G.K. Beale argues that the Old Testament tabernacle and temples were symbolically designed to point to the end-time reality that God’s presence, formerly limited to the Holy of Holies, would be extended throughout the cosmos. Hence, John’s vision in Revelation 21 is best understood as picturing the new heavens and earth as the eschatological temple. His stimulating exposition traces the theme of the tabernacle and temple across the Bible’s storyline, illuminating many texts and closely-related themes along the way. He shows how the significance and symbolism of the temple can be better understood in the context of ancient Near Eastern assumptions. He offers new insights into the meaning of the temple in both Old and New Testaments.
Get the newest volumes in the NSBT series with the New Studies in Biblical Theology Upgrade (2 vols.)
“Our thesis is that Israel’s temple was composed of three main parts, each of which symbolized a major part of the cosmos: (1) the outer court represented the habitable world where humanity dwelt; (2) the holy place was emblematic of the visible heavens and its light sources; (3) the holy of holies symbolized the invisible dimension of the cosmos, where God and his heavenly hosts dwelt.” (Pages 32–33)
“My thesis is that the Old Testament tabernacle and temples were symbolically designed to point to the cosmic eschatological reality that God’s tabernacling presence, formerly limited to the holy of holies, was to be extended throughout the whole earth. Against this background, the Revelation 21 vision is best understood as picturing the final end-time temple that will fill the entire cosmos. If correct, the thesis provides not only the answer to the above problem in chapter 21, but also gives crucial insight into an understanding of the biblical theology of the temple in both testaments.” (Pages 25–26)
“Israel’s temple was the place where the priest experienced God’s unique presence, and Eden was the place where Adam walked and talked with God. The same Hebrew verbal form (stem) mithallēk (hithpael) used for God’s ‘walking back and forth’ in the Garden (Gen. 3:8), also describes God’s presence in the tabernacle (Lev. 26:12; Deut. 23:14 ; 2 Sam. 7:6–7).” (Page 66)
The importance of this book lies not only in the competent handling of its chosen theme but in three other things: its evocative unpacking of the theme of the temple and its relations to broader structures of thought, including the kingdom of God; its modeling of the way biblical theology is to be done; and its capacity to cause readers to perceive fresh and wonderful things in the Scriptures, and to bow in worship and gratitude.
—D.A. Carson, research professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Beale has written a comprehensive (and to my mind, convincing) biblical theology, centering on the role of the temple both in Scripture and in the Ancient Near East.
—David Renwick, Lexington Theological Quarterly
I recommend this work for anyone wrestling with eschatological issues of fulfillment or handling temple texts that are dealt with in this book. As for me, I intend to have the book handy anytime I approach biblical theology as a guidebook in methodology.
—Tim Barker, Truth on Fire
In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.