And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple, and there were lightnings, noises, thunders, an earthquake, and great hail. Rev 11:19.
In this text we have an explicit view of the heavenly temple. In vision John's gaze is lifted from events on earth (Rev 11:18) to the heavenly temple. He receives the equivalent of a virtual reality tour into the temple, moving deeper and deeper until he gazes into the Most Holy Place itself. There he sees the Old Testament Ark of the Covenant, accompanied by flashes of lightning, loud noises, an earthquake and heavy hail. What is going on here? What is the point of having an ark of the covenant in the gospel context of the New Testament?
It makes a lot of sense in the context of who Jesus is. One day Jesus was standing in the outer courtyard of the temple in Jerusalem. After casting out the money changers and the petting zoo, he is confronted by the temple authorities. He challenges them: "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days" (John 2:19 NIV). He must have been pointing to Himself when He said this, for John explains that He was referring to the "temple of His body."
On another occasion Jesus said, "I tell you that one greater than the temple is here" (Matt 12:6). For Jews there was only one thing greater than the temple and that was the Shekinah glory of God's presence inside the temple. Putting both of these gospel texts together, we can see that the very presence of God was in Jesus' own body. The divine presence and character made the body of Jesus a temple. He carried the Most Holy Place with Him wherever He went.
So if Jesus represents the Shekinah glory, the temple is wherever Jesus is. Since Jesus is in heaven, according to the book of Hebrews, there is a sanctuary in heaven - where Jesus ministers, intercedes, and judges. But Jesus is also present in the church (1 Cor 3:17; 1 Peter 2:1-10). If believers gather in a living room or even a campsite, it is a temple of God. "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them (Matt18:20). Jesus also dwells in us by His Spirit. "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?" (1 Cor 6:19, NIV). When we receive Jesus, our bodies become temples as well.
In the Book of Revelation the emphasis is on the first of these three New Testament temples. Revelation looks forward to the end-time restoration of the heavenly sanctuary (Rev 11:1-2, 19). That includes the full restoration of God's rule in the universe. When the character of God has been fully vindicated, universal peace and harmony will be restored.