Rev 22:1                               The Second Paradise                               9/17/2006      ßà   

  • A Continuation of the Same Vision (Rev 21:9, 22:1-5, 2:7)

 

 

 

 

#1.       Shadows Are Preceding Their Substances (Mat 25:34, Rom 5:14, Mat 28:1)

 

 

 

 

  • The Lamb of God (Rev 22:1, John 1:29, 8:36, 3:16,17,19, Mat 1:21, Rev 7:17)

 

 

 

 

#2.       A River of Water of Life (Rev 22:1-2, 21:6, Ezek 47:1,12, Ps 36:8, 46:4)

 

 

 

 

  • The Tree of Life (Rev 22:2, Gen 3:22, 1Pet 2:24)

 

 

 

 

  • The Throne of God and of the Lamb (Rev 22:3, Psalm 5:5, 7:11, 11:5, John 14:3, Rev 7:15)

 

 

 

 

#3.       We Shall See His Face (Rev 22:4, 1John 3:2, Ps 17:15, Gen 15:1, Isa 33:17, John 17:24)

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 21:9 (2X). What we read in Rev 22 is a continuation of the same vision that was started in Rev 21:9. Here we read in Rev 21:9 (2X),

Re 21:9  And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.

Then, when we read the first few verses of chapter 22 we find that the reference is still to the same angel, and the same New Jerusalem that was described in chapter 21. It is:

  • A Continuation of the Same Vision (Rev 21:9, 22:1-5, 2:7)

Therefore, since it is the same vision, it is the same Bride of Christ that is shown here to John, for the angel said to John, “I will show thee the Bride, the Lamb’s wife”. Therefore, it is not a city but it is the Bride of Christ who is described here in symbolic language. Please turn to Rev 22:1 (2X).

Re 22:1-3 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.    In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and 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:

Re 22:4  And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.

Re 22:5  And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

What do we see here? God shows us a new and additional vantage point in this chapter. The symbolism of the city is not abandoned, but in this chapter God shows us elements that seem to have come out of the first paradise, the Garden of Eden, which God made in Genesis chapter 2. God writes about it as if elements of the Garden of Eden have been superimposed on the New Jerusalem. Perhaps you remember, in the Garden of Eden there was a river, watering the garden, and here in Rev 22 there is a “river of water of life”. In the Garden of Eden there was a Tree of Life, and here in Rev 22 we also find the Tree of Life. We know that the Garden of Eden is labeled as “The First Paradise”, whereas we can read in Rev 2:7 that the New Jerusalem, as described here in Rev 22, is known as “The Second Paradise”. Please turn for a moment to Rev 2:7 (2X). And there we read,

Re 2:7  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

And from this we know that the street, and the river of water of life, and the Tree of Life are all in the midst of the Paradise of God. The New Jerusalem therefore, is also known as “the Paradise of God”, or we might also call it “The Second Paradise”. Therefore the title of this sermon is The Second Paradise (2X). Here the Second Paradise is pictured as the ultimate fulfillment of the Promised Land that God promised to the Patriarchs. It pictures the fulness of the joy of eternal life for the church. And thus the First Paradise was only a shadow of the Second Paradise. Generally, in history we see that:

