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Paradise Regained

Some people like to skip ahead when reading a mystery in order to read the rest of the story with the end in mind. Others like to watch the game after it is over to anticipate the victory. Perhaps that is the point of the book of Revelation. It is not really “history written in advance.” It paints its picture of the end of all things in broad strokes, but clearly enough for us to know who wins!

John’s final vision in this book is one of Eden restored. But this isn’t the old Eden. There is no forbidden tree and no serpent. All the ills that plagued us in the old world are healed. All that once divided heaven and earth has been removed.

This involves more than seeing God’s will done on earth as it is in heaven. It is also more than heaven on earth. This new world will be better than Eden, for God will not merely walk in the garden “in the cool of the day” (Gen. 3:8). God’s dwelling will be with humanity. He will live with us. We will see His face and His name will be on our foreheads (v. 4; cf. Rev. 21:3).

This book does not promise “pie in the sky by and by.” The goal of John’s Revelation is to help God’s people here and now. The book concludes with several promises and warnings from Jesus Himself. First is a word of assurance that these things will come to pass soon (v. 12). Next is a promise and a warning: “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city” (v. 14). They can be washed only in the blood of the Lamb.

Apply the Word

Revelation closes with a warning not to tamper with the words of this book. We may not understand them, but we dare not dismiss them. All that is written here will come to pass. We can only respond as John does—with worship and a longing to see our Savior. “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” Rejoice today in God’s promise for your future.

BY Dr. John Koessler, Chair and Professor of Pastoral Studies

Dr. John Koessler serves as chair and professor in the division of applied theology and church ministry at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. He is married to Jane and has two sons, Drew and Jarred. John is the author of The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody) and True Discipleship (Moody). John has written several other books and articles and serves as a contributing editor for Today in the Word.

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