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Heaven on Earth: The Temple in Biblical Theology

ISBN: 9781842272725

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Examining the concept of “Temple” throughout Scripture, Heaven on Earth explores one of the most interesting, but least appreciated themes in biblical theology. Far from being a building used simply for religious activities, the Temple in biblical literature embodies a rich variety of theological ideas. At the heart of these is the interface provided between a holy God and sinful people.

An understanding of the role of the Temple (and its predecessor, the Tabernacle) in biblical history provides a remarkable insight into the redemptive purposes of God. From the Garden of Eden in Genesis to the new creation in Revelation, biblical literature abounds with references and allusions to the Temple, all of which underline its significance as an institution and concept. Heaven on Earth not only makes an important contribution to the study of the Temple in various biblical texts but also to the project of a unified Biblical Theology and its implications for Systematic Theology.

The Temple stood at the very heart of Israelite religion and casts its shadow across Christian faith and spirituality. The Temple is the biblical symbol par excellence of the glory of God's presence with his people. Any Christian theology that attempts to grapple with God's indwelling of creation, with heaven on earth, must come to grips with the meaning of the Temple and its fulfillment in Christ and his body, the church.

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Top Highlights

“The thesis is that the Old Testament Tabernacle and Temples were symbolically designed to point to the cosmic eschatological reality that God’s cultic presence, formerly limited to the holy of holies, was to be extended throughout the whole earth.” (Page 191)

“My thesis, put bluntly, is that the theological concerns raised by the story of Moses on Sinai are continued in Israel by means of the Tabernacle and fulfilled in and transformed by Christ.” (Page 11)

“The second function of the Tabernacle suggested by Koester is that it was a place where sacrifices would be offered and atonement made.” (Page 12)

“or example, Paul can describe his apostolic mission and ministry using latreuō (24:14; 27:23).” (Page 148)

“Similarly our vision of creation and God’s ultimate purposes of establishing a ‘new creation’ are immensely enriched by noting the way the Temple almost certainly functioned in Old Testament thought as a microcosm of creation, as a recapitulation of Eden and as a foretaste of creation restored.” (Page 5)

Praise for the Print Edition

This book is to be commended not just because of the intrinsic interest of the subject but above all because it deals with a highly relevant issue for Christians today… It will greatly help in promoting a sane, biblical understanding of the theology of the temple.

—I. Howard Marshall, Honorary Research Professor, University of Aberdeen

The amount of material on Second Temple Jerusalem in the last two decades has been staggering and phenomenal in its scope… yet one more aspect has needed to be explored, the actual place of this background in biblical narrative. Now this gap has begun to be filled with this fascinating collection of essays… will stand for years as a major contribution to NT understanding.

—Grant Osborne, Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

  • Title: Heaven on Earth: The Temple in Biblical Theology
  • Authors: T. Desmond Alexander, Simon Gathercole
  • Publisher: Paternoster
  • Print Publication Date: 2004
  • Logos Release Date: 2007
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Temple of Jerusalem (Jerusalem) › Theology; Temple of God › Theology; Temple of Jerusalem (Jerusalem) › In the Bible
  • ISBNs: 9781842272725, 1842272721
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2023-09-15T22:17:51Z

About the Editors

T. Desmond Alexander is director of Christian training at Union Theological College in Belfast, Northern Ireland. From 1980 to 1999, he was lecturer in Semitic studies at the Queen’s University of Belfast. His main field of research is the Pentateuch, about which he has written extensively in academic journals and books. Alexander also has a special interest in the relationship between the Old and New Testaments. He is the author of From Paradise to the Promised Land: An Introduction to the Main Themes of the Pentateuch and Abraham in the Negev, and he is a coeditor (with Brian S. Rosner) of the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology (IVP, 2000), available from Logos.

Simon Gathercole lectures in New Testament at the University of Aberdeen and is author of Where is Boasting? Early Jewish Soteriology and Paul’s response in Romans 1-5.


7 ratings

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  1. Henry Chiong

    Henry Chiong


  2. Henry Chiong

    Henry Chiong


  3. Dave Crosby

    Dave Crosby


    Good reference.
  4. Serge Descoeurs
  5. Matthew Candler
    Meh, save your money.
  6. Kenny Burchard

    Kenny Burchard


  7. Clifford B. Kvidahl
Save during the Summer Reading Sale!


Digital list price: $17.99
Regular price: $13.99
Save $4.20 (30%)