Friday, December 30, 2016

"31,153 Verses Later"

Revelation 22.14 NASU

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.”

The Bible’s simple story of redemption is a progressive revelation beginning “in the beginning” (Genesis 1.1) with the account of creation and “the garden of Eden” (Genesis 2.15) and concluding with the offer of eternal life in “the holy city, the new Jerusalem”, (Revelation 21.2). Like the future new Jerusalem, Eden was a beautiful place free from sin, sickness, and death. The first two persons and all the animals existed in perfect harmony there.

In the garden there were two noteworthy trees: “the tree of life… and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2.9). Of the first tree and its fruit, Adam and Eve were free to partake. “But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” they were commanded, “you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (Genesis 2.17). However, from that tree, the first man and woman did eat and were expelled from Eden. They robbed themselves of their own innocence with “the knowledge of good and evil,” and were forever banned from “the tree of life.”

1,186 chapters, 31,153 verses [1], and about 6,000 years later, the Lord again offers His entire creation “the tree of life.” Instead of earth’s “garden of Eden,” we may enter an even better place… heaven’s “holy city, the new Jerusalem.” As in the case of Adam and Eve, there is a condition, but it’s not to steer away from “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” It’s too late for that. Like our first ancestors, we have all partaken of the wrong tree. Our innocence is forever gone. “The tree of [eternal] life” is ours under only one remaining and final condition…

“...those who wash their robes... have the right to the tree of life...”
“These are the ones who… have washed their robes and
made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Revelation 22.14; 7.14 NASU

Somewhere in the middle of human history God sent Jesus to pay the price for our refusal to obey Him. The incredible and nearly unbelievable good news is that…

“…the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
1st John 1.7b NASU

You may enter the New Garden of Eden. Jesus washed your load of sin-stained robes with His own blood, “the blood of the Lamb.”


[1] Source: Deaf Missions article “How Many Chapters and Verses are in the Bible?” compiled and presented by Matt Keller at

Boulder, Colorado artist Lael Har works with vivid acrylic color in a contemporary impressionistic style. Her painting at the upper right called "She is a Tree of Life" wonderfully describes my image of Eden. In the artist's own words: "While painting I ask for guidance. When I surrender to the vision of a landscape, or a figure, it takes hold of my hand and leads me to understand its curves, flow, color, and rhythm. Everything that comes after that is a gift." Check out her beautiful work at Lael kindly allowed me to post her painting and explained that in the Jewish tradition, "the Torah is called the Tree of Life".

1 comment:

Shimmy said...

I agree.