A discussion of The Temple of God in Heaven.
I. In this article we will discuss the Temple of God in Heaven. We will refer to the Tabernacle in the desert and Solomon’s Temple. We will consider that which the Apostle John was privileged to view of the Temple in Heaven. Notice in the video that, in the Tabernacle, the mercy seat is “above the law” (Ex 25:16, 17, 21). In this article, we will also show the illegitimacy of the Tribulation temple.
A. Study Text. Revelation 11:19, “And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.”
B. Note. Dr. John F. Walvoord’s commentary thought on the the Temple of God in heaven, in the following paragraph.
1. Though the earthly temple may have been desecrated by the beast, its counterpart in heaven reflects the righteousness and majesty of God. The heavenly ark of the covenant, which in its earthly equivalent originally contained the law, speaks of God’s righteousness. Aaron’s rod that budded typifies resurrection, and the golden pot that had manna represents Christ as the basis of the shed blood of the sacrifice.
2. My Thought. It is the tribulation temple, that is mentioned in Rev 11:1-2, which was desecrated by the antichrist. It is important to remember that the Tribulation temple was constructed under the approval and support of the antichrist, but was never a place of the Presence of God. My article, “End Times 16,” goes into great detail to show that the Tribulation temple will be a counterfeit temple.
II. Comment Providers. BKC=The Bible Knowledge Commentary. MSB=MacArthur Study Bible; NAC = New American Commentary; NKJV= New King James Study Bible; RRC=Ryrie Commentary; RSB=Ryrie Study Bible; SRN=Scofield Reference Notes; WRC= Walvoord Commentary).
III. Let us consider the chronology of the tabernacle, and following temples, whether inhabited by God, or not.
A. The following is a chronology of Jewish places of worship that precede the Tribulation temple.
1. God commissioned the construction of the tabernacle/sanctuary (Exodus 25:8-9, 1491 B.C.).
2. The tabernacle in the desert was completed (Exodus 40:33, 1490 B.C.).
3. God commissioned King Solomon to build a temple in Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 28:6, 1015 B.C.).
4. Solomon finished the construction of the temple in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 5:1, 1004 B.C.)
5. The forces of Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 36:19, 586 B.C.)
6. The Temple was rebuilt in Jerusalem, being known as Zerubbabel’s Temple (Haggai 1:1-15, 2:1-23; Ezra 6:15, 515 B.C.)
7. Herod’s temple, which was a remodeling of Zerubbabel’s temple, was completed in 4 B.C., but was not totally completed until 63 A.D.
8. The glory of the LORD (Yahweh) was present in the Tabernacle in the desert (Ex 40:34-38), as was the case in Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 8:10-11).
9. As will be shown below, the Glory of the LORD (Yahweh) departed Solomon’s Temple prior to its looting and destruction in 586 B.C. by the Babylonians, and will not return until the “Lord GOD” (Adonai Yahweh) places the Millennial Temple in Jerusalem (B.3. below).
10. Of the above temples, only the Tabernacle (1) and Solomon’s Temple (3-5) were legitimate temples, having been inhabited by the Glory of the LORD (Yahweh). The Tribulation temple will not be inhabited by the Glory of the LORD (Yahweh), therefore, will not be a legitimate temple
11. Consider: LORD, Lord, God, “the glory of the Lord,” theophany, and Shekinah glory. In the Tribulation temple, none of these names, words, or terms have a place in that illegitimate temple.
a. LORD (Yah·weh) (notice capitalized letters LORD). Strong’s 3068, is the proper name of the God of Israel. Genesis 2:4, LORD (YHWH, pronounced “Yahweh).
b. Lord (Adonai). In Psalm 110:1, we see LORD and Lord. Strong’s “136, Lord” is “Messiah” (notice only “L” is capitalized).(Ryrie note).
c. Lord (Adonai). In Genesis 15:2, we see “Lord God,” (“Adonai Yahweh”) (Ryrie note). Strongs 136 Lord. Adonai means “master, lord, sovereign, and is equivalent to the Greek “kurios.” Matthew 1:20, Strongs 2962, properly, a person exercising absolute ownership rights; lord (Lord). Consider Messiah/Christ in this definition.
