Andrew Fountain - The Temple, from Eden to Revelation


Sermon notes - The Temple, from Eden to Revelation



Image source: anna_thetical

1. Eden was a Temple

  1. Later the temple was the unique place where people could experience God’s presence
    • Lev 26:12 I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people. (Exact Hebrew word/form)
  2. Eden is a sanctuary, a temple
    • Tree of life probably the model for the lampstand
    • I Ki 6:18,29 the Temple had floral decorations, gourds & flowers, palm trees, pomegranites
    • Eden was on a mountain (Ez 28:14)
    • Gold and precious stones are mentioned in every temple reference in the Bible
    • Ez 28:18 actually calls Eden “sanctuaries”
  • Ez 28:18 actually calls Eden “sanctuaries” (same word used in other places to mean temple)

Menorah on the Arch of Titus in Rome

Menorah on the Arch of Titus in Rome

Image source: Steerpike

1. cont’d Eden was a Temple

  1. Adam was probably the first priest in human history
    • Gen 2:15 “serve and guard” refer later either to God’s word, or to priest who serve/guard the temple
    • Adam fails to guard against the serpent and loses his role. It is given to the cherubim who are to “guard” the way
  2. Adam was also to subdue the earth
    • Eden was to extend and cover the earth
      • These are image-bearers, reflecting God, will fill the earth with God’s glory
  3. The final temple in Revelation is full of Eden symbols (…more later)

Model of Tabernacle

Model of Tabernacle

Image source: Wikicommons: Ruk7

Sections of the Temple/Tabernacle

  • Can anyone tell me what the three parts were?

Plan of the Tablernacle

Plan of the Tablernacle

Image source: Epictatus

  • The temple serves an little earthly model of God’s temple in heaven
    • modelled to be a little replica of heaven and earth
    • which would eventually fill the earth
  • Three sections:
    1. Holy of holies representing the invisible spiritual dimension
    2. Holy place representing the visible heavens
    3. Outer courtyard representing the world where humans live

1. Holy of Holies

Inside the Holy of Holies

Inside the Holy of Holies

Image source: link

  • The Invisible Spiritual dimension
  1. Angelic cherbim guarding the throne
  2. No image of God (invisible)
  3. Ark is called God’s footstool
  4. Cordoned off to show its separateness
  5. No humans allowed in except High Priest once a year

2. Holy Place

Rows of oil lamps

Rows of oil lamps

Image source: Stefan4

  • Representing the visible sky
  1. Emboidered blue, purple & scarlet with figures of winged creatures
  2. Seven lamps per stand (with 10 stands in Solomon’s temple)
  3. Word for these lights is only ever used otherwise in the Pent. for the heavenly lights
    • Is 40: God spreads out the heavens like a tent to dwell in Ps 19:4–5
    • Sheen of precious metal
  4. Josephus etc. agreed with this as a “common understanding”

3. Courtyard

  • Massive wash-basin is called “the sea”
  • 12 bulls facing the four quarters of the earth
  • Huge altar whose bottom was known as “the bosom of the earth”
  • All of God’s people could enter
  • Places in Scripture where the heavens and earth are God’s temple:
  • Psalm 78:69 “He built his sanctuary like the high heavens, like the earth, which he has founded forever.”
  • Psalm 78 is pretty explicit
    • The Temple is a scale model of reality


  • the little temple was never designed to last forever
    • it was a small model of something much bigger
    • God and his universal glorious presence that was to dominate all
  • Israel received the same commission as Adam:
  • Israel collectively was to be a kingdom of priests, (Ex 19:6)
    • To be priest for the whole world and spread God’s presence
    • There are prophecies about “extending the tabernacle”
  • But instead they saw the temple as a sign that they were God’s only true people.
  • Imagine an architect makes a model of a new community centre
    • Tiny shrubs and miniature cars etc
    • Everyone in the community likes it, and so they start raising money to build it
    • But a few people say—hey, I like the model, what’s wrong with it?
  • The temple was just a model
    • If there’s one thing to remember today its this!

Holy of Holies

  • One thing to note about the model:
  • The inner sanctuary was twenty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and twenty cubits high, and he overlaid it with pure gold. He also overlaid an altar of cedar. 1Ki 6:20

Back to time travel

Back to time travel

Image source: anna_thetical

  • Forward to the end of time
    • On the way through, we make a brief stop 3000 years ago in Exekiel chapters 40–48
    • A huge future temple is described, too big to be build on earth
      • And it’s cube-shaped! (what does that mean?)
    • Finally we come to the end of time, to Revelation
      • A Weird city!

Revelation 21:1-22:5

  1. Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had ceased to exist, and the sea existed no more.
  2. And I saw the holy city — the new Jerusalem — descending out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband.
  3. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: “Look! The tabernacle of God is among human beings. He will live among them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them.
  4. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will not exist any more — or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the former things have ceased to exist.”
  5. And the one seated on the throne said: “Look! I am making all things new!” Then he said to me, “Write it down, because these words are reliable and true.”

