The new creation is centered round a city. In the beginning, God planted a garden for man. In the new beginning, God has built a city. But it’s more than a city.
It’s a city that is a garden. It’s a garden that is a bride. And a bride that is a tabernacle. It’s a tabernacle that is a mountain, a mountain that is a family, and a family that is a kingdom which stands forever. If a picture is worth a thousand words, John could not find pictures enough to suggest all the words that might describe his vision of heaven.
The pictures he shows us are familiar, but sharper and brighter than we used to know them. Man dwelt with God in a garden in the beginning; paradise that was lost is regained. The church is the bride of Christ. She has been waiting for His return. The bridegroom has come, the procession begins. God tented with Israel in the wilderness, but the people had their own tents. Now Israel lives in God’s tent, God’s temple. The old Jerusalem was built on Mount Zion, but it is dwarfed by the New Jerusalem atop the real Mount Zion which is more majestic than ever. We are sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus, but within this mountain fortress all of us prodigals will see the Father’s face. And we shall not only dwell as sons, but reign as kings. The kingdom, or reign of God, will be consummate and all enemies vanquished.
Heaven. The opulence of a city, the beauty of a garden, the joy of a marriage, the holiness of a temple, the security of a mountain, the embrace of a father, the majesty of a kingdom. And so much more. Can you see it yet?