The true temple in which God dwells is the redeemed believer, for
He "dwells not in temples made with hands." (Acts 17:24) Peter wrote,
"You also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a
holy preisthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, aceptable to God
through Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 2:5) The earthly stones are replaced
by living Christians, "in whom every building, fitly framed together,
grows unto a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built for a
habitation of God in the Spirit." (Eph. 2:21-22) "Your body is a
temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God."
(1 Cor. 6:19) "We are a temple of the living God; even as God said, I
will dwell in them, and walk in them." (2 Cor. 6:16)
The true temple, of which the material temple was only a type,
could be built only by Christ. "Behold the man whose name is The
Branch!...he shall build the temple of Jehovah...and he shall sit and
rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne." (Zec.
6:12-13) This Branch is Jesus, bot King and High Priest, who promised,
"I will build my church." (Matt. 16:18)
May may build a house in which to meet, but only the Lord can build
the ekklesia, the temple and household of God, and He has been
building it since Pentecost, almost 2000 years ago.
Peter gave a warning to false builders, when he was challenged by
the religious officials of the Jews for preaching Christ. He said,
"This is the stone that was set at naught of YOU BUILDERS which is
become the head cornerstone." (Acts 4:11) "You builders," he called
them - men who assumed to build for God while rejecting the one Stone
essential for that building.
A common error is heard in thousands of assemblies every Sunday
morning when people speak of having "come into the house of God,"
referring tot he building dedicated to God in which they have met.
Unknowingly, perhaps, they are applying a holy scriptural phrase to
something entirely different, and by doing so, robbing the church of
an important and meaningful figure of speech. "You are god's
building," Paul writes (1 Cor. 3:9). We come into the house of God
when we become Christians, not when we enter the door of the assembly
hall most call a church. Neither do we leave the house of God when we
are dismissed, not unless we depart from the faith.
Unfortunately, there are many who treat the church as a great
business enterprise, and willingly promote and exalt the building, as
such buildings become monuments to human success. The negative
influene of such builders is demonstrated in that we have so many
enormous and elaborate church buildings throughout the land, but so
little evidence of the presence of God in the populace.
Christians are the "built" ones, not the Jewish builders, except as
"workers together with God" through proclaiming the gospel, that the
redeemed might be added as living stone to the building. (Acts 2:47)
Christ sent us not to build temples, but to BE TEMPLES where God
might abide through His Spirit.