Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: The Eternal Life Which Flows From the Cross of Christ

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

The last two chapters of the Bible have been a continual comfort to God's people who have "had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment," who have "wandered in deserts and in mountains, in dens and caves of the earth" (see Heb. 11:36, 38).

The water flowing out of the throne of God and the Lamb is that which Jesus promised to the woman at the well in Samaria, when He said, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water" (John 4:10). Zechariah said, "living waters shall flow from Jerusalem," whose source, Jeremiah said, was "the Lord, the fountain of living waters" (Zech. 14:8; Jer. 17:13). Ezekiel was shown that this river was "water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed," a river bringing healing wherever it flowed (see  47:1-9). This is the eternal life which flows from the cross of Christ. We may taste of it here and now by receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The "tree of life" is apparently like the "banyan" tree which can have two trunks. It joins at the top over the river, but grows out of the two banks on either side. Ezekiel saw the tree in vision: "Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine" (47:12). The food that grows out of this sin-cursed earth cannot sustain life for more than a few years. It has no real life in it. But the fruit of this tree provides both healing and eternal life. It will be both delicious and satisfying. And it will be free!

Why are the "leaves" of the tree needed "for the healing of the nations" (Rev. 22:2)? Will people raised to life in the first resurrection need to be healed, or to grow? The Lord says, "To you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves" (Mal. 4:2). Sin brought the curse upon our present world. Floods, droughts, earthquakes, swamps, wildernesses, deserts, deathly sickness, ferocious animals, sorrow, fear, and human tears--this is the curse we know so well. As the "tree" was cast into the cursed waters of Marah making them sweet (Ex. 15:23-25), so the "tree" on which the Lamb of God died for us has taken away the curse.

With the curse taken away, no fear will drive us to hide from God. Adam once ran away from Him in the garden of Eden. Cain mourned bitterly as he cried to God, "I shall be hidden from Your face" (Gen. 4:14). Like a sigh there sounds throughout the Psalms the entreaty, "Do not hide Your face from Your servant" (69:17). Even Christ on the cross forgot the pain of the nail wounds as He sensed the hiding of His Father's face: "Why have You forsaken Me?" (Matt. 27:46.)

The sweetest benediction in the Bible is the blessing, "The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace" (Num. 6:25, 26). Now, once again, the children of God will look on His face with joy and not be afraid.

--Robert J. Wieland

From: The Gospel in Revelation, 1989.
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