet. What a sight that will only increase our love for him and our joy in his grace. We will never then forget how and why we gained entrance into the heavenly state.
We are there because he came here. The wounds of Christ will be eternal reminders that Christ became for us the curse, Galatians 3, 13, so that he could abolish the curse. You could then understand it that he finished off the curse forever. And because the curse is gone and we are now like Christ, we will be able to see his glory in our glorified state. In fact, John adds in verse 4, and they will see his face. In other words, in our glorified state, John writes here that we'll have the ability to see the face of God.
Now stay with me for a moment here since God is spirit. We're not told exactly what we will see when we see his face. The Bible doesn't tell us if we'll see physical expressions or forms of the Father or the Spirit. We will either see some form that God the Father chooses to show us of his glory, or we will simply be looking into the face of our glorified Savior, Jesus Christ, God the Son, in that fulfillment I believe of what Paul said in Colossians chapter 1 verse 15, that Christ is the image of the invisible God. Only that will be different than what he showed to those disciples because now it is the full expression of his glory and his brilliance. And we will be able to see that. We will see in his face God, for he is God.
He is the image of the invisible glory of God. We do know this. When Adam and Eve sinned, they ran, didn't they? And they hid.
They hid from God. Here we will see Christ and literally be able to run to him. We will experience greater, more intimate fellowship than the fellowship of God's physical manifestation to Adam, whatever form that was. We'll have greater intimacy and the ability to partake in his glory as we see him that even Moses did, was only allowed to see the hindering part of his glory.
And because of seeing that much, his face glowed for months. We will see and fellowship with that brilliant, resplendent one whose light came from the sky and blinded the apostle Paul. We in our glorified state will be able to gaze into the face of God, which I believe is the visible expression mediated to us by the glorious face of our glorified, redeemed Savior, Jesus Christ. We will see Christ face to face in all his glory. Charles Spurgeon preached on this one phrase.
Seeing Christ face to face, he said, implied five things, certain salvation from him, clear knowledge of him, conscious favor with him, close fellowship beside him, and complete transformation like him. The curse of Eden is overturned. The curse is finished off forever. No more thorns, thistles, floods, fires, sorrows, pain, sin, separation, guilt, grief, death.
Oh, and by the way, no more homework. Would you notice quickly that John writes in verse four that his name will be on their foreheads. Those of us who reign as he comes to the end of verse five, we're going to reign with him forever and ever. He says that our names will be on his forehead. This might be some form of marking on the beloved just as the antichrist tried to imitate the authority and ownership of God by marking his followers, more than likely tattooing them on their hand or forehead.
However, it might be, and there is some disagreement here, and again, we're given a little bit, but not enough. It might be an inscription that you would have on a regal crown there at the section of the crown that would cover your forehead as we co-reign with him. It could be a reference to the turban or crown worn by Aaron, the high priest, and he had a golden plate that hung from it down covering his forehead with inscription upon it. What we do know is what is inscribed upon it, his name. He has many names. We're not sure which name, but his name, which implies ownership. We belong to him. It implies service. We will represent him.
It implies royalty. We will reign with him, and that will last forever. Because God wants us to be marked with the truth of heaven and forever marking our lives now, keep this perspective in mind so that no matter how painful life is for you now, it's not forever. No matter how difficult your disabilities are, they are not forever. No matter how great your struggle is with yourself, your flesh, the world, the devil, it's not forever. There is a sparkling river flowing forever that speaks of your eternal life. There is a forest of trees, an orchard flourishing with fruit forever, which speaks to your eternal healing. And there is a curse that is all but forgotten except for that which remains as visible scars our Savior has chosen to bear forever.
The only scars in heaven will be his. And because of him, our joy and excitement and discovery and anticipation and gratitude and praise and singing and service and fellowship and royal reigning with him will last, and it will last forever. And our brief years, our brief years are nothing compared to forever.
How long is forever? Well, imagine it this way, and I close with this. Imagine the earth as we know it converted into a solid steel ball all the way to its very core. So the circumference of our earth and its crust of some 25,000 miles all the way down to its inner core, which is now molten, but then it will be converted. All of earth is now a solid steel planet. Now imagine one little sparrow is released to land on planet earth where he proceeds to sharpen his beak on this planet of solid steel, and then he's taken away. One million years later, he's released again and he comes and he sharpens his beak on this solid planet of steel, and then he's taken away. A million years later, now three million years have gone by and he's sharpened his beak the third time.
By the time that little sparrow sharpens his beak enough times to wear down this planet to the size of a BB, forever will have just begun. Paradise Regained will have just been introduced and our lives in the presence of and fellowship with God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and perhaps a myriad of ways they express themselves to us along with all the redeemed, along with all of the angelic hosts of heaven in this glorious place will have just begun and it will only then begin and it will go on forever. So in light of what we know about there, let's have lives marked by him here. That was Stephen Davey and a lesson called Paradise Regained. It's the final lesson in Stephen's series called Heaven on Earth.
If you'd like to know for certain that heaven is your future home, we have a resource to help you. It's a simple gospel presentation entitled God's Wisdom for Your Heart. You'll find this resource online at wisdomonline.org forward slash gospel. That's wisdomonline.org forward slash gospel. You'll also find it on the home screen of the Wisdom International smartphone app. You'll find the Wisdom International app in the app store for your device and I encourage you to install that today. We also have a print version of this resource as well.
We sell it in bundles which makes it convenient to share with others. You'll find the print version of God's Wisdom for Your Heart on our website. And again, our web address is info at wisdomonline.org. Would you be interested in receiving occasional text messages from Stephen? We'd like to be able to communicate with you by text from time to time. Of course, once you're signed up you'll be able to send him a text as well and he'd enjoy hearing from you. All you have to do is send a text with the word wisdom and here's the number. Stephen's text number is 833-676-4051. Your message to him should just be the word wisdom. Again, that text number is 833-676-4051 and your first text just needs to be that one word wisdom. Please do that. On our next broadcast, Stephen begins a series from the New Testament entitled Framing the Flock. Be sure and join us next time right here on Wisdom for the Hearts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-06 00:07:24 / 2023-03-06 00:16:22 / 9