Revelation 21:22-23   I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.  The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
As we reflect on this part of John’s vision of the ‘New Creation’ when Jesus returns to ‘make all things new’ (verse 5), it is helpful to remind ourselves just who we are, and what we are doing here.  We are human beings, made in God-the Creator’s ‘likeness and image’ (Genesis 1:26-27), and designed to find fulfilment and completeness in union with him.

At the beginning we enjoyed this perfect, harmonious relationship in the Garden of Eden, where everything was ‘very good’ (Genesis 1:31).  But then we rebelled against God’s rule and authority and were cast out of the Garden and banned from accessing the ‘Tree of Life’ (Genesis 3:23-24).  Moreover, the ‘world’ in which we were designed to live became corrupt, and life apart from God became a misery and a constant struggle.

Nevertheless, God in his mercy and grace, called out a people for himself, making a ‘covenant’ with them to be his very own special people – to live under his covenant blessing, and to be a blessing to others.  In his grace, he established with them a place where he would meet with them, and where they would experience, in some measure, the harmonious relationship with him intended from the beginning.  The ‘place’ was a ‘Temple’, and the sin that separated them from his ‘unapproachable’ holiness would be dealt with by an elaborate ‘sacrificial system’ that had been given to them, graciously, through Moses.

In God’s Sovereign Providence, this Temple was completely destroyed in 586 BC, was rebuilt, and then finally destroyed again 2,000 years ago in AD 70!

So where does this place us now?  In John’s vision, God shows us that he has now restored his harmonious relationship with his people through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, his Son.  There is no longer any need for a Temple or a sacrificial system, nor will there ever be again.  God is now with us continually in the Lord Jesus (Immanu-el, With-us-God), and in the Holy Spirit.  The Tri-une God is our temple, and the Lamb-of-God-who-takes-away-the-sin-of-the-world has replaced the whole sacrificial system forever.  What John saw in a vision we now experience in a shadowy form in our daily lives, and we will experience as a perfect reality when Jesus returns to ‘make all things new’!  

– Bruce Christian