The True and Greater Temple

Jesus is the true Sanctuary of God that was foreshadowed in the ancient religious structures and worship rituals of the nation of Israel. He is the dwelling place of God’s presence and glory and the true and final mediator between Heaven and Earth. The man from Nazareth was the Temple “made-without-hands” that was destroyed by evil men but restored when his Father raised him from the dead.

With his death and resurrection, questions about the proper location of the Temple building are no longer relevant. With his arrival, “the hour is coming, and NOW IS when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” Holy ground is found wherever he is - (John 4:20-24).

Mountain Peak - Photo by Tim Bogdanov on Unsplash
[Photo by Tim Bogdanov on Unsplash]

In him, the fullness of God dwells forevermore, and Jewish and Gentile believers are “
circumcised with the circumcision made-without-hands.” Once restricted to the outer courts of the Temple complex in Jerusalem, Gentile followers of Jesus now have full access to the presence of Yahweh through His Son.

Moreover, the “middle wall” of separation between Jews and Gentiles has been dismantled by Jesus FOREVER. Attempting to erect it again by rebuilding the old structures is a fool’s errand - (Colossians 2:9-17).

His disciples are quickened in him. No longer are they subject to the calendrical cycles, dietary restrictions, and assigned holy spaces of the old Levitical order. Such practices were no more than “shadows of the coming things.” What was foreshadowed in the old system has come to fruition in Jesus in all its glory and fullness.

God never intended to achieve perfection through the Levitical system; otherwise, He would not have promised a greater priest and a “better sacrifice.” The change of priesthood meant also a “change of law.” The Levitical system was powerless to perfect anyone, therefore, Jesus became the “guarantor of a better covenant,” appointed to a better and an “un-transmissible priesthood” - (Hebrews 7:11-28).

He inaugurated the “new and better covenant” that was “legislated on better promises.” The old covenant was “not faultless,” and it was incapable of achieving the “purification of sins” so desperately needed by his “brethren.” Moreover, the arrival of the promised New Covenant has rendered the old one “obsolete” - (Hebrews 1:1-3, 8:1-13, Jeremiah 31:31-33).

THE SUPERIOR HIGH PRIEST


The Son is the supremely superior High Priest, the final mediator who entered the “greater and more perfect Tabernacle, one NOT made-with-hands,” where he appears in the presence of God to intercede for his people. He is the “True Light of the World,” and not Ancient Israel or any stone building erected by men in old Jerusalem - (John 1:4-9, Luke 1:78-79, 2:32, Acts 26:23, Hebrews 9:11-24).

The mission given to Israel at Sinai to be a witness and light to the nations has now fallen to Jesus and his disciples. He fulfills that role because he is the true Israel of God and the “light” that enlightens all men who embrace him. Likewise, his disciples are lights in this world but only as they reflect his light and testimony - (Matthew 5:14, Philippians 2:15, 1 Thessalonians 5:5, Revelation 1:20).

He came to the “circumcision to confirm the promises made to the fathers.” This included the promise that the “Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.” As Isaiah prophesied, Jesus was the “root of Jesse risen to reign over the Gentiles,” and he now reigns over the nations in this present age, the “Ruler of the Kings of the Earth” - (Romans 15:8-9, Revelation 1:4-6).

The Gospel is proclaimed to all nations “for the obedience of faith,” as promised by the prophets. The Scriptures foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles just as Yahweh promised Abraham - “In you will all nations be blessed.” This is occurring now in Abraham’s seed, Jesus, whenever and wherever his Gospel is proclaimed - (Romans 16:25-26, Galatians 3:16).

Mountain Sunrise - Photo by Alberto Restifo on Unsplash
[Photo by Alberto Restifo on Unsplash]

When he testified before the Sanhedrin, Stephen reminded the priestly authorities that “
the Most High does not dwell in places made-by-hand.” The Temple building and the Tabernacle were man-made structures – Shadows and types of the true habitation of God’s Spirit, namely, Jesus Christ and his “Body, the Assembly of the saints.”

With his victory over sin, Satan, and death, the time of shadows has come to an end. He is the ‘telos,’ the “goal” of the Mosaic legislation. The structures of the old regime have reached their intended conclusion, and now Jesus is the True and Final temple forevermore - (Romans 10:4).

The New Testament does not abandon the promises of an ideal temple described in the Hebrew Bible, but it reinterprets them in consideration of the teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. The promises are not forsaken or replaced but fulfilled in and by him.



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