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Garden of Eden - unknown artist

The angel showed John the river of the water of life. It was clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb, down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree are for the healing of nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and the Lamb will be in the city and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun for the Lord will give them light. And they will reign there for ever and ever.

What the story means to us today

Man is once again allowed to walk with God

As the end of John’s revelation nears, the Bible’s magnificent story comes full circle. The curse imposed in Genesis 3:17, mankind’s punishment for its inherent disobedience to God, is removed. Life begins anew centered around God’s throne. Man will once again be allowed to walk with God.

Additional thoughts and considerations

A new Eden arrives – but only after mankind learns to disregard selfishness and love one another

Garden of Eden - unknown artistJohn’s revelation concludes with a vision of a new Garden of Eden, one where God and Jesus dwell with mankind. For many, this is the ultimate objective – an afterlife free from conflict and worry, governed entirely by God’s protective hand. But this heavenly reward is not offered for free. Mankind, driven by an innate will to survive, is inherently self-centered and resists God’s plan.

Humanity’s selfishness is its downfall. In the beginning, mankind was provided a “heaven on earth” in the form of the Garden of Eden but selfishly chose to disobey God and seek freedom to do as they please. As a result, mankind was left to fend for themselves. Over time, civility degenerated as humanity strove toward self-centered objectives, using any means necessary to achieve them while ignoring God’s wish for us to love and take care of one another.

Fortunately, God recognizes mankind’s faults and through his love, offers a way out – salvation through Jesus. As a result, God absolves the world of sin and brings mankind back under his all-encompassing protection.

Bible Text

NIV

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

The New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. Print.

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The NET Bible

22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life—water as clear as crystal—pouring out from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 22:2 flowing down the middle of the city’s main street. On each side of the river is the tree of life producing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month of the year. Its leaves are for the healing of the nations. 22:3 And there will no longer be any curse, and the throne of God and the Lamb will be in the city. His servants will worship him, 22:4 and they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 22:5 Night will be no more, and they will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God will shine on them, and they will reign forever and ever.

Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press, 2006. Print.

New King James Version

22 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. 4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. 5 There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.

The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.

The Message

Then the Angel showed me Water-of-Life River, crystal bright. It flowed from the Throne of God and the Lamb, right down the middle of the street. The Tree of Life was planted on each side of the River, producing twelve kinds of fruit, a ripe fruit each month. The leaves of the Tree are for healing the nations. Never again will anything be cursed. The Throne of God and of the Lamb is at the center. His servants will offer God service—worshiping, they’ll look on his face, their foreheads mirroring God. Never again will there be any night. No one will need lamplight or sunlight. The shining of God, the Master, is all the light anyone needs. And they will rule with him age after age after age.

Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005. Print.

King James Version

22 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009. Print.

Sources: NIV, The Message, The NET Bible, King James Version, NET Bible Notes, Faithlife Study Bible, The Apologetics Study Bible, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary, The Bible Reader’s Companion, Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Holman Concise Bible Commentary, The Bible Exposition Commentary, The Teacher’s Bible Commentary, The Teacher’s Commentary, The Bible Guide, Word Studies in the New Testament, Holman Bible Handbook, Calvin Commentaries, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines, The New Manner and Customs of the Bible, Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Bible Dictionary, Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Harper’s Bible Dictionary, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, The Archaeological Encyclopedia, Biblical Archaeology Review, The New Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Analytical Lexicon, Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database
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