Paradise Restored and Consummated

Throughout redemptive history, as God called His people to the restored Paradise, he brought them into His City. We can see this in the contrast between the rebellious, autonomous city-builders of Genesis 11 and Abraham, who journeyed to the Promised Land "looking for the City which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God" (Heb. 11:10); and Scripture assures the New Covenant community that we "have come to Mount Zion and to the City of the the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem" (Heb. 12:22).

In the final vision of the Revelation, John is shown the fulfillment of the cultural mandate, the full restoration and consummation of Eden: "And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God" (Rev. 21:10-11). Like the Holy of Holies, the City's length, width, and height are equal (Rev. 21: 16; 1 Kings 6:20): there is no Temple within the City, for the City itself is the inner sanctuary (cf. Eph. 2:19-22); and, at the same time, "the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its Temple" (Rev. 21:22). The City is ablaze with the brilliant glory of God, enlightening the nations (Rev. 21:11-27), and through its main street flows the River of Life, as it flowed originally from the Garden of Eden (Rev. 22:1-2); "and there shall no longer be any Curse" (Rev. 22:3). Moreover, we are not to regard this vision as wholly future, for our Lord has said much the same about us in this age: "You are the light of the world. A City set on a Hill cannot be hidden. . . . Let your light shine before men. . .." (Matt. 5:14-16).

In many more ways, Edenic imagery is taken up and expanded in the New Testament, which records the fulfillment of the prom ises of the New Creation in Christ. An obvious passage, of course, is John's prologue (John 1:1-18), which begins where Genesis does: "In the beginning." We see the same concepts -the Word, creation, life, the light shining in darkness and overcoming it; and John says of Christ that He dwelt (literally, tabernacled) among us, and we beheld His glory" (John 1:14; cf. Ex. 40:34). John's point here is to demonstrate that Jesus Christ is the full revelation of God's presence with His people (cf. Matt. 1:23).

But John's entire Gospel is built on Old Testament imagery. For example, the passage following his Prologue (John contains a subtle, seven-day structure that is meant to remind us of the original seven days of creation (as well as numerous other Old Testament parallels). On the first day, John the Baptist appears as "a voice of one crying in the wilderness" (1:23; cf. Gen. 1:2-3). The next day, as Jesus is baptized (baptism is a recapitulation of two Old Testament re-creation events: the Flood [1 Pet. 3:20-21] and the Red Sea crossing [1 Cor. 10:1-2]), the Spirit descends with wings, hovering and fluttering over the waters of the New Creation - and He comes as a dove, the winged messenger that announced to Noah there-creation of the world (1:32-33; cf. Gen. 8:11). The passage continues with other creation-images, and ends on the seventh day with Jesus attending a wedding, and turning the water (cf. Gen. l:2ff.) into wine — the best wine (John 2:1-11). The blessing is superabundant, more than is necessary (about 150 gallons), as a forerunner of the promised blessings of the Garden which would come through Him (Gen.49:10-12; Isa. 25:6; Amos 9:13-14; Jer.

Just before He does this, He mentions the hour of His death - for it is His shed blood, the wine of communion, that provides the blessings: Eden is inaccessible apart from the Atonement. And thus, by this miracle on the Seventh Day, Jesus "manifested His glory" (John 2:11) -just as God had done by His enthronement in the Cloud on the first Sabbath.

But when God is seated at rest upon His throne, He sits as Judge, examining His Creation-Temple; and when He first found wickedness therein, He cleansed it, banishing the offenders (Gen. 3:24). Similarly, the next event in John's Gospel shows the Lord assessing the Temple and coming in Judgment against those who defiled it (John 2:12-22). (The Sabbath is when we appear before God's throne of judgment to be examined;

and if we are approved, we enter into His Rest [Heb. 3-4]). The people in the Temple on this Sabbath were guilty, and He banished them in a terrifying - and noisy-manifestation of judgment: an image of the first and final Days of the Lord (see below, Chapter 15). He then declared His body - Himself personally and His Body the Church - to be the true Temple (John for the physical resurrection of Christ's body is the foundation for His people's being constituted as the Temple (Eph. 1:20;2:5-6, 19-22; 1 Cor. 3:10-11, 16-17).

As God's Temple, the Church is re-admitted to Eden and filled with the Spirit and the glory of God (Ex. 40:34; Num. 9:15; Joel 2:28-31; Acts 2:1-4, 16-21). The Church is God's new Garden-Temple, restored to God's original mandate for man: to have dominion over the earth, expanding the Garden until it covers the whole world. In remaking us in His image, God has given us His presence. He has taken up residence in His Temple, and has promised to be with us as we fulfill His command to the ends of the earth (Matt. 28:18-20).

There is a River whose streams make glad the City of God, The holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. (Ps. 46:4-5)

Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the River flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the River flows everything will live. . . . Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the River. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing (Ezek. 47:9-12).

PART 111

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How To Survive The End Of The World

How To Survive The End Of The World

Preparing for Armageddon, Natural Disasters, Nuclear Strikes, the Zombie Apocalypse, and Every Other Threat to Human Life on Earth. Most of us have thought about how we would handle various types of scenarios that could signal the end of the world. There are plenty of movies on the subject, psychological papers, and even survivalists that are part of reality TV shows. Perhaps you have had dreams about being one of the few left and what you would do in order to survive.

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