THE TEMPLE AND THE LIGHT OF THE CITY
Verse 22 says, "And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple." These words are especially precious. We know that in the Jerusalem of the Old Testament there was the temple. Whenever man wanted to have fellowship with God at that time, he had to go to the temple. The temple was the place set aside for God, and it was to that place that man had to go for fellowship with God. In the New Jerusalem, however, there will be no temple, because God and the Lamb are the temple of the city. This means that the fellowship between God and man in that day will be intimate and direct; it will be face to face. Man will no longer need to go to a specified place in order to have fellowship with God.
In the Old Testament there was a veil in the temple. No one could pass through this veil and enter into God’s presence except the High Priest, and then only once a year. Today in the church the veil has been split. Now we all can enter into God’s presence to worship Him in spirit and in truthfulness. But in that day God and the Lamb will be the temple of the city. We will not have to go to God; He will be right where we are. Today we go to God, but in that day we will live in His presence. God and the Lamb are the temple of the city. Therefore, if we do not learn to live in the Holy of Holies today, we are the most foolish people. Today the veil has been split, and we can enter into the Holy of Holies with boldness. We must not stay outside.
Verse 23 says, "And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon that they should shine in it, for the glory of God illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb." This passage is connected with the previous verse about the temple. God and the Lamb are the temple of the city, and the glory of God lights the city. Therefore, there is no need for the sun or the moon to shine. We know that in the temple of the Old Testament the outer court was lighted by the sun and the moon, and the Holy Place by the light of the lamp. But in the Holy of Holies there was no window; the light of the sun and the moon could not shine in. Neither was there a lamp as in the Holy Place. The glory of God provided the light. Even so, the New Jerusalem is not lighted by the sun or the moon, but by the glory of God. This reveals that the whole city will be the Holy of Holies. The church in the future will become the very Holy of Holies.
"Its lamp is the Lamb." God’s glory is the light and the Lamb is the lamp. This shows us that in the New Jerusalem there will still be something indirect. God as the light will shine through the Lamb as the lamp. This is not a reference to redemption but an indication to us that no one can know God directly. If anyone wants to know God, he must know Him through the Lamb—this remains true, even in eternity. Only through Christ can man know God. Apart from the lamp we cannot see the light; likewise, without Christ we cannot see God. Regardless of the environment, God still dwells in unapproachable light. Only when we are in Christ can we see Him.
Verse 24 says, "And the nations will walk by its light; and the kings of the earth bring their glory into it." We should notice one thing here. All the people whom God has obtained from the dispensation of the patriarchs, the dispensation of the law, and the dispensation of grace will become a bride to be presented to Christ in that day. All the people who are still living at the end of the age of the kingdom and who have not been deceived by Satan will be transferred to become the people on the new earth. These people are the nations mentioned in verse 24. All those who are living in the city will have resurrected bodies; they are the sons and the kings. However, those who are on the new earth will still have a body of flesh and blood; they are the people and the nations of the earth. The kings of the earth are the rulers of the nations.
(The Glorious Church, Chapter 5, by Watchman Nee)