d. God. Genesis 1:1, “God,” Strong’s 430 Elohim.” Ryrie note, “a generic term for deity, as well as a proper name for the true God; strong one, mighty leader, supreme Deity.
e. The glory of the Lord. Ezekiel saw the appearance of the likeness of the LORD. The LORD’s glory is referred to 15 times in Ezekiel. Ezekiel had seen a theophany, as God had appeared to him in a visionary form. By using the terms “appearance” and “likeness” Ezekiel was pointing out that he had not seen God directly. That would have caused immediate death (cf. Ex 33:18-23; John 1:18). (BKC)
f. Theophany. A theophany is a visible manifestation of God, usually restricted to the Old Testament. God has appeared in dreams (Gen. 20:3-7; 28:12-17), visions (Gen. 15:1-21; Is. 6:1-13), as an angel (Gen. 16:7-13; 18:1-33). https://bible.org/illustration/ot-theophanies
g. Shekinah glory. “The visible manifestation of God’s presence.” The word shekinah does not appear in the Bible, but the concept clearly does. The Jewish rabbis coined this extra-biblical expression, a form of a Hebrew word that literally means “he caused to dwell,” signifying that it was a divine visitation of the presence or dwelling of the Lord God on this earth. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ is the dwelling place of God’s glory. Colossians 2:9 tells us that “in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” Although His glory was also veiled, Jesus is nonetheless the presence of God on earth. When we get to heaven, we will see both the Son and the Father in all their glory, and the Shekinah will no longer be veiled (1 John 3:2).
B. The Departure Of God’s glory from Solomon’s Temple. The Return of God’s glory to the millennial Temple. The eternal Temple.
1. Ezekiel’s prophecy of 594 B.C. (Ezek 10:14, 18, 22) tells of the Glory of the LORD (Yahweh) departing from Solomon’s Temple. Ezekiel had a prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem (Ezek 10:1-22, 594 B.C.). Ezekiel prophesied of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple (Ezek 24:1-2, 593 B.C.) (Jer 39:1-10, 589 B.C.).
2. Ezekiel’s prophecy of 587 B.C., (Ezek 37:15-28), tells of God putting the Temple in the Millennium. Ezekiel 37:15 and 28, (Yahweh). Ezekiel 37:19, 21 (Adonai Yahweh). Ezekiel 37:27 (Elohim).
3. Ezekiel’s prophecy of 574 B.C. (Ezekiel 43:5), tells of the Glory of the LORD (Yahweh) returning, and entering the Temple, which will be the Millennial Temple; this will take place when Christ returns from Heaven at the Battle of Armageddon (Zech 14:9).
C. The earthly Godly inhabited places of God’s Presence were The Tabernacle in the desert, and Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. The future Millennial Temple will also be a place of God’s Presence.
D. The Eternal Temple. In Rev 21:22, we read, “I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” (This verse refers to the Eternal State.) (“Lord God”….”kurios theos”)
IV. We will consider the ark of the covenant, which was present in the Tabernacle in the Desert and in Solomon’s Temple.
A. The Tabernacle In The Desert.
1. God ordered the construction of the Tabernacle in the desert. Exodus 25:8.
2. God’s Presence was observed in the Tabernacle in the desert. Exodus 40:34-38.
3. Ark details:
a. “Have them make an ark of acacia wood. Ex 25:10-11.
b. Tablets engraved with the Ten Commandments were placed inside the ark. Ex 25:20.
c. Aaron’s rod that budded. Numbers 17:8.
d. Hebrews 9:3-4, 3 Behind the second veil, there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, 4 having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant, covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant.
(1) Hebrews 9:4 states that the Ark contained “the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant.” Revelation 11:19 says the prophet saw God’s Temple in heaven opened, “and the ark of his covenant was seen within His Temple.”
(2) The above picture shows a model of the Ark, where the lid has been removed so you can see the contents that fit inside the Ark:
(a) The two stone tablets of the Law; Aaron’s rod that budded; and the golden pot of ‘hidden’ manna.
(b) Together these three items form the Testimony, Exodus 16:34. “As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the Testimony, to be kept.”
