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  • Writer's picturePaul Cho

Seeing the Kingdom of God through Monet's Impressionist Paintings in Paris, France

Have you ever wondered what it would be like when heaven comes to earth? During our recent trip to Paris, Esther and I were captivated by the beauty of God's creation. We were particularly fascinated by the city's designs, where the gardens and architectural wonders truly showcased the magnificent and glorious beauty of the city.


One of our highlights was visiting the Musée de l'Orangerie, where we saw the renowned paintings of Claude Monet, the founder of the Impressionist style. In the later years of his life, Monet devoted a lot of time to capturing the beauty of his garden throughout the changing seasons. As we gazed at his paintings (below), we were amazed by the surreal lighting, colors, and overall beauty. It made us wonder, how much more magnificent must the actual scene be if the paintings are already this breathtaking!


In the book of Ezekiel 36, the Lord speaks through the prophet Ezekiel about the time when God will fully restore the inhabitants of Israel who were taken into captivity to the land of Babylon due to their disobedience. Verses 33-35 state:

Thus says the LORD God: On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be rebuilt…. And they will say, “This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.”

God fulfills this promise through Jesus Christ, who fully embodies God and represents the true Israel. Jesus has fulfilled the righteousness of God through his work on the cross. With it, he has initiated a redemption project to renew the entire creation, which has been affected by sin. Although Jesus has ascended back to heaven for now, he has promised to return. The day that Ezekiel speaks of is the day when Jesus Christ will come back to redeem to restore all things and bring all things under his lordship. On this day, the fallen creation will be fully restored, resembling the garden of Eden where there was complete shalom and flourishing of life to bring glory to God.


During our stay in Paris, Esther and I had the opportunity to visit Giverny garden, the actual location that inspired Claude Monet's drawings for his own garden. Seeing his garden with our own eyes, rather than just through his paintings, left us utterly amazed! We had the opportunity to witness the real flowers, the tranquil still waters reflecting the lights, the authentic trees, and the vibrant creatures thriving in the garden. The garden was brimming with harmony and teeming with flourishing life! While we caught a glimpse of the garden's beauty at the museum, actually experiencing it in person was truly awe-inspiring and mind-boggling.


God states in the book of Ezekiel that on the day of redemption, the entire creation will be renewed, resembling the garden of Eden. In fact, Revelation 22, the final chapter of the Bible, depicts a garden similar to the one described in the book of Genesis. The presence of the river of water of life, the tree of life, and the languages all symbolize the reversal of the curse from Genesis 3 and the complete restoration of God's creation.


For now, as Esther and I witnessed the partial beauty of Monet's Garden at the museum, we also behold the partial beauty of the garden described in Revelation 22 - the kingdom of God - in our present world. This is because we are living in the interim period between redemption and consummation. However, there will come a day, the day of redemption, when God will descend from heaven and establish His reign over all aspects of His creation. On that day, we will finally behold the complete beauty of the Garden, where there will be full shalom and the flourishing of life.


As we await the full manifestation of the kingdom of God, let us live our lives in a manner that reflects the kingdom and generates excitement about God's coming among people. May our lives be like Monet's paintings, through which others can see the kingdom of God and cause deep yearning for the day of complete renewal of all things. The garden that will be revealed on that day will be infinitely more beautiful and glorious as the full presence of God comes to dwell among us.

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