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But I Saw No Temple


But I saw no temple in it,
for the Lord God Almighty and
the Lamb are its temple.

The city had no need of the sun
or of the moon to shine in it,
for the glory of God illuminated it.
The Lamb is its light.
And the nations of those who are saved
shall walk in its light,
and the kings of the earth
bring their glory and honor into it.

Its gates shall not be shut at all by day
(there shall be no night there). (Revelation 21:22-25)


The Apostle John told us clearly that there was no temple in the new heaven and the new earth. There will be no physical temple in New Jerusalem because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

Why is there no temple in New Jerusalem? The answer is found in these two verses:

God, Who made the world and everything in it,
since He is Lord of heaven and earth,
does not dwell in temples made with hands. (Acts 17:24)

Thus says the LORD:
"Heaven is My throne,
And earth is My footstool.

Where is the house that you will build Me?
And where is the place of My rest?" (Isaiah 66:1)

God desires us to worship Him freely without any obstruction. As He fills all in all, no physical building is good enough. Thus, the garden is the best setting for Him as heaven is His Throne, and earth is His footstool. Therefore, there is no need for a temple. Also there is no need of the sun or the moon to shine their light upon the city. The LORD Himself is the everlasting light! There will also be no night as the glory of God illuminates the whole heaven and earth.

In Matthew 5:34-35, Jesus said:

"But I say to you, do not swear at all:
neither by heaven, for it is God's throne;
nor by the earth, for it is His footstool;
nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King."

The place God had appointed for true worship from the beginning in Genesis was a garden. It was where the tree of life is. It was not an ivory house nor a palace overlaid with luxuries and works of arts, but a beautiful garden, fully furnished and adorned with God’s creative works of nature. It was where the mountains and the hills would break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field would clap their hands (Isaiah 55:12). Back to the Garden of Eden.

This will put the pride of man down. How often we have been proud of some majestic and magnificent buildings that we have built, when in fact, we need none of them from the very beginning and to the very end.

The roof of Adam’s house was the heaven itself. His dwelling place had neither a ceiling nor a confinement. Adam was free indeed. He lived and slept under the canopy of heaven. His floor was a green pasture, scented with fragrances of the flowers around. All of Solomon’s palaces and dwelling places, in all their glories, were not arrayed like them. Under the cool shadows of the trees and the beaming moonlight, Adam rested his body, enjoying perfect rest and sleep.

Life then was simple and plain without any artificial delights and inventions to continually gratify the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Even without clothes, Adam and his wife were unashamed (Genesis 2:25). But when they sinned, they lost their innocence, desiring clothes and houses, and lusting for this and that.

Do not love the world or
the things in the world.
If anyone loves the world,
the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world--
the lust of the flesh,
the lust of the eyes,
and the pride of life--
is not of the Father but is of the world.
And the world is passing away,
and the lust of it
;
but he who does the will of God
abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17)

The sooner we rediscover this truth, the sooner we will attain godliness with contentment. True godliness is being full of grace, contented with the necessary, and lusting for nothing.

Because you have made the LORD, Who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways. (Psalm 91:9-11)

God Himself shall be the Temple. He is our Refuge and Dwelling Place. Yes, God is our Dwelling Place! He will protect and preserve us from all harms. He will order His holy angels to take good care of us. In Him we abide. And in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). When God is our Dwelling Place, we are safe and secure from all alarms. When we have God, we have everything. God is our Everything. He is our All!

To illustrate this truth about true riches, here's a story about a rich man. As he was approaching his death, he became very sad. He was grieved because he had worked so hard for his money, and he wanted to bring them with him to heaven. So he prayed to God asking Him whether he might be able to take some of his wealth along his heavenward journey.

God heard his plea and lovingly told him, "Sorry, my dear son, you can't take any of your money with you to heaven. There is no need for that."

The man begged God if He might bend the rules a little. He continued to fast and pray, persevering in this petition of his. God then decided to allow him to bring only one suitcase with him. Overjoyed, the man gathered the largest suitcase that he could find, and filled it up with gold bars of highest purity and quality. He then placed the suitcase besides his deathbed.

After his death, the man went up to heaven. His suitcase of gold bars was with him. He was warmly greeted by St. Peter at the Pearly Gate of Heaven. St. Peter said, “Welcome to heaven.” But upon seeing the suitcase, St. Peter told him politely, “Sir, you are not allowed to bring this in.”

The rich man then explained to St. Peter that he had obtained special permission from God to do so. St. Peter went to verify that with God. Sure enough, that was true. St. Peter returned to the man, and said, “You're right. You are allowed only one carry-on bag. But God asked me to check the contents of your bag before letting you through.”

