These pulpit notes are provided unedited and will thus contain some grammatical or typographical errors.
Good morning, everyone. Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to John, chapter 2.
“I will be their God, and they will be my people.” These are the words spoken by God as he chooses a people for himself and commits himself in love to be their God.
Such language speaks of commitment, relationship, loyalty, faithfulness, and even ownership. It speaks of a commitment to love, protect and provide. “I will be their God, and they will be my people” is the language of covenant.
This is God choosing to enter into to covenant with a people of his own choosing, to graciously commit himself to show them loyal love and faithfulness.
Starting with Abraham
We read these words first in Genesis when God chose a man named Abram and made a covenant with him to give him a multitude of offspring, to make him the father of many nations, and to give him land as an everlasting possession, and to show him steadfast love and faithfulness.
Generations later when Abraham’s descendants became a multitude in Egypt and were led out of slavery by Moses, we hear such language again.
Exodus 29:45 I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God.
This God said to Moses as Moses met with God atop Mount Sinai. It was there, in that setting that God gave Moses the Ten Commandments along with a myriad of other rules. What God was showing Moses was what type of relationship the Israelites were to have with their God. He would be their God and they would be his people, forever united in covenant. They would be his holy people, and he would be their covenant-keeping God.
Etched in tablets of stone were copies of the covenant stipulations and these tablets stood as testimony between God and the children of Israel. These tablets were designed to forever bear witness to the covenant which God had made and to which the Israelites were beholden.
In addition to the Ten Commandments or “tablets of the testimony” which God gave Moses, he also gave him something else very important while on Mount Sinai. Starting in Exodus 25, God gave Moses highly detailed plans for a structure which the Jews were to build. It was called the Tabernacle.
The Tabernacle was sort of portable temple. It could be erected and packed up and re-erected as the Israelites traveled. The Tabernacle was designed by God as the means by which He would fulfill his promise to “dwell among” his people.
Exodus 29:43-46 There I will meet with the people of Israel, and it shall be sanctified by my glory. 44 I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar. Aaron also and his sons I will consecrate to serve me as priests. 45 I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. 46 And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God.
The tabernacle or “tent of meeting” would be the place in which the glorious presence of God could meet with his people. It was the place where heaven met earth. It was the means by which the Holy God of heaven could dwell in the midst of an earthly people.
And so, in the heart of the Tabernacle was a room called “The Most Holy Place.” In this room was a chest called the Ark of the Covenant and inside that chest were the two copies of the Ten Commandments, or the testimony. The Ark of the Covenant held the covenant between God and his people. It was on the basis of that covenant that God’s presence could dwell in their midst.
When God’s glorious presence descended, it was within this room upon what was called The Mercy Seat.
After Moses erected the Tabernacle according to the plans given him, the Bible says in Exodus 40:
Exodus 40:34 ¶ Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
The Tabernacle – A Place for Sacrifice and Atonement
Since the Tabernacle was the place where the holy God met with sinful men, it was, of necessity, also a place designed to atone for sin. It was a place of bloody sacrifices. Outside of the tent, in the courtyard was an altar meant to burn daily sacrifices. The death of these animals served as substitutes for the people. Their sin incurred the penalty of death and God by his mercy permitted substitutes.
If a sinful people were to have access to the Holy God of Heaven, their sin would have to be dealt with. This is why God’s covenant with Israel included an elaborate system of ceremony and sacrifice.
In fact, that passage we just read in Exodus 29 where God promises to dwell in the midst of his people comes immediately after God gives rules for daily sacrifice.
Exodus 29:38-42 ¶ “Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs a year old day by day regularly. 39 One lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight. 40 And with the first lamb a tenth seah of fine flour mingled with a fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and a fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering. 41 The other lamb you shall offer at twilight, and shall offer with it a grain offering and its drink offering, as in the morning, for a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the LORD. 42 It shall be a regular burnt offering throughout your generations at the entrance of the tent of meeting before the LORD, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there.
The Tabernacle was not only a place where God met with men; and atonement was made for sin; but it was also a place of prayer and intercession. Exodus 33 says “everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp.” Also, it was within the Tabernacle that consecrated priests would make intercession for the sins of the people.
