A Spiritual View of the Temple of God
In 1 Corinthians 3:16 Paul says, “Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” What is Paul really saying here?
Last month we explored the architecture of the most important temple in the Old Testament, Solomon’s Temple. This month I would like to investigate further the spiritual significance of Solomon’s Temple, because I believe it’s a perfect model or blueprint of a New Testament believer indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Truly, as Paul says, we are the Temple of God and the Spirit of God does dwell in us.
So as we review the Temple blueprint again, let’s focus on comparing each of its rooms and features to our own internal architecture-spirit, heart, will, soul and body. And let’s see if there are any spiritual similarities.
We can begin by looking at CHART 10. First, we’ll give a brief overall picture. Then we’ll come back and explore each area in more detail. The Holy of Holies in Solomon’s Temple, I believe, is analogous to a believer’s new spirit (pneuma) (1). The Holy Place represents a believer’s new heart (kardia) (2). The Porch (including the pillars) is analogous to a believer’s new supernatural willpower or volition (dianoia) (3). The secret, hidden, wooden chambers around the main sanctuary, you probably already guessed, represent the hidden part of a believer’s soul which is called in the Hebrew ‘cheder’ (6). This is the place in our soul where we bury and store our hurts, doubts and fears, etc. (if we don’t know how to deal with them or don’t want to deal with them), thinking because they are hidden, “no one will see and no one will know.” We will spend the next couple of months further investigating this area. The Inner Court represents the conscious part of a man’s soul (psyche) (4) and the Outer Court represents a believer’s body (soma) (5), which is the vehicle by which we express our life (soul). Together, our soul and body are known as the “flesh.” Let’s look at these areas now in more detail. See CHART 11.
Our New Spirit
As a born again believer (one who has asked Jesus to come into his heart), the Spirit that now dwells at the core of our being is not our “old” human spirit anymore, but a totally new spirit. It’s now God Himself (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) dwelling in us. This is exactly what being “born again” means.
It means receiving a totally new power source or life source. God has united our spirit with His and we have become one spirit with Him. 1 Corinthians 6:17 validates this, “…he that is joined unto the Lord is [now] one spirit [with Him].” So, our spirit is now the new energy source that will create God’s Life within us.
Our New Heart
Our heart, then, is the actual place where this “new life” is created, started or brought into new existence. The Hebrew word for “create” is bara which means to bring into new existence something that wasn’t there before. This is why God calls it a “new” heart.
Listen to Ezekiel 36:26, “A new heart also will I give (create in) you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart (old heart) out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh (a new, living heart).”
So, this “new heart” is not simply our old one changed or somehow renewed, but it’s a totally “new” heart, something that wasn’t there before. In other words, when we are born again, God replaces our “old” human heart life (our human love, our human thoughts and our human power) with His brand-new heart life (7): His supernatural Love (Agape), His supernatural Thoughts (Logos) and His supernatural Power (Dunamis) to perform these in our lives.
This is now “Christ in [us], [our] hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). It’s the very “nature” of God Himself within us.
Our new heart (the “hidden man of the heart,” “Christ in us”), then, is now the center core, the essential incorruptible nature and true essence of our being. And, it’s upon this foundation that everything else is going to be built.
So it’s not our hearts that need to be transformed anymore. That was done at our new birth. It’s our lives-our souls-that are in such desperate need of transformation. The only life that now exists in our hearts, if we are born again, is God’s incorruptible Life (His Love, His Wisdom and His Power). All we need to do is learn how to let it out.
Our New Willpower
Continuing on in CHART 11, our willpower-our volition or our resolve-is the most important area of all our internal makeup because what we choose, moment by moment, determines whose life will be lived in our souls, either God’s or our own.
You can see the strategic importance of the location of our willpower. It’s like the passageway, the doorway or the gateway for God’s Life in our hearts to flow out into our lives. Now, this doorway or passageway can be “opened” so God’s Life can flow freely; or it can be “closed” so that God’s Life will be quenched and blocked.
Just as the Porch had two parts to it-the Golden Vestibule and the Bronze Pillars-so our new willpower also has two distinct parts to it: 1) We have God’s supernatural Will and Power (8), given to us as a part of our new birth, where God counsels us as to what His Will is, and then gives us the supernatural strength to perform it in our lives. And, 2) we have our own free choice (9). The free choice to either follow what God has shown us His Will is and trust in His Power to perform it in our life; or, to follow our own will and trust in our own power to perform it.
This is the place where we make “faith choices” or non-feeling choices. These are choices that go against what we naturally think, feel and desire. They are simply choices to walk by faith and not sight.
It’s important to understand that we are not responsible to change our negative thoughts and feelings. There’s no way we, ourselves, can do that! We’re only responsible to put in charge the Person who can change our thoughts and feelings, and that’s God. And we do this by making faith choices.
Our souls are made up of our conscious thoughts, emotions and desires. This is the “self-life” that we have so often referred to. (Now, there is a hidden, secret part of our soul-those secret chambers (6)-which we will discuss in detail over the next several months, but, it’s important to recognize that these hidden recesses are a part of our soul, and thus, a part of our “flesh”-the whole grey area on the chart.)
