II Chron 6:18 The Temple 2/3/2002
#1. The O.T. Temple (I Chron 17:4,11-14, 28:2-3,6-7)
#2. The N.T. Temple (Acts 2:38-39)
#3. The Heavenly Temple (Rev 15:5-7)
Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of First Chronicles, chapter 17. I am going to preach today about the Temple. When you think about the Temple, the first thing that comes to your mind is that beautiful building that was constructed under the direction of king Solomon in Jerusalem. In the year 967 BC the foundation of the temple was laid. Seven years later the building was finished, and it was inaugurated with great festivities. King Solomon was very rich. 22000 oxen and 120,000 sheep were sacrificed. With such a great heritage from David and Solomon, how could this kingdom ever cease to exist? But it did cease to exist. First, after the death of Solomon the kingdom was divided into Judah and Israel. And then came, what we may call:
Did you know that Solomon's Temple stood less than 400 years there in Jerusalem? The Temple was destroyed when the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in 587 BC. Why was Jerusalem destroyed? Because the children of Israel engaged in idolatry for many years. They worshipped man-made gods, which were not able to deliver them from their enemies. Therefore God sent to them the armies of Assyria, which destroyed the Northern kingdom of Israel and about 100 years later God sent the armies of Babylon, which destroyed the nation of Judah. The Babylonian armies mercilessly killed almost everyone in sight, men women and children. What about the Ark of the Covenant? When the Babylonians were plundering the Temple they did not find anything in the Holy of Holies. God had removed the Ark of the Covenant. A small remnant, only 4600 persons, were taken as captives to Babylon and stayed there for less than 50 years. Then in 539 BC the Medes and the Persians conquered Babylon, and 2 years later the Jews were allowed to go back to their homeland.
A major fraction of the Jews returned. About 50,000 returned to the land of Judah under the leadership of Zerubbabel. Who was Zerubbabel? Zerubbabel was a grandson of king Jehoiachin, who was taken as a captive to Babylon. Zerubbabel was heir to the throne. But it was a long walk. It was a walk of about 1000 miles. They were retracing the steps of Abraham when he walked from Ur of the Chaldees to the land of Canaan. Then came the slow process of rebuilding the Temple and rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. About 20 years after they were delivered from Babylon, in 517 BC, the new Temple was dedicated. This was called Zerubbabel's Temple, and this temple remained standing longer than Solomon's Temple.
In about 20 BC Herod the Great, the Herod who murdered the babies in Bethlehem, wanted to get in favor with the Jews, who resented that he was a descendent of Esau. Herod proposed to build a very nice building around Zerubbabel's temple. The Jews agreed, provided that it would not interrupt any of the Temple services. Herod agreed. And so it was, that when the Lord Jesus walked on this earth, Herod's Temple was almost completed. It was spectacular. It was completed in 64 AD, only to be destroyed by the Roman armies in 70 AD, when they fought the rebellion of the Zealots. And then the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple as well, never to be rebuilt.
Let us now look at some passages concerning Solomon's Temple:
#1. The O.T. Temple (I Chron 17:4,11-14, 28:2-3,6-7)
King David eagerly desired to build this temple. But God sent the prophet Nathan to David with a message. God says here in I Chron 17:4,
1 Chronicles 17:4 Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt NOT build me an house to dwell in:
David was not allowed to build the Temple, because he was a man of war. David could make preparations, and design the building plans, but his son Solomon was appointed to build the Temple.
Drop down to verse 11 and read now the words from God through Nathan in I Chron 17:11-14,
1 Chronicles 17:11-12 And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever.
1 Chronicles 17:13 I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee:
1 Chronicles 17:14 But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.
Did you notice how God emphasized that David's descendant would be reigning forever? Three times in this passage does God emphasize the word "forever". Does this point to Solomon? NO! Please turn in your Bibles to I Chron 28. Solomon's kingdom fell apart because he was not loyal to Jehovah his God. But God was pointing to the Lord Jesus Christ, who also is a descendant of David. Christ is the only one who is reigning forever. David did not hear that. We have perfect hindsight, but David thought that God was speaking about Solomon. You can see that from David's words in:
1 Chronicles 28:2 Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building:
1 Chronicles 28:3 But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood.
And now drop down to verses 6 and 7,
1 Chronicles 28:6 And he said unto me, Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts: for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father.
