One Last Glimpse, Part 1
Everyone you meet will live forever. You’ve never met a mere mortal. Everyone you encounter—whether your neighbor, coworker, spouse, or child—is eternal. The Scripture is clear that we were made for eternity and will enjoy everlasting joy in heaven or everlasting sorrow in hell. Thus, there is an urgency of eternity that I pray you sense this day.
The last chapter of the Bible—Revelation 22-offers one last glimpse of the eternal glory that awaits those who trust Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Over the next four issues, I want to invite you to join me on this magnificent tour through heaven and perhaps feel anew the urgency of the eternity that awaits us. Today we’ll glimpse Revelation 22:1-2:
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of nations.
First, I want you to see that an incomparable future awaits those in Christ. Revelation 22:1-2 demonstrate four ways God is going to one day do what we cannot do. Four ways God is going to make the end of time like the beginning of time, only better. Four ways God is going to grant you and I an incomparable future with Him.
First, heaven is compared to the “river of the water of life.” This alludes to the Garden of Eden, the original paradise on earth, well-watered by the rivers of God flowing throughout the garden. In an arid climate, like most of the setting of the Bible, fresh water was valuable beyond compare. God is promising heaven to be a fresh source of life-giving, sustaining, pleasurable water that will ever quench your soul. Jesus reiterates this in John 4:14, “Whoever drinks from this water will never thirst again.” That is, heaven will be ultimately pleasurable and fulfilling for heaven is where Jesus is.
Second, heaven is compared to a river that is “bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God.” This water is without impurity. Indeed, its source is God Himself. In short, heaven will be an everlasting experience of pure beauty, righteousness, justice, virtue, goodness, and perfection. Heaven is, in short, heaven. Incomparable.
Third, heaven is compared to a “tree of life.” This is a direct allusion to the Garden of Eden, as recorded in Genesis 2-3. Just as God provided abundantly for Adam and Eve in the Garden, so too will he provide endlessly for us in eternity. We will have no needs or wants unmet. Perfect satisfaction, provision, and gladness awaits us. We will eat of the fruit of the tree, enjoying perfect satisfaction with our Maker.
Fourth, heaven is compared to a tree with leaves “for the healing of nations.” This phrase is somewhat unclear, but most agree it refers to the perfect health or peace that awaits us. We will be without ailment and without conflict. Heaven will be a place of perfect peace.
The future you long for is coming. The fulfillment you long for is found only in Christ. You were made for him and will one day enjoy incomparable pleasure, perfection, provision, and peace in His presence. Trust Him this day and experience the gift of eternal life with Him. Feel this urgency today, I pray.
Dr. Kyler Smith, Senior Associate Pastor
Hickory Grove Baptist Church