The Greek word for soul (life) is psyche, which has a very interesting two-fold root meaning. It means “it shall have life” or “it shall wax cold.” In other words, our soul is either going to be Spirit-filled and “have life,” because of the free flow of God’s Life from our hearts to our souls or, our soul will be empty and “waxing cold,” because God’s Life in our hearts has been quenched (and blocked).
Therefore, think of our soul like a “neutral area” that can either be filled with God’s Life (if we have made faith choices); or, filled with self-life because we have made self-centered, emotional choices.
For simplicity, think of our souls as the outward expression or manifestation of our lives. In other words, it’s the “life” that we see, feel and hear coming forth from each other.
The best analogy I can think of to show the difference between heart life and soul life is with plants in a garden. Heart-life is like the “root life” of those plants. We can’t see it-it’s underground-but nevertheless, it’s essential to the health and growth of the plants above.
Whereas, our soul-life is like the beautiful flowers that grow above ground. We can visibly see the flowers; smell them, feel them, touch them and enjoy them. Jeremiah 31:12 even says, “…our souls shall be as a watered garden” (full of flowers).
Let’s visually see how this works. Look at CHART 12.
Ideally, our souls should be the expression or the manifestation (or the showing forth) of God’s Life (7) from our hearts. In other words, God’s Agape Love (11) from our hearts becoming our love (12) in our souls, His Thoughts (13) becoming our thoughts (14), and His Power (13), the power and ability of our lives. (FLOWERS)
This is what it means to be “single-minded,” or more precisely, single-souled (psyche) because only one life is being lived here-God’s (7)! This is a person who is truly being “transformed into God’s Image.”
Notice that the “light” coming from this Temple looks like a “flashlight.” This is what Luke 11:33 means when it says, “No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.”
If we are believers, then, our soul can either show forth God’s Life, His Light (if we have chosen to be open and pure vessels), or: See CHART 13.
If we have chosen to make emotional choices, then God’s Life, His Light (7) will become quenched, blocked and “greased over.” Thus, the soul-life that is produced will not be God’s Life, as He desires, but our own self-life (l0). (WEEDS)
This is called “double-mindedness,” or more precisely, double-souled (psyche), because two lives are being lived here. God’s Life (7) is still in our hearts, but because it is blocked from coming forth, self life is, instead, shown forth in our souls. This is a person being “conformed to this world”-there is nothing different about him (no new Life at all).
Notice how the light in this temple is blocked from coming forth. The candle of this person’s spirit is lit (Proverbs 20:27a), but it’s unable to shine forth because it’s covered over and hidden. This is exactly what Luke 11:33 means when it says, “No man [should], when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel….”
One last area we want to cover is our body. Just as the Outer Court of Solomon’s Temple was exposed to many outside influences, so we are in our bodies. Just think in your own life of all the outside influences (television, movies, magazines, advertisements, etc.) that continually try to draw us away from wholeheartedly and single-mindedly following God.
We can, therefore, be Christians all our lives, yet because we continue (either out of ignorance or disobedience) to make “emotional choices” and walk after the flesh (CHART 13), no one will ever see the difference between our life and that of our neighbors who don’t even know God. We’ve become conformed to the world. God’s Life in us has been quenched and the life that now comes forth is self-life.
This is exactly what a “hypocrite” (or a phoney) is. They say they are Christians, and yet their lives show forth something completely different. They’re double-minded, living two lives! They’re CHART 13!
The sad part is: many of these Christians don’t really know how to turn around and genuinely do it God’s Way. This is why they feel they must put up masks and facades-they don’t want to be a disappointment to Christ. They know on the inside that it’s not working for them, but they can’t let others on the outside see that. And, of course, they are convinced they are the only ones having these problems! If they only knew how many of us have struggled and are struggling with the very same thing!
God Wants Us Spirit-filled
Just as Solomon’s Temple in 1 Kings 8:10-11 and 2 Chronicles 5:13-14 was filled (from the inside where the Source of Light was) outward, this is exactly God’s purpose for each of us.
Remember the flash- light!
Last year, when we were in Jerusalem, we went to the Temple Institute (where they are actually rebuilding the furnishings and implements for the third temple) and we asked about the incident in 1 Kings. They told us that, yes, the Shekinah Glory did come forth from the Holy of Holies and did fill the temple from the inside outward, not from the outside inward like He did in the Tabernacle. (Exodus 40:34-35)
They said, as proof, the high temple windows were actually built in such a way as to capture the light and funnel it outward. These windows were larger on the inside and smaller on the outside. This excited me, because I believe we can apply this analogy to our own moment by moment being “filled with the Spirit”-from inside where the source now is, outward so everyone can see Him.
We already possess God’s Life in our hearts. Our job is simply to make sure that’s what’s showing forth in our souls. Therefore, my precious brethren, “be not conformed to this world (CHART 13), but be ye transformed (be CHART 12) (how?) by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove [in your actions] what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)
Please refer to Be Ye Transformed for referencing the Charts.
by Nancy Missler
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