1 Chronicles 28:7 Moreover I will establish his kingdom for ever, IF he be constant to do my commandments and my judgments, as at this day.
You see, this promise is conditional: "IF he be constant to do my commandments and my judgments, as at this day". But Solomon was not constant in doing the commandments of the Lord, and therefore the Lord took away ten tribes from his son Rehoboam. David did not know this. David instructed Solomon to build the Temple in Jerusalem. David gave Solomon the pattern and David gave Solomon the building materials that he had prepared, and Solomon went ahead and under his direction the Temple in Jerusalem was built.
Therefore we see that Solomon was only a shadow of another person whom God has in mind, and that the physical Temple in Jerusalem was only a shadow of another building God has in mind.
The Temple in Jerusalem has much similarity with the concentric spheres I described in the two previous sermons. An example of concentric spheres is an egg and its yolk. (2X) First look at the inner sphere. What was the inner sphere in the physical Temple? It was the Holy of Holies. It was:
This was the space where the Ark of the Covenant was stored, and which was closed off by a heavy curtain from the Holy place, where only the priests may come. No one was allowed to look behind that curtain. Only once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest was allowed to come behind the veil with burning incense and with the blood of a bullock, and then with the blood of a goat. The High Priest must sprinkle the blood with his finger on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat on the ground seven times. Then the High Priest left the Holy of Holies and no one was allowed behind the veil until the following year on the Day of Atonement. Please turn to I Chron 29:1.
What was this Ark of the Covenant? This was a wooden box, 2½ cubits long, 1½ cubits wide, and 1½ cubits high, overlaid with gold. This box was covered by a piece of gold, 2½ cubits long, 1½ cubits wide, which was called the mercy seat. The mercy seat and the two cherubim on top of the mercy seat were made of one piece of gold. Inside the Ark of the Covenant were a pot with manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the two stone tables, on which were written the Ten Commandments that Moses brought down from Mount Sinai. The manna was pointing to Christ who is the Bread of Life. Aaron's rod that budded was pointing to Christ who is the giver of life to those whom He has appointed to be priests of God. The two stone tables were pointing to Christ who is the Word of God and He is coming to execute the Law of God. The two cherubim were representing God as the Judge. Between the Law of God and God as the judge was placed the mercy seat, which represented Christ who intercedes for us and gives us a covering for our violations of the Law of God. Thus the entire Ark of the Covenant was symbolizing Christ who made a Covenant with those whom He was going to save from Hell. The Lord Jesus Christ is that Covenant God.
1 Chronicles 29:1 ¶ Furthermore David the king said unto all the congregation, Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the LORD God. (2X)
The temple was built to house the Ark of the Covenant. This applied especially to the Holy of Holies, the inner chamber, where the Ark was located. Please turn to II Chron 6:18 (2X). Solomon finished building the Temple. Then Solomon offered a public prayer of dedication. This prayer occupies the entire chapter of II Chron chapter 6. Now we are confronted with the question of our text. We read in II Chron 6:18,
2 Chronicles 6:18, But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!
Solomon knew very well that you cannot put God in a box. But God promised to be present in that Holy of Holies in a special way. Therefore, that temple was first of all a dwelling place for God.
Now, look again at the picture of the concentric spheres. And please turn to II Chron 2:4. What was the purpose of the building surrounding the Holy of Holies? It was:
Solomon expressed it very well in II Chron 2:4, where we read:
2 Chronicles 2:4 Behold, I build an house to the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual shewbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the LORD our God. This is an ordinance forever to Israel.
