Author: Ron Graham
The Beauty of Heaven (Revelation 21-22) >Seven Final Visions >7th vision >heavenly Eden
At the beginning of the Bible there is the earthly Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:7-10). At the end of the Bible is its counterpart, the heavenly Eden (Revelation 22:1-5). This heavenly Eden was the final vision that John saw.
¶“1He showed me a river, clear as crystal. Its water was the water of life. The river came out from the throne of God and from the Lamb. It flowed down 2the middle of a wide avenue. Along the river banks, on either side, grew the tree of life. The tree bore twelve kinds of fruits. Every month it bore fruit. The leaves of the tree healed people of every nation.” (Revelation 22:1-2)
A river The first garden of Eden was watered by a river (Genesis 2:10). The river which John saw, however, was not a river of earthly water, but of "the water of life" (Revelation 22:1).
Water of Life Jesus spoke to the woman at the well about this "living water" (John 4:5-15). On another occasion, when Jesus spoke of this "living water" John interpreted it to mean the gift of the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39).
Flowed from the Lamb God is "the fountain of living waters" (Jeremiah 2:13). So the river that flows out from the throne of God and the Lamb represents "the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father" (John 15:26). The Holy Spirit is given to us as a downpayment or guarantee of eternal life (Ephesians 1:13-14).
In this vision of the river flowing from the throne, God is represented as...
The street The river flows down the middle of a wide avenue. On the banks of the river grows the tree of life. This street therefore gives access to the tree of life and to the water of life. The life of faith and obedience to Christ is called "the Way" (Acts 24:14,22, cf Hebrews 10:19-20). Of course we do not cease walking that Way after Christ's coming. We continue eternally to walk the Way that gives us access to the Life of Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
The tree of life In the middle of all the trees in the garden of Eden, there were two special trees: the tree of life, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9). The latter was forbidden, but the tree of life was not. So eternal life with God in heaven was always man's destiny. Only when man sinned was he denied access to the tree of life (Genesis 3:22-24). Through Jesus Christ we regain access to eternal life (Romans 6:23).
Twelve fruits, healing leaves The tree bears fruit 12 months of the year, and 12 kinds at that. Even its leaves give healing. We can walk to the river and pick from the tree. We are not forbidden, but invited. This is the Everything Tree, the Forever Tree. It's no fantasy. It is real. It the living God, the giving God, the forgiving God.