Revelation 21:22-23 – “for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple”

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POSTED 11 FEBRUARY, 2018

reproduced from Salvation on the Line, Volume II

“I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.”

Readers and examiners over the centuries have not fully agreed on what is represented by the “temple” here in Revelation 21:22-23. Some think that themes from Ezekiel 48, what this writer concludes to be the future Millennial Temple, are employed, and others take a more allegorical or metaphorical approach to what is described. Regardless of how of the specific language is taken, regarding the future Eternal State, what is of high importance is how to approach ho gar Kurios ho Theos ho pantokratōr naos autēs estin kai to arnion, “for~the Lord God, the Almighty [the] temple of it is, and the lamb” (Revelation 21:22, Brown and Comfort).[1] It is not just God proper which composes this Temple in the Eternal State; this Temple is composed of both God and the Lamb. This surely bears some significance on what can be deduced about the nature of the Lamb, in relation to the Lord God.

Mounce offers the rather general observation, “The final state toward which this points is eternity itself, where the presence of God the Father and the Lamb permeates and sanctifies all that the heavenly Jerusalem symbolizes.”[2] Yeshua the Lamb is hardly depicted here as an independent agent, who acts entirely on His own. Beasley-Murray interjects the thought, “Such an association of God and the Lamb in the eternal city inevitably suggests their unity of being. Yet it is possible that the language has in view a more specific concept, namely that the Lamb of God, who has wrought redemption for the world (1:5f., 5:6ff., 12:11), retains his role as mediator in the eternal city.”[3] It is appreciable that he has noted how the association of the Lord God and the Lamb should be taken as a unity of being, but whether Yeshua the Messiah in the Eternal State must actually mediate between redeemed humanity and God the Father can surely be questioned. Osborne more correctly concludes that the association of God and the Lamb as Temple, is indicative of how Yeshua the Messiah is to be approached and venerated the same as God the Father, sure proof of a high Christology:

“Christ the sacrificial Lamb became the conquering Ram (see Rev. 5:6) and takes his place alongside God the Father as the temple of the eternal city. This also continues the emphasis in the Apocalypse on the unity of God and Christ on the throne (4:2 = 5:6), as the Alpha and Omega (1:8 = 1:17; 21:6 = 22:13), as worthy of worship (4:8-11 = 5:9-14), as judge (14:17-20 = 19:11-21), and now as the temple in the Holy City.”[4]


NOTES

[1] Brown and Comfort, 910.

[2] Mounce, Revelation, 383.

[3] Beasley-Murray, Revelation, 327.

[4] Osborne, Revelation, 761.