4A. A natural human body temple-indwelt by God
Jesus of Nazareth is the fourth temple mentioned in the Word of God.
“Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, [in the rebuilding] and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the TEMPLE OF HIS BODY” (John 2:18-21)
The structure was Jesus’ body of humiliation.
Jesus’ natural body was the house in which God lived. “God was in Christ” (2 Cor. 5:19). Jesus could say, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). He had seen the Father, He had seen the habitation of God, and He was in the place where worship was offered to God, as was in all of the temples mentioned in the Word of God.
The temple of Solomon was the habitation of God. God filled it with His glory, and it was a place where worship was offered. In one day they “sacrificed sheep and oxen, which could not be told nor numbered for multitude” (2 Chron. 5:6). In the fourth temple Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled both requirements: “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9), the HABITATION of God. “I always do the things that please Him, He dwells in me.” And, secondly, where worship is offered: “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent…” (Luke 10:21). He WORSHIPPED the Father.
Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews mistook that He was speaking of His body; they understood Him to be speaking of the literal temple that they had spent forty-six years in rebuilding. When Jesus was hanging on the cross, the chief priests, who were used to laboring in the temple, came by wagging their heads and said, “Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.” (Matt. 27:40). The Jews missed His teaching, for they understood the temple only in the physical sense.
The special truth portrayed: resurrection
Many people today miss the true, simple revelation because they only understand the “house of God” in the physical sense.
John brings forth this teaching in 1:14: “And the Word was made flesh, and tabernacled [the literal word] among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” Even though Jesus was the fourth temple, He had the third temple characteristic – we beheld His GLORY. He also had the second temple’s characteristic, for the 17th verse said of Him: “…but GRACE…came by Jesus Christ.” He obeyed the first temple’s characteristic (the law), according to Hebrews 4:15 which stated He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. “…and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
The primary truth of this fourth temple, RESURRECTION, is fulfilled in the verse, “Destroy this temple, and IN THREE DAYS I WILL RAISE IT UP.” (John 2:19).
With each temple there is an unveiling of truth that broadens or widens with each successive revelation. It first began with the law of God, which caused God’s people to realize that they needed something called GRACE. The law brings us to GRACE and teaches us that we need GRACE (Galatians 3:24). We sinned, we failed God, we could not meet God’s requirements-all 613 commandments hang over our head, and, if we offend in one point, we are guilty of all (James 2:10). We need GRACE. We must have GRACE. We need the truth of the tabernacle of David: GRACE.
As a result of enjoying God’s grace, we see the revelation of God’s GLORY. The law made man realize he needed grace. When grace was ministered, GLORY was manifested. The glory was so strong that it was able to contain in it resurrection power – for that was how the fourth temple was raised from the dead. “…like as Christ was raised up from the dead by THE GLORY of the Father…” (Romans 6:4).
The fifth temple, too, moves from a building to a person.
5A. The individual temple, the body of the believer
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost…” (1 Cor. 6:19). God looks on each believer as being A TEMPLE as much as He did that stone building that was erected by Solomon. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Cor. 4:7).
In many traditional churches the minister will say, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go unto the house of the Lord.” This could be said in the Old Testament times, but in the New Testament the only time you could leave the “house of God” would be when the spirit leaves the body and you go to the eternal temple. A believer is always in the house of the Lord. I have my own services, and take my own offerings. This temple is in operation!
The first requirement or purpose of the temple is a habitation of God, a place for God to reside – “which is in you.” THE HOLY GHOST IS IN YOU. YOU are a habitation of God. God dwells IN you. Thus, the first purpose of the temple is fulfilled because the Holy Ghost is in you.
The second purpose of the temple is a place where worship is offered to God. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body…” (1 Cor. 6:20). “Glorify” is the Greek word doxa, which means praise, honor and worship. YOU are the temple of the Holy Ghost. God dwells IN you by His Holy Spirit, therefore do the work of the temple: praise, honor and worship God! Worship should be exercised toward God in our spirit and in our body, which are God’s. As always, the temple is owned by God. It is His property. It is His house. It is His dwelling place. It is His sanctuary. God said to Moses, “That is the place where I will dwell in all the earth: in that temple” (Exod. 15:2). Habbakuk said, “But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him” (2:20). Sometime you sense the Lord’s presence so strong in your “temple,” that you must be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).
The special truth portrayed in the fifth temple is devotion or worship. “Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit which are God’s.” “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice,” (Rom. 12:1). In the first temple they offered sacrifices, and today you offer yourself as a living sacrifice.
In the New Testament the sacrifice is LIVING, whereas in the Old Testament the sacrifice wasn’t a sacrifice until it was dead. This is why in the Jewish mind “sacrifice” meant death. But the Apostle Paul offered the paradox: I am crucified, yet I live (Galatians 2:20). If I’m sacrificed, I’m dead, and I’m not a sacrifice until I am dead. When the priest inspected that lamb, it was laid on the altar, and couldn’t be put on the altar until it was dead, dismembered (cut in pieces) and then the fire consumed it. The difficulty with these “living” sacrifices is when the problem gets hot we crawl off the altar!
We are to be a living sacrifice. Make your consecration to God complete and settled. “…bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar” (Ps. 118:27). Tie yourself to Christ.
A startling aspect not given in the other five temples is revealed in the sixth temple, bringing us closer to the final, permanent purpose of the temples.
6A. The corporate body of Christ
The fourth temple is the body of Christ.
The fifth temple is the body of the believer.
The sixth temple is the corporate body of Christ. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Cor. 3:16-17).
Each believer is A temple of the Holy Spirit, but the corporate body is THE temple of God. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God?” “Ye” in 1 Corinthians 3:16 is plural. It is not singular as it is in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “Know ye not that ye are…” In 1 Corinthians 3:16 “you all” are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in [all of] you.
