Is this a threat or a promise? The Revelator says that as he surveyed the sublime sights of the heavenly city he “saw no temple in it.” Seems sort of strange, doesn’t it? Certainly it makes sense that there would be no pain or sorrow or suffering or death in this place called Heaven. That makes perfect sense to man’s mortal mind. But to consider a heaven with no temple seems about as out of place as a sky with no sun, a forest with no trees, or a sea with no water. Doesn’t it?
Not really. It’s actually more like a sky without a cloud, a field without a shadow, or a sea without a storm. You see, what John is describing isn’t a place where there will be no worship, but rather a place where there will be nothing but worship. Where worship will be all in all.
You see, the temple in Jerusalem confined and constricted man’s worship of God. It said loudly and clearly for all to hear, “You will worship here, but not there. You will worship today, not tomorrow. You will worship in the sacred, but not the secular. You will worship through giving of the burnt offering, not in the giving of yourself.”
But the vision John saw on Patmos speaks louder and clearer still. It says, “Every place is holy unto our God. Every day is Holy to Him. Every deed and duty done in His name is Holy to the LORD God Almighty. Everywhere you walk from this time forth is holy ground. Don’t say that you must give only a portion of your time to Him because He already has claim to it all. Your heart, soul, mind and strength belong to God alone. You don’t cease to work in order to worship, for even your work must itself be worship of the One who created you and made you new again. No matter what you find yourself doing, find your rest in Him.”
Have you ever stopped to consider the meaning of the words of Moses when he wrote, “…for the Lord your God is a jealous God…”? I take these words to mean that God’s love for you is too great to ever be satisfied with the crumbs of your heart or the leftovers of your life. He either must have everything or nothing. He will never be satisfied with the paltry pauses in your personal pursuit of pleasure. He will not accept a fleeting moment with Him as you stop for a breather in your race of life. He will have all or nothing.
He will not allow you to call one house His house if that means that every other house will be profaned. His temple is an eternal, universal temple whose height is Heaven’s summit and whose base is one of sacrifice. His temple’s length is measured only by eternity, its width is found in the the expanse of every finite need and its light is the glory of the Lamb.
How I pray that He whose love isn’t confined to temples made with human hands would enlarge my heart to worship Him and Him alone. I long to see Him where others see only the world, to hear Him where others hear only the chaos and communication of the crowd, to teach me reverence for those things I consider common.
I desire to have my heart impressed with the truth that the simplest domestic duty can become an act of spiritual service. I long to fully realize that the smallest gesture of kindness can be an act of heavenly praise – that just a common cup of water given in His name can be viewed as an expression of worship and love to Him who gave His all for me.
For then, when I see His person everywhere, when I sense His presence even in the daily battles and struggles of this life, I will be able to lift my eyes and say, “This is no doubt the House of the Lord! The LORD God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple!”