Video Transcript: The Living Temple
Unit 08 02 The Living Temple
scripture reading today is from John chapter two, verses 13 through 22. And our theme is the living temple. The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple, he found those who were selling oxen, and sheep and pigeons, and the money changers sitting there, and making a whip of cards, he drove them all out of the temple with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, take these things away, do not make my father's house House of Trade. His disciples remember that it was written zeal for your house will consume me. So the Jews said to him, What signs do you show us for doing these things? Jesus answered them, Destroy this temple, and in three days, I will raise it up. The Jews then said it has taken 46 years to build this temple. And you will raise it up in three days. But he was speaking about the Temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believe the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken to sends the reading of God's word, and God always blesses His Word, to those who listen. The saying of Jesus Destroy this temple. And in three days I will raise it again, was something that his disciples remembered later and realized how important it was later on. But Jesus enemies seized on that saying right away, and they brought it up again. And again, they brought it up at his trial, some stood up and bore false witness against him saying, we heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands. And in three days, I will build another not made with hands. You say, Well, why were those false witnesses? He said something about destroying a temple and, and then building it again. Yeah, but he never said he would destroy the temple made with hands and build another not made with it. They're adding to it. And they're changing their story on it a little bit. They remember he said something about one temple going down, and then rising again. And when he was on the cross, that was one of the things they mocked him with, aha, you who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself and come down from the cross. You can't really build many temples when you're hanging there dying, can you that was the reasoning they had. But you notice that this saying about destroying the temple and raising it up again, was something that echoed in the minds of his enemies, and then later also was very important in the minds of his friends. So I want to focus on this destroying of the temple and rebuilding of it and Jesus actions when he entered into the temple, and throughout the money changers and the people who were selling animals.
What is the temple and what was the temple all about? The temple was the center of the earth. The Temple in Jerusalem was the very center of the Earth, where God and humanity connected. We're having an earth intersected and overlap. It was the place where God comes close. In one sense, the glory of the Lord filled the whole earth. But in another sense for every Jewish person who truly loved God. They would echo David in Psalm 27. He said one thing I asked her the Lord, this is what I seek that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord, and to seek Him in His temple. Oh, it was their desire to meet with God and people who love God knew that the temple was supremely the place for doing that whether it was the tent of the tabernacle earlier or the more solid and permanent temple that was built. It was the place where heaven Earth connected, where God comes near where God reveals His glory and people go to gaze upon his beauty. It was the place where sinners could come and find that God accepted them where sacrifices were offered, and God would promise His forgiveness of the people's sins. The temple was a place where God's reign is celebrated. The temple and tabernacle are very closely connected with the rule that God exercised over Israel and with the Kings whom God appointed over Israel. The temple was meant to be a magnet for the nation. Have a display of God's glory at the center of Israel so that other nations would be drawn. And there were these prophecies throughout the scriptures. Isaiah says, in the last days, the mountain of the Lord's temple will be established as chief among the mountains, and nations will come to it and say, Let us listen to the God of Jacob, we will walk in his ways. And there were many such prophecies and other prophecies from Isaiah is on this mountain, the Lord will destroy the shroud that unfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations, He will swallow up death forever, He will wipe away the tears from every eye. And that was that was the mountain of the Lord's temple, where God is going to do this. And so if you were a follower of God, a lover of God, whether you were a Jewish person, or one of those people from the nations who had come to believe in the God of Israel, this temple was a tremendous place, filled with long history and great memory, as well as with expectations and hopes. The temple was a huge deal. And one of the things that we remember about the temple and the tabernacle that came before it was, when it was dedicated that glory, the Shekinah, the shining brightness of God's glory, and the flame came down, the cloud covered the Temple of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle, after the temple where David had collected the materials, and then Solomon and the people working with him and built the temple, what happened, a cloud, filled the house of the Lord, the glory of the Lord, filled the house of the Lord. And so there was this brightness, this cloud of glory that would come upon this place and show that God was truly there in a special way. And this is what you need to keep in mind when you read about a strange event in the life of Jesus. Sometimes when you read in the life of Jesus and read about what's called the transfiguration, you think that well, that's kind of odd that he just kind of lit up like a light bulb, it's kind of interesting, but it's more than just for a brief moment, he kind of lit up, the glory is coming down on the true temple of God. That's what's going on, just as the Shekinah and the glory and the brightness descended on the tabernacle and time of Moses, and descended on the temple in the time of Solomon. So when the living temple comes, the brightness descends upon Him. Jesus was transfigured before them. And His face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. Behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud says, This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him. The cloud of the glory, comes now not on a tabernacle. Attempt, not on a building, but on a man.
