At Pasargadae, on the dusty yet fertile plain of Morghab in southern Iran, lie the remnants of the first great Persian garden constructed by Cyrus the Great, once filled with exotic plants and animals.

Gardens hold a hidden story: they reminisce of the fall of man but whisper from every corner that God is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Heb 11:6). A garden in all its beauty can truly inspire us to look to the future splendour soon to be revealed once again on this earth.

There are many breathtakingly spectacular gardens one can visit today, such as those of the Versailles Palace (France), of the Belvedere Palace (Austria) and of the Taj Mahal (India), and they are all based on the early Persian garden designs that Cyrus the Great formulated and created at his imperial capital at Pasargadae.

In the story of Esther, the scriptures give us a unique glimpse into a luxurious Persian garden feast in an enclosed garden of the king’s palace in Susa (Esther 1:5 NIV ). In this enclosure were hangings of coloured linen, cotton and violet wool, hung by white and purple cords and passed through rings of silver to columns of marble. Drinks were served in cups of gold on couches of gold and silver positioned on pavements of porphyry, marble, alabaster and black marble.

The Persian word for garden is paridaida meaning a walled garden, conveying the idea of a park, forest, delightful orchard grove and a watered place. We are very familiar with this ancient Persian word, as it has come through to English as ‘paradise’. It is used in the Bible to describe the Garden of Eden restored, a picture of the kingdom age (Isa 51:3). In fact, there is a close connection with the Persian gardens of old and the future paradise of God on earth (Rev 2:7).

For example, the Persian garden had symmetry of design comprising a rectangular layout with a fourfold geometric division. The garden was always divided into four sections, with an orderly central portion including a pool with four streams, many flowerbeds and paths. Water was a vital element for both irrigation and ornamentation. Persian gardens also featured ornamental trees as well as fruit trees. For the ancient Persians, a tree by a stream was a symbol of eternal life, just as evergreen trees are a symbol of immortality.

How remarkable that God too has a design and a purpose for His paradise. It will be watered by a pure river representing the water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. This river will be anked with trees laden with fruit for the healing of the nations (Rev 22:1-4). Fruitfulness and trust will be the hallmarks of the people inhabiting the garden (Psa 1:3, Jer 17:8, Isa 55:13). Indeed it will be a place ordered and established with design and purpose (Isa 9:6-7).

Protective walls formed the perimeter of a Persian garden and in a similar way God will re-set His boundaries in the future age, laws to live by and codes for a successful and happy life. Hence in Song of Solomon 8:9, a wall is used as a comparison between the impregnability of a fortress and the virtuous, self-restrained woman. The future paradise of God will uphold the concept of purity and protection against immoral advances.

In the Persian garden, the water was parted into four channels, just like the original garden of Eden. Similarly, the power of the Word of God will issue forth from Jerusalem to all nations (Isa 2:1-3), giving direction and life to a thirsty world.

Pavilions and trellises providing shade were built at intersections with several viewpoints to enjoy the gardens. They provided shade and protection from the heat. So too in the kingdom of God, “there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain” (Isa 4:6).

A Persian garden had a sense of security within because outside its boundaries were lesser gardens where freewill could be exercised in hunting or pleasure.

God has provided for every aspect of our lives, both spiritual and natural, so that we can have fulfilling lives now whilst we live in anticipation of the paradise to come. He has a predetermined purpose, He has set down boundaries, moral codes in His Word that will lead us to everlasting life, and he has given us the power of His Word that can cleanse us. He has also given us freewill, to either please Him or to please ourselves. The Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of one who always did those things that pleased his Father ( John 8:29). We are given one opportunity, one short mortal life which determines whether we have a future in God’s paradise. Today is our day of opportunity. Let us choose the way that leads to everlasting life in the glorious kingdom of the Father.