The True Sanctuary
John 2:18-22 MKJV Then the Jews answered and said to Him, What sign do you show us, since you do these things? (19) Jesus answered and said to them, Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up. (20) Then the Jews said, this temple was forty-six years building, and will you rear it up in three days? (21) But He spoke of the temple of His body. (22) Therefore when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them, and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.
I have a sneaking suspicion that when the Temple is rebuilt – it will be done in three days! That aside, the clear reference of this passage is to the resurrection and to the divinity of Christ and to His relationship to his body.
Jesus’ body was very important to God. God made sure that Christ was conceived of a virgin, and that no bone of His body was broken, and God raised Christ’s body from the dead and also made Jesus ascend physically to Heaven to sit at the right hand of God.
Jesus body is also important to our salvation - His blood was poured out for our sins and His rent flesh opened the way to Heaven.
This tremendous importance of the physical human flesh of Jesus is truly startling. It says the body is redeemable, and resurrect-able and confirms what Genesis implies – that our flesh was always made to be dwelling place of God. It is a huge slap in the face to Gnosticism and to the idea of human flesh as evil and to the notion that all true spirituality is wholly mental and ethereal.
Hebrews gives us a big clue when it equates the flesh of Christ with the curtain of the Temple: Hebrews 10:20 HCSB By the new and living way that He has inaugurated for us, through the curtain (that is, His flesh);
Hebrews also tells us three more important things about the flesh of Christ:
The incarnation was necessary to defeat Satan:
Hebrews 2:14-15 HCSB Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, He also shared in these, so that through His death He might destroy the one holding the power of death--that is, the Devil-- (15) and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death.
The body of Jesus was carefully prepared by God to do His will:
Hebrews 10:5-7 HCSB Therefore, as He was coming into the world, He said: You did not want sacrifice and offering, but You prepared a body for Me. (6) You did not delight in whole burnt offerings and sin offerings. (7) Then I said, "See, I have come--it is written about Me in the volume of the scroll--to do Your will, O God!"
Christ’s offering on the cross sanctifies believers once for all time (and does not need to be repeated):
Hebrews 10:10 HCSB By this will, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.
Thus the body of Christ is the summation and perfection of the Temple ceremonies, his flesh is the veil into the Holy of Holies and His body and blood satisfy for the atonement of sins and provide a way to God and entrance into newness of life and victorious Christian living.
The blood of Jesus Christ is also a cleaning agent for the human spirit and conscience:
Hebrews 9:13-14 HCSB For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who are defiled, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, (14) how much more will the blood of the Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to serve the living God?
1 John 1:7 HCSB But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
Christ’s body was the True Temple and the Temple is where God dwells.
Colossians 2:9 HCSB For in Him the entire fullness of God's nature dwells bodily,
2 Corinthians 5:19 MKJV (19) Whereas God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and putting the word of reconciliation in us.
Thus God, in His great holiness, does not refuse to dwell in human flesh. Therefore your body, cleansed by the blood of Jesus is acceptable as a dwelling place of God. Your body is also a temple, a sacred site that must be treated reverently:
1 Corinthians 6:17-20 MKJV (17) But he being joined to the Lord is one spirit. (18) Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits fornication sins against his own body. (19) Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit in you, whom you have of God? And you are not your own, (20) for you are bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.
So lets sum this up:
1. Christ’s body was a temple – a place where God dwelt. In fact it was the True Temple.
2. Christ’s flesh was equivalent to the Temple veil and when His body was pierced the Temple veil was torn in two from top to bottom.
3. God dwelt in Christ’s physical body, raised it from the dead and He physically ascended into Heaven and the Son of God still dwells physically in a resurrected body as the fullness of Godhead in bodily form (Colossians 2:9).
4. Thus the human body is not intrinsically evil but can be redeemed, resurrected, transformed and brought to heaven. In fact the human body is supposed to be the dwelling place of God.
5. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, a sacred site, to be treated with reverence and not to be defiled through sexual immorality.
Blessings in Jesus,