"Jerusalem, my happy home,
Name ever dear to me,
When shall my labors have an end
In joy and peace in Thee!
"When shall these eyes your heaven-built walls,
And pearly gates behold?
Your bulwarks with salvation strong,
And streets of shining gold?
"Oh, when, O city of my God,
Shall I your courts ascend,
Where congregations ne'er break up,
And sabbaths have no end."
"And I saw NO TEMPLE therein, for the Lord God Almighty
and the Lamb are the temple of it."—Rev. 21:22.
HEAVEN WITHOUT A TEMPLE! How strange, at first sight, is
this figurative description! The temple was "the excellency of beauty" in
the earthly Jerusalem. It was the place of solemnities, the sanctuary of
prayer, the frequented resort of angels; no, the visible pavilion where God
Himself in mystic splendor dwelt. To the exile of Patmos it had more than an
Israelite's customary hallowed associations. Through its "Beautiful Gate" he
had often and again passed, in company with his Divine Master. In its sacred
porticos he had listened to the voice of Him who spoke as never a man spoke.
But as the celestial vision now passes before him, he looks in vain, amid
the shining portals, and jasper walls, and golden-paved streets, for a
similar sacred shrine. He is struck with the mysterious absence. "I saw
no temple therein!"
This apparent omission in the inspired picture tells us
that there will be no more need of Temples in Heaven. There
was no temple required in the first Eden! There our first parents, in
the days of their innocence, worshiped God under the blue vault of
The angels in heaven, so far as we know, have no visible
sanctuary, there is nothing in their sinless world to interrupt their
interchanges of love and fellowship, or to mar the cadence of their song.
Sin first demanded some special localities for religious
worship—consecrated spots partitioned off from the world. There was no need
of sheepfolds, so long as no wolf prowled abroad. But when sin and Satan
gained entrance, the little flock required the sheltering refuge, wherein
they might rest in safety amid "the mountains of prey," (Ps. 76:4.)
As it was of old in the earthly paradise, so will it be
amid the glories of "Eden restored"—there will be no "present evil world" to
disturb its worshipers, and render needful the quiet and seclusion of
hallowed edifices, to secure the sanctities of devotion. Every place in
the vast domain of Heaven will be a Temple—every spot hallowed ground.
Divisions, too, there will be none. Here, alas! the
existence of many and separate Temples, is too often the painful indication
of divided churches and severed believers; worshiping apart—refusing to hold
fellowship in one and the same church, and drawing lines of improper
demarcation between each other. In Heaven, all shall see "eye to
eye." No walls of separation there. No rival Gerizims and Zions there.
The worshipers being assimilated to God, shall be assimilated to one
another. They shall have one temple, one motive, one
heart, one song. "See how these glorified Christians love one
But if the apostle, in gazing on the apocalyptic vision,
"saw NO temple," what was the substitute? The lack of the earthly symbol of
glory and beauty, must surely be supplied by something nobler and sublimer!
Yes, there IS to be a Temple in Glory, but it is a house "not made with
hands." Materialism, with all its magnificent dimensions, melts away—"The
Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple thereof."
There is one sense, indeed, in which, at this moment, God
and the Lamb are the Temple of the universe. God's presence is
all-pervading. The splendors of the visible skies are but the hangings and
drapery of a more magnificent and vast temple. But I cannot now, with my
feeble faculties, discern the majesty of His glory. I feel that in this
"childhood-world" I am like the infant in the assembly of philosophers,
who is all unconscious of the superiority of the minds around him, and can
hold no fellowship with them in their lofty themes of converse. Though
surrounded on all hands with the footprints and manifestations of a present
Divinity, my befitting exclamation is, "Can you by searching find out
God?" (Job 11:7.)
In Heaven there is to be a vast revelation and
unveiling, of a "hidden God." In the Temple on earth, He was screened by an
interposing veil—that veil in glory is to be withdrawn. No, I am to be
enshrined in Deity! Heaven is not to be so much the temple of God, as
God the temple of Heaven. His attributes are to be the walls and
bulwarks of my everlasting security.
But this verse of our present Meditation tells us more
than this. Jesus "the Lamb" is to form the "Gate Beautiful" of this
Temple—the Revealer of Him who dwells "in the light which no man can
approach unto!" (1 Tim. 6:16.)
We believe it will be as true of the glorified
saint, as of the ransomed on earth, "No man has seen God at any time: the
only-begotten SON who is in the bosom of the Father; he has declared him,"
(John 1:18.) He will be the true Angel "standing in the sun," the
all-glorious medium through which we can see God and live!
"The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple
thereof!" This tells me that all my knowledge will come directly
from God in Christ. Now, there is needed the intervention of
the Word, Ordinances, Sacraments. Then, the spiritual world will no
more be lighted up by satellites; the "fairness of the moon" will
give way to the "brightness of the Sun;"—the starlight will be quenched and
superseded by the Great Spiritual Luminary. "You have but now and then seen
your Beloved looking through the lattice of ordinances—what a burst of joy
awaits you when you shall see Him face to face, and evermore be with Him!"
Yes, indeed, ineffable bliss! fullness of joy! No more
yearning desires after "something better;"—the infinite all-satisfying
"good" attained—as happy as everlasting goodness and wisdom and omnipotence
can make me. My feeble voice swelling the joyous anthem within temple-walls
whose only confines are light and love.
Is my title clear to this glorious Heaven? Am I fitted
now to be the inhabitant of such a Temple?—to dwell with God, (yes,
in God,) occupying these inner chambers of Deity? Heaven is a City.
It is an amazing privilege the thought of reigning there as King. But not
less elevating, surely, the thought of Heaven as a Temple, where I shall be
occupied as a ministering priest—"a priest unto God"—ready to cast my
censer as well as my crown at His feet, and "offer the sacrifice of praise
Be it mine to prepare for the priestly work. "Holiness
to the Lord," was written on the high priest's frontlet of old. Let it
be my superscription now. Let the eye of faith delight to dwell especially
on the great High Priest—He who, as the Covenant Angel, is
interceding for me; and who, through eternity, will form the
blood-besprinkled entrance, the ever-open gate conducting into the Holy
Place. There may, and doubtless will be many other lofty anthems that shall
resound in that temple; but "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain," will
ever be the most sublime chant of the Church of the first-born. We shall
exult in its other glories. But it will be the inscription over the portal
that will be the theme of eternity—"Boldness to enter into the holiest by
the blood of Jesus."
"Far beyond the grave's dark night,
What bright TEMPLE meets my sight?
Softly stealing on the ear,
What strange music do I hear?
'Tis the golden harps on high,
'Tis the chorus of the sky!
"Give my soul the spotless dress
Of Your perfect righteousness;
Then, at length, a welcome guest,
I shall enter to the feast,
Take the harp and raise the song,
All Your ransomed ones among."