  1. So he took me away in the Spirit to a huge, majestic mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.
  2. The city possesses the glory of God; its brilliance is like a precious jewel, like a stone of crystal-clear jasper.

  1. The angel who spoke to me had a golden measuring rod with which to measure the city and its foundation stones and wall.
  2. Now the city is laid out as a square, its length and width the same. He measured the city with the measuring rod at two thousand two hundred kilometers (its length and width and height are equal).
  3. He also measured its wall, one hundred forty-four cubits according to human measurement, which is also the angel’s.
  4. The city’s wall is made of jasper and the city is pure gold, like transparent glass.
  5. The foundations of the city’s wall are decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation is jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald,
  6. the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.
  7. And the twelve gates are twelve pearls — each one of the gates is made from just one pearl! The main street of the city is pure gold, like transparent glass.
  8. Now I saw no temple in the city, because the Lord God — the All-Powerful — and the Lamb are its temple.
  9. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because the glory of God lights it up, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Chapter 22

  1. Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life — water as clear as crystal — pouring out from the throne of God and of the Lamb,
  2. flowing down the middle of the city’s main street. On each side of the river is the tree of life producing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month of the year. Its leaves are for the healing of the nations.
  3. And there will no longer be any curse, and the throne of God and the Lamb will be in the city. His servants will worship him,
  4. and they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
  5. Night will be no more, and they will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God will shine on them, and they will reign forever and ever.

based on NET Bible

read ch 21

  • The city is a cube!
    • Imagine on star trek they come across a new planet that is square—actually one huge city
  • Why does he see the new heaven but only talks about a city in the shape of a temple that is garden-like 22:1–3
    • not the mountains, valleys & forests
  • 21:1 no longer any sea etc.
    v.3 statement interpreting: The new city is the tabernacle!
  • Note that this is symbolic language—we are not really going to live for eternity in a cube!
    • I belive there will extraordinary beauty and adventure

read the rest

  • The new creation is a city that is garden-like …like Eden!
    • and the whole of that city is a temple
    • But there is no outer court, or holy place
    • only the holy of holies
  • Why is the city a perfect cube? —That was the shape of the holy of holies


  • Christ and his followers are a temple in the New Creation
  • The essence of the temple is the presence of God
    • Christ calls himself the cornerstone of the temple
  • The whole earth eventually is to be under the roof of God’s temple
  • John 2:18–21 Jesus says “destroy this temple and I will rebuild it in three days”
    • He tells the Jewish leaders “he was speaking of the temple of his body”
    • his resurrection is a temple a symbold of the cosmos, the beginning of the new creation
      • we inhabit it by our own resurrection
    • forgiveness revolves around him, a continuation of the temple
  • The whole earth eventually is to be under the roof of God’s temple
  • How about the church in this age?
    • 1 Cor 3:16 When we believe in Jesus we become part of him and the temple
    • 2 Cor 6:16 We are a temple of the living God. (Alluding to Ez and Rev 21)
    • We are to contine the task of sharing God’s presence with others until the end of the age when the task will be completed and the whole earth will be under the roof of his temple.
      • That’s what witnessing is
      • We are carrying out the prophecies
      • As we express the love of God we are image bearers
  • Revelation 21:3 “The tabernacle of God is with men”
    • what does that mean?
      • God’s special presence.
    • Why will the city temple be pure gold? [59:35]
      • Because the entire holy of holies was lined with gold
    • Why are not the three parts of the temple mentioned in Rev?
      • the outer two sections have fallen away like a cocoon from which the core of God’s presence has emerged to fill the whole creation
      • like a butterfly, shedding the old
  • This is the basis for evangelism
    • Adam & Eve told: [Gen 1:28] “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth”
    • Disciples told: [Mat 28:19] “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”
    • Adam was to extend the roof of God’s temple to cover the earth. So are we!


  • We as God’s people are to extend the boundaries of the temple
    • We stretch out the roof
  • Eph 2 —we are a holy temple that is growing
  • We experience the presence by believing in Jesus, and then God’s Spirit comes and dwells in us
    • We are priests in that temple as well
    • We reflect his glory
    • As people come to faith that presence expands and expands
  • Jesus will return when every nation is reached
  • We as Christians need to get out and manifest the presence of Christ [1:06:50]
    • Manifest the presence through our words and lives


  • Our task as a church is to be God’s temple, so filled with his glorious presence that we expand and fill the earth with that presence until our Lord Jesus consumates it.
  • Then we’ll fulfull the promise of Habakkuk 2:14 “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
  • What does this mean?
    • You enlarge the temple every time you reflect God’s glory by showing love
    • by an act of justice
    • by an act of compassion
    • most of all by bringing people to Jesus
  • When you don’t get angry at the stupid person in front of you holding everyone up
  • When you stand up for someone who is being mistreated
  • When you listen to people whom nobody else listens to
  • When you pray for healing and freedom
  • And most of all when you tell people how only Jesus can free them from darkness

God’s glory is spreading, and you are carrying it.

  • I want to give you a sense of destiny today!
  • One day every bad thing will be gone, and the pure presence and joy of God will fill everything!

Updated on 2015-12-29 by Andrew Fountain