God broke the bonds the Egyptian empire had on His people after more than 400 years of suffering in that land. He called Israel out of Egypt into the wilderness, where He shepherded them for forty years. God gave Moses instructions to build His house in the wilderness—the tabernacle. God instructed the Israelites to meet Him in the Tabernacle.
“Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them” (Ex. 25:8). God provided Moses detailed instructions about this tabernacle—its dimensions, rooms, adornments, articles of worship and sacrifice, etc. Fifteen chapters in the Book of Exodus describe the construction of God’s house. A complete description is beyond the scope of this article. The book of Exodus ends with this description: “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (Ex. 40:34). God communed with His people in His wilderness house for forty years and beyond.
The Jews subsequently conquered Canaan and dwelt in their promised land for several hundred years. The Bible describes much of this time in the Book of Judges. God anointed King David to lead His people, but did not allow David to build Him a house—a temple—because David was a man of war. God spoke to King David through His prophet, Nathan:
When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. (2 Samuel 7:12-13)
David’s son, Solomon, built God’s temple after David died. God’s own Son, Jesus Christ—a descendant of David—will rebuild God’s house and rule the world on God’s throne for one thousand years. God repeatedly promised Israel this Millennial Kingdom through the prophets of the Old Testament. God allowed Solomon the privilege of constructing His house. It was subsequently destroyed, rebuilt and destroyed again by wicked gentile empires (Babylonian and Roman). God used these gentile nations to inflict punishment on His people for their disobedience. Jesus will one day build God’s temple and it will never be destroyed by human hands.
God’s temple on earth is a reflection of His holy temple in heaven. “The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven…” (Ps. 11:4). King David wrote the following in Ps 27:4-5:
One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock.
David spoke, not of God’s earthly temple. He did not hide in a tent when troubles arose. But David spoke of God’s spiritual, heavenly house. God hid him there—away from all his enemies, in an eternal abode. This is a privilege of Divine protection. David was lifted up on a rock—the chief cornerstone, Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul provides interesting information in 1 Cor. 3:16-17: “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.” Each born again believer is a temple of a holy God on this earth. God’s wrath will fall upon any who destroys His temple in this world. Paul instructs believers in 1 Cor. 6:19-20: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God; and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” God purchased each of His children. He gave the ultimate price—the blood of His only Son, Jesus Christ. God intends that each of His many temples in this world bring glory to His name.
Jesus drove out the money changers from God’s house and proclaimed the following prophecy in John 2:19. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Subsequent verses explain that He spoke of the temple of His body and prophesied of His resurrection. But it also implies that at His resurrection, He created the spiritual temple of God, which houses all God’s children over the ages. His resurrection made this possible.
The Bible explains that God chose us before He created the world. “…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him” (Eph. 1:4). We are fellow citizens in God’s house, which is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets (their teachings and writings—the inspired Word of God). The cornerstone of this structure is Jesus Christ. God’s children are added through the ages to complete the house, which is God’s present and eternal dwelling. God dwelled in His tabernacle and subsequently in His temple in Old Testament times. The house of God represents believers of all times – each age is pictured as a different room of the structure in Eph. 2:19-22:
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
“He has made known to us the mystery of His will…” (Eph 1:9). God seals His children for eternity through God the Holy Spirit. Our Savior has eternally secured us! The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of a new body and heavenly inheritance:
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, Who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory (Eph. 1: 13-14).
God will one day sum up all things and programs in Christ in ‘the New Heavens and New Earth’ (Eph 1:8-10):
In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.
The book of Revelation 21:22-23 explains that during this time (the new heavens and new earth) there will be no physical temple at all! The Lord God almighty and His Son, Jesus Christ will be its temple:
I saw no temple in it, for he Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the Glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.
Even the sun and moon, which have provided physical light and energy in this world, will no longer be necessary. God, who has created these and all things, will be the energy powerhouse of the new heavens and earth. Humans look upon a physical temple, the sun, and the moon and marvel at their greatness. But these are but a physical representation of a spiritual reality, which dwarfs all that can ever be apprehended with physical senses. Someday all of God’s children from all ages will gaze upon this spiritual reality – God the Father and God the Son—the absolute truth, the life, the light, the temple, the creative power of all that was, and is and is to come!