Sunday, July 31, 2011

Question #2

To what was Jesus referring to by the term "this temple" in John 2:18-19? In John 2:21 John clearly states that when Jesus used the term "this temple", he was referring to his body. If what the WTS teaches about Jesus' body after his death is correct, then how do you explain these verses?

The problem is, those who tend to think in fleshly, physical terms cannot comprehend true spiritual things. It is apparent with this question and the many to follow that the questioner thinks as a non-spiritual person.

But suffice to say, Jesus was speaking in spiritual terms, that the Jews and even his own apostles could not at first understand. Most people think of a temple in terms of a physical structure where some type of formal worship or sacrifice is carried out. In Jesus' day, the temple of God was the stone-and-mortar edifice located in Jerusalem. Jesus originally spoke those words to the Jews to give them pause to reconsider how God expected to be worshipped from that point on. Jesus foretold that the Jewish temple was going to be razed to the ground, with not a stone left upon a stone. The Christian congregation was going to replace the Jewish nation as God's organization. But, instead of having a physical temple, Christ and his anointed followers constitute a spiritual temple for God to inhabit by spirit, and Jesus, as the head of that organization, is called the chief cornerstone of the "building."

Furthermore, Jesus' fleshly body was going to be sacrificed to God, as if on a temple altar. And after his resurrection, Jesus became the high priest, ministering on the basis of his own sacrifice. That is why Jesus referred to the temple of his body.

Here are a few relevant verses that indicate the spiritual nature of God's temple.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17: "Do you not know that you people are God's temple, and that the spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him; for the temple of God is holy, which temple you people are."

1 Corinthians 6:19: "What! Do you not know that the body of you people is the temple of the holy spirit within you, which you have from God?"

2 Corinthians 6:16: "For we are a temple of a living God; just as God said: "I shall reside among them and walk among them, and I shall be their God, and they will be my people."

Ephesians 2:20-22: "While Christ Jesus himself is the foundation cornerstone. In union with him the whole building, being harmoniously joined together, is growing into a holy temple for Jehovah. In union with him you, too, are being built up together into a place for God to inhabit by spirit."

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