1. Revelation 21:3 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

What is special about the word “dwelling place” and “dwell”?

Revelation 21:3 (ESV)

3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.

The Greek word behind these two English words is the common word for “tent.” It’s what Abram lived in (Genesis 12:8) and it’s what God instructed Moses to build (Exodus 26:1–37, commonly called the tabernacle). When “the Word became flesh” he “dwelt among us” (John 1:14), and there John uses the same word in verbal form: he “tented” or “tabernacled” among us. Whereas tenting suggests something temporary or transitory, in the present passage the allusion to the “holy city” points to permanency; God has come to stay. In fact, his coming fulfills the “tenting” nature of Jesus’ short-term physical stay on earth.