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Paradise Restored

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Have you ever wondered how often Adam recalled with remorse the paradise he lost through one moment of rebellion? How many of his progeny today live in regret from a broken relationship, a lost position, a big move that only proved that the grass is not always greener; all a result of one choice, one moment that can’t be unsaid or undone and remains unresolved? Sometimes it is the seemingly smallest decisions that can change your life forever.

When circumstances force a man to come to the end of himself, too often he will focus on the need for some personal transformation or reset – of a “paradise restored” – rather than on the only One who can bring about the best possibile resolution. In preparing to establish a church in Verona, we spent some time on our identity, including the guiding principles that will help determine if we are on the right path and fulfilling our mission as a church. We have chosen to focus on seven such core values, of which one provides perspective on this human tendency to desire change. This particular core value is expressed as: Christ is the power that transforms our lives (Cristo è la forza che trasforma le nostre vite) or, to put it another way, a transformed life is the fruit of knowing Christ more.

As Spurgeon once noted, from every text in the Bible there is a road to Jesus. While reading the tenth chapter of Daniel, I was reminded of how only He can bring complete restoration and transformation and how the context of the chapter illustrated the guiding principle stated above. In that sacred text, Daniel encountered in a vision a preincarnate manifestation of the Son of Man. This is the logical conclusion anyway when comparing the description of the "certain man" in Daniel 10 with that of the resurrected and glorified Lord Jesus Christ in Revelation (see 10:5,6 with Rev. 1:13-15).

It is interesting to consider the location where his encounter with the Lord took place. Daniel said: “I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel” (10:4). Hiddekel was one of the rivers that flowed within the boundary of old Paradise, the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:14). Daniel had been fasting (10:3), and presumably praying (10:12) and meditating, while walking by the side of that ancient river. Knowing the historical import, surely he was struck with the fact that he trod the same ground where Adam and Eve once walked with God. Perhaps he paused to wonder how close he might be standing to where they sinned and their communion with God was broken. Nearby perhaps the tree stood where Eve plucked the forbidden fruit. Here maybe is where Adam tried to hide. Not far off could have been where the Cherubim stood sentry with flaming swords to shut out our first parents from Paradise. What had sin wrought! What change had taken place!

It is interesting to note as well the time in which his meeting the Lord occurred. It was “the four and twentieth day of the first month” (10:4). It was during the month of Passover (Leviticus 23:5). Daniel spent three full weeks (10:2) in his fasting and prayer which would have included the week commemorating the liberation of God’s people through the blood of a lamb (Exodus 12). As much as he would despair thinking of all that was lost in Adam, his brilliant mind would likely carry him to Jerusalem where the blood of the Passover lamb covered sin and brought back communion with God.

It was then, during the time of the Passover, and there, on the site of the old Paradise, that Daniel sees Someone walking towards him among the trees along the river: the Second Adam, the Son of Man. The Lord met with his humble servant to reveal to him much of the history of the world’s future kingdoms, but radiating from the context of this meeting we are struck by the transformative power of Christ – lost communion with God, paradise lost, can only be restored in meeting the true fulfillment of the paschal lamb, “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” For “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22), “the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45).

It is profitable to look within ourselves and see the evils of our own heart and the corrupting sin within that followed Adam from Eden and was passed down to every generation since. We must learn from mistakes we have made and take ownership of them and if need be, when sin is involved, repent of them. But we can’t stop there. We must study Christ’s heart, study Christ’s words, study Christ’s actions. And in studying Christ, commune with Him, the One who can restore the years the cankerworm has eaten (Joel 2:25), the One who gives beauty for ashes (Isa. 61:3), and takes scarlet sins and makes them white as snow (Isa. 1:18). Christ is the power that transforms our lives! In the first Adam, paradise was lost; but in the last Adam, paradise is restored!

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