THE TEMPLE OF GOD
BY: JONATHAN MITCHELL
DECEMBER 3, 2008
There are many in Christianity, and Judaism, who are looking for the “third temple” to be built (hopefully sometime soon) in Jerusalem. Is this a correct hope and expectation?
According to Jesus, in John 4,
21. Jesus then says to her, “Be constantly trusting in Me (or: Continue believing Me), O woman (= dear lady), because an hour is progressively coming when neither within this mountain nor within Jerusalem will you folks give worship to the Father.
22. “You people are habitually worshiping what you have not seen and thus do not know. We [Jews] are presently worshiping what we have seen and thus know, because the deliverance (the being restored to the original state; the health and wholeness; the salvation) continues being (habitually is; constantly exists being) from out of the midst of the Jews.
23. “Nevertheless an hour is progressively coming – and now exists (or: is; is being) – when the true (real; genuine) worshipers will worship (or: will give worship to) the Father within spirit and Truth (or: in breath and reality; within the midst of [the] Spirit and a Fact), for the Father is also constantly seeking after such folks (habitually searching out such ones as this; continuously looking for and trying to find lost ones to be this kind) – ones continuously worshiping Him!
24. “God [is] spirit (or: Breath), and it is binding (or: necessary) for the ones continuously worshiping Him to be constantly worshiping in union with spirit and Truth (in breath [= life] and reality; within the midst of [the] Spirit and [the] Fact).”
So it follows that, in God’s plan, there will not be another temple built in Jerusalem, since things have changed – according to what Jesus said, above. Our relationship with God is no longer in a locality, but in the realm of spirit.
Further, Paul said in 1 Cor. 6, 19.
“Or, have you folks not seen so as to know that your body is a temple (a holy place and a holy of holies) of the set-apart spirit (or: belonging to the Holy Spirit; which pertains to the Sacred Breath) – within the midst of you – which you people constantly hold and have from God?”
And again, in 2 Cor. 6, 16.
Now what mutual deposit (or: concurrence or agreement arrived by group decision) [does] God’s Temple [have] with idols? For, you see, we continuously exit being (we are) a temple of [the] living God, just as God said,
“I will make My home and will walk about within and among them (= I will reside, as in a house, and live My life within and among them), and I will exist being (or: I will be) their God, and they will exist being (or: will be)My people.” [Lev. 26:12; etc.]
Again, in Eph. 2,
19. Consequently, then (or: Thereupon), you folks no longer continuously exist being strangers (foreigners) and sojourners (temporary residents in a foreign land), but continually exist being fellow-citizens (ones residing together in a City) of those set apart: even God’s family (members of God’s household),
20. being fully built as a house upon the foundation of the sent-forth representatives (or: emissaries) and prophets (folks who had light ahead of time), Jesus Christ continuously being a corner-foundation [stone] of it (or: there being an extreme point of the corner, or, capstone: Jesus Christ Himself),
21. within and in union with Whom all the home-building (all the construction of the house), being continuously fitted [and] framed together (closely and harmoniously joined together; made a common joint by a word), is continuously growing into a set-apart (or: separate; holy) temple (inner sanctuary) within [the] Lord [= Christ, or, Yahweh]:
22. within the midst of (or: in union with) Whom you folks, also, are continuously being formed a constituent part of the structure (or: being built together into a house) into God’s down-home place (place of settling down to dwell; abode; permanent dwelling) within [the] Spirit (or: in spirit; or: in a Breath-effect).
Now is it at all unclear that we are the temple of God? And from Eph. 2:22, above, don’t you see that this is “in spirit,” just as Jesus said in John 4, above? So what is all this talk of a physical temple being built in Jerusalem, some time in the future?
This temple of which Jesus and Paul spoke is the temple of which Ezekiel spoke in chapters 40-47, in the visions which God gave to him. I want to call your attention to Ch. 47:1, that “waters issued out from under the threshold (or: sill) of the house (= temple)…” Now recall that Jesus said, in John 7,
38. “The person continuously trusting and progressively believing into Me, just as the Scripture says, ‘Rivers (or: Floods; Torrents) of living water will flow (or: gush; flood) from out of the midst of his cavity (his innermost being or part; the hollow of his belly; [used of the womb]).”
39. Now this He said about (or: with regard to) the Breath-effect (or: Spirit; [other MSS: Holy (or: set-apart) Spirit; Sacred Wind] of which (of Whom as a source; [other MSS simple read: which]) they – those trusting and believing into Him – were about to be continuously and progressively receiving. You see, the Holy Spirit (set-apart Breath-effect; Sacred Wind) was not yet being One having been given [note: reading with B], because Jesus was not yet glorified (made full of glory or endowed with glory; made to be a manifestation which calls forth praise).
Do you see the connection? Read on in Ezk. 47 and note the river’s effect in vs. 9, “It will come to be that every living soul that swarms, wherever the watercourse is coming, shall live…” If you trace the course of this river, its destination is the Dead Sea. What a picture: life coming into the realm of the dead. If you put Ezekiel’s visions into a physical context, you simply miss the point of this prophesy. Recall what Jesus said to the disciples in Lu. 24?
27. And so, beginning from Moses, and then from all the prophets, He continued to fully interpret and explain to (or: for) them the things pertaining to (or: the references about) Himself within all the Scriptures.
Note that the prophets spoke about Him, and now this also includes His body.
But I’d like to point out another aspect of our being God’s Temple: the temple includes the entire structure, and all the furnishings within it. Recall that the offering of incense on the golden altar is a figure of “the prayers of the saints” (Rev. 8:4). Note that the lampstand in the holy place is a figure of the called-out community, normally called the church (Rev. 1:20). In Heb. 10:19 we see that the veil of the temple was a figure for Christ’s flesh. Are you getting the picture? If we are His temple, our flesh also corresponds to the veil. Within the veil (within us) is the holy of holies: God’s dwelling place. Also within us is that which corresponds to the ark of the covenant. Remember that in the type, in the physical ark, was kept the tablets of the Law. Now He is writing His law of the spirit of life (or: Life’s Breath-effect) in our hearts (in the core of our being – our innermost chamber, His holy of holies). Here is also the location of the cherubim (note: cheribum were woven into the inner veil of the temple – Ex. 36:35 – so this type ties in with our flesh, our bodies, and we find that the cherubim are a figure of the body of Christ)
In conclusion, we are called to dispense mercy (Matt. 5:7; Rom. 12:8). And we do this from the mercy seat that is within us. Ps. 99:1 tells us that Yahweh reigns, and that He is “enthroned on [or: between] the cherubim.” The cherubim were a part of the mercy seat, for this was all made of one piece of gold. In His relation to humanity, God’s throne is also within us. Thus, He speaks to us from within His temple, as He did with Moses, in the type. We being this temple, He speaks from within us. And He now gives mercy to humanity through us, as well as via other means – as He chooses. His solidarity with mankind is a beautiful aspect of the new covenant, and of the new creation.
TEMPLE of GOD [Jonathan Mitchell] 12-3-08 1