February 29 - From Eden to the New Jerusalem
Before the fall of mankind, God made every provision for Adam: a garden to live in, to tend and to keep, animals to name and control, vegetation from the soil and even a helpmate from the first surgery: Eve, the bone of his bone and the flesh of his flesh. The two began the first marriage life and God was with them. Humankind is different in that there is a spiritual dimension: the breath of God, making them spiritual beings instead of just from the ground. To continue their lives, they need to live in relation to God, the Source of their lives.
What happened after the second chapter of Genesis is quite obvious, mankind rebelled against God and sin came into the world. The presence of God was cut off and they were driven out of Eden. The results of sin are quite obvious: troubles, sicknesses, pestilence, traps, fear of the night and arrows by day. This is the misery package described in Psalm 91. We need salvation and protection from the effects of sin in the world. Sin with its resulting suffering permeates the earth and Jesus came to set us free from the power of sin and death.
If you are suffering from the effects of sin in the world, no matter it is physical harm or psychological disorder, God in Christ can bring us back to Eden. The new Eden is the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven. The new heaven and new earth is not made from the old ones but new creations of God for humankind. The people of God as the bride of Christ, will inherit the new world. The characteristics of the old world like tears, death, sadness, wailing and pain will no longer be there. The effects of sin will once and for all be eradicated. God will come down and dwell among His people. All our previous sufferings and pain are gone, joy and gladness will replace them.
Are you in some kind of suffering today? Some of us may be in long-term illnesses and others may be fighting the effects of aging. Many are having relationship problems, hurting others while being hurt by others. This world is not our final resting place. When sin drives away the presence of God, the pain would seem o be too much for one to bear. The devil is stealing our being and well being, taking away all our hope. It is good to affirm the reality of the new heaven and the new earth where righteousness dwells.
When you are in despair, about to give up, you may want to visualize the Garden of Eden and the New Jerusalem. Reading and re-reading these passages can generate hope in your spirit. What God provides is like a two-hump camel: a low point sandwiched by two glorious high points. You are going to get there. While Adam and Eve might have lost Eden, God provides a new heaven and a new earth. Praise Him!
Ps 91:1-16 Gen 2:1-25 Rev 21:1-21 Prov 6:16-19