Further, the Tabernacle was the center of worship. When Moses would approach the entrance to the Tabernacle to commune with God, all the people, who were camped in formation surrounding the Tabernacle, would stand in their tent doors watching and worshipping as the glory cloud descended upon the Most Holy Place.
It was there that Moses would speak with God and would receive instruction and revelation from him. In this way, the Tabernacle was not only a place of prayer, and atonement, and the presence of God, and the center of worship, but it was also a place of revelation.
And again, at the center of all of this was the ark of the covenant, containing a copy of the covenant which was the basis for this relationship in which God’s presence dwelt among his people.
It was in this way that the Tabernacle sort of served as a portable Eden. Whereas God walked and talked with Adam directly in the Garden before sin entered the world, the Tabernacle and the sacrificial system were means by which God’s holy presence could once again dwell in the midst of his people. That being said, it was clearly less than ideal and was obviously provisional. Although God’s people could once again dwell in the light of his presence, it was only through sacrifice and ceremony, and only with a thick curtain separating the people from his direct presence in the Most Holy Place.
These shortcomings could cause any faithful Jew to look forward in longing for a time when they could be in God’s presence without need of a veil separating he from them, nor the need for bloody sacrifices to atone for their sin.
Well, the Tabernacle was in service for some 500 years as the center of sacrifice, atonement, prayer, presence, and worship. But, when David was reigning as King over Israel and the nation experienced peace and safety in Jerusalem, he desired to build a permanent structure to replace the Tabernacle. God, through the prophet Nathan denied David’s request but told David that his son, Solomon could build a permanent Temple to replace the Tabernacle.
The Lord said to Solomon:
1 Kings 6:11-14 ¶ Now the word of the LORD came to Solomon, 12 “Concerning this house that you are building, if you will walk in my statutes and obey my rules and keep all my commandments and walk in them, then I will establish my word with you, which I spoke to David your father. 13 And I will dwell among the children of Israel and will not forsake my people Israel.” 14 So Solomon built the house and finished it.
Solomon oversaw the construction of temple, twice the size of the Tabernacle. It was constructed of cedar and lavishly decorated. The ark of the covenant was transferred from the Tabernacle to the Temple and then we read:
1 Kings 8:10-11 And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD, 11 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.
Then comes Solomon’s prayer of dedication:
1 Kings 8:20 Now the LORD has fulfilled his promise that he made. For I have risen in the place of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and I have built the house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel. 21 And there I have provided a place for the ark, in which is the covenant of the LORD that he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.” 22 ¶ Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven,
1 Kings 8:28 Yet have regard to the prayer of your servant and to his plea, O LORD my God, listening to the cry and to the prayer that your servant prays before you this day, 29 that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you have said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that you may listen to the prayer that your servant offers toward this place
Solomon goes on to pray that the Temple might be a place:
- Where God hears and answers prayer
- Where God would forgive sin
- Where all men could come and worship the Lord
2 Chronicles 7:1-3 ¶ As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. 2 And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD filled the LORD’s house. 3 When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
And with that, the Temple, built around the Ark containing the record of God’s covenant, became the place where prayer would be heard, where atonement would be made, where worship would be accepted, and where the presence of God would descend. The Temple would be the place where heaven met earth. Where the glory of God dwelt among his people.
Well, you know the story. Solomon would eventually descend into sin, and actually begin to worship false gods. Because of his sin, and the sin of the people, his kingdom would be taken away from him and it would eventually be split in two. God would judge Israel for their idolatry and immorality and both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms would be carried away into captivity.
Although there were moments of revival in the Southern Kingdom and times of cleansing and temporary restoration, God’s covenant people would prove to be inherently unfaithful. And, after having stood for over 400 years, Solomon’s temple would be destroyed in 587 BC when Babylon would come against the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon would oversee the temple’s total destruction.
This, of course, was in fulfillment of God’s warning towards Israel:
1 Kings 9:6-8 But if you turn aside from following me, you or your children, and do not keep my commandments and my statutes that I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, 7 then I will cut off Israel from the land that I have given them, and the house that I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight, and Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 8 And this house will become a heap of ruins. Everyone passing by it will be astonished and will hiss, and they will say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?’
What a state of affairs. Here we find God’s covenant people in violation of God’s covenant. Instead of receiving the blessings of the covenant, including the presence of God in their midst, they are on the receiving end of its curses. According to the prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel 9, the presence of God departed the temple prior to its destruction. God has abandoned the temple, and driven his people from their land.
