I recently noticed that Rev. 21 clearly says there will be no temple in the New Jerusalem, yet Rev. describes a temple existing there. Am I reading/understanding wrong, or does this indicate a different perspective in the channeled letters from Jesus in Rev. 1-2 compared to John's visions in the rest of the book?

A Temple

The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. (Rev. 3:12)

No Temple

I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. (Rev. 21:22-23)

In the first passage, the temple of the New Jerusalem exists; and the victorious Christian will never leave it. In the second, the is no temple in the New Jerusalem because God and the Lamb are its temple. God's temple is also referred to several other places in Revelation, such as Revelation 11:19, 14:15, Revelation 15:5.

Is there a Temple in the New Jerusalem? If not, how should we understand the existence of the Temple in chapter 3, where the New Jerusalem is specifically mentioned, as well as in various other parts of the book?

  • Just spotted this after my recent interaction with you, where you commented on the same. I think the difference is between temple (the noun) and temple-like (the adjective). In Rev, 3:12, we are talking about that divine habitation, the heavenly "New Jerusalem", a temple-like walled and pillared structure, as opposed to a literal temple. Anointed Christians on earth served as underpriests in the earthly courtyards of the literal Jewish temple- 1 Pet 2:9. But once they have conquered, they too enter that heavenly holy of holies, as pillars of same - Rev, 20:6 + 1. Feb 4, 2023 at 22:59

2 Answers 2


The word ναός (naos) = "temple" is used in several distinct senses in the NT:

  • Literally, of temples generally, eg, Acts 17:24, 19:24, including the temple in Jerusalem, Matt 23:17, 35, 27:5, 40, Mark 14:58, John 2:20, etc.
  • The heavenly Temple, eg, Rev 7:15, 11:19, 14:15, 15:6, 16:1, 17, etc
  • As a metaphor of the human body, eg, 1 Cor 6:19, including Jesus' own body, John 2:19, 21.
  • as a metaphor of the Christian assembly/church, eg, 1 Cor 3:16, 17, 2 Cor 6:16, Eph 2:21 (see also 1 Peter 2:5 although this does not use the word "temple").

Thus, I would argue that Rev 3:12 uses "temple" in the last sense listed above as a metaphor of the body of Christ, the church, in which individual members are likened to parts of the temple building such as "stones" (1 peter 2:5) or a column (Rev 3:12).

Thus, in the New Jerusalem, there will be no literal temple (Rev 21:22, 23), but the metaphoric temple of the body of Christ consisting of all the saved.

  • I think I'm concurring with you. See my comment to Dan, above. + 1. Feb 4, 2023 at 23:03
  • This seems to be the most sensible way of reconciling the two senses of "temple" here. But it still leaves me wondering about several things, especially what the relationship is between the letters received from Jesus and the vision of John. Feb 5, 2023 at 14:16

Is there a Temple in the New Jerusalem?

No. The temple in Rev 3 is a symbol, Rev 3:

12 The one overcoming, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall not go out anymore.

Why not? Can he not leave the temple?

Let's see the context, Revelation 3:

7 “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:

11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it.

The victorious believer is likened to a pillar in the temple of God. In this imagery, he will never fall or go astray again. In this sense, he shall not go out anymore. This is not meant to limit his mobility but to emphasize his stability that will not be shaken.

1 Peter 2:5 uses a similar image:

you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

  • 1
    Would it be fair to say that the "temple" in ch3 signifies "the presence of God", which effectively identifies it with the location of ch21? Feb 4, 2023 at 18:16
  • Indeed, that would be the deeper significance which also matches 1 Peter 2:5.
    – user35953
    Feb 4, 2023 at 18:20

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