The Temple consisted of altars, and tables, and gates, and courts, and chambers, and porches, and the Holy place, and the Holy of Holies. What was the purpose of it all? It was a building to serve the Lord, to glorify His name, to dedicate to Him this fraction of our possessions, to burn incense to Him, which was a picture of offering our prayers to Him, to display the shewbread pointing to Christ as the Bread of Life, to sacrifice to Him burnt offerings, which were all shadows of the ultimate sacrifice Christ had to make on the cross, to celebrate the Sabbaths and the feast days and to turn to Him in worship and prayer. And this is to continue forever by the Israel of God.
The one thing that stands out is that this Temple, this externally visible Temple, this outer sphere of the two concentric spheres, is sanctified to serve the Lord with sacrifices. This is the similarity with the body of a believer, and this is the similarity with the External Church. The body is still indwelt by sin, the External Church consists of people who are not saved, and the external Temple building is occupied by people going through the motions, but who are not necessarily saved.
David was a picture of Christ. David was not permitted to build the Temple because he was a man of war; he was a man who shed much blood. Christ also was a man of war. He wrestled not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. And Christ shed much blood, His own blood. And He caused Satan to be cast into the Bottomless Pit.
When the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, and God tore the veil in the Temple from top to bottom, and the Holy of Holies was exposed, God indicated thereby that direct access to God was now available. Through the body of Christ we have now direct access to God, who formerly could only be reached through the High Priest as a mediator. The O.T. Temple had no more use.
By this action, God committed Himself to establish:
#2. The N.T. Temple (Acts 2:38-39)
When we read the O.T. it gives us more than just the history of the Jews. The O.T. was written to provide us with pictures and analogies of N.T. truths. For example, David and Solomon were pictures of the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Holy Spirit. David and Solomon were the shadow, but Christ and the Holy Spirit are the substance. The O.T. Temple was only a shadow. The N.T. Temple is the real thing. That is why God took away the O.T. Temple so soon after Christ went back to heaven. Please turn with me to the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2. The N.T. Temple was born on the streets of Jerusalem in Acts chapter 2. As you know, on the Day of Pentecost God the Holy Spirit manifested Himself to the Disciples by the sound of a mighty rushing wind, by tongues of fire on their heads, and they spontaneously spoke in tongues, which means they spoke in foreign languages as the Spirit gave them utterance. Then Peter preached one sermon, and the result was that about 3000 souls were saved. We read in Acts 2:38,
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized (washed) every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
As many as the Lord our God shall call, to them is the promise of the remission of sins made, even to all that are afar off. God is referring here to US, who were not only afar off in distance, but also afar off in time. All those whom the Lord our God shall call, are all those who hear the Lord's effectual call through the words of the Gospel preached into their ears, shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. In other words, they shall receive the presence of the Holy Spirit, at the moment that God shall wipe away their sins. As many as the Lord our God shall call also means that not everybody in the world is called, but only those who are among God's elect; only those whom God chose from before the foundation of the world. These are the only ones whom God intended to save and these will be the only ones saved. Pentecost was the day when the Holy Spirit started to build the N.T. Church which Christ had so diligently prepared for. Please turn to I Cor 6:19, (2X)
What is the N.T. Temple? Think again of the two concentric spheres, which symbolized the O.T. Temple. Again the two concentric spheres symbolize the N.T. Temple. The inner sphere represents the souls of those whom God has saved, and who become indwelt by God the Holy Spirit. They are:
When Peter said in Acts 2:38, "ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost", he was indicating that our souls have become the dwelling place for God Himself. But God said in II Chron 6:18, "But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee", how then shall He dwell in a human soul? We do not know the answer to this question.
