The Book of Revelation – Write Number Nine

editor - 17 March 2020

“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. “ Revelation 3:12-13

What is the Temple of God? Literally, it of course was the Temple that Solomon built in Jerusalem. That Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians in 587 BC.

A new, much smaller Temple was later built by King Zerubbabel. Matthew 1:12 “After the deportation to Babylon: Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel.” Luke 3:27 “…the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri.”

And by Joshua, the High Priest, who was symbolically crowned king by Zechariah. Zechariah 6:9-14: “The word of the Lord also came to me, saying, “Take an offering from the exiles, from Heldai, Tobijah and Jedaiah; and you go the same day and enter the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah, where they have arrived from Babylon. Take silver and gold, make an ornate crown and set it on the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the High Priest. Then say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Behold, a man whose name is Branch, for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the Temple of the Lord. Yes, it is He who will build the Temple of the Lord, and He who will bear the honour and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices.” Now the crown will become a reminder in the Temple of the Lord to Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah and Hen the son of Zephaniah.”

This second Temple was later tremendously enlarged and made much more beautiful by King Herod. He started building it in 19 BC and completed it in 12 BC, but the whole project was only fully completed in 64 AD. The Jewish revolt in 66 (two years later!) brought the Roman legions who, under the command of Vespasian and later Titus, completely destroyed this Temple when they conquered Jerusalem in 70 AD. Not a single stone would be left on another, the Lord Jesus said.

Luke 21:5-6 and 20-24: “And while some were talking about the Temple, that it was adorned with beautiful stones and votive gifts, He said, “As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down… But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people; and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” And it turned out exactly as the Lord prophesied.

What is the Temple of God now? The Greek word used here is ‘naos’, which is used with reference to the holiest part of a Temple, which only the priests were allowed to enter. Whenever this word ‘Temple’ is used in the Book of Revelation it refers to the celestial sanctuary, where God is. Look at Revelation 7:15, 11:1, 2, 19, 14:15 and 17, 15:5, 6 and 8, 16:1 and 17, and 21:22. Except in Revelation 11:1–2, where it possibly refers to a new Temple that is yet to be built in Jerusalem.

Overcomers, those who are victorious, of course cannot become literal pillars in that Temple however! They are to become pillars before God and His throne in His celestial Temple, just as they were pillars in God’s house on earth, the Church, like James, Cephas and John. Paul writes in Galatians 2:7-9: “…recognizing the Grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship…” There they were ‘living stones.’ And 1 Peter 2:6 says to us: “you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Soon the ‘living stones’ will be pillars in the Temple in the Heavenly Jerusalem! Their fellowship with the Most High will never again be severed. Revelation 21:2-3: “And I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the Tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them…”

Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God… That New Jerusalem will descend from God to earth one day.

They will be given a triple new name. Christ will write this on him or her—the Name of His Father, and the name of the Lamb’s bride, for that is the New Jerusalem, and His new name… Revelation 21:9-10: “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God… That New Jerusalem will descend from God to earth one day.

Revelation 2:17: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.” Isaiah 62:2: “The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; and you will be called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord will designate.” Isaiah 65:15: “You will leave your name for a curse to My chosen ones, and the Lord God will slay you. But My servants will be called by another name.”

The victors/overcomers in Pergamum themselves received a new name; those in Philadelphia are going to bear Christ’s new name. What is this name? No one knows what it is. That is the secret of the bridegroom with His bride.

I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. As Psalm 23:6 says: “Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” John 12:26 “If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honour him.” Even when there is no more Temple, as Revelation 21:22 says: “I saw no Temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its Temple.” For then God will be all in all: “When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all”, 1 Corinthians 15:28. This fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ starts here and it continues into eternity. We become children of the Heavenly Jerusalem. “…the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother”, Paul writes in Galatians 4:26.

In this light it is sometimes difficult to explain what the meaning of the ‘Temple of God’ is, in the verses where this expression is used. Does it refer to the ‘Temple of God’ in which the lawless one, the son of perdition, who exalts himself above everything that is called God or is worshiped, sets himself up, proclaiming himself to be God? 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 says: “Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the Temple of God, displaying himself as being God.”

Does this perhaps mean that Antichrist will be entering into the Church, into Christianity at large, bringing a humanistic Gospel claiming that man is divine, like Satan told Eve in Genesis 3:5? The devil/nachash/serpent said to Eve “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Does Paul mean that the ‘House of God’, the ‘Temple of God’, God’s dwelling in the Spirit is the church? Ephesians 2:19-22: “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy Temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”

Paul in his writings when using the word ‘Temple’ never refers to that building in Jerusalem. Your body is a Temple, he says in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17. Together you as believers are a Temple in which God is present by the Holy Spirit. ‘We are the Temple of the living God’, he says in 2 Corinthians 6:16. You, the true Church, are the ‘Temple of the living God’, he says.

Paul in his writings when using the word ‘Temple’ never refers to that building in Jerusalem.

So what does he mean in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the ‘Temple of God’, displaying himself as being God.”?

Is it a literal, rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem? Or is it Christianity at large? So that Christianity, the Church, will become an apostate Church?

Or is it both, when the spirit of lawlessness will have infiltrated a large part of God’s church on earth, and conquered restored Judaism in Israel and finds its expression in a small rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem? My personal opinion is that Paul is referring to the Church in the end-times.

Whatever the case may be: the true Church of Jesus may know that no one will snatch them from His hand. John 10:27-29: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”


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