WHEN MOSES built the Tabernacle  in the wilderness and Solomon built  the Temple on Mount Zion it was  designed as a replica of a Temple  existing in heaven. Nothing was left  for men to design. Every aspect was  given to his servants.  

The Pattern of the Tabernacle 

God told Moses expressly:  

“Let them make me a sanctuary;  that I may dwell among them.  According to all that I shew thee,  after the pattern of the tabernacle,  and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it” (Exod.25:8-9). 

God was insistent that the Tabernacle  be made exactly as He showed Moses on Mount Sinai. He said: 

“And look that thou make them  after their pattern, which was  shewed thee in the mount”  (Exod.25:40). 

Why was it so important to keep to  the pattern Moses saw? Because every part of the Temple spoke of Christ and God’s plan of salvation. 

The Holy of Holies was a replica of the throne of God where the  cherubim continually declare the  holiness of God while the path to the  throne depicts the only way that we  can approach God. 

There is only one door to the court  where the sin offerings were offered.  Christ is the Lamb slain to make  atonement for our sins. 

Within the Tabernacle the 7 golden  candlesticks depict Christ as the  perfect light of the world to whom the  Father gave the Holy Spirit without  measure. 

The unleavened shewbread revealed  Christ as the bread which came down  from heaven. God took on human  flesh and blood to be the Saviour of  the world. 

The incense reveals Christ as the  great intercessor who ever lives to  make intercession for us.  

Within the Tabernacle it is all gold  depicting the deity of Christ whether  it was in the candlestick, the table of  shewbread or the altar of incense.  

Solomon’s Temple 

David received the design of the  Temple from God and gave it to  Solomon. We read in 1Chron.28:11-12:  

“Then David gave to Solomon his  son the pattern of the porch, and  of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper  chambers thereof, and of the inner  parlors thereof, and of the place of  the mercy seat, And the pattern of  all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD,  and of all the chambers round  about, of the treasuries of the  house of God, and of the treasuries  of the dedicated things”. 

Nothing was left for David to decide.  He was even given the design “in  writing” (1Chron.28:19). How the Holy Spirit did this we do not know but  there must be a reason. 

Ezekiel’s Temple

During the millenial reign of the Lord  Jesus there will be a Temple built  and it is specified in great detail in  Ezekiel’s prophecy chapters 40 to 43. 

In each of these instances we find  that God intended to dwell among  His people. In the Tabernacle and  Temples there was a place called “the  holy of holies” where the presence of  God was manifest. 

Above the holy of holies in the  Tabernacle there was the visible  evidence of God’s presence day and  night. By day a cloud rose up from  the Tabernacle and by night a pillar  of fire for all Israel to see and be  reassured that God was among them. 

When Solomon dedicated the  Temple at Jerusalem the glory of God  appeared like a bright shining light  and was so evident that the priests  could not enter the Temple. We read:  

“Now when Solomon had made an  end of praying, the fire came down  from heaven, and consumed the  burnt offering and the sacrifices;  and the glory of the LORD filled  the house. And the priests could  not enter into the house of the  LORD, because the glory of the  LORD had filled the LORD’s house”  (2Chron.7:1-2). 

The glory of God continued in the holy  of holies until the reign of King Zedekiah  and Ezekiel described the departure of  the presence of God from His Temple  before the Babylonians carried the  Jews away captive to Babylon in  586BC. The Temple that Solomon built was burned and the throne of David  ceased in 586BC (Ezek.21:25-27). 

When Christ returns after the  Tribulation the millennial Temple will  built; the throne of David will again be  established and Christ will sit upon it.  The glory of God will be so evident  in Jerusalem that it will outshine the  sun. We read: 

“Arise, shine; for thy light is come,  and the glory of the LORD is risen  upon thee… And the Gentiles shall  come to thy light, and kings to  the brightness of thy rising… The  sun shall be no more thy light by  day; neither for brightness shall  the moon give light unto thee: but  the LORD shall be unto thee an  everlasting light, and thy God thy  glory” (Isa.60:1-20). 

The Tribulation Temple 

There will also be a Temple built and  operating in the Tribulation. Two  prophets will minister in that Temple  for 1,260 days which is the first half of  the seven-year Tribulation (Rev.ch.11).  We don’t read that the glory of God’s  presence will appear in that temple  which may indicate that it will be built  before Israel is converted.  

There are many Jews today who want  to build a Temple on the Temple Mount  and would if they were permitted. The  Temple Institute has already made all  the instruments and priests garments  in anticipation of the day when the  Temple will be built. For more than  20 years the Jews have be collecting  the “holy half shekel” (Exod.30:14-16)  that was used for the service of the  Tabernacle.  

It is most likely that the Tribulation Temple will be built while the Jews  are still rejecting Messiah. It could  even be before the Rapture of the  Church of Jesus Christ or soon after  the Rapture. 

Israel has been without a Temple and  the presence of God in their midst  since AD70 when the Romans burned  the Temple. Since then God has put  Israel aside and has been taking out  from the Gentiles “a people for His  name” (Acts 15:14). 

The Church is the Temple of God 

Israel was an earthly people with an  earthly kingdom but the Church is a  heavenly people.  

“For here have we no continuing  city, but we seek one to come.  By him therefore let us offer  the sacrifice of praise to God  continually, that is, the fruit of our  lips giving thanks to his name”  (Heb.13:14-15). 

Christendom has built many  cathedrals and “holy” places based  on the design of the Jewish temple.  Christendom has copied Israel under  the old covenant with a priestly  system, with rituals and garments  that set them apart from the common  people and claiming to intercede for  the people. 

Paul described the Church as a holy  temple built “upon the foundation of  the apostles and prophets” (Eph.2:20- 22). It grows as individuals trust in  Christ and are added to the number  in the Church. Peter described the  Church as living stones built into “a  spiritual house” (1Pet.2:5). 

The Apostles never built cathedrals or wore priestly garments. There  were no “holy places” in the time of  the Apostles. 

The Holy Spirit indwelling the Church  is the presence of God equivalent  to the glory of God in the Temple of  Solomon. The evidence of the glory  of God in the Church is a multitude  of transformed lives of sinners who  have been tranformed into saints by  the power of the Holy Spirit; by the  miracle of regeneration. 

Israel was a nation and Jerusalem was  the only place on earth where God  chose to place His name (Deut.12:21).  But the Church is different to Israel  and Paul wrote: 

“For here have we no continuing  city, but we seek one to come”  (Heb. 13:14). 

The city that the Christian identifies  with is the heavenly city; the New  Jerusalem that Jesus went to prepare  (John 14:2-3) and where we will dwell  in the New Heavens and New Earth  for all eternity. Paul wrote: 

“According to the grace of God  which is given unto me, as a wise  masterbuilder, I have laid the  foundation, and another buildeth  thereon. But let every man take  heed how he buildeth thereupon”  (1Cor. 3:10). 

Paul told the Ephesian Christians: “Now therefore ye are … built upon  the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself  being the chief corner stone”  (Eph.2:19-20). 

The Church is also the Bride of Christ  and when John was shown the New  Jerusalem descending from heaven to the new earth an angel said:  “Come hither, I will shew thee the  bride, the Lamb’s wife(Rev.21:9). 

Then John saw “that great city, the holy Jerusalem,  descending out of heaven from  God, having the glory of God: …  And the wall of the city had twelve  foundations, and in them the  names of the twelve apostles of  the Lamb” (Rev.21:10-14). 

The Temple in the Old Testament 

In the Old Testament the Hebrew  word translated ‘temple’ is also  translated ‘palace’ in a number of  places in the KJV.  

  • In 1Kgs 21:4 we read of Ahab’s  palace 
  • In 2Kgs20:18; Isa.39:7; Dan.1:4  it is the palace of the king of  Babylon. 
  • In Ezra 4:14 it is the king of  Persia’s palace 
  • King’s palaces are referred to in  Ps.45:15; 144:12. 

Thus we may conclude that the temple  of the Lord was God’s palace and  throne from which He reigned over  Israel as her king. The sovereignty of  God is thereby implied. 

Before Saul was crowned “the Lord  was their king” (1Sam.12:12). 

The Temple in the New Testament 

In the New Testament there are three  Greek words translated temple in the  KJV. 

naos – meaning the place where the  presence of God was manifested.  

This word is used in the following  locations 

  • Luke 1:9,22 when Zacharias  ministered as a priest before the  Lord. 
  • Matt.23:16,21 the Jews swore  oaths by the holy place “and Him  that dwelleth therein.” 
  • John 2:19-21 Jesus spoke of  His body as the temple where  God’s presence dwelt. The  Jews accused Him of saying  the material temple would be  destroyed and rebuilt in three  days at His trial and used the  same Greek word in Mk.14:58;  15:29. 
  • When the vail in the temple was  rent, naos is used. 

It is clear that the Holy Spirit wanted  to distingwish between the general  word for temple and the place where  God’s presence dwelt. 

In the Book of Acts the Apostles went  up to the temple and the word hieron  was used but when we come to the  epistles where we read of our bodies  and the Church being the temple of  God indwelt by the Holy Spirit the  word naos is used. See 1Cor.3:16,17;  6:19; 2Cor.6:16; Eph.2:21. 

God’s dwelling place on earth is now  in each believer and in the Church  universal. 

When Antichrist sits in the temple  and claims to be God, naos is used  (2Thess.2:4) because he will dwell  in the holy of holies and will claim to  have the presence of Almighy God. 

Another word is used to translate the word Temple. It is hieron– meaning  the temple where the Jews came into  the courts of the women, Gentiles  and where Jesus and the Apostles  preached. They did not enter into  the holy place which was naos in the  Greek, meaning the holy place where  the presence of God was found. Only  Jewish priests could minister in the  holy place and the high priest alone  could enter the holy of holies. 

oikos – meaning house or dwelling. 

The Holy Spirit chose the appropriate  Greek word when giving the  scriptures to the Apostles and we  miss the significance of this when we  read our English translation. 

The Temple in Heaven 

Finally throughout the Book of  Revelation we read about the Temple  of God in heaven where the throne  of God is located. There the Old  Testament saints are seen led by  24 elders (1Chron.24) seated on 24  thrones around the throne of God. 

When John writes of the throne  of God in heaven he always uses  naos and never the word hieron.  From Rev.3:12 to 21:22 there are 16  mentions of the Temple in heaven  and it is always where God dwells. 


“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?  For ye are bought with a price:  therefore glorify God in your body,  and in your spirit, which are God’s”  (1Cor.6:19-20). 

Since every believer’s body is indwelt  by the presence of Christ we are to  live holy lives separate from sin. Our  bodies are the temple of God and the  Church universal is the temple of God  on earth. If we allow sins to control  us we offend the presence of God  within our own lives and among His  people. 

The example Paul gives in 1Cor.6  is the sin of fornication. While a  believer can never lose his salvation  he can lose the sense of the Lord’s  presence and thus lose his testimony. 

The consequences can be very  severe and Paul warns that some in  the church at Corinth had been sick  and some even died. He wrote: 

“For this cause many are weak and  sickly among you, and many sleep.  For if we would judge ourselves,  we should not be judged. But when  we are judged, we are chastened  of the Lord, that we should not  be condemned with the world”  (1Cor.11:30-32). 

It is because God loves His children  that He chastens us if we embrace  sin.  

When Israel sinned and set up idols  in the Temple of God He sent the  heathen to destroy the nation. He  kept His covenant with Abraham  and David and never abandoned  His people but he punished them for  correction. 

Likewise God deals with us today.  The path of obedience is the  path of blessing for His people.

-John Ecob