"To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God" (Rev. 2:7)
INTRO.: A hymn which looks forward to that time when the overcomer will eat of the tree of life in the midst of the paradise of God is "O Paradise." The text was written by Frederick William Faber (1814-1863). In five stanzas, it was first published in his 1862 Hymns and became popular after being included in the 1868 Hymns Ancient and Modern, whose editors added a sixth stanza. Faber’s best known hymn is "Faith of Our Fathers." The tune (Paradise) used in our books was composed by Henri Frederick Hemy (1818-1888). It was probably first published in his 1864 Crown of Jesus Music, but I have no further information about it. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church he song appeared in the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 edited by E. L. Jorgenson; and the 1965 Great Christian Hymnal No. 2 edited by Tillit S. Teddlie.
The song looks forward to the blessings that the righteous will enjoy in the eternal paradise of God.
I. Stanza 1 mentions rest
"O Paradise! O Paradise! Who doth not crave for rest?
Who would not seek the happy land Where they that love are blest?"
A. While we live here on earth, we crave for rest, and Jesus offers it: Matt. 11:28-30
B. However, while we can have rest from the burden of sin here, as long as we live on earth we can never have perfect rest but remain sojourners and pilgrims; yet God does have a homeland for His people: Heb. 11:13-16
C. In that land, the godly will be blest forevermore: Rev. 22:14
II. Stanza 2 mentions love
"O Paradise! O Paradise! The world is growing old.
Who would not be at rest and free Where love is never cold?"
A. The world is indeed growing old: Heb. 1:10-12
B. Therefore, those who recognize this want to be free from the love of the world which passes away: 1 Jn. 2:15-17
C. In the home that God has prepared for His children, love will never grow cold, because of the three things that abide, faith, hope, and love, the greatest is love: 1 Cor. 13:13
III. Stanza 3 mentions Jesus
"O Paradise! O Paradise! ‘Tis weary waiting here;
I long to be where Jesus is, To feel, to see Him near."
A. To one who lays up treasure in heaven, it is weary waiting here, and we groan for our house not made with hands: 2 Cor. 5:1-2
B. Thus, we long to depart and be with Christ: Phil. 1:23
C. It is our desire to see Him as He is: 1 Jn. 3:1-2
IV. Stanza 4 mentions purity
"O Paradise! O Paradise! I want to sin no more;
I want to be as pure on earth As on thy spotless shore."
A. The aim of every true Christian is to sin no more: 1 Jn. 2:1
B. Hence, we want to be pure on earth even as our Lord was pure: 1 Jn. 3:3
C. And if that aim characterizes our life, someday we shall dwell on the spotless shore where no sin or anything that defiles will enter: Rev. 21:27
V. Stanza 5 mentions home
"O Paradise! O Paradise! I greatly long to see
The special place my dearest Lord In love prepares for me."
A. Like David, we long to see the home where we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forevermore: Ps. 23:6
B. Therefore, we look up to our dearest Lord who is already there: 1 Tim. 3:16
C. Our hope is based upon His promise that He is preparing for us a home in that place: Jn. 14:1-3
VI. Stanza 6 mentions happiness
"Lord Jesus, King of Paradise! O keep me in Thy love,
And guide me to that happy land Of perfect rest above."
A. We must look to Jesus, King of Paradise, to help keep us in His love: Jude v. 21
B. If we do this, He will guide us to that reward in heaven which brings rejoicing and exceeding gladness: Matt. 5:12
C. Therefore, we should always be setting our affections on things above: Col. 3:1-2
CONCL.: The chorus continues to focus our minds on the rapture that the saved will experience in heaven.
"Where loyal hearts and true Stand ever in the light,
All rapture through and through In God’s most holy sight!"
Based upon Jesus’s statement to the penitent thief on the cross, the term "Paradise" is often used of the state of comfort for the righteous in the Hadean world, as opposed to Tartarus, the place of torments. However, the word "paradise" is from a Persian word meaning "garden" and simply refers to any place of utter loveliness. Thus, we may rightly consider the eternal home that God has prepared for His people when we think, "O Paradise."