And he is the one where heaven and earth meet. He is the one where sacrifices are made. He is the one who brings the reign of God's kingship into the world. He's the one who is the living temple. The Word became flesh and tabernacled. Among us, we've seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only who came from the Father full of grace and truth. So when Jesus says, Destroy this temple, the temple he is talking about now is the temple of his own body of the Word of the living God made flesh. He is the ultimate tabernacle, the ultimate temple. And so that is all wrapped up in that statement that he's talking about his own body, when he calls it, the temple. You remember his conversation with the Samaritan woman at a Well, believe me, woman, a time is coming when you're going to worship the Father, neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem. The time is coming and has now come, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. For they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth. So he is the temple at which people worship in spirit and in truth, not on a temple in some area, certainly, and not even on the at the temple in Jerusalem, but they meet in Jesus Christ. Now, New Testament scholar in T right, observes that when Jesus claims to forgive sins, he's actually kind of talking like a temple. When Jesus declared that someone's sins are forgiven, there are modern rings about his doing so they'd say, Well, God can forgive sins. So they understood that he's speaking kind of like He's God. But they also knew that when God does forgive sin, and when he pronounces forgiveness and says Your sins are forgiven, it is done by priests in the temple, after certain sacrifices have been made, you can't just go around telling anybody anywhere their sins are forgiven. That is temple business. How does God normally forgive sins within Israel? Why through the temple, and the sacrifices that take place there, Jesus seems to be claiming that God is doing up close and personal through him, something you'd normally expect to happen at the temple. So Jesus is walking around and talking like he's a temple. He's the one where the sacrifices are made, and the forgiveness is announced. And so Jesus shuts down the temple, he goes in there and he shuts down business, they can't offer sacrifices, because he's tossing the animals. They can't do business as usual in the temple. What's going on? One is simply this. He is what all the temples and tabernacle were pointing to. And now that he's here, it's not needed anymore. The temple pointed forward to the ultimate reality of God with us in His glory, and with his sacrifice. And when the Word became flesh and tabernacled, among us, well, the temple was no longer needed, the sign was replaced by the reality. And once you have the reality, you don't need to sign anymore. It was the same principle. When we looked at the fulfillment of time, and of the Sabbath, the Sabbath was pointing forward to Jesus Christ. And so when it's fulfilled, its meaning changes and is wrapped up in him. So part of shutting down the temple is simply saying, okay, the reality is here, the sign isn't needed anymore. But there's also something more to it than that, because it's not just that this great sign was doing very well. And now the fullness of God had come, the living temple was among us. And we didn't need that excellent sign anymore. Another factor in the shutting down of the temple that Jesus does is a prophetic action is not just announcing fulfillment, but judgment. The temple was no longer doing its job anyway, the temple was in the wrong hands. And it stood for the wrong things.
