And why was Eden perfect? Everything man needed was in that first garden, trees and plants to sustain his physical life, including the Tree of Life. God also gave man the companionship of a woman, for He said, it is not good that man should be alone, 2:18. He gave him work to do, tending that garden, and every evening He came to walk with man. Surely that marvelous fellowship was the greatest need He fulfilled.
Revelation 22 depicts another garden, one that despite my growing belief that the majority of the descriptions in that book are about the victorious church, I cannot help but see in a final heavenly fulfillment. We will be back where the Tree of Life spreads its branches, 22:2. We will be with other servants of God, “those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” 21:27. We will have work—to serve and worship our Creator for Eternity, 22:3,8,9. And once again we will be in fellowship, and proximity, to God—His throne is there and we shall “see his face” 22:1,4. God’s plan will have come full circle, from that first garden to an eternal one.
But there was another garden, one right in the middle of it all—Gethsemane. It had some of the same characteristics. The disciples had fellowship with each other and with their Lord. And they had work to do. “Watch with me,” Jesus told them, Matt 26:38. It had been a long day, one full of surprises and mysterious statements by their Master. They were tired, wanting only to rest, and so “their eyes were heavy,” and they slept, 26:48. When the Lord needed them most, they failed Him.
That garden was the reason we have hope of an Eternal Garden. In a sense, we are living our lives in that middle garden with the Lord. “Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation,” he told those men, Mark 14:38, adding at the end, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” My flesh may indeed be weak, but too often my spirit is lacking as well. Life can wear you out. Trials seem to come in one long succession, like a string of ugly beads. All you want to do is have one day of peace, one day when something goes right, when it seems like the world isn’t against you and justice will prevail.
It is hard, and your Lord knows it. He sat in that same garden you are in now, awaiting things you will probably never have to experience. And he did it so you can have hope of a garden where everything will finally be right, where you can rest and “there will be no curse any more.”
But for now, you must watch, you must endure just a little while longer. I have finally lived long enough to know that it isn’t that long a “while” till it’s over, and then there shall be night no more; and they need no light of lamp, neither light of sun; for the Lord God shall give them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
And once again, we will walk in the garden with God.
He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him that overcomes, to him will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God. Revelation 2:7.