This study is designed to understand God’s involvement with His people throughout time. One of the questions to be asked is, how has God dwelt with His people. I am suggesting that the two primary temples represent the person of Christ Jesus. All things point to Christ; why should the temple be any different?
Exodus 25:1, 8 “And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying…let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.”
This is the formation of the tabernacle in the wilderness; also know at the tent in the wilderness.
This is the first temple.
2 Chronicles 6:8-11 “But the LORD said to David my father, ‘Forasmuch as it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well in that it was in your heart: Notwithstanding you shall not build the house; but your son which shall come forth out of your loins, he shall build the house for my name.’ The LORD therefore has performed his word that he has spoken: for I am risen up in the room of David my father, and I set on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built the house for the name of the LORD God of Israel. And in it have I put the ark, wherein is the covenant of the LORD, that he made with the children of Israel.”
This is the second temple. This temple was unbelievably beautiful. This temple, as the tabernacle in the wilderness, housed the Ark of the Covenant. It is my opinion that this temple was a type of Christ’s fulfillment to Israel that He would be the everlasting covenant. The first tabernacle in the wilderness spoke of the first covenant while the second tabernacle speaks of the second covenant. Both the first and second tabernacle, or temple, had within its dwelling the Ark of the Covenant. The second covenant places within the heart of the believer the commandments of God (Hebrews 10:16). Remember, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit occurred on the day of Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks. This is significant because on this day the Jews celebrated the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai. It was as this celebration the Holy Spirit sealed the believers and invited others to partake of this gift (Acts 2:38), thus sealing the believer with the Law of the Spirit.
If you will notice, I have not spoke of the third Temple. It is my opinion that God never sanctioned this third temple. The third temple never housed the Ark of the Covenant. The third temple was built by Herod the Great. [The title Herod the Great refers not so much to Herod’s greatness as to the fact that he was the eldest son of Antipater. Nevertheless, Herod dis show some unusual abilities. He was a ruthless fighter, a cunning negotiator, and a subtle diplomat. The Romans appreciated the way he subdued opposition and maintained order among the Jewish people… After Herod became governor of Galilee, he quickly established himself in the entire region. For 33 years he remained a loyal friend and ally of Rome. Later, he was appointed as king of Judea, where he was in direct control of the Jewish people. This required careful diplomacy because he was always suspect by the Jews as an outsider (Idumean) and thus a threat to their national right to rule. At first Herod was conscious of Jewish national and religious feelings. He moved slowly on such issues as taxation, Hellenism, and religion. He did much to improve his relationship with the Jews when he prevented the Temple in Jerusalem from being raided and defiled by invading Romans. Herod the Great established his authority and influence through a centralized bureaucracy, well-built fortresses, and foreign soldiers. To assure his continued rule, he slaughtered all male infants who could possibly be considered legal heirs to the throne. His wife Mariamne also became a victim of his suspicion and brutality. The territories under Herod’s rule experienced economic and cultural growth. His business and organizational ability led to the erection of many important buildings. Hellenistic (Greek) ideas were introduced into Palestine through literature, art, and athletic contests. His major building project was the Temple in Jerusalem, which, according to John 2:20, took 46 years to build. From the Jewish perspective, this was his greatest achievement. At times Herod implemented his policies with force and cruelty. His increasing fear of Jewish revolt led to suppression of any opposition. His personal problems also increased, and by 14 B.C. his kingdom began to decline. This decline was brought on mainly by his personal and domestic problems.] – Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary.
In light of the history of Herod the Great, I think it would be easy to understand why this third temple was not sanctioned by God. Facts: Herod was not called of God to build the temple. He was a man of war; this disqualified King David in building the temple. And we must remember, the Ark of the Covenant was not in this temple.
What about the Heavenly Temple? Is there a temple in heaven? My personal opinion is that the Tabernacle in heaven is the Throne of God. Allow me to clarify. Hebrews 9:11 states that Christ is the “high priest of good things to come, BY A GREATER AND MORE PERFECT TABERNACLE, NOT MADE WITH HANDS, THAT IS TO SAY, NOT OF THIS BUILDING.” When we move to Revelation 21:3 John hears a great voice out of heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them…” Moving to verse 22 of the same chapter the Bible says, “AND I SAW NO TEMPLE THEREIN; FOR THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY AND THE LAMB ARE THE TEMPLE OF IT.” Are we to believe that between verses 3 and 22 God destroyed the temple building in heaven? In Hebrews 10:20 the “veil” is not a literal curtain but the flesh of Christ. Hebrews 10:21 states, “And having an high priest over the house of God,” Hebrews 3:6 “But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we…” These verses are pointing to the fact that we are not talking about a literal building but the Body of Christ. Ephesians 5:30 “For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” In Revelation we see the symbolic imagery of Christ midst the seven candlesticks (Rev. 1:13). However, in verse 20 he is holding in his right hand the seven golden candlesticks. Moving to Revelation 5:6 we see Christ standing midst the elders as a Lamb. In verse 7 Christ now holds a sealed book in his hands. Hebrews 9:24 says, “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the truth; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:” Note, the statement “made with hands,” this is not just talking about earthly hands. The statement implies that Christ has entered into heaven, not into some building or physical temple. Christ is the temple! And we are joined together with him, thus we are the body of Christ, i.e., the Temple of God! (1 Corinthians 3:16; 12:12.
Jesus told his disciples in John 2:19-21, “…Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spoke of the temple of his body.”
Herod’s Temple was the house of man! Thus Jesus said, “BEHOLD, YOUR HOUSE IS LEFT UNTO YOU DESOLATE” (Matthew 23:38).