God is with us in Word and Sacrament

Midweek Lent 1

Midweek Lent 1

Garden to Garden: Eden to Heaven

  • OT: Genesis 3:22-24
  • NT: Revelation 22:1-5

From the beginning, in Scripture, gardens have been places of peace, perfection, and the provision of the Lord. Gardens are where one walks in the presence of God, seeking His face. The Garden of Eden is the first garden—the first perfect paradise—into which God places the crown of His creation. Man walks with God, converses with God, and sees Him face to face in this beautiful garden. However, when Adam and Eve disobey God and eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, sin enters into the world, and man is exiled from the Garden of Eden. God even places the cherubim with a flaming sword as guardians lest man seek to return and eat of the tree of life.

Yet, from the very moment of exile, God reveals His plan to return man to the garden. He tells of the Seed of the woman who will crush the head of Satan, defeating him and overcoming sin and death. When this takes place, the gates of paradise will be flung open, and man will be invited into the presence of God as it was in the beginning.

Between the Garden of Eden and the garden of heaven as described in Revelation, there are other connections to holy places that have garden characteristics. The Promised Land of Canaan is called a “land flowing with milk and honey,” a beautiful paradise where the Lord provides for His people. It is also the place where the Lord dwells with His people in the tabernacle and the temple. The Most Holy Place becomes the Lord’s throne room on earth, but because of sin, man still may not gaze upon His face.

Eventually, God sends His only-begotten Son into this world—specifically, to the Promised Land—in the flesh, to bring God’s people back to the perfect garden of heaven. Even on the cross, as Christ speaks to the believing thief, He says, “Today you will be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). The word for “paradise” is of Persian origin and means “an enclosed garden.”

So it is in Revelation 22 that we read of the courts of heaven being described in words that cannot help but remind us of the Garden of Eden. Indeed, the Seed of the woman has accomplished His goal and opened the gates of the eternal garden of heaven, so that mankind might dwell in the presence of his God once again, gathering around the throne and singing praises to the Lamb.

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