The New Testament Temple

In John 2:12-22, after the Lord cleansed the physical temple (v. 14-16), the Jews asked, “What sign do you show us, seeing that you do these things?” (v. 18). “Jesus answered and said to them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then the Jews said, This temple was built in forty-six years, and You will raise it up in three days? But He spoke of the temple of His body.” (v. 19-21) The Lord’s words are that His physical body, which the Jews would “destroy” by crucifixion and He would “raise up” in resurrection, was the replacement for and greater than (Matthew 12:6) the Old Testament temple.

In Ephesians 2:11-22 we see that the temple has been enlarged from the Lord’s physical body to His spiritual Body composed of all the Christians. On the cross He created one new man and reconciled us to God (v. 15-16). In resurrection He announced peace to us (v. 17). Now through Him we have access in one Spirit unto the Father (v. 18). We are citizens in God’s kingdom and members of God’s household (v. 19). We are being built together in Christ Jesus and this building work is our growth into a holy temple in the Lord (v. 20-21).

In New Jerusalem the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are the temple (Revelation 21:22). All of us as priests are in this temple. Even more, we are organically one with this temple because we are in Christ and Christ is in us. These verses show us the change from the physical temple in the Old Testament, to Christ from His incarnation, then to Christ with His believers from His resurrection. They also show us that New Jerusalem does not appear suddenly out of nothing at the end of the Bible but is the consummation of all that is being accomplished in the New Testament times.

(Two Greek words are  translated “temple.” One refers to the buildings with the porches and courtyards; the other specifically to the central building. The former is used in John 2:14-15. The latter is used in John 2:19-21, Ephesians 2:21, and Revelation 21:22.)

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  1. The Resurrected Jesus is the Temple | New Jerusalem – A Biblical View

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