A Temple is often seen as a place for the gods to dwell. Such 'gods' need a place that protects THEM for they are no gods at all. The true and living God dwells not in temples made by hands. As Steven would say a thousand years later: "…but it was Solomon who built a house for Him. Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says, ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest? Did not my hand make all these things?’ "(Acts 7:47-50).
YET God caused His glory to inhabit the temple. As Solomon concluded the dedication of the temple we read: "…when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord" (1 Kings 8:10-11).
The history of the temple showed many misconceptions about God and man's relationship with Him.
- They often neglected it, letting it fall into disrepair.
- They turned it into a pagan temple and worshiped idols.
- They turned it into 'icon' - 'the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord'. They thought the mere presence of the temple indicated that God would not let them be conquered as a people.
- They correctly understood it as a place of worship and connecting with God.
As we read and follow the temple through history we find that:
- It was destroyed by the Babylonians…
- It was rebuilt during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah.
- It was paganized by the Syrians during the 'between the testament' times.
- It was purged and rededicated.
- It was enlarged and remodeled by Herod.
- It was destroyed by the Romans.
With the coming of Jesus and the New Covenant it was replaced by the church. Such church is not a building where the church meets, but the people. This temple is God's people 'built together' as a habitation for God by the Spirit (Eph. 2:19-22).
The difficulty that people have is seeing the glory of such a temple! Yet, when we live as God would have us to live we show forth the glory of God. Together as God's temple we are glorious because we reflect the very glory of God.
Whatever you do, do it to the glory of God. In our relationship to each other - let us treat each other to the glory of God.