It Jesus said in this passage, you don't make my father's house, a house of trade. In a other description of the cleansing of the temple, he says you've made a den of robbers, robbers roost. And here's just a little bit of background of what's going on in the temple at the time. And the old godfather of the religion business in Israel is running the show. He was high priest, then five of his sons were high priests taking turns, and then his son in law campus, his high priests, and behind it all is shadowy, old, Anna's pulling all the strings, and his family is calling all the shots. And you've got the anus, marketing and Banking Corporation. They're marketing all kinds of stuff right in the temple, and raking in the profits. And they're running a Banking and Currency Exchange right there in the temple, it would be unholy if you did not offer the proper kind of animal. And so we will sell you the proper kind of animal. And it would be unholy to come into the temple area and try to purchase things with anything but a good Israeli shackled. And so we'll take the money that you brought, and we'll change it into shackles and uh, yeah, we will take a little profit out of the deal, too. And so they have an excellent business going there. Another thing that happens in the temple is that it has become the Department of debt. It is the place where they store all the records of who owes something. So if you're poor, and up to your eyeballs in debt, the temple is where they track it. That's where the hard drive is. That is where everybody knows what the debt is, by the way, 40 years after Jesus when there was a huge rebellion. And the people took over the temple, what was the first thing they did, they burned all the records of the deaths. So that gives you a notion of how those people a lot of them felt about the temple at the time it was where they were storing the records of what all the poor people owed all the rich people and all the foreclosures and who was claiming property and so on. So it was kind of the central institution for injustice and ripping people off I mean, it was also the regional office for cooperation with Rome. The Roman rulers worked with the high priests of Israel to manage things and run the show in Jerusalem. It was, in some ways a little bit like that. The government, let's say, in Iraq or Afghanistan during the time when the United States is occupying it. Now, people were not fond of the US occupying those countries. But they're not always that fond of the puppet rulers, either. And the puppet rulers always have to say, well, we're not really in league with them, we're really want to you. And so they say, Well, you know, I know we have to work with the Romans, but we're really, we're really Jewish people. And so they tried to play it both ways. And they did so quite successfully. Actually. It's it's quite a trick when you're one of those chief priests, and you're running the office for cooperation with Rome. And at the same time, you're running the members only club for Jewish segregation and superiority. They played both sides of the street. And so they would work with the Romans and get a lot of money from them. And they were always backed by Roman power. At the same time, they say, We don't let Romans in our temple, you remember, even at the trial of Jesus, they wouldn't go into pilots palace, he had to come out because they might be defiled by going into his palace. So yeah, they can run a nighttime trial and railroad Jesus to crucifixion, but it would make them unholy, if they went into a Gentile dwelling. And so the temple comes to stand for exclusiveness, Jewish exclusiveness, it's supposed to be a house of prayer for all nations, where many peoples will come and say, Come, let's go to the house of the Lord, the house of the God of Jacob, he'll teach us His ways that we may walk in his paths. And instead, they fill up the court of the nations of the Court of the Gentiles with all of their marketing concerns.
Some of you may think I'm a bad speller, on this PowerPoint where it says nonprofit fund for priestly prosperity, well, that was non profit, they did not listen to the prophets of God at all. And that's related to the last item. And this was the Sadducees Theological Seminary for denial of angels and resurrection, the Sadducees, the, the group of people who ran the high priestly class and all the high priests who belong to it did not believe in resurrection, they did not believe in angels. They did not believe that the prophets were scripture at all. They said, The only scriptures are the books of Moses. And so what the Jews called the former prophets, the history of the kings, and all of that, that's not actually the word of God, and the prophets, whether from Isaiah or Amos or Micah, any of those prophets, that wasn't really the word of God either. Well, you can kind of see why, with what some of those prophets said about ripping people off, and about phony baloney religion. At any rate, they were a nonprofit fund for priestly prosperity. So you had at the temple, still people who love the Lord, you would have a widow going there and putting her last penny into the treasury. And then you'd have the Sadducees, come along, scoop out the Treasury and build a fancier mansion. And Jesus said, You've made my father's house into a House of Trade, you've made it into a robbers roost a place for where the prophets are rejected, were liars are in power, where they deny all that God has revealed. And so it's got to be shut down, not just because what it was pointing to has now been fulfilled by the reality, but also because this is a man. And so as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, Look, Teacher What wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings and Jesus said to him, the A see these great buildings, they will not be left here, one stone upon another, that will not be thrown down.
