There have been a number of temples built for God. Today’s reading is about the first, Solomon’s Temple, but that temple was destroyed when the Hebrews were taken to exile. When Ezra returned from exile, he oversaw the construction of the second temple. But that temple, too, was destroyed. So Herod, the Roman ruler of Judea, spent 42 years building the next temple, the one we know from Jesus’ life and Paul’s letters. This temple was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans.
But there is one more temple that still stands today. Paul states in 1 Cor. 3:16, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple, and that His Spirit dwells within you?” We are the fourth and current temple of the Lord. This image has a lot of implications for us as believers.
The temple is where God lives. With the promised Holy Spirit living within us, there is no longer a need for the earthly temple.
The temple is where the regular sacrifices were offered. Jesus, dying on the cross, was the final sacrifice, atoning for our sins once and for all. There is no longer a need for animal sacrifices.
The temple was divided into courts to keep uncleanness away from God. In level after level of concentric circles, the courts of the temple (gentiles, women, men, priests, Holy Place, Holy of Holies) were meant to only allow the worthy to get so close to God. Through Jesus Christ, everyone gained direct access to God, and the courts are no longer necessary.
Since we are now the temple of God’s spirit, we have the ability to bring God with us to this world. And in fact, we are commanded to do just that.