With that, the Jews lost their house of prayer; their house of atonement; their house of worship; and the house of God’s presence.
They were a people captive in a foreign land, surrounded by pagan worship, suffering as a consequence of their rebellion. In their decades in captivity the Jews would begin to long once again for the former glory. They would long for the day when they could return to their land, and once again experience all the blessings of the covenant. They longed for the day when they could rebuild the temple and live as God’s people, with his presence in their midst.
THE POST-EXILIC TEMPLE
After 70 years, when Persia conquered Babylon, God stirred up King Cyrus to decree that the Jews could return to their land, and rebuild their temple.
Led by Zerubbabel the returning exiles built a new temple after the design of Solomon’s, yet paling in comparison to its opulence.
Devastatingly, the Ark of the Covenant was never recovered and so was not at the center of this temple nor the temple to come. Nor do we have a record of the glory of God descending upon this Second Temple. The second temple remained the center of the sacrificial system, but it was a system apparently lacking the glory of God.
Well, the Jews, having returned from an exile which was the consequence of their idolatry and immorality, ended up descending again into rebellion. Their worship became hypocritical and empty. They went through the motions of orthodox worship while failing to live in obedience to God. The Lord would eventually reject their worship and warn of future judgment. The Old Testament closes out with this promise and warning:
Malachi 3:1-4 ¶ “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.
With that, the Old Testament closes with the promise that the day was coming when the Lord himself would suddenly come to his temple again. But when he comes, he comes to do what? He comes to refine and purify God’s people. He comes to make them into a people who worship God in righteousness.
John 2:13-14 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there.
Shortly after his miracle at the Wedding of Cana, Jesus and his mother and brothers and disciples came to Jerusalem for Passover. Then, he enters the temple.
This now is Herod’s Temple. Herod had funded a massive building project to overhaul Zerubbabel’s temple. Partly to curry favour with the Jews and partly as a vanity project. This temple featured huge inner and outer courtyards and covered colonnades which accommodated Rabbi’s and their students and various meetings.
The outer courtyard surrounding the temple was the court of the Gentiles. Beyond that courtyard, the Gentiles could not pass. Inside was the court of women, beyond which they could not pass. Inside the second section was the court of Israel, and then the court of the priests and then the Holy Place, and Most Holy Place. The Most Holy Place however remained lacking the ark of the covenant. The entire structure, from the Most Holy Place outward to the court of the Gentiles was considered “The Temple.”
In our passage, it appears that Jesus is in the outer court – the court of the Gentiles.
As Jesus enters the courtyard, what does he see? He sees oxen, sheep and pigeons. The courtyard was filled the sights and sounds and smells of livestock. The animals were there because enterprising individuals found it a lucrative business to sell animals for sacrifice to travelers who had arrived for Passover. Those coming from far and wide would not be able to bring animals far distances and so would purchase them at the temple.
You can imagine in addition to the sound of the animals, there would be the sounds of bartering. Buyers complaining of exorbitant prices and sellers trying to get as much out of these visiting worshippers as possible.
In addition to those selling sacrificial animals were the money-changers.
The temple tax required from each family had to be paid in the form of silver coins from Tyre. These coins contained a greater purity of silver than Roman coins and were the only coins accepted for the temple tax. Travelling worshippers would have to exchange their money into this currency. Money-changers stationed themselves within the court of the Gentiles and took advantage of people with exorbitant exchange rates.
You can imagine the dirty, chaotic scene. In addition to the cacophony of sounds, you can imagine how travellers felt about their experience bartering over animals and being ripped off by money-changers, and this within the confines of the temple!
Now, Jesus would have seen this many times before, but operating according to his own timeline, he chooses this occasion to address the ongoing defilement of the Temple.
John 2:15-16 And making a whip of cords, 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. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”
Matthew tells us that Jesus reacted similarly on a later occasion and said:
Matthew 21: “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”
You can picture Jesus in the courtyard looking around at the different tables, while he grabs some cords. He takes those cords and fashions them together into a whip. Then, with his whip in hand, he drove the sellers and their animals out of the temple. He knocked the money-changers coins all over the ground, and flipped over their tables. He told those with the birds to take their pigeons and get out of there.
