With the “great city” of decadence, injustice, and immorality gone, the way is clear for a new city to come down from the heavens. Attentive readers have long noticed the connections between the Garden of Eden in Genesis 1-3 and the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21-22. Many have described Heaven (a term notably missing from these chapters) as a return to Eden. Both are places without sin where humans live in the unmediated presence of God. The Tree of Life is placed in the middle of each. A life-giving river runs from the center of each. Yes, Heaven is Eden all over again. A new Creation! What a wonderful thought!
What I have only noticed recently is that, while being like Eden in many ways, the New Jerusalem is even better. My friend Eddy first got me thinking about this when he pointed out that Eden is an unmined, unharvested, wild garden while the New Jerusalem is an exquisitely-built city created with the resources of the Garden. In other words, the New Jerusalem is what God intended for Eden to become. The following chart (click here for a PDF) outlines the ways in which Revelation builds on Genesis:
At the beginning of time the New Jerusalem existed, but it was there in the seeds of the trees, the natural resources and precious metals of the earth, the work of the hands of Man and Woman. God’s great city was already there, but not yet built. Now as God makes “all things new” God re-creates the world into what He has desired it to be since the beginning.
What an amazing chapter! What captured your imagination most?
Tags: Bible, chart, city, comparison, creation, Eden, Garden of Eden, God, heaven, new creation, New Jerusalem, reading, revelation