Where is the Temple?

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”

1 Corinthians 3:16-17

We have been hearing rumours of there being a third temple built in the Holy land for many years. Is this what we are to expect? How much prophecy hinges on this happening? What if the third temple was already built and destroyed? Let’s investigate some of the points scripture speaks about. Hopefully, there will be something discussed that will prompt the reader”s own study.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians when the temple in Jerusalem was still standing. It was not destroyed until 70AD. In one of these letters to the Corinthians, Paul declares that the believer is the temple of God and quotes Ezekiel.

2Co 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
2Co 6:15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?
2Co 6:16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
2Co 6:17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you,
2Co 6:18 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”

Here is the scripture in Ezekiel Paul is referencing.

Eze 37:23 They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols and their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions. But I will save them from all the backslidings in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
Eze 37:24 “My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes.
Eze 37:25 They shall dwell in the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children’s children shall dwell there forever, and David my servant shall be their prince forever.
Eze 37:26 I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore.
Eze 37:27 My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Ezekiel also had a vision of a new temple. Is this the temple everyone is breathlessly waiting for to be built in the nation state of Israel that the AntiChrist will defile? I seriously doubt it. The new temple is described in Ezekiel chapters 40-42. In chapter 43, the glory of Yahweh fills the temple. Ezekiel describes Yahweh coming back to the temple just like the vision he had earlier of Him leaving the temple, but this time: “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet where I will dwell in the midst of the Israelites to eternity”.

Eze 43:1 And he brought me to the gate which was facing east.
Eze 43:2 And, look! The glory of the God of Israel, it came from the way of the east, and its sound was like the sound of many waters and the land radiated due to his glory!
Eze 43:3 And the appearance of the vision which I saw was as the vision which I saw at his coming to destroy the city, and these visions were also as the vision which I saw by the Kebar River, and I fell on my face.
Eze 43:4 And then the glory of Yahweh came to the temple by the way of the gate facing east.
Eze 43:5 And the Spirit lifted me and it brought me to the inner courtyard and, look! The glory of Yahweh filled the temple!
Eze 43:6 And I heard someone speaking to me from the house, and a man was standing beside me.
Eze 43:7 And he said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet where I will dwell in the midst of the Israelites to eternity, and they, the house of Israel, they and their kings, will not again defile my holy name with their fornication and with their offerings for the dead of their kings on their high places.
Eze 43:8 When they placed their threshold with my threshold, their doorframe beside my doorframe and the wall was between me and between them, then they defiled my holy name, with their detestable things that they did, and so I consumed them in my anger.
Eze 43:9 Now let them send their fornication far away and the offerings for the dead of their kings away from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them forever.

In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he also declares the temple is the believer and the Spirit dwells in us.

1Co 3:16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
1Co 3:17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

In his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul tells us the AntiChrist is going to take his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Is Paul referring to a physical temple, or in what he calls the temple of God, the believer’s own body?

2Th 2:1 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,
2Th 2:2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
2Th 2:3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
2Th 2:4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

It is very possible that the AntiChrist will try to cause the bodily temple to be defiled with his “mark”. It could be by DNA manipulation, artificial intelligence or something that we do not even know is possible yet. The AntiChrist could defile the human body to the point to where it becomes irredeemable. This seems more likely to me than an AntiChrist figure sitting in a physical temple in the nation state of Israel, because there cannot be a legitimate temple with sacrifices until Jesus returns to Earth.

Rev 14:6 Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.
Rev 14:7 And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
Rev 14:8 Another angel, a second, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.”
Rev 14:9 And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,
Rev 14:10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger,
and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.
Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

Rev 16:2 So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.

In the new heaven and new Earth, John did not see a temple in his vision described in Revelation.

Rev 21:22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.
Rev 21:23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.
Rev 21:24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it,
Rev 21:25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.
Rev 21:26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.
Rev 21:27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

However, we know there is currently a heavenly temple.

Rev 11:19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

Why is there an ark of His covenant in the heavenly temple during the futuristic events described in Revelation if it was done away with as modern Christianity tries to tell us? We know Moses was commanded to make a copy of everything he saw in his vision of the heavenly things. The writer of Hebrews describes what is in the ark of the covenant, which is the covenant. The same tenants of the original covenant are in the heavenly ark. It is administered differently now through Yeshua, not requiring sacrifices of bulls and goats that were added because of sin, but the original covenant terms did not change.