The purpose of the temple, a place for God’s habitation is expressed here: “The Spirit of God dwelleth in you.”
If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” In my early church teachings I heard that if I smoked or drank alcoholic beverages, or abused my body, that I was defiling the temple of God. Now it is true that God does demand holiness in the personal temple, but that is not what is being discussed in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17. Paul said, “YOU” [the church] are the temple of God,” the corporate church is the temple of God. Then how does a man defile the corporate temple? Through teachings, false doctrines! And if any man defile the corporate temple with false doctrine, him shall God destroy. Peter talks about false teachers and false prophets coming in, saying they “bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Peter 2:1).
That believers are a corporate body of Christ is shown also in Ephesians 2:19-22: “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the HOUSEHOLD OF GOD; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building [notice, it is a building] FITLY FRAMED TOGETHER GROWETH unto an holy temple in the Lord.” It is a temple. “Fitly framed together” means being organized compactly. “In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” In this holy temple each believer is a living stone making up the corporate temple.
It is not a brick building, it is not a human organization – it is a divine organism – it is a holy temple – fitly framed together – builded together. God is doing something that involves all of us. It is something done together. “In whom ye also are builded together for an HABITATION of God through the Spirit.”
Each temple adds to the other, and you lose none of the preceding truths. By the resurrection power of Jesus in our spirit we have been raised from the dead, and each of us made into a single temple. Corporately, we are fitly framed together and growing into a holy habitation of God. When Ezekiel saw that “house of the Lord” (Chapter 47), he was seeing the corporate temple of God and the power of God flowing out of it at the end of the age.
In Ephesians 2:22 we see that we are a habitation of God – the first purpose of the temple. The second purpose being a place to offer sacrifice, we see fulfilled in 1 Peter 2:5: “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up SPIRITUAL sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
The word LIVELY means “living.” Lively stones – not cemented and mortared together, making movement impossible, but a spiritual cement – “knit together in love” (Col. 2:2) so that there is plenty of movement. Lively stones BUILT UP. That is, “allow yourself to be built up a spiritual house FOR AN HOLY PRIESTHOOD” (literal).
In 2 Corinthians 6:16 we are given an interesting contrast concerning the Old and New Testament temples. “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye [plural] are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell AMONG THEM” (Exodus 25:8), but in the New Testament He said, “I will dwell IN them.”
In the Old Testament God dwelt in that tabernacle, and it was among Israel. They would go to the tabernacle, so He dwelt among them. But in the New Testament He dwells IN the temple. He dwells in the people, for the people have become the temple. He dwelt among them in the tabernacle because it was located where the people would go to it. But in the New Testament we are the temple so He dwells in us, and He walks in us. If He is walking in us He is doing everything He did when He walked on earth 2,000 years ago, manifesting forth grace, glory, resurrection, healing, deliverance. It is all coming forth.
According to Hebrews, Chapter 9 and 10, we are told that Jesus entered into the heavenly temple when He made the eternal covenant with God by His shed blood. There was an actual temple structure in heaven. Revelation, supports this, even though it is also symbolic, John saw the temple – he saw the ark of his testament, and he heard voices of thunderings and lightnings. Some persons say that the ark of the testament is Jesus. The ark was a symbol of Jesus, yes, but there was a literal ark in heaven, and a literal temple, for Hebrews, Chapters 9 and 10, speaks of Jesus entering into a tabernacle not made with stone, but into heaven itself, and, if He did and sprinkled the blood on the mercy seat – well, where is the mercy seat? It was on top of the ark of the covenant – so there had to be an ark of the covenant on which to sprinkle blood. When Jesus did this He became accepted of God as the ark of the new covenant, and from that time on there was a change in the heavenly temple. That is why John saw the eternal temple (Revelation 21:3) he saw the temple isn’t really a building at all, rather it is God and His people. “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with [or, in] men, and he will dwell with [or, in] them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Notice the affirmation of John in verse 22. In 21:22 he said, “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.”
The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are now the temple! Moses got a vision of the literal heavenly temple, a literal ark, and made a copy of it on earth. That’s why the author of Hebrews referred to the literal physical building as a “shadow.”
To my natural senses if I were to be in the Old Testament temple, the tabernacle of Moses, or the temple of Solomon, and I walked to the laver and said, “This is a shadow,” or went to the curtains about the holy of holies and said, “This is a shadow,” it wouldn’t feel like a shadow. “Shadow” means an outline of something else. Your shadow is an outline of your body. The earthly tabernacle that Moses built was an outline, or shadow of the true heavenly temple. When Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights God showed him the temple in heaven, and instructed him: You build the one on earth just as the one you have seen (see Hebrews 8:5).
We are living in the era of the fifth and sixth temple now. In God’s calendar the church age has occupied the fifth and sixth days. The seventh day will be the time of eternal rest, the thousand year rest – which will be interrupted for a brief moment and then continue on for eternity. We will then realize the seventh temple dispensation for all eternity.
7A. The seventh temple
Seven is the number of perfection.
The structure: the truth that comes forth will be that the Lord God and the Lamb and His servants are as one. This is a mystery. We will be kings, but He the great King of kings. We will be different, but be as though we are one. An eternal mystery. Just as the trinity – one and yet three in one. And now the entire family – one and yet many millions in one. “Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them FOR EVERMORE” (Ezekiel 37:26-28).
The special truth portrayed: eternal fellowship.
Praise God for everything that we see going on in the sixth temple now, but it won’t be perfect until that seventh temple. The seventh temple is actually the perfected sixth temple.
“And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it” (Rev. 21:22).