DESTROY THIS TEMPLE
John 2:18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? 19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 21 But he spake of the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.
The Lord’s response to the Jews wanting a miracle for a sign of his authority was the same as upon other occasions. It was the sign of his resurrection. Matthew 12:39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.
For this marvelous occurrence was to be the very heart of the effectual gospel that should be the very power of God unto salvation. Acts 4:33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. As upon this very manifestation of the sovereign power of God rests the entirety of salvation! 1 Corinthians 15:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
But here the Lord in his infinite wisdom declares his resurrection under the cloak of religion’s ignorance concerning the true meaning of the temple. For these Jews, like today’s religionists have not a clue of the spiritual meanings of the word of the Lord. Even the true disciples had no understanding of his meaning until after the event of his resurrection made clear by the Holy Spirit that he was speaking of the true temple of God – the very body of Jesus Christ! Revelation 21:22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
In Christ dwells all the fulness of God! Colossians 1:19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
The Old Testament believers assumed, as do the erroneous religionists in our day, that the physical structure of Solomon’s temple would be the eternal dwelling place of God. 1 Kings 8:13 I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever. Psalm 78:68 But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved. 69 And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever.
But in Stephen’s glorious message just before the Jews stoned him to death it is clearly revealed how untrue this is. Acts 7:48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, 49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
And the Apostle Paul also clearly set this forth. Acts 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Hebrews 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
The true church is made up of spiritual believers referred to as ‘living stones’ and ‘pillars’ in the dwelling place of God. 1 Peter 2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
Revelation 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
For the ‘habitation of God’ is the entire body of believers, with Christ as the Head. Ephesians 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
2 Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Revelation 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
For where does God say that he dwells? Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Acts 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being;
And with the correct spiritual understanding of the identity of the temple of God, we can truly say that God shall dwell eternally in it. But we must understand that he is referring to the temple of his body, both of the physical body of Christ, and the spiritual body of the universal church! Peter’s glorious message on Pentecost clearly addressed this as he corrected the carnal idea that the person of King David, the Psalmist of Israel, would physically sit eternally upon a physical throne in natural Israel! For he made it abundantly clear that the ‘fruit of David’s loins’ was Jesus of Nazareth! Acts 2:29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
The Lord Jesus himself made us to know that there would never be a permanent physical location which contained the exclusive place for the exclusive point of contact for God and his revelation. But rather the condition of worship would be like lightening flashes of revelation into the individual souls of men, creating within them the spiritual nature for their acceptable worship of God. And the collective gathering of these spirits would be like those who mount up with eagles as they gather to feast off the fresh blood of his life imputed to them. We must remember that our Lord clearly stated “my kingdom is not of this world!” And that he came to obtain his elect souls “out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;”
Matthew 24:26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
This was clearly taught by our Lord to the Samaritan woman at the well. For he not only denied that Samaria was God’s place of worship, but he also denied that Jerusalem would be! John 4:21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
John was rebuked for his admiration of the woman bedecked with all the finery of her attire. He was admiring organized religion, overcome by its carnal glory. And so do hosts of people who see the great cathedrals and religious centers of the world! But he was actually admiring the Great Whore Church! Revelation 17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. 7 ¶ And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
But we must be careful not to align ourselves with the Pharisees demanding that Christ “tell us plainly” of these matters. For his words are spirit and they are life. And he sends us the Holy Spirit that we might receive of Christ’s revelations and show them unto us. He therefore is specifically said to have given us an understanding. 1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
And he deals in such wisdom as to legally hold all accountable for having the same embodiment of scripture available to them. Yet some in seeing, cannot see. John 9:39 ¶ And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. 40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? 41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. Matthew 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
For as the Lord answered Judas’ question concerning how he would openly teach these truths to the believers and keep it from the unbelievers, he related to him that it was a matter of the true believers having the love of God within their hearts. For love “believeth all things.” John 14:22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Also it was included in the glorious wisdom of God to present things in this spiritual matter, as saying, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up, when referring to the resurrection of his body, to accomplish multiple ends. First, it would cause true believers to be attended by the coming Holy Spirit. They would then have brought together for them both the words which the Lord spoke along with the scriptures. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.
Secondly it would provide those false witnesses the ‘ammunition’ they required to accomplish his death. Matthew 26:59 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; 60 But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, 61 And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. 62 And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?
And finally it would provide for those believers like us, who are separated by thousands of years, and by a totally different culture, the comfort and blessing of the same faith and sense of belonging to Christ as did any of those centuries ago. For having the Holy Spirit reveal to us this message provides us with the same fresh bread of God as they had. Ephesians 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
Pastor Gene Breed
October 28, 2022