Heb 9:1 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness.
Heb 9:2 For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence. It is called the Holy Place.
Heb 9:3 Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place,
Heb 9:4 having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant.

When Yahweh originally spoke in an audible voice to all twelve tribes and the people of Egypt who joined God’s people, it says,”and he did not add anything”.

Deu 5:22 “These words Yahweh spoke to your whole assembly at the mountain from the midst of the fire and the very thick cloud with a loud voice, and he did not add anything, and then he wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me.

This is what Yahweh always wanted from his people. These are the terms of the covenant Jesus made it possible for us to return.

Act 3:19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,
Act 3:20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus,
Act 3:21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.
Act 3:22 Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you.
Act 3:23 And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’

What temple did Ezekiel see in his vision? It wasn’t in the new heaven and new Earth, it doesn’t appear to be the heavenly temple; therefore, it could be the temple the Messiah occupies during his one thousand year reign on Earth.

Zec 14:1 Look! A day is coming for Yahweh, when your plunder will be divided in your midst.
Zec 14:2 I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, and they will loot the houses, and the women will be raped; half of the city will go into exile, but the remainder of the people will not be cut off from the city.
Zec 14:3 Then Yahweh will go forth and fight against those nations, like when he fights on a day of battle.
Zec 14:4 On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in half, from east to west, by a very great valley; and half of the mountain will withdraw toward the north, and the other half toward the south.
Zec 14:5 And you will flee by the valley of my mountains, because the valley of the mountains will reach to Azal, and you will flee like you fled from the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah. And Yahweh my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.
Zec 14:6 And then on that day there will not be light, the precious things will congeal.
Zec 14:7 There shall be continuous day—it is known to Yahweh—not day and not night; and at evening time there will be light.
Zec 14:8 And then on that day, living waters will flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea, and the other half to the western sea; it will happen both in the summer and in the winter.
Zec 14:9 And Yahweh will be king over all the earth; on that day Yahweh will be one and his name one.
Zec 14:10 All the land will be transformed into a desert plateau from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. But it will rise up high and it will stay in its place from the Gate of Benjamin to the place of the former gate, up to the Corner Gate and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepresses.
Zec 14:11 And they will dwell in it, and there will be no more ban imposed, and Jerusalem will dwell in security.
Zec 14:12 And this will be the plague with which Yahweh will strike all the peoples that fight against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they are standing on their feet; their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.
Zec 14:13 And then on that day a great panic from Yahweh will fall on them, and they will seize one another’s hand, and the hand of the one will be raised against the hand of another.
Zec 14:14 And Judah also will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations will be collected—gold and silver, and garments in great abundance.
Zec 14:15 Like this plague will be the plague on the horse, the mule, the camel, and the donkey, and every kind of animal in those camps.
Zec 14:16 And then every survivor from all those nations coming against Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the king, Yahweh of hosts, and celebrate the Feast of Booths.
Zec 14:17 And then whoever of the clans of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the king, Yahweh of hosts, it will not rain on them.
Zec 14:18 And if the clan of Egypt will not go up and come in, on them will be that plague Yahweh inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.
Zec 14:19 This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.
Zec 14:20 On that day there will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, “Holy to Yahweh.” And the cooking pots in the house of Yahweh will be holy like the sacrificial basins before the altar.
Zec 14:21 And every cooking pot in Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to Yahweh of hosts, and all those who sacrifice will come and will take from them, and will cook in them, and there will be no longer a trader in the house of Yahweh of hosts on that day.

None of that prophecy in Zechariah has happened yet. The survivors of this terrible day will be required to yearly celebrate the feast of booths. The feasts of booths is supposedly one of the feasts that was “ done away with” or “something the Jews did”, but here it is happening after the Messiah returns.

Looking at the collective body of believers as the temple again, Paul refers to God’s people as the temple in Ephesians.