#1.       Shadows Are Preceding Their Substances (Mat 25:34, Rom 5:14, Mat 28:1)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel according to Matthew, Mat 25:34 (2X). The First Paradise was a shadow of the Second Paradise, which is the real substance. That is why the First Paradise had to be done away. We need to understand that God created shadows of things to come. The Second Paradise, the Paradise of God, is the real Paradise, and always was. This Second Paradise is not an afterthought of God; it was in existence from the beginning of creation. For example, in the parable of the sheep and the goats in Mat 25:34, the Lord Jesus said to His sheep, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”. In other words, the Second Paradise was already created and ready since the foundation of the world. It means that God always intended to place His elect in the New Jerusalem, which He has designed from before the foundation of the world. It means that God always planned to save only His people from their sins, for this inheritance of the sheep would not be shared with some of the goats. It means that God always had in mind to predestine the destination of His elect, for this glorious Second Paradise was prepared for them and for them only, from the foundation of the world. And that the first Paradise was only a shadow of that second one can be seen in the fact that the first Paradise had to be done away. But from the description of the Second Paradise we understand that both the first and the Second Paradise were intended to be the dwelling place of God. Everything becomes clearer after we have read Rev 22. Likewise, both the OT Jerusalem and the New Jerusalem were also intended to be the dwelling place of God. The Old Jerusalem was called the city of God because the temple was there, and the Holy of Holies was there, which was the dwelling place of God in the OT dispensation. And God dwelt only in the Holy of Holies. But that Old Jerusalem was only a shadow of the New Jerusalem can be seen from the fact that the OT temple had to be done away, and thus Old Jerusalem ceased from being the city of God from the moment that Christ died. That which was first in history was just a shadow of things to come. Likewise the tabernacle in the wilderness, and the temple in Jerusalem, was intended to be a shadow of the spiritual temple of God in the souls of those who are His elect children. This spiritual temple, which began in the souls of the OT saints, and which continues to grow as more and more people are being saved, reaches its ultimate state as the New Jerusalem, the completed Bride of Christ, descending out of heaven from God as a bride adorned for her Husband. Likewise the first Adam was a shadow of Him who was to come. We read in Rom 5:14 (2X),

Ro 5:14  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come (2X).

Adam was a figure of Christ who was to come. Adam was the shadow, Christ is the substance. Adam had to die so that Christ could come as the Redeemer of His people. But Christ was already in existence from eternity past as God the Son. Another example: The seventh day Sabbath was a shadow of the everlasting rest that we enjoy in Christ. That is why the Sabbath was placed in Lev 23, which is a listing of the feast days in the Ceremonial Law. And since the seventh day Sabbath was part of the Ceremonial Law, God replaced it with the Sunday Sabbath in Mat 28:1. God delights to write the Bible in shadows and signs and symbols. For example, we read here in Rev 22:1 about:

  • The Lamb of God (Rev 22:1, John 1:29, 8:36, 3:16,17,19, Mat 1:21, Rev 7:17)

(Please turn to the Gospel according to John, John 1:29, 2X) In Rev 22:1 we read “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb”.

Without question, the Lamb spoken of here is the Lord Jesus Christ. But Christ did not look like a lamb. Where did this idea of Christ as a lamb come from? It came from God, who caused John the Baptist to point to Jesus and say in John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”. What was God referring to when John said this? On the one side, God referred to the Passover lambs that the slaves, the children of Israel in Egypt, killed on the 15th day of the first month. And God’s promise to them was: “The blood of the Lamb shall cause the Angel of Death to pass-over you, but the Angel shall bring death to the Egyptians. And since the cry through all the land of Egypt shall be loud and the fear of the Lord God of Israel shall be great, you shall be set free. Therefore, the blood of the Lamb shall make you free” (2X). The Lord Jesus reiterated this message when He said in John 8:36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed”. And so we are drawn to the other side of the coin where John uttered those famous words, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”. This other side of the coin is that God was referring to the cross on which the Lord Jesus Christ would pay for the sins of the world. No, Christ did not pay for the sins of everyone in the whole world, for then the righteousness of God would have been satisfied for the sins of everyone in the world, and that is an impossibility since there will be many who will have to pay for their own sins in Hell. When we see the word “world” in the Bible we must remember that the context defines the meaning. There is the world of the elect of God, such as in John 1:29, or John 3:16-17, and there is the world that is under condemnation such as in John 3:19, where the Lord Jesus said, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil”. Christ paid on the cross only for the sins of His people, for we read in Mat 1:21, “Thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins”. If I do not belong to “His people” then I would still have to pay for my own sins in Hell. Please turn in your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 7:17 (2X). There is another aspect of Christ as “The Lamb”. Did you know that in this Prophecy of Revelation the Lord Jesus Christ is referred to as “The Lamb” 28 times, whereas in the remainder of the NT Christ is spoken of as “The Lamb” only 4 times? God lets us know that the exalted position of Christ is well deserved, for He was “The Lamb that was slain on the cross”. No other human being who was crucified or has endured excruciating torment, can compare to the Lord Jesus Christ, for He endured the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for those whom God elected to be saved. Moreover, Christ is not only man, but He is God, for only God can pay such a great price.