1a. Ryrie note, “Testimony.” “the Testimony” refers to the two tablets of the law, which, along with manna and Aaron’s rod that budded, were deposited in the ark of the covenant (Heb 9:4).
1b. Tabernacle in the desert. Exodus 25:21 ‘Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the tablets of the covenant law that I will give you.’ “hence the Ark is called the Ark of the Testimony.”
B. Solomon’s Temple
1. God ordered the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem, which is known as Solomon’s Temple (2 Samuel 7:12-13; 1 Kings 5:1-5).
2. God’s Presence was observed in Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 8:9-11; 2 Chronicles 7:1-3).
3. Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. 1 Kings 8:9, “There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the sons of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.
4. As previously mentioned, “Hebrews 9:4 states that the Ark contained “the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant.” How do we account for the missing items of 1 Kings 8:9, (“the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded.”)? Consider the comments of Charles Ryrie, 1 Kings 8:9. “Heb 9:4 refers to the contents of the ark when it stood in the Tabernacle and contained the law. “Aaron’s rod, and manna.” Apparently the latter two items had been lost by this time.”
V. We will now consider the Temple of God in Heaven.
A. Text. Revelation 11:19: “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.”
B. MacArthur Comment
1. 11:19 temple of God . . . heaven. See 3:12; 7:15; 14:15, 17; 15:5–8; 16:1, 17.
2. The heavenly Holy of Holies (see notes on Ex. 26:31–36), where God dwells in transcendent glory, already is identified as His throne (chaps. 4, 5). (Cf. Heb. 9:24. John had seen the throne (4:5), the altar (6:9; 8:3–5), and here the Holy of Holies.)
3. Ark of His covenant. This piece of furniture in the OT tabernacle and temple (see notes on Ex. 25:11–18) symbolized God’s presence, atonement, and covenant with His people. That earthly ark was only a picture of this heavenly one (see Heb. 9:23; 10:20). It was there God provided mercy and atonement for sin. As the earthly Holy of Holies was open when the price of sin was paid (Matt. 27:51; Heb. 10:19, 20), so the Holy of Holies in heaven is opened to speak of God’s saving New Covenant and redeeming purpose in the midst of judgment. Judgment comes out of God’s Holy of Holies (14:15, 17; 15:5–8; 16:1, 7, 17). See note on 6:1. (MSB)
VI. The Temple in the Eternal State.
A. Text. Revelation 21:22, “I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.”
B. Comment. “no temple.” Several passages affirm that there is a temple in heaven (3:12; 7:15; 11:19; 15:5). Here, it is clear there is none in eternity. How can this be? The temple is not a building; it is the Lord God Himself. Revelation 7:15 implies this when it says, “He who sits on the throne will dwell among them.” Verse 23 continues the thought of no temple, except God and the Lamb. The glory of God which illuminates all heaven defines it as His temple. There is no need for a temple in the eternal state since God Himself will be the temple in which everything exists. The presence of God literally fills the entire new heaven and new earth (cf. v. 3). Going to heaven will be entering the limitless presence of the Lord (cf. John 14:3; 1 Thes. 4:17). (MSB)
VII. God’s heavenly dwelling place. The heavenly dwelling place of Christians. Christ is the transporter of Christians.
A. John 14:2-3: 2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” 3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.
B. John 14:6: Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
C. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
D. The transporting of Christians, by Christ, to God’s dwelling place in heaven is equally stated in John 14:6 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, as well as in 1 Corinthians 15:50-54. Whether deceased, or living, born again believers in Christ of the church age, will be caught up in the air by Christ, with their bodies, souls and spirits being reunited (1 Thes 5:23). In Revelation 4:1-4, the Apostle John sees the result of this “catching up” of Christians. (4:2, “Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne;” 4:4, “Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads.”). It is important to understand that John 14:6 explains more than a belief; it tells of an event, whereby Christ will take His believers to Heaven, where “they shall always be with the Lord.”
VII. Translation Considerations. “The New American Standard Bible (NASB) translation was chosen for this, and other studies, because of two main reasons. First, the NASB capitalizes the first letter of pronouns that relate to God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit); not all Bible translations show that same respect for God. Second, the NASB has a history of correctness in translation.”
VIII. Video Data. Tabernacle Tour. Paulo Santos.
Please follow this site.