Chapter four: the architectural concept of the New Jerusalem

The moment the Son of Man led John into the throne room in heaven, he saw a slain Lamb. Right there, our minds are quickened to behold symbolic images other than literal events. The throne, the Lamb, four living creatures, twenty-four elders, and all other things are a personification of actual realities. Besides the glaring picture of the sanctuary, the vision is much broader than they appear. We, like John, are called to behold a vivid architectural concept of the Hebrew tabernacle, and more importantly, the New Jerusalem. From this perspective, we can, by and large, understand the roles the characters are playing and better appreciate the vision of the New Jerusalem.

Let’s take a recap of the figures in the heavenly throne room in parallel with the Earthly tabernacle: 

  1. God seated on His throne with flashes of lightning and thunderings
  2. Twenty-four elders around the throne
  3. Seven lamps burning in front of the throne
  4. Sea of glass before the throne
  5. Roundabout in the midst of the throne four living creatures with four faces (lion, ox, man, and eagle)

Other allusions in the book of Revelation to the Earthly sanctuary include:

  1. Golden altar of incense with four horns (8: 3-4; 9: 13)
  2. Altar of burnt offering (6: 9)
  3. Ark of the covenant (11: 19)

Below is the overall imagery of the Earthly Sanctuary:

Below is how the earthly sanctuary mirrors the construction of the New Jerusalem:
Other parallels include

The decoration of the priestly garment mirrors the embellishment of the New Jerusalem

The overall message in both the Earthly sanctuary and the New Jerusalem is God’s willingness to dwell among His children. Heaven and Earth unite in religious symbols of the Sanctuary image:

“Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.” (Exodus 25: 8 NIV)

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” (Revelation 21: 3 NIV)

All these fulfill the prayer of Christ, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.” (Mathew 6: 10)

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