Resource Saturday- Unwrapping the Temple of God

July 11, 2009

In my experience, most American Christians tend to have a rather limited view of the temple of God.  They would probably be able to tell you that the Temple was in Jerusalem, that it was destroyed at some point, and that your body is a temple (cf. 1 Corinthians 6.19, which, in my opinion, is the second most misused verse in the Bible behind Revelation 3.20).  However, over the year and a half the Spirit has lead me into studies which show a much deeper importance to the Temple, an importance which drives me to believe the Temple should be the focus of all our eschatalogical dreams as Christians.

Of course, to make sense of this requires first a proper understanding of what the Temple is and second enough time to go from cover to cover in the Bible seeing what God has revealed about the Temple to us.  For my part I will tell you that the Temple, properly understood, is the place where the presence of God dwells with man.  Thus we see that in the physical temple, the presence of God dwelt in the Holy of Holies, and today the presence of God dwells in the church and the individual believers which make up the church.  But what about at all other points?  What about before the Temple was built in Jerusalem?  What about after it was destroyed?  What about in the end time?

This truly is a rich subject, so rich in fact that I just recently finished reading a 400-page book on it.  Now, I know that not everyone has the time (or patience) to read a book this long, but if you ever want to give it a try, G.K. Beale’s The Temple and the Church’s Mission is well worth it.  When I first found this book sitting on the shelf in Southern’s LifeWay I immediately bought it and nearly skipped class just to start reading.  In fact, I was a little disappointed when I found this book because I had decided myself that I would right a treatise on the Temple for my Ph.D (should I ever go for one) and now I know that someone has beaten me to it.

If the sound of that book is a little too intimidating for you (and honestly, 400-pages scares me as well) then at least take a listen to this sermon from Sojourn Community Church a few weeks back.  It is on 1 Kings 8 where Solomon prays over the Temple in Jerusalem and in it Daniel Montgomery offers an introductory glance at this very deep, very rewarding theme in Scripture.