THE TEMPLE OF GOD
The Temple Tour
The Temple in the Bible was built in 960 Bc by King Solomon. To
understand the Temple's purpose, it is important to know that God
made the world and established the rules. God told Adam that the
result of sin was death, Adam disobeyed, and sin, death, and
disease entered the world. In spite of this, God loved his people
and had mercy.
Before Jesus' death and resurrection, God provided a way to atone
for sin so that people could be in His holy presence. God allowed
the blood of a perfect animal to temporarily take the place of
the sinner's life. This blood sacrifice took away sin and made
the sinner right with God temporarily.
God loved the world so much that He sent His son Jesus to atone,
or take away, a believer's sin once and for all. The blood of
Jesus Christ was the final sacrifice needed. (Genesis 2:17;
4:3-7; Leviticus 1; 16:1,2; Isaiah 59:2; Romans 3:23; Hebrews
Here are steps to peace with God during the time of the temple
("Then") and today ("Now").
1. BRAZEN ALTAR (Bronze Altar)
THEN God required the people to regularly sacrifice a perfect
animal (lambs, goats, doves, bulls) for their sins. The blood of
the animal justified the people before God and restored their
relationship with Him.
NOW Jesus is our perfect sacrifice. He led a sinless life and
willingly died for our sins to make us right with God for all
time. No more sacrifices are required. (Lev,17:11; Heb.9:25; John
1:29; Rev.13:8; Hebrews 10:10; Rom.4:25)
THEN The person bringing the offering put his hand on the head of
the animal while it was killed, symbolically putting his sins
onto the animal. The animal died in his place.
NOW Jesus is the Lamb of God, just as bulls or lambs were
sacrificed. We are told to present our bodies as a living
sacrifice acceptable to God, holy, not conformed to the world,
and with a renewed mind. (John 1:29; Romans 12:1,2)
We are to offer God another kind of sacrifice: praising His name,
doing good, and sharing with others. (Hebrews 13:15,16)
3. "THE SEA" (Bronze Basin)
THEN Priests washed themselves at the basin, purifying themselves
before entering the Temple. It was about 15 ft. (4.6 m) across
and held more than 10,000 gallons (38,000 liters) of water. It
stood on 12 bronze oxen.
NOW Believers in Christ are saved and cleansed by the blood of
Even though we have accepted Jesus' sacrificial death on our
behalf, we too need to be cleansed, spiritually. If we confess
our sins, God will forgive and cleanse us. (Exodus 30:18; 38:8;
1 Kings 7:23-26: 1 John 1:7-10)
4. BRASS PILLARS (Bronze Pillars)
THEN The pillars, called "Jachin" on the right and "Boaz" on the
left, supported the roof of the portico. They were 27 feet (9 m)
NOW Those who are faithful to Jesus through trials will be made
"a pillar" in the Temple of God. (Revelation 3:12)
5. HOLY PLACE
THEN Only priests were allowed to enter the Holy Place. They did
NOW Believers in Jesus have been made holy through Jesus'
sacrifice and can go directly to God. (Ex.29-30; Heb.9-10)
6. GOLDEN LAMPSTANDS AND TABLES OF SHOWBREAD
THEN Ten gold lampstands and ten tables for bread were made for
(1 Kings 7:49; 2 Chron. 4:7,8,19,20)
NOW Christ is the light of the world and the bread of life. (John
7 GOLDEN INCENSE ALTAR
THEN Prayers were offered at the gold Altar of Incense where
special sweet incense required by God was burned.
NOW The prayers of God's people are a sweet incense to God.
(1 Kings 6:22; 2 Chronicles 4:19; Exodus 30:35-37; Rev.5:8)
8. THE VEIL
(Curtain, and doors of olive wood)
THEN The veil separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place
where the Ark of the Covenant rested, separating a holy God from
sinful people. Once a year only the High Priest entered here.
NOW Believers in Jesus may enter God's presence through prayer
because they are made acceptable to God by the blood of Jesus,
the great High Priest. When Jesus died, the Temple veil tore in
two from top to bottom. (2 Chronicles 3:14; 1 Kings 6:31-35;
Exodus 25-26; Matt.27:51; Heb.10:19-22)
9. MOST HOLY PLACE
THEN The Most Holy Place was God's throne room where He would
meet and give His commands, between the two cherubim, on the
Mercy Seat over the Ark of the Covenant. The high priest
sprinkled blood on the Mercy Seat on the Day of Atonement to
atone for the sins of the people for that year.
NOW believers can come boldly before God's throne of grace.