St. Peter opened the suitcase, and exclaimed, “Why do you bring bricks for the roads? We have abundance of these on all the streets and highways. Just take a look.” When the rich man begun to behold the streets of heaven, he was in for a delightful shock! True enough, there was pure gold everywhere!

Below is the description of the new heaven and the new earth in Revelation 21:1-21:

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth,
for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.
Also there was no more sea.

Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying,
"Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men,
and He will dwell with them
,
and they shall be His people.
God Himself will be with them and be their God.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes;
there shall be no more death,
nor sorrow, nor crying.

There shall be no more pain,
for the former things have passed away."

Then He Who sat on the throne said,
"Behold, I make all things new."

And He said to me,
"Write, for these words are true and faithful."

And He said to me,
"It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the Beginning and the End.
I will give of the fountain of the water of life
freely to him who thirsts.
He who overcomes shall inherit all things,
and I will be his God and he shall be My son.
But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable,
murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers,
idolaters, and all liars
shall have their part in the lake
which burns with fire and brimstone,
which is the second death."

Then one of the seven angels
who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues
came to me and talked with me, saying,
"Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife."

And he carried me away in the Spirit
to a great and high mountain,
and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem,
descending out of heaven from God,
having the glory of God.

Her light was like a most precious stone,
like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.

Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates,
and twelve angels at the gates,
and names written on them,
which are the names of the twelve tribes
of the children of Israel:
three gates on the east,
three gates on the north,
three gates on the south,
and three gates on the west.

Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations,
and on them were the names
of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

And he who talked with me
had a gold reed to measure the city,
its gates, and its wall.

The city is laid out as a square;
its length is as great as its breadth.

And he measured the city with the reed:
twelve thousand furlongs.
Its length, breadth, and height are equal.

Then he measured its wall:
one hundred and forty-four cubits,
according to the measure of a man,
that is, of an angel.

The construction of its wall was of jasper;
and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.

The foundations of the wall of the city
were adorned with all kinds of precious stones:
the first foundation was jasper,
the second sapphire,
the third chalcedony,
the fourth emerald,
the fifth sardonyx,
the sixth sardius,
the seventh chrysolite,
the eighth beryl,
the ninth topaz,
the tenth chrysoprase,
the eleventh jacinth,
and the twelfth amethyst.

The twelve gates were twelve pearls:
each individual gate was of one pearl.

And the street of the city was pure gold,
like transparent glass.

The Apostle John had a glorious view of New Jerusalem. He saw that the tabernacle of God was with men, and He was dwelling with them. Note that John used the past tense. As God opened up the future, John saw that all had already been accomplished. The Bride of Christ was glorious, perfect and triumphant, having the glory of God shining through her! There was no more sea. That meant there would be no more tsunamis, typhoons, hurricanes etc. There was also no more death, no more sorrow, no more crying and no more pain.

Exceedingly rich in honour, glory and splendor, New Jerusalem was described as below:

  • Her light was shining like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.

  • She had a great and high wall with twelve gates,
    and twelve angels at the gates,
    and names written on them,
    which are the names of the twelve tribes
    of the children of Israel:
    three gates on the east,
    three gates on the north,
    three gates on the south,
    and three gates on the west.

  • The wall of the city had twelve foundations,
    and on them were the names
    of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

  • The city is laid out as a square;
    its length is as great as its breadth.

  • Its length, breadth, and height are equally 12,000 furlongs (1,500 miles).

  • The thickness of the wall was 144 cubits (216 feet).

  • The construction of its wall was of jasper.

  • The city was pure gold, like clear glass.

  • The foundations of the wall of the city
    were adorned with all kinds of precious stones:
    the first foundation was jasper,
    the second sapphire,
    the third chalcedony,
    the fourth emerald,
    the fifth sardonyx,
    the sixth sardius,
    the seventh chrysolite,
    the eighth beryl,
    the ninth topaz,
    the tenth chrysoprase,
    the eleventh jacinth,
    and the twelfth amethyst.

  • The twelve gates were twelve pearls:
    each individual gate was of one pearl.

  • And the street of the city was pure gold,
    like transparent glass.

Yes, the street of New Jerusalem was pure gold. The whole city was pure gold, like clear glass. New Jerusalem had four equal sides reaching outwards to the four corners of the world - east, north, south and west. On each side, there were three gates, openly freely to all. As death was no more, everyone in the new heaven and new earth were all redeemed, sanctified and glorified! In Christ, all people of all nations were equal. They would all have free access to God, dwelling or tabernacling with Him in glory forever! God is truly their Tabernacle and the Temple! In Him we live and move and have our being!

Please also read: Where Is Eden?

Source: Matthew Henry's Commentary

Written on:
25 April 2006