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Temples

TEMPLES…are places of worship. When I hear the word “Temple” I immediately think of the Jewish Temple. They are in and around most cities. Like churches, they have varying names depending on their orthodoxy. My favorite is Temple Shalom. God of Israel gave Moses the first set of building plans. Intricate, beautiful, functional and purposeful!  Built on the Temple Mount, the original was destroyed and rebuilt; then it was destroyed and rebuilt-and finally destroyed again by the Romans in 70 AD. It remains that way even today, buried under the Dome of the Rock mosque of Islam in Jerusalem.

 

But not all temples are for the Jews. There are numerous religious temples to peoples’ gods. While on my trip to India I visited a Hindu temple. My eyes were opened to the extent humans will go to worship something or someone. There are several Buddhist temples scattered around Dallas. The Mormons worship in temples. I was only in one and I sensed no presence of the Spirit.

 

While in Israel, we visited Capernaum and the remains of the White Temple, the home for Jesus’ worship. When Jesus was on earth, He revealed new thoughts about the subject. He and His disciples were in a field on a Sabbath, eating the grain. They were questioned and condemned. He politely reminded them of David and his hungry troops eating the consecrated bread in the Temple on the Sabbath by saying; “I tell you that something greater than the temple is here” and ” the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath” (Mt. 12:6,8).

 

Several times in the Old Testament we are shown images of God in His temple. “The cloud filled the    temple of the Lord” (I Kings 8:10); “And the train of His robe filled the temple” (Isa. 6:1); “Glory of the LORD entered the temple” (Eze. 43:4).  He didn’t have the temple built on earth for no reason. That is where God dwelt with His chosen people prior to Jesus’ crucifixion. But something very profound and significant happened that day at the very moment of His death. “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Mt. 27:50,51a).

 

Through His torn body, we have gained access to the Father. “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh” (Heb. 10:20). We now are that temple where the Lord dwells in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Scary for a fallen sinner to consider this truth. Challenging and sobering come to mind also! Paul scolded the Corinthians for their acts in and against the body. He addresses them, and now us, collectively and individually.

 

First Paul sees the universal body of Christ, the Church, as the temple for God to occupy and use.  “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst” (I Cor. 3:16)? And then as individuals, he calls us to understand a profound truth. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” (I Cor. 6:19). God’s ‘temple’ is vast, spreading all across the earth and it is growing. Do we remember what four commands God gave to Adam?   Procreate, fill the earth, subdue it and rule over it. Adam and his offspring failed, God’s chosen people failed-but praise to Him, He will not fail! Due to Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross and evidenced by the empty tomb, His new temple, we the Church will be used to accomplish His plan from eternity past. That is why He calls us to be holy temples, useful and effective in every way.

 

What goes on in a temple? Among other things there is worship, confession, repentance, encountering, fellowship, prayer, fasting, cleansing, sacrifice, service, witness, loving, preaching, teaching, healing, giving, caring and refuge. As a sanctified temple of God we, His saints, are instruments in His hands. He is holy, so, in Christ, we are holy-set apart for His good pleasure.

 

In fact, we are ‘mobile temples’; sorta like the tabernacle in the desert. We go when He says go; we stop when He commands it. James reminds us that we have no control over any of this. ‘Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that”‘ (Jas. 4:15).  Can the temple say to the Temple Occupant…like the potter and the clay? “Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use” (Rom. 9:21)?

 

In Matthew 21 Jesus is cleaning out the moneychangers in the temple. Watch what happens-“Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and he healed them” (vs. 14). Earlier, these same people that He came to seek and to save were not welcome in the temple that Jesus called a “den of thieves” instead of a “house of prayer”.  I have to ask myself and you; are we the former or the latter? What’s taking place in our temple? Are people being drawn to our temple to be healed and saved?

 

From one temple to another, we need to check with Him early and daily about how and where He wants our temple to be used for His glory?

 

Copyright 2014

Bill C. Dotson

www.lifespeakstous.com

bill@abidingfathers.org

Scriptures taken from New King James Version and New International Version

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