At the time of Jesus death, remember how the curtain in the temple was torn from top to bottom, at one level that symbolizes full access into the Holy of Holies in the house of God, but at another level, it also just symbolizes Hey, the whole sacrificial system is over everything that was left to the priests to go in there and make you right with God that's over now. And within a generation, the temple had been destroyed by Rome. Jesus announced the doom of the temple and it was indeed destroyed. He shut it down for one day as a prophetic sign to the people that he was closing it down, and then eventually the temple was destroyed. Now, important thing to realize in Jesus replacing that temple again is just to remind ourselves of The connection between King and temple. We've looked at Jesus as King of the Jews and of some previous rulers of the Jews, David and Solomon built God's temple, David collected a lot of the wealth and Solomon actually supervised the project. And whenever you read about some of the very best kings of Judah after that, they're involved in setting things right with the temple again Hezekiah, that great man of God, that godly kings help restore and cleanse and put the temple right again, Josiah and other godly king did the same thing. Later on after that temple was destroyed. Then God restored his people from Israel brought people back and and the ruler at that time was a descendant of David names the rubber ball, and he helped to supervise the rebuilding of the temple. So there's this connection between a king and the temple at the time of Judah the hammer 164 years before Christ, once again, he leaves this campaign against occupying invaders, Antiochus epiphanies who had claimed to be God. And he then what did he do? Once he had won his three year campaign, He cleansed the temple with the shouting of Hosannas and the waving of palm branches, and that still celebrated by the Jewish people. So you have this connection between between kings who helped set things right in the temple and the status of the temple. Then of course, we're there's another guy who, who helped build the temple during that 46 year period of rebuilding the temple. He repulse Parthian invaders, and then he made the temple bigger and fancier and more expensive and splendid than ever. But he himself, as we know from history was a very murderous and horrible ruler. But hey, he got the temples looking good. And that's the temple that is standing at the time Jesus comes in and shuts down business, as usual. And but Jesus isn't like those other kings. Remember how they would they would build or cleanse, or renew or fix up or
replenish the temple? Well, Jesus didn't do that. He did not just renew the temple. He didn't rebuild the temple, he replaced the temple. He declared it doomed. He shut it down. And he made himself the temple. That's what he's talking about when he says that his own body now is the temple. So he's the living temple. He's the one where heaven Earth connect, where God comes close to us, where God's glory is revealed, and that shining of the brightness of the Shekinah glory. His body, of course, is what God prepared for him as the sacrifice for our sins to do what those animal sacrifices never really could do any way they could only point his sacrifice. It was a place where God's reign is celebrated. Christ coming near is the kingdom of God, coming near, when Jesus is doing his thing, announcing his gospel, healing people, he is bringing the kingdom of God, the reign of God near. He is the one who invites all nations and sends his people out to all nations, to make disciples for him. He is the one. And his body is the one in whom death is destroyed that prophecy of Isaiah on this mountain, the Lord will destroy the shroud that unfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations, He will swallow up death forever, and wipe away the tears that Mount Zion. That great mountain of Jerusalem is where Jesus was condemned, and where he was crucified, and where he rose again. And so today, when you think of the living temple, first of all, and above all, we focus on Jesus Christ as the one who means all that the temple ever meant to Israel, and far more. And when Jesus said, Destroy this temple, and in three days, I'll raise it up again. He was speaking about the Temple of his body, and his resurrection fulfilled that great prophecy of his. There's another thing to keep in mind now to the Scriptures reveal that Jesus is the living temple. But just as Body of Christ can mean Jesus physical body, and himself replacing the temple. We know from the scriptures, that body of Christ also refers to the people of God. And the body of Christ, the people of God is also the temple of God. Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you. If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him for God's temple is sacred. and you are that temple here. It's speaking of you yourselves are y'all you know, in the plural, God's people together are His temple. That's what First Corinthians 316 and 17 and say that it also speaks to the individual believers in its call to handle your bodies in a pure and godly way. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God, you are not your own, you were bought at a price therefore honor God with your body. Jesus body is the living temple. But your own body is intended now to also be a living temple of God's Holy Spirit, and the church together, you are God's temple, your fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple, in the Lord. In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place from God by His Spirit. If the temple was the center of the Earth, where the glory of God dwelt, just think about it means God's people are the center of the Earth, the place where the action is, the place where heaven and earth connect, where the kingdom of God advances, the place where God is at home. As you come to him, the living stone, rejected by men, but chosen by God and precious to him. You also like living stones are being built into a spiritual house, the temple, to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God, through Jesus Christ, you are a place that is a spiritual house, you are to be offering sacrifices to not the same sacrifice, to pay for sins that Jesus did. But you're a living sacrifice, and you're offering spiritual sacrifices of the love of your heart and the obedience of your life to God.
