THE TEMPLE IN THE HEART – a Devotion for 20 August 2016 Anno Domini
16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. 1 Cor 3:16-17 (KJV)
The antecedent of Solomon’s Temple was the Wilderness Tabernacle. It was gloriously appointed inside with sheets of gold to cover the walls, and curtains of rich colors for drapes. It was a beautiful place in an ugly and Wilderness area. But on the outside, it was covered with goat hair – a most unbecoming decor. But the Temple was richly furnished both inside and out. It was a stunning achievement in both art and architecture costing a fortune in its materials and furnishings. I consider that Wilderness Tabernacle to be, in some respects, the Christian in this World – and the Temple to represent the glorified Christian of the resurrection. At the completion of both structures, the glory of the Lord filled each. Let us review the occasion of the completion of both in Holy Scripture.
When the Tabernacle was completed, we read, “34 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” Ex 40:34-35
Once all had been done according to the counsel of the Lord, the Glory of the Lord filled the Wilderness Tabernacle.
Likewise at the completion of Solomon’s Temple, we read, “1 Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house. 2 And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’S house. 3 And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.”
2 Chron 7:1-3 (KJV)
In both cases, when all of the preparations were satisfied, the Glory of God filled both places. But He would not have done so had the workmen omitted a single requirement in the construction. This is very much like the regenerated soul of man being filled with the Holy Ghost when he has become the Temple of God – the dwelling place of God. Once God has made His abode with us, we must not do anything to defile that Temple. All things were accomplished in the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ!
The Wilderness Tabernacle provided all of the detail of the Temple in lesser degree in grandeur. So it is with these mortal (Wilderness) bodies as we await the glorification of our bodies to come in Heaven. At that moment, our mortality shall take on immortality and we shall be changed from glory to glory – like unto that glorious Temple of Solomon, but far greater.
The unbeliever is like an empty shell walking about in complete abandon. Whatever spirit motivates him is not of God but of the dark Prince of the Air. He is, in fact, a dead man walking. He is very like that goat hair covered Tabernacle of the Wilderness ere the Glory of the Lord filled it. “1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. Eph 2:1-2 (KJV) Please do not tell me that you awakened in your dead spirit by your own conscious intent and turned to Christ. You were DEAD – as dead as Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, and the dead can do NOTHING! “4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Eph 2:4-9 (KJV) None deserve the mercy and grace of God, but He has shown it to His Elect by grace and not merit.
Of course, we are saved by grace UNTO good works, “created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” Eph 2:10 (KJV)
There were at least six cardinal fixtures in the Tabernacle and the Temple: 1) the Brazen Altar; 2) the Bronze Laver; 3) the Table of Shewbread – on the right side of the Holy Place; 4) the Candelabra on the left side of the Holy Place facing the Shewbread Table; 5) the Table of Incense before the Temple Veil separating the Holy Place from the Holiest Place; and the Ark of the Covenant behind the Veil containing Manna, the Ten Commandments, and the Rod of Moses. The Mercy Seat rested above the Ark. The Manna represents the Word of God consumed and digested in the Believer’s Temple of God. Jesus was “the bread of life.” (John 6:35) The Tables of the Law were the Ten Commandments which, in the new believer’s Temple of God, are written on the soft sinews of the heart. “3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.” 2 Cor 3:3 (KJV) The Rod of Moses in the new Temple of the believer is that of faith and power of the Holy Ghost. So you see, every physical accoutrement of the old Temple of Solomon is spiritually present in the soul of the believer.
One other important point of the Temple of God for us is this: Before entering the Tabernacle or Temple proper, one must bring his sin offering to be sacrificed on the Brazen Altar at the entrance of the Tabernacle or Temple. The sins of none could be absolved without that offering of sacrifice. Nothing is changed since. We still must depend upon the efficacy of that sacrifice before we come near to God. But OUR sacrifice is imminently more efficacious for the absolution of sin than all of the beasts of burden in all of the world – the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the very Door and Sacrificial Offering at the entrance of the Temple (or Tabernacle). “No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.”
Next is the Bronze Laver. Why the difference in metal between the Brazen Altar and the Bronze Laver? The Bronze Laver was filled with pure water and the foundations were highly polished and served as a mirror for us to behold what manner of man we are. Ere we go before the Lord to worship, we must repent of our sins. The same is true of God’s Word today. It is a mirror to our souls. There are but two images we behold therein – our marred and disfigured countenance and unworthiness, and the beauty of holiness and righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ. The contrast is infinite. We see in God’s Word our shameful shortcomings.
The Holy Place, you will remember, contained the Shewbread (Unleavened Bread) Table on the right side of the Holy Place; the Candelabra on the left held seven candles and provided the only light in the Holy Place. These two represent the Body of Christ (Unleavened Bread), or His Word; and His nature as Light of the World in the candles. Before the Veil (between the Table of Unleavened Bread and the Candelabra (and forward of it) was the Table of incense. Here the High Priest alone was admitted once per year to waft up the prayers of the people (represented by the rising smoke of the incense) and plead for the forgiveness of all of Israel. He must always enter that place with sacrificial blood. We still have a High Priest who intercedes on our behalf, and who carries with Him that sacrificial blood (His own) – our Lord Jesus Christ.
Remember our leading Bible verse? “7 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” God has not changed one iota from before the Creation of the World, or the building of the Tabernacle, the Temple, or the Temple of God (which Temple ye are!). “6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” Mal 3:6 (KJV) “8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Heb 13:8 (KJV) The moment of our coming to terms with our sinfulness and unworthiness and repenting before God in receiving that blood sacrifice of His only BEGOTTEN SON, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit came down upon us and filled our empty Temple with the glory of God.
Seeing that God is the same always, He will not allow His Holy Temple to be defiled! What do you suppose will defile His Temple? If we, as believers, put anything in His Temple that is an abomination before God, it will defile His Temple. Do you believe God has changed His mind about what He considers abominations? Among others, God has named idolatry (failure to keep the FIRST Commandment); adultery; homosexuality; abortion (shedding of innocent blood); wicked rulers; pride; and cruelty as ‘ABOMINATIONS’. So, have we kept Holy our Temples of God, my friends?