Eph 2:17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.
Eph 2:18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
Eph 2:19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
Eph 2:20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,
Eph 2:21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.
Eph 2:22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

If we, as fellow citizens with the saints, collectively make up the structure of the temple, what does that say for the effect of our actions? For example, I always heard that smoking was a bad thing to do because our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Is that true according to scripture? Smoking seems to be a bad idea based on the negative health affects, but I have not run across a command not to smoke anywhere in the Bible. Many Christians will cite Bible verse upon Bible verse as to why a person shouldn’t smoke, but in reality it is not there explicitly. Do not misunderstand, I am not advocating smoking. I am just pointing out the hoops that people will jump through to say smoking is defiling the temple of the body, yet something that is plainly written, described by Yahweh as a temple defilement, will go unmentioned.

Lev 11:43 You shall not make yourselves detestable with any swarming thing that swarms, and you shall not defile yourselves with them, and become unclean through them.
Lev 11:44 For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground.
Lev 11:45 For I am the LORD who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”
Lev 11:46 This is the law about beast and bird and every living creature that moves through the waters and every creature that swarms on the ground,
Lev 11:47 to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean and between the living creature that may be eaten and the living creature that may not be eaten.

Although we cannot find anything about smoking, there is a large list of creatures that will defile our temple, if eaten. If we truly are the temple of God, how many more actions can we find that will defile the temple? Yahweh paints a picture that resembles the way things are today, and could be very well prophesying to this generation and the descendants of Ephraim.

Jer 7:3 Thus says Yahweh of hosts, the God of Israel, “Make your ways and your deeds good and let me dwell with you in this place.
Jer 7:4 Do not trust in the deceitful words, saying, ‘The temple of Yahweh, the temple of Yahweh, they are the temple of Yahweh.’
Jer 7:5 For if you truly make your ways and your deeds good, if you truly do justice between a man and his neighbor,
Jer 7:6 you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, and the widow, you do not shed innocent blood in this place, and you do not go after other gods to your harm,
Jer 7:7 then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your ancestors forever and ever.
Jer 7:8 Look, you are relying for yourselves on deceitful words without benefiting.
Jer 7:9 Will you steal? Will you murder? And will you commit adultery? And will you swear falsely? And will you make a smoke offering to the Baal? And will you go after other gods whom you have not known?
Jer 7:10 And then you come and you stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and you say, ‘we are safe to go on doing all of these detestable things.’
Jer 7:11 Has this house, which is called by my name, become a cave of robbers in your eyes? Look, I, even I, have seen it,” declares Yahweh.
Jer 7:12 “For go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I caused my name to dwell in the beginning, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel.
Jer 7:13 And now, because of your doing all these things,” declares Yahweh, “and I have spoken to you over and over again, and you have not listened, and I called you, and you have not answered,
Jer 7:14 therefore I will do to the house that is called by my name, in which you are trusting, and to the place that I gave to you and to your ancestors what I did to Shiloh.
Jer 7:15 And I will cast you out of my sight just as I cast out all of your blood relatives, all of the offspring of Ephraim.”‘

The actions that defiled the physical temple will still defile the temple today. With our bodies being the temple as Paul declares multiple times, how then should we live if not righteousness and holy before God? This is what Yahweh is saying to the contemporary church: Jeremiah 7:10 “And then you come and you stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and you say, ‘we are safe to go on doing all of these detestable things’”.

The temple discussion is a broad topic. In summary, here are a few points to consider:

1. Everything Moses built was a copy of the heavenly temple he was shown by Yahweh.

2. Ezekiel’s vision of a new temple could be the temple that will be on Earth during the Messiah’s reign on Earth before the new heavens and Earth, or it could be the temple Herod built before the first advent of Jesus.

3. The body of believers are the temple of God collectively, where the Spirit or breath of God physically dwells.

4. There is currently a temple in Heaven where Jesus operates as the high priest, and Jesus cannot be a priest while on Earth. This is revealed in Hebrews.

5. There will not be a temple in the new heavens and Earth because God and the lamb are the temple.

As the embodiment of the temple of God, we can learn how we should conduct ourselves by studying the instructions of the tabernacle Moses was instructed to build and the things that defile it. We do not have to make up new things that we think will defile a person when we pay no regard to the things God said will defile a person.

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