Re 7:17  For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

The Lamb which is in the midst of the throne” can only refer to God Himself. And indeed, God the Son is fully God. And so, when we read about “The Lamb” in this prophecy of Revelation, we think of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Atoning Death on the cross for those whom He loved so much that He was willing to give them everything He has. And when we read Rev 7:17 we are drawn to admire and love our Savior who shall continue to feed us and lead us to living fountains of waters. Please turn again to Rev 22:1 (2X). There we read how the Lord is going to feed us and lead us to living f/o waters.

#2.       A River of Water of Life (Rev 22:1-2, 21:6, Ezek 47:1,12, Ps 36:8, 46:4)

Re 22:1-2 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.    In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

And is this not what we have read in Rev 21:6 two weeks ago? There we saw,

Re 21:6  And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

We should not try to imagine that in the New Jerusalem there would be a literal river of water of life, or that there would be a literal street, or that there would be literal trees of life lining the river. All this is just symbolism to describe to us the glory of the church, the Bride of Christ, and the blessed life of the sons of God in the Second Paradise. I do not mean that the New Jerusalem is just a spiritual entity. The New Jerusalem is the Bride of Christ, and since every one of the saints has received a literal glorified body with substance, therefore the New Jerusalem, the Bride of Christ, is an entity that is real; it has substance. But her existence is in a different universe altogether, which cannot be described in terms of this universe. And thus God describes her to us in symbolic language. Water, as we know it, does not exist in the new universe, but something else shall take its place. Trees, as we know them, do not exist in the new universe, but something else shall take their place. God describes this Paradise as a place where we shall be fed spiritual food from the Tree of Life, and where we shall be given to drink of water that is a million times better tasting than the water on this earth, for it is “living water”. This river of the water of life is symbolic of a constant flow of life, of the continuous operation of the life giving Spirit of God in Christ, which the glorified saints constantly receive and appropriate. It is a continuous stream of the blessings of grace, the blessings of knowing God, the blessings of seeing God face to face, the blessings of being adopted sons of God through Jesus Christ, the blessings of righteousness, and of holiness, and of the favor of God, and of all that is implied in heavenly life. It is a constant stream of blessings which flow to us through the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ. And there are many other places where God shows us this river of living water in the New Jerusalem.

Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Ezekiel, Eze 47:1 (2X). In Ezekiel chapters 40-48 God gave Ezekiel a vision of a new temple of God, and of the land where this new temple will be found. Since Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed, God showed Ezekiel what God will bring in its place in the future. But when we study these chapters we find that it is impossible to build this temple that God showed Ezekiel. In fact, it does not represent a temple of the near future, but of the far future. Ezekiel’s temple is a symbolic foreshadowing of the new and holy temple of the Lord in the NH&NE. It is the dwelling place of God as we have seen it in Rev 21 and 22, where the New Jerusalem, the Bride of Christ, is the temple of God. The throne of God is in the temple, and out of the throne of God issues a stream, a river of living water. God says here in Eze 47:1,

Eze 47:1 ¶  Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar.

The house refers to God’s dwelling place. God describes here the same river that is spoken of in Rev 22. God also describes the Trees of Life that are growing on the banks of this river. Drop down to:

Eze 47:12  And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.

