(From: “Visions Beyond the Veil” by H.A. Baker)
Chapter V.A. PARADISE
Scripture Teaches the Regeneration of Natural Creation
Before telling about the visions of Paradise we wish to show that such a Paradise as these children saw is in accord with the Father's plans for his children, as revealed in his written word. When the Lord created the first perfect man and his perfect bride he “planted a garden eastward” in Eden, in which he put the man whom he had formed. “And out of the ground made Jehovah God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden” (Genesis 2:9). Hence, in the beginning, the Lord planned for man to dwell in the midst of all the beauties of nature. He was given a home in the garden in the eastern part of Eden, the wonder “park” that God himself planned and planted. In that order there was no sin. There was no sickness or death. There was no thorn or thistle. There was no curse. That was a different world from this. That world was a heaven on earth with man enjoying what might have been eternal life, in dominion over a whole world of trees and flowers “pleasant to the sight,” a whole world of beauty and glory such as the present earth has never seen. God planned all these things for man's eternal happiness.
When sin entered, man's enjoyment of this creation became a limited, temporal enjoyment. The first Creation of birds, and flowers, and trees, and animals, that were in the first world and its Eden in an eternal state, fell into a lower order that is not eternal. “For the creation fell into subjection to failure and unreality.” Sin lost to man his Eden “park” and his Eden God.
Restored from sin, man will be restored to his Eden God and his Eden “park.” But man will be restored to more than the primal order. He will be born again into the new spiritual order.
The first order was earthly; the last is spiritual but real. It is similar to the earthly, even as Christ after his resurrection was real and similar but still spiritual and different from the earthly order. He still could eat and drink with his disciples. (“Him God raised up the third day, and gave him to be made manifest ... unto witnesses ... who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.” Acts 10:40-41). He still had flesh and bones that could be felt (“See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones, as you behold me having.” Luke 24:39. “And they gave him a piece of broiled fish. And he took it and ate before them.” Luke 24:42) and hands that could serve fish and bread to His hungry disciples (“So when they got out upon the land they see a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread ... Jesus comes and takes the bread, and gives them, and the fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.” John 21:9, 31). But in the resurrected order the Lord was not subject to the limitations of the material world of time, and space, and physical bounds. Even so the world with its natural order of animal, bird, and plant creation is to be born again into a higher, spiritual order similar to the first creation but also different from it. It will be the real order not again subject to corruption and unreality (Romans 8:20, Weymouth.}
All creation was included in the work of the cross. When Christ died all creation died. When Christ arose all creation arose. When Christ bore the crown of thorns he bore all the curse that brought the thorn and the thistle. He is “The Firstborn of all Creation.”
The natural creation is to be born again through the resurrection of Christ. Christ saves more than man. He saves the whole creation that fell into unreality in the fall of man. For “all creation, gazing eagerly as if with outstretched neck, is waiting and longing to see the manifestation of the sons of God ... There was always the hope that, at last, the creation itself would also be set free from the thralldom of decay, so as to enjoy the liberty that will attend the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:19-21 Weymouth). If this does not mean that the present natural order of plant, animal, and all natural life looks forward to being set free in the same resurrected order and the same liberty the saved are to enjoy in a new estate, what does it mean? All naturelooks forward to the new spiritual regeneration that belongs to the redeemed, for Christ “brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.” James 1:18.
Christ himself “is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation.” Colossians 1:15. How is Christ “the first born of all creation” unless it be that in his resurrection into the new order animal and plant creation will eventually follow in this order as the full harvest of which Christ was but the “first fruits”? Even the earth itself is to be regenerated in the new order, since “according to his promise we look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13). Will not that new earth have trees and flowers and animals and birds and all the beauties of glorified nature in a higher incorruptible order that shall abide forever?
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6).
These things are as certain as the word of God, for “He that sits on the throne said, Behold I make all things new,” and he said, “write for these words are faithful and TRUE” (Revelation 21:5).
John “saw a new heaven and a new earth” and he also “saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven” to the New Earth.
As there was an Eden park of pleasure and fruits on the first earth so, also, in a higher, regenerated, resurrected order, the New Jerusalem will contain an Eden park on the New Earth in the new order. This Eden “park” is alreadyin heaven in the New Jerusalem that has not yet descended, but is soon coming down.
Paradise is a “Park” of Plant, Animal, and Regenerated Nature
Perhaps the revelation of such a Paradise in heaven as Adullam saw will be as new to most of the readers as it was to us. This is because we are so dull of mind and slow of heart to “believe all that is written in the Scriptures.”
We did not teach these children about this Paradise. The children taught us. Some of the smallest children, who were naturally most ignorant of these matters, were our best teachers. That they got these things from the Lord is clearly evident, as you will see by a comparison with the teaching of the Bible. It teaches there is just such a Paradise in heaven as these children saw. Paul said he knew a man who was “caught up even to the third heaven” and that this person “was caught up into Paradise.” 2 Corinthians 12:2, 3. In the messages of Revelation “the Spirit says to the churches, to him that overcomes, to him will I give to eat of the tree of life bearing twelve manner of fruits.” (“And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the midst of its street: and on this side of the river and on that was the tree of life, bearing twelve manner of fruits.” Revelation 22:1-2.Hence there is a Paradise in heaven with flowing water and trees of fruit.
This Paradise is a great “park” of surpassing wonder; that is just what the word “Paradise” means. “Paradise” means “Eden.” “Eden” means “Paradise.” “Eden” is a “park;” “Paradise” is therefore a “park.” Peloubet's Bible Dictionary says of “Paradise,” “This is a word of Persian origin, and is used in the Septuagint as the translation of 'Eden.' It means an orchard of pleasure and fruits, a garden, or pleasure groundsomething like an English park.” But this “park” in heaven is only “something like” a park on earth, because it is as much greater than earthly parks, in extent and beauty, as God's thoughts are greater than man's thoughts. Man's most beautiful parks, with their picturesque landscapes, their flowing streams, their crystal pools, the wooded nooks, the verdant greens, the fragrant, variegated flowers, the caroling birds, and animal pets, are only imperfect imitations on the part of man to reproduce the Eden that was “in the beginning.”
If God did not put into the heart of man this love for nature and this desire for natural parks of pleasure and fruit, whence came this universal love of nature, that has been in the heart of man from the days of his earliest history? Is all man's efforts to preserve a little of the vanishing natural beauties of this cursed and perishing earth only a vain fancy to be followed for only a few fleeting years? Is a love for the birds, and animals, and flowers, and trees, and mountains, and valleys, and lakes, and streams, and all this handiwork of God just a passing amusement given by the Lord to cheer us a little on this pilgrim journey? Are not the finest combinations of all that is beautiful in nature just mere fore-shadows of the unperverted and unlimited realities in the Paradise of God in heaven?
These natural beauties are not just scenes passed on a pilgrim journey. They are guide ways of God, pointing to the Eden of beauty at the end of the way. Love of nature may become an eternal love, enlarged beyond all natural limits for all who overcome by the blood of the Lamb, who, by faith in him, enter by the gates into the city with its Paradise of God, the Eden park in heaven whose beauty sin will never mar.
NOTE: Following is a reply from a close relative of H.A. Baker - “I have really enjoyed and appreciated the way you have been sending out “Visions Beyond the Veil” chapter by chapter. It has been new and refreshing to my heart and my mind reading it again in this form, and it brings a new blessing. God bless you for being the instrument to bring this blessing to your many readers.”
There are 900 plus of you who receive these mailings. It is a personal blessing for me just to type up these portions for you. I felt a clear leading from the Lord to do this. There are twelve chapters in all, and some of them are sufficiently long that I felt it best to split them in two. So perhaps 18 portions will complete this small booklet. Thanks to the numbers of you who have also responded positively. J.A.W.