There are few books that possess the ability to radically alter the way that you read Scripture. The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God by G. K. Beale is one of those books. But The Temple and the Church’s Mission is not for the academically faint of heart. It is both detailed and comprehensive. Beale leaves no stone unturned as he guides the reader through the biblical narrative and beyond, developing a crystal clear portrait of the dwelling place of God.
Beale begins with the climactic Temple vision of Revelation 21:1-22:5. It is here that Beale prepares the reader for the journey ahead, and sets the stage for one of the grandest themes in all of Scripture. For Beale, as John witnesses the new heavens and new earth descending, his attention is immediately fixed on the city-temple rather than the new creation in general. This becomes a unique vantage point to the overall narrative of Scripture, and an ideal start point for Beale’s thesis that, “the Old Testament tabernacle and temples were symbolically designed to point to the cosmic eschatological reality that God’s tabernacling presence, formerly limited to the holy of holies, was to be extended throughout the whole earth” (p.25).
The scope and detail of The Temple and the Church’s Mission is rather impressive. I previously reviewed God Dwells Among Us: Expanding Eden to the Ends of the Earth by G. K. Beale and Mitchell Kim (IVP, 2014), which is a more distilled and practically applied adaptation of the present volume. The overall thrust of the content is the same, but the level of detail here is certainly not. Beale possesses an uncanny ability to explore some of the most intricate details of the text without abandoning the larger theme. More impressive is Beale’s ability to synthesize those details into a well-constructed and persuasive presentation in favor of his initial thesis. In other words, while it may be that the reader will feel overwhelmed at times, Beale does an excellent job of guiding the reader into the depth of the text while also providing numerous breaks for air amid the journey.
The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God by G. K. Beale has provided one of the most impressive works of biblical theology ever produced. The detailed journey is impressive and Beale’s initial vision is well-presented and persuasively received. Having read the distilled version of Beale’s material prior to this volume did well to prepare me for the overall direction of the cumulative case presented here, and this may be a recommended route for those with an interest in the subject. However, it must be stated that the distilled volume is no substitute for the riches that will be unearthed here. This is a journey that you will want to travel with an attentive eye to detail, and G. K. Beale is a tour guide par excellence. It will alter the way that you read your Bible and motivate you to worship! It comes highly recommended!
I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.