These trees look very much like the Trees of Life in Rev 22. And thus we see that God gives us here complementary information in again a symbolic description of our future life in the Second Paradise. It is in this manner that we must understand and absorb the teaching of Ezekiel 40-48. God tells us more of the river of water of life in Psalm 36:8 where we read, “They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures”. And moreover we read in Psalm 46:4, “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High”. And so, when we see the blessings we will enjoy in the Second Paradise the following question inevitably comes up: Is the Second Paradise like the first Paradise, and will there be a possibility that we can lose that stream of blessings like Adam and Eve lost their blessedness? The answer comes through loud and clear: There will be no return. The Second Paradise will never be a return to that first state of things in the first Paradise. The first Paradise was just a shadow of the Second Paradise, the Paradise of God in the New Jerusalem. For that reason the first Paradise shall never return. We should clearly understand the difference between the Paradise of Rev 22 and that of Gen 2. The first Paradise was a garden in the land of Eden. The final Paradise will not be such a special garden. The church itself shall be the house of God, and is called the New Jerusalem. And what is the location of that house of God? The entire new creation shall be its place. Wherever the sons of God are in that new creation, there will be the house of God. For example, where is the temple of God in the present heaven where God and all the angels and saints dwell? Wherever the saints are in this present heaven, which perhaps is as big as this universe, there is where the present temple of God is. Moreover, the Second Paradise is not earthy but heavenly in character, like our resurrected and heavenly Lord. The Second Paradise is characterized by its absolute incorruptibility. The Tree of Life is there, but the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is not there, and thus there will be no probationary command from God such as was connected with that tree. And therefore, in Christ Jesus the church will be victorious, incorruptible, immortal, and heavenly!

  • The Tree of Life (Rev 22:2, Gen 3:22, 1Pet 2:24)

Re 22:2  In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

We must look at the meaning of all this in the light that God has superimposed the elements of the first Paradise upon the New Jerusalem. The Tree of Life in the first Paradise had the power of giving unto man an indefinite earthly existence. We can see that clearly, for God said in Gen 3:22,

Ge 3:22 ¶  And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

Man could take of the Tree of Life and live forever on this earth, even after he had sinned. But if Adam would have eaten of that Tree of Life before he sinned he would still die. And therefore the eating of that first Tree of Life was not a once-for-all matter. If Adam would want to exist forever he would need to of this tree repeatedly. This therefore is a significant difference between the first Tree of Life and the last Tree of Life in the Paradise of God. Moreover, that first Tree of Life had a certain sacramental character. It was not a sign and a seal of God’s favor, as some denominations believe the sacraments are, for no seal of God can be imparted by any action on our part. The Tree of Life was a symbol and a memorial of the life that a person has received from God. Notice that I said, “received from God”. You cannot take it, for that was forbidden by God in Gen 3:24, but you must receive it as a free gift from God. The memorial of this gift of life from God is then somewhat similar to the outward signs of the Lord’s Supper, which are also a symbol and a memorial of the life a person has received from Christ. It is a remembrance from where we have received our eternal life, in order that we might acknowledge that we live not by our own power, but by the kindness of God alone. Moreover, the first Tree of Life was in the midst of the Garden. Therefore, since  the Tree of Life was in the very heart of Paradise the first, we may say that according to the analogy of the temple, the Tree of Life was representing the Holy of Holies. There in the midst of the Garden, where the Tree of Life was, dwelt God. There He talked with Adam. As long as Adam could draw near to the Tree of Life he enjoyed fellowship with God, and he could have a spirit filled life, not just physical existence. Then, knowing all this, how do we apply these things to the Tree of Life that is in the Second Paradise of God?

There are great similarities between the first Tree of Life and the one we find in the 2nd Paradise. From Rev 2:7 we know that the last Tree of Life is also in the midst of the Paradise of God. We know that the last Tree of Life is also a memorial of the life we have freely received from God. And we know that the last Tree of Life also symbolizes our spiritual food forever. Therefore we can clearly see that our partaking of the Tree of Life in the Paradise of God symbolizes our perfected life in fellowship with God in the New Jerusalem. It is a sign to us of the full heavenly reality of God’s ever present favor. It is the symbol of our glorious life in our resurrected body forever. And notice that the Tree of Life stands on the brink of the river of the water of life. The power of the glorious life that this tree symbolizes proceeds from the throne of God and of the Lamb in and through the Spirit of Christ. And since God mentions the Lamb, we are reminded that the cross was also called “the tree”. God said in 1Pet 2:24,

1Pe 2:24  Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

It is no accident that God called the cross of Christ “the tree”. There are no magical powers in that wooden cross. It was not a tree that could have given life. But that tree is a memorial to the act of God that has given us eternal life, and as such it is a memorial to be remembered at the Lord’s Supper. Now let us look at the throne of God. Please turn to Rev 22:3 (2X).

  • The Throne of God and of the Lamb (Rev 22:3, Psalm 5:5, 7:11, 11:5, John 14:3, Rev 7:15)

Re 22:3  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:

What does it mean that there shall be no more curse in the New Jerusalem? The curse of God is the wrath of God that came upon all mankind because Adam sinned. Adam is our federal head, our representative in the flesh, and this is how God’s wrath fell upon all mankind. The Bible says that God’s wrath is both against sin and against sinners. It is a gross error to say that God hates the sin but He loves the sinner. God clearly says in Psalm 5:5, “Thou hatest all workers of iniquity”. And God says in Psalm 7:11, “God is angry with the wicked every day”. And God says in Psalm 11:5, “The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth”. The wrath of God, or the curse of God, is God’s wrath against sin, and is manifested in thorns and thistles, in toil and sweat, in the vanity of all things worldly, in all kinds of suffering and sorrow and pain and death, in earthquakes, and in hurricanes, and in tornados, and in loosing Satan against the church, and even in actions of terrorists against unsuspecting citizens. But in the New Jerusalem there shall be no more curse of God. All these calamities shall be absent. Instead, the opposite shall be true. There God’s constant favor is present, and we shall enjoy that favor in blessings and in pleasures forevermore. The perfected Kingdom of Heaven is there. God’s reign of grace is finally and fully realized there. God reigns through Christ, the Lamb, and the will of God is done by all. And where the will of God is done there can be no curse but only perfect favor and fellowship with God.

Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel according to John, John 14:3 (2X). The Lord Jesus is addressing 11 of His disciples in His last discourse before He goes to the Garden of Gethsemane. Judas has already left to do his dastardly deed. Then the Lord Jesus said to them, “I go to prepare a place for you”. Where was He going? He was going to the cross. There is where He was going to prepare a place for them. And where was that place that He was going to prepare for them? It was a place in the New Jerusalem, the Second Paradise, the Paradise of God. And what was necessary to prepare a place for them? First their sins had to be washed away at the cross. Then we read in J. 14:3,

Joh 14:3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

When would Christ come again to receive them unto Himself? No, not at His resurrection, for that was not the time when He received them unto Himself. And not at the death of each individual apostle, for that would not be the time that Christ would come again. But He would come again at the rapture on the Last Day, and then He would receive them in all completeness with body and soul. Then Christ will bring them before the throne of God, and there we see them with the great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues. We read of them in Rev 7:15,

Re 7:15  Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

That they serve Him day and night is only a figure of speech to indicate that we shall serve Him continuously, without interruption. Please turn to the 1st epistle of John, 1John 3:2 (2X). God says:

#3.       We Shall See His Face (Rev 22:4, 1John 3:2, Ps 17:15, Gen 15:1, Isa 33:17, John 17:24)

Re 22:4  And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.

We shall see the face of Christ, and the name of Christ shall be in our foreheads, which symbolizes that we belong to Him. But shall we also see God face to face? God is a Spirit, and He wants to be worshipped in the spirit. Does God have a face? Nevertheless we have been promised in 1John 3:2,

1Jo 3:2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

What this means then is this: In the New Jerusalem there shall be the revelation of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Christ has a face, and Christ is God. And thus when we see Christ we see God. What a glorious promise this is. We shall see Him as He is, in all His glory, because He has adopted us as sons of God. We are His children. And since His glory is infinite it will take us an infinite time to see Him in all His glory. We cannot now imagine what experience this is, but it is true. We read in Psalm 17:15, “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness”. Here on earth we see only a reflection of the face of God through the Scriptures. But there, in the Paradise of God, we shall see Him face to face. Here on earth we cannot even appreciate that seeing God is such a wonderful experience. But there we shall know Him as He knows us. God said to Abraham in Gen 15:1, “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward”. If God then shall give Himself to us, shall he not also show Himself in all His glory. And the answer is: Absolutely Yes! God says in Isa 33:17, “Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off”. And the Lord Jesus said in His last public prayer before He went to the cross,

Joh 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

This is the hope of all the saints, those that are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

AMEN.                 Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.