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16. Temple of God

There are very few topics one could write on that are as sensitive and significant as the topic of the Temple of God. For one thing, there are countless temples dotting our planet which make claim of being “Houses of God.” To single out one particular structure as The Temple of God is to invite the ire of a large number of people who consider their house to be God’s house. Yet the Scriptures indicate that a very specific site, on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, has historically been the place where God has placed His name and which He calls “His house.”1 For another thing, it is a large topic of immense spiritual importance: every temple which claims to recognize a deity seeks to provide a place where deity and creature may commune with one another, albeit in a limited way. Thus, a discussion of the Temple of God is all about relationship between God and man. This too is a sensitive topic, which at its core, is what uniquely and completely separates Christianity from every other religion of the world: for Christianity holds that only in the blood atonement of God Himself (Rev. Rev. 1:5+, Rev. 1:18+; Rev. 5:6+, Rev. 5:9+) is it possible for sinful man to have communion with a perfect and Holy God. “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1Ti. 1Ti. 2:5). Thus we expect, and indeed find, that the history of the Temple of God as set forth in Scripture communicates both a problem and a solution:
  1. The Problem - Man has fallen irretrievably into sin and is unable to abide in the presence of a Holy God. His communion with God is severed.
  2. The Solution - The Perfect Man, the God-man Jesus Christ, did what no other man could. He paid the penalty of imperfect men to restore communion between man and God. When sinful men rely upon His sacrifice of atonement on their behalf, they now appear before God clothed in His righteousness. Communion with God is reestablished and, eventually, consummated.
The Temple of God has always stood at the epicenter of the meeting between God and man. For most of history, the meeting has been formal and distant due to the intervening problem of sin. For God is a consuming fire and man would be consumed in judgment if he were exposed to God’s full presence while in his sinful condition.2 Unlike all other temples, which are initiated by men in an attempt to demonstrate their merit and climb up to God, the true Temple of God was constructed at God’s behest. It was God’s idea and purpose to meet with man in a Temple during the period of man’s estrangement. As with redemption, the initiative was completely God’s. The following is an introduction and overview of this enormous topic, intended to acquaint the reader with the most significant theological aspects of the Temple of God, the history of the Temple, and Scriptural revelation concerning the role of the Temple in the future. Much of the material which follows is drawn from the work of Dr. Randall Price, an expert on the Temple whose resources we recommend.3

Notes

1 Concerning the Temple as God’s House and the place of His name: Deu. Deu. 12:5, Deu. 12:11; Deu. 12:21; 1Chr. 1Chr. 28:6; 2Chr. 2Chr. 6:20; 2Chr. 7:16; 2Chr. 20:19; Ezra Ezra 6:12; Ne. Ne. 1:9; Mtt. Mat. 21:13; Mark Mark 11:17; Luke Luke 19:46.

2 A picnic analogy may be helpful. Consider sin as tomato ketchup. When ketchup spills on a man’s clothing, it stains his clothing. But when ketchup is spilled on the coals of a fire, the coals consume the ketchup. The man’s clothing remains stained, but the coals are unaffected by the ketchup. The coals of the fire are like God: that which is sinful is consumed by His power and Holiness. Concerning God’s consuming fire: Ex. Ex. 24:17; Lev. Lev. 9:24; Num. Num. 11:1; Deu. Deu. 4:24; Deu. 5:25; Deu. 9:3; 1K. 1K. 18:38; 1Chr. 1Chr. 21:26; 2Chr. 2Chr. 7:1; Ps. Ps. 50:3; Isa. Isa. 33:14; Jer. Jer. 21:12; Heb. Heb. 12:29.

3 [Randall Price, The Coming Last Days Temple (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1999)], [www.WorldOfTheBible.com].