THEN Massive olive-wood sculptures of cherubim, winged creatures,
represented the guardians of God's divine presence. These
cherubim were overlaid with gold and they touched each other,
wingtip to wingtip and wall to wall. When God banished man from
the Garden of Eden, he placed cherubim and a flaming sword to
guard the way to the tree of life.
(1 Kings 6:19-29; Genesis 3:24)
NOW Believers can have eternal life in God's presence through
faith in Jesus Christ. (John 3:16; John 17)
11. ARK OF THE COVENANT
THEN The Ark was a carved wooden box overlaid with gold. Inside
was the Law of God (the Ten Commandments) inscribed on two
tablets of stone. Its lid, the Mercy Seat, represented the
meeting place between God and man (Ex.25:10-22).
NOW God wants to commune with us today. He made it possible to
know Him through Jesus. (John 14:6; Heb.9:4; 10:22)
THEN Three-story rooms contained the treasures of God's Temple
and the dedicated gifts. These treasures were plundered several
NOW We are commanded by Jesus to not lay up treasures for
ourselves on earth, but to lay up treasures in heaven.
(1 Chronicles 28:11,12; Matthew 6:19-21)
THE DAY OF ATONEMENT
AND THE SCAPEGOAT CEREMONY
* Two goats were used. One goat was sacrificed for sin, and a
second goat ("the scapegoat") carried all the sin and wickedness
of the people. The scapegoat was sent out in the desert never to
be found again. (Leviticus 16:5-22)
* Jesus serves as our sacrifice, like the first goat, paying for
our sins. "...We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the
body of Jesus Christ once for all." (Hebrews 10:10)
THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE
* King David appointed Levites (priests' assistants) as 24,000
foremen, 6000 officers, 4000 gatekeepers, and 4000 musicians.
* Solomon bartered with King Hiram of Tyre, trading wheat and
pressed olive oil for cedar and pine logs for many years.
* Solomon sent 30,000 laborers to Lebanon in shifts to bring back
cedar wood. He had 70,000 carriers and 80,000 stonecutters in the
* The building site was to be quiet and worshipful. Thus all
stonecutting and woodwork was done completely off site. (1 Kings
* The Temple took seven years to build. (1 Kings 5:10-15; 6:1,
THE HISTORY OF THE TEMPLE
* The Temple was plundered by rulers of many countries. (1 Kings
* During King Josiah's reign, the Temple was repaired and the
"Book of the Law" was found. Josiah was shocked to realize that
they had forsaken God. The people went to the Temple to hear the
"Book of the Law" read. Josiah promised the LORD to follow Him
and to keep His commandments. (2 Kings 22-23; 2 Chron. 34)
* Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar took the Temple's gold vessels
to Babylon; eight years later he attacked again. Eleven years
after that the Temple was destroyed. The Ark of the Covenant
(2 Kings 25; Daniel 1:1,2; Jeremiah 3:16,17)
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q. Who had the idea for building the Temple?
A. King David, Solomon's father, said, "I had in my heart to
build a house as a place of rest for the Ark of the Covenant of
the Lord, for the footstool of God." (1 Chronicles 28:2)
Q. Who made the plans for the Temple?
A. The Spirit of God put the plans in David's mind. (1 Chronicles
Q. Why didn't God allow David to build the Temple?
A. Because he had shed so much blood and waged wars. (1
Q. Who gave supplies for the Temple?
A. King David gave gold, silver, bronze, iron, precious stones,
wood, and marble. In addition, he gave his personal treasures of
3000 talents of gold and 7000 talents of refined silver. The
leaders of the people gave even more gold, silver, bronze, and
iron. Any who had precious stones gave them and they all
rejoiced. (1 Chron. 29:1-9)
Q. Where was the Temple built?
A. On Mount Moriah (Mt.Zion) the traditional site of Abraham
Q. Why was the Temple destroyed?
A. Jeremiah warned that Jerusalem and the Temple would be
destroyed as a punishment for their sins. (Jeremiah 27)
Q. What did Solomon say about God and the Temple?
A. Solomon proclaimed that the heavens cannot contain God, how
much less this Temple? (1 Kings 8:27)
Q. When was the Temple destroyed and when was it rebuilt?
A. It was destroyed in 586 BC by the Babylonians who took the
people captive. Reconstruction began in 536 Bc, 50 years later,
when the Lord sent Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, to rebuild
it after King Darius of Persia allowed some of the people to go
back to Jerusalem. It was finished in 516 Bc, 70 years after its
destruction. (Haggai 1:6,7; 2:9)
Q. What was Zerubbabel's Temple like?
A. It probably followed the same floor plan, but funds were
limited, so it was much more modest than the first Temple. People
who remembered the first Temple wept at the comparison (Ezra.
Q. When was Herod's Temple built and destroyed?
A. Herod's Temple was built between 20 BC and AD 64. It was
demolished by the Romans in AD 70. Jesus foretold that not one
stone would be left upon another (Mark 13:1,2). It has not been
(That prophecy was NOT fulfilled in 70 AD - the Wailing Wall of
today was part of the Temple of Herod. The prophecy of Jesus will
yet take place at the beginning of the last 42 months of this age
- Keith Hunt)
Q. Will the Temple ever be rebuilt?
A. Many people believe the Temple is in the hearts of believers.
Other people believe that the physical Temple will be rebuilt.
Jesus referred to himself as the Temple (John 2:19,21) and
Stephen said that the Holy Spirit desires to live in the living
Temple of our hearts (Acts 7). Paul said the we are God's holy
Temple and God's spirit lives in us.
(1 Corinthians 3:16,17)
(There is NO prophecy that says the "temple" - a physical
building needs to be re-built before Jesus comes again. The
Temple of Ezekiel (chapter 40-48) is a prophecy of the millennium
Temple, for the 1,000 year age to come - Keith Hunt)
JESUS IN THE TEMPLE
* About forty days after his birth Jesus' parents brought him
into the Temple to be presented to the Lord, as required in the
Law. They would have offered a sacrifice of a pair of doves or
two young pigeons.
(Luke 2:22-24; Leviticus 12:3-8)
* The Holy Spirit revealed to Simeon, a righteous and devout man,
that he would see the Lord's Christ before he died. Moved by the
Spirit, he came into the Temple and took the baby Jesus in his
arms and praised God, saying, "My eyes have seen your salvation
... a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your
people Israel." (Luke 2:25-33)
* An elderly prophetess Anna, who was worshiping, fasting and
praying in the Temple night and day, gave thanks to God and spoke
about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption
of Jerusalem. (Luke 2:36-38)
* When Jesus was 12 years old, his family went to the Passover
feast in Jerusalem. Three days after it ended, his parents found
him in the Temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening
and answering questions. All who heard him were astonished at his
understanding and answers. He said he had to be doing his
Father's business. (Luke 2:41-50)
* Jesus was about 30 years old when he began his ministry. After
he was baptized, he was tempted by the devil for 40 days. The
devil led him to the highest point of the Temple and dared him to
throw himself down since he was the Son of God. Jesus said, "It
is written, you must not put the Lord your God to the test." The
devil left for awhile. (Matthew 3:16,17; 4:1-7; Luke 4:1-13
* Jesus taught in the Temple often.
(Matthew 12; 21; 24; 26:55; Mark 11-15; Luke 18-21; Luke 22:53;
John 2-10; 18:20)
* Jesus drove out all those buying and selling in the Temple. He
said that His house was a house of prayer, but they had made it a
den of thieves. (Matthew 21:12,13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45,46;
* Jesus healed blind and sick people in the Temple. (Matthew
* Jesus told parables in the Temple.
(Matthew 21:23-46; 22:1-14; Mark 12:1-11)
* Jesus watched people give money in the Temple. He commented on
the widow who gave all she had.
(Mark 12:41; Luke 21)
* Jesus said that He was greater than the Temple. (Matthew 12:6)
* He said, "Destroy this Temple, and I will raise it in three
days," referring to his death and resurrection.
FACTS ON THE TEMPLE
Herod was made king of Judea from 37 BC to AD 4 by the Romans. He
was not a Jew, but he rebuilt the Temple beginning in 20 BC to
gain favor with the people. This Temple was large and
magnificent. It covered 15 percent of Jerusalem in that day. It
is where Jesus spent a lot of time teaching, healing, and
preparing his disciples for his crucifixion and resurrection.
About 500 years before Herod, Zerubbabel and high priest Joshua
had rebuilt the Temple after the Babylonian captivity, finishing
about 516 BC (Ezra 5:13-17). It was defiled about 350 years later
by the Seleucid king Antiochus IV (Epiphanes). On December 15,
167 BC, Antiochus IV set up a pagan altar, thereby ritually
polluting the Temple. Jewish heroes, the Maccabees, defeated the
enemy, cleansed the Temple and rededicated it on a day
we now call Hanukkah or Feast of Dedication. Although these
events are not in the Bible, they are historical.
