Zech 8:18-19 Then the word of YHVH of Hosts came to me, saying, ‘Thus says YHVH of Hosts: the fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth shall become joy and gladness and good times for the House of Judah. And the truth and the peace you will love.’
The 9th of Av (the fifth month of the Hebrew calendar given to Israel) is one of Judaism’s saddest days as it remembers with fasting and weeping the destruction of both the first and second Temples which were in Jerusalem, and of other tragedies in Jewish history. Orthodox Judaism believes that when Messiah comes, he will change this time of mourning into times of rejoicing. The religious Jews believe that the Messiah will build the new Temple of God.
The Tabernacle in the wilderness which Moses built after the Israelis went out from Egypt was built according to the heavenly pattern which God showed him on the mount. This tabernacle was used in Israel for about 480 years before Solomon built the first Temple in Jerusalem. This temple remained in service for about 400 years until 586 B.C. After the return from Babylonian exile, the returning Jews built the second temple in Jerusalem, which King Herod later expanded. This temple was destroyed after about 520 years.
The prophecy of Zechariah for believers is fulfilled: according to the New Testament, the Messiah has come – and this in accordance with the prophecies of the Old Testament – and He is building His Temple, but not with hands, and He has turned our mourning into joy!:
This new Temple is spoken of in this manner:
Jn 2:14-22 And [Jesus] found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, ‘Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!’ Then His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up!’ So the Jews answered and said to Him, ‘What sign do you show to us, since you do these things?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up!’; but He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.
Paul explains this concept further:
Eph 2:19-22 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
What we see here is a radical change revealed by the Lord Jesus that the human body is to be God’s Temple and dwelling place, and that each born-again believer is a living stone used for the building up of the whole House and Temple of God – God’s dwelling place and the place of worshipping Him.
Should our discovery that we who are Messiah’s – whether Jew of Gentile – be a cause of fasting and mourning for God’s righteous judgments over His people’s sins – of God the Father’s chastening of His children for the purpose of bringing them to repentance and restored fellowship with Him? Or has He not turned what was sad and painful into times of joy and gladness and full of hope!?
We have a good word for those who have not received the grace of God about the hope that is in us for having received His chastening. God is moving on from the works of Man’s hands to that which they only pointed to – a heavenly and spiritual reality of being truly children of God in the fullness of His image and glory in Christ!
The Word of God carries us on towards the New Creation of a new Heavens and new Earth, where it speaks of the ultimate Temple like this:
Rev 21:1-4, 22-27 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God! And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be nor more pain, for the former things have passed away.’
But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its Temple! The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
The whole universe of the new creation will be God’s House and Temple!
The Temple is the means by which God approached man from Heaven to Earth by sending His Son Yeshua to dwell among us and offer up a blood sacrifice by which those who come to God through Him come through the Temple from the opposite direction: from Earth to Heaven. The essential difference between the temples made by men from God and that Temple which the Holy Spirit is building in the hearts and lives of believers in Jesus is this: rather than dwelling merely among His people as under the Law, God is now dwelling in His people in Christ. This is a huge distinction, which sets us apart – sanctifies us – unto God in a way that is unknown by any other people now. God is building an eternal temple and dwelling place in us; even the physical temple described by Ezekiel which will stand for 1000 years will, nonetheless, pass away!
The prophetic word we have in the Bible not only tells us things that will happen in the future, but is also to help us take God’s thoughts and plans into account in our own lives now, today. Since God created the body of Man to be a temple for Him – holy and undefiled – it is clear, then, that we could make our bodies a temple of some other god, or filled with some other spirit other than the Holy Spirit, or just empty. The apostles continually teach and warn about what we do with and in our present bodies, and with the members of our bodies.
That is why we purpose to live as a HOLY TEMPLE unto God!
Are we living as a HOLY Temple unto God, or are we bringing into God’s Temple pagan thoughts and actions? Remember that Jesus overthrew the tables of those who mis-used His house as a marketplace and for dishonor to God His Father.
Is it our prayer and intent to be a HOLY dwelling place for God in the Spirit; are we a place where He can find rest because of the inner life we have, and for the outer life we lead?
Why do we have so many instructions about how to conduct ourselves? It is because we are a living Temple of the Holy Spirit. (1Cor 6:19-20) “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. So honor God with your body.”
1Cor 3:16-17 Do you not know that you are the Temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the Temple of God is holy, which you are.
The Temple is a place where the Holy Spirit dwells, so we are told to rejoice always, forgive always, love God and each other, balance faith with works, avoid immoral acts, esteem others better than yourself, pray and be filled daily with the Holy Spirit, worship and praise, confess your sins.
Do we honor God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives and worship, or are we perhaps like the Samaritans, and don’t know what or who we worship really?
For those who know that their sins are forgiven, and the more this is realized the more we love Jesus, God has given us the oil of gladness in place of our mourning because we are His living Temple and His presence is with us.
We close being assured of these precious promises:
Heb 3:4, 6 For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God….Messiah [is] faithful as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.
2Cor 6:16-18 For you are the Temple of the living God! As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’ Therefore, ‘Come out from among from them and be separate’, says YHVH. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters’, says YHVH Almighty.