This was an incredible act of authority. Jesus came into the temple, disapproving of what the Pharisees and Sadducees had allowed. He supersedes their authority and rejects the whole scene. He took matters into his own hands and sought to purify the temple.
You can imagine the look on his disciple’s faces as they watch Jesus, who up to this point has only shown himself to be meek and gentle, taking charge of the Temple. With their mouths agape, verse 27 tells us:
John 2:17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
That’s a quotation from Psalm 69:9 where David laments the fact that his love and passion for the Tabernacle had led others to reproach him. Here it is applied to Jesus whose zeal for the house of God and what it represented would eventually lead others to reject him.
So now, having cleared the courtyard and refusing to allow the sellers to return, the Jewish leadership approaches Jesus in verse 18:
John 2:18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?”
This is a very interesting way for the Jews to handle this situation. It shows you that Jesus had already garnered some respect as a Rabbi and that rumours were already spreading regarding his identity. If this were not true, he would have been regarded as a mere vandal and would have been arrested, no questions asked.
Instead, the Jews ask “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” You clearly believe you have the authority to behave this way in the temple, so prove to us that you have such authority. Perform a miracle for us. Show us that you are from God. Justify your actions by proving your credentials.
Look at Jesus’ response in verse 19:
John 2:19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
You want a sign of my authority over the temple? You want a sign that I have the authority to cleanse the temple? You want proof that I am the Son of the Father whose house this is? Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up!
The Jews, rightfully incredulous respond:
John 2:20 “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?”
Raise up the temple in 3 days? That would certainly be miraculous. But in reality, Jesus wasn’t referring to the raising up of the temple structure. He was actually promising a far greater miracle.
John 2:21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
In response to the request for a sign to prove his authority to purify the temple, Jesus says “Kill me, and three days later I will rise again.” This is an early foretelling of his coming death and resurrection, but it is also much more.
Not Just a Metaphor
Jesus has not skirted the question of his authority over the temple nor has he changed the subject. He was not using an empty metaphor when he refers to his body as the temple. He’s not using the term like we might – “Eat healthy, your body is a temple!”
No, Jesus here is signalling an enormous shift in salvation history. He is saying that he has authority over the temple, because his body is the temple.
Jesus was signalling that the time had come for a shift to take place in their understanding of worship, and revelation, and atonement, and the presence of God, and prayer, and the covenant.
This is why Jesus could say to the Pharisees in Matthew 12:
Matthew 12:6 I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.
Jesus had authority in the Temple because he was greater than the Temple. How could this be? Why compare a man to a building? Why compare a body to the temple? Because Jesus is saying that through him, and his incarnation, and his perfect life, and his substitutionary death, and his physical resurrection, and his exaltation, he would replace and supersede the Temple and all of its functions.
Every purpose fulfilled by the Tabernacle of Moses, the Temple of Solomon, the Second Temple and Herod’s Temple would now be fulfilled by Jesus alone.
- Whereas the Temple was the place where God’s people met with him, men and women would now meet with God through Jesus.
- Whereas the Temple was the house in which God’s glory was manifest, Jesus would now be the radiance of God’s glory.
- Whereas it was in the Tabernacle where Moses received revelation from God, Jesus would now be God’s final word to Man.
- Whereas the Temple was the place in which acceptable worship was offered to God, Jesus would now be the only acceptable means of worship.
- Whereas the Temple was the place where atonement was made through sacrifice, Jesus would be the final sacrifice which brought full and final atonement.
- Whereas the Temple was a house of prayer, acceptable prayer would now only be offered in Jesus’ name.
- Whereas the entire Temple system was built around the ark of the covenant which contained copies of the Old Covenant, Jesus would usher in a new and greater covenant which was built him alone.
This is why, when a Samaritan woman wanted to debate with Jesus about the proper place to worship God – in the Temple in Jerusalem or in Mount Gerizim, he responds:
John 4:21-24 21 …”Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
The time has come when true worship is not at all dependent upon location. Why? Because Jesus has become the locus of worship. Since Jesus has replaced the temple, all men and women, the world over now have access to God; access to atonement; access to worship; access to God’s presence; and access to new covenant blessings.
Jesus is the means by which God could say to people from every tribe, every tongue, every nation, that is, anyone who would have faith in Jesus, “I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Through Jesus, God has come to dwell in our midst.
