Many of the worlds
religions focus their worship upon a temple, or temples. Often
the deity that is worshipped is said to be physically present in
the temple, while at other times the deity, though dwelling
somewhere else, visits with the people at the temple.
Under the Old Covenant , the
one true God of Israel, Jehovah, allowed His people to build a
single temple, located in Jerusalem. The first temple was built
by Solomon, and was destroyed in 586 B.C. by the invading
Babylonians. The second temple was built by Zerubbabel, and was
expanded greatly by Herod in the years prior to Christs
ministry. This temple was destroyed by Titus and the Roman
legions in A.D. 70. Never did God allow His people to build
multiple temples such as those of the pagan religions that
Further, the temple in
Israel had one primary function: the worship of God through the
offering of sacrifices. There were no secret ceremonies, no
endowments, so sealings in the temple in Jerusalem. The highest
act of worship took place on the day of Atonement, when the one
high priest* offered the sacrifice for the sins of the
people. The high Priest would, on that day, go through the veil
into the Holy of Holies, and there offer the blood of the
sacrifice before God.
All of the actions of the
priests in the temple, including the one high priest , were mer
shadows of the reality that God provided in the person of the
Lord Jesus Christ. The epistle to the Hebrews in the New
Testament makes it very plain that the Old Covenant, including
its temple ritual and its priesthood, pointed away from itself to
a greater reality in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:1).
The early Christians did not
seek to build a temple in Jerusalem, or anywhere else, for that
matter. Christians have never built temples. Why? The reasons are
to be found in Scripture.
1) Jesus Christ fulfilled
the law, including both the priesthood, as well as the function
of the temple in Jerusalem. When Jesus Christ died, the veil,
through which the high priest entered into the Holy of Holies
once a year, was torn from top to bottom (Matt. 27:51). The way
was opened, forever, for the people of God to approach the throne
of grace, not through a mediating priesthood, as in the Old
Covenant, but through the shed blood of Jesus Christ (Heb.
9:6-15, 10: 19-22). Since it was the function of the priesthood
to offer sacrifices and since there is no more sacrifice for sin
(Heb. 10:18), the priesthood has been fulfilled in Christ. Since
it was the main function of the temple to be the place where
these sacrifices were offered, its role in Gods plan, too,
has been fulfilled. This is why Christians have no "enduring
city," and are able to continually offer sacrifices, not of
blood for the covering of sin, but of praise, through the
confession of the name of Christ (Heb. 13:13-14).
2) The "temple" of
the Christian Church is the body of believers, both collectively
and individually. The Bible says, "Know ye not that ye are
the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in
you?" (1 Cor. 6:19). The body of believers is Gods
temple, indwelt by His Spirit, just as the body of the individual
believer is the temple of God. "What? Know ye not that your
body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye
have of God, and ye are not your own?" (1Cor.
6:19).Christians do not seek to build temples made by hands,
because they have temples made by His Spirit, just as the Lord
Jesus had promised (John 14:23).
In the Old Testament God
spoke of His Name being in the temple (1Kings 8:29, etc.) Today,
Gods people offer the sacrifice of praise to God,
"Giving thanks to his name," (Heb. 13:15) not in a
temple made with hands, but in the living body of Christ, the
Do not be led astray by
those who would direct you back to the old ways. God will not be
worshipped in ways that are contrary to his revealed truth.
Christians worship God in all places, not in temples made with
hands. Rather than engaging in rituals, or endowments, that
supposedly bestow authority or power, Christians worship God in
spirit, and in truth (John 4:21-24).
*There was only one high Priest at a
time under the law, and only one High Priest today, Jesus Christ.