Read Revelation 7:15–17. Where are the redeemed, and how does this passage portray them?
These verses describe the redeemed as kings and priests who serve in God’s palace and temple (Rev. 1:6, 5:10, 20:6). The promise that “He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them” (Rev. 7:15, NASB) alludes to God’s presence in the wilderness sanctuary, where He dwelt among ancient Israel as its Leader. On the new earth, the sanctuary once more becomes the perfect place of relationship where God and the redeemed meet. It guarantees shelter, protection, and the ultimate fulfillment of life in the presence of God and His Christ. The One who once tabernacled among men (John 1:14) now spreads the tabernacle over His saints so that they may “tabernacle” in His place.
Read Revelation 21:1–22. How is the New Jerusalem described? What parallels do you find between the holy city and the sanctuary in these texts?
John does not see a temple in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:22), but this does not mean that there is no temple. Rather, the New Jerusalem itself is the temple and the “tabernacle of God” (Rev. 21:3, NKJV). Several sanctuary elements are assigned to the New Jerusalem: it is “holy” and of heavenly origin (Rev. 21:2, 10); it has the same cubical form as did the Most Holy Place (Rev. 21:16, 1 Kings 6:20); similar to the temple precincts, “nothing unclean” is allowed into the city (Rev. 21:27); and, most importantly of all, God is present. In the sanctuary of God, we can live with Him in the closest relationship possible (Rev. 21:3, 7). This is the goal of salvation.
An eternity in a close relationship with God? Why is it, then, so crucial for us to walk, as Ellen G. White says over and over, “in close communion with God” now?