Jesus Tabernacled Among Us
This is why John, in chapter 1 told us:
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The word dwelt here is literally “templed” or “tabernacled.” Jesus, God’s word of creation, revelation, salvation and self-expression tabernacled or templed among us. And what did John say was the result? “we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.”
With Jesus’ incarnation, the glory of God has once again come to earth. When Jesus entered the Temple for Passover, the glory of God returned to the temple.
Yet, Jesus didn’t march into the Most Holy Place. It’s as if the glory of God was an outsider to the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple, lacking the ark of the covenant, and defiled by the Jews was an empty shell and the real glory was outside. It was outside the Most Holy Place, outside the Holy Place, Outside the Court of the Priests, Outside the Court of Israel and in the midst of the Court of the Gentiles that the glory of God stood in the person of Jesus.
The glory had returned to the Temple, in the person of Jesus Christ, but his own people rejected him and therefore spurned the glory of God in favour of their empty and corrupt religious system.
It’s for this reason that Jesus would say towards the end of his earthly ministry:
Matthew 23:37-38 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate.
The Temple is desolate. In fact, the Temple is now obsolete. From this point forward, since Jesus has fulfilled the sacrificial system of the Old Covenant and has ushered in the New Covenant, any worship or sacrifice at the Temple would be an act of futility. The Spirit is not there, the glory is not there, God is not there.
All true worship, is through Jesus and Jesus alone. Jesus has replaced the temple as the new locus of the glory of God, the centerpiece of the covenant, the means of atonement, and only acceptable conduit of worship.
Hebrews 8:1-13 ¶ Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. 4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” 6 ¶ But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. 8 For he finds fault with them when he says: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” 13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
And so, when Jesus died on the cross and breathed his last breath, the veil which hung outside the Most Holy Place symbolizing the separation between God and his people was torn in two. It should never have been repaired, because through the body of Jesus, access had been granted, and the Temple was rendered desolate and obsolete.
“I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
That is the language of divine covenant. That is, these are the words spoken by God as he chooses a people for himself and commits himself in love to be their God.
Under the Old Covenant, provision was made for God to take a people to be his own and for he to dwell in their midst as their God. First through the Tabernacle and then through the Temple. Access to God and relationship with him was granted, but only through an elaborate system of ceremony and sacrifice. Beyond this, there forever stood a curtain outside the Most Holy Place as a continual reminder that access was not freely available to his people. Though temporary atonement could be had, the people remained sinners at heart. That system left his people longing for a better covenant.
The weakness of the Old Covenant was found in the people themselves; they were sinners and prone to immorality and idolatry. They repeatedly broke God’s covenant and suffered its curses.
As the prophets foretold of coming destruction and captivity, they also gave hope of a different covenant. A new covenant. A covenant which could actually change people on the inside. A covenant which would see an end to the sacrificial system and an end to the separation between God and man.
Jeremiah told of such a day:
Jeremiah 3:16-17 And when you have multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, declares the LORD, they shall no more say, “The ark of the covenant of the LORD.” It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed; it shall not be made again. 17 At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the LORD, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the LORD in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart.
A people from all nations, changed from the inside out. And without the physical temple or the ark of the covenant. It won’t be missed or made again!
It is this day which was inaugurated when Jesus became flesh, ratified when he offered himself on the cross, and awaiting final consummation in the end.
John gives a glimpse of the final state of affairs in Revelation 21:
Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
But what of the Temple?
Revelation 21:22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.
- Christian, do you know that the Holy God of heaven has entered into covenant with you?
- Do you know that He has promised to be your God, and has made you part of his people?
- Do you know that He has committed himself to you in steadfast love and faithfulness?
- Do you know that you are welcome in his presence?
- Do you know that you have free access to God in prayer?
- Do you know that you have the promise of the continual forgiveness of sin?
- Do you know that he has lavishly blessed you with all spiritual blessings?
- Do you know that he has granted you to have spiritual life now?
- Do you know that he has secured for you an eternal inheritance and an eternity in his presence?
- Do you know that he, through his Holy Spirit has granted you his continual presence?
How has he done this? Through the temple. Not the temporary temple called the tabernacle, not Solomon’s lavish temple, not Herod’s rebuilt second temple, but through Jesus, the greater temple.