The LORD God knew King
David as "a man after His own heart." He made a
promise to David that when he died one of his
descendants would sit in his place on the throne (2
Samuel 7:12). The LORD didn't allow David to build
the Temple, but his son, Solomon was permitted after
his father's death. David made preparations and
gathered materials for the project before his death.
God said to David, "He shall build a house for My
name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom
forever. . . And your house and your kingdom shall
endure before me forever; your throne shall be
established forever" (vv. 13, 16).
Long ago Hengstenberg
observed, "The building of the house of the LORD
goes hand in hand with the eternity of the kingdom."
Therefore, "as the kingdom endures for ever, so the
house built for the dwelling-place of the Lord must
also endure for ever. . . " (Keil and Delitzsch).
Many scholars have
observed that it is not just the earthly form that
the LORD God is referring to, but the essential
characteristic of the Temple. It is the place where
God meets with man. The earthly form is perishable,
but the essence is eternal. The very essence of the
Temple of God was His presence with man. That never
perishes. His essence and character did not cease
with the destruction of the Temple in 586 BC.
Of course, the Temple was
not necessary because of God's nature (Acts
7:46-50). God is Spirit. The Temple was an
accommodation to the limitations and needs of His
people (1 Kings 8:27ff).
It is when the Word
became flesh and tabernacled Himself among men that
we see the true essence of the Temple of the Lord.
His Temple culminated in the appearance of the
Messiah, Jesus Christ. Only in Him was there the
full revelation of God's presence with man. In Him,
we see the full manifestation of the LORD God.
Yahweh came to dwell with His people in person. One
who knew Him best wrote, "The Word became flesh, and
dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of
the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and
truth" (John 1:14). A little later he wrote, "No one
has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who
is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him"
(v. 18). The LORD pitched His tent on the earth in
the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
The Messiah was in the
Temple building one day and He saw the religious
leaders selling oxen and sheep for "official"
sacrifices. The moneychangers were seated bargaining
with the people. Jesus picked up pieces of rope that
had been used to tie the animals and plated a whip.
With passion burning in His soul, He ran the
merchants out of the Temple. He was approached a
little later by angry officials demanding, "What
sign do you show to us, seeing that you do these
things?" The Messiah answered: "Destroy this temple,
and in three days I will raise it up." They
responded to Jesus saying, "It took forty-six years
to build this temple and you will raise it up in
three days?" Jesus spoke of the temple of His body.
The play on words is
clear in the original language. Jesus cleansed the
hieron, the standing temple with its various
precincts. He chased the merchants out of the
physical Temple building and outer courts. However,
Jesus spoke of the naos, the inner shrine, the holy
of holies. "Destroy this naos, the holy of holies,
and in three days I will raise it up." He spoke of
the naos, the holy of holies of His body. In the
person of the Messiah God's promise to David of
building an eternal house is fulfilled.
The temple of His body
was destroyed. It was placed on the cross and He
bore in His body the marks of the penalty of sin for
every individual. He was made sin for us so that He
could put away our sin. However, the Temple endures
forever through His resurrected body, the Temple of
The apostle Peter spoke
of the temple God is now building in 1 Peter 2:4-5.
And coming to Him as to a
living stone which has been rejected by men, but is
choice and precious in the sight of God, you also,
as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual
house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual
sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
The apostle Paul also
speaks of this temple in Ephesians 2:20-22. "Christ
Jesus Himself being the corner stone, growing into a
holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being
built together into a dwelling of God in the
believer, both Jewish and Gentile, becomes a part of
the glorious temple of His body. "Do you not know
that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of
God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of
God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is
holy, and that is what you are" (1 Corinthians
3:16-17). This is only true of those who have put
their faith in Jesus Christ as their personal
Savior. Every believer is a part of that body, or
temple of Christ.
The apostle Paul reminds
us why we are the temple of God. "Or do you not know
that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is
in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not
your own? For you have been bought with a price:
therefore glorify God in your body" (1 Corinthians
Later he wrote, "What
agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we
are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
"I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I
will be their God, and they shall be My people" (2
The complete and
essential fulfillment of God's promise to David
begins with this building up of the temple destroyed
by dying on the cross, and being raised through the
resurrection from the dead. The body of Christ is
built up through the Holy Spirit in the hearts of
the believers. This is the construction of the
spiritual house of God. It is composed of living
stones. The temple of the LORD God will be perfected
in the completion of the kingdom of God when the New
Jerusalem and new heaven come down on the new earth.
The millennium will see a
temple raised to God, the refuge of all nations.
This will be primarily memorial, however. When the
millennium is complete and the new age of perfection
is established, there will be no temple. The Lord
God and the Lamb will be in the midst of the people
One wonderful glorious
day He will descend and manifest Himself in full
glory in the New Jerusalem and we will experience
eternal communion with God.
The apostle John on the
island of Patmos saw in a vision the tabernacle of
God among men. The ultimate fulfillment of all God's
promises in space and time will come in the New
Jerusalem (Revelation 21-22). He wrote in Revelation
And I saw the holy city,
New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,
made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I
heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold,
the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will
dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and
God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe
away every tear from their eyes; and there will no
longer be any death; there will no longer be any
mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have
Even so, come Lord Jesus!