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What Did Jesus Christ Call It?
by Wayne Blank
A Place of Worship, "Consecrated For My Name"
The original Temple was consecrated for God's Name, and called a Temple of God, or House of God, even though God remained in heaven e.g "The Lord is in His Holy Temple, The Lord's throne is in heaven." (Psalm 11:4). It could perhaps be compared to the principle of a country opening (or closing, temporarily or permanently, whenever a decision is made to do so) an embassy in a foreign land, that is to be treated with the utmost respect and never to be violated, where official diplomatic business is conducted. The Temple of God was meant in a possessive sense, even though the "Head of State" remained at home:
Regarding the original Temple in Jerusalem:
"I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built, and put My Name there for ever; My eyes and My heart will be there for all time." (1 Kings 9:3 RSV)
The original Temple of God was destroyed, that is, God had it destroyed, not because He turned His back on the Israelites, but because they turned their back on Him. Later however, at the appointed time, the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity because God had a Persian king release them and allow them to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of God as a sacred place of worship. It was God's command to rebuild that Temple (or sacred "embassy," if you wish), not something that the Jews took it upon themselves to do:
"In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia [see Ancient Empires - Persia], that The Word of The Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: "Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has charged me to build Him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all His people, may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of The Lord, the God of Israel - He is the God Who is in Jerusalem." (Ezra 1:2 RSV)
Jesus Christ Called That Jewish Temple "My Father's House"
From a Christian point of view the term Temple takes on a much greater meaning:
"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)
Nevertheless, Jesus Christ, Who we may be absolutely certain knew what He was talking about, had no problem calling that re-built physical Jewish Temple in Jerusalem "My Father's House," or God's House, a sacred place, not because God lived there, since Jesus plainly always prayed to The Father in heaven, but because God was worshiped there. He used the term Temple in a possessive sense.
"Did you not know that I must be in My Father's House?" (Luke 2:49 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 self-centered 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 political reality that is never going to be lost again.
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 (the exact form that it will take is yet to be seen) that will be a focal point of many Christian prophecies. These Scriptures of Bible Prophecy, among others, can only mean an actual physical Jewish Temple, in Jerusalem, just prior to The Return Of Jesus Christ -
Fact Finder: What is going to be the fate of the "beast" and the "great false prophet"?