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.
Revelation 21:22-23 (NIV)
Read: Revelation 21:9-27
Consider: Whether reading Revelation or any of the prophetic books of the Old Testament, it is important to keep in mind that what we are reading is God’s words to mankind. Paul puts it this way: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Specifically concerning prophecy, Peter tells us: Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21).
After the resurrection and on the road to Emmaus, Jesus used the Scriptures to draw attention to what they said about him. We read: He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself (Luke 24:25-27). Jesus took time to show that right from the beginning of Scripture his identity is not hidden from those who have their eyes opened.
What this means is that, when we read and study any part of the Bible, we should be attentive to what it tells us about God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Concerning the prophetic books of the Bible, this should make it easier to glean something important from what we read, rather than being caught up in discussions about what the imagery means and whether it should be taken literally or interpreted symbolically. It is better to say that there is much in prophetic imagery that we do not understand, rather than being emphatic about whether it should be literally or symbolically interpreted.
In today’s passage from Revelation 21 we read: 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 (Revelation 21:22-23). There will be no need of a temple in heaven, as God will be ever-present with his people. Earlier in Revelation 21 we read: And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God (21:3). Also there will be no need for any kind of natural or artificial light (sun, moon or manmade). This might be hard to comprehend, but we do have an instance at Jesus’ incarnation where the effect of the glory of God is seen: And there were shepherds living out in the fields near by, keeping watch over their flocks by night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified (Luke 2:8-9).
When you find anything in the Bible difficult to understand, ask God to open his Word to you, so that you might understand what is said and how to apply it.
Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law (Psalm 119:18).
Pray: Father, we acknowledge that there is much in the Bible that can prove difficult to understand. Help us when reading and studying the Bible, to come with open minds and hearts, allowing your Holy Spirit to enlighten and teach us. Amen
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