The more I learn about God’s design of and for His temple, He increases how beautiful, holy, and sacred it is to me.
So if you’re wondering whether to take the time to study “Temple of the Living God,” read on and see why it is important to believers.
The book of Exodus describes the rich beauty of the temple, naming its specifications and design with precision commanded by the perfect God. We could marvel over the gold and bronze, alters splattered with blood of unblemished animals, priestly garments of the Levites, and thickness of the curtain that separated the Most Holy God from unholy man.
We could do all of this and miss the point of the temple entirely.
The temple was the place of worship, but are there other reasons God instructed His people to make it?
Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them. (Exodus 25:8)
Why did God command His people to build a tabernacle? That He may dwell among them.
You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony which I will give to you. There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel. (Exodus 25:22)
In the temple, the high and exalted holy God (Isaiah 57:15) would meet with man. Mankind has hearts desperately sick and deceitful above all else (Jeremiah 17:9) without God. Man loves the darkness instead of the light (John 3:19)). Man rejected God and profaned His name from the garden to the grave (Genesis 3, Romans 3:10-12).
Yet God came. He came to the temple to dwell among His people, and they lived with assurance that God was among them because of the temple.
But God’s presence left Solomon’s temple during the Jewish exile to Babylon (Ezekiel 10-11), never to dwell in a building made by man again. Did God abandon us? No, the most beautiful moment of history was coming.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God…And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1-2, 14
The living Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us. Remember the original purpose for the temple in Exodus 25:8? Now, instead of dwelling in the Holy of Holies, God came cloaked in human skin.
“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
A Son of God was born to show us the Father’s glory and save us from our sins. After Jesus died for these sins, was buried, and resurrected according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), He ascended to heaven. But how does Jesus’ coming relate to the temple?
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a [h]sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:19-22
God tells us in Hebrews that we can enter the true Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. Instead of relying on the sacrifice of countless animals, which could never take away our sins (Hebrews 10:1-4), or on a weak, earthly priest to go to God for us (Hebrews 10:11-12), we rely on Jesus.
Jesus went to the Father for us. Jesus alone satisfied the wrath of God as the perfect, unblemished Lamb whose blood was spilled to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29). As Jesus’ flesh was torn at the cross, the temple’s curtain was torn the same night (Matthew 27:51). The torn Lamb of God opened our access to the Father, for through covenant with God in Jesus we are counted holy. Now we walk through Jesus – clothed with His righteousness – to our holy Father.
But if Jesus sits at the right hand of God, how is God with us?
1 Corinthians 3:16 says, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
The Spirit of God (who dwelt in the Old Testament temple behind a curtain so thick it could hardly be lifted) dwells in you, child of God, because of Jesus. This is amazing. May we bow before God and worship today, for “The Spirit of the Living God” dwells in His temple – always.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
The Transform Team
P.S. If you’re interested in studying the temple more, see Living a Life of True Worship.