II. ITS TEMPLE
A. The Temple Being the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb—the Redeeming God
Revelation 21:22 says, “And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” We need to consider why the temple is considered a furnishing of the holy city and not part of the structure itself. The structure itself is called the tabernacle of God (v. 3). The writer of Revelation tells us that he did not see the temple. Because he was used to the temple, he was looking for it, but he saw no temple. Instead, he saw that the temple was the redeeming God. Thus, the redeeming God is not only the basic factor for the structure of the New Jerusalem but also the very central furnishing. We human beings created by God need a temple. Our temple is the redeeming God as a part of the furnishings of the New Jerusalem.
1. Referring to the Holy of Holies
Actually, the temple here refers to the Holy of Holies. This is evidenced by the measurement of the New Jerusalem, which is the same in three dimensions—length, breadth, and height (a cube—21:16)—like the Holy of Holies in the Old Testament temple, which is the same measurement in three dimensions (1 Kings 6:20). The Holy of Holies is actually God Himself.
2. For God’s Redeemed Elect to Worship and Serve Him
The temple is for God’s people to worship Him, to serve Him (Rev. 22:3b).
3. To Be the Dwelling Place of God’s Serving Elect
The holy city as the tabernacle of God is for God to dwell in, and the redeeming God as the temple is for the redeemed saints to dwell in. In the new heaven and new earth, the New Jerusalem will be a mutual dwelling place for God and man for eternity.
B. The House (Palace) of God the Father, the King of Kings, and His Many Sons, the Co-kings
The temple is the house (palace) of God the Father, who is the King of kings, and of His household, His many sons, His royal family, who are the co-kings with the Father, to be its reign (22:5b). These co-kings are also the priests who serve God (v. 3b); hence, they are the royal priesthood, the kingly priesthood (1 Pet. 2:9).
Because the Dweller and His children will be kings, this temple becomes a palace. Solomon built a temple for God and also a palace for himself separately. These two were divided, separated. But now in the New Jerusalem our temple and our palace are one. God’s temple is our palace. All the folks of the same divine family live in that temple, where they worship God and live as kings, making that living place a palace. The Father is the Father-King, and the children are the children-kings. This is the reigning, ruling family, the royal family. Their dwelling place is the place not only for them to serve God but also for them to live as kings; it is a palace.
There has never been such a family on this earth. The Japanese have their emperors, the British have their kings, but there has never been a situation where the whole family are kings. We believers in Christ, who are washed by the blood and regenerated by the Spirit, are the children of God who will eventually become kings. Our Father-King is the unique Father, but He will have millions of successors because we will all be His co-kings. Romans 5:17 says that by the abounding grace we can reign in life as a king today. The entire Bible tells us that we, the children of God, eventually will be the children-kings in the King’s house. The reign in the holy city will be not only God Himself as the Father-King, but also His children as the co-kings with their Father.
(The Application of the Interpretation of the New Jerusalem to the Seeking Believers, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)