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LOVE'S ETERNAL REWARD
While the earth is wrapped in the fire of destruction, the righteous abide safely in the Holy City. Upon those that have part in the first resurrection, the second death has no power. While God is to the wicked a consuming fire. He is to His people both a sun and a shield. Rev. 20:6; Ps. 84:11.
"I saw a new heaven, and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away" Rev. 21:1.
The time has come to which holy men have looked with longing since the flaming sword barred the first pair from Eden. The earth originally given to man as his kingdom, betrayed by him into the hands of Satan, and so long held by the mighty foe, has been brought back by the great plan of redemption. All that was lost by sin has been restored. "Thus saith the Lord . . . that formed the earth and made it; He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited." Isa. 45:18. God's original purpose in the creation of the earth is fulfilled as it is made the eternal abode of the redeemed.
Human language is inadequate to describe the reward of the righteous. It can be known only to those who behold it. No finite mind can comprehend the glory of the Paradise of God. If we could have but one view of the celestial city, we would never wish to dwell on earth again.
Happiness Amid Beauty
In Paradise are ever-flowing streams, clear as crystal, and beside them waving trees cast their shadows upon the paths prepared for the ransomed of the Lord. There the wide-spreading plains spread into hills of beauty and the mountains of God rear their lofty summits. On peaceful plains, beside living streams. God's people, so long pilgrims and wanderers, shall find a home, where love, joy and peace reign in unshadowed splendor.
There, "the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose." "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; . . . and a little child shall lead them." "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain," saith the Lord. Isa. 35:1; 11:6, 9.
Pain cannot exist in the atmosphere of heaven. There will be no more tears, no funeral trains, no badges of mourning. Sickness, sorrow, and death they will never again feel. "There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying: . . . for the former things are passed away." Rev. 21:4.
God Is There
There is the New Jerusalem, the metropolis of the glorified new earth. "The tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God." Rev. 21:3.
In the City of God "there shall be no night." None will need or desire repose. We shall ever feel the freshness of the morning. "And they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light." Rev. 22:5. The light of the sun will be superseded by a radiance which is not painfully dazzling, yet which immeasurably surpasses the brightness of our noon-tide. The glory of God and the Lamb floods the Holy City with unfading light. The redeemed walk in the sunless glory of perpetual day.
The Tree of Life
The fruit of the tree of life in the Garden of Eden possessed supernatural virtue. To eat of it was to live forever. Its fruit was the antidote to death. After the entrance of sin the heavenly Husbandman transplanted the tree of life to the Paradise above. The redeemed saints, who have loved God and kept His commandments here, will enter in through the gates of the city, and have right to the tree of life. They will eat freely of it as our first parents did before their fall. "Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city" Rev. 22:14.
All that has perplexed us in the providences of God will in the world to come be made plain. Where our finite minds discovered only confusion and broken promises, we shall see the most perfect and beautiful harmony.
Eternity of Advancing
To dwell forever in the home of the blest, and through ceaseless ages to advance in wisdom, in knowledge, and in holiness, ever finding new wonders and new glories, ever increasing in capacity to know and to enjoy and to love, and knowing that there is still beyond us joy and love and wisdom infinite—such is the object to which the Christian's hope is pointing. There, immortal minds will contemplate with never-failing delight the wonders of creative power. Every faculty will be developed, every capacity increased. The acquirement of knowledge will not weary the mind or exhaust the energies. The grandest enterprises will be carried forward, the loftiest aspirations will be reached, the highest ambitions realized. And still there will arise new heights to surmount, new wonders to admire, new truths to comprehend, fresh objects to call forth the powers of mind and body and soul.
All the treasures of the universe will open up to the study of God's children. With undimmed vision they gaze upon the glory of creation—suns and stars and systems, all in their appointed order circling the throne of Deity. Upon all things, from the least to the greatest, the Creator's name is written, and in all are the riches of His power displayed. With unutterable delight we shall enter into the joy and the wisdom of unfallen beings. We shall share the treasures gained through ages upon ages spent in contemplation of God's handiwork. And the years of eternity, as they roll, will continue to bring more glorious revelations of God and of Christ. As knowledge is progressive so will love, reverence, and happiness increase.
The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.
Softly and Tenderly
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Created: 8/1/01 Updated: ../lovestronger.htm