Why, in Revelation 21, when John sees the new heaven and earth, does it look like ‘a city in the shape of a temple that’s garden-like’? So asks Greg Beale in a fascinating talk about his 2004 book, The Temple and the Church’s Mission (5:15 into the talk). After discussing that passage in Revelation, his answer goes something like this:

  • The garden of Eden was a temple, and humanity was commissioned to expand the temple to fill the earth (15:55-34:40)
  • Perhaps Noah’s ark was a temple too (34:40-36:20)
  • The patriarchs built little temples in the land (36:20-44:45)
  • Israel’s tabernacle, and later their temple, was a model of heaven and earth, pointing ahead to the new heaven and earth, which would be filled with God’s presence (44:45-58:30)
  • Christ and his followers are a temple in the new creation (58:30-1:09:00)
  • As priests in this new temple, the church mediates between God and humanity, and is called to expand this temple to fill the world with the presence of God (1:09:00-1:15:00)

MP3 file available here:

Or if you want to listen to it while staring at a picture of Greg Beale and the book cover, it’s also on YouTube: