Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

07/10/2019

Jeff Grisham

 

The End From The Beginning

 

  The first two chapters of Genesis are fascinating. They tell of creation and identify God as the source of the world we inhabit. Chapter one speaks of a transcendent and all-powerful God, who speaks and order comes from chaos. The account recorded in chapter two tells us of God who is intimately involved with his creation. He forms man out of the dust of the ground, breathes into his nostrils the breath of life, brings the animals for Adam to name, and plants a garden in which the first couple would reside. These two chapters inform us that we were made in God’s image, give the two basic commands to multiply and fill the earth, and to exercise dominion over the created order.  It tells us what is expected of us as the image bearers of our Creator.

 

  With all of these things found in the opening chapters of our Bibles, we also find something else. Genesis not only tells us of our origin, but it also tells us something of God’s original intention and hints as to what to expect when God’s plan comes to completion.

 

  Let’s look at two passages of Scripture, one from each end of the Bible. Genesis 2 gives us a description of Eden. It reads:

 

And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.  And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there.  The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. (Genesis 2:8-14 ESV)

 

  In Revelation 22, we find a description of the ultimate dwelling place for the people of God.

 

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.  And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:1-5 ESV)

 

  What we see in Eden, we see again in Revelation 22. A river flowing through the middle, the tree of life, and a place where God dwells with his people who are given authority to exercise dominion over the New Creation. What we see in Revelation is the result of the work of God to bring about his original intent for his creation.  As God’s people we are a part of a plan that reaches back all the way prior to the creation of the world.

 

  When we think about this, it gives new depth of meaning to scriptures like Isaiah 46:8-10, which reads:

 

“Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ (Isaiah 46:8-10 ESV)

 

—Jeff Grisham