God’s timing is always perfect! This will be the last part of the Saved series, and it just so happened that Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement, also occurred this week! As I’d prayed about where the Lord wanted to take me with this post, I kept hearing Him say that all will be revealed on Yom Kippur. As usual, the day was filled with many insights and new understandings, which I’m so excited to share with you all!
The Day of Atonement is the holiest day of the year. During the Israelites time in the wilderness, this was the day that they would gather to the Tabernacle to sacrifice and make atonement for their sins (Leviticus 16). To this day, Jews gather in synagogues and spend twenty-six hours asking for forgiveness, abstaining from food and drink, and doing good deeds to assure that their names will be written in the Book of Life.
Shockingly, BELIEVERS have also adopted these practices during Yom Kippur. They ask their friends to forgive them of any past hurts, they pray for the rebuilding of the Temple, and send well wishes to everyone with the phrase, “May your name be written in the Book of Life.” It stuns me that believers have taken on these mindsets, considering that the Bible clearly states that the inheritance of enteral life comes only through Yeshua and following the Lord’s commands (see: everything we’ve been discussing in the last four weeks)!
Interestingly enough, the idea of this series came to me after reading 2 Chronicles 7, the dedication of the First Temple, which occurred during the Fall Feasts (Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles). Talk about coincidence! Today, because Yeshua paid the ultimate sacrifice on the cross, we no longer have to sacrifice animals to atone for our sins.
If you were raised in a Christian home, like me, then you would know the saying, “Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 6:19) We were brought up to ask Jesus into our hearts and live pure lives; however, as we grew older, these teachings began to fade, and the desires of our hearts began to overpower the voice of our parents and God’s counsel. It’s only when we come back to the Lord that we see the truth in what we were taught and have more wisdom about what the Bible says about looking after our bodies and keeping ourselves pure before the Father.
The purity movement continues to cause a lot of pain in the Christian world. People are hurt by the teachings they grew up learning, and shame has overtaken their lives after the Christian community has shunned them for giving into the things that are deemed “impure.” The root of this pain and conflict, I believe, comes from Christians abusing the passage found in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20. The purity movement spends all of its time using this Scripture to warn the Christian youth about the sin of having sex outside of marriage, rather than focusing on what purity and intimacy really mean. In contrast to the teachings of the purity movement, what does the Bible imply when it says that we are to keep our bodies pure, and how does the Temple compare to our bodies being called the living temple of God? (2 Corinthians 6:16)
From the beginning of the earth’s creation, God has desired to have a relationship with His people. He wants to dwell amongst us, yet we continue to reject His advances. The Lord first dwelt with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and then again with the children of Israel in the wilderness. Before instructing Moses to build His dwelling place, the Tabernacle (Exodus 23), God gave the Israelites a chance to speak directly to Him. However, they trembled in fear and refused to go near His presence, stating that they wished Moses to continue to be God’s spokesperson.
When Solomon built the First Temple, the Lord was given a new dwelling place amongst His people. After spending the Fall Feasts dedicating the Temple to the Lord, the Lord came to Solomon with words of warning:
2 Chronicles 7:12-22, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open, and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.’ But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.”
Last week, I wrote about the meaning of forgiveness, humility, and the role grace plays in our lives as believers. (2 Chronicles 7:14-16) This week, I’m focusing on the second part found in verses 19-22 (in bold). Though God was speaking to Solomon about the physical temple that had just been dedicated to Him, I believe that God’s warning can still apply to us today.
The teachings surrounding the significance of Yeshua/Jesus’ death on the cross tend to focus on the forgiveness of our sins and the ability to have a personal relationship with God, but is there something we’re missing?
Before Yeshua’s death on the cross, He made His first reference to His body being the temple while visiting the Temple in Jerusalem and finding that the people were selling animals and exchanging money within its courtyard! Flipping the tables in outrage, Yeshua rebuked the people, and the Jews responded by saying, “‘What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.’ They replied, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?’ But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.” (John 2:18-22)
In Jeremiah 31:31-34, Jeremiah prophesied about the renewed covenant of God. “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,’ declares the Lord. ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.’” (Jeremiah 31:33) The moment Yeshua died on the cross, this prophecy was fulfilled, and the veil that separated the temple from the Holy of Holies (Exodus 26:31-35, Hebrews 9), the place where the Lord’s Spirit dwelt, was torn. (Matthew 27:50-51) The veil was a symbol of how man was separated from God due to sin. (Isaiah 59) Only the high priest was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place once a year to atone for the sins of the people of Israel; however, when the veil was torn, our separation was taken away, and those who accepted the Holy Spirit, Ruach HaKodesh, into their hearts became the living stones (1 Peter 2:4-10) and the temple of the Lord!
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
I encourage you to study the whole chapter of Ephesians 2 because it shows how Yeshua’s death fulfilled the prophecy written in Ezekiel 36:24-28 about Israel’s return and receiving a new heart. Because the chapter is too much to paste in this blog, here are the last four verses:
“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Messiah Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22
As people await the rebuilding of the third temple, we have the ability to enter into YHVH/the Lord’s rest (Hebrews 3-4) and be secure in the knowledge that together, the body of the Messiah IS the Temple of the Lord/YHVH! The physical building was only a temporary place for the Holy Spirit to dwell! There is no longer a need for Him to take residence in another building because Yeshua nailed the Law of Sin and Death to the cross so that we can have His Spirit dwelling within our hearts! (Revelation 21:22) I don’t know about you, but this revelation has excited me! Being a part of the Kingdom of God and having the Holy Spirit living in me has made me feel more alive than in the season where I was following the desires of my heart.
Through all this excitement, however, there is also a warning. As the Lord warned Solomon in 2 Chronicles 2:14-16, so I am warning you! We need to continue to walk in God’s ways and keep our hearts pure (Psalm 51:10,119:9; Matthew 5:8; Philippians 4:8; 1 Timothy 5:22; John 15:1-4) for the Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts. If we do not heed these teachings, then we will not be part of the Kingdom or the Body of the Messiah!
I know this may be a new concept for some of you and that there is a lot of information to take in, so I pray that you will go over everything I’ve written and study these verses for yourselves! This series has opened my eyes to so many new ideas and revelations, though there is so much I still want to explore! Let’s continue this journey together and if you have any thoughts on what has been written, please leave your comments below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!