And if you're insulted for the name of Christ, you're blessed because the spirit of glory of God rests upon you. The Shekinah the glory that comes upon tabernacle or temple, the glory that came upon Jesus, in His Transfiguration, when you face opposition, when you go through hard times, for Christ, you may say, what's so glorious about that the scripture says, The spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. There's even a story about that, in the New Testament. Remember the story of Steven. He's attacked, for proclaiming the gospel, and he's surrounded by hostile mob. And it says, As he begins to speak, those who saw and could see that his face was like the face of an angel. And after he told him about Christ, He said, I see have an open, and Jesus Christ sitting at the right hand of the throne in heaven. So the glory of God opened to him and the splendor of God's glory was shining, even from his face. Remember, previous to that, um, tend to cause that people are praying in an upper room, and the glory comes upon them, the flame of God comes down as a tongue of fire. On the head of each one again, it's a sign of the same glory that came on the tabernacle and temple, that lit up Jesus, coming upon his followers, and we all with unveiled face beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed in the same image, from one degree of glory to another. Jesus, in replacing the temple with his own body, did really not intend just to make himself the only temple in one case, in one sense he is he is that supreme connection between heaven and earth, between God and man, that he wants the glory that comes from him to shine from us, too. And then, of course, this fat, his temple was destroyed, and rose again. And what did he say we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, a tent is like a tabernacle, once upon a time a tabernacle was replaced with a temple. And he says, If this tent of our body is destroyed, we have a building from God, that everlasting body, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. The one who destroyed the temple and raised it up again in three days, is going to take our 10th when it's destroyed, and raise it up as an eternal house, in the heavens. And so we praise God for what He has done in Jesus Christ, but also for what he is doing in us. Jesus Christ is the living temple, who replaced all other temples and He is the one who makes us, the living temple of the Holy Spirit brothers and sisters, I hope you can understand at least some of this and this, the understanding comes not just from say, Let's see now, Herod did something once way back when check Judah the hammer, yeah. Wasn't he some guy who lived back then and winters and kings and so on in a building? And yeah, I think I kind of got that. Well, no, not. That's not what you need to get. Those are important things to understand what's going on in the scriptures. But to really understand is to know the glory, the glory of God, the reality of God, in the person of Jesus Christ, and the glory that comes upon his people, and that dwells in them. The kinship of God, the reign of Jesus Christ, the sense that Christ is taking charge, right now, in you, and in all the touch, and the sense that the Shekinah and the tongues of fire are still with us today. And that the shining of God's face can shine from us to then you begin to understand what it is to know the living temple, and to be a living temple. Your Lord, we love you and we seek your face. And we pray, Father, that you will truly help us to know Christ as our temple, the meeting place between heaven under the place where we're made right with you and where we find your glory. And your Lord, we pray that again, as we recall that sacrifice you will wash away all our sins and help us to receive your pardon, that you will close the sense of distance between us and you that we may be united to you, that you will shine upon us the brightness of your faith, that we may rejoice in your glory, and that we may reflect that glory in our own faces in our own lives, that we may be the people you call us to be. for Jesus sake. Amen.