The Glory of the Latter Temple

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“And you are living stones that God is building into His spiritual temple...” 1 Pet 2:5

“Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us. So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners...You are members of God's family. Together, we are His house...We are carefully joined together in Him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through Him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by His Spirit.” Eph. 2:18-22

King David desired to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord. He wanted to express his thankfulness and gratitude for all God had done for His people. God provided them with land to live securely, defeated all surrounding enemies and blessed them with His favor and prosperity. He wanted to put God's goodness to His people on display with a “magnificent structure, famous and glorious throughout the world.”(1 Chr. 22:5).

However, God decided that King David, a man of war, would not be the builder of the temple. Rather his son, Solomon, a man of peace, would build a temple to honor His name. King David instructed and shared all he had in his mind concerning the building of the temple. He prepared for the building of the temple by collecting vast amounts of building materials. King David encouraged Solomon to “be strong and do the work.” (1 Chr. 28:10).

As his father had done in his preparations, King Solomon spared no expense, conscripted labor forces and formed alliances to fulfill this great work. When the Temple was completed Solomon and all the people of Israel dedicated it to the Lord. The King and his people prayed, offered sacrifices and celebrated for many days. The Lord responded by declaring, “I have set this Temple apart to be holy - this place you have built where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it for it is dear to my heart” (1 Kings 9:3).

The Lord warned the people to obey his commands and decrees, while only serving and worshipping him, so the Temple would not be rejected and become an “object of mockery and ridicule among the nations” (I Kings 9:7). Sadly, the people of Israel did not keep God's commandments and worshipped other gods. As a result, Solomon's temple, the first to honor the Lord, was destroyed approximately 400 years later.

But God devised a new and better way to build a temple to honor Him. He sent His Son Jesus to be “the living cornerstone of [His] temple” (I Pet. 2:4). God spared nothing by sending His Son to die, so that we could receive His righteousness in order to become the living stones of the new temple. Jesus asked the Father God to send a Helper, the Holy Spirit, to transform us from glory to glory, so that we could honor Him and manifest His glory.

How should we respond when given such a magnificent privilege, as well as unfailing, abundant love with pursuing goodness and mercy? By letting go and surrendering all of our old life so there is room for God to fill us with the overflow of His Spirit. “So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy and unkind speech” (1 Pet. 2:1). Nourish ourselves with His Word and in prayer so we can be living stones whose life of love and obedience bring honor to Him.

“The future glory of this Temple will be greater than its past glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. And in this place I will bring peace…” (Haggai 2:9).

Since it will take more than one living stone to become a holy temple for the Lord, we have to learn to live in harmony with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We have to reject anything from our old life that would be a barrier to that unity - gender, racial, and socioeconomic biases. It means we have to the reject lies about our worth and identity. It means we have to accept our new identity in Christ, as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession.”

As we embrace our new life and identity, His Spirit will fill us so that, together, we can be that temple that shows His goodness, love and mercy. We can be that temple that manifests the glory of God, which will shake the world.

Our God hears,
Nonna Neal