Think about the basic facilities and civic amenities you use every day; supermarket, petrol station, school, church, coffee shop, restaurant…things like that. Now, imagine if I told you that you were moving to a town that didn’t have, for example, a supermarket…would you want to go there? Would you think it was strange?
22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day–and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Here in this passage we see what the heavenly city is missing; no temple in the city…no need of sun or moon…there will be no night there…nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false.
For John to write, and to see, that the new heavenly city had no temple would have been unimaginable at the time to a first century Jew-turned Christian, kind of like us moving to a town with no supermarket…you just can’t imagine how the place would function without it.
The same goes for no sun, moon, no night; how does this new place work without these things? The fact there is nothing unclean is fairly straightforward, isn’t it, this is heaven, this is all things new, this is God living with His people, of course there is nothing unclean there but for no sun or moon, again we think, what?!
But all is explained in a wonderful few words, the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. There is no need for sun, moon, night, day, or temple because God dwells in this new heavenly city and His glory is so great it lights everything. The same goes for Jesus, it’s lamp is the Lamb. God glorifies and shines through the person of Jesus in heaven as He does now and as He always has done.
So there may be some things missing that were considered a basic necessity at the time, but what is unique about the heavenly city far outweighs this. For us, when we come to a place of accepting the glorious gift of Jesus, when we surrender and submit ourselves to His ways, will, and Word, we have the opportunity to start living like this now! He becomes the light shining out of us, His joy becomes our strength, and we have a new-found lease of life, life abundant.
If you are reading this, you most likely are living the life I am talking about, but, if you’re not, why not? God wants you to live like this! If you live this life, go and tell someone about it, model it, witness it to others!