God is omnipresent. All we know is that God promised to dwell within us in a special way. God says:
1 Corinthians 6:19 What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you,
which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
In this verse God extends His presence to the body. But harmonizing this with other Scriptures we know that this must refer to the soul that is in our body. The body is dead because of sin. Nevertheless we are commanded to serve God with our body and soul, with our whole being. Please turn with me to the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 6. (2X) God draws a parallel between the O.T. Temple and the N.T. Temple, which is our soul. Think of the concentric spheres. We are now dealing with the inner sphere, which is not visible from the outside. God says in II Cor 6:
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.
We are called the Temple of the living God. God promised that He will dwell in us. This is not a temporary promise. This is not a conditional promise. This is a permanent promise. Do not let anyone tell you that God's Holy Spirit will be taken out of our midst. That person claims to be wiser than God. But what does it mean that we are a dwelling place for the Lord? Do we then also dwell in Him? The Lord Jesus answers this question in John 14:20, where He says: "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you". "Ye in Me and I in you". That is the special relationship that we have in Him. Please turn to Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, chapter 2. Again and again, God speaks about the N.T. Temple as His personal dwelling place. The Spiritual Temple is the real thing, and the physical Temple was only a shadow of what was to come. We read in Eph 2:20-21,
Ephesians 2:20, And (ye) are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
Ephesians 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
God had planned this all along that Christ would be the chief cornerstone of this spiritual building, which is called "An holy Temple in the Lord". Please turn now to Rev 3:12. This passage will show again that the N.T. Temple is a permanent dwelling place of God. In Rev 3:12 we read:
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, (
is) new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God, and ( I
will write upon him) my new name.
In all these passages we have been talking about the inner sphere of the two concentric spheres. Now what is the outer sphere? Christians tend to flock together. In the O.T. system the Synagogues were the extension of the Temple. The Synagogues came into being during the Babylonian captivity. In the Synagogues the people were taught the principles of their religion. There they read the Bible, there they heard sermons from the Bible and there they learned to sing and to pray. The Christian churches adopted essentially the pattern of worship in the Synagogues, and it is still in that form today in our place of worship. Please turn with me to the First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 3. The outwardly visible N.T. Temple of God was and is the local church, where people gather to worship and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the outwardly visible Temple, or:
False teachers cannot touch the inner sphere of the N.T. Temple, which represents the dwelling place of God in the hearts or souls of those who became saved. But false teachers can infiltrate the outer sphere, the external Temple, the church, which is called the Kingdom of Christ here on earth. God warns everyone, in I Cor 3:17,
1 Corinthians 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
This refers to the external Temple of God, the church, which can be touched by human hands. Please turn now to the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, chapter 2. During the FTP, which occurs during the last days of the N.T. time period, Satan will be extremely successful in penetrating the external Temple of God, the church. God tells us that there will be a great falling away of the Christian church, so that the man of sin will be revealed, which is Satan. Then we read in II Thess 2:4,
2 Thessalonians 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
This passage says that Satan will be ruling in the congregations, so that he will be worshipped as god. The closer we get to the second coming of the Lord Jesus, the more we should be on our guard for false gospels that creep into the church. Even today, there are many well meaning Christians who have believed the lie that God has withdrawn His Holy Spirit out of the church, and so they are leaving in droves good churches where they have been solidly taught in the Word of God. They are following the teachings of a man, and they are not studying the Word of God carefully. They do not see that harmonizing the Scriptures proves the existence of an external church and an eternal church
The external Temple, the external church, which is a part of the Kingdom of Christ here on earth exists, because it too is set apart to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and to give Him all the glory.
There is one more Temple we must look at:
#3. The Heavenly Temple (Rev 15:5-7)
Please turn to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, chapter 15. Before I am going to read Rev 15, I want to make this statement: Christ is not a shadow; Christ is the substance. Therefore, the Ark of the Covenant was a shadow of Christ. Both the Holy of Holies in the Temple as well as the Ark of the Covenant within that Temple were both only shadows of Christ. Now we read in Rev 15:5,
Revelation 15:5 ¶ And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in
heaven was opened:
What is the tabernacle of the testimony? The testimony was known as the two tables of the Ten
Commandments. But since the two tables were also called the tables of the Covenant, and the two tables were almost always in the Ark of the Covenant, the Ark of the Covenant was also known as the testimony. We find in Ex 38:21, and in Num 1:50 and 53, and in Num 10:11 the expression tabernacle of the testimony, which refers to the tent where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. But the earthly tabernacle came to an end, and the earthly Temple took its place. And then the earthly Temple came to an end and the N.T. Temple took its place, which is the body of believers. Christ dwells in that body of believers. What then is the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven? Do you see that in verse 5? The testimony in heaven is Christ, because Christ is the substance. Christ dwells in that Temple in heaven. Therefore, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven, is the Temple of the dwelling place of Christ. That Temple in heaven is still representing the body of believers. But since it is in heaven, that Temple consists of all the O.T. and the N.T. saints, from the beginning of time until the end of time, because God chose these saints from before the foundation of the world.
Revelation 15:6 And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.
Revelation 15:7 And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.
These seven angels were actually seven saints in heaven. Beginning in Rev 21:9 one of these seven saints talked with John, and made himself known. He said "I am thy fellow servant and of thy brethren the prophets". These seven saints were given the task to bring the last seven plagues during the FTP on this earth. But then we read about a strange event in verse 8:
Revelation 15:8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.
This seems to be very troubling news, that "no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled". Does this mean that during this period of time no one on earth could become saved? No! We have to look in a different direction.
This Greek word for smoke occurs 13 times in the N.T. and it always refers to the wrath of God and the judgment of God. But at what point in history will the Temple in heaven, the body of believers in heaven, be filled with the wrath of God, or the judgment of God? And what has this to do with the glory of God and with His power? Well, the only time this happened was at the cross where the Lord Jesus Christ was enduring the wrath of God, but that was the wrath of God for our sins. God was angry at our sins, which were cleaving to the Lord Jesus. God's wrath poured out on our sins was poured out on the Lord Jesus. Has this anything to do with the glory of God? Definitely! Christ's atonement for our sins was to the glory of God, because when Christ saved us we were helpless sinners. "When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." (Rom 5:6) If we could have given God a helping hand, then we would have shared the glory with God. But that was not the case. All the glory goes to God, and He has all the power to save. Therefore, all those for whom Christ suffered and died were represented in the Temple, and no other man was able to enter into the Temple, because no one else wants to be saved, and no one else will be saved. This situation will remain as it is until the end of time has come.
In summary then: The O.T. Temple has been replaced by a N.T. Temple, symbolized by two concentric spheres. The inner sphere, consisting of the souls of those who have been born again, serves as a dwelling place for the Lord. The outer sphere, the External Temple, also known as the External Church, has the task to also serve the Lord in bringing glory to His name.
Now I would like you to look at the beginning of this chapter, where we see:
Revelation 15:1 ¶ And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.
Revelation 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
Revelation 15:3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
Revelation 15:4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? For thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
They sing the Song of Moses. They are praising God for having saved them entirely by His grace. Just and true are Thy ways. Praise God that He is just. God does not forgive sinners by waving His hand, but by having Christ to pay for the sins of all those whom He has chosen to save. Does Christ dwell in our soul? How do we know if Christ has paid for all our sins in 33 AD? Let me list the signs, by which we can check ourselves, to see if God has saved us.
If we have a great need to hear the Word of God again and again, if we have a great need to be in fellowship with the saints, if we have a great need to pray to God, and if we have a great need to be obedient to the Word of God, then we have been purchased through the blood of Christ. This means that we cannot lose our salvation, because we have been purchased with such a great price.
The hymn we are going to sing, # 469, reminds us of this Sea of Glass before the throne of God:
By the sea of crystal, saints in glory stand, Myriads in number, drawn from every land.
Robed in white apparel, washed in Jesus' blood, They now reign in heaven with the Lamb of God.