Physical and Spiritual Temples
There is no doubt that Christians and Jews worship the same God, the one and only true God. When Joseph and Mary, as Jews, presented the infant Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem, they did so to fulfill the requirements of the Old Testament law (Luke 2:21-39). Years later, when His parents found the missing twelve year old Jesus in the Temple, He said to them, "How is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be in My Father's House?" (Luke 2:49 RSV). Later still, after His ministry began, He overturned the tables of the money changers in the Temple, saying to them, "Take these things away; you shall not make My Father's House a house of trade." (John 2:16 RSV).
Jesus Christ had no problem referring to that Jewish Temple as His Father's House, as the Temple of God, even though the original Temple that God had Solomon construct (see Temples), and which later God Himself caused to be destroyed, was long gone.
For many years after the Babylonians devastated Jerusalem, there was no Temple on the Temple Mount, just as there is again today no Temple on the Temple Mount, but when another was built, it was the Temple of God, The Father's House, as Jesus Christ plainly said.
For Christians, the meaning of Temple has been greatly expanded.
- "Jesus answered them, "Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews then said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" But He spoke of the Temple of His body." (John 2:19-21 RSV)
- "for through Him we both have access in one Spirit to The Father. So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in Whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy Temple in The Lord; in Whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in The Spirit." (Ephesians 2:18-22 RSV)
- "Yet The Most High does not dwell in houses made with hands; as the prophet says, 'Heaven is My throne, and earth My footstool. What house will you build for Me?" (Acts 7:48-49 RSV)
- "Do you not know that you are God's Temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If any one destroys God's Temple, God will destroy him. For God's Temple is holy, and that Temple you are." (1 Corinthians 3:16-17 RSV)
- And a future New Jerusalem:
"I am coming soon; hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. He who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the Temple of My God; never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem which comes down from My God out of heaven, and My own new Name." (Revelation 3:11-12 RSV)
An End-Time Jewish Temple of God?
There are a number of Jewish groups working toward the construction of an end-time Jewish Temple - a physical, Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Their preparations are genuine, professional, and well financed. They would begin building today if the political situation permitted it.
But will it happen?
Many Christian-professing people reject the thought of any such possibility, or deny Jesus Christ's own words and say that such a Temple could not be called a Temple of God, because their own perspective of Temple is now purely spiritual. But unconverted Jews aren't Christians, who nevertheless worship and are subject to the true and only God. Jews have a religious perspective of their own, and since 1948, the Jewish state of Israel has been a reality.
Christians and Jews worship the same God, the true God, but differently, at different stages of understanding and fulfillment. Is the Jewish religion now to be considered irrelevant? Most certainly not, according to the Christian apostle Paul: "Then what advantage has the Jew? ... Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews are entrusted with the oracles [NIV words] of God." (Romans 3:1-2 RSV)
A great many other Christians, including this writer, believe that the Jewish people will indeed construct another Jewish Temple of God that will be a focal point of many Christian prophecies. These Scriptures of Bible Prophecy, among others, can only mean a physical Jewish Temple, in Jerusalem, just prior to The Return Of Jesus Christ -
- A Physical Measurement Of A Physical Temple
"Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told: "Rise and measure the Temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the Temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample over the holy city for forty-two months. And I will grant My two witnesses power to prophesy for one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." (Revelation 11:1-3 RSV)
- Abomination Of A Physical Temple
"Forces from him shall appear and profane the Temple and fortress, and shall take away the continual burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate." (Daniel 11:31 RSV)
- No Physical Human Can Enter God's Spiritual Temple
"Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the Temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God." (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 RSV)
- Jesus' Specific Warning About A Physical Temple In Judea
"So when you see the desolating sacrilege spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the Holy Place, let the reader understand, then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains." (Matthew 24:15-16 RSV)
Fact Finder: What is going to be the fate of the "beast" and the "great false prophet"?
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