TEXT: Revelation 22:1-5
God created man and woman and placed them in a garden. And in that garden God placed two trees – the tree of life that Adam and Eve were to eat of and enjoy, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that they could not eat of.
But the forbidden tree is the one they were drawn to. It didn’t matter that God had already provided all they could ever want or need. They believed the serpent’s lie that God was holding out on them and they disobeyed God. As a result, they introduced sin and death, not only to the human race, but to all of creation.
God removed them from the garden, never to return. If God had let Adam and Eve stay in the garden and eat of the tree of life forever, they would have lived forever. That means sin would live forever. So, to remove man from the garden was the most loving, merciful thing to do, because by doing so, God ensured sin would end.
But thankfully, that was not “the end” of the story. God planned from the beginning, that He would redeem a people from their sin, and eventually, He would redeem all of creation, making it a perfect garden once again. That’s what Rev. 22:1-5 describes.
I. Eternal Life (22:1-3a)
For all who trust in Jesus, He has promised that you will be welcomed into His kingdom and given eternal life. And as we read these verses, there are two major symbols that represent this eternal life: A river of life and a tree of life, both connected to the Garden of Eden.
This river in heaven is a symbol of that living water that flows from Jesus, reminding us that He is our life-source. He is the source of the new life we experience in salvation right now, He is the source of our witness as we tell others about Him, and He will be our source that sustains us for eternity.
The second symbol in this vision is the tree of life, on either side of the banks of this river. Again, we see the connection to the tree of life in the Garden of Eden. When man sinned, he was no longer allowed to eat from the tree of life, because his sin would have lived forever as well. But her in God’s perfect kingdom, Christ has done away with all sin and death, and now God’s people are welcomed to eat from the tree again.
II. Unending Worship (22:3b-5)
A changed heart is a worshipful heart. If you know you have been rescued, you are grateful to the Rescuer. And our gratitude to Jesus comes out as worship. But a heart that has not been changed sees the worship of God as strange, as embarrassing, as undignified. Keep your emotions in check. Keep your composure and look respectable. Those are all man-centered thoughts that keep us from worshiping God right now, in this life, the way God deserves. I look forward to the day when we don’t have to remind each other to sing out, to raise our hands, to not be ashamed to praise God.
When we are in the New Jerusalem, we won’t need to be reminded to worship God – not only because our sin will be gone, but because of what v.4 says…“They will see His face…” No more distractions. No more daydreaming. No more fear of man. What will fill our minds and fill our sight and fill our hearts is the sight of God Himself, to look upon our Lord face-to-face. No more veil of darkness. That means no more night. No more physical darkness, no more spiritual darkness. We will see clearly. We will worship Him completely. God will be our light, and we will reign with Him forever.