Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Rivers of Pleasure

I love new beginnings, especially at the beginning of a new year.

I don’t remember enjoying a new year as much when I was a kid. Maybe that’s because as a kid I myself am quite new to the world anyway. Growing up in a stable home, how much of a fresh start does one need every year? Maybe it was part of growing up in tropical Florida where seasonal changes aren’t as dramatic, visible, or noticeable. As we get older, and we hit a few more bumps along the way, fresh starts are more appreciated. A new year is a natural time to clear the decks to forge new paths in the year ahead.

The beginning of God’s Word describes the beautiful beginning of creation. The description of the Garden of Pleasure (which is what it’s called if we translate “Eden”) doesn’t get much attention, but it’s particularly lively.

We typically think of a “garden” as being a relatively small, contained area, easily walkable in its entirety. This original garden may have been much bigger as indicated by a river flowing out of it that was large enough to become four other major rivers. Here is the description from Genesis 2:10-14 with all the names also translated.
Now a river went out of Pleasure to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads.

The name of the first is Galloping; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Circular, where there is gold. And the shimmering gold of that land is good. Gold pearls and the green gemstones are there.

The name of the second river is Bursting Forth; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Ethiopia.

The name of the third river is the Great River; it is the one which goes toward the east of Advance.

The fourth river is the Rushing.
Such was the geography of the garden antediluvian world. Today what remains of these rivers are known as the Tigris and the Euphrates.

The world before the fall is a preview of the creation after “the revealing of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19) when it “will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (8:21).

Revelation describes the New Jerusalem wherein God continually “makes all things new” (21:5), where we can drink of “the fountain of the water of life” (21:6), with light “like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal” (21:11), a city of “pure gold, like clear glass” (21:18) having foundations “with all kinds of precious stones” (21:19-20) and pearl gates (21:21), “a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (22:1) surrounded by “the tree of life” (22:2).

Yes, new beginnings are good and still to come.

God wants each person to have their own new beginning. The fall, mentioned earlier, is the entry of sin into the world, and we are all born into this.

No one enjoys the Eternal City without coming through the gate to the City, Jesus Christ.

All can come to Jesus Christ to be saved.

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