The Church that is The temple of God
This site has been written to have a clear view how and what way true worship in the Bible links to a specific location or places on the earth and whether it is linked to any at all. With regard to the Word categorically, I find important to say that since the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ there has not been reason for the existence of a single Christian church at all.
And although the Old Testament already expresses that God has a heavenly temple (Psalm 11:4), the tabernacle and the two Temples in Jerusalem (the Temple of Solomon and the one built after the Babylonian captivity) were to serve as the habitation of God on the earth. All of them were constructed on the basis of God's precise instructions and among other things were different from temples of any other (pagan) religions that there were no statues or images personalizing deity inside. A quotation from the Ten Commandments (1. 2.):
Exod 20:3-6 "Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God... "
It is interesting that the building of the first church was the initiation of David, previously God identified his presence just in a tent, in a tabernacle on the earth (II Sam 7:6).
When the people of God were taken to captivity, God, in a given situation, took care of his people’s spiritual need in some form:
Ezek 11:16 "...Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come."
This word and the aforesaid Psalm 11:4 on the existence of the heavenly temple demonstrate that the role of the tabernacle and the two churches was secondary in a sense, although they had statutory function in their times, they were the places of God's actual residence on the earth.
Hebrews 9:2-8 describes the interior of the tabernacle, the two separate places: the sanctuary (after the first veil which the priests could always go into) and the Holiest of all (after the second veil where only the high priest could step into once a year only). Verse 8 explains that according to the revelation of the Holy Ghost it symbolizes the relation of the first and the second holy places (of Old and New Testament) and the veil (second) is the flesh of Jesus Christ (Heb 10:20). Even 3 gospels report on the event when Jesus gave up his spirit, the veil of the temple was torn from the top to the bottom (Matt 27:51, Mark 15:38, Luke 23:45) and he pointed out that he would build up the temple of his flesh by sacrificing himself in 3 days (Matthew 26:61, Jan 2:19-21). Interestingly, the disciples even after the death of Jesus regularly gathered to pray in the temple and the Apostles were teaching there (Luke 24:53, Acts 2:46, 3:1, 5:21, 42). However, this was a transitional period, the temple was finally destroyed, the age of the Old Testament temple closed.
The New Testament gives clear evidence that:
"...the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands ,..." (Acts 7:48)
"God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands" (Acts 17:24)
John in the Book of Revelation writes in several verses how he can see the temple of God. Let’s see 2 examples:
"And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament" (11:19)
"...and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened" (15:5)
At the very end of the times (at the 7th vial) we can still read about the temple of heaven in Rev 16:17.
Nevertheless, John tells us in part 21 concerning new Jerusalem that:
”And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. ”
The temple of God on the earth is defined to believers by Paul as follows:
1 Cor 3:16-17 "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye are."
1 Cor 6:19 "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?"
Ephes 2:20-22 "And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."
As it can be read in the second Commandment mentioned above, making and worship-ping of any kinds of idols were forbidden from the very beginning and in all probability, even at the time of the Apostles, believers struggled with similar problems sometimes, because Paul writes the following:
Colossians 2:18-21 "Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, ... And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not).”
So the New Testament defines that the body of the believers is the temple of God and that the believers together make up the habitation of God on the earth; the house(hold) which by forming a unit gives the Church.