Read: Revelation 21:22–22:5

I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. (21:22)

The unseasonably warm winter day was remarkable. Enjoying a sunny walk through the dunes along the Lake Michigan shoreline, I stuffed my hands deep into my coat pockets and looked up to the sky. There, above the gray, barren tree branches, a bald eagle soared with unmistakable elegance, his white feathered head brilliant against the deep blue sky. As he searched for food, his only barrier was the branches and grass between him and the food he sought.

Theologians speak of the “already, not yet” nature of the kingdom of God. In one sense, with the advent of our Lord, the kingdom is already here. Yet the kingdom’s most complete expression is still coming. This passage gives a vision of what’s coming: there will be no temple, no particular people in control, no need for the light of sun or moon, no shut gates, no barriers. Our access to God’s temple and the Lamb will be unrestricted, for God and the Lamb are the temple.

Our experience of the already, not yet is like the eagle soaring unrestricted yet forced to look through nature’s barriers to find life-sustaining food below. We are unrestricted in our access to God through Jesus, but we also deal with sinful barriers of our own construction. We live in between what has come and what is yet to come, in between Christ’s first and second advents. —Jill English

As you pray, thank God both for what’s here and what’s still coming.

About the Author

Jill English is the Director of Admissions at Western Theological Seminary.