Jesus went to the Temple for the Feast of Dedication, which is a
feast to remember the day the second Temple of Zerubbabel was
rededicated around 164 BC. (John 10:22,23)
The Temple had a Wall of Partition around it and no one but Jews
could pass into the inner sanctuary. In 1871 an engraved stone
was found that read: "No stranger is to enter within the
balustrade around the Temple and enclosure. Whoever is caught
will be responsible to himself for his death, which will ensue."
(See Acts 21:26 and Ephesians 2:14-18)
Inside the Temple, the Holy Place was separated from The Most
Holy Place by a great curtain (Luke 23:35). Only the High Priest
was allowed into the Most Holy Place, only once a year on the Day
of Atonement (Yom Kippur). He sprinkled blood from animals on the
top of the Ark of the Covenant, where God met his people.
In the Book of Hebrews, Jesus is called our high priest. We have
been made holy through Jesus who laid down his own life as a
sacrifice once for all. "Without the shedding of blood there is
no forgiveness of sin." (Hebrews 10:10; 9:22)
Jesus said that not one stone would be left on another in the
Temple. The Temple was destroyed in AD 70 just as he predicted
and has not been rebuilt to this day. (Mark 13:1,2)
(See my comment above on Jesus' prophecy - Keith Hunt)
The curtain of the Temple (the veil) which separated man from God
was torn in two from top to bottom when Jesus died on the cross.
Jesus has opened the barrier to God for us. The Bible says there
is one go-between, or mediator, between God and man, the man
Christ Jesus. (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45; 1 Timothy
It took more than 80 years to build Herod's Temple (20 BC - AD
64). It was destroyed by the Roman general Titus in AD 70. His
men set fire to the Temple and stole some of its gold
furnishings. The Titus Arch in Rome commemorates this victory and
shows soldiers carrying away the seven-branched golden lampstand.
Jews pray at the Western Wall which was part of Herod's Temple.
Some people call it the "Wailing Wall" because they are lamenting
or mourning the loss of the Temple.
Peter and John went to the Temple to pray. In the name of Jesus,
they healed a man who had been unable to walk since birth. They
told about Jesus and the resurrection of the dead. They were put
in prison, but an angel of the Lord brought them out and told
them to stand in the Temple courts and tell the people the full
message of the new life in Jesus. Thousands believed in Jesus.
Stephen was a man full of God's grace and power. The apostles
gave him responsibilities because he was full of the Holy Spirit
and wisdom. Some false witnesses said that Stephen spoke against
the Temple. They seized him and took him before the Jewish high
court. He warned the people that they still continued to rely on
the physical Temple and had ignored the Holy Spirit's desire to
live in the living Temple of their hearts.
He reminded them that God does not live in a house made by men.
The apostle Paul said, "Don't you know that you yourselves are
God's Temple and that God's spirit lives in you?" It is important
to keep the Temple of the Holy Spirit cleansed and sanctified.
Your body is from God and you are not your own. You were bought
with a price, the loving sacrifice of Jesus, so you want to
glorify God with your body. The Holy Spirit reminds us of right
Paul said that the wisdom of this world is foolishness. (1 Cor.
3:16-19; 6:19) Paul said that just as the Temple of God cannot
condone idols, a believer (who is the Temple of the living God)
cannot conform to be like unbelievers. God wants to live with us,
walk with us, and be our God.
(2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
The apostle Paul wrote that Jesus is the cornerstone of a holy
Temple; the apostles and prophets are the foundation. In Jesus,
the spiritual Temple is being built of his followers joined
together. The Spirit of God dwells there. (Ephesians 2:19-22)
The Book of Revelation says that God's Temple in heaven is
opened, and within his Temple is seen the ark of his covenant.
Angels come out of the Temple. It is filled with smoke from the
glory of God and from his power. (Revelation 14:15-15:8)
John says he saw the new Jerusalem, where the Lord God Almighty
and the Lamb are its Temple. (Revelation 21:1-22)
* Matthew 12:5-8
* Matthew 21:15,16
* Matthew 27:5
* Acts 21:26-30
* Acts 25-26
* Hebrews 5:1-6
* Hebrews 8:3-13
* Hebrews 10:1-18
* Revelation 7:14,15
* Matthew 17:24-27
* Matthew 23:16-24
* Matthew 27:40
* Acts 24:12
* 2 Thess. 2:1-12
* Hebrews 7:23-28
* Hebrews 9:6-25
* Hebrews 13:10,11
* Revelation 16