What is a Temple?

In the Old Testament, God designed the temple (or tabernacle) as his great classroom. Its structure stressed how sin’s seriousness separated all humanity from God. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The sacrifices demonstrated the necessity of blood to atone for sin.

Yet, no matter how many animals were sacrificed, they could not take away sin (Hebrews 10:4). Instead, they pointed ahead to Jesus, the Lamb of God, who alone could remove sin (John 1:14). On Good Friday, the Lamb of God was sacrificed on the altar of the cross. The shedding of his blood atoned for sin. At the moment of Jesus’ death, the temple veil that separated God from humanity was torn in two from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51), demonstrating that Jesus had reconciled the world to God (2 Corinthians 5:18–20).

The temple was not about the work people did for God. It was all about what God did for the world in Jesus. God no longer dwells in temples built by human hands (Acts 17:24–25).

Something else amazing happened at Jesus’ death. By removing the barrier of sin, Jesus made us worthy to enter God’s presence. Even more spectacular, believers are now described as the Holy of Holies, where God now dwells (1 Corinthians 6:19). This is all true through faith in Jesus’ complete work of salvation.

Study Temples in the Scriptures

Romans 6:23

Hebrews 10:4

John 1:14

Matthew 27:51

2 Corinthians 5:18–20

Acts